Vietnamese Meatball

Vietnamese Meatball - Candy Coated Culinista

A carb free dinner that comes together in a snap.

Yield/Serving: 4
Start to Finish Time: 35 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

From Milk Street Tuesday Nights

Ingredients
• 3 tsp grapeseed or neutral oil, divided
• 1 pound ground pork
• 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus sprigs, to serve
• ½ tsp ground black pepper
• 6 scallions, white and light green parts minced, dark green parts thinly sliced
• 5 tbsp fish sauce, divided
• 2 tbsp plus 2 tsp white sugar, divided
• ½ cup lime juice
• 1 or 2 serrano chillies, stemmed, seeded and thinly sliced
• 2 medium carrots, peeled and shredded (1 cup)
• Lettuce leaves, to serve

Assembly
1. Coat a large plate will 1 tsp of oil and set aside.
2. Using a medium bowl combine, pork, 3 tbsp water, cilantro, pepper, minced scallions, 2 tbsp fish sauce and 2 tsp sugar.
3. Mix vigorously until combined and let the mixture become soft and sticky.
4. With lightly moistened hands, form 20 balls and place on oiled plate.
5. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
6. In a small bowl stir lime juice, 3 tbsp fish sauce and the remaining 2 tbsp sugar.
7. Add the chilies until the sugar dissolves and set aside.
8. Line another plate with paper towels and add remaining oil to a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.
9. Add meatballs and cook until the bottoms are golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes and then turn and cook the other side turning meatballs for 4 to 5 minutes.
10. Transfer to plate, tent with foil and let rest for 5 minutes.
11. In a small bowl, toss carrots with 2 tbsp of lime juice sauce.
12. Serve the meatballs with carrots, cilantro sprigs, sliced scallions and lettuce leaves for wrapping.
13. Spoon the remaining sauce onto the wraps.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This was my second time making Vietnamese meatballs and I remember why I enjoyed them so much. The flavours are bright, salty and exotic. Using lettuce wraps is a wonderful way to be carb-free and I have started enjoying one of two meals a week without carbs. These meatballs also freeze well for a later date.

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Huevos De Caja

Huevos De Caja – Candy Coated Culinista

It’s always funny that you never notice ingredients in the grocery store until you need it…

Yield/Serving: 2
Prep Time: 20 min.
Cook Time: 40 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

From: Nopalito

Ingredients
Huevos De Caja

• 2 tbsp canola oil
• 2 homemade soft corn tortillas or store-bought
• 1 tbsp kosher salt
• 1 tbsp white vinegar or freshly squeezed lemon juice
• 4 eggs
• 1 cup Frijoles Negros Refritos or good quality refried beans, warmed
• ¼ cup salsa cilantro
• ¾ cup grated jack cheese
• Chopped cilantro leaves
Frijoles Negros Refritos
• 2 tbsp canola oil
• 1 medium white onion, finely chopped
• 1 can black beans drained.
• 1 ½ tsp dried organo
Salsa Cilantro
• 4 large tomatillos, husked and rinsed
• 1 jalapeno
• 1 clove garlic
• Salt
• 2 tbsp cilantro leaves, chopped
• 2 tbsp white onion, chopped

Assembly
Huevos De Caja

1. Boil water and season with salt and vinegar.
2. Lower heat to a simmer.
3. Crack egg into a small bowl and ease into water.
4. Cook until the outsides are set and the inside is still runny, 3 to 4 minutes.
5. Remove using a slotted spoon and set aside.
6. In a small pan cazuelas or cast-iron skillet, place tortillas in pan followed by refried beans in a next shaped. Then tip poached eggs into centre and divide the salsa pouring on top.
7. Sprinkle jack cheese and bake in oven until completely melted for about 5 minutes.
8. Serve immediately and garnish with cilantro
Frijoles Negros Refritos
1. In a medium pot over medium-high heat, heat oil until hot.
2. Add onions and stir occasionally until a dark golden bron, 3 to 5 minutes.
3. Add in the oregano and let cook for another 1 to 2 minutes and let beans get hot.
4. Smash the bean mixture until slightly chunky.
5. Add a little water if need to reach the desired consistency.
Salsa Cilantro
1. Using a medium saucepan, combine tomatillos, jalapenos, garlic and enough water just to cover and season with salt.
2. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and let cook for 15 minutes, or until tomatillos and jalapenos begin to dull in colour.
3. Transfer mixture discarding the water to a blender and blend until salsa is smooth, but the seeds are still visible.
4. Pour into a bowl and chill.
5. Add in onions and cilantro just before serving.
6. Add additional salt if necessary.

