Berry Slab Pie

IMG_3954Happy Memorial Day!!  As we dive into summer, backyard bbq’s and pool parties, easy and fresh are what we are looking for. A slab pie is the perfect warm weather treat, similar ingredients to your classic deep dish pie, but tends to be on the lighter side due to the thin buttery crust surrounding fresh seasonal fruit. Enjoy this berry filled goodness all summer long topped with your favorite scoop of ice cream!IMG_3875IMG_3926IMG_3945

Berry Slab Pie
Serves 10
Write a review
Pie Crust
  1. 5 Cups All Purpose Flour
  2. 1 Tbsp Sugar
  3. 2 tsp salt
  4. 2 Cups Unsalted Butter, Chilled
  5. 1/2 Cup Cold Water
Berry Filling
  1. 4 Cups Strawberries, Sliced
  2. 1 Cup Blueberries
  3. 1 Cup Rasperries
  4. 1 Cup Granulated Sugar
  5. 3 Tbsp Corn Starch
  6. 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  7. 1 lemon, Zested
  8. Juice of 1 Lemon
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and butter a 9x13 pan (1/4 sheet pan)
  2. In a food processor combine flour, sugar, and salt
  3. Slowly pulse the dry ingredients while adding the cold butter in cubes
  4. Once the flour looks like course meal, slowly add the water to the flour mixture until dough comes together
  5. Divide dough into two equal parts, wrap and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes before rolling out
  6. While the dough is chilling, prepare the berry fruit filling
  7. Slice the strawberries, combine with blueberries and raspberries
  8. Add sugar, cornstarch, vanilla extract, lemon zest and lemon juice to the fruit, mix until fully combined (refrigerated until ready to use)
  9. Once dough is chilled, roll the dough out to cover the bottom of your pan
  10. Add the filling to the top of the dough and spread evenly
  11. Roll out the remainder of the dough and cut into strips to make a lattice top
  12. *Egg wash the dough
  13. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until crust is golden brown
  14. Serve Warm
*Egg Wash
  1. 1 Egg
  2. 1 Tbsp Water
  3. Combine egg and water and whisk until combined 
Using a pastry brush, brush the egg wash onto the dough before baking to create a glossy and golden finish
INK foods : In Nanny's Kitchen
Ink Foods Signature

Crawfish Boil….Ending with the best ever Bourbon Bread Pudding

crawfish boiCrawfish season is one of our favorite times of the year. It’s time to get our backyards set up to enjoy spring weather and family get-togethers.

April is a month full of birthdays in our family, and it has become a tradition to host a casual backyard crawfish boil to celebrate. It’s so relaxing to spend time with the people we love most, eating on paper-lined tables piled with spicy crawfish, shrimp, corn and potatoes and listening to music. There is nothing fancy about this, but it brings everyone around the table for the first time after a busy winter.

Throwing a crawfish boil is easier than you might think. Here are answers to typical questions:
When is crawfish in season?
What equipment do I need?
The first step to hosting a crawfish boil for a large group is investing in a large stockpot with lid, basket and burner. If you plan to host a crawfish boil every year or several times in a year, it is worth the purchase. (These stockpots can also be used to fry a turkey.) An 80-quart pot will boil 30 pounds of crawfish.
How many crawfish do I need?
Although there are social crawfish eaters and veteran crawfish eaters, a good rule of thumb is around 2 to 3 pounds of mudbugs per person. Don’t worry about leftovers — there are many wonderful recipes you can make with them.
Where do I get crawfish?
Crawfish has to be cooked alive, so ordering from your local seafood market will be your best bet. (We went to Rex’s Seafood, You will typically need to order early in the week and pick them up the morning of your boil. While you are at the seafood market be sure to pick up your crawfish seasoning and liquid crab boil. Don’t be afraid to add fresh shrimp and crab legs to the mix.
How much time does it take?
Hosting a crawfish boil is a very social event — lots of talking, cooking and drinking beer. While you are waiting on the crawfish to boil you should enjoy the weather and your friends. It takes about an hour total.
How should I serve it?
This is the fun part! Cover a large table in paper, dump the hot crawfish boil on it, and start eating. Make sure to have the music on, beer on hand and empty bowls for the shells. If anyone is new to a crawfish boil, be sure to teach them the tricks. To finish off the night, serve Bourbon Bread Pudding for dessert. (see recipe below)bread pudding

