Easy Breakfast Spinach Fritters

Easy Breakfast Spinach Fritters

  • Servings: about 12 fritters
  • Difficulty: Easy

Barbara and I have been in a breakfast rut lately...sick of the same old oatmeal, cereal, plain eggs or just a cup of coffee. During these times of social distancing and staying at home, more than ever we need to be creative in the kitchen and treat ourselves to some fun ways to enjoy breakfast. While making chicken parmigiana for dinner the other night we had some leftover egg mixture, breadcrumbs, and some baby spinach leaves. Just by adding a few simple ingredients, we came up with a make-ahead breakfast meal we could enjoy the next morning. It was so easy and is sure to please. Any leftover cooked vegetable will work in this recipe...zucchini, broccoli, asparagus, tomatoes, peas or any combination of your favorite veggies. You can make these as a side for any meal too. Be creative and Enjoy! ❤️😋

Ingredients

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup + 1 Tablespoon milk (any milk will do)
  • 6-7 tablespoons seasoned breadcrumbs (substitute Gluten-Free seasoned breadcrumbs if gluten is an issue)
  • 3 tablespoons Pecorino-Romano cheese, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder  (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
  • 1/2 oregano
  • 2 cups fresh spinach, loosely packed, chopped into medium size bites
  • 1-2 tsp fresh parsley, chopped (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp salt + /- to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1 pat of butter
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of EVOO

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl add 4 large eggs and the milk. Whisk until scrambled well.
  2. Add salt, pepper, onion powder, thyme, oregano, garlic, bread crumbs, and grated cheese. Mix well and set aside for 10-15 minutes for the breadcrumbs to absorb liquid. You should have a medium liquid texture, not a thick paste.
  3. In a large skillet heat butter & EVOO until hot on medium heat. When oil & butter start to sizzle, using a large tablespoon, drop mixture into the hot skillet. No more than 4 at a time. Cook 1-1½ minutes until golden brown. Flip over and cook another 1-1½ minutes until golden brown. If browning to quickly lower the heat a bit.
  4. Remove from skillet and place on paper towels to drain & cool completely.
  5. Once cooled pack in an airtight glass or plastic food storage container and refrigerate. These fritters will last up to 3 days in the refrigerator if they don’t disappear on the first day!
  6. These can actually be served cold or heated in a toaster oven or microwave.

Notes: These fritters can be made gluten-free by substituting with gluten-free seasoned breadcrumbs.

 

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Easy Chicken Fajitas

Easy Chicken Fajitas

  • Servings: 4-5
  • Difficulty: Easy

With just three simple ingredients (aside from seasonings) you & your family can enjoy this juicy, flavorful chicken fajita meal any night of the week. If it weren't for the time it takes to properly caramelize the onions, this dish would go from prep to table in less than 30 minutes. The extra time it takes to slowly caramelize the onions is worth every extra minute. Enjoy! ❤️😋

Ingredients

  • 1¾-2 lbs. skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
  • 3  bell peppers, sliced lengthwise, 1/2-inch thick (1 red, 1 yellow & 1 green, seeded & veins removed)
  • 3 x-large onions (sweet or yellow), sliced lengthwise, 1/4-inch thick
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp oregano (optional)
  • dash of red pepper flakes
  • EVOO
  • 3 pats salted butter

Directions

  1. In a large skillet heat butter & EVOO until hot. When hot enough place the sliced onions in the skillet and lower heat to low. Sprinkle with salt. Slowly cook until caramelized, approximately 45- 50 minutes, turning occasionally with a pair of tongs. When done, onions should be beautifully golden brown and soft, not burnt. Remove from skillet & set aside.
  2. In the same skillet add a little more EVOO.  Add the sliced bell peppers and cook over high heat about 2 minutes to slightly char, then lower heat to medium-low and continue cooking covered until soft. Add cooked peppers to caramelized onions and set aside.
  3. In the same skillet add another teaspoon of EVOO. Heat on high then add the salt, pepper, cumin, garlic powder, chili powder, oregano, and a few shakes of red pepper flakes. Add the chicken to hot skillet and sear on both sides. Lower the flame and add the onion and pepper mixture to combine well. Heat until chicken is cooked through.
  4. Serve with heated flour tortillas (use gluten-free tortillas if gluten is an issue). Garnish with your favorite toppings such as shredded cheddar cheese, green onions, sour cream, guacamole, or salsa.

 

Notes: This meal can be gluten-free by substituting with gluten-free tortillas.

