M is for … Melon Cucumber Salad

M is for … Melon Cucumber Salad – Candy Coated Culinista

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

Ingredients
• 4 tbsp lemon juice
• 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
• 2 tsp agave nectar
• 1/4 tsp sea salt
• 1/4 tsp black pepper
• 1 small honeydew melon, seeded and cut into bite-sized chunks
• 1 golden kiwi, halved and sliced
• ½ English cucumber, cut into chunks
• 1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
• 1/3 cup black olives, roughly chopped
• 3 tbsp finely chopped dill
• ½ cup feta cheese, crumbled

Assembly
1. In a small bowl whisk together lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, agave nectar, salt and pepper until emulsified.
2. In a large bowl add honey dew, golden kiwi, English cucumber, red onion, black olives and dill.
3. Drizzle dressing over salad and mix.
4. Finally top with crumbled feta cheese and give one last quick mix and serve.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This is one of my most creative salads to date. The combination of fruits and vegetables and it being both salty and sweet was very delicious. I would make this for a dinner party in a heartbeat.

Caribbean Soup … Just like my mom used to make …

Mom’s Caribbean Soup – Candy Coated Culinista

My mom passed away before I really got into cooking and she was one of the cooking types who had no recipes written down. That can be and is quite hard when I am trying to recreate those dinners that are near and dear to my heart. One of those recipes is her Caribbean soup; this is one of those dishes that I loved as a kid and I detested soup back then yet I would enjoy this soup; even with the pigtails in it – it’s a Caribbean thing. I have made this recipe twice now purely from the taste, I remember from days gone by and I have made a pretty good replication. My first attempt was closer I believe, but silly me can’t find where I put the recipe or I just never jotted it done; so here I go again and this time I made sure to write it down.

Yield/Serving: 8
Prep Time: 20 min.
Cook Time: about 1 hr.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• Turkey pieces, 4 wings & 2 legs
• Sea salt, to taste
• Black pepper, to taste
• Paprika, to taste
• Season salt, to taste
• Garlic powder, to taste
• Onion powder, to taste
• 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
• 2 tbsp canola oil
• 1 litre chicken stock
• 500 ml water
• 3 Small red skinned potatoes, halved
• Dumplings (flour, salt, water)
• 3 celery stalks, chopped
• carrots, chopped
• 1 onion, chopped

Assembly
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Season turkey and place in roasting pan and bake for 35 minutes.
3. In the meantime prepare the celery, carrots, potatoes, onion and garlic and set aside.
4. Using a large stockpot place garlic an oil and cook until a golden brown.
5. Add chicken stock and water and put pot to simmer.
6. When turkey is cooked, shred turkey meat into pieces and add to the pot.
7. Add in the potatoes and increase the heat to medium and continue to let cook.
8. Using a medium sized bowl make dumplings by mixing flour, a pinch of salt and water until ingredients form into a ball.
9. Add to pot and cook for 10 – 15 minutes depending on size.
10. Once dumplings are cook add the remaining vegetables and let simmer on low heat for 10 minutes.
11. Serve.

Tips
• If you are going all out Caribbean, add pigtails and bread kind like breadfruit, eddoes, plantain, yam and soup seasoning. I totally forgot to add plantains, which I can readily find at my local grocery store; but the other ingredients would require a trip to the West Indian store.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This was very reminiscent of my mom’s soup and this made me happy; but I know something was missing. The soup tasted much better on the second day as the flavours married. My mom’s soup however always tasted good on day one, so I know something was a touch off. Was it the extra West Indian ingredients or more likely my mom putting love and attention into the soup is what made it always taste oh so good. Probably a bit of both.

Acorn & Butternut Squash Soup

Acorn Butternut Squash Soup - Candy Coated Culinista

Acorn Butternut Squash Soup – Candy Coated Culinista

It’s that time of year again when I start making soups on the regular.

Yield/Serving: 1 litre
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 1 hr to 1 hr. 15 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 1 butternut squash, cut in pieces
• 1 acorn squash, cut in pieces
• Canola oil
• 4 tbs vegetarian margarine
• 1 medium size yellow onion, chopped
• 5 cloves garlic, diced
• 1 litre vegetable stock
• Sea salt, to taste
• Black pepper, to taste
• Cayenne pepper, generous pinch
• Sunflower seeds, to decorate
• Pumpkin seeds, to decorate
• Parsley, to decorate

Assembly
1. Pre-heat oven to 450°F
2. Wash squash and de-seed and cut into pieces and place in a large bowl.
3. Coat squash with canola oil and place in roasting pan and roast for 30 to 45 minutes.
4. When squash is finished roasting immediately place in a bowl and cover with saran wrap. (Letting the squash remain warm in the bowl, so it will be easier to remove the skin)
5. Meanwhile over medium heat, in a large pot cook onion and garlic until brown.
6. Pour in the vegetable stock and let cook.
7. Start peeling away the skin from the squash and add to pot.
8. Add salt, pepper and cayenne pepper and continue to cook for 30 minutes over medium-low heat. At the 15 minute mark use an immersion blender to blend and let simmer.
9. Serve with sunflower, pumpkin and parsley on top.