What do I do with leftovers?
If all the crawfish is not consumed, do not throw them away. It will take you a little bit of extra time, but you must clean and remove all the shells in order to save the meat. Refrigerate or freeze the leftover crawfish meat to enjoy later. Some of my favorite crawfish dishes are crawfish mac and cheese, crawfish fritters, crawfish cakes or traditional crawfish étouffée. You will not regret having leftovers

Crawfish Boil
Serves 15
Write a review
  1. 1(16-ounce) package powdered shrimp and crab boil seasoning
  2. 1(8-ounce) bottle liquid shrimp and crab boil
  3. 3(4-pound) boxes of salt
  4. 1(30-40 pound) sack of live crawfish
  5. 8 large lemons, halved
  6. 4 large oranges, halved
  7. 1 bag small red potatoes
  8. 8 large heads garlic, not peeled, tops cut off
  9. 6 to 8 onions, cut in half
  10. 1 large pack of mushrooms (optional)
  11. 1 pack of smoked sausage (optional)
  12. 8 ears of corn (frozen)
  1. Fill crawfish pot about half full of water and bring to a boil. Add powdered seasoning, liquid shrimp and crab boil, and two boxes of salt to the pot.
  2. In a large washtub, add crawfish, water and half a box of salt to purge the crawfish. After 5 to 10 minutes, empty water, add remaining salt and wash them a second time. Make sure to remove any dead fish, grass or trash from the crawfish at this time. Making sure the crawfish are purged and very clean is essential to ending up with a tasty product in the end.
  3. Once water has come to a rolling boil in the pot, squeeze the juice from the lemons and oranges into the pot and toss in the rind. Add potatoes, garlic, onions, mushrooms and sausage to the pot, and boil for 10 minutes.
  4. Add crawfish to boiling water, cover the pot and bring back to a rolling boil. From the point that the water comes to a rolling boil, boil for no more than about 3 to 5 minutes depending on size of crawfish.
  5. After the crawfish have boiled, turn off burner and add the frozen ears of corn.
  6. Let crawfish soak for about 20 minutes or desired seasoning level. The longer they soak, the more seasoning they absorb. Never do less than 15 minutes or more than 30 minutes.
  7. Enjoy!
INK foods : In Nanny's Kitchen
Bourbon Bread Pudding
Serves 10
Write a review
  1. 5 cups French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
  2. 4 cups whole milk
  3. 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  4. 2 cups sugar
  5. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  6. 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  7. 1/2 cup raisins
  8. 1 cup pineapple, crushed
  9. Bourbon Caramel Sauce (see recipe below)
  1. Heat oven to 350 F.
  2. Place cubed French bread into a large bowl. Pour milk onto the bread and allow the bread to soak for 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. Whisk eggs, sugar, vanilla extract and cinnamon together in a separate bowl and pour over milk and bread mixture; stir to combine.
  4. Fold in raisins and crushed pineapple until fully combined.
  5. Pour mixture into a 9x13 glass dish and bake for 35-45 minutes or until custard is set.
  6. While the bread pudding is baking, make the Bourbon Caramel Sauce.
  7. Serve bread pudding in a bowl with sauce poured on top.
  1. Bourbon Caramel Sauce: Combine 1 cup unsalted butter and 2 cups sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir consistently until sugar is dissolved and butter is melted.
  2. Remove the pot from the heat and slowly stir in 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 4 tablespoons bourbon.
Adapted from Fishmongers Seafood Market
Adapted from Fishmongers Seafood Market
INK foods : In Nanny's Kitchen
Ink Foods Signature

Citrus Granita


It’s April and we have been lucky to start this month with the most beautiful weather!  All I want to do is be outside with my girls and nothing is more refreshing on a spring day than a frozen treat to end the day. Citrus granita is a semi frozen dessert made with water, sugar and a citrus juice of your choice to create a shaved ice that will cool you off all season long.IMG_6221IMG_6239

