Ciambotta Twiins Style (Italian Summertime Vegetable Stew)

Ciambotta Twiins Style (Italian Summer Vegetable Stew)

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: Easy

If you’re lucky enough to have a have a garden with an abundance of fresh vegetables, you must try making some Ciambotta (pronounced chim-botta)! Even if you don’t have a garden, grocery stores are full of a variety of fresh, local produce during the summer. It’s a delicious and nutritious way to use your harvest or take advantage of the fresh produce available now. Ciambotta can also be spelled giambotta, depending on the region of Italy. This version is a southern Italy farm dish. The great thing about this dish is you can use whatever veggies you like. The key is big, equal size cubes or chunks... and it’s naturally Gluten-Free. I served it with crusty whole wheat French bread drizzled with EVOO and Za’atar seasoning. It was delicious. Enjoy. 😋❤️

Ingredients

  • 1 large yellow onion, cubed
  • 8-10 cloves large garlic, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 cup EVOO
  • 4-5 golden Yukon potatoes, cubed
  • 6 large Roma tomatoes, skin & seeds removed, cubed
  • 2 medium eggplants, ends removed and cubed
  • 2 medium zucchini, ends removed and cubed
  • 1 large green bell pepper, washed, seeded & cut into big chunks
  • 1 large red bell pepper, washed, seeded & cut into big chunks
  • 1 large yellow or orange bell pepper, washed, seeded & cut into big chunks
  • 2 handfuls of fresh spinach (optional)
  • 1 jalapeño (I used jalapeño) or long Italian hot pepper (optional)
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • 20 fresh basil leaves, torn right before adding
  • 1 sprig Greek oregano, (optional)

Directions

  1. Boil the Roma tomatoes for a few minutes until the skin starts to crack. Remove from boiling water and cool. Once cool enough to handle you can easily peel off the skin., Cut them in half, remove the seeds and cube.
  2. In a minimum 6 qt deep Dutch oven, On medium-high,  heat EVOO until it starts to shimmer.
  3. Add the onions and garlic and turn several times until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  4. Add the tomatoes, bell peppers, jalapeño pepper, zucchini, potatoes, give it a good turn.
  5. Add the eggplants last. Turn well and cook about 10 minutes.
  6. Add salt and black pepper to taste and tear the basil leaves, sprig of Greek oregano (if using) and add to pot. Stir together.
  7. Lower flame to medium-low and cover. Cook about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  8. Now is a good time to prepare any pasta or crusty bread.
  9. For the bread: Preheat oven to 400ºF. Slice the Italian or French bread into 1/2-inch slices and place on foiled baking sheet. Drizzle each piece with EVOO then sprinkle with Za’atar seasoning, garlic powder, & a little sea salt.
  10. Bake about 4 minutes until golden brown. (Bake when Ciambotta is just about done)
  11. Serve in pasta dishes with crusty bread on the side or over pasta & garnish with  fresh basil leaves.

Notes: Serve with crusty gluten-free bread to keep completely gluten-free or use Italian or French bread to soak up the juices! Can be served with pasta too.

Recipe adapted from Pasquale Sciarappa.

Did you make this recipe? We would love to hear from you. Please leave us a comment below or Tag @twiinsinthekitchen on Instagram and hashtag it #twiinsinthekitchen.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

 

Summertime Bean Salad – Twiins Style

Summertime Bean Salad - Twiins Style

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: Easy

I'm always looking for ways to use the herbs I'm growing in my garden. I have quite a bit of Thai basil which I've made delicious chicken salad and Thai basil Chicken with but I wanted to experiment with other dishes. I made a summertime bean salad and added quite a few Thai basil leaves to see how it tasted...we loved it. You're still getting protein through the beans and this dish delivers big time on flavor. Enjoy by itself in lettuce leaves or as a side dish with no cooking as an added bonus during the hot summer! Naturally Gluten-Free. Enjoy. 😋❤️

Ingredients

  • 1 can (15 oz) Chickpeas, rinsed & drained
  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed & drained
  • 1/2 large red onion
  • 1/2 cup celery, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup EVOO
  • 2 Tablespoon good balsamic vinegar
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/4- 1/3 cup fresh Thai basil, chopped

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, parsley, Thai basil, garlic & pepper. Slowly whisk in the EVOO & set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the rinsed & drained beans, celery, and red onion.
  3. Pour the vinaigrette over the mixture and gently toss to coat evenly.
  4. Garnish with a few Thai basil leaves.

