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.

Muchos Tres Leches Cake

Muchos Tres Leches Cake - Candy Coated Culinista

Muchos Tres Leches Cake – Candy Coated Culinista

A spongy light cake with tiny air bubbles to soak up the three types of milk how can one resist. This is a super easy and deliciously light dessert. This was another fun cooking club challenge I did and see my picture here in the Chatelaine gallery.

Yield/Serving: 9 big slices or 12 regular size slices
Prep Time: 20 min.
Cook Time: 30 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Recipe from Chatelaine

Tres Leches Cake

Ingredients
Cake

• 1 cup all purpose flour
• 1 ½ tsp baking powder
• 5 eggs, separated
• 1 cup granulated sugar, divided
• 1/3 cup 2% milk
• ½ tsp vanilla extract
Coconut Syrup
• ½ of a 400 ml can of coconut milk
• ½ of a 300 ml can of sweetened condensed milk
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 1 tbsp rum (optional)

Assembly
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Spray a cake pan with vegetable oil.
3. Line the bottom with parchment paper.
4. Using a medium sized bowl, stir flour and baking powder together.
5. Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites on high until foamy.
6. Slowly add ¼ cup of granulated sugar and continue beating until whites are glossy and stiff peaks have formed, about 2 to 3 min.
7. Remove egg whites to another bowl.
8. Now beat the egg yolks (using the same beaters, no need to wash) with the remaining ¾ cup of sugar until they are a pale yellow in colour, 1 to 2 min.
9. Reduce speed to low and gradually beat in the flour mixture.
10. Add in milk and ½ tsp vanilla and mix until smooth.
11. Stir one third of the egg whites into the yolk mixture, using a rubber spatula and then carefully fold in the remaining egg whites until no streaks remain.
12. Pour into the prepared pan.
13. Bake cake in the centre of the oven until springy and a cake tester comes out clean, about 30 to 35 minutes.
14. While the cake is in the oven: In a small bowl whisk coconut milk, condensed milk, 1 tsp vanilla and rum if desired in a small bowl until combined.
15. Using a skewer, poke the top of the cake and pour half the coconut syrup over the cake and let stand for 5 minutes.
16. Run a spatula knife along the edges of the cake pan and add ½ of the remaining coconut syrup remaining.
17. Refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours until fully chilled before serving.
18. Cut into squares and drizzle the remaining syrup and serve.

Tips (my additions)
• Toast shredded coconut over a medium-high heat and sprinkle over top of cake.

Chocolate Tres Leches Cake

Yield/Serving: 9 big slices or 12 regular size slices
Prep Time: 20 min.
Cook Time: 30 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Altered from Chatelaine recipe

Ingredients

Cake
• 1 cup all purpose flour
• 1 ½ tsp baking powder
• 2 tsp cocoa powder
• 5 eggs, separated
• 1 cup granulated sugar, divided
• 1/3 cup soy milk
• ½ tsp coconut extract
Coconut Syrup
• ½ of a 400 ml can of coconut milk
• ½ of a 300 ml can of sweetened condensed milk
• 2 tsp chocolate syrup
• Dark chocolate shavings, to garnish

Tips (my additions)
• Sprinkle dark chocolate shavings overtop.

