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…

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…

Nonna’s Italian Anise Cookies

Family traditions are the best, especially around the holidays.  My Great Grandmother made these.   My Grandmother still makes these. And now, because I love their subtle licorice-y taste, I make them too. These cookies are not for everyone. Tim for example states that they are not real Christmas cookies. I hypothesize that this is because they aren’t slathered with thick butter cream frosting or doused in sprinkles.  One of these two qualities is his prerequisite for any holiday cookie. But, who died and made him Buddy the Elf? These little cuties are not overly sweet. They are not overly buttery or crisp. They are not overly anything really. They have a mellow and…
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