P is for … Pea Risotto

P is for … Pea Risotto - Candy Coated Culinista

P is for … Pea Risotto – Candy Coated Culinista

Yield/Serving: 2
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cook Time: 20-22 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 900ml low sodium chicken stock
• 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 1 small onion, diced
• 4 cloves garlic, diced
• 1 cup Arborio rice
• Sea salt, to taste
• Black pepper, to taste
• 1/3 cup fresh peas
• 1 tbsp unsalted butter
• Parmigiano Reggiano, to taste
• Handful of parsley, finely diced

Assembly
1. Pour chicken stock into a large saucepan over high heat and boil.
2. Once the chicken stock has boiled, turn down to low heat to keep warm.
3. In a medium saucepan heat extra virgin olive oil and pour in the onion and cook for three minutes.
4. Add in the garlic and continue cooking for another 3 minutes until soft and translucent.
5. Stir in one cup of Arborio rice along with sea salt and black pepper stirring constantly for two minutes.
6. Ladle in a half cup of chicken stock to the rice until the liquid is absorbed.
7. Continue adding chicken stock a half cup at a time until rice is tender with a firm centre and the risotto is creamy, about 20 to 22 minutes.
8. Add in the peas and butter in the last 3 minutes of cooking.
9. Stir in the parsley and grate some Parmigiano Reggiano to taste.
10. Serve immediately.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
A slow but well worth it process. Creamy and aldente with the fresh peas and parsley along with the Parmigiano Reggiano made this a rich dish.

Zucchini & Fennel Spinach Pesto Salad

Zucchini Fennel & Spinach Pesto Salad – Candy Coated Culinista

I was given the hugest Zucchini I have ever seen from a co-workers garden and now. I could cradle the thing like a new born baby if that give you any indication of size. Since I clearly have zucchini for the week and for weeknight dinner with friends I figured a new recipe was in order.

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

Ingredients
Pesto

• 1/2 cup fresh basil
• 1 cup fresh spinach packed
• 2 tbsp pine nuts
• 3 tbsp parmesan cheese
• 2 clove garlic, rough chop
• ½ tsp sea salt
• ½ tsp black pepper
• ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
• Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
Salad
• ½ small red onion, thinly sliced
• ½ small fennel, thinly sliced
• 4 medium sized zucchini, trimmed and sliced into ribbons
• ½ pint cherry tomatoes, halved
• ¼ Yellow bell pepper, diced
• ¼ Orange bell pepper, diced

Tips
• Serve with grilled chicken breast for added protein and pour leftover pesto sauce over top of the chicken breast.

Assembly
Pesto

1. In a food processor place basil, spinach, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, garlic, sea salt, black pepper and blend until finely chopped.
2. With the machine running pour in the extra virgin olive oil until pesto is uniform and set aside.
3. Squeeze lemon juice at the end and stir in with a spoon.
Salad
1. Slice red onion..
2. Using a mandolin slice the zucchini lengthwise into ribbons and fennel thinly into strips.
3. Halve the grape tomatoes and dice yellow and orange bell pepper.
4. Place all ingredients into a bowl add pesto and incorporate.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This salad was delicious and flavourful. I was surprised how tasty the spinach pesto was considering I couldn’t find arugula at the supermarket. I even went to the expensive fancy grocer to collect it and there was no arugula to be found. Considering the ingredients for this recipe aren’t the cheapest and I got the zucchini for free this would be perfect for a dinner party or with guests and these are some quality ingredients being used; don’t save it just for yourself.

Garden Zucchini – Candy Coated Culinista

Super Quick Garlic Bok Choy

Super Quick Garlic Bok Choy – Candy Coated Culinista

Yield/Serving: 4 to 6 servings
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cook Time: 5 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

From: Eat Delicious from Dennis the Prescott

Ingredients
• 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
• 10 green onions, trimmed and cut into thirds
• 5 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 pound bok choy, ends trimmed and leaves separated
• 2 tbsp soy sauce
• 1 tbsp sesame seeds toasted

Assembly
1. Using a wok over medium-high heat and sesame oil and when oil is hot add the green onions and garlic and stir fry for 30 seconds ensuring to keep them moving the full 30 seconds.
2. Add the bok choy and soy sauce and stir fry for 2 minutes and then transfer to a serving dish.
3. Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds over top and serve.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I halved this recipe because I didn’t need 6 servings of bok choy. It tasted so good; I’ve always loved Bok Choy and in the area I live this is always at least two varieties in the grocery store. For this recipe I choose Shanghai Bok Choy as they are bigger in size.