Assembly
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Spray a cake pan with vegetable oil.
3. Line the bottom with parchment paper.
4. Using a medium sized bowl, stir flour, baking powder and cocoa powder together.
5. Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites on high until foamy.
6. Slowly add ¼ cup of granulated sugar and continue beating until white are glossy and stiff peaks have formed, about 2 to 3 min.
7. Now add the egg yolks to the mixer with the remaining ¾ cup of sugar until they are a pale yellow in colour, 1 to 2 min.
8. Reduce speed to low and gradually beat in the flour mixture.
9. Add in soy milk and ½ tsp vanilla until smooth.
10. Pour into the prepared pan.
11. Bake cake in the centre of the oven until springy and a cake tester comes out clean, about 30 to 35 minutes.
12. While the cake is baking: In a small bowl whisk coconut milk, condensed milk, and chocolate syrup until combined.
13. When the cake comes out of the oven: Using a skewer, poke the top of the cake and pour half the coconut syrup over the cake and let stand for 5 minutes, until absorbed and pour little more.
14. Run a spatula knife along the edges of the cake pan and add ½ of the remaining coconut syrup remaining.
15. Refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours until fully chilled before serving.
16. Cut into squares and drizzle the remaining syrup and serve.
17. Sprinkle chocolate shavings overtop.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
The original recipes instructions were confusing as it didn’t say where the egg whites went. I continued to read the recipe and realized they needed to be set aside, but that was not said in the recipe. With the damage done I quickly made the decision to make a chocolate version. I found that my messed up chocolate recipe created a smoother spongier batter; which I preferred as it could absorb more liquid. I also poured the coconut syrup over immediately after the cake came out of the oven as pouring liquid over a cold cake and expecting it to absorb doesn’t add up to me. The rate of absorption on a hot cake would make more sense to me and I didn’t want a huge puddle of coconut milk on the plate. (I altered the recipe accordingly above) Overall I found the original instruction to be a little overly complicated for the same results. The taste between the two was practically the same, but I give mine a slight edge and I’m no chocolate fan.

Muchos Tres Leches Cake - Candy Coated Culinista

Muchos Tres Leches Cake – Candy Coated Culinista

Coconut Thai Cream Soup

Coconut Thai Cream Soup - Candy Coated Culinista

Coconut Thai Cream Soup – Candy Coated Culinista

I received a request to find a “nice and easy coconut Thai cream soup”. I thought this would be an easy recipe to find as I had just bought a book called Coconut 24/7 (perfect timing or what); only to find that there wasn’t a recipe for coconut cream Thai soup or anything remotely near this. I perused ten coconut soup recipes and after researching what makes a dish Thai, what are the typical components, ingredients and flavourings I put this recipe together. Now when I think “nice and easy” I have a few criteria: One- The ingredients must be in my at local grocer, as I am not venturing to the Asian market for lemongrass and Kaffir Lime leaves and even Palm sugar and coconut sugar. Yes I realize that these are what some would say are staple ingredients required, but I just can’t trek myself out when it’s -12 out and -21 with the wind chill; my fingers and toes mean more to me today. Two- When I say “nice and easy” it doesn’t mean I didn’t put any work into it and it took 10 minutes to make with no effort. Let’s face it everything takes a little effort unless you’re boiling an egg and making some toast; but see effort was required there also to some extent, but I digress. Three- It must take me no more than 30-60 minutes from prep to the table. If I can get a recipe complete in that time frame and the flavours are well married I deem it a success; especially with soup when those ingredients need time to grow. To keep the taste and feel true to Thai cuisine this recipe will have to require some essentials which some may deem not so “nice and easy”; but I’ll let you be the judge of that. To me this recipe is keeping the Thai feeling true but without all those hard to source ingredients. To me that is C. C.’s “nice & easy”.

Yield/Serving: 2-4
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 40 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 2 cans coconut milk
• 3 shallots, minced
• 8 garlic cloves, minced
• 2 tbsp ginger, minced
• Handful of cilantro, including stems
• 2 tbsp chillies, chopped
• ½ tsp golden brown sugar
• Lime zest
• Juice from one lime
• Pinch of cayenne pepper
• Salt
• Black pepper
• Water from one Coconut
• 1 coconut, set water aside and get out flesh
• Coconut water, from coconut
• Coconut water, from can
• Package of Enoki mushrooms, (or button mushrooms)
• A handful of bean sprouts
• Coconut meat (leave some behind for garnish)
• 60g Spinach vermicelli rice noodles
• Cilantro leaves, for garnish
• 2 green onions, thinly sliced
• Fresh lime slices, for garnish

Assembly
1. In a medium saucepan, pour in coconut milk and simmer on low-medium heat.
2. Add shallots, garlic, ginger, cilantro, chillies and sugar, lime zest, lime juice, cayenne pepper, salt & black pepper and simmer for 30 minutes.
3. Strain soup into another saucepan using a sieve and discard all the solids.
4. Add in coconut water from coconut and the can, mushrooms, bean sprouts, coconut meat and noodles, then continue to simmer for 2 – 5 minutes.
5. Garnish with cilantro leaves, green onion, coconut meat and lime.

