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

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.

P is for … Pea Risotto

P is for … Pea Risotto - Candy Coated Culinista

P is for … Pea Risotto – Candy Coated Culinista

Yield/Serving: 2
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cook Time: 20-22 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 900ml low sodium chicken stock
• 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 1 small onion, diced
• 4 cloves garlic, diced
• 1 cup Arborio rice
• Sea salt, to taste
• Black pepper, to taste
• 1/3 cup fresh peas
• 1 tbsp unsalted butter
• Parmigiano Reggiano, to taste
• Handful of parsley, finely diced

Assembly
1. Pour chicken stock into a large saucepan over high heat and boil.
2. Once the chicken stock has boiled, turn down to low heat to keep warm.
3. In a medium saucepan heat extra virgin olive oil and pour in the onion and cook for three minutes.
4. Add in the garlic and continue cooking for another 3 minutes until soft and translucent.
5. Stir in one cup of Arborio rice along with sea salt and black pepper stirring constantly for two minutes.
6. Ladle in a half cup of chicken stock to the rice until the liquid is absorbed.
7. Continue adding chicken stock a half cup at a time until rice is tender with a firm centre and the risotto is creamy, about 20 to 22 minutes.
8. Add in the peas and butter in the last 3 minutes of cooking.
9. Stir in the parsley and grate some Parmigiano Reggiano to taste.
10. Serve immediately.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
A slow but well worth it process. Creamy and aldente with the fresh peas and parsley along with the Parmigiano Reggiano made this a rich dish.

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.

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

Roast Chicken with Plums

Roast Chicken with Plums – Candy Coated Culinista

Yield/Serving: 3-4
Prep Time: 15 min.
Cook Time: 1 hour plus
Difficulty level is: Easy

From: Diner: Changing the Game by Melissa Clark

Ingredients
Chicken

• 1 large lemon, grated
• 1 tbsp ground sumac
• 2 tsp kosher salt
• 1/2 tbsp black pepper
• ½ tsp cinnamon
• ½ tsp allspice
• 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 2 garlic cloves, grated or minced
• 1 whole chicken, 4 pounds
• 1 bunch of thyme, for garnish
Plums
• 4 plums, halved & quartered
• 4 shallots, sliced into rounds
• 1 tbsp honey
• ½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• ¼ tsp kosher salt
• ¼ tsp cinnamon
• 1/8 tsp allspice
• 1 bay leaf, torn in half

Assembly
1. Grate the zest from the lemon and place in a small bowl.
2. Add and stir in the sumac, salt, pepper, cinnamon, allspice along with the olive oil and garlic.
3. Rub chicken and throughout the cavity of the chicken.
4. Split the thyme bindle into half and place into the cavity of the chicken.
5. Place in a roasting pan on a wire rack and let marinate for 1 hour and up to 24 hours.
6. Let chicken come to room temperature before cooking for 30 minutes.
7. Preheat oven to 450°F.
8. In a medium sized bowl mix together plums, shallots, honey, oil, salt, cinnamon, allspice, bay leaf and 2 tsp of water.
9. Spread mixture on the bottom of the roasting pan and place the chicken on top and roast for 30 minutes.
10. Squeeze 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and mix with remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
11. Drizzle over chicken and continue to cook for 30 to 45 minutes longer.
12. Let the chickens rest covered in foil for 10 minutes and then carve.
13. Serve with plums and add more fresh time for garnish.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I choose this recipe as I have been looking for interesting and new ways to serve my proteins. I have never cooked with sumac before and I had to research what the flavour and taste of sumac was. Once I learned it had a lemony taste I was delighted. I have never thought to incorporate plums into a dinner dish and this was a lovely addition. I found this to be a touch too savoury for myself though as I had leftover that hung around for more than two days. I batched down this recipe as the original called for 2 whole chicken, which I was not planning to invest in with new flavour combinations. Overall I think this could be a hit depending on the audience. I enjoyed this; but it wouldn’t go into my weekly menu; more like every two months to change things up and during plum season.