Notes: Leftovers can be added to rice & cooked green beans for a delicious side to basil pesto chicken.

Did you make this recipe? We would love to hear from you. Please leave us a comment below or Tag @twiinsinthekitchen on Instagram and hashtag it #twiinsinthekitchen.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

 

Grilled Greek Chicken Breast – Twiins Style

Grilled Greek Chicken Breasts-Twiins Style

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy

When marinating chicken with Greek-inspired flavors the Mediterranean is brought to your dinner table and with it all the sunshine and joy for life that is associated with a beautiful outdoor dinner in the Greek Islands! This dish is so simple but packs huge flavor! Whether you want a quick family meal or a casual dinner with friends you will love it...Enjoy!😋❤️

Ingredients

  • 2 large boneless chicken breasts, sliced in half lengthwise to make 4 pieces
  • 2 tsp EVOO
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1½ tsp fresh Greek oregano, chopped (dried may be substituted, but use a lesser amount)
  • 1½ tsp fresh dill, chopped ( dried may be substituted, but use a lesser amount)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 cup Feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 3-4 Tablespoons 2% milk ( any milk works well)
  • 1½ Tablespoons red onion, chopped
  • 1 large tomato, sliced
  • Fresh oregano, chopped for garnish
  • Mixed salad greens with  olives, cucumbers, red onion, thin sliced
  • Optional: Dolmas (stuffed grape leaves)

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine 2 tsp EVOO, red wine vinegar, oregano, dill, garlic powder, salt & pepper.
  2. Pound chicken between sheets of waxed paper to a 1/4” thickness. Cut each piece in half to yield approximately 6-8 pieces of chicken breast.
  3. Add chicken breasts to the marinade, cover & refrigerate 30 minutes. (this step can be prepared ahead of time until ready for cooking.)
  4. In a small bowl, combine the Feta cheese, garlic powder, 2% milk & chopped red onion. Using a fork, mash well to make a spread. Add additional milk if too thick until you reach desired consistency. (this step can be prepared ahead of time & refrigerated until ready to serve)
  5. In a grill pan or large skillet drizzle 1 tsp of EVOO, then using a paper towel, coat pan.
  6. Heat pan to medium-high. Once hot, place half the chicken pieces in the pan and cook until browned approximately 2 minutes on each side. Remove from pan & set aside. Cook remaining chicken breasts and set aside.
  7. Place mixed salad greens on a dinner plate then top with cooked chicken breast(s).  Garnish the chicken with Feta cheese spread.  Arrange tomato slices on the dish and garnish with fresh Greek oregano.

 

 

Notes: Recipe adapted from Weight Watchers.  To enhance this Greek meal, drizzle salad greens with EVOO, red wine vinegar, add a little feta cheese, red onion, cucumber, and some Greek olives for a side salad. The creamy feta cheese spread is delicious on any vegetable or baked potato.

Did you make this recipe? We would love to hear from you. Please leave us a comment below or Tag @twiinsinthekitchen on Instagram and hashtag it #twiinsinthekitchen.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

 

Zucchini Shrimp Boats

Zucchini Shrimp Boats

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: Easy

With zucchini being so plentiful we’re always trying to come up with new ways to prepare them. Usually, we make zucchini boats stuffed with sausage, and while they are delicious we’ve been trying to incorporate healthier substitutes for sausage & red meat. So, while going through the freezer I found a 2 lb. bag of frozen large uncooked shrimp (from Costco) and decided to make the zucchini boats using the shrimp. This simple recipe came out delicious...mimicking a creamy shrimp scampi minus the pasta. It’s naturally gluten-free and oh so good!😋❤️

Ingredients

  • 4 large zucchini, sliced lengthwise
  • 2 lbs. large shrimp
  • salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons EVOO
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  •  8 oz mozzarella, shredded
  • 1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese,  grated
  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • parsley, chopped for garnish

