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

 

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Creamy Tuscan Garlic Chicken – Twiins Style

Creamy Tuscan Garlic Chicken - Twiins Style

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy

Lately all my friends and neighbors are wondering what to cook since we are all observing the Stay at Home restrictions going on across the country. They are bored and tired of cooking 3 times a day. While checking my text messages I saw one from 'Nextdoor' with the title  'What's for Dinner'. This recipe caught my eye so I decided to give it a try. Wow! I'm so happy I did.  Not only is it full of flavor but it's so easy to make. Both Gary & I loved it. I hope Teresa makes this for my niece while she's helping her recuperate. I know they will love it too! 😋❤️

Ingredients

  • 1½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced
  • 2 – 4 Tablespoons EVOO
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2¼ tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano (freshly grated) (please don’t use the fake stuff in the green container…)
  • 2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes (in oil)

Directions

  1. In a large skillet add 2-4 Tablespoons EVOO. When oil starts to shimmer, add the chicken and cook on medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes on each side or until golden brown on each side. Don’t crowd the skillet or you’ll get steam instead of browning. Cook until no longer pink in the center. Remove chicken and set aside on a plate.
  2. Add the heavy cream, chicken broth, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Whisk over medium-high heat until it starts to thicken.
  3. Add the spinach and sundried tomatoes. Let simmer until the spinach starts to wilt.
  4. Add the chicken back to the skillet and serve over your favorite pasta.

Notes: 

1. Use genuine Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese that you freshly grate. The pre-grated cheese has additives and makes it ball up instead of melting into the sauce. You may also substitute with Locatelli Pecorino Romano cheese, also freshly grated.

2. Large chicken bone-in chicken thighs can also be used in place of chicken breasts. Just make sure you cook a little longer so they are fully cooked.

Recipe adapted from  Alyssa Rivers (The Recipe Critic).

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.

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The Best Gluten-Free Meatloaf Ever

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: Easy

This isn’t just another meatloaf recipe! I have made many meatloaf variations throughout the years, but none have ever come close to this super easy, flavorful, moist, and absolutely delicious meatloaf that my daughter Tracy makes. I’ve been staying with my daughter while she is recovering from surgery and wanted to cook meals for her and, as she refers to him, her roommate John🤣. The only change I had to make was adapting it to be gluten-free for Jack so he could enjoy it too. I have to say it was the biggest hit. The glaze was just the right amount of sweet and tangy that made this meatloaf extra special. Enjoy !!😋 😋

Ingredients

  • 1½-1¾ lbs ground beef 80-85%
  • 1¾ cups 4C Gluten-Free Plain breadcrumbs
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 4 Tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2-3 tsp dried parsley
  • 3 tsp garlic powder
  • Salt to taste

Gluten-Free Homemade Onion Soup Mix

  • 1/2 cup dried onion flakes
  • 4 Tablespoons Gluten-free beef bouillon granules (Herb-ox)
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley flakes
  • 1/4 tsp celery seed
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Glaze Topping

  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 4 heaping Tablespoons brown sugar

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350º F.
  • In a large bowl, add the ground beef, bread crumbs, onion, milk, beaten eggs,  4 tablespoons ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, parsley, salt, garlic powder, dried onion flakes, celery seed, paprika, bouillon granules, and pepper. Using disposable gloves on your hands mix these ingredients together until well combined. Do not under-mix.
  • Add the meat mixture to a 9×13 inch roasting pan. Pat and form the meat into a loaf shape approximately 3-4 inches high.
  • In a small bowl, add 1/2 cup ketchup, the brown sugar, and vinegar. Stir well to combine. Pour the glaze on top of the meatloaf and place it on the center rack in the preheated oven.
  • Bake uncovered for 55 -65 minutes.
  • Let the meatloaf rest for 8-10 minutes before serving.

Notes:

1. Homemade Gluten-free onion soup mix. Mix all ingredients together. Store in an airtight container. This will yield the equivalent of 2 envelopes of gluten-free dry onion soup mix.

2. If gluten isn’t an issue you may use any Lipton Onion Soup mix in place of the homemade version and regular plain breadcrumbs.

2. For a tasty meal, serve with creamy mashed potatoes and sautéed fresh spinach with garlic and EVOO

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.

