Taste the Rainbow


A healthy, holistic diet includes lots of nutrients, tons of variety, and loads of natural color.  Despite the winter weather, it’s possible to find seasonal ingredients like butternut squash, sweet potatoes and citrus fruits to make beautiful and colorful plates that are full of flavor, laden with nutrients, antioxidants, and brimming with vibrant color. Cotton Candy’s contributing food editor, Chef Evelyn Paul, pairs winter staples with bold and rustic flavors to create some cold weather recipes that are simple, flavorful, and downright appealing to the eye.  Go ahead. Taste the rainbow.

Winter Lentil Salad


1 cup dried French green lentils

2 cups water

One each red, yellow, and green bell peppers

2 Tablespoons canola oil

Zest of one Meyer lemon

5 Tablespoons freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice

½  cup extra virgin olive oil

1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 small garlic cloves, minced

2 Tablespoon thinly sliced scallions

½  cup of chopped fresh parsley

½  teaspoon Kosher salt

½  teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Heat Broiler to high.

Bring the lentils and water to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Cover the saucepan, and reduce the heat to low.  Simmer until lentils are tender, about 30 minutes.

Remove the tops of the peppers, and cut in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds. Place the peppers onto a rimmed sheet pan and drizzle with the canola oil.  Place the pan directly into the oven and broil for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the skins are charred.  Carefully remove the pan from the oven and place the charred peppers into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap to steam for 20 minutes.

Once cooled, scrape the charred skins off of the peppers with a knife. Do not rinse the peppers under water. Chop the peppers into ½ inch pieces.

Drain the lentils into a colander and transfer to a large mixing bowl.  Add the chopped peppers, lemon zest, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, Dijon mustard, garlic, scallions, parsley, salt, and pepper to the lentils.  Toss to combine.  Serve immediately. Serves 4.

(Click the photos below.)

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Butternut Squash Chowder


3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 Leeks, white parts only, cleaned and thinly sliced

4 large garlic cloves, minced

2 medium green bell peppers, diced

2 ¼ pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into ½ – by 1-inch-thick pieces

1 ½ teaspoon roughly chopped fresh cilantro

¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper

2 fresh bay leaves

¼ teaspoon Kosher salt

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 ¼ cup frozen corn

6 cups vegetable stock


Heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium high heat.  Add the bell pepper to the Dutch oven and cook for 5 minutes.  Add the leeks to the Dutch oven and continue to cook with the peppers for 5 minutes.  Add the garlic to the Dutch oven and cook for 30 seconds.  Add the butternut squash, fresh cilantro, crushed red pepper, bay leaves, kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, corn, and vegetable stock to the Dutch oven and cook over medium high heat until butternut squash is tender, about 30 minutes.  Remove the Dutch oven from the heat and serve immediately.

Roasted Sesame and Ginger Chicken


1 (4 pound) fresh whole roasting chicken

¼ cup light soy sauce

1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice

1 teaspoons sesame oil

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

1 large clove garlic, pressed

1 Tablespoon minced fresh ginger

¼ teaspoon light brown sugar


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Remove and discard the giblets and neck from the chicken.  Pierce the chicken skin all over with the tines of a fork.  Place the chicken, breast side up, into a shallow roasting pan lined with foil.  In a small bowl whisk the soy sauce, lime juice, sesame oil, vegetable oil, garlic, ginger and sugar.  Brush the cavity and skin of the chicken thoroughly with the sauce mixture.

Place the chicken directly into the oven and roast for 1 hour and 45 minutes, or until an instant read thermometer inserted into the thigh registers 165 degrees.

Carefully remove the chicken from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before carving. Serve immediately with the roasted sweet potato and vegetables.  Serves 8.

Roasted Sweet Potato and Vegetable Medley


3 whole sweet potato peeled and diced

1 large bell pepper seeded and diced

2 medium zucchini washed and diced

1 medium red onion diced

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 Tablespoon thinly sliced green onions

1 Tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

1 Tablespoon chopped fresh basil


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Add sweet potatoes, bell pepper, zucchini, and red onion to a medium size mixing bowl, and toss with the olive oil.  Sprinkle the vegetables with salt and pepper.  Transfer the vegetable mix to a rimmed baking sheet, and place directly into the oven. Roast the vegetable mix for 35 minutes. Carefully remove the vegetable mix from the oven and sprinkle with green onions, cilantro, and basil. Serve immediately. Serves 6.

Pan Roasted Salmon


1 (1 to 1 ½ pound) of salmon fillet

¼ cup canola oil

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper


Coat the bottom of a large sauté pan with the canola oil.  Heat the oil on medium high until almost smoking. Season both sides of the salmon fillet with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Carefully place the salmon fillet skin side down into the pan. Cook the salmon for 3 minutes and using a fish spatula turn the salmon over and continue to cook for 3 more minutes.  Carefully remove the salmon from the pan to a serving platter skin side down.  Serve immediately with the Dandelion greens.  Serves 4.

Dandelion Greens with Chorizo and White Beans


1 Tablespoon olive oil

½ pound Spanish Chorizo sausage

1 small white onion, diced

1 small red bell pepper seeded and diced

2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 pound roughly chopped dandelion greens

½ cup chicken or vegetable stock

1 15-ounce can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper


Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat.  Add the chorizo and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the onion and bell pepper to the pan turn the heat to high, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic to the pan and cook for 30 seconds.  Add the dandelion greens, season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, and add the chicken stock. Cover the pan with a lid, lower the heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes.  Remove the lid and add the cannellini beans, cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 5 minutes.  Turn off the heat and let stand for 5 minutes.  Serve immediately.  Serves 4.

Orange and Grapefruit Terrine


8 oranges

6 pink grapefruits

4 packets gelatin

2 cups citrus juice (from above fruits)

1 cup sweet white wine

1 cup orange blossom honey sugar

1 cup sliced fresh strawberries

1 cup fresh raspberries

Seeds from 1 pomegranate (optional)

6 Fresh mint leaves


Remove the peels from the oranges and grapefruits.  Squeeze the juice from the fruit into a measuring cup.  Cut the squeezed fruit into segments.

Add the wine, honey, and 1 ¾ cup of fruit juice to a small saucepan and cook over low heat for 3 to 4 minutes whisking until the honey is dissolved.

Pour the remaining ¼ cup of fruit juice into a bowl and sprinkle with the gelatin and let sit for 1 minute. Add the gelatin mixture to the pan.  Turn the heat to medium high and boil the mixture for 2 minutes.  Cool completely.

Line a one-quart terrine pan with plastic wrap making sure to leave enough plastic to cover the top of the filled terrine.

Arrange the fruit segments into the bottom of the terrine. Pour the cooled liquid over the fruit. Cover and chill the terrine in the refrigerator until firm, at least four hours.

Remove the terrine from the refrigerator and unwrap the top piece of plastic.  Carefully invert the terrine onto a cutting board and remove the remaining plastic wrap.  Using a sharp knife slice the terrine into 1 inch thick slices.  Place each slice onto a dessert plate. Garnish each slice with fresh strawberries, raspberries, pomegranate seeds and a mint sprig.  Serve immediately.  Serves 6.

Cotton Candy Magazine®