Tips
• The recipe for Frijoles Negros Refritos calls for 1 cup canola oil; which I found to be a huge amount of oil even using the full 6 cups of black beans. I used 2 tbsp of canola oil with one can on black beans.
• I served mine with homestyle Mexican salsa, chipotle peppers in Adobo sauce.
• Purchase green Mexican salsa and add some cilantro if you don’t want to make Salsa Cilantro.
• You can also do step 6 & 7 using a frying pan and serve in a plate.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I have walked by the Mexican food section for many years in the same row with the Asian and Indian foods I pick up and yet I never saw them. I will start grabbing the Mexican salsa from now one instead of the Amaericanized salsa brands in the other aisle. This is another massive recipe. This book really serves a crowd and I’m happy I batched down the refried beans as I was only making it for this recipe. I used the leftover refried beans in some shrimp taco’s. I must say I made this recipe purely because the photo caught my eye; even though I didn’t think I liked refried beans and the last poached egg I made didn’t turn out the best. When this was a pleasant surprise with a runny egg served with two types of salsa, refried beans, adobo peppers. I served mine with some shrimp and with Agua de Jamaica and oh so tasty.

Huevos De Caja – Candy Coated Culinista

Buttermilk Chicken with Chelo & Persian-Inspired Cauliflower

Buttermilk Chicken with Chelo & Persian-Inspired Cauliflower – Candy Coated Culinista

The perfect weekend family dinner with and Southern and Persian twist.

Yield/Serving: 4
Prep Time: 24 hours prior
Cook Time: 60 min. plus
Difficulty level is: Medium

Buttermilk chicken from: Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat

Buttermilk Chicken

Ingredients
• 3 ½ – 4 pound chicken
• Salt
• 2 cups buttermilk

Assembly
1. The day before you want to cook the chicken remove the wingtips by cutting through the first wing joint with poultry shears or a sharp knife.
2. Reserve for stock.
3. Season chicken generously with salt and let sit for 30 minutes.
4. Stir 2 tablespoons of kosher salt or 4 teaspoons of fine sea salt into the buttermilk to dissolve.
5. Place the chicken in a re-sealable plastic bag and pour buttermilk in.
6. If the chicken won’t fit double up two plastic grocery bags to prevent leakage and tie the bag with a piece of butcher’s twine.
7. Seal it and squish the buttermilk all around the chicken, place on a rimmed plate and refrigerate.
8. If you’re so inclined, over the next 24 hours turn the bag so every part of the chicken gets marinated, but that’s not essential.
9. Pull the chicken from the fridge an hour before you plan to cook it.
10. Preheat the oven to 425°F with a rack set in the center position.
11. Remove the chicken from the plastic bag and scrape off as much buttermilk as you can without obsessing.
12. Tightly tie together the legs of the chicken with butcher’s twine.
13. Place chicken in a 10” cast iron skillet or shallow roasting pan.
14. Slide the pan to the back of the oven with the legs facing the back.
15. After 20 minutes reduce heat to 400°F and continue roasting for 10 minutes and move the pan allowing another side to brown.
16. Continue rotating so that all sides can brown and continue to roast for 30 minutes or so until juices run clear.
17. Let rest for 10 minutes before carving and serving.

Tips
• Know your salt and how much to add.
• Use yoghurt if you can’t find buttermilk

Chelo or Tadig (Persian Steamed Rice)

Yield/Serving: 4
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cook Time: 20 min.
Difficulty level is: Medium

Ingredients
• 1 cup basmati rice
• 1 1/4cup water
• ¼ cup canola oil
• 1 tbsp salt
• Turmeric, to taste
• Saffron, to taste
• 3 pats of butter

Assembly
1. Rinse rice a few times until water runs clear.
2. Add water to pot and over medium-high heat boil.
3. Once water has boiled bring temperature down and simmer for 20 minutes.
4. In a small bowl mix, turmeric, saffron, a little water and canola oil and set aside.
5. As rice is steaming bore holes into the rice with the end of a spatula.
6. Pour turmeric saffron mixture over rice.
7. Wipe pats of butter around the edges on the pot and continue to cook.
8. Continue to cook until the bottom on the pan forms a crust.
9. Flip unto a plate and serve.
10. Optional – just flavour the rice with the turmeric and saffron mixture and serve in a bowl.

Tips
• I have never been a fan of burnt rice and as a West-Indian child, I have come across this many a time, so I opted for jus t flavoured rice.