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Carrot Mashed Potatoes 🥕🥕

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: Easy

Like many children, and some adults too, we didn't like eating carrots growing up. We don't remember who came up with the idea, mom or dad, but they creatively added them to the mashed potatoes then proceeded to tell us they were orange mashed potatoes. We loved them! Weren't they smart getting us to eat a healthy vegetable? Teresa carried that tradition on with her family who also loved them. 😋 😋

Ingredients

  • 2lbs Yukon gold potatoes, peeled & cut in half then cut in quarters
  • 4-5 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch rounds
  • 1 Tablespoon Kosher salt for water
  • 3/4 – 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 stick salted butter
  • salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Place carrots in a large saucepan filled with water to hold the carrots and the potatoes. Bring carrots to a boil and add 1 Tablespoon kosher salt. Boil the carrots for 6-8 minutes. Add the cut potatoes.
  2. Bring to a full boil then reduce heat to a simmer and cook until fork-tender, about 15-20 minutes.
  3. Remove saucepan from heat & drain well. Place potatoes and carrots back into saucepan & return to low heat. Stir constantly for about 1 minute to remove any excess liquid.
  4. Remove from the heat. Add the butter. Using a handheld masher, mash the butter into the potatoes and carrots.  Add enough cream & salt & pepper to taste. Continue mashing until the desired texture is achieved.
  5. Serve hot and enjoy.

Notes: In place of hand mashing you can use a hand mixer.

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.

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Broccoli Gratin

Broccoli Gratin

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: Easy

When it comes to side vegetables, broccoli is probably our go too choice. It's delicious with oil and garlic, lemon juice or just butter. It can get boring so why not kick it up a notch or two? Since we love broccoli and cheese, making a broccoli gratin was the perfect way to combine both and get rid of the boring. This is a creamy, delicious side dish that's very satisfying. It's always a big hit with our family and friends and we think you'll love it too. Enjoy!❤️❤️

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. fresh broccoli, cut into small florets (about 4 heads or 8 cups)
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more to grease baking dish
  • 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups whole milk
  • Pinch of freshly grated or ground nutmeg
  • 1½ tsp kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1½ cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup shredded gruyere cheese, divided
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup flavored bread crumbs (for a gluten-free version, substitute bread crumbs with gluten-free bread crumbs)

Directions

  1. Place rack in the middle of your oven. Pre-heat oven to 450ºF.
  2. Butter an 8 x 8 x 2-inch baking dish
  3. On medium heat, melt 3 Tablespoons of butter in a medium saucepan.
  4. Whisk in the flour until smooth. Cook, stirring for 1 minute.
  5. Add the milk, salt, and nutmeg then bring to a boil, whisking constantly.
  6. Lower heat and simmer, stirring occasionally until the white sauce is thickened, about 10 minutes, maybe less.
  7. Season with pepper and remove from heat.
  8. Bring about 1-inch of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Set up with a collapsible steamer on top. Place the broccoli in the steamer and season with salt. Cover and steam until crisp-tender, about 4-5 minutes, less if florets are very small.
  9. Place the broccoli in the prepared baking dish, sprinkle with half the shredded cheese.
  10. Pour the white sauce over broccoli & cheese then top with remaining shredded cheese.
  11. In a small skillet melt the remaining Tablespoon of butter over medium-high heat. Add the bread crumbs and cook, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle over the gratin then bake until lightly browned and bubbly, about 20 minutes.
  12. Serve immediately.

Notes: You may use all cheddar cheese if you prefer or mix cheddar with swiss. Experiment with your favorite soft cheeses.

Recipe adapted from Food Network Kitchens.

