Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo Meal – Candy Coated Culinista

Cinco de Mayo is a day to commemorate the Mexican Army’s unexpected victory over the French in 1862 at the Battle of Puebla on May 5th. The victory for the Mexican’s was short lived; but for this day they could celebrate a victory and they did. This is celebrated mainly in the U.S. & Mexico; but other countries around the world like to partake in this day like Canada, the Caribbean and even other countries further away from Mexico. To celebrate this day in history I ventured into something Mexican.

Yield/Serving: 4 tacos, serves 2
Prep Time: 20 min.
Cook Time: 1 hr.
Difficulty level is: Easy, time-consuming

Ingredients
Tacos
Shrimp
• 12 shrimp
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• ½ tsp cayenne pepper
• ½ tsp cumin
• ½ tsp chilli powder
• ½ tsp red pepper flakes
• ½ tsp kosher salt
• ½ tsp onion powder
• ½ tsp garlic powder
• 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Avocado
• 2 ripe but firm avocados
• 1 egg
• Splash of coconut milk
• ¼ cup panko bread crumbs
• ½ tsp cayenne pepper
• ½ tsp cumin
• ½ tsp chilli powder
• ½ tsp kosher salt
• 3 tbsp canola oil
Toppings
• 1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled
• ¼ cup black beans, rinsed and drained
• Handful of spinach
• 6 grape tomatoes, slices lengthwise
• ¼ red bell pepper, diced
• ¼ green bell pepper, diced
• 1 green onion, chopped
• Small piece on red onion, diced
• Small handful of cilantro, rough chop
• Corn kernels from one ear of corn
• 4 corn tortillas
Avocado Cilantro Coconut Sauce
• Generous handful of cilantro, stems and all
• ½ of an avocado
• 1 generous table spoon of coconut milk, the solid portion not the watery part
• Kosher salt, to taste
• Few drops of fresh lime juice
• Extra virgin olive oil, 1 tbsp or more
Mango Bean Salad
• 1 large mango, peeled and diced
• 1 dill cucumber, sliced
• ½ red bell pepper, chopped
• ½ green bell pepper, chopped
• 1/8 red onion, thinly sliced
• Handful cilantro, chopped
• ½ cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
• 2 cloves garlic
• Corn kernels fresh from ear of corn
• ½ freshly squeezed lime juice
• Kosher salt, to taste
• 1 tbsp agave nectar
• Splash of apple cider vinegar
Cantaloupe Agua Fresca
• ½ of a cantaloupe, peeled and chopped
• Tiny piece of ginger, finely chopped
• 1 lime, freshly squeezed
• 6 cubes of ice
• Cilantro, for garnish

Assembly
Tacos
Shrimp
1. Using a medium sized frying pan over medium heat add olive oil and season shrimp with spices add garlic and cook.
2. Let drain on a paper towel and set aside.
Avocado
1. Using a medium sized frying pan over medium heat add canola oil.
2. Peel two avocados and sliced into pieces. Set one half of an avocado and put into the food processor for the avocado cilantro coconut sauce.
3. Wisk egg and milk in a small bowl.
4. In a plate mixed together panko crumbs and spices.
5. Dip avocado into egg wash and then coat with breadcrumbs.
6. Fry until each side is a golden brown.
Corn
1. Using a small saucepan, slice corn kernels off and boil until cooked. Then set aside ¼ of the kernels for the tacos and the remainder for the mango bean salad.
Toppings
1. Prepare all the topping and place in a plate and set aside.
Avocado Cilantro Coconut Sauce
1. Blend all the ingredients together adding extra virgin olive oil little by little until mixture coats the back of a spoon.
2. Set aside.
Mango Bean Salad
1. Place all the ingredients into a bowl and add agave nectar and apple cider vinegar and stir until well combined.
2. Set aside and let marry.
Cantaloupe Agua Fresca
1. Place cantaloupe, ginger, lime juice and ice cubes into a blender and blend.
2. Strain off some of the pulp if desired and garnish with cilantro.
Assembly
1. Add toppings onto corn tortillas and place avocado on two tacos and shrimp on the other two tacos.
2. Drizzle with the avocado cilantro coconut sauce.
3. Serve