Lemon Lime Granita
Serves 6
Write a review
  1. 3 Cups Water
  2. 1 Cup Sugar
  3. 6 Mint Leaves
  4. 1/4 Cup Lemon Juice
  5. 1/4 Cup Lime Juice
  6. 1 tsp Lemon Zest
  7. 1 tsp Lime Zest
  1. In a small saucepan combine water, sugar and mint leaves
  2. Cook the simple syrup until sugar is dissolved and comes to a slight boil
  3. Turn the heat off and allow the simple syrup to cool down and then cover and refrigerate until chilled
  4. Once the simple syrup is chilled, remove mint leaves and stir in lemon juice, lime juice and zest and pour into a 9x13 baking dish
  5. Place in the freezer for 1 hour and using a fork stir up the mixture to create shaved ice
  6. Continue to freeze mixture and shave the ice every 30 minutes until fully frozen
  7. Once you are ready to serve, shave the ice with a fork into the bowl of your choice and garnish with fresh mint
  8. Enjoy!
INK foods : In Nanny's Kitchen
IMG_6282Ink Foods Signature

Easter Bread…A slice of an international tradition

IMG_6437A sweet bread full of tradition and lives through many cultures is one that has been passed down from generation to generation in my family. Italian Easter bread is a rich, eggy bread with a pop of citrus flavor, eggs (dyed or whited) braided into the dough, a sweet sugar glaze, and the best part…covered in rainbow sprinkles.

A tradition that my great grandmother started and has been shared and enjoyed by many is one of my favorite Easter morning memories. Every year this sweet brioche like bread would stay on our counter and throughout the weekend would be sliced and buttered until the whole thing was gone. Although is it typically made for the Easter holiday, I tend to crave it all year long.

Throughout many years of sharing our family’s Easter Bread, I quickly learned that it is not only an Italian tradition, but one spans many other cultures.

Italian Easter bread (Pane di Pasqua) 
The wreath symbolizes the crown of thorns, and the eggs represents birth and life.

Greek Easter Bread (Tsoureki)
This is very similar to the Italian tradition.  Three strands of bread symbolize the holy trinity, and red dyed eggs represent the blood of Christ.

British Easter Bread (Hot Cross Buns)
These are spiced sweet buns made with currents or raisins and enjoyed on Good Friday. 
The cross represents the Crucifixion of Christ.

Croatian Easter Bread, Pinca
Round loaf with a cross cut into the surface of the bread symbolizing the Crucifixion.  It is flavored with raisins, rum and citrus zest.

Spanish Easter Bread, Mona de Pascua
-Mona de Pascua means “gift of Easter”and is very similar to the Italian tradition as well, but is typically made with quail eggs, olive oil instead of butter and accented with flavors of orange zest and rosewater.

I hope you enjoy this special recipe from my Nanny’s kitchen to yours!

Nanny's Easter Bread
Write a review
  1. 4 cups all purpose flour
  2. ¼ cup granulated sugar
  3. ½ cup vegetable shortening
  4. ½ cup whole milk
  5. 1 envelope active dry yeast (2 ¼ tsp)
  6. 4 eggs
  7. 1 orange, zest and juice
  8. ½ tsp salt
  9. ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  10. 4 eggs (for decoration)
  1. 2 cups powdered sugar
  2. ¼ cup whole milk
  3. Sprinkles for garnish
  1. Place flour and sugar in a large mixing bowl with dough hook attachment and add shortening until a course crumb forms. Heat milk in a saucepan until warm to the touch (110 degrees F) and add yeast.
  2. Combine eggs, orange zest and juice, vanilla extract and salt in a mixing bowl and whisk until combined. Slowly add yeast mixture to the flour mixture and knead until it comes together (it will be dry at this point). Add egg mixture a little at a time until fully combined.
  3. Knead the dough in the mixer or by hand until dough is soft and elastic. Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rise until doubled in size (approximately 1 hour).
  4. Divide dough into two pieces and roll each piece into 24-inch-long pieces. Twist the two pieces together. Form the rope into a 12” round circle, pinching the ends together to seal, and nestle 4 eggs into the dough. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size (approx 45 minutes).
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F; once the bread is ready, bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown on top. Allow the bread to cool completely before glazing and adding sprinkles.
  1. Whisk together powdered sugar and milk, adding more of either ingredient to achieve the desired consistency. Use a pastry brush to glaze the top of the Easter Bread.
  2. Before the glaze dries, garnish the bread with rainbow sprinkles
INK foods : In Nanny's Kitchen