Persian inspired Cauliflower

Yield/Serving: 4
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 6 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• Cauliflower, cut into florets
• 2 tbsp lemon oil
• Sumac, to taste
• Cumin, to taste
• Thyme, to taste
• ¼ pomegranate seeds
• Handful of cilantro, removed from stems
• Pistachios, shelled and chopped
• Pomegranate molasses

Assembly
1. Using a medium sized saucepan, steam cauliflower until just tender as set aside in a bowl.
2. Pour lemon oil, sumac, cumin, thyme into bowl and coat using hands.
3. Sprinkle pomegranate seeds, cilantro, pistachios and drizzle with pomegranate molasses.
4. Serve.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
The chicken was salty and briny and the buttermilk marinated chicken made the chicken so succulent and simple. This was my first time using buttermilk in any of my cooking or baking as I have never understood the concept of sour milk. The Chelo almost Tadig rice was a bright and flavourful and complemented the chicken perfectly. The veggies was a nice addition; but I really hate cauliflower and am still trying to find a way to love it. I could tolerate it in this dish; but I will swap it out next time for broccoli or Romanesco. The pomegranates added a tartness, while the cilantro and pistachios added a lemony and crunchy texture. This is a wonderful complete meal that received comments like “wow look at this feast” and “look so yummy” with those compliments all that time in the kitchen and prepping was very much worth it.

Buttermilk Chicken – Candy Coated Culinista

Chelo – Candy Coated Culinista

Persian-Inspired Cauliflower – Candy Coated Culinista

Buttermilk Chicken with Chelo & Persian-Inspired Cauliflower – Candy Coated Culinista

West Indian Curry Chicken & Curry Chickpea

West Indian Curry Chicken & Curry Chickpea – Candy Coated Culinista

I received a text Sunday asking “You in the office tomorrow” to which I replied yes. When I came to the office there was a package on my desk saying “Dhal puri for you”. Well now I’m excited I’m always talking about dahl puri to my Indian West Indian friends and that I can eat it just the dahl puri by itself and totally be satisfied. I almost never make Caribbean food and I have never been fond of curry or spice anything; but this gift had me running home happy to make dinner. I was so surprised that I had all these ingredients at home, yet I never ever made a curry.

Yield/Serving: 5
Prep Time: 20 min.
Cook Time: 1 hour
Difficulty level is: Medium

Ingredients
Curry Chicken

• 2 tbsp coconut oil
• 4 small potatoes, cut into chunks
• 5 chicken breasts
• 2 tbsp curry powder
• 2 tsp all spice
• 1 tsp cayenne powder
• 1 tsp paprika
• 2 tsp garlic powder
• 2 tsp onion powder
• 2 tsp sea salt
• 1 tsp black pepper
• 2 tsp cumin
• 1 tsp red chilli peppers
• 1 tsp chilli powder
• 2 knobs of ginger, diced
• 1 small onion, diced
• 3 cloves garlic, diced
• 1 cup peas
• Handful chives, chopped
• Handful parsley chopped
• 1 cup chicken broth
• 1 chicken bouillon cube
• 1 scotch bonnet pepper, optional
Curry Chickpea
• 2 sweet potatoes, cut into chunks
• 2 tbsp coconut oil
• 1 small onion, diced
• ½ red bell pepper, deseeded and chopped
• 3 garlic cloves, finely diced
• 2 knobs of tbsp curry powder
• 1 tsp all spice
• ½ tsp cayenne powder
• ½ tsp paprika
• 1 tsp garlic powder
• 1 tsp onion powder
• 1 tsp sea salt
• ½ tsp black pepper
• 1 tsp cumin
• ½ tsp red chilli peppers
• ½ tsp chilli powder
• 2 knobs of ginger, diced
• 1 can chickpeas, washed and drained
• Handful of grape tomatoes, halved
• ½ can of coconut milk
• Handful of spinach, stems removed
• Handful of rapini, stems removed

Assembly
Curry Chicken
1. Using a Dutch oven add coconut oil over medium high heat.
2. Add potatoes and chicken breasts and turn chicken as needed until almost cooked through.
3. Add all the spices, ginger, onion, and garlic along with peas, chives, parsley, chicken broth and scotch bonnet.
4. Turn stove down to low medium and let the curry simmer for 10 minutes to let the spices and mixture marry.
Curry Chickpea
1. In a large saucepan add coconut oil over medium high heat.
2. Add sweet potatoes, onion, red bell pepper, garlic and ginger.
3. Add all the spices along with the chickpeas and grape tomatoes.
4. Pour in the coconut milk along with spinach and rapini and turn temperature down to low medium and let simmer for 10 minutes to let the spices and mixture marry.