Tips
• Add a splash of tequila if your feeling festive to the aqua fresca to make it a more adult beverage.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This recipe was beyond flavourful and I was super excited to make this from the moment I started and I kept building layers to this as I kept cooking. This took longer than I expected; but there are many different components going into the dish and it makes this a lovely complete meal from beginning to end. The creaminess and crunch of the avocado taco made me not miss the protein. Once again I found another dish where I can up my vegetarian recipes to two or three times a week and not miss the meat. The shrimp taco is a great option for those who still want seafood/meat, as the shrimp was packed with flavour and colour. With the addition of the avocado cilantro coconut sauce it once again added another layer of complexity and it was the usual American salsa. I must say that corn tortillas are the way to go, I highly recommend them to the whole wheat, ancient grain or regular floured tortillas I have tried. They are so much more authentic and if you can find them please give them a try. The bean salad was chocked full of all those Mexican ingredients with the vinegar and agave nectar dressing to add a little sweet and tart aspect. Washing this all down was a mild fruity beverage which didn’t overpower the meal, it was just a lovely compliment. Any vegetarian or pescatarian would be total chuffed to see this for dinner and they were. This is already being requested and I’ll gladly make it again soon and hopefully streamline this recipe down to a hour beginning to end as I like quick weeknight meals.

Caribbean Christmas Sorrel

Caribbean Christmas Sorrel - Candy Coated Culinista

Caribbean Christmas Sorrel – Candy Coated Culinista

This is my absolute favourite Christmas drink. Once the Christmas season is upon us I know I’m getting Sorrel and I’m elated. Sorrel is made from sorrel leaves; which are from the hibiscus family and with its deep, rich red colour it just screams Christmas to me. Not to mention all of those other Christmas spices.

Yield/Serving: 9 cups
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cook Time: 20 to 25 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 1 cup sorrel leaves
• 9 cups water
• 1 hand of peeled ginger, cut into pieces
• 1 cinnamon stick
• A few cloves
• 2 star anise
• 1 cup cane sugar, to taste
• Lemon to taste

Assembly
1. Place all the ingredients except the sugar and lemon into a large pot and bring to a boil covered.
2. Reduce to low heat and let simmer for 20 to 25 minutes.
3. Remove from heat to allow to steep for a few hours.
4. Strain away the solids and add sugar and lemon to taste.
5. Chill and serve with ice.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I have tasted two types of Sorrel: the Bajan (Barbados) way; which I am accustomed to and more recently the Jamaican way which a lot of the time has Rum added to it; but I have only enjoyed the rum-free version to date. Both islands ways taste great in their own right; the Bajan having more of that Christmas smell and so dark and dense when the drink is put up to the light, no light is getting through. On the other hand the Jamaican way has a lot more ginger and the addition of orange peel and the drink is not as dense. So when I made my first attempt at this I did a combination of both recipes. This tasted alright to me I was really hoping for it to taste like the originals; but it tasted like a Caribbean Canadian version if you will. I think I watered it down too much. I did get my Bajan & Jamaican recipe originators to taste it and they said it tasted good. I will say it tasted better over the next few days as the ingredients blended more and I will definitely add less water next time.

K is for … Kale & Mango Smoothie

Kale Mango Smoothie - Cady Coated Culinista

Kale Mango Smoothie – Cady Coated Culinista

This is my first green smoothie! I was a little apprehensive in regards to how this would taste, as all my smoothies are fruit based and I haven’t introduced vegetables into them as of yet in such a main role.

Yield/Serving: 1
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cook Time: less than a minute
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 1 packed cup, kale leaves, chopped
• ½ cup fresh pineapple, chopped
• 1 fresh mango, chopped
• ½ cup vanilla flavoured almond milk
• 8 ice cubes

Assembly
1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This was surprisingly delicious. I’m not going to lie I can taste the kale. It’s hard to get all the kale to be blended up smoothly without little kale pieces or flecks being left behind when I am drinking it; but overall pretty good. I could taste the kale and the sweet and tart notes of the pineapple. The addition of almond milk to this smoothie was a great idea.