Tips
• Freeze a portion if desired.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
The colour of this soup was amazing and the crunch of the pumpkin and sunflower seeds added a lovely texture to the soup.

Mediterranean Baked Peppers

Mediterranean Baked Peppers - Candy Coated Culinista

Mediterranean Baked Peppers – Candy Coated Culinista

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

From Canadian Living

Ingredients
• 2 yellow bell peppers
• 1 red bell pepper
• 1 orange bell pepper
• 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
• 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
• ¼ tsp dried oregano
• pinch sea salt
• pinch black pepper
• 1/8 tsp grated lemon zest
• 1/3 cup feta cheese, cut into small cubes
• 1 tbsp freshly chopped parsley
• ½ tsp lemon juice

Assembly
1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
2. Cut bell peppers in thick slices.
3. In a bowl mix together extra virgin olive oil, garlic, dried oregano, sea salt, black pepper and lemon zest.
4. Pour onto a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.
5. Place cooked peppers into a bowl with feta, parsley and lemon juice and plate.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This is an amazingly tasty dish that is making me a lover of protein free meals. With vegetarian dishes like this it makes it easy to have more meatless meals in a week.

Kale Caesar Salad

Kale Caesar Salad - Candy Coated Culinista

Kale Caesar Salad – Candy Coated Culinista

This twist on a Caesar salad is my new favourite way to enjoy Caesar salad. Robust and hearty kale being incorporated into this classic is delicious.

Yield/Serving: 2-4
Prep Time: 10 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
• 6 kale leaves, de-stemmed & chopped
• Spinach, big handful chopped
• 4 slices of bacon, cooked crispy & crumbled
• 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
• 3 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
• Caesar salad dressing
• 1/3 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
• ¼ cup parmesan cheese
• 1 cup croutons

Assembly
1. Chop romaine, kale and spinach leaves and put into a bowl.
2. Using a frying pan, fry bacon until crispy and then crumble.
3. Using the same oil from the bacon, quickly fry the minced garlic and add to another bowl.
4. Finely chop the anchovies and add to the small bowl along with salad dressing and mix.
5. Shred mozzarella cheese and add to the bowl of lettuce along with parmesan cheese and croutons.
6. Mix well and serve.

Tips
• Make the dressing by hand if you like; but I decided not to as I had time restraints.
• Make into a chicken Caesar salad by adding grilled chicken breast into the salad.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This salad was enjoyed by my taste testers. I managed to turn people who claim to hate anchovy’s and kale into a lover. Granted the moment I mentioned there were whole anchovy fillets in the salad some stopped. My point was still proven and I arrested my case. I have made this salad three times already in 2 weeks; even once as a chicken Caesar salad.

Cinqo De Mayo: Chorizo & Chicken Tortilla Soup

Cinqo De Mayo: Chorizo & Chicken Tortilla Soup - Candy Coated Culinista

Cinqo De Mayo: Chorizo & Chicken Tortilla Soup – Candy Coated Culinista

Feeling in a Mexican mood, but not in the typical way I thought let me try to make a Mexican inspired soup. With Cinqo de mayo this week I thought a Mexican dish should be made.

Yield/Serving: 6-8
Prep Time: 40 min.
Cook Time: 1 hr.
Difficulty level is: Medium

Ingredients
Soup
• 5 chicken thighs
• 1 tbsp vegetable olive oil
• Cumin
• Chilli powder
• Cayenne pepper
• Red pepper flakes
• Paprika
• Garlic powder
• Sea salt
• 2 chorizo sausages
• 1 large onion, diced
• 1 large green pepper, diced
• 4 cloves garlic, minced
• 796 ml can of tomatoes, rough chopped
• 900 ml vegetable stock
• 3 tbsp tomato paste
• 4 cups water
• 540 ml black beans
• 540 ml chic peas
• 340 ml corn
• Handful of cilantro, rough chop
• 1 tortillas , cut into strips and fried
Garnish
• Sour cream
• Diced avocado