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Cut each zucchini lengthwise in half. Score the inside leaving a bit of an edge, then scoop out zucchini flesh and set aside in a medium bowl.
  3. Place each zucchini in a large casserole dish and drizzle with EVOO. Sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves, salt, pepper, & garlic powder to taste. Bake about 20 minutes in the preheated oven until tender. (Keep oven on because you will return the filled zucchini boats to finish baking)..
  4. While zucchini is baking, heat a large skillet over medium heat, add EVOO.
  5. Add shrimp & season with salt & pepper. Cook until pink 3-4 minutes turning once.   Remove from heat and let cool enough to handle then chop into bite-size pieces.
  6. Add reserved zucchini, tomatoes, and garlic then cook 1-2 minutes more.
  7. Return chopped shrimp to skillet & add heavy cream, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, & lemon juice. Cook until slightly reduced about 3-4 minutes.
  8. Fill the zucchini boats with the shrimp mixture & top with mozzarella and a sprinkle of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Cook until cheese bubbles, about 10 minutes.
  9. Garnish with fresh parsley & more Parmigiano Reggiano. (optional)
  10. Serve immediately and wait for the compliments! ❤️

Notes: Serve as a main dish with a side salad and crusty bread.

Did you make this recipe? We would love to hear from you. Please leave us a comment below or Tag @twiinsinthekitchen on Instagram and hashtag it #twiinsinthekitchen.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

 

Zucchini Pie

Zucchini Pie

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: Easy

I came across an Italian cooking video which was demonstrating a delicious-looking zucchini pie/casserole. They called it Sformato di zucchine semplicissimo, which translates into Very Simple Zucchini Pie...and simple it is. Since I don't speak Italian, I guessed at the quantities for the ingredients so I channeled my inner Italian and came up with this. These are my approximate measurements and you can use more or less as you go along. Surprisingly, there was no garlic, salt, or pepper and Gary & I loved it. 😋❤️

Ingredients

  • 2 large zucchini, sliced into 1/4-inch slices
  • 4 Tablespoons EVOO, divided
  • 1 spring rosemary, leaves removed
  • 1/2 cup 4C seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 lb provolone Picante cheese, 1/2-inch large cubes (divided) (get this at deli counter, not sliced but whole . Not the hard provolone that you serve with crackers & pepperoni or sausage )
  • 1/2 cup Parmigiana Reggiano grated cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.
  2. Slice zucchini into 1/4-inch slices and place in a large bowl.
  3. Add 2 Tablespoons of EVOO and the rosemary leaves to the bowl then make sure the zucchini is coated well.
  4. In a deep-dish pie plate, lightly coat the bottom with 1/2 tsp EVOO and spread around with your clean hand or a pastry brush.
  5. Take a handful of the breadcrumbs and sprinkle on the bottom.
  6. Place zucchini slices all around the dish, slightly overlapping until the bottom is covered.
  7. Sprinkle a little more breadcrumbs all around.
  8. Sprinkle a handful of Parmigiano Reggiana cheese.
  9. Sprinkle 1/2 the cubes of provolone cheese.
  10. Lightly drizzle a little EVOO in a circle going around from outer dish to inner dish.
  11. Repeat steps 5-9.
  12. The last layer is zucchini, Parmigiana Reggiana then all remaining breadcrumbs, add additional breadcrumbs if needed as the top layer should be completely covered
  13. Repeat step 9.
  14. Place pie dish on middle rack and bake about 20-30 minutes. The top should get slightly crusted but not burnt.
  15. Best served immediately by itself or pair with a protein of your choice,

 

Notes: Recipe adapted from cibodoc.it

Did you make this recipe? We would love to hear from you. Please leave us a comment below or Tag @twiinsinthekitchen on Instagram and hashtag it #twiinsinthekitchen.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

 

Mediterranean Couscous

Mediterranean Couscous

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: Easy

This is an amazing side dish using pearl (Israeli) couscous which is much larger than regular couscous. Combining onions, garlic, blistered tomatoes, roasted mashed garlic, and herbs give you a hearty side dish that you can add your favorite vegetables to! 😋❤️

