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.

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.

Shrimp & Broccoli Stir Fry & Jasmine Fried Rice

Shrimp Stir-Fry - Candy Coated Culinista

Shrimp Stir-Fry – Candy Coated Culinista

I have been craving shrimp for a while now and I figured it was time to make something shrimp related.

Yield/Serving: 4
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 20 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Shrimp & Broccoli Stir Fry
Ingredients

• 25 whole shrimp, deveined
• Garlic, 4 cloves, finely chopped
• Kosher salt, to taste
• Black pepper, to taste
• Broccoli crown, cut into pieces
• 3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into circles
• Small red onion, cut into chunks
• Plum sauce
• Spicy ginger oil
• Sesame seeds

Assembly
1. Clean shrimp and place in a bowl.
2. Add garlic, kosher salt & black pepper and mix then set aside covered with saran wrap.
3. Using a wok over medium heat add some spicy ginger oil and fry the shrimp. Add some plum sauce after the first few minutes. Once cooked set aside.
4. Add more spicy ginger oil and fry broccoli, carrots, red onion and plum sauce for five minutes.
5. Add in the shrimp and mix.
6. Plate and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Jasmine Fried Rice
Yield/Serving: 4
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cook Time: 20 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 1 cup jasmine rice
• 2 tbsp spicy ginger oil
• ¾ cup frozen mixed veg of corn, carrots & peas
• 4 tbsp spicy ginger oil
• 1 eggs
• 2 tbsp soy sauce

Assembly
1. In a pot, cook the rice in 1 cups of water over medium-high heat until cooked.
2. In a small saucepan cook the mixed vegetables and drain.
3. In a wok with 4 tbsp of spicy ginger oil and fry rice and add in the mixed vegetables and stir frequently for 5 minutes.
4. Add egg and continue cooking for 5 more minutes.
5. Add soy sauce and toss until coated.
6. Serve.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
My taste tester loved this and was very surprised by the treat. They love Chinese food but always buy it at the restaurant, so I decided to make them my version. This was eaten for brunch, as they couldn’t wait which made me laugh. I seem to have a lot of testers that just can’t wait to dive into the food I prepare which is a lovely feeling. I loved the slight kick of the ginger that coated the shrimp and the sweetness of the plum sauce over the Crunchy vegetables. Funny enough when I was showing a co-worker this picture another co-worker of Chinese-Vietnamese decent saw it and said it looked great. She asked my other co-worker to sneakily ask for the recipe for her. If a Chinese person wants my recipe I have done a good job. I am now officially a big fan of adding an egg to my fried rice and can’t believe I only started doing this last year. I really should have been doing this a long time ago as it just add that little bit extra to the rice.

Spaghetti al Nero di Seppia with Shrimp

Spaghetti al Nero di Seppia with Shrimp - Candy Coated Culinista

Spaghetti al Nero di Seppia with Shrimp – Candy Coated Culinista

Black pasta, is there such as thing? Cuttlefish has ink? Who knew is what went through my mind when I saw a commercial for Spaghetti al Nero di Seppia with Clams. I thought the idea of black pasta was kind of cool and then I learned that ink in sea creatures doesn’t only come from cephalopods but other sea creatures like the cuttlefish can create ink. Well didn’t a 30 seconds commercial teach me a lot.

Yield/Serving: 6-8
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
• 1 onion diced
• Red pepper, diced
• Yellow pepper, diced
• Orange pepper, diced
• 4 cloves garlic, minced
• ½ tsp sea salt
• ½ tsp ground black pepper
• ½ tsp salt crushed red pepper flakes
• ¾ cup pitted kalamata olives
• ½ cup dry white wine
• 349g (1 ½ cups) shrimp, thawed with tails left on
• 750g Nero Di Seppia Spaghetti
• ½ cup parsley, chopped
• Parmesan cheese, to taste

Assembly
1. Set a large pot of salted water with a little vegetable oil to a boil.
2. In a frying pan with olive oil on medium-high heat and add onions, peppers, garlic, spices and cook for a few minutes.
3. Add in olives and garlic and continue cooking for a 2 minutes.
4. Add the wine and bring to a boil, then add shrimp cover and cook until shrimp are cooked through thoroughly and remove from heat.
5. Once water is boiling place pasta in and cook until al dente; drain in a colander.
6. Combine the shrimp with the pasta in a platter and sprinkle parsley and parmesan cheese over top.

Please Enjoy

Reviews
“The pasta was delicious; the shrimp was cooked perfectly although I would have preferred if it had been shelled. Loved the seasoning and the wine sauce was great as well. The veggies weren’t too soft and were just the right firmness too and added great flavour to it.”

My thoughts
Delicious and I felt quite “chefy” making this dish. It’s simple, but eye-catching and I got to practice my knife skills with my new J.A. Henckels Professional Knife set. Man are these knives sharp, I already took out a piece of my finger nail when the knife jumped within the first few days of having this set. 90% of my vegetables were all the same size as I am getting better, but uniformity adds to my prep time for sure. The wine sauce was delicious and the shrimp was perfectly cooked. Next time I will try it with clams, as Mr. C. loves his molluscs. I think i’ll take a walk down to St. Lawrence Market and get some fresh seafood.

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