Asparagus & String Beans with Smoky Romesco

Asparagus & String Beans with Smoky Romesco – Candy Coated Culinista

Having a BBQ? Try this interesting grilled appetizer for your guests.

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

From: Food 52 Any Night Grilling

Ingredients
• 2 bunches asparagus
• 1 pound, green, purple or yellow wax beans (preferably a combination)
• 1 thick slice country style bread
• 2 large red bell peppers, halved, cored and seeded
• 2 fresno chilies
• ½ red onion, cut into thick wedges
• ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
• 2 plum tomatoes, halved
• ¼ cup skinned roasted hazelnuts or almonds
• 1 tsp sherry vinegar, plus more as desired
• 2 tbsp freshly chopped thyme or marjoram leaves
• 1 tsp smoked paprika
• 1 clove garlic or 1 tsp smoked garlic (from book)
• Kosher salt, to taste
• Ground black pepper, to taste

Assembly
1. Prepare charcoal grill to medium-high heat and coat the gill pan with extra virgin olive oil over high heat using a paper towel. If you are using a grill basket allow to heat for 10 minutes prior to use.
2. Snap ends of asparagus and trim beans and set aside.
3. Grill the bread over direct heat until grill marks appear, about one minute per side.
4. In a bowl lightly toss bell peppers, chilies and onions in olive oil.
5. Place over grill on in grill basket turning and rotating for 6 to 7 minutes for the onions and continue to char the red peppers.
6. Cover peppers in a kitchen towel (to make it easier to remove the skin)
7. Grill tomatoes and when cooled enough remove skin also.
8. Using a food processor add peppers, chilies, onion, tomato along with nuts, thyme and paprika and salt into a thick puree. Drizzle in olive oil as you go.
9. Grill asparagus and beans and serve warm or at room temperature with romesco.

Tips
• Sprinkle some flaky finishing salt and serve.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This recipes was super simple and very easy to complete. The only thing here is you have to be a fan of romesco. I had heard of romesco before; but never had tried or made it. It reminds me of a salsa or pesto of sorts. Typically it is served with meat or fish; but today it’s served with grilled veggies and totally works. I added some finishing salt and it really rounded out the taste of the veggies.

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Chickpea, Feta & Beetroot Couscous Salad

Chickpea, Feta & Beetroot Couscous Salad – Candy Coated Culinista

I can never pass up anything with beets in it. Since its summer and it is the time for lighter, fresh and fast dishes this was a great lovely light meal.

Yield/Serving: 4
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 25-30 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 2 red beetroots
• 2 golden beetroots
• 2 chioggia (candy cane) beetroots
• 250g of couscous
• 1 ¼ cup vegetable stock
• 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• Zest and juice from one lemon
• Handful of pine nuts
• 540g chickpeas, rinsed & drained
• Handful of parsley, chopped
• Handful of mint, chopped
• Pinch of paprika
• 1/2 crumbled feta
• Salt, to taste
• Pepper, to taste

Assembly
1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Wrap beets in foil and roast for 30 minutes until tender.
3. Prepare couscous. (follow the instructions on the box); but use vegetable stock instead of water.
4. Fluff couscous with a fork and add in olive oil, lemon zest and juice.
5. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a serving bowl.
6. Using a small frying pan over medium-high heat toast pine nuts. Ensure you don’t take your eyes off the skillet as the pine nuts will brown fast.
7. Peel beets and cut into large small wedges.
8. Stir in the couscous with the chickpeas, chopped herbs and spice.
9. Crumble feta over top and sprinkle with the toasted pine nuts.
10. Serve warm.

Tips
• Add chicken breast for protein with harissa.
• Top with halloumi instead of feta.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This is a very filling an flavourful dish without the meat. I enjoyed my dish without the meat ad this will be a great addition to my menu. My guests thoroughly enjoyed this dish. There are many components to this dish and yet not one ingredient overpowers the next and each beets has a distinct taste, which is wonderful.

Chickpea, Feta & Beetroot Couscous Salad – Candy Coated Culinista

Deconstructed Levantine Fattoush with Chickpeas (Pita Bread Salad)

Deconstructed Levantine Fattoush with Chickpeas (Pita Bread Salad) – Candy Coated Culinista

This is salad with a twist. I love to make this recipe when I want something light yet flavourful. Fattoush is an Arabic dish that likes to make use of pitas that have gone stale. So when I came across this recipe it was right up my alley as I hate wasting food. You can use any vegetables you want or have on hand; which is why I love this recipe so much.