Drink Diaries: Chachago Toronto

Food Diaries: Chachago - Candy Coated Culinista

Food Diaries: Chachago – Candy Coated Culinista

Location: 3 Elm Street, Toronto, Ontario, M5G 1H1
Hours: Everyday: 11 am – 11pm
Website: http://www.chachago.ca/

Another Tea shop has opened up in Toronto and I can say I have enjoyed my second Asian style tea. Chachago is a part of the Taiwanese tea culture with a promise of a great cup of tea with quality ingredients. Milk teas, fresh fruits, fresh milk, salted whip and other beverages are available. I was quite surprised at all the beverage options and I just decided to go the safe route and select a drink that I could see a picture representation of. You can select three different ice levels and three different sugar levels. I choose the Sicilian Orange made with Sicilian oranges and passion fruit with regular ice and sugar. I enjoyed my tea a lot and the atmosphere of the restaurant was relaxed with a constant stream of K Pop Music Videos playing on the TV. I could smell a taste the fragrance of the oranges and passion fruit and see the actual fruit which I appreciated. Everything at my table looked quite tasty and I could have easily seen myself having almost anything on the menu except the chocolate items. I will be visiting again for sure and prices range from $4.50 to $6.20. There is also punch card where you get 10% off your next visit after you purchase your first drink.

Top picks at Chachago are: Strawberry ice smoothie, Chachago bubble milk tea, Taiwan taro milk tea, Passionfruit rocket, Green bean ice smoothie, Grapefruit green tea, Mango aloha, Ice cream chocolate, Cranberry aloha green tea, Sicililian orange, Black tea milk cap and kiwi ice smoothie. There is something on the menu here for every flavour palette.

Tea Diaries: Infuse Cafe

Tea Diaries: Infuse Café - Candy Coated Culinista

Tea Diaries: Infuse Café – Candy Coated Culinista

Location: 3 Gerrard Square Mall – Main Floor – 1000 Gerrard Street East, Toronto, Ontario M4M 3G6
Hours: Monday – Friday: 10am – 9pm; Saturday: 9:30am – 6pm; Sunday: 11am – 6pm;
Website: http://www.infusecafe.ca/

I was invited to my first instameet up and got introduced to Infuse Café’s at their second location in Gerrard Square. I had actually browsed the café for a quick moment on Boxing Day when shopping; but I didn’t have a moment to grab a tea; but a this launch party I got to learn all there is to the Infuse Café. Infuse Café combines organic and fair trade ingredients with industry leading technology; which results is a one of a kind tea experience. Rich, bold and robust flavours are layered using the RAIN technology. If you have ever had a tea that smells when you open up a container; but then the tea doesn’t really taste of that fruit anymore when you drink the actually tea – this is your new cafe. RAIN technology is the Reverse Atmospheric Infusion technology that uses vacuums to remove the air that is trapped in organic materials cellular structure; this result in a more flavourful tea profile. The Bkon Craft Brewer is a machine that uses the RAIN technology to give the purist cuppa. This machine costs $14,000 – $16,000 totalling $22,000 total including the technician flying in from San Francisco and installing the machine. Infuse Café has the only 4 Bkon Craft Brewers in the area and has exclusivity on the device for the next 4 years.

Tasting for the night included blueberry hibiscus ice tea and infuses signature coffee iced. Each tea takes about 120 seconds to make and a special algorithm is used to make each tea; which is steeped just under the boiling temperature to not scorch the teas leaving resulting in a harsh flavour. These machines can also create alcoholic drinks and it takes out the alcohol flavour and ups the value and taste; and if you are a coffee lover more caffeine is extracted than the normal brewing process.

A tea demo was provided by World Tea Podcaster TJ Williamson showing steeped and un-steeped processes. This gave us all some insight into the art of Japanese tea making and I will add this podcast to my feed.

At both locations Cecelia’s Cheesecakes are the perfect treat to accompany your tea. The cheesecakes are light and airy with a hint of cheese. Each is beautifully decorated and I think Japanese style cheesecake may be the way to go for me regarding cheesecakes.
I went back yesterday to try two more teas which were the customer favourite White Peach Blossom tea and the Tropical Crimson which reminds me of Caribbean sorrel with is vibrant deep red hue. I enjoyed my hot tea unsweetened and it tasted delicious. It was light and I could smell the peach. The iced tea had very little ice in it which was great as the tea wasn’t watered down.
Loose leaf tea and tea sets are also on sale and the barista’s couldn’t be any more friendly or helpful. I think I have found a new tea shop in my neighbourhood to frequent. The beverages whether tea or coffee hot or iced is rich, strong, robust, bold and flavourful but not overpowering; it just taste pure.

