Christmas Dinner: Pea Soup

Pea Soup – Candy Coated Culinista

This Christmas I want to make a complete and composed dinner from beginning to end and who better than to use Jamie Oliver’s Christmas Cookbook. I am practicing these recipes early so Christmas dinner has no hiccups and I am always one to eat Christmas dinner any time of the year; to a few of my friends chagrin. They just don’t understand Christmas in July of Turkey in late spring. I have been adverse to pea soup for as long as I can remember and the only reason was the colour of the soup. I don’t mind peas in any other fashion, so what is my problem right?

Yield/Serving: 6
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 40 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

From Jamie Oliver’s Christmas Cookbook

Ingredients
Soup

• 1 onion
• 2 cloves of garlic, finely diced
• 1 leek, rough chopped
• 2 celery stalks, rough chopped
• Olive oil
• 6 cups of frozen peas
• 7 cups chicken or vegetable stock
• 6 sprigs of fresh mint
• Extra virgin olive oil
• Plain yoghurt or crème fraiche, optional
Toast
• 6 slices of whole-grain bread with seeds
• 5 ½ oz leftover cooked ham
• 1 crunchy eating apple
• 1 ¾ oz Stilton cheese
• ¾ oz mature Cheddar cheese
• 1 tbsp liquid honey
• 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary

Assembly
Soup

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Using a Dutch oven add in the garlic, onions and leek and celery over medium-high heat with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and cook for 10 to 15 minutes until softened; but not coloured, stirring occasionally.
3. Add in the frozen peas and stock and let boil.
4. Add on a pinch of salt and pepper.
5. Reduce heat to a simmer and let cook for 10 minutes.
Toast
1. Lay bread in a large baking sheet and shred ham, apple and crumble chees atop of the bread.
2. Finely grate cheddar cheese over top and drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil and honey.
3. Cook for 10 minutes and then place in soup bowls.
Soup
6. Pick out the mint leave and using the immersion blender; blend until smooth.
7. Ladle soup into bowls, drizzle some extra virgin olive oil, add a dollop of yoghurt or crème fraiche, and serve.

Tips
• Make ahead and reheat when needed and you can also gather the toast topping and have ready to go.
• Top with pomegranates, crumbled bacon if your not making the toast depending on your guest.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
Now that I enjoy a daily green smoothie I have no quams about the colour of this soup and I’m very happy I finally decided to try it. The pea soup was so flavourful and my only issue was getting the soup to be silky smooth. Other that that I’m sold. I would suggest using vegetable or mushroom stock instead of chicken and serve the toast, yoghurt or cream fraiche on the side so those vegetarians and vegans can partake.

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Christmas Dinner – Potato: Potato Al Forno

Potato Al Forno – Candy Coated Culinista

It’s not Christmas without a side of silky smooth mashed potatoes right? Well how about this year you go a little more rustic and complex.

Yield/Serving: 8-10
Prep Time: 30 min.
Cook Time: 1 hr & 50 min.
Difficulty level is: Medium

From Jamie Oliver’s Christmas Cookbook

Ingredients
• 2 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes
• 2 onions
• 2 bulbs of fennel, with herby fronds attached
• 2 ½ cups whole milk
• 1 2/3 cups heavy cream
• 6 anchovy fillets in oil
• 8 cloves garlic
• ½ bunch of fresh rosemary
• 6 fresh bay leaves
• 1 whole nutmeg, for grinding
• 1 ¾ oz Parmesan cheese

Assembly
1. Peel onions. Potatoes and trim the fennel, reserving the fronds .
2. Finely slice the potatoes, onion and fennel just under ¼” thick, using a mandolin with the guard.
3. Preheat oven to 350°F.
4. In a medium sized saucepan pour milk and cream in and tear anchovies, crush in the unpeel garlic and add rosemary & bay leaves and finely grate in half the nutmeg.
5. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat and let infuse for a few minutes.
6. Remove out the rosemary and bay leaves and grate in some Parmesan cheese and season if desired.
7. In a baking dish layer the potatoes, onion and fennel.
8. Pour the cream mixture over and finely grate the remaining Parmesan cheese.
9. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes and the remove foil and continue to bake for another 45 minutes, or until tender and golden.
10. Garnish with reserved fennel tops and serve.