 

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The Best Gluten-Free New York Style Black & White Cookies

The Best Gluten-Free New York Style Black & White Cookies

  • Servings: 12 medium 3-inch cookies
  • Difficulty: Medium

If you grew up on Long Island or anywhere in NY, then you remember how delicious Black & White cookies are. They came in all different sizes from large to super large & then the mini's, with half vanilla and half chocolate glaze. To save on calories we decided to go with the medium 3-inch size. They can be found in just about any bakery or deli in NY. No one really knows their origin but some folks think Glaser's (Bavarian) brought them over when they came to the US in the early 1900's. Glaser's of Yorkville, opened up their bakery in 1902 (closed in 2018), Hemstrought’s Bakery in Utica, New York, opened around 1925. If you're a Seinfeld fan you will remember the 'Look to the Cookie Elaine' from Season 5 Episode 13 Dinner Party. Regardless of their origin, they are a staple cookie of New York and loved by all. I love the white half so I eat the chocolate side first saving the best for last while Teresa loves the chocolate so she eats the vanilla first (go figure). For years no one has really perfected a gluten-free version of these iconic NY cookies until now. We are happy to bring you the best Gluten-free black & whites ever. You would never know they are gluten-free. Enjoy! ❤️❤️

Ingredients

For Cookies:

  • 1¼ cups Bob’s Red Mill One to One Gluten-Free Flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk, well shaken
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (not imitation)
  • 1/2 tsp pure lemon extract (not imitation)
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 large egg

For Vanilla Icing:

  • 1½ cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (not imitation)
  • 1-2 Tablespoons hot water

For Chocolate Icing:

  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa (we use Dutch processed cocoa)
  • 2 Tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (not imitation)
  • 1/2 tsp light corn syrup
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1-2 Tablespoons hot water (add extra to get the correct consistency)

Directions

Cookie Directions:

  1. Place rack in the middle of your oven. Pre-heat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Line large baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mats.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.
  4. In a large measuring cup, stir together the well-shaken buttermilk, vanilla, and lemon extract.
  5. Using the paddle attachment in a stand mixer, beat together the butter & sugar until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  6. Add the egg and beat until well combined.
  7.  Beginning with flour mixture and ending with flour mixture, mix in flour mixture & buttermilk mixture alternately in batter at low speed until smooth.
  8. Place batter into a piping bag. Snip off the first 1-inch of bad to make a round hole.
  9. Starting in the center, pipe counterclockwise to about 2-inches diameter for medium size cookies. For larger cookie, pipe larger diameter.
  10. Place cookie sheet in preheated oven and bake 15 minutes for medium. Do not brown. Cookies are done when they spring back when touched.
  11. When done transfer to a cooling rack. In the meantime prepare the icings.
  12. Once completely cooled they are ready to ice.

Icing Directions Vanilla:

  1. Stir together confectioners sugar, corn syrup, lemon juice, vanilla, and 1 Tablespoon hot water in a small bowl until smooth.

Icing Directions Chocolate:

  1. Combine hot water, melted butter, vanilla and corn syrup in a small bowl.
  2. Whisk together the cocoa powder, powdered sugar, and salt in a medium bowl.
  3. Slowing pour the liquid ingredients into dry ingredients, whisking continuously until smooth. (Add a tiny bit of hot water if needed)

Icing Technique:

  1. Turn cookies over as you will ice the flat side only.
  2. Using a tablespoon, take a spoonful of vanilla icing and start in the center and push spoon towards the edge, covering half the cookie. Place cookie on rack with paper towels underneath to catch drippings.
  3. When set, do the same for the chocolate side. Let set completely before serving.
  4. To speed up the setting, these can be refrigerated for about 30 minutes.

Notes: If you don’t have buttermilk you can use 1 cup milk + 1 Tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar.

Our cookies are medium size, about 3 inches round. You can make about 8 large 6-inch round cookies with this recipe.