Ingredients

  • 1¾ cups pearl couscous (also known as Israeli couscous)
  • 2¾ cup chicken broth
  • 1 large sweet onion, roughly chopped
  • 6-8 large cloves garlic peeled & minced
  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes
  • 6-8 large cloves garlic, cut off the end but keep the skin on
  • fresh baby spinach (a few handfuls)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 6 ounces Feta cheese (we use President’s Chunk)

Directions

  1. In a large skillet add the Israeli/pearl couscous to a dry, hot skillet. Gently stir to prevent burning. After a few minutes, the couscous will start to brown.  Do not burn. Not all the couscous will brown & that’s ok.
  2. Add the chicken stock, cover, and cook about 10-15 minutes until liquid is absorbed. Remove cover and set aside.
  3. In a small skillet, saute the onions until they start to caramelize then add spinach. Cook until it starts to wilt then add the garlic & cook another minute. Sprinkle with salt & pepper.
  4. Add the cooked onions, spinach & garlic to the couscous. Stir well. Cover and set aside until fish is done.
  5. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper or aluminum foil.  Turn oven to 500ºF or broil. Once hot, reduce the oven temperature to 425ºF.
  6. Rinse tomatoes with water (no need to dry them). Coat the cherry tomatoes & whole cloves of garlic with 1 Tablespoon of EVOO. Sprinkle with salt. Combine well. Place on the lined baking sheet.
  7. Place baking sheet on the top oven rack and bake for 15-20 minutes, until tomatoes blister & garlic is soft (there should be a bit of juice too)
  8. Remove from the oven when done. Using a fork or a wooden spoon, smash the garlic (it slips right out of the skin). Take half the tomatoes plus the juice and garlic then add to couscous, mixing well.
  9. Just before serving, crumble & add the Feta cheese to the couscous.
  10. To serve, place cooked couscous mixture on a serving platter and sprinkle with remaining blistered tomatoes & garlic. Garnish with sprigs of fresh oregano & thyme.
  11. Enjoy!

Notes: This dish makes the perfect side dish to any meat or fish or serve alone mixed into a fresh mixed-greens salad for a refreshing summer main dish.

Did you make this recipe? We would love to hear from you. Please leave us a comment below or Tag @twiinsinthekitchen on Instagram and hashtag it #twiinsinthekitchen.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

 

Homemade Wild Finocchietto Liqueur (Fennel)

We remember our Grandmother Florence always having homemade liqueurs on hand for an after-dinner drink with coffee & dessert, especially around the holidays. Our favorite was Finocchietto (fennel) which she touted as a good digestif drink. We were only allowed a sip for taste…but liked it even then.

On our trip to Italy back in 2018, we had dinner at a farm in Naples. After dinner, we had a choice of Limoncello or Finocchietto. Of course, we chose the Finocchietto and it sure did bring back good memories of Grandma.

After having great success with making our own Limoncello, I decided to send away for the Italian Wild Fennel seeds and make my own.  Teresa and I along with my good friend, Jane Hall, planted the fennel seeds. We watched the seedlings grow big & strong then planted them outside in a side garden my husband Gary prepared for us. They were doing beautifully and even survived Hurricane Florence but low and behold they didn’t seem to survive the deer!!!!!!!  We were pleasantly surprised the following season and proceeded to make our own liqueur. You wouldn’t believe how many umbrella flowers we had with just 2 plants that survived. This year it’s even more! Fennel has a wonderful anise-like/licorice taste and you can use the green fronds to garnish a salad or even infuse with some olive oil. I don’t remove the fennel bulb because it will cause the demise of the plant, although I may this year!

Note:  Harvesting starts towards the end of June through August here in North Carolina. Fennel plants create umbrella-like flower buds similar to Queen Anne’s Lace. I pick the yellow flower umbrellas once the yellow flowers begin to open.

Ingredients for about 2 liters

  • 2-3 large handfuls of wild fennel flower umbrellas. ( I fill a 32-oz mason jar 1/2 to 3/4 high with the flowers)
  • 1 liter of Everclear (151 proof – grain alcohol) Please do not use rubbing alcohol!
  • 800 grams of sugar (about 3 1/3 to 3 1/2 cups)
  • 2-liter jar that closes hermetically (We used hermetically sealed lemonade bottles from Aldi)
  • Funnel- wide mouth
  • cheesecloth

Instructions

  1. Immediately after picking the flowers, wash and let dry thoroughly on a clean dish towel.
  2. Place all the flowers in the jar and pour the grain alcohol into the jar, making sure all flowers are covered. Close the jar and place it in a dark place for at least 30 days. ( I use my closet)
  3. Keep the bottle out of direct sunlight. All the color will leach out into the alcohol turning the alcohol a green color. No problem if you leave it longer than 30 days.
  4. After the 30 days or longer are up, prepare the sugar syrup.
  5. Make a simple syrup by boiling 1 liter of water with 800 grams of sugar for 15 minutes. Let it cool before the next step. (about an hour)
  6. While the syrup is cooling down, filter the alcohol. Using a wide-mouth funnel, place into another mason jar and place the cheesecloth in the funnel.
  7. Pour the alcohol through the funnel making sure none of the fennel plants get through.
  8. Mix the cooled sugar syrup into the filtered alcohol. Pour into a clean 2-liter hermetically sealing jar (the one you used before is fine, just make sure it’s clean & dry first.
  9. Let it sit another 4-5 days in a cool, dark place.
  10. Now we filter again and bottle.
  11. Put a regular funnel in the bottle with another piece of cheesecloth and pour the mixture into the bottle or use a small ladle so it doesn’t spill everywhere.
  12. There might be some organic matter caught in the cheesecloth. Wash the cloth for re-use.
  13. In a cool dark place, store the bottled fennel for at least another 3 months. The longer it sits the clearer it gets.

 

Note: Wild Fennel Liqueur makes a great Wild Fenneltini!

Recipe adapted from cucicucicoo.com

 

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

 

Grilled Greek Chicken Breasts – Twiins Style

Grilled Greek Chicken Breasts-Twiins Style

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy

When marinating chicken with Greek-inspired flavors the Mediterranean is brought to your dinner table and with it all the sunshine and joy for life that is associated with a beautiful outdoor dinner in the Greek Islands! This dish is so simple but packs huge flavor! Whether you want a quick family meal or a casual dinner with friends you will love it...Enjoy!😋❤️

Ingredients

  • 2 large boneless chicken breasts, sliced in half lengthwise to make 4 pieces
  • 2 tsp EVOO
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1½ tsp fresh Greek oregano, chopped (dried may be substituted, but use a lesser amount)
  • 1½ tsp fresh dill, chopped ( dried may be substituted, but use a lesser amount)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 cup Feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 3-4 Tablespoons 2% milk ( any milk works well)
  • 1½ Tablespoons red onion, chopped
  • 1 large tomato, sliced
  • Fresh oregano, chopped for garnish
  • Mixed salad greens with  olives, cucumbers, red onion, thin sliced
  • Optional: Dolmas (stuffed grape leaves)

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine 2 tsp EVOO, red wine vinegar, oregano, dill, garlic powder, salt & pepper.
  2. Pound chicken between sheets of waxed paper to a 1/4” thickness. Cut each piece in half to yield approximately 6-8 pieces of chicken breast.
  3. Add chicken breasts to the marinade, cover & refrigerate 30 minutes. (this step can be prepared ahead of time until ready for cooking.)
  4. In a small bowl, combine the Feta cheese, garlic powder, 2% milk & chopped red onion. Using a fork, mash well to make a spread. Add additional milk if too thick until you reach desired consistency. (this step can be prepared ahead of time & refrigerated until ready to serve)
  5. In a grill pan or large skillet drizzle 1 tsp of EVOO, then using a paper towel, coat pan.
  6. Heat pan to medium-high. Once hot, place half the chicken pieces in the pan and cook until browned approximately 2 minutes on each side. Remove from pan & set aside. Cook remaining chicken breasts and set aside.
  7. Place mixed salad greens on a dinner plate then top with cooked chicken breast(s).  Garnish the chicken with Feta cheese spread.  Arrange tomato slices on the dish and garnish with fresh Greek oregano.

Oops, I had a brain freeze!  I forgot to add the olives, cucumbers, and sliced red onions to the salad greens before taking the photo for this post…then we ate & it was too late!😜😂