Ink Foods Signature



Waffles…Morning, Noon or Night!

waffles 1As young as I can remember and now raising my own family, I find it very important that we all sit down to eat, rather than grabbing and going. As our lives are getting busier and busier with early morning school routine and all the extracurricular activities it is becoming harder to insure that all our meals are enjoyed at the table. Menu planning, prepping and stocking the fridge and freezer is the best way I know how to to quickly get everyone fed with whole, natural and nutritious ingredients.

Although I would love to have a three course meal ready on all occasions, that is not likely at this stage in our life and I am totally fine with that. Breakfast for dinner, dinner for lunch, or an array of appetizers for any meal is what you might find in my kitchen, but the girls are happy and we are fed!

Breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert, waffles are a favorite in my family. There is something so comforting about a homemade waffles, whether you are enjoying them alone or garnishing them with eggs, bacon, prosciutto, roasted bananas, chocolate or anything other toppings of your choice. The crisp outside and soft doughy center makes for a perfect meal. Two of my go to waffle combinations is thinly sliced prosciutto and shaved gruyere cheese for a savory twist and on the sweeter side, roasted bananas topped with a butterscotch syrup.waffles 2

The beauty of waffles is that they can be found all over the world. These perfectly shaped treats are on restaurant menus of all cuisines. From steakhouses, southern to American fine dining, waffles are sure to make you feel like a kid again.waffles 3

Classic Waffle
Yields 10
Write a review
  1. 2 Cups All Purpose Flour
  2. 1 Tbsp Baking Powder
  3. 1/2 tsp Salt
  4. 4 Tbsp Granulated Sugar
  5. 1 1/2 Cups Whole Milk
  6. 2 Eggs, Separated
  7. 1/2 Cup Butter, Melted
  1. Preheat the waffle iron
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl
  3. In a separate bowl whisk egg yolks and milk and whisk into dry ingredients
  4. Pour the melted butter into flour mixture and mix until fully combined
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks and slowly add in granulated sugar
  6. Gently fold egg whites into batter just until combined, do not over mix or the batter will deflate
  7. Scoop the desired amount of batter onto a greased and warmed waffle iron and cook until golden brown (use according to the manufacture of your iron)
  8. Remove waffle when ready and serve immediately or freeze the extra waffles!
  1. Prosciutto & Gruyere Waffle
  2. Make the classic waffle recipe
  3. Whisk in 1/2 cup shredded gruyere cheese into the waffle batter
  4. Scoop the batter into waffle iron until golden brown
  5. Remove waffle from the iron and garnish with thinly sliced prosciutto, shredded gruyere and chopped chives
  6. Serve immediately!
  7. Roasted Banana & Caramel Waffles
  8. Heat oven to 350 degrees F
  9. Slice bananas into 1/2” thick banana rounds and place on a foil lined sheet pan
  10. Sprinkle the bananas with granulated sugar and roast for 10-15 minutes or until bananas are soft and sugar is bubbling.
  11. While the bananas are roasting, make the classic waffle recipe
  12. Whisk in 1/2 cup chopped pecans into waffle batter
  13. Scoop batter into waffle iron until golden brown
  14. Remove waffle from the iron and garnish with roasted bananas, toasted pecan pieces and caramel sauce of your choice
INK foods : In Nanny's Kitchen
Some of my favorite waffles around Dallas:

Nick and Sam’s Steakhouse
Brioche Waffle on Fois Gras
Jalapeño Cheddar Waffle on a Southern Fried Quail Egg with Molasses Syrup

Buttermilk Fried Chicken over a Belgium Waffle with Red Pepper Flake Syrup

Del Frisco’s Grill
Red Velvet Belgium Waffle with Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese

Double Dose Bakery
100% Grain Free and Gluten Free Frozen Waffles shipped to your door!