 

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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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Barbara’s Berry Cream Pie🥈

Barbara's Berry Cream Pie

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: Very Easy

If you ever paid a visit to Briermere Farms in Riverhead, Long Island then you know about their delicious pies. My favorite is their boysenberry! The tartness of the berries blending with the fluffy sweet cream filling is the perfect combination. Not being a pie maker I never heard of National Pie Day, which is celebrated every January 23rd. So, when the director of our Fitness Center sent a community-wide announcement about a pie contest to celebrate the event, I was intrigued. I decided to give it a try and make that boysenberry cream pie. I couldn't get fresh boysenberries here in NC so I decided to use fresh raspberries, blackberries, and canned boysenberries calling it Berry Cream Pie! I was thrilled with how it turned out. My husband Gary loves it and I'm happy to say my pie took 2nd Place 🥈 (Teresa's pie took 1st place🥇)

Ingredients

  1. 1 Sour Cream blind-baked pie crust
  2. 9-inch Pyrex pie dish

Berry Topping:

  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 can boysenberries, reserve 3 Tablespoons of juice then drain well
  • 1 pint fresh raspberries
  • 1 pint fresh blackberries
  • 3 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Cream Filling:

  • 1½ cups heavy cream
  • 1 (8 ounces) package full-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (full fat)

Directions

  1. In a medium saucepan, whisk the sugar and cornstarch together. Stir in the fruit, reserved boysenberry juice, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until thickened.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla. Set aside and let cool.
  3. Using a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, pour heavy cream into the bowl. Beat on medium until stiff peaks form. Transfer to another bowl.
  4. Replace the whisk attachment with a paddle attachment on the stand mixer. Combine the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla into the stand mixer bowl and beat until well combined, approximately 2 minutes.
  5. Fold in the whipped cream and sour cream until evenly incorporated.
  6. Spread cream filling into your blind-baked, cooled pie crust. Top with the cooled berry topping and place some fresh berries on top. Refrigerate pie at least 3 hours, preferably overnight.

Notes: You could also add strawberries & blueberries or whatever berries you love.

 

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Teresa’s Banana Cream Bourbon-Caramel Pie 🥇

Teresa's Banana Cream Bourbon-Caramel Pie

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: Moderate

I always loved to bake & as a young bride baked many pies, cakes & desserts. I always chose the more difficult recipes as I loved the challenge. Since I hadn't made any pies for many years I almost backed out of our first community pie contest that Barbara so graciously entered us in. Let's just say I owed her, but that's a story for another time! My inspiration for this pie comes from a dessert our Dad used to make on some weekends while we were growing up. It was a delicious banana pudding & wafer dessert that he or Mom probably saw on the box of wafers or Jello pudding box. Wherever it came from we loved it. I'm excited to say my Banana Cream Bourbon Caramel pie took 1st place. {Barbara was sorry she talked me out of backing out because her berry cream pie took 2nd place!} 🤣🤣

Ingredients

Vanilla Pastry Cream:

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

 Whipped Cream Garnish:

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tablespoons powdered sugar

Bourbon Caramel Sauce :

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Bourbon
  • 1/2 tsp corn syrup
  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1/4 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 Tablespoon vanilla extract

Directions

Vanilla Pastry Cream:

  1.  In a medium saucepan bring milk and cream to a simmer.
  2.  In a large bowl whisk sugar, cornstarch, flour, and salt.
  3. Add egg yolks one at a time; whisk until smooth (mixture will be very thick).
  4. Whisking constantly, gradually add the milk mixture to the yolk mixture.
  5. Return to saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly until thick, 2-3 minutes.
  6. Transfer to a blender and add butter and vanilla. Purée until smooth, 1-2 minutes.
  7. Transfer puréed mixture to a medium bowl and press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the vanilla cream pastry mixture. This will prevent a film from forming.
  8. Chill at least 2 hours or until set. This mixture can be made 1 or 2 days ahead and kept in the refrigerator until assembling the pie.
  9. Toast a handful of chopped walnuts in a small skillet until the aroma is released. Then add a tablespoon + of the caramel sauce and toss. Remove from heat and set aside to use as garnish.

Whipped Cream Topping:

  1. With an electric mixture, beat 1/2 cup cream and powdered sugar together until medium-stiff peaks form. Cover and chill.

Bourbon Caramel Sauce:

  1. In a medium saucepan stir sugar, bourbon, corn syrup, and 1 Tablespoon of water over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves.
  2. Increase heat and bring to a boil without stirring, cook, occasionally swirling saucepot until sugar is a deep amber color, 6-8 minutes. (you can use a wet pastry brush to push down the sides).
  3. Remove the caramel from the heat and whisk the remaining 1/4 cup of cream, butter, and salt. Let cool for about 5-6 minutes then whisk in vanilla. Let cool and set aside until ready to drizzle over pie at room temperature.
  4. Spread 1/4 cup vanilla pastry cream evenly over the bottom of the pastry crust.
  5. Slice bananas into 1/4 inch rounds and layer over the pastry cream. Top with 1½ cups vanilla pastry cream.  Arrange the remaining banana slices over the top. Top the bananas with the remaining pastry cream.  Garnish with whipped cream and caramelized walnuts. Drizzle with caramel sauce and serve.