Good Friday Shrimp Scampi

Good Friday Shrimp Scampi – Candy Coated Culinista

A beautiful dishes that is perfect for Good Friday if you are off meat for the day like myself.

Yield/Serving: 4-5
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 30 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• ¼ small white onion, diced
• ½ bulb of garlic, finely chopped
• Shrimp, 40 pieces of smaller sized shrimp
• sea salt, to taste
• black pepper, to taste
• paprika, to taste
• spaghetti, 2” circumference of pasta
• pasta sauce with basil
• 2 handfuls of spinach, stems cut
• ¼ green pepper, diced
• ½ small red inion, diced
• Tomato, cut into chunks
• Dried oregano, to taste
• Dried basil, to taste
• Crushed red pepper, to taste

Assembly
1. In a large frying pan over medium heat, sauté white onion and garlic along with 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil for a few minutes.
2. Boil a large pot of water with a little oil and salt over high heat.
3. Using the same frying pan add the shrimp and season with sea salt, pepper and paprika and cook.
4. Once water is boiling add spaghetti and cook until al dente.
5. Drain pasta and coat with pasta sauce.
6. Add spinach, green pepper, red onion, tomato, dried oregano, dried basil and crushed red pepper flakes; along with shrimp and garlic mixture and incorporate.
7. Serve

Tips
• Add 2 pieces of bacon cut into pieces if this isn’t for Good Friday and you eat meat.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This recipe was made with everything on hand in my fridge with no pre-planning or for-thought and it turned out wonderfully. This it will be perfect for Good Friday and I can’t wait to make it again next week.

Chicken Vesuvio

Chicken Vesuvio - Candy Coated Culinista

Chicken Vesuvio – Candy Coated Culinista

When I heard of a dish called Chicken Vesuvio, I immediately assumed this was an Italian dish because of the name. To me it seems derived from Mount Vesuvius the volcano that erupted back in 79 AD and destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum. Well upon further research this Greek mythology, architecture and history buff was wrong, Chicken Vesuvio is a speciality of Chicago and is an Italian-American dish.

Yield/Serving: 2
Prep Time: 20 min.
Cook Time: 45 – 50 min.
Difficulty level is: Medium

Ingredients
• Extra virgin olive oil
• Salt, to taste
• Black pepper, to taste
• Onion powder, to taste
• Garlic powder, to taste
• Paprika, to taste
• 2 cartilage in chicken breasts
• 2 large red skinned potatoes, cut into wedges
• Rosemary, finely diced
• oregano, finely diced
• dill, finely diced
• parsley, finely diced
• thyme, finely diced
• ½ a small red onion, diced
• 3 cloves garlic, finely diced
• 2 tbsp all purpose flour
• Low sodium chicken broth
• 1/3 cup frozen peas

Assembly
1. Pre-heat oven to 350°
2. Season chicken with spices and then using a cast iron skillet, pour some extra virgin olive oil in over medium-high heat.
3. Sear all sides of the chicken breast and turn off heat.
4. Cut the potatoes in wedges and coat with the fresh herbs.
5. Place potato wedges around the chicken breasts and cook in oven for 45 minutes.
6. Transfer chicken and potatoes to a plate.
7. Add onion and garlic to the skillet oven medium-heat to soften.
8. Using a wooden spoon scrape the flavour from the bottom on the skillet.
9. Stir in the flour to make a roux.
10. Slowly add in the chicken broth letting the flour dissolve to your preferred gravy consistency.
11. Add wine if desired.
12. Cook for 3 – 4 minutes and frozen peas.
13. Add chicken and potatoes back into the skillet and let simmer for 5 minutes and serve.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
Sometimes I am on a real cooking streak and everything I make just comes out smashingly. This one after I made it I was actually considering making it again the same week; because it was that good. The chicken was moist and juicy, the potatoes were firm and savoury with the fresh herbs and a scratch gravy turned out most excellent again (Thanks Chuck). I will be making this for dinner when I have guests as it a simple yet classy sophisticated dish.

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