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…

Rosemary Roasted Fennel and Red Potatoes

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!  I mentioned my love of fennel in the Sicilian Fennel Salad recipe from course one.  And guess what…. Fennel is baaaaack.  Remember when I talked about recurring flavor threads?  In this menu, fennel is one of them! (The rosemary and squeeze of lemon are too!)  This time instead of crunchy and refreshing, its roasted: caramelized, mellow, and sweet. Fennel is underused. Underrated. And under-appreciated.  Period.  It’s great in salads, roasted, or even grilled!  Treat it like a cross between an onion, celery, and kohlrabi…

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…

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…

8 One-Pot Winter Soups, Chilis, and Curries

Until our recent move, our house was fairly small.  Big kitchen, but small otherwise.  We had a massive back deck and patio perfect for the summer months, but since this is Seattle, we have essentially 3 seasons: rainy, rainy and cold, and summer! But, since we aren’t big on limiting the our number “Come on over!” invitations.  Not to mention the sheer size of my Italian family.  Our little bungalow wasn’t exactly built for massive numbers.  Forget about obvious dilemmas like seating; we are talking sheer spacial scarcity.  Woah, that sounded overly scientific, but you get the picture.  Lots of people crammed into a small space can be um….(What’s a…
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