Tips
• Serve with basmati rice or dhal puri.
• You can use squash instead of sweet potatoes if desired.
• Pour vinegar in a bowl near the stove to lessen the curry smells in the house.
• If curry is to spicy add some coconut milk to calm it down.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I spent a good 3 hours making these two dishes and when I was done I needed to relax; but you know what this was so worth it. Funny enough I found the curry chickpea to be way more spicy that the curry chicken. It tasted great; but there was a slow burn; which I almost couldn’t tolerate. The curry chicken was much more my speed as I love a mild but flavourful curry. It reminded me of all those roti’s I’ve had but never attempted to make. I split this recipe in half and added a scotch bonnet pepper to prove that I can make a recipe truly Caribbean, even though I wasn’t planning on consuming it. I gave the peppery portion to my Guyanese gals, to see if I’m worthy of cooking West Indian and a portion to my dad to surprise him. The only thing I disliked was the fact that the curry smell was throughout the house. I was so glad I closed the bedroom doors; but upon my comment, I learned a bowl of vinegar near the stove while you’re cooking will lessen the drifting of the curry smell. My West Indian family and my Guyanese Gal’s said “it tasted great”, one commented it “tasted like my mom’s” and another said “I didn’t know you could cook Indian”. Well I’ll take all the compliments and be happy I can cook Spicy West Indian even though it is not my favourite type of cuisine. I can now label myself the girl with the Caribbean background that can cook it; but chooses not to and that’s fine by me.

West Indian Curry Chicken – Candy Coated Culinista

Curry Chickpea – Candy Coated Culinista

Basmati Rice – Candy Coated Culinista

Dhal Puri – Candy Coated Culinista

Plantains Assados con Queso

Plantains Assados con Queso – Candy Coated Culnista

One of the few Caribbean foods I have always loved was plantain whether fried or boiled and put in a soup. Probably it was the sweetness of the plantain as is ripened that caught my attention as a child; but even today when I find plantain in the store I think back to my mom frying it when it was over ripped and ooey gooey to serve alongside my breakfast. I went to a food market at lunch, and I saw this wonderfully fried whole plantain just staring back at me and I just knew I had to try it and it didn’t disappoint.

Yield/Serving: 1
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cook Time: 10 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 4 tbsp canola oil
• 1 plantain, peeled and sliced in the centre, but not all the way through
• 3 tbsp cream cheese
• Fresh rosemary, removed from sprig
• Pinch of sea salt

Assembly
1. Over medium-high, using a frying pan heat up canola oil.
2. Place plantain in and fry all sides until golden brown and the colour has changed.
3. Drain on a paper towel if necessary.
4. Using a small bowl mix cream cheese & rosemary and stuff into the plantain.
5. Sprinkle with sea salt and serve.

Tips
• If you have time bake this bake at 400° for 30 minutes; instead of frying.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I did my own spin on this Ecuadorian dish as the way it was prepared had ricotta stuffed inside. I used cream cheese and added some fresh thyme because it just felt right to me. This is a new preparation for me that I never knew even existed. I am very happy to have stumbled upon this in the market. Plantains Assados con Queso means baked plantains with cheese; but I took a quicker approach and fried it. Try baking it as it would turn out just as well. I made this while preparing breakfast before work yesterday morning, so I had less time. The plantain was soft on the outside and firmer as you got further in. The filling was creamy with the punch of thyme. I’m not really a fan of cream cheese unless it’s on my bagel; but it works so well and I gave a piece to my testers and they loved the cream cheese and thyme combo.

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.

Thai Pineapple Fried Rice

Thai Pineapple Fried Rice – Candy Coated Culinista

I went to my first Authentic Thai restaurant in February and ever since I have been intrigued by this cuisine and trying to consume and slowly try all things Thai. It’s one hundred percent thanks to this amazing Tamarind chicken I had and the taste and smell is still stuck in my head today. I love the sweet and tangy aspects to the tamarind as we have this fruit in the Caribbean and I remember pulling them of the tree and them being scattered on the streets all over Barbados & Antigua. This dish made me want to try Thai food more ad even though I’m not a curry fan I am finding Thai curry dishes to have a very different spice taste then Indian cuisine that I am not fond of. I am exploring this new flavor profile; but for now only with the rice and salad dishes and then on to noodles and proper Thai curries.