Assembly
1. In a frying pan over medium-high heat fry chicken thighs and season with cumin, chilli powder, red pepper flakes, paprika, garlic powder, and sea salt until cooked.
2. In another frying pan over medium-high heat frying chorizo sausages until cooked.
3. Using a large stock pot with a little vegetable oil sauté onion, green pepper and garlic for a minute or two and add in the tomatoes.
4. Add water black beans, chic peas, corn and cook over medium high heat for 60 minutes; stirring occasionally.
5. Shred the chicken and break the chorizo into pieces and add into the stock pot in the last 30 minutes.
6. At the last minute add cilantro.
7. Cut tortilla in small strips and fry until just crispy and put on a paper towel to drain and set aside.
8. Ladle soup into a bowl and add some diced avocado and tortilla pieces and serve with a dollop of sour cream.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
Even though there were lots of spices I found this recipe lacked flavour and I couldn’t get it to be as seasoned as I’d like. Next time I will have to over season to get this to where I want it to be or perhaps I was feeling a little under the weather and the seasoning was fine.

Roasted Red Pepper Soup

Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Soup - Candy Coated Culinista

Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Soup – Candy Coated Culinista

When a cold-snap hits in March in the form of a freak ice-storm in Toronto this soup will keep you warm.

Prep Time: 20 min.
Cook Time: 50 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 7 large red bell peppers
• 6 garlic cloves, peeled but whole
• 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
• 2 tbsp tomato paste
• 1 tsp ground cumin
• 1 tsp paprika
• 1 tsp sea salt
• 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
• 900ml vegetable stock

Assembly
1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
2. Cut peppers in half and lay cut side down on a baking sheet.
3. Add garlic cloves and bake until blackened, about 20 minutes.
4. Remove peppers from pan and place in a bowl and cover with cling wrap in a bowl to steam.
5. Let peppers steam for 10 minutes of until cool to the touch and peel skin.
6. In a Dutch oven warm extra virgin olive oil, along with onions and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes or until translucent.
7. Add tomato paste, cumin, paprika, sea salt, cayenne pepper and stir for 1 minute.
8. Add vegetable stock, roasted peppers and using an immersion blender, blend the ingredients.
9. Let simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
10. Serve.

Tips
• Serve with biscuits.
• Freeze a portion for a later date.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This was my first time making red pepper soup; which surprised some co-workers as they were enticed by the smell of my lunch. The comments on the smell of my soup alone let me know I was on the right track. The smell reminded me of an Italian kitchen. I don’t know if that is a correct description; but this is what I envision a nonna’s kitchen to smell like.

Sausage & Pepper Soup with Kale

Sausage & Pepper Soup with Kale - Candy Coated Culinista

Sausage & Pepper Soup with Kale – Candy Coated Culinista

When September rolls around Mother Nature can be so unpredictable. The mornings and nights are so cold and the mid-day is still summer weather; how is a person to dress? I find myself wearing a leather jacket to work to keep the chill off; but then when my work day is done I am walking home with my coat in my hand. This brought me to this recipe as I like the idea of sausage and peppers; yet I don’t really care for the actual dish at all. I thought since the nights are getting colder maybe I could invent a new dish from an old classic.

Yield/Serving: 4-6
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 45 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• canola oil, for cooking
• 1 small red onion, medium chop
• 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
• 1 medium yellow potato, peeled and cut into cubes
• 796 ml canned whole plum tomatoes
• 900 ml Beef stock
• 1 tbsp granulated sugar
• Salt, to taste
• Black pepper, to taste
• Canola oil, for cooking
• 4 mild Italian sausages, removed from the casings
• 1 ½ cup kale
• Green pepper, diced, to garnish

Assembly
1. Over medium high-heat pour canola oil in a pot along with onion and garlic and sauté until golden, about 5 minutes.
2. Add potato, tomatoes, beef stock, sugar, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
3. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until potatoes are cooked.
4. Using an immersion blender, puree until soup is smooth and continue to simmer.
5. In another pan pour canola oil over medium-high heat and cook the sausage until browned.
6. Add the sausage and kale into the soup and cook until kale is wilted.
7. Serve

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
So flavourful and easy to make and I finally got to use my new Cusinart Teal Enamel Dutch oven. I loved how the onions and garlic caramelized in the pot so fast. The addition of kale along with the crispness and crunch of the green pepper garnish made this whole dish come together. I even have leftovers to freeze for an even colder day.