 

 

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Fish Fillet Roll-ups with Stewed Tomatoes

Fish Fillet Roll-ups with Stewed Tomatoes

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Very Easy

Who knew our Mom was cooking the Mediterranean Diet style long before it was ever acknowledged to be such a healthy way of eating? She used to prepare flounder fillets this way in order to disguise the fish so we would eat it. She was really onto something as we thought it tasted like pizza! I guess she fooled us alright...we loved it! Our local fish market was out of flounder but the cod looked great & was on sale so we adapted Mom's recipe using the fresh cod. If fresh fish isn't available where you live, by all means, use frozen and make sure you defrost it thoroughly & remove any bones before preparing. If your little ones don't like fish try telling them they're 'pizza style roll-ups' and give them a try. We won't tell!

Ingredients

  • 2½ – 3 lbs white fish fillets (cod or flounder) fresh or frozen & thawed
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4- 1/2 cup Italian Style Bread Crumbs (or gluten-free bread crumbs if gluten is an issue)
  • 2 Tablespoons dried oregano plus more for topping
  • 1 tsp sea salt, more or less to taste
  • 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons or more Pecorino Romano grated cheese
  • EVOO to drizzle over fillets & casserole dish
  • 2 cans Stewed tomatoes with juice
  • large toothpicks to seal fillets while baking

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF.
  2. Pat fish fillets dry with paper towels.
  3. Drizzle a little EVOO over each fillet. Rub the minced garlic on each fillet then sprinkle all seasonings starting with salt, pepper, oregano, bread crumbs, and grated cheese.
  4. In a 2 quart casserole, drizzle a small amount of EVOO on the bottom of the dish. Roll-up each fillet and place in casserole.
  5. Pour the stewed tomatoes over the fish roll-ups then place a large toothpick into each fillet to prevent them from opening. Sprinkle additional oregano, salt & pepper on top of the stewed tomatoes.
  6. Place in preheated oven and bake at 400ºF until fish flakes, about 20-25 minutes. Remember, these fillets are rolled up so they will take longer to flake.
  7. Remove from casserole and plate with your favorite salad and vegetable.

 

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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!

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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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Zeppole

Zeppole

  • Servings: Makes 45-50
  • Difficulty: Easy

Christmas wouldn't be the same without Mom's zeppole (Italian donuts). Fifty years ago, our Mom got this recipe from her neighbor Lucille and that was the start of our love affair with zeppole! From her first batch, they became a holiday favorite in our home. During the holiday season you would always find a pot filled with vegetable oil, just waiting for Mom to whip up a batch. Our home was always filled with friends and neighbors and Mom always had them available. Everyone loved them and they were quickly devoured. Our zeppole are heavenly with their light, spongy texture, and sprinkling of powdered sugar. Even Santa loves them & keeps coming back for more! ❤️❤️

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Presto* cake flour (sift before measuring)
  • 4 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla paste or extract
  • 4 eggs, well beaten
  • 1½ lbs. of whole milk ricotta cheese
  • Vegetable oil, 2 to 3 inches deep for frying

Directions

  1. Slowly heat the vegetable oil in a 1 – 2 qt stainless steel saucepan, to a temperature of 375º. (use an instant-read thermometer to check the temperature)
  2. In a large bowl, place the cake flour, sugar, vanilla, eggs, and ricotta cheese and mix well with a wooden spoon.
  3. When the oil temperature reaches 375º, take a flatware tablespoon of batter and using your index finger or another spoon,  carefully slide the batter off the spoon into the hot oil, being careful not to splash yourself. Set the timer for 3 minutes once they are in the pot.  Depending on the size pot you use, fry 2-4 at a time. They turn on their own so no need to turn them.
  4. After 3 minutes, remove to paper towels to drain any excess oil.
  5. Continue frying 2-4 zeppole at a time until batter is used up.
  6. Put the cooked zeppole in a serving dish and sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve while warm.

Notes:  *Presto cake flour is self-rising and contains baking powder & salt. If not available in your local grocery store, order from Amazon. Swan Cake flour is not self-rising and will require the addition of baking powder and salt; however, we don’t know you’ll get the same results.

Zeppole need room to turn over on their own so don’t crowd them. We used a small 1 qt saucepan and fried 2 at a time. If you want to fry 4 or 5 at a time make sure you use at least a 6 qt saucepan.

The powdered sugar will melt if they sit awhile before serving so sprinkle with additional powdered sugar as needed.

 

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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