Yield/Serving: 4
Prep Time: 15 min.
Cook Time: 30 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 1 pineapple, halved lengthwise if you want to make a pineapple boat
• 1/2 cup Jasmine Rice
• Peanut oil
• Soy sauce, to taste
• Curry powder. To taste
• 3 garlic cloves, minced
• ½ small white onion, diced
• 1 small carrot, grated
• ¼ cup frozen peas
• 1 egg
• ¼ cup pineapple, finely chopped
• 1 spring onion, chopped
• Cilantro, handful, rough chop
• Peanuts, chopped, to taste

Assembly
1. In a saucepan over medium-high heat cook rice and set aside.
2. Using a wok add peanut oil and fry garlic cloves and onion for a couple of minutes.
3. Add the Jasmine rice along with soy sauce and curry powder.
4. Add carrots and frozen peas, and let cook for 10 minutes.
5. Crack the egg into the fried rice and stir around.
6. Add in the pineapple, spring onion, cilantro and peanuts and stir for 1 minute.
7. Serve.

Tips
• Serve in a pineapple boats if desired. Just carve out the pineapple and pour Thai fried rice inside.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This is a totally new food for me and I honestly wanted to make this dish because of the pineapple boat and that wow factor when serving this dish. As I am not a huge curry fan I didn’t add tons of curry powder; but the colour and smell was wonderful and flavouful. I loved all the added fruit & vegetables in the rice.

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.

BBQ Chicken, Apple, Bacon & Mushroom Quesadillas

BBQ Chicken Apple & Bacon Quesdaillas - Candy Coated Culinista

BBQ Chicken Apple & Bacon Quesdaillas – Candy Coated Culinista

I knew I wanted to make quesadillas for dinner this past weekend having a huge craving for it. I knew that even though this recipe was going to be familiar I planned on throwing a wrench into the classic quesadillas with some granny smith apples.

Yield/Serving: 2
Prep Time: 20 min.
Cook Time: 10 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 5 chicken thighs, cut into pieces
• Vegetable oil
• Sea salt, to taste
• Ground cumin, to taste
• Garlic powder, to taste
• Onion powder, to taste
• Red pepper flakes, to taste
• Paprika, to taste
• 4 slices of bacon, cut into pieces
• 8 button mushroom, sliced
• ½ granny smith apple, cut into matchsticks skin on
• 2 tbsp red onion, finely chopped
• 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
• 2 tbsp garlic BBQ sauce
• 4 tortillas
• Guacamole, optional using fresh avocado’s
• Sour cream, optional

Assembly
1. Using a frying pan over medium heat fry and season chicken thighs with a little vegetable oil until cooked thoroughly.
2. In another frying pan over medium heat fry bacon until crispy.
3. In another frying pan over medium high heat sauté the mushrooms in a little vegetable oil.
4. Cut the granny smith apple and red onion and set aside in a bowl.
5. Shred cheddar cheese and set aside.
6. Once chicken and bacon are finished cooking, cut into pieces and add BBQ sauce to the chicken pieces and coat.
7. Using a clean frying pan the size of the tortilla, start toasting tortillas.
8. Add in a mixture of chicken, bacon, mushrooms, cheese, red onion and apple and let melt.
9. Place the second tortilla on top and flip at least once until tortilla is crispy and cheese is melted.
10. Cut into quarters and serve with guacamole and sour cream on the side.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This dish was an absolute hit! I even had a request to make another portion as it was so well received and of course I had to oblige. I even stole a bite for myself even though I was beyond full at this point I just couldn’t resist. The granny smiths added a tartness and crunch that was enjoyable and balanced well with the sweetness of the BBQ sauce.

Family Style Fried Rice

Family Style Fried Rice - Candy Coated Culinista

Family Style Fried Rice – Candy Coated Culinista

Can you believe I have never made fried rice before? I love making stir fry and Chinese food yet I have never made fried rice. I was prepping a meal for some guests and I had planned to make just plain rice served with some teriyaki chicken breasts and on the fly I decided to turn this into a fried rice.

Yield/Serving: 4-6
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cook Time: 30-40 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 4 cups basmati rice
• 2 tbsp sesame oil
• 1 small onion finely chopped
• 5 gloves garlic, finely diced
• ½ cup diced frozen carrots
• ½ cup frozen peas
• ¾ cup corn kernels
• 4 tbsp sesame oil
• 3 eggs
• 5 tbsp soy sauce

Assembly
1. In a pot cook the rice in 2 cups of water over medium-high heat until cooked.
2. In a frying pan with 2 tbsp on sesame oil, fry onions for 4 minutes and the add garlic for 30 seconds.
3. When rice in finished cooking add onion and garlic along with the carrots, peas and corn along with the sesame oil and fry and stir frequently for 5 minutes.
4. Add eggs and continue cooking for 10 more minutes.
5. Add soy sauce and toss until coated.
6. Serve.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This couldn’t be easier and this was perfect to serve family style; so everyone could help themselves at the table. This can be made the day before and then re-fried again with a little sesame oil before serving; as fried rice always tastes so much better on the second day.

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