 

 

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Pasta Fasùl (Pasta Fagioli)

Pasta Fasùl (Pasta Fagioli)

  • Servings: 6-8 as a main dish
  • Difficulty: Very Easy

Growing up in our Italian American household we could always count on one of our favorite meatless meals on a Friday night...Pasta Fasùl. Depending upon the region of Italy your family is from, you may know it as pasta fagioli or pasta fasùl (fazool). Our grandparents were from Naples and Sicily, which shared the same word for beans, fasùl. Technically this dish is a soup; however, we loved it best when most of the liquid dried up & was topped with lots of grated Pecorino Romano cheese. Our Mom always made this with small or medium-sized pasta shells; however, you can use any small pasta in your pantry as we did tonight. This is a very rustic meal but can be dressed up with the addition of any vegetable you have on hand, i.e. spinach, carrots, zucchini, or escarole. To complete this meal, serve with a side salad. Give it a try on those nights you're pressed for time and let us know how you and your family like it.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. medium or small pasta shells or elbow pasta (we used ditalini as that’s what we had on hand)
  • 10 -12 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 4 cans cannellini beans, do not rinse or drain the liquid
  • 1 cup prepared tomato sauce (preferably homemade or your favorite jar sauce) I also use Hunt’s Tomato Sauce with basil, garlic, and oregano if I don’t have homemade sauce.
  • 1 small can tomato paste plus same can filled with water to dilute (Omit if using Hunt’s Tomato Sauce with basil, garlic, & oregano)
  • salt to taste
  • reserve at least 1 cup cooked pasta water
  • Pecorino Romano grated cheese for topping

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add a Tablespoon of salt then add pasta. Cook pasta according to package directions. Before draining reserve at least 1 cup of the pasta water then drain pasta & set aside in a large bowl.
  2. In a large, deep skillet on medium heat add EVOO. Add smashed garlic & sauté a minute or two but don’t burn.
  3. Add the 4 cans of cannellini beans and stir well until they begin to boil. Lower heat to medium-low and add 4 cans of Hunt’s Tomato Sauce with basil, garlic & oregano OR 1 cup prepared sauce & small can of tomato paste with a small can of water. Add a little of the reserved pasta water if too thick. Combine well and continue to cook for about 10-15 minutes.
  4. If you prefer a soupier pasta fasùl just add more of the reserved pasta water until it’s the consistency you like.
  5. Let sit for 5-10 minutes in a covered pot before serving.
  6. Top with grated cheese & garnish with fresh basil or parsley (optional)

NOTE: To make this meal gluten-free, just substitute any small-sized gluten-free pasta in place of regular pasta.

This dish thickens as it sits so if you want a thinner sauce, add more liquid in step 3-4 while cooking or add extra sauce.

Use 2 small cans for every 2 cans of cannellini beans for a nice thick texture. If you like it more like a soup, use 3 to4 cans.

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.

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Cannoli Shells – Gluten-Free Twiins Style

Cannoli Shells - Gluten-Free Twiins Style

  • Servings: 40 small cannoli shells
  • Difficulty: Intermediate

It has taken 3 years of experimenting with countless cannoli shell recipes to get the cannoli shells to have the perfect texture, like the New York & Boston bakeries...not too crisp or too hard. We were persistent in trying to make a shell worthy of our cannoli cream. We were disappointed to learn that most of the Italian restaurants along with a lot of bakeries who serve/sell cannoli buy premade shells. It was a daunting journey and we were about to give up and buy the premade but we gave it one more try. Once we got the regular shell recipe to our liking we had to come up with a gluten-free recipe for Jack. We are thrilled to share our gluten-free recipe with you. They are delicious and so worth the effort!

Ingredients

  • 1 ¾ c Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free 1 to 1 Flour 
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp cacao powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste 
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 Tablespoons salted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sweet Marsala wine (do not use cooking Marsala)
  • Vegetable oil for frying  to a depth of 3-inches
  • candy thermometer or instant-read thermometer
  • 3-4 qt. saucepan
  •  small/mini cannoli forms
  •  prepared Italian Cannoli Cream, Twiins Style