Yield/Serving: 2
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 35 min
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
Salad

• 270g chickpeas rinsed & drained (half a can)
• 175g of grape tomatoes. Halved
• 1 green onion, finely sliced
• Radishes, trimed and thinly sliced`
• ½ English cucumber, quartered
• Romaine lettuce, shredded
• Kale leaves, shredded
• Handful of spinach, rough chopped
• 1 sprig of mint, chopped
• 1 bunch of parsley, chopped
• Pomegranate seeds, (optional)
• Carrot ribbons, (optional)
• Handful of whole black olives, (optional)
• Mini pita’s
Vinaigrette
• The juice of 1 lemon
• 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
• 1 tsp sumac
• 125 ml (1/4 cup) extra virgin olive oil
• 10 ml (1 teaspoons) fresh mint, chopped
• 5 ml (1/2 teaspoon) fresh thyme, chopped
• Salt, to taste
• Pepper, to taste

Tips
• Serve pita on the side so you can have non-soggy leftovers or toast them in oven at 350°F for 5 minutes if desired to warm them up.
• Add chicken breast for some protein.

Assembly/Method
1. In a bowl, combine all the salad ingredients.
2. In another bowl, whisk together all the vinaigrette ingredients.
3. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and combine.

My thoughts
This is a quick, fast and always tasty recipe. Now I must admit I have only even made it once with stale pita’s. Pitas never go stale in my house because I love a carb. Every time I make it, I find another ingredient to add in like the optional ingredients listed above. I have been making this recipe for 5 years now and now that I am starting to enjoy chickpeas I thought this would be the perfect recipe to incorporate them into as it works with Middle Eastern dish. The combination of ingredients add a freshness and that lemony sumac is splendid.

Simple & Warming Anti-Inflammatory Turmeric Soup

Simple & Warming Anti-Inflammatory Turmeric Soup – Candy Coated Culinista

I visited a different grocery story looking for ground turkey for my kofta’s and to my surprise I found Jamaican Ginger and Tumeric. I have never seen either of these in the store. Regular Asian ginger yes; but not its spicier cousin and the turmeric was a sign for my to go all in and try this ingredient I have had a love hate relationship with. Having a lifelong love affair with ginger, I thought it was an obvious choice to start trying to add turmeric into my diet alongside its “cousin” ginger. Now as easy as ginger is to enjoy for myself I just couldn’t get on board with turmeric. I have finally found a way to consume it and enjoy it along with all its benefits like aiding with ingestion and those all so important anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant qualities keep calling me back. Well this soup struck a chord with me in the most delightful way and I can now enjoy turmeric and its unique scent and vibrant colour.

Yield/Serving: 3 – 4
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cook Time: 1 & ½ hours
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 1 acorn squash, halved and seeded
• 1 large sweet potato, peeled and halved
• 1 large carrot, peeled
• 2 knobs of turmeric, peeled and minced
• 900 ml vegetable stock

Assembly
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Prepare squash and place in a roasting pan.
3. Boil sweet potato and carrot in a medium saucepan.
4. Once vegetables are done let cool for 30 minutes.
5. Peel away the squash skin and add to a blender along with the sweet potatoes and carrots.
6. Add turmeric and vegetable stock and blend.
7. Pour into two bowls and serve.

Tips
• Add more turmeric if you like.
• Use a Dutch oven if you prefer.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I did start with a relatively small amount of turmeric in my eyes; but the soup surely had that lovely and distinctive turmeric scent. The colour of this soup is my most favourite of all the soups I have prepared. It also kept the colour upon reheating. I could taste each ingredients and they came together very well. This will be another soup in my rotation. If you want a faster dinner use your blender. I used the blender for Christmas for the purpose of using it solely for cooking and not my daily smoothie. I started off using the immersion blender in the Dutch over but I couldn’t’ get the consistency and the find turmeric to blend nicely and smooth.