Tips
• Swap out fennel for any other seasonal vegetable such as celery root or celery heart.
• I would also recommend rutabaga as that is easy to find in Canada in the Autumn & winter months.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This is a recipe you could prep the night before and cover in the fridge and cook the morning before your Turkey goes in. This recipe was surprisingly savoury and luscious with all the dairy added. I didn’t notice the anchovies; which I actually love; but some of my guests swear they hate. (When they come to my place it’s in lots of things unbeknownst to them and the eat away) This is a amazing and sophisticated side dish that is also great as leftovers. Add some dill to the top also if you have some in the house.

Potato Al Forno – Candy Coated Culinista

Creamy Blue Cheesey Potatoes with Chives & Haricots Warm Salad

Creamy Blue Cheesey Potatoes with Chives & Haricots warm salad – Candy Coated Culinista

Nothing beats a warm salad and this recipe will not disappoint and if your reading this hating Blue Cheese I urge you to give this a try.

Yield/Serving: 2
Prep Time: 20 min.
Cook Time: 30 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 1 pound baby yellow skinned potatoes, halved & boiled
• 1 pound green haricots, ends trimmed
• Blue cheese, small wedge crumbled
• Chives, finely chopped
• Thyme, 6 sprigs

Assembly
1. In a large pot over high heat salted boil potatoes until tender; then drain and set aside.
2. Prepare haricots and steam until just cooked.
3. Place haricots in an ice bath to shock them and stop the cooking process.
4. Drain haricots and add to a platter along with the potatoes and crumble blue cheese over top.
5. Sprinkle chives and thyme and serve.

Tips
• If you must, you can swap out to another crumbly cheese if desired.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This is a beautiful way to enjoy some in season haricots. I remember a time I hated blue cheese and just like olives, anchovies and sushi I became a fan once I became an adult and my palette matured. The salty creaminess with that slight medicinal taste makes the perfect coating for the vegetables. One can’t eat loads of blue cheese in one sitting; but this recipe gives the perfect balance that I craved again the next day. I wish I had made more.

Hearty Winter Soup

Hearty Winter Soup – Candy Coated Culinista

We had our first snowfall last Friday and I was pushed head on into soup season a little earlier than I expected. Now I had bought rutabagas and had no clue what to do with them besides my usual preparation and then I thought of adding this to my winter soup.

Yield/Serving: 8 servings
Prep Time: 15 min.
Cook Time: 1 hour + 45 min. inactive tine
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 1 pepper squash
• 2 rutabagas, peeled and cubed
• 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
• 1 tbsp, extra virgin olive oil
• 1 white onion, diced
• 3 cloves garlic, finely diced
• 3 button mushrooms, sliced
• 1 litre homemade vegetable stock

Assembly
1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Cut squash in half and scoop out the insides while the oven warms up.
3. Place in a roasting pan and bake for one hour.
4. Prepare rutabagas and sweet potatoes and boil in a medium sized saucepan until tender.
5. Using a frying pan over medium heat pour in olive oil and add onions, garlic and mushrooms; fry until golden brown.
6. Place rutabagas, squash, sweet potatoes, onions, garlic and mushrooms in a bowl and set aside.
7. Using a large stock pot, pour vegetable stock in and add vegetables.
8. Using the immersion blender, vegetables and let simmer until squash is tender.
9. Once squash is cooked, scoop out of the skin and add to the stock pot.
10. Blend again until all the vegetables & fruit have been pureed and the soup is smooth.
11. Let simmer on low for 45 minutes.
12. Garnish with parsley if desired and serve.

Tips
• Use store bought vegetable stock.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This turned out much better than I expected as rutabaga has very little flavour. However; with the other vegetables there was an added earthiness I enjoyed. The colour was a little muddier than I’d hoped; but I would have had to add more squash and sweet potato to get my desired colour.

Autumn Beetroot Smoothie

Autumn Beet Smoothie – Candy Coated Culinista

I remember a short while ago I couldn’t tolerate a vegetable smoothie and then I started enjoying them. Slowly I added more and more vegetables building up my tolerance and now I’m at the point where I have a veggie smoothie more days than naught.

Yield/Serving: 2
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cook Time: 1 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• ½ raw beetroot, peeled and cut into chunks
• Handful of cranberries
• 1 small knob of ginger
• 1 banana, cut into slices
• 3 tbsp plain yoghurt
• ½ cup water
• Few ice cubes

Assembly
1. Prepare vegetables and fruit and place in blender jar.
2. Add yoghurt, water and ice and blend for one minute.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I’ve always loved beets and this smoothie with its natural sweet touch from the beetroot and slight kick from the ginger is a wonderful fall smoothie.

