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.

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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

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

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