Favorite Waffle Irons
Breville No Mess Classic Round Waffle Maker

All Clad Belgian Waffle Maker

Ink Foods Signature

Chocolate Bark

bark 3As you are preparing for one of the most chocolate-filled months of the year, when everyone is trying to buy or make something extra special for their loved ones, a no-bake and no-recipe treat will be your new best friend. Chocolate bark is not only one of the most beautiful chocolate treats you can package up, but it is also so decadent with its pure flavors. As you prepare to make chocolate bark, it’s imperative you select a high quality chocolate, whether it be white, milk or dark. Once you have decided on the chocolate you would like to use, you need to decide how to top it. For dark chocolate, I prefer nutty and dried fruit flavors such as cranberries, almonds, candied ginger, pumpkin seeds, pistachios, dried figs and dried apricots. The options are endless for chocolate bark, you can nearly put anything your taste buds desire.bark 1

Chocolate Bark
Write a review
  1. 1 pound dark chocolate, finely chopped
  2. 1/4 cup almonds, lightly chopped
  3. 1/4 cup candied ginger, chopped
  4. 1/4 cup pistachios, shelled
  5. 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  6. 1/4 cup dried figs, chopped
  7. 1/4 cup dried apricots, chopped
  8. 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
  1. Prepare a half-sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Place three-fourths of the dark chocolate in a microwave safe glass bowl.
  3. Microwave chocolate on high for 30 seconds, remove bowl and stir chocolate.
  4. Place chocolate back in the microwave for 30 second intervals until the chocolate is melted.
  5. Remove the bowl from the microwave and add the remaining one-fourth of chocolate into the melted chocolate and stir until fully melted.
  6. Pour chocolate onto prepared sheet pan and spread until even in thickness.
  7. Sprinkle dried fruit and nuts all over chocolate (add as much or as little as you like).
  8. Allow the chocolate to cool and harden at room temperature or refrigerate if you want the chocolate to set up quicker.
  9. Once the chocolate is cooled, crack the bark into medium size pieces.
  10. Keep in an airtight container or package up for gifts.
INK foods : In Nanny's Kitchen
bark 5


Winter Citrus

citrus fennel saladDuring the coldest months of the year, citrus is in the back of our minds but we should be tapping in to the fresh aromatic flavors of winter citrus. The vibrant colors and burst of flavors are what make winter citrus a true jewel this time of year. Oranges, grapefruits, lemon, limes, and kumquats are just a few of the seasonal flavors that are ripe, refreshing and perfect to add any menu.

grapefruit sage 75

Fresh squeezed juice and citrus syrups will brighten and sweeten any winter cocktail or mock-tail. A favorite cocktail of mine, French 75, is a classic menu item that I have modernized with a splash of grapefruit juice and sweetened with an herbal sage simple syrup. Whether you are mixing or drinking the juice fresh, sipping on winter citrus is sure to keep the cold weather blues away.

Grapefruit Sage 75
Serves 1
Write a review
  1. 1 oz Gin
  2. 3/4 oz sage simple syrup (see recipe below)
  3. 3/4 oz grapefruit juice
  4. Champagne
  1. Shake the gin, sage simple syrup and grapefruit juice with ice until chilled
  2. Strain into a champagne glass and top with Champagne
  3. Garnish with a sage
  1. Sage Simple Syrup
  2. 1 cup granulated sugar
  3. 1 cup water
  4. 6 sage leaves
  1. Combine sugar, water and sage leaves in a sauce pan and stir until sugar is dissolved
  2. Bring sugar and water to a boil until slightly thickened; remove from the heat
  3. Allow sage syrup to cool completely and strain leaves out through a fine sieve
  4. Store simple syrup in a air tight container and store in the refrigerator for up to one week
INK foods : In Nanny's Kitchen
citrus fennel saladYour choice of winter citrus served with cheese, yogurt or sliced over a leafy greens, is a perfect way to kick off a meal. A variety of oranges; blood orange, cara cara, and navel and grapefruit will pair well with the pungent flavor of fennel, mint and silky goat cheese for a refreshing and light salad. Fennel not only has an aromatic quality, it is also rich in vitamin c. What we eat will help keep the common cold behind us.