Tea Diaries: Infuse Café - Candy Coated Culinista

Tea Diaries: Infuse Café – Candy Coated Culinista


Tea Diaries: Infuse Café - Candy Coated Culinista

Tea Diaries: Infuse Café – Candy Coated Culinista

Tea Diaries: Infuse Café - Candy Coated Culinista

Tea Diaries: Infuse Café – Candy Coated Culinista

Cecelia's Cheesecakes  - Candy Coated Culinista

Cecelia’s Cheesecakes – Candy Coated Culinista

World Tea Podcast  - Candy Coated Culinista

World Tea Podcast – Candy Coated Culinista

Dia de Muertos: Spiked Mexican Hot Chocolate

Spiked Mexican Hot Chocolate - Candy Coated Culinista

Spiked Mexican Hot Chocolate – Candy Coated Culinista

Dia de Muertos or Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday celebrated to remember your friends and family who have passed on. Now I don’t need a special day to remember my mom or any of my loved ones who have gone on to a better place; but I do like the idea of this day as people celebrate the lives that the dead lived and it’s not about grieving. I have been looking for Mexican chocolate for over a year now, but I wasn’t going to make a trip or purposefully look for a Mexican grocery store in Toronto. I was shopping in the Detox Market and found Mexican Chocolate here of all places and that means I can make my spiked Mexican hot chocolate.

Yield/Serving: 2
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cook Time: 10 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
Hot Chocolate
• 3 cups 2% milk
• 2/3 oz tequila
• Chipotle chocolate bar, chopped into pieces
• 2 tbsp Dutch-processed Cocoa powder
Whipped Topping
• 1/2 cup heavy cream
• Cinnamon, garnish
• Nutmeg, garnish
• Cayenne pepper, garnish
• Shaved chocolate, garnish
• 2 cinnamon stick, garnish

Assembly
Hot Chocolate
1. In a small saucepan heat up the milk over medium heat.
2. Whisk in the tequila and chocolate pieces and combine until melted and frothy.
Whipped Topping
3. Using an electric mixer, or by hand whip heavy cream.
4. Top with whipped cream and grate cinnamon, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, chipotle chocolate and put a cinnamon stick in.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This had some heat thanks to the chipotle and cayenne on my lips which I enjoyed. On a cold night curled up watching a movie this is a great a different spin on a traditional hot chocolate.

G is for … Grapefruit Pomegranate Cocktail

G is for … Grapefruit Pomegranate Cocktail  - Candy Coated Culinista

G is for … Grapefruit Pomegranate Cocktail – Candy Coated Culinista

Yield/Serving: 2
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cook Time: 5 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 3 grapefruits, freshly squeezed
• 1 lime, freshly squeezed
• 2 oz. Vodka
• 1/3 cup pomegranate seeds
• Ice

Assembly
1. Squeeze grapefruits and lime into pitcher and ensure no seeds get through using a strainer.
2. In two glasses pour some pomegranate seeds and muddle.
3. Pour in 1 oz. Vodka into each glass.
4. Put ice into each cup and pour grapefruit juice overtop.

Tips
• Decorate with grapefruit wheel or rind swirls or lime wheel or rind swirls

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
Two of my favourite fruits combined into an adult beverage; how could it go wrong. It didn’t and I loved the refreshing taste this had.

Pineapple Cider Cocktail

Pineapple Cider Cocktail  - Candy Coated Culinista

Pineapple Cider Cocktail – Candy Coated Culinista

When you are missing the warmer weather like me, sometimes a tropical beverage is in order.

Yield/Serving: 1
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cook Time: 5 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• Lime wedge
• 2 tsp ground ginger
• 1 ¼ cup pineapple juice
• 3 oz. Foundry Golden cider, or any alcoholic cider beverage
• ¼ cup granulated sugar
• 10 Ice cubes

Assembly
1. Run lime around the edge of the glass and dip the glass into the ginger mixture to rim.
2. Pour pineapple juice, Golden Cider, sugar and ice cubes into a blender and blend.
3. Pour into rimmed glass and serve.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
Surprisingly I enjoyed this. I was just trying to find a way to get rid of the Golden Cider as I’m really not a fan of it, but this turned out well.

