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.

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

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.

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.

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