Lemon Ricotta and Pistachio Tarts

This recipe is the dessert course of a 1-Hour Sicilian inspired 3-Course Valentine’s Day menu.  To see the complete menu and a detailed shopping list, visit this post! Ever been to Sicily?  If you have, then you know pistachios are everywhere- especially in pastries and gelato. Did you know that pistachios were first introduced to the Sicily via Middle Easterners in the 13th century?  It turns out eastern Sicily’s volcanic soil is optimal for growing pistachio trees.  Still grown on the island although on a smaller scale, sicilian pistachios are longer, thinner, and known for a stronger and sharper flavor than other varieties.  Most of the pistachios grown on the island…

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…

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…

Rosemary Cardamom Spiced Nuts

Who doesn’t love a good spiced nut mix?  Ok, maybe people allergic to nuts.  But aside from them??  I love everything from raw nuts to nut butters, but my very favorite are spiced roasted nuts.  I could easily make meals out of them.  Holiday parties are the best opportunity to break out the spiced roasted nuts!  This version is mild yet flavorful and so dang addicting!  I may or may not have camped out next to them at a party recently. All in all, there could be worse things to park yourself next to than mixed nuts.  Booze?  Cookies?  Tubs of ice-cream?  Aside from a pile of veggies, I’m thinking…
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