Citrus Fennel Salad
Serves 4
Write a review
  1. 2 small grapefruit
  2. 2 blood orange
  3. 2 navel orange
  4. 2 cara cara oranges
  5. 1/2 fennel bulb, sliced thin
  6. 1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled
  7. 2 Tbsp mint leaves, chopped
  8. watercress, garnish
  9. Champagne Shallot Vinaigrette
  10. 1/4 cup olive oil
  11. 1 Tbsp champagne vinegar
  12. 2 tsp shallots, chopped
  13. 1 tsp honey
  14. 1/4 tsp sea salt
  15. pinch of pepper (to taste)
  1. Peel all citrus, removing as much pith as possible
  2. Slice citrus into thin wheels, removing all seeds
  3. Layer the sliced citrus onto a serving platter
  4. Garnish the citrus with thinly sliced fennel, crumble goat cheese, chopped mint leaves and watercress
  5. Whisk together champagne vinegar, shallots, honey, salt and pepper
  6. Slowly add olive oil into vinegar mixture until fully combined
  7. Drizzle 4 Tbsp of dressing onto citrus salad (add more or less dressing to taste)
  8. Serve immediately
INK foods : In Nanny's Kitchen
kumquat upside down cakeA sweet finish to your evening, candied citrus is as simple as it sounds. The peel of citrus is equally as flavorful as the juice that comes from inside. To enjoy the most basic form of candied citrus, it is best to blanch the peel in order to remove the bitter flavor and later coat in sugar to add a crunch. Candied citrus can also be enjoyed as a cake with a variety of winter citrus. I absolutely love the idea of kumquats, they are small, you can enjoy the whole fruit (skin and all) and they are best during the winter months. Although kumquats can have a bitter flavor, once it is combined with brown sugar and butter topped with a decadent butter cake, there is only love for this tiny fruit.

Kumquat Upside-Down Cake
Serves 6
Write a review
Fruit Layer
  1. 8 Tbsp unsalted butter
  2. 3/4 Cup light brown sugar
  3. 2 Tbsp honey
  4. 2 Cups Kumquats, sliced and seeds removed
  1. 8 Tbsp unsalted butter
  2. 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  3. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  4. 2 eggs
  5. 1 1/2 Cups all purpose flour
  6. 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  7. 1/4 tsp salt
  8. 1/2 Cup whole milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and prepare 8” cake pan with oil or non stick spray
  2. In a sauce pan over medium heat, melt butter completely, but do not brown the butter
  3. Add brown sugar and honey to the butter and stir until fully combined
  4. Pour sugar mixture into the bottom of the 8” cake pan
  5. Arrange sliced kumquats to cover the entire bottom of the pan (it is ok to overlap)
  6. Prepare cake while fruit layer cools
  7. In a mixing bowl with paddle attachment cream butter and sugar
  8. Add vanilla extract and eggs, one at a time
  9. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt
  10. Alternate flour and milk into mixing bowl and beat until fully combined (do not over mix)
  11. Spread cake batter over kumquats
  12. Bake at 350 degrees F for 35-40 minutes or until baked through
  13. Allow cake to cool for 10 minutes before flipping onto serving dish
  14. Enjoy!
INK foods : In Nanny's Kitchen
In the midst of winter, we tend to eat heavy, warm and comfort foods that are very familiar to us and satisfy our cravings but with these recipes and the fresh produce at our local markets, lighten up your cold weather must haves and let the bold flavors of winter citrus work for you.