Under the Weather Soup with Crispy Kale

Under the Weather Soup with Crispy Kale – Candy Coated Culinista

I honestly can’t remember the last time I got a cold (knock on wood) and even now this hasn’t turned into a full blown cold yet and I’m thankful for that. I should have known my tonsillitis last week was perhaps a warning sign of things to come. So feeling a touch under the weather with a sore throat and slight cough, I had already picked up some soup essentials being preemptive. Now to make a new soup to help me feel better fast and nip whatever this in the bud.

Yield/Serving: 3-4
Prep Time: 5 min
Cook Time: approx. 2 hours
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 1 acorn squash, halved and seeded
• 1 large sweet potato, peeled and halved
• 1 large carrot, peeled
• Extra virgin olive oil
• 900 ml vegetable stock
• 1 cup water
• Salt to taste, if desired
• Black pepper to taste, if desired
• a knob of ginger, if desired
• a little turmeric, if desired
• 3 leaves of kale
• 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Assembly
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Prepare squash, sweet potato and carrot and place in a roasting pan.
3. Cover in extra virgin olive oil and roast for one hour and forty minutes, turning vegetable over halfway through.
4. Once vegetables are done let cool for 30 minutes.
5. Peel away the squash skin and add to a Dutch oven along with the sweet potatoes chopped.
6. Chop carrots and add one cup of water to a blender along with the carrots and blend.
7. Then add to the Dutch oven along with the vegetable stock and let simmer for 10 minutes.
8. Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth and continue to simmer.
9. In a small frying pan, fry kale with a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and once crispy drain on a paper towel.
10. Laddle soup into a bowl and top with crispy kale and serve.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This is really a bare bones recipe for me. I honestly didn’t even add salt or pepper as I wasn’t feeling it and I wanted to keep this soup pure. You can also add ginger and turmeric if you want also. I saved that for my tea on the side personally. I even managed to not add onions and garlic as that might have muddied up the beautiful colour of the soup; which was sweet and simple. Blending the carrots prior to adding them to the Dutch oven really helped with the consistency of the soup and I’m very happy I did. This really took no effort which is perfect when your down for the count. Nap while the veggies roast and maybe 10 minutes on your feet actually tending to the soup. Perfect.

Herby Vegan Compound Butter

Herby Vegan Compound Butter - Candy Coated Culinsta

Herby Vegan Compound Butter – Candy Coated Culinsta

I love compound butter; but I don’t necessarily want to partake in all the yummy delicious artery clogging full fat butter. Therefore, here is my version of compound butter that I use on veggies and on proteins.

Prep Time: 10 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 400g vegan margarine
• 1 tbsp fresh rosemary
• 1 tbsp fresh thyme
• Handful fresh dill
• Handful fresh parsley
• 2 tbsp fresh oregano

Assembly
1. Using a food processor chop fresh herbs
2. Place vegan margarine in food processor.
3. Blend herbs and butter together.
4. On a long piece of wax paper place butter in the middle and form butter into a cylinder.
5. Twist the edges and place in freezer for 30 minutes.
6. Take butter out of the freezer and cut butter into discs and roll back up and use as needed on vegetables or meat.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I love having a stack of discs in my freezer to use whenever I want. It is handy and an excellent way to use up all those fresh herbs that may be about to turn.

Autumn Beetroot Smoothie

Autumn Beet Smoothie – Candy Coated Culinista

I remember a short while ago I couldn’t tolerate a vegetable smoothie and then I started enjoying them. Slowly I added more and more vegetables building up my tolerance and now I’m at the point where I have a veggie smoothie more days than naught.

Yield/Serving: 2
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cook Time: 1 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• ½ raw beetroot, peeled and cut into chunks
• Handful of cranberries
• 1 small knob of ginger
• 1 banana, cut into slices
• 3 tbsp plain yoghurt
• ½ cup water
• Few ice cubes

Assembly
1. Prepare vegetables and fruit and place in blender jar.
2. Add yoghurt, water and ice and blend for one minute.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I’ve always loved beets and this smoothie with its natural sweet touch from the beetroot and slight kick from the ginger is a wonderful fall smoothie.

Q is for … Mediterranean Vegetable Quiche

Q is for … Mediterranean Vegetable Quiche – Candy Coated Culinista

Perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner. These delicate little quiches are good anytime of day and taste of the Mediterranean.