Garlic and Rosemary Hasselback Potatoes

Garlic and Rosemary Hasselback Potatoes – Candy Coated Culinista

I haven’t made hasselback potatoes in seven years. The reason I know this is this was one of the first recipes I ever made. This time I tried a simpler yet more sophisticated version.

Yield/Serving: 6-8
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 70 to 80 min.
Difficulty level is: Medium

From Eat Delicious by Dennis the Prescott

Ingredients
• 8 large russet potatoes, scrubbed
• ¼ cup olive oil
• 1 tsp sea salt
• 1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
• 5 garlic, unpeeled
• 2 fresh rosemary sprigs
• 4 tbsp (1/2 stick) butter, melted

Assembly
1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
2. With a sharp knife, cut crosswise parallel slits into the potatoes, about 1/8” apart; ensuring to stop just before cutting through so potatoes stay connected at the bottom of the potato.
3. Transfer to a roasting pan.
4. Brush potatoes with olive oil and season with sea salt and pepper.
5. Scatter the garlic cloves and rosemary around the pan.
6. Pick rosemary stems and place on top of potatoes and bake for 40 minutes.
7. Brush all over the potatoes with melted butter and continue to bake for another 30 to 40 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown and crispy. When a you can insert a knife easily into the centre of the potato they are done.
8. Serve immediately.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I felt the potatoes were undercooked and I cooked them for longer than the recommended time. Perhaps it’s because I didn’t slice them as thinly as the picture showed; but I didn’t want to go any closer and mess up the potato. The flavour was great and the salty tops with the aroma of rosemary was well received. Sometimes I get compliments like “why don’t you be a chef in real life” and I have always considered this a viable option; but then I’m afraid my passion for cooking and baking will fizzle if this just becomes a full time job. So I just continue to love the feeling of Zen and calmness I received when cooking and just enjoy.

O is for … Okra Vegetable Medley

O is for … Okra Vegetable Medley - Candy Coated Culinista

O is for … Okra Vegetable Medley – Candy Coated Culinista

Yield/Serving: 2-3
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cook Time: 7 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 10 okras, sliced into rounds
• Handful of snow peas
• ½ red bell pepper, large dice
• Sea salt, to taste
• Black pepper, to taste
• 2 tbsp Raspberry balsamic vinegar

Assembly
1. Over medium-high heat pour olive oil into the pan.
2. Once oil is heated pour in the okra, snap peas and red peppers.
3. Add in the salt, pepper and balsamic vinegar and stir.
4. Let cook for 7 minutes and serve.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I always find okra to be slimy even when fresh since childhood. That aside the dish was tasty and there was a distinct okra flavour.

Mango Salad

Mango Salad – Candy Coated Culinista

Mango salad has always been a favourite of mine since I first tasted it many years back being surrounded by so many Filipino co-workers. Back then I thought mango salad was only a Filipino thing; but since I have learned it is also a Thai dish and this is the probably the only way you can get me to have chilies in anything I consume.

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

Ingredients
• 2 mangoes, sliced into match sticks can be green or a little more ripe, your preference
• ¼ red bell pepper, sliced
• ¼ green bell pepper, sliced
• 1/2 medium red onion. Sliced
• Cilantro, handful
• 3 leaves of romaine or a leafy lettuce, chopped
• 1 green onion, chopped
• Freshly squeezed lime juice, from 1 lime
• Sweet Thai chili sauce, to taste

Assembly
1. Prep all the vegetable & fruit and place into a large bowl.
2. Squeeze in lime juice and add sweet chili Thai sauce and serve.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
Sweet, spicy and full of mangoes; I mean how can you go wrong. Whether you prefer the mango more green or a little more ripe it’s just a great salad with a slight kick.