This story was featured in The Dallas Morning News 

Ink Foods Signature

The Feast of the Seven Fishes

tableGrowing up in a large family, we celebrated every holiday to the fullest and had many traditions.  Christmas Eve was and still is one of my favorite family traditions and one that I want to share with all of you. There is something very special about this day and has left me with vivid memories as a child and I still look forward to Christmas Eve every year. It is not about the gifts and getting to bed early waiting for Santa, it is actually the total opposite.  As a family Christmas Eve has always focused on cooking and enjoying a long evening of feasting.  

The feast of the seven fishes is a tradition that I thought everyone celebrated on Christmas Eve until I got older and realized this was an Italian tradition and a very special one! The origin of The Seven Fishes comes from the Roman Catholic Church to fast during Holy Week.  This fasting later turned into feasting with an abundance of food and celebration.  No one knows the exact meaning behind the specific number seven, but it is thought to come from the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church .

Leading up to Christmas Eve, the menu preparation of this Southern Italian tradition is quite elaborate.  Every family has a variety of seafood dishes but there are some that are more common and other that are family favorites. The dishes that sit at our table have been with us for many years: stuffed lobster tails, whole red snapper, clams and pasta, seafood salad, baccala in red sauce, garlic shrimp and mussels in a white wine sauce. It is very important to choose seafood that is fresh and can be purchased at your local gourmet grocer. Most of the seafood I found this year was purchased from Central Market, but can also be found at any local seafood market. Baccala is one of the more uncommon seafood dishes, it is also known as salted cod and sold in a slab form. The history of Baccala shows the importance of the preserved fish for an inexpensive meal when fresh fish could not be found. Because the fish is preserved it must be soaked for at least 3 days before cooking and can be found is very specialty shops or can even be found and shipped through Although it is a long process and more difficult to find, it is absolutely worth making!

As I had the opportunity to prepare every dish with my uncle, Mario Sorrentino, I felt the love for this holiday more than ever. Mario moved to Dallas 12 years ago from New York but was born and raised in Naples, Italy. He has shared so many wonderful and authentic recipes from his home town and we love having them at our table every year. I look forward to continuing this Christmas Eve tradition for my family and I hope you will share it with yours.lobster

Baked Lobster Tails
(serves 6 people)
6 4-5 ounce Lobster Tails
1 cup Bread Crumbs
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
12 Tbsp Butter, divided for each lobster

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
Cut the top of the shell along the whole lobster tail with scissor and then using a knife make the cut deeper into the flesh and remove the vein
Combine bread crumbs, garlic powder, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper in a large bowl and mix to combine
Fill the lobster tail cavity with the breadcrumb mixture
Place 2 tbsp of butter on top of each lobster tail
Wrap each tail in aluminum foil and place a sheet pan
Bake at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes
Once lobster is cooked through remove from the foil and serve immediately

seafood salad

Seafood Salad
(serves 6 people)
8 Cups Water
1/2 Cup White Vinegar
1 Tbsp Kosher Salt
1 1/2 lb. Large Shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 lb. Sea Scallops, cut in half
1 1/4 lb. Mussels, cleaned
2 lbs Squid Tubes
1 lb. Crab Meat, cooked

1 Cup Olive Oil
1/2 tsp Fresh Thyme Leaves
1 tsp Garlic, minced
Zest of 2 Lemons
1/4 Cup Lemon Juice
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
2 Tbsp Champagne Vinegar
2 tsp Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
1 Tbsp Parsley, chopped
1/4 Cup Celery, chopped
1/4 Red Bell Pepper, sliced thin

In a large sauce pan, combine 8 cups water, vinegar and salt and bring to a boil
Rinse and cut squid tubes into 2” pieces and place in boiling water for 2 minutes
Remove squid from boiling water and place in a large bowl (save water)
Bring water back to a boil and add shrimp and boil for 2 minutes or until cooked through
Remove shrimp and add to bowl with squid (save water)
Bring water back to a boil and add scallops and cook for 4 minutes or until cooked through
Remove scallops from water and add to bowl with squid and shrimp
You may discard water at this point
In a sauté pan, steam the mussels until they open and remove the mussel from the shell and place in the bowl with all other seafood
Make sure to drain seafood again to remove any additional water
Add crab meat to bowl with seafood and gently stir to combine

