Whole Roasted Branzino with Mint-Basil Relish

This recipe is part of the main course to a 1-Hour Sicilian inspired 3-Course Valentine’s Day menu.  To see the complete menu and a detailed shopping list, visit this post!  One of my favorite foods ever.  Probably my favorite Italian entree.  Yes, even more than pasta!  Whole roasted branzino! Branzini is the plural form in English, but in Italian its branzini – regardless of a singular or plural number.  Not to get too scientific, lets get everyone on the same page with a fish mini-lesson.  Branzini are in the Moronidae family of fish, which makes them a “temperate bass” – hence why they are commonly marketed as European Sea Bass in the US.  Native…

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…

Christmas Cookie Round-up

Christmas carols are like Christmas cookies.   Everyone has a favorite – often a favorite we can vehemently argue the superiority of.  The hubs believes no christmas cookie can ever top sugar cookies with thick buttercream frosting (read: a mountain of buttercream).  My sister would go to bat for hazelnut crescents.  My brother would make a case for chewy ginger molasses.  And my dad loves the Italian Anise cookies reminiscent of black licorice.  I admit, I’m not sure I could pick just one favorite, but I don’t think my brother is too far off on this one.  But still, it might be a toss-up between pillowy Italian ricotta cookies and a…

One Bowl Wonder: Pasta e Ceci

If you find yourself with a house full of people this week… but the last thing you want to do is spend even more time in the kitchen, might I suggest this super simple one-pot Italian classic?  Pasta e Ceci.  Pasta and chickpeas.  Its a very popular classic Roman dish, and its ridiculously simple to make, vegan friendly, and so, so good!  (I even used GF pasta.) Like grown-up spaghetti-Os that kids and adults will slurp right up!  When I have no time and/or a house full of hungry people, this is my go-to.  I have yet to meet anyone who dislikes it.  Its a perfect comforting but light meal…

Girls’ Night in 5: Figs with Honey Ricotta

Girls’ Night in 5 is a monthly “how-to” series containing Girls’ Night friendly recipes with 5 or fewer ingredients and no more than 5 minutes of active prep!  This series is part of my mission to simplify entertaining to encourage readers to invest in their community through hosting and loving people well. Figs!?  Ricotta!?  Scusami!  Its September, and my Italian side is showing! Its fico season!  I can’t help it.  Juicy little figs are only around for a few weeks.  And the juiciest of the bunch are a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it kind of thing.  Be prepared to be inundated with photos of these juicy jewel toned beauties! I am eating figs in every manner…
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