Sicilian Fennel Salad

This recipe is the first course on a 1-Hour Sicilian inspired 3-Course Valentine’s Day menu.  To see the complete menu and a detailed shopping list, visit this post!  Fennel salads are classic Sicilian fare!  It must be the fresh sea air.  Or, how well fennel pairs with the island’s abundance of frutti de mare  In Sicily, there are countless variations of this dish. Restaurants and families alike put their own stamp on it.  Fennel is a constant, and its almost always citrusy. The most common variation involves sliced oranges, grapefruit, olives (usually black), and fresh herbs (usually mint). A handful of raisins can also be quite common.  The black olive and…

1-Hour Valentines Day 3-Course Sicilian Inspired Menu (+ Shopping List!)

Gourmet made Simple Last week, the first new, original content of 2018 posted on Almost Properly.  I wanted to start the year with a band and also, stay focused on the direction and vision I have for the site in 2018: simple, original, gourmet-feeling recipes for hosting and entertaining! I’ll let you in on a little secret, I love when entire meals are cohesive.  Courses should complement, flow, and create a balanced profile of flavors and textures from start to finish.  This sounds like a complicated, labor intensive concept, but it really doesn’t have to be. Think about a tapestry.  Threads of many colors and textures run throughout the entire…

Middle Eastern Spiced Chicken with Olives, Dates, and Bulgar

This recipe is part of the main course to a 1-Hour Middle Eastern inspired 3-Course Valentine’s Day menu.  To see the complete menu and a detailed shopping list, visit this post!  We have arrived.   The. Main. Course. The dish all other courses are planned around! The thing the whole meal revolves around! The brain child. The idea for this dish swarmed in my head for ages.  After a while, I knew EXACTLY how I wanted to execute the dish.  The ingredients.  The flavors.  The techniques.  The finishings.  Everything.   Because Middle Eastern cuisine is basically my 2nd love language, I knew it simply must be the star of a Valentine’s…

Roasted Vegetables with Fresh Mint and Lemon Tahini Sauce

This recipe is part of the main course to a 1-Hour Middle Eastern inspired 3-Course Valentine’s Day menu.  To see the complete menu and a detailed shopping list, visit this post!   As a child of the 80s and 90s, the notion of tahini being a regular on my white-girl-with-Italian-roots shopping list still tickles me.  I grew up with the blandest versions of casseroles, steamed and boiled veggies, lots of potatoes, ground meat in everything, and a way-too-thick bolognese sauce.  Something as simple as veggies roasted with olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper never crossed my childhood plate.  This boggles my mind.  Exotic ingredients like tahini and sumac?  Forget about…

Middle Eastern Green Salad with Dukkah Olive Oil

This recipe is the first course on a 1-Hour Middle Eastern inspired 3-Course Valentine’s Day menu.  To see the complete menu and a detailed shopping list, visit this post!   My favorite salads are topped with all of the things!!  If you can barely see the greens below? Even better. Great salads follow an equation.  Its not exactly mathematics, but its still an important formula.  Salads need at least one sweet, tart, salty, and crunchy component!  THAT is the equation for the perfect salad.  This formula has limitless combinations! Once you have your sweet, tart, salty, and crunchy sorted out, you can go to town on the flavor and texture…
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