Prepare the Sauce:
In a sauté pan over medium heat, warm olive oil
Add thyme, garlic and lemon zest to the olive oil and cook over low heat for 1 minute
Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in lemon juice, mustard, salt, pepper and champagne vinegar
Pour the hot vinaigrette over the seafood and add in the chopped celery and parsley
Gently toss the seafood salad and garnish with fresh parsley and slice bell peppers

red snapper

Baked Whole Red Snapper
(serves 4 people)
1 3 lb. Whole Red Snapper
1 Lemon, Sliced
2 sprigs of Thyme

2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Capers
1 Large Shallot, Chopped
1 tsp Fresh Thyme
1/4 Cup Lemon Juice
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and line a sheet pan with parchment paper
Scale and gut the whole fish
Place the fish on a lined sheet pan and season the cavity of the fish with sliced lemons and thyme sprigs
Score the top of the fish and season with salt and pepper, olive oil and arrange lemon slices around the fish; bake for 30-40 minutes
Prepare the sauce: heat olive oil in a sauté pan and add the chopped shallots, capers and thyme. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper
Once fish is fully baked, remove the skin from the fish and place on a serving dish with sauce covering the top


Mussels in White Wine Sauce
(serves 4 people)
2 lbs Mussels
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
6 Tbsp Butter, Unsalted
1/2 Cup Shallots, chopped
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 Cup White Wine
1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper

Clean mussels: place in a large bowl and soak for 30 minutes; Remove any mussels that are already open.
In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil and butter. Add shallots and thyme leaves and cook for 5 minutes.
Add the white wine and reduce the liquid to half.
Once the wine is reduced add the mussels into the wine reduction and season with salt and pepper.
Cover the pan and simmer over medium heat for 8-10 minutes or until mussels open completely (discard any that do not open).
Pour the mussels and sauce into a large serving dish and enjoy with toasted baguette.

garlic shrimp

Garlic Shrimp
(serves 4 people)
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Garlic Cloves, sliced thin
1/4 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
1 lb. Large Shrimp, peeled and deveined, tail on
1 Tbsp Butter, unsalted
Salt and pepper

In a large skillet, heat olive oil
Add garlic and red pepper flakes; cook until garlic is fragrant and golden
Add shrimp to olive oil and cook until shrimp are opaque
Add butter and stir until shrimp are fully coated
Season with salt and pepper and garnish with fresh parsley
Serve immediately

clams and pasta

Spaghetti with Clams
(serves 4 people)
2 lbs Littleneck Clams
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
4 Garlic Cloves
1/2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
1 Cups White Wine
1 Tbsp Fresh Parsley, Chopped
1 lb Spaghetti, Cooked

1. Soak and scrub the clams in water for 30 minutes to remove the sand
2. In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil
3. Add garlic and red pepper flakes to oil until garlic is soft and fragrant
4. Add white wine to garlic and simmer until half of the liquid is evaporated
5. Add clams to the white wine mixture and steam until clams have opened completely
6. Sprinkle the clams with fresh parsley and toss over cooked spaghetti
7. Serve immediately


Baccala Stew
(serves 4 people)
1 lb Salted Cod (Baccala), soaked
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Garlic Cloves, chopped
1/2 Large Yellow Onion, sliced
1 Celery Stalk
2 Large Carrots
4 Yukon Gold Potatoes 1 Can (15 oz) Crushed Tomatoes
1/4 tsp Oregano, dried
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
1 1/2 Cups Water

Soak Salted Cod in water for a minimum of 5 days, changing the water 3 times per day before using
Cut salted cod into 2” pieces
Chop the onions, celery, and carrots into 2” pieces and peel and slice potatoes in half
In a large sauté pan heat olive oil and add onions and garlic until soft and fragrant
Add crushed tomatoes, carrots, celery, potatoes, oregano and 1 1/2 cups of water to onions and garlic; simmer for 15 minutes
Add the salted cod to tomato mixture and simmer until cod is tender, approximately 15 minutes
Season with salt and pepper and garnish with fresh parsley
Serve immediately

All recipes have been featured in The Dallas Morning News!  

Ink Foods Signature

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...