Curtis Stone & Fresh Blackberry Cocktail

Curtis Stone & Fresh Blackberry Cocktail - Candy Coated Culinista

Curtis Stone & Fresh Blackberry Cocktail – Candy Coated Culinista

Does anyone remember Take Home Chef that ran from 2006 to 2007? Well I sure do. Back then TLC (The Learning Channel) was one of my favourite TV stations and as an early riser (we’re talking between 5 and 6 am every morning) I would wake up and turn on the TV as I started my day making breakfast and such. Take Home Chef was a show that I tuned into every morning for an hour and introduced me to Curtis Stone and his style of cooking. I loved the idea of someone just going about their day shopping for groceries and her comes a chef offering his services to help the person make dinner for their partner or guest with an out of this world dinner. The one thing I always remember is how charming Curtis was and still is today and that while the meals were made with easy to find ingredients; it was still a very classy elegant meal. I have most recently seen Curtis hosting shows like Top Chef Duels and Kitchen Inferno which made me check to see what he was up to now cook book wise. I picked up his new cookbook Good Food Good Life and started testing recipes to find out that he was making a trek to Toronto and I of course then have to be at this event. When Curtis arrived he briefly talked about the book and said that his life is very busy and even more so now that he is married with two kids so this cookbook is perfect for those people always on the go. A quick anecdote he mentioned which made us all chuckle was that his eldest son Hudson just loves to be in the kitchen cooking with daddy and he loves to be barefoot and on top of the counter. He quipped that it wouldn’t pass any health codes, but in his home kitchen it would always get a pass; to which we all laughed and laughed.

I got my Relaxed Cooking along with Good Food Good Life signed as I always bring my back catalogue just incase the author decides to sign, which he did for this event. When I got up he shook my hand and we took a picture. I mentioned that I had already made the Mint Chip Gelato (post to come soon) and he said “amazing! By hand” I said yes I steeped the fresh mint leaves and everything to which I got a high five; which I thought was pretty cool. I asked which was his favourite recipe and the Chocolate Salted Caramel Kisses are his favourite, so I will be trying to make these also. I mentioned I would be making the Blackberry Cocktail when I get home and enjoying his book some more.

This cookbookworm had a fun time chatting with other ladies in line and seeing how far some of them came just to have a 2 minute encounter with Curtis. I will say Curtis is definitely on the top of my most friendly, charming and modest chefs to date. It also helps that I am a sucker for a tall man and an accent.

Yield/Serving: 1
Prep Time: 5 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

From Good Food Goof Life

Ingredients
• 3 cups of ice
• 1/3 cup fresh blackberries
• 2 tsp sugar, or to taste
• 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
• ¼ cup silver rum
• 1 tbsp St-Germain, elderflower liquor
• ¼ cup club soda

Assembly
1. Using a food processor, grind the ice to a finely crush and fluffy consistency, like shaved ice.
2. Place blackberries, sugar, lime juice in a rocks glass and muddle.
3. Stir in the rum, St-Germain and ½ cup of crushed ice.
4. Pack more ice into the glass, mounding it well above the rim.
5. Pour the club soda over and serve immediately.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
What a tasty, refreshing adult beverage. I have never been a fan of club soda and unflavoured carbonated water but this added a fizziness to the drink I liked. When I got to the bottom it was a little bit sweeter; which I appreciated as sometimes I like an extra bit of sugar. I didn’t crush my ice because well I am a little lazy of that front, but it still tasted wonderful to me sans crushed ice.

Cookies & Cream Shamrock Shake

Cookies & Cream Shamrock Shake - Candy Coated Culinista

Cookies & Cream Shamrock Shake – Candy Coated Culinista

A holiday can’t pass without me trying to make something themed. It’s St. Patrick’s day so enjoy this minty, chocolately shamrock shake.

Yield/Serving: 1
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cook Time: 5 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• Chocolate syrup
• 1 scoop cookies & cream ice cream
• 3 scoops vanilla ice cream
• 1 tsp peppermint extract
• 6 drops green food colouring
• 1/3 cup 2% milk
• ½ cup heavy cream
• Shamrock sprinkles

Assembly
1. Pour chocolate syrup into a pint glass and set aside.
2. In a blender put in ice cream, peppermint extract, food colouring and milk and blend.
3. Pour milkshake into the pint glass.
4. Whip the whipping cream and put on top of the milkshake.
5. Add sprinkles and serve.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I made this for Mr. C. and he really enjoyed it and he like hint of mint in the milkshake.

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