Yield/Serving: 2
Prep Time: 15 min.
Cook Time: 30 min
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 1 tbsp butter
• 2 large eggs
• 1/2 cup heavy cream
• 1/2 cup whole milk
• Pinch of sea salt
• Pinch of black pepper
• ¼ tsp Greek spices
• Handful of spinach
• 10 Kalamata olives pitted and chopped
• ¼ grape tomatoes, halved
• 1/8 cup red onion diced
• ¼ cup feta cheese, cubed
• ¼ cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Assembly
1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
2. Butter the dishes and set aside.
3. Using a medium bowl and whisk eggs, heavy cream, milk, salt, pepper and spices together.
4. In a separate bowl add vegetables and feta cheese and mix and place in dish.
5. Sprinkle the cheddar cheese on top and pour egg mixture over top.
6. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until quiche has set.
7. Let cool and cut into slices.

Tips

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I know only three foods of dishes that start with a Q that I could make that wouldn’t entail me searching far and wide for peculiar and exotic ingredients. So I went back and made another quiche but crustless this time; eliminating the part of my last quiche that I didn’t love.

Plantains Assados con Queso

Plantains Assados con Queso – Candy Coated Culnista

One of the few Caribbean foods I have always loved was plantain whether fried or boiled and put in a soup. Probably it was the sweetness of the plantain as is ripened that caught my attention as a child; but even today when I find plantain in the store I think back to my mom frying it when it was over ripped and ooey gooey to serve alongside my breakfast. I went to a food market at lunch, and I saw this wonderfully fried whole plantain just staring back at me and I just knew I had to try it and it didn’t disappoint.

Yield/Serving: 1
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cook Time: 10 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 4 tbsp canola oil
• 1 plantain, peeled and sliced in the centre, but not all the way through
• 3 tbsp cream cheese
• Fresh rosemary, removed from sprig
• Pinch of sea salt

Assembly
1. Over medium-high, using a frying pan heat up canola oil.
2. Place plantain in and fry all sides until golden brown and the colour has changed.
3. Drain on a paper towel if necessary.
4. Using a small bowl mix cream cheese & rosemary and stuff into the plantain.
5. Sprinkle with sea salt and serve.

Tips
• If you have time bake this bake at 400° for 30 minutes; instead of frying.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I did my own spin on this Ecuadorian dish as the way it was prepared had ricotta stuffed inside. I used cream cheese and added some fresh thyme because it just felt right to me. This is a new preparation for me that I never knew even existed. I am very happy to have stumbled upon this in the market. Plantains Assados con Queso means baked plantains with cheese; but I took a quicker approach and fried it. Try baking it as it would turn out just as well. I made this while preparing breakfast before work yesterday morning, so I had less time. The plantain was soft on the outside and firmer as you got further in. The filling was creamy with the punch of thyme. I’m not really a fan of cream cheese unless it’s on my bagel; but it works so well and I gave a piece to my testers and they loved the cream cheese and thyme combo.

Herbaceous Pattypan Squash

Herbaceous Pattypan Squash – Candy Coated Culinista

A visit to the local farmers markets always gets the creative juices flowing. This summer and fall season I’m lucky enough to have a new farmer’s market just steps from my door and I intend to take full advantage of what they have to offer. Heirloom tomatoes, fresh snap green beans, golden and purple beets, gourmet popsicles and pizza, fresh loaves of bread, honey, cheese and so much more. I found these lovely Pattypan squash for the second time in two years and I wanted to make a simple recipe to highlight and respect the local ingredients.

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

Ingredients
• 2 tbsp vegetarian butter
• 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 6 large sized pattypan squash, cut into quarters and eights
• Fresh thyme, finely diced
• Fresh dill, finely diced
• Fresh parsley, finely diced
• Fresh rosemary, finely diced
• Fresh Oregano, finely diced

Assembly
1. Over medium-high heat let butter and extra virgin olive oil get to the temperature of the pan and melt.
2. Add pattypan squash along with fresh herbs.
3. Cook for 5 min, ensuring squash stays crunchy.
4. Serve immediately.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I enjoyed pattypan squash for the first time last month when I visited the CN Tower 360 revolving restaurant. I hadn’t managed to buy the squash I saw last year, so I was very happy to come across it again this year. Simple summer sides are a delight to make especially with the farmers markets finest produce. The squash was buttery and herby and the aroma was delightful. I love a good crunchy vegetable and this was the perfect side to my dinner last night.

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