Meringue Nests with Rhubarb Curd

Meringue Nests with Rhubarb Curd – Candy Coated Culinista

A trip to St. Lawrence Market had me excited to use a particular ingredient I have wanted to cook with for years. I have searched at many different markets over the past 3 years all over the GTA and I could never find them. I was always being told, “We had them yesterday or just sold the last bunch.” Not to mention there is this fear associated with rhubarb as the leaves are poisonous; which of course had me a little apprehensive. Let’s face it I have ackee all the time and I’m actually consuming the poisonous pieces if they were picked to early and here I’m not even touching the rhubarb leaves, so those fears were quelled and I carried on.

Curd
Yield/Serving: 750 ml to 1 liter
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 45 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Meringue Nests
Yield/Serving: 20
Prep Time: 15 min.
Cook Time: 2 hrs.
Difficulty level is: Medium

Ingredients
Curd
• 2 eggs
• ¾ cup granulated sugar
• 2 cups of rhubarb, shopped, about 6 stalks
• ¼ cup water
• Juice from half a lemon
• ¼ cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pats
Meringue
• 7 egg whites
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 2 tbsp cornstarch
• 2 tsp white vinegar
• 2 tsp vanilla extract

Assembly
Curd
1. Whisk eggs with 1/ cup of sugar in a medium sized bowl.
2. Using a medium sized saucepan add rhubarb with the remaining ¼ cup of sugar and water over medium-high heat.
3. Bring to a boil and then reduce to medium heat for 8 minutes.
4. Then whisk rhubarb until smooth and squeeze in lemon juice.
5. Ladle in the rhubarb into the egg mixture and slowly incorporate.
6. Add mixture back into the saucepan over low heat and continue to cook for 10 minutes, stirring constantly using a wooden spoon until mixture thickens.
7. Remove mixture from heat and stir in pats of butter one at a time allowing each pat to melt before adding the next.
8. Blender mixture for 30 to 45 seconds to achieve a smoother texture.
9. Pour into a jar and place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd.
Meringue
1. Pre-heat over to 250°F.
2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
3. Using an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, beat eggs on high until soft peaks are formed about 2 minutes.
4. Slowly add in sugar 1 tablespoon at a time until stiff glossy peak have formed. About 2 more minutes.
5. Beat in the cornstarch, vinegar and vanilla until combined.
6. Pipe meringue into nests and bake for 2 hours.
7. Turn off the oven and let them dry in the oven for one more hour and leave on the parchment paper to completely cool.

Tips
• Blend the curd just before pouring into a jar to cool to achieve a smoother texture if desired.
• Let meringue cool in oven over night.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
Rhubarb is a fibrous vegetable and I highly recommend blending the curd, especially if you are using it in a tart or topping a pavlova, meringue cookies, macaron, pancakes or crepes. You’re really going to want that smooth creamy texture to the curd. The meringue cookies were crispy, chewy and marshmallowy and with the addition of the tart silky curd it balances out the sweetness of the cookies. I loved that I got to practice my piping skills and it was enjoyed by all who had and this is a perfect summer recipe. I really wish I knew someone who had rhubarb in the backyard garden though as these sell at a premium. I paid 3.99 a pound, which came to $9.50 for seven stalks. As this has such a small season a splurge once a season is ok; but still it’s so pricy. If you want an eye-catching seasonal dessert to catch the eye; this is a must make.

Rhubarb Ice Cream

Rhubarb Ice Cream – Candy Coated Culinista

A seasonally flavoured ice cream that hits the spot if you love the tart flavours of rhubarb like myself.

