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

Advertisements

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

Chicken Mustard Milanese with an Spinach & Fennel Salad

Chicken Mustard Milanese with an Spinach & Fennel Salad - Candy Coated Culinista

Chicken Mustard Milanese with an Spinach & Fennel Salad – Candy Coated Culinista

A classy upscale dinner at home yes please.

Yield/Serving: 2
Prep Time: 20 min.
Cook Time: 15-20 min, depending on your pan size
Difficulty level is: Easy

Slightly Altered from Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

Ingredients
Chicken
• 2 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts, butterfly
• Sea salt
• Black pepper
• ½ cup all-purpose flour
• 1 large egg white
• 2 tbsp smooth Dijon mustard
• 2 garlic cloves
• 1 tsp dried oregano
• ½ tsp freshly grated lemon zest
• 1 ½ cups coarse, lightweight breadcrumbs, Panko
• Vegetable oil
Salad
• 3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
• 2 tbsp coarse or whole-seed Dijon mustard
• 1 tbsp smooth Dijon mustard
• ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
• 140g baby spinach
• Small fennel bulb

Assembly
1. Using a sharp knife butterfly chicken breast.
2. Season both sides with salt & pepper.
3. Line up three plates and pour flour into the first plate.
4. Whisk the egg white, mustard, garlic, oregano and lemon zest in a small bowl and pour onto the second plate.
5. Pour Panko breadcrumbs onto the third plate and spread out.
6. Dredge each piece of chicken through the flour, then the egg mixture and finally through the breadcrumbs, ensuring each piece is coated thoroughly.
7. Repeat with each piece of chicken.
8. Place chicken onto a plate and chill for one hour in the fridge (or up to one day covered in plastic wrap.)
9. Pour a 1/2“ of vegetable oil in a large pan over medium-high heat.
10. Cook the chicken until golden brown on both sides.
11. Drain chicken on a paper towel and season with salt and pepper.
12. Repeat cooking the remaining piece of chicken and start to prepare the salad.
13. In a small bowl whisk lemon, mustard and olive oil until emulsified.
14. Add baby spinach to a bowl and thinly slice fennel using a mandoline, or cut as thinly as possible.
15. Mix and set aside.
16. When all the chicken is fried place chicken in the centre of the plate and place arugula salad on top.
17. Drizzle any excess dressing overtop and serve.

Tips
• If you don’t own a mandoline I highly recommend purchasing one. Life is so much easier with food preparation now that I own one.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I have never made or really heard of chicken Milanese besides this recipe and I am a fan. I hear Milanese and immediately think of Milan and after a quick check I was right. I couldn’t find arugula so I substituted spinach for arugula as I have a strict two store limit when looking for ingredients. It still tasted great to me and the substitution made sense. The recipe also called to
pound (not a tenderizer) the chicken until the breasts are ¼” thick between two pieces of plastic wrap; but I just skipped this step to make this a quicker meal. I must say I liked the presentation on this and the taste. It looked quite classy for a home-cooked meal; I just have to perfect my chicken frying skills, which I have not tried before. I also like that I used fennel, which is an ingredient I don’t cook with normally. I think I will be added this to my grocery list more now as this his light fresh salad is perfect for a summer evening meal.

Egg & Toasts Brunch Tartlets with Maple Fennel Bacon

Egg & Toasts Brunch Tartlets with Maple Fennel Bacon - Candy Coated Culinista

Egg & Toasts Brunch Tartlets with Maple Fennel Bacon – Candy Coated Culinista

I did another cooking club challenge of something I never heard of until I saw the picture; an eggs & toast tartlet. Breakfast isn’t breakfast for me without bacon so I had to add on the maple fennel recipe also. Just add a citrus and a glass of milk and to me this is a well-balanced breakfast. Here’s my picture in the Chateliane gallery.

Slightly Altered From Chatelaine

Yield/Serving: 2
Prep Time: 20 min.
Cook Time: 15-18 min.
Difficulty level is: Medium

Egg & Toasts Brunch Tartlets
Ingredients
• 4 slices of white bread
• 1 tbsp butter
• 1 shallot, thinly sliced
• 1 tbsp maple syrup
• 1 cup baby spinach
• ¼ cup shredded cheese, grated
• ¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
• 4 large eggs
• 1/8 tsp salt
• Black pepper, to taste
• Sun-dried tomatoes, to garnish
• Green onion, chopped to garnish

Assembly
1. Pre-heat oven to 375°F.
2. Cut of 5`x5`squares of parchment paper and press into each cup of the muffin pan and spray with cooking oil.
3. Cut crust off the bread slices and flatten using a rolling pin.
4. Press into muffin cups to make a shell and spray with more cooking spray.
5. Toast for 5-7 minutes in the oven.
6. Using frying pan melt butter over medium-high heat.
7. Now add the onions and stir occasionally until soft and brown 12-15 min.
8. Add in the maple syrup and spinach and stir; let the spinach wilt, about 1-2 min.
9. Spoon some of the spinach mixture into each bread shell and sprinkle the sun-dried tomatoes on top.
10. Add a little grated sharp cheddar.
11. Finally crack one egg on top of each tart leaving some egg whites behind and place egg yolk on top..
12. Season with black pepper.
13. Bake in the centre of the oven until the egg whites are set but yolks are runny, 15 to 18 min.
14. Garnish with dried tomatoes and green onion.

Tips
• I found the tarts looked better and keep their shape when I lined it with parchment paper.
• Small eggs are apparently impossible to find. I gave up on my third store search and held back some egg whites from each tart.

Maple Fennel Bacon
From Chatelaine

Yield/Serving: 6
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cook Time: 10 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 6 slices
• 3 tbsp maple syrup
• 1 tsp brown sugar
• 2 tsp fennel seeds
• Black pepper, to taste

Assembly
1. Using a frying pan on medium heat, place bacon in pan.
2. Mix maple syrup, brown sugar and fennel together and brush over bacon.
3. Cook until done.
4. Sprinkle with additional fennel seeds and black pepper.
5. Serve

Tips
• The original recipe called for the bacon to be baked in the oven. Following the instruction given ended in disaster for me and after wasting 7 slices of bacon, I did this stove top and it turned out just as well and less messy.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
If I’m having breakfast or brunch I will always have bacon & eggs and since both can’t go in the oven at the same time. Stove top for the bacon makes sense to me. This is a great breakfast dish and I can see why it was suggested as a brunch meal. It looks high class but without too much fuss. I added cheese because I thought the tart needed that little something extra. The tartlets were hard to eat and I was debating between knife and fork or by hand. If it’s a brunch I gather knife and fork; a relaxed breakfast for two or with friends and family, hands all the way. The bacon was my favourite part. It was sweet and salty and caramelized and just delicious.

%d bloggers like this: