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

Turkey Stock

Turkey Stock – Candy Coated Culinista

Another great make ahead Thanksgiving or Christmas recipe that can be used in stuffing, gravy and day after soup.

Yield/Serving: 1 litre
Prep Time: 15 min.
Cook Time: 4 hours, plus
Difficulty level is: Easy, time consuming

Slightly altered from No Crumb Left

Ingredients
• 6-8 turkey pieces; combo of wings and drumsticks
• 10 cups of water
• 1 large onion. Sliced into rings
• 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
• 2 celery sticks, chopped
• Fresh parsley, handful
• Fresh chives, handful
• Fresh thyme, handful

Assembly
1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
2. Place turkey pieces into a roasting pan and bake for 60 minutes. (Just ensure all sides of the turkey are a golden brown)
3. Check every 30 minutes and flip.
4. Meanwhile using a large stock pot add ten cups of water and bring to a boil over high heat.
5. Once turkey is done, tear apart the wings and place all the turkey pieces along with the vegetable into the stock pot.
6. Scrape the brown bits from the roasting pan with a wooden spoon and add to the stock pot. (If it hasn’t all deglazed; just turn on the burner and add some water and let boil and scrap the turkey pieces off)
7. Gently simmer over low heat for 4 hours. The stock will reduce down.
8. Let cool and pour into jars and chill.

Tips
• Use the leftover turkey for whatever you like. I saved the drum sticks for dinner as they remained whole and the turkey wings were put in a quick turkey soup with the rest of the veg.
• You can also freeze this stock.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
Not going to lie here this is a lot of work for stock; but then there are no preservatives, sodium or salt and chemicals. So start this in the morning and go about your day in the house and let this reduce while you’re doing chores and other baking. There is no salt in this recipe so it won’t be as flavourful as you expect; but it’s best to salt whatever dish you put this into after the fact.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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