Yield/Serving: 1 pint
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: approx. 30 min.
Inactive Time: 2-3 hours for a creamy ice cream
Freeze Time: Overnight
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 1 ½ cups rhubarb chopped
• 1 cup 2% milk
• 6 egg yolks
• ¾ cup granulated sugar
• Pinch of salt
• 2 cup heavy cream
• 1 vanilla bean, sliced in half and insides scrapped out

Assembly
1. Using a small saucepan; boil rhubarb and don’t add water over medium-high heat until tender and all the liquid has evaporated, about 10 min.
2. Chill rhubarb until cooled completely in the refrigerator.
3. Using medium saucepan add egg yolks and sugar and whisk until mixture turns a pale yellow and is smooth.
4. In a small saucepan heat milk over medium-low heat until it begins to simmer and do not stir.
5. Slowly add milk to egg and sugar mixture stirring constantly and then return to heat until it reaches 165°F.
6. Immediately remove from heat once it reaches back up to 165°F. (The mixture should have thickened up and coats the back of the spoon.)
7. Pour custard base into a container and allow to chill in the refrigerator until it reaches 65°F. Once custard has chilled pour into the ice cream maker and process accordingly to your machine.
8. Add the rhubarb pieces in the last few 5 minutes of churning.
9. Transfer ice cream to a chilled container and let firm.

Tips
• The longer the custard base is allowed to chill; the creamier the ice cream will be.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I never purchase ice cream any more. If I’m having ice cream it is homemade because it tastes that much better. It takes more time; but it’s worth the effort every single time.

Spring Asparagus Medley

Spring Asparagus Medley – Candy Coated Culinista

An easy peasy evening spring vegetable medley to accompany a chicken or beef dish.

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

Ingredients
• 2 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
• 20 Asparagus; hard bottoms cut off
• 5 button mushrooms, sliced
• 10 grape tomatoes, sliced in half
• ½ small red onion, sliced
• Celery salt, to taste

Assembly
1. In a large frying pan pour olive oil over medium-high heat.
2. Add asparagus, mushrooms. Tomatoes, red onion and fry for 5 minutes until tender.
3. Add celery salt.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
A simple yet satisfying spring dish. This would be a great side dish for a springtime BBQ. Crunchy asparagus, and softened mushrooms, tomatoes and onions is a great combination.

Pasta with Fried Lemons and Chili Flakes

Pasta with Fried Lemons & Chile Flakes – Candy Coated Culinista

Lemons, lemons and more lemons! If you are a lemon lover this recipe is for you.

Diner: Changing the Game by Melissa Clark

Ingredients
• 4 lemons
• 1 pound linguine or spaghetti
• 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzle
• Pinch of sugar
• 3 tbsp unsalted butter
• ¾ tsp chili flakes. More to taste
• 2/3 cup parmigiana-reggiano cheese, plus more to taste
• Black pepper, to taste
• ½ cup celery leaves, coarsely chopped (optional)
• 1/3 cup parsley, coarsely chopped (optional)
• Flaky sea salt, for garnish

Assembly
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.
2. Zest finely 2 lemons and set aside.
3. Trim the top and bottom off the other two lemons and cut lengthwise into quarters and remove any seeds.
4. Thinly slice the quarters into triangles and blanch lemon pieces in the boiling water for 2 minutes. Then transfer using a slotted spoon to a paper towel to dry.
5. In the same boiling water add pasta and cook until al dente.
6. Drain water; but reserve ½ cup of the pasta water.
7. Using a large frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over high heat.
8. Add the dried lemon pieces and season with a pinch of salt and sugar.
9. Cook until the lemons are caramelized, for 3 to 5 minutes and then transfer to a plate.
10. Over medium heat melt butter in the leftover oil and add the chili flakes and lemon zest of both lemons until fragrant.
11. Whisk in the reserved pasta water.
12. Toss in pasta, the juice of one lemon, cheese, black pepper and the remaining salt.
13. Cook until pasta is coated with sauce and add in the caramelized lemon.
14. Add celery leaves and parsley if desired.
15. Taste and add more lemon juice, drizzle olive oil and cheese if desired.
16. Sprinkle with sea salt and serve.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I wasn’t a fan of this recipe. The caramelized lemons and the lemon zest, lemon water, lemon juice. It was all too much lemon for me. I could handle almost all that lemon except the caramelized lemon. All I could taste was lemon rind, so I took that out and enjoyed the dish a little more. The combination of black pepper, chilli flakes and cheese and lemon; this mixture had a tendency to clump together and not be

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