Seven Dishes for the Feast of the Seven Fishes

seafood salad

The Feast of the Seven Fishes is an Italian American Christmas Eve celebration that’s full of tradition. Regardless of the name not every family serves seven dishes, some do way more and some do way less, for instance a single pot made up of a rich seafood stew.

Whatever your traditions are or heritage is, if you’re a seafood lover this is the night for you, so you might want to add one of my favorites here to your holiday table or keep one in mind for a later dinner event.

First up is this bright and citrusy SEAFOOD SALAD  above, your guests will go crazy over it and it’s a stunner on the table.

crab cakes

CRAB CAKES, so decadent and rich, filled with flaky crab, not bready fillers, topped with a lemon aioli.

cioppino

CIOPPINO, This is that seafood stew I was talking about and great for a smaller group, it’s filled with scallops, cod, crab, mussels and clams. Feel free to mix and match any combination of fish you want, it has a deep flavored rich broth which requires crusty bread for sopping up the juices.

shrimp and lobster ravioli

Here’s a very special pasta dish that’s really worth the time and effort, SHRIMP AND LOBSTER RAVIOLI, did I mention it has a limoncello cream sauce?

seafood risotto

You can’t go wrong with SEAFOOD RISOTTO, shrimp, scallops and lobster made with a seafood broth, creamy rice that is laced with Prosecco, this screams celebration time!

crab stuffed shrimp

CRAB STUFFED SHRIMP, Oh my, you can easily make a huge tray of these to serve your guests. I love the flavor combination, it’s luxurious and perfect for a crowd with or without the CHAMPAGNE sauce they’re resting in, yes, champagne! It’s the holidays and it’s time to splurge.

fried calamari

And last but not least is this FRITTO MISTO, which means fried mixture. It’s filled with calamari, scallops, lemon slices, some green beans and jalapeno tossed in for added color, flavor and texture, it’s delicious and has a very light breading that you will love.

Being with family, drinking good wine, eating great food, making memories and keeping those traditions alive, whether you celebrate The Feast of the Seven Fishes or not, that’s really what it’s all about!

Follow me on Instagram to see what else I’m cooking up during the holidays.

 

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Chocolate Dipped Polenta Biscotti with Amaretto and Anise

polenta biscotti

The holiday season is upon us and it’s time to start making some cookies! Each year I love to bake a few different kinds of biscotti, this year these polenta biscotti will make an appearance.

Biscotti are so nice to have around when people stop by to visit, they store very well when baked early on during the holidays and hardly ever lose their crunch factor.

Speaking of crunch factor, these particular biscotti have the addition of fine granules of polenta incorporated into the dough which results in a rustic and crunchy texture.

Almost eleven years ago on this blog I did a post on polenta biscotti but since then I have upgraded both my photos and added a little twist to the original along with more detail for you, so this is my revised version.

biscotti ingredients

As well as the polenta, anise seeds are crucial to this recipe along with a light touch of amaretto liquor which can easily be replaced with almond extract if need be. You can adorn them with dark chocolate or not, but for the holidays and any special occasion or for gifting the dip of chocolate on one end makes for a prettier presentation, and it sure tastes good!

polenta biscotti

When the logs are finished baking it’s important to let them cool down completely before you slice them for the second baking.

I like slicing them on the diagonal and always use a serrated knife to make clean cuts. Often times I use an old fashioned electric knife that I have and it works wonders for slicing biscotti.

polenta biscotti

After you’ve baked the individual slices again make sure they are completely cooled before you start to dunk them into the pool of melted chocolate. After dipping just the one end and while the chocolate is still warm, immediately scatter some sliced almonds over the top so they can stick as the chocolate starts to cool.

polenta biscotti

Leave them on parchment then stick them into the fridge for maybe fifteen minutes so the chocolate can set.

polenta biscottipolenta biscotti

I like to store mine in pretty boxes or tins, preferably rectangle shaped so that they fit nicely, with layers of wax paper in between, just keep them in a cool place and they’ll be fine.

polenta biscotti

Whether you gift this to someone you love or keep the stash for yourself these polenta biscotti are so worth making!

polenta biscotti

Get the coffee going, grab a biscotti and enjoy the season!