Q is for … Mediterranean Vegetable Quiche

Q is for … Mediterranean Vegetable Quiche – Candy Coated Culinista

Perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner. These delicate little quiches are good anytime of day and taste of the Mediterranean.

Yield/Serving: 2
Prep Time: 15 min.
Cook Time: 30 min
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 1 tbsp butter
• 2 large eggs
• 1/2 cup heavy cream
• 1/2 cup whole milk
• Pinch of sea salt
• Pinch of black pepper
• ¼ tsp Greek spices
• Handful of spinach
• 10 Kalamata olives pitted and chopped
• ¼ grape tomatoes, halved
• 1/8 cup red onion diced
• ¼ cup feta cheese, cubed
• ¼ cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Assembly
1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
2. Butter the dishes and set aside.
3. Using a medium bowl and whisk eggs, heavy cream, milk, salt, pepper and spices together.
4. In a separate bowl add vegetables and feta cheese and mix and place in dish.
5. Sprinkle the cheddar cheese on top and pour egg mixture over top.
6. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until quiche has set.
7. Let cool and cut into slices.

Tips

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I know only three foods of dishes that start with a Q that I could make that wouldn’t entail me searching far and wide for peculiar and exotic ingredients. So I went back and made another quiche but crustless this time; eliminating the part of my last quiche that I didn’t love.

Heirloom Tomato & Purple Pepper Salad with Marinated Onions

Heirloom Tomato & Purple Pepper Salad with Marinated Onions – Candy Coated Culinista

Another trip to the Farmer’s Market with wonderful results.

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

Marinated Onions slightly altered from No Crumbs Left

Ingredients
Marinated Onions

• 1 medium red onion, sliced
• ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
• 1 tbsp dried basil
• Chives, small bundle finely chopped
• 1 tbsp fresh thyme
• ½ tsp dried oregano
• 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Heirloom Salad
• Heirloom grape tomatoes, sliced
• Heirloom Purple peppers, sliced
• Red bell peppers, sliced

Assembly
Marinated Onions

1. Thinly slice onions and place in a small bowl.
2. In a small bowl, mix oil and vinegar and herbs and pour over onion.
3. Ensure the onions are submerged and let sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour.
Heirloom Salad
1. Slice grape tomatoes in half and slice peppers, keeping their full shape.
2. Place tomatoes and peppers along with onions (not including the marinated oil) on a platter and serve.

Tips
• Marinated onions keeps for two days unrefrigerated.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
The original recipe called for just oregano and the use of red wine vinegar; but I had just used both these up. (just my luck) so I worked with what was in my pantry. I didn’t slice the onion as thinly as I hoped; but I still turned out great.

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.

Herbaceous Pattypan Squash

Herbaceous Pattypan Squash – Candy Coated Culinista

A visit to the local farmers markets always gets the creative juices flowing. This summer and fall season I’m lucky enough to have a new farmer’s market just steps from my door and I intend to take full advantage of what they have to offer. Heirloom tomatoes, fresh snap green beans, golden and purple beets, gourmet popsicles and pizza, fresh loaves of bread, honey, cheese and so much more. I found these lovely Pattypan squash for the second time in two years and I wanted to make a simple recipe to highlight and respect the local ingredients.

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

Ingredients
• 2 tbsp vegetarian butter
• 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 6 large sized pattypan squash, cut into quarters and eights
• Fresh thyme, finely diced
• Fresh dill, finely diced
• Fresh parsley, finely diced
• Fresh rosemary, finely diced
• Fresh Oregano, finely diced

Assembly
1. Over medium-high heat let butter and extra virgin olive oil get to the temperature of the pan and melt.
2. Add pattypan squash along with fresh herbs.
3. Cook for 5 min, ensuring squash stays crunchy.
4. Serve immediately.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I enjoyed pattypan squash for the first time last month when I visited the CN Tower 360 revolving restaurant. I hadn’t managed to buy the squash I saw last year, so I was very happy to come across it again this year. Simple summer sides are a delight to make especially with the farmers markets finest produce. The squash was buttery and herby and the aroma was delightful. I love a good crunchy vegetable and this was the perfect side to my dinner last night.

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

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