Tips
• If you just want a broth, serve as is after you strain out the solids.
• I found it hard to eat the noodles, even though it tasted good. If you have a proper Thai spoon (wide porcelain spoon) it will make eating this so much easier.
• I found the Enoki mushrooms alongside all the other mushrooms at Metro, but button mushrooms will work just as well. I just wanted a unique eye-catching vegetable. (This was the second time I saw these mushroom. A cute anecdote that night for the appetizer round of Chopped Canada Enoki mushrooms was in the first basket and I couldn’t help but say I’m on the right path.)
• Cracking the coconut was a task. Skip if you’re not in the mood to crack open and extract the meat. I first tried to bake it at 375° for 10 minutes to get it to crack and that didn’t work; even though I read that this was a good way to crack it. I finally had to bring in the big guns (Mr. C.) and problem solved. I just needed that initial break and then I was good to go, smashing away the rest of it. Wash and place inside a heavy-duty freezer bag and that way you save the coconut water for the soup.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I have never had a Thai dish before ever. The Asian foods I consume are Chinese, Japanese and just a little to the east Filipino cuisine. This was my first foray into Thai food and I deem this a success. I could taste the sweet, salty, spicy and sour flavours all the while still getting that coconut flavour.

Autumn Squash Soup

Fall Squash Soup - Candy Coated Culinista

Fall Squash Soup – Candy Coated Culinista

This is a scrumptious fall soup recipe that I made on a whim; as I had to use up the left over pumpkin and coconut milk from my sky high pumpkin pie. I really enjoyed experimenting and making soup from scratch, and I thought about all the aspects of this like: the colour, taste, texture and the trickier aspect of how to make a not so pleasantly coloured soup look tasty and inviting.

Yield/Serving: Roughly 2 litres
Prep Time: 30 min
Cook Time: 1hour
Difficulty level is: Medium – Labour Intensive

Ingredients
• 1 butternut squash
• 1 pepper squash
• 1 medium onion, chopped
• 8 garlic cloves, chopped
• 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 900 ml vegetable stock
• 2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
• 2 ½ cups pumpkin puree
• 1 cup coconut milk
• 1 tbsp herbs de Provence
• 1 tbsp basil leaves
• 1 tbsp parsley
• 2 tsp black pepper
• 4 tbsp sea salt
• 1 sprig green onion, chopped on the bias
• Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste

Assembly
1. Preheat oven to 425°F and roast butternut, pepper squash and sweet potato for 30 minutes.
2. In a large sauce pan on medium-high with olive oil fry onion and garlic until slightly browned.
3. Once browned add 1 cup of vegetable stock and blend using an immersion blender.
4. Pour the squash and sweet potato into the large saucepan along with the remaining vegetable stock and blend once more. Stir continuously until soup thickens.
5. Add the pumpkin puree and coconut milk along with all the herbs and spices and stir for 5 more minutes.
6. Let simmer for 10 minutes to let flavours marry.
7. Top with green onions and sprinkle red pepper flakes on top.

Tips
• If you would like this a little less thick add more chicken stock.
• Freeze some soup for another day to enjoy.
• Roast the sweet potato for 1 hour and not boil them if desired.
• Serve these with crescent rolls or homemade biscuits.

Please Enjoy

Reviews
Mr. C. absolutely loved this. I got multiple compliments and high fives. He even asked to save him some for lunch the next day. I have to mention he doesn’t like carrying leftovers to work the next day so that means if he wants, it I really did a really good job. “Yum yum yum. That soup was amazing” He liked the extra addition of the pepper flakes and commented that it added a nice spicy kick. He cleaned his bowl so I knocked this one out of the park I think.

My thoughts
I am super proud of myself. This autumn soup embodied all the fall flavours to me: it was hearty, rich and had some complexity to it.

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