Follow me on Instagram to see what else I’m cooking up during the week.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Chocolate Dipped Polenta Biscotti with Amaretto and Anise
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 4 cups un-bleached all purpose flour
  • ¾ cup of instant polenta granules
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 1½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons of anise seeds
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ cup of sliced almonds plus extra for garnishing chocolate
  • 10 tablespoons of melted butter
  • 2 or 3 teaspoons of amaretto liquor or ½ teaspoon of almond extract
  • dark chocolate chips for melting
  • ¼ teaspoon of vegetable shortening to smooth out the chocolate when melting
Instructions
  1. Melt butter, set aside. Heat oven to 350F
  2. In a large bowl add the flour, polenta, baking powder, anise seed and almonds. Whisk by hand to incorporate.
  3. In a smaller bowl with a hand mixer, beat the sugar with the melted butter and get it throughly mixed, then add in one egg at a time still mixing until light and fluffy, then add the amaretto and combine.
  4. Combine the dry ingredients with the wet mixing with hand beater to get it all incorporated so you're able to form your logs.
  5. If you see some dry crumbles add a tiny bit of milk and gather up the dough.
  6. Once dough is nice and smooth form it into two logs, 9x4 around ¾ inch thick.
  7. Place both logs onto a rimmed parchment lined baking sheet, make sure to flatten down the tops of the logs gently.
  8. Bake logs at 350F for 25 to 30 minutes depending on your oven, then let them cool completely before slicing.
  9. When it's time to slice them, cut on the diagonal being careful with a serrated or electric knife.
  10. Place the slices down on one side and bake them for 5 minutes.
  11. Take them out after 5 minutes, flip them over on the other side, put them back in the oven and bake for another five minutes.
  12. Take them out to check for desired golden color, I did mine for one more additional 5 minutes, ovens vary and so does every ones crunch factor.
  13. Let them cool completely before dunking into chocolate.
  14. MELTING CHOCOLATE
  15. Place some of the chocolate into a microwave proof cup, along with the bit of shortening and check in 20 second increments until its melted, check and stir. You may need to melt more, but a little goes along way.
  16. Take one end of your biscotti and dunk it into the chocolate and immediately onto parchment paper, then scatter your nuts on top.
  17. When finished dunking all your biscotti place them into the fridge for 15 minutes so the chocolate can set.
  18. Enjoy!
  19. This can be stored in tin cans or boxes in between layers of wax paper for a few weeks, if they last that long.

 

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Italian Meatloaf

Italian meatloaf

This is my version of Italian meatloaf, it’s rich and meaty, bursting with flavors of garlic, asiago, herbs and pecorino cheese and it has a tasty red pepper sauce infusing the inside as well as the outside.

Italian meatloaf

What can I say, meatloaf is homey, classic comfort food. This Italian meatloaf is something I make during the colder months. I like eating this with a big Italian salad or maybe roasted potatoes and sometimes the classic mashed, you can’t go wrong with either.

Italian meatloaf

You can slather the top with a red pepper sauce like, store bought or homemade or just as good a chunky marinara.You are then going to finish it off with some fresh mozzarella which you’ll stick it on at the end for a few minutes just until it starts to melt and ooze out.

You can use whatever ground meat mixture you like, I used all ground beef in mine.

Italian meatloaf

Not only is this delicious for dinner but the next day you can slice it up for sandwiches with some good bread and crunchy lettuce.

red pepper sauce

FYI, If you’re lucky enough to have a Trader Joe’s near you, sometimes I cheat and buy this fabulous spread, it’s filled with red peppers, a bit of garlic and eggplant and it’s so delicious smeared all over the meatloaf as it bakes, and so convenient!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Italian Meatloaf
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs. ground beef or ground meat of your choice
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • ½ chopped onion
  • handful of shredded carrots
  • handfull of grated pecorino romano
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup panko
  • ¼ cup red pepper sauce or marinara thats on the thicker side
  • ¾ cup asiago cheese, diced small
  • chopped basil and parsley for seasoning
  • salt and pepper
  • Additional red peer sauce or thick marinara, enough to slather the top of the meatloaf
  • 3 slices of fresh mozzarella
  • Fresh basil for garnish
Instructions
  1. Mix everything together in a big bowl.
  2. Form meat mixture into a loaf.
  3. Place meatloaf into baking dish
  4. Smother with enough red pepper sauce or marinara to cover it from end to end.
  5. Bake at 375F for about 1 hour and 15 minutes or until meat thermometer reaches 160.
  6. Last 5 minutes or so place mozzarella on top and let it start to melt and ooze.
  7. Garnish with basil leaves on top of melted mozzarella.

 

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