Chicken Mustard Milanese with an Spinach & Fennel Salad

Chicken Mustard Milanese with an Spinach & Fennel Salad - Candy Coated Culinista

Chicken Mustard Milanese with an Spinach & Fennel Salad – Candy Coated Culinista

A classy upscale dinner at home yes please.

Yield/Serving: 2
Prep Time: 20 min.
Cook Time: 15-20 min, depending on your pan size
Difficulty level is: Easy

Slightly Altered from Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

Ingredients
Chicken
• 2 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts, butterfly
• Sea salt
• Black pepper
• ½ cup all-purpose flour
• 1 large egg white
• 2 tbsp smooth Dijon mustard
• 2 garlic cloves
• 1 tsp dried oregano
• ½ tsp freshly grated lemon zest
• 1 ½ cups coarse, lightweight breadcrumbs, Panko
• Vegetable oil
Salad
• 3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
• 2 tbsp coarse or whole-seed Dijon mustard
• 1 tbsp smooth Dijon mustard
• ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
• 140g baby spinach
• Small fennel bulb

Assembly
1. Using a sharp knife butterfly chicken breast.
2. Season both sides with salt & pepper.
3. Line up three plates and pour flour into the first plate.
4. Whisk the egg white, mustard, garlic, oregano and lemon zest in a small bowl and pour onto the second plate.
5. Pour Panko breadcrumbs onto the third plate and spread out.
6. Dredge each piece of chicken through the flour, then the egg mixture and finally through the breadcrumbs, ensuring each piece is coated thoroughly.
7. Repeat with each piece of chicken.
8. Place chicken onto a plate and chill for one hour in the fridge (or up to one day covered in plastic wrap.)
9. Pour a 1/2“ of vegetable oil in a large pan over medium-high heat.
10. Cook the chicken until golden brown on both sides.
11. Drain chicken on a paper towel and season with salt and pepper.
12. Repeat cooking the remaining piece of chicken and start to prepare the salad.
13. In a small bowl whisk lemon, mustard and olive oil until emulsified.
14. Add baby spinach to a bowl and thinly slice fennel using a mandoline, or cut as thinly as possible.
15. Mix and set aside.
16. When all the chicken is fried place chicken in the centre of the plate and place arugula salad on top.
17. Drizzle any excess dressing overtop and serve.

Tips
• If you don’t own a mandoline I highly recommend purchasing one. Life is so much easier with food preparation now that I own one.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I have never made or really heard of chicken Milanese besides this recipe and I am a fan. I hear Milanese and immediately think of Milan and after a quick check I was right. I couldn’t find arugula so I substituted spinach for arugula as I have a strict two store limit when looking for ingredients. It still tasted great to me and the substitution made sense. The recipe also called to
pound (not a tenderizer) the chicken until the breasts are ¼” thick between two pieces of plastic wrap; but I just skipped this step to make this a quicker meal. I must say I liked the presentation on this and the taste. It looked quite classy for a home-cooked meal; I just have to perfect my chicken frying skills, which I have not tried before. I also like that I used fennel, which is an ingredient I don’t cook with normally. I think I will be added this to my grocery list more now as this his light fresh salad is perfect for a summer evening meal.

Vinegar Slaw with Cucumber and Dill

Vinegar Slaw with Cucumber & Dill - Candy Coated Culinista

Vinegar Slaw with Cucumber & Dill – Candy Coated Culinista

Yield/Serving: 4
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cook Time: 1 hour
Difficulty level is: Easy

Slightly altered from Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

Ingredients
• 1/3 of a medium green cabbage, shredded
• 1 English cucumber, thinly sliced
• 4 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
• ½ cup apple cider vinegar
• 2 tbsp kosher salt
• 2 tbsp sugar
• ½ cup cold water

Assembly
1. Shred the cabbage and slice English cucumber along with the dill into a large bowl.
2. In a small bowl pour in the apple cider vinegar, salt, sugar and whisk until it has dissolved.
3. Add in the water and whisk.
4. Pour liquid over the salad and let marinate.
5. Toss and mix occasionally using tongs; after an hour in will start to wilt.
6. Serve at this point if you’re in a rush or continue until two hours have passed and serve.

Tips
• Salad will keep covered in the fridge for a week.
• Use a mandoline if you have it. This took me no time at all now that I have invested in a mandoline.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I love a good coleslaw and this simple slaw is quick and easy. There is a bite to slaw which may be due to the use of apple cider vinegar instead off white wine vinegar. I added more dill and prepared the recipe to suit it serving 4 vs. the 12 servings in the original recipe. I can’t wait to taste this tomorrow when the slaw has had more time to marinate.

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