Directions

  1. Sift the gluten-free flour, sugar, cinnamon, cacao powder, and salt into a large bowl.
  2. Make a well in the center and add the cold butter. Using a pastry blender or fork, cut in the butter until the mixture has the consistency of coarse cornmeal.
  3. In a small bowl, beat together the egg yolks, wine & vanilla paste. Add to the flour, a tablespoon at a time, just until the dough begins to cling together. It should be lumpy.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until it is smooth and satiny and tiny blisters appear on the surface. The blisters mean that the wine is beginning its fermentation in the dough, which will produce a crisp, light shell. Under kneading will result in large, irregular air pockets in the dough that will puff up and explode when they hit the oil.
  5. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
  6. In a deep heavy-bottomed 3-4 qt saucepan, add enough oil to come to a depth of 3 inches; heat to 375ºF on a deep-fry or candy thermometer. You will need to adjust the heat from time to time to maintain 375º.
  7. After an hour, remove dough from the refrigerator.  Then divide the dough into 4 quarters.
  8. On a floured surface, roll out the dough to approximately 1/16 inch thick and cut it into 3-inch circles with a cookie cutter.
  9. Use a small pastry brush to lightly wipe some vegetable oil around each cannoli tube to prevent dough from sticking to the tube.
  10. Wrap each cutout of dough around the aluminum cannoli tube and seal the edges with a little water. The edges should overlap. Press down to seal well.
  11. Once the oil reaches 372º-375º, use a chopstick to slide through the cannoli tube and gently place it in the hot oil. Fry 2 or 3 at a time, depending on the size of your pan, just be careful as they cook quickly. If the shells are browning too quickly lower temperature to 370º. Temperatures may vary depending on a gas stove or electric so keep an eye on the candy thermometer as it changes quickly.  Use the chopstick to roll the tubes around until golden brown. They will dry a darker color once cooled. Using the chopsticks again, insert into tube and quickly remove to paper towel draped cooking rack to drain excess oil. Don’t worry if the tubes slide off the dough while frying. Just carefully remove the tube with your chopstick.
  12. Use oven mitts or triple folded paper towels to grab the hot tube and gently shake to slide the shell off. Completely cool and store in an airtight container or plastic baggies with a paper towel inside to absorb any excess oil. They will keep several weeks.
  13. To Fill: Do not fill cannoli until ready to serve or your shells will be soggy. Use a large pastry bag with or without a fancy tip. Fill the bag with cannoli cream and squeeze into the shells, filling half of each shell at a time; working from the center out to the ends.
  14. Decorate the ends with chopped pistachios, mini chocolate chips, candied orange peel or candied cherries. Shell ends can also be dipped in chocolate before filling.

Notes: Cannolo (plural: cannoli) The word cannoli means ‘pipes’ – pipes of crispy pastry filled with ricotta cream (the most common), pastry cream, chocolate cream, or pistachio cream.

Recipe adapted from Victoria Granof, Sweet Sicily: The Story of an Island and Her Pastries.

 

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.

 

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Cannoli Shells – Twiins Style

Cannoli Shells - Twiins Style

  • Servings: 40 small cannoli shells
  • Difficulty: Intermediate

It has taken 3 years of experimenting with countless cannoli shell recipes to get the cannoli shells to have the perfect texture, like the New York & Boston bakeries...not too crisp or too hard. We were persistent in trying to make a shell worthy of our Italian Cannoli Cream, Twiins Style. We were disappointed to learn that most of the Italian restaurants along with a lot of bakeries who serve/sell cannoli buy premade shells. It was a daunting journey and we were about to give up and buy the premade but we gave it one more try. We are thrilled to share our recipe with you. They are delicious and so worth the effort! ❤️❤️

Ingredients

  • 1 ¾ c unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp cacao powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste 
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 Tablespoons salted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sweet Marsala wine (do not use cooking Marsala)
  • Vegetable oil for frying  to a depth of 3-inches
  • candy thermometer or instant-read thermometer
  • 3-4 qt. saucepan
  •  small/mini cannoli forms
  •  prepared Italian Cannoli Cream, Twiins Style

Directions

  1. Sift the flour, sugar, cinnamon, cacao powder, and salt into a large bowl.
  2. Make a well in the center and add the cold butter. Using a pastry blender or fork, cut in the butter until the mixture has the consistency of coarse cornmeal.
  3. In a small bowl, beat together the egg yolks, wine & vanilla paste. Add to the flour, a tablespoon at a time, just until the dough begins to cling together. It should be lumpy.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until it is smooth and satiny and tiny blisters appear on the surface. The blisters mean that the wine is beginning its fermentation in the dough, which will produce a crisp, light shell. Under kneading will result in large, irregular air pockets in the dough that will puff up and explode when they hit the oil.
  5. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
  6. In a deep heavy-bottomed 3-4 qt saucepan, add enough oil to come to a depth of 3 inches; heat to 375ºF on a deep-fry or candy thermometer. You will need to adjust the heat from time to time to maintain 375º.
  7. After an hour, remove dough from the refrigerator. If using a pasta machine, make sure to flour the machine first. Then divide the dough into 4. Using your hands, flatten the dough into a small square or rectangular shape and pass through the pasta machine on “0”. Continue to pass through making sure to go up a number on the machine with each pass until you get through 5. The dough is now thin enough to cut out the circles using a 3-inch round cookie cutter on a floured surface.  Proceed to step 9.
  8. If you don’t have a pasta machine, on a floured surface, roll out the dough to approximately 1/16 inch thick and cut it into 3-inch circles with a cookie cutter.
  9. Use a small pastry brush to lightly wipe some vegetable oil around each cannoli tube to prevent dough from sticking to the tube.
  10. Wrap each cutout of dough around the aluminum cannoli tube and seal the edges with a little water. The edges should overlap. Press down to seal well.
  11. Once the oil reaches 372º-375º, use a chopstick to slide through the cannoli tube and gently place it in the hot oil. Fry 2 or 3 at a time, depending on the size of your pan, just be careful as they cook quickly. If the shells are browning too quickly lower temperature to 370º. Temperatures may vary depending on a gas stove or electric so keep an eye on the candy thermometer as it changes quickly.  Use the chopstick to roll the tubes around until golden brown. They will dry a darker color once cooled. Using the chopsticks again, insert into tube and quickly remove to paper towel draped cooking rack to drain excess oil. Don’t worry if the tubes slide off the dough while frying. Just carefully remove the tube with your chopstick.
  12. Use oven mitts or triple folded paper towels to grab the hot tube and gently shake to slide the shell off. Completely cool and store in an airtight container or plastic baggies with a paper towel inside to absorb any excess oil. They will keep several weeks.
  13. To Fill: Do not fill cannoli until ready to serve or your shells will be soggy. Use a large pastry bag with or without a fancy tip. Fill the bag with cannoli cream and squeeze into the shells, filling half of each shell at a time; working from the center out to the ends.
  14. Decorate the ends with chopped pistachios, mini chocolate chips, candied orange peel or candied cherries. Shell ends can also be dipped in chocolate before filling.

Notes: Click on the link for our gluten-free version: Cannoli Shells – Gluten-Free Twiins Style

Cannolo (plural: cannoli) The word cannoli means ‘pipes’ – pipes of crispy pastry filled with ricotta cream (the most common), pastry cream, chocolate cream, or pistachio cream.

Recipe adapted from Victoria Granof, Sweet Sicily: The Story of an Island and Her Pastries.

 

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.

 

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Mussels Fra Diavolo

Mussels Fra Diavolo

  • Servings: Serves 6-12
  • Difficulty: Easy

About ten years ago Gary requested Mussels Fra Diavolo to be included in our Christmas Eve dinner. Our father & husbands love the hot & spicy sauce the mussels are cooked in. We serve it over linguine or angel hair pasta. It's an easy & quick recipe that you can make as hot as you like (read Note below before step 2) . The lovers of HEAT in your family will definitely enjoy this sauce. 😋 😋

Ingredients

  • 1½ heads of garlic
  • 1/3 cup red wine (optional)
  • 1½ tsp hot red pepper flakes
  • 4 shakes cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup EVOO
  • 3 (28 oz) cans San Marzano whole tomatoes
  • 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 cup capers, drained (optional)
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted & chopped (optional)
  • 3-4 lbs mussels, cleaned & debearded
  • 1 can sliced Scungilli (optional)
  • 2 shakes of black pepper

Directions

  1. In a 12-inch skillet, heat the EVOO on medium-low.
  2. Add garlic and red pepper flakes, stir well.
  3. Add tomatoes, oregano, basil, capers, olives & wine.
  4. Break up the tomatoes and simmer about 15-20 minutes until the sauce thickens.
  5. In the meantime, cook your linguine or angel hair pasta.
  6. Raise sauce heat to medium and add the mussels. Cover & continue cooking another 3-6 minutes more or until mussels are open.
  7. Add the can of sliced scungilli if using. (These are already cooked so they don’t need more than 1 minute in the sauce)
  8. Discard any mussels that do not open.
  9. Serve over pasta & enjoy.

Note: If your not a lover of heat,  sprinkle half the hot red pepper flakes and cayenne pepper first then give it a good stir. Taste it & proceed from there.  You can always add heat but you can’t take it away!

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.

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Christmas Eve 7 Fishes Seafood Salad

Christmas Eve 7 Fishes Seafood Salad

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: Moderate

All of our favorite fish in one platter, it doesn't get any better than that! We could always count on Aunt Rosemarie to make the best traditional Christmas Eve seafood salad for a tasty appetizer to start. Our husbands look forward to it and request it throughout the year. We recommend you have plenty of crusty Italian bread on hand to soak up the delicious marinade. ❤️

Ingredients

Broth 

  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 4 large cloves garlic
  • 3 bay leaves (large size) fresh or dried
  • 12 black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh parsley
  • 3  lemon slices, 1/4-inch thick
  • 1 Tablespoon salt

Mussels

  • 1/2 cup white wine

Salad

  • 1 pound tenderized octopus (see directions below)
  • 1 pound calamari, cut into 1/2-inch rings
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled & deveined
  • 1  29-oz can of sliced scungilli (we use LaMonica canned sliced scungilli as fresh is not available in our area)
  • 1 pound bay scallops (the small ones)
  • 3 lbs mussels, beards removed (if any of the uncooked mussels are open run under cold water to close. If they don’t close throw them out. After cooking throw out any mussels that do no open.
  • 1 baccala (salted dried cod, reconstitute in a large bowl with cold water 48 hours prior to cooking. Change the water several times throughout the process to remove excess salt.)
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 1 – 2 Tablespoons diced red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 cup carrots, shredded
  • 1 cup green olives with pimento (any olive you like can be used, black or green or both)

Marinade

  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup + 1 Tablespoon EVOO
  • 10 cloves garlic (medium size)
  • 1/2 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
  • reserved mussel broth that has been strained through cheesecloth

Directions

  1. 48 hours before cooking, soak the baccala in fresh clean water, changing the water about every 8 hours, to remove excess salt.
  2. Clean and wash all the seven fishes.
  3. In a deep pan, add 1/2 cup white wine and the mussels. Cover and cook until the mussels are all opened and the meat separates easily from the shell.
  4. Remove the meat and set aside in bowl.
  5. Filter the broth of the mussels through cheesecloth and set aside.
  6. In a large double boiler pot that has a colander, fill halfway with water.
  7. Add to the water all the ingredients for the broth, 1/2 cup white wine, 4 large cloves garlic, 3 bay leaves, 12 black peppercorns, 1 tsp fennel seeds, 1 Tablespoon fresh parsley, 3 lemon slices, and 1 Tablespoon salt.
  8. Bring to a boil then add the reconstituted baccala. Cook about 7 minutes then remove from water and set aside.
  9. Add to the pot the calamari, cook them for about 5 minutes then remove from water and set aside.
  10. Add to the pot the scallops, cook them for about 3-4 minutes then remove from water and set aside.
  11. Add to the pot the shrimp, cook about 2-3 minutes more or less (depending on their size) then remove from water and set aside. Shrimp are done when they are pink & opaque.
  12. Lastly, add the octopus to the pot then dip the colander in and out 3 times. Let the octopus cook for about 10-20 minutes (depending on size)then remove from the pot and set aside. Octopus is done when a fork pierces it easily.
  13. In a large bowl, add the mussels, calamari, shrimp, sliced scungilli, and scallops.
  14. Cut the baccala into bite size pieces, then add to the bowl.
  15. Cut the octopus into bite-size pieces with a knife or scissors, then add to the bowl.
  16. Mix all the fish together.
  17. To the bowl add the parsley, celery, carrots, and olives. Mix well.
  18. In a small bowl add the marinade ingredients and mix well.
  19. Pour over the fishes and mix well.
  20. In a covered bowl, marinate in the refrigerator overnight.
  21. Serve at room temperature as the appetizer course of your Christmas Eve dinner.

Notes: Baccala must be reconstituted in fresh colder water for 48 hours prior to making this recipe. 

Once the salad is made and the marinade has been added, refrigerate several hours or overnight before serving to meld the flavors.

Refrigerate unused salad and use within 2 days.

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.

 

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