Panzanella…the salad of summer!

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Whatever your reason may be; fresh heirloom tomatoes growing in your garden, day old bread that needs to be toasted and enjoyed or just because the beautiful summer weather calls for fresh, crisp and simplicity, Panzanella Salad is a must this season. This classic Italian Bread Salad is full of juicy tomatoes, an assortment of vegetables, toasted or grilled bread and a light vinaigrette.

The ingredients are really what is important in this salad.  I love the assorted colors of heirloom tomatoes for a beautiful presentation. A hearty sour dough bread with a crispy crust, brushed with olive oil and grilled for the perfect crunch. Once you have chosen those two ingredients you can add some of your favorite vegetables. Bell peppers, cucumbers and red onions are enjoyed in a classic panzanella salad but layering in sweet grilled peaches, prosciutto and your favorite cheese will take this salad to the next level. Burrata, fresh shaved parmesan or cubed feta are three of my favorite cheese options that go well with the mediterranean flavors.

One of the best things about this salad, it can be made in advance! Mix all the ingredients together, toss in the vinaigrette and let the salad rest. Panzanella is best when the bread has time to soak up the juice of the tomatoes, vegetables and the flavors of the dressing.IMG_8817IMG_8775

Panzanella Salad
Yields 4
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Ingredients
  1. 4 cups Heirloom Tomatoes, wedges
  2. 2 cups Bell Peppers ( I like assorted red, yellow and orange), chopped
  3. 2 cups Cucumbers, sliced
  4. 1/4 cup Red Onion, sliced
  5. 5 cups Bread, Grilled and Cubed
  6. 1/4 Cup Basil
  7. 8 ounces Burrata
  8. 2 Grilled Peaches,wedges (optional)
  9. 4 ounces prosciutto (optional)
Dijon Vinaigrette
  1. 1/4 cup olive oil
  2. 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  3. 1 tsp dijon mustard
  4. 2 cloves garlic
  5. 1/2 tsp salt
  6. 1/2 tsp pepper
Instructions
  1. Slice the bread into thick pieces, brush with olive oil, and grill the bread slices until crispy
  2. Once the bread is cooled, cut into one inch cubes
  3. Cut the tomatoes into wedges, bell peppers and cucumbers into one inch pieces and slice the onions
  4. Place tomatoes and vegetables into a large bowl and add the grilled bread
  5. Prepare the vinaigrette: Using mortar and pestle, press the garlic, salt and pepper until paste like, in a large mixing bowl, whisk together the pressed garlic, olive oil, red wine vinegar, dijon, salt and pepper
  6. Toss the vinaigrette into the vegetable and bread mixture and toss until fully coated
  7. Allow the salad to sit for 30 minutes to an hour to allow the juices come together
  8. Transfer salad onto a large platter and top with burrata (or cheese of choice), fresh basil leaves and prosciutto(optional).
  9. Serve and enjoy!
INK foods : In Nanny's Kitchen http://inkfoods.com/
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Grilled Peach Shortcakes

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Although everyone loves good old-fashioned strawberry shortcake this time of year, the idea of grilling dessert screams summer in my mind. Stone fruits — those with large, hard seeds at the center such as peaches, plums and nectarines — are perfect for grilling because they are firm enough to maintain their structure while being extra sweet and juicy. Take full advantage of the season. Grill up these peaches and layer them in flaky shortcake paired with a brown sugar whipped cream to finish out this summer!

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 Recipe featured in Advocate Magazine-August Issue

Grilled Peach Shortcake with Brown Sugar Whipped Cream
Serves 8
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Ingredients
  1. Shortcakes
  2. 2 cups all purpose flour
  3. 4 Tbsp sugar, granulated
  4. 1 Tbsp baking powder
  5. ½ tsp salt
  6. 7 Tbsp unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  7. 1 cup + 1 Tbsp heavy cream
  8. 1 egg
Instructions
  1. 1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. 2. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl
  3. 3. With paddle attachment, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it becomes a course crumb
  4. 4. Add 1 cup of cream and mix until dough starts to come together
  5. 5. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll out to approx. 1 inch thick
  6. 6. Cut dough into 8-2 ½ inch rounds and place evenly onto a parchment lined baking sheet
  7. 7. Whisk together the egg and the 1 Tbsp of heavy cream and brush over the tops of each dough round
  8. 8. Sprinkle each round with cinnamon sugar
  9. 9. Bake until golden brown, approx. 25 minutes
  10. 10. Cool completely before cutting each shortcake in half and layer each one with brown sugar whipped cream and grilled peach (see grilled peach and whipped cream recipes below)
  11. 11. Serve immediately
INK foods : In Nanny's Kitchen http://inkfoods.com/
Grilled Peaches
Serves 8
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Ingredients
  1. 4 ripe peaches, halved and pitted
  2. ½ cup butter, unsalted (1 stick)
  3. 1 tsp cinnamon
  4. 1 tsp granulated sugar
Instructions
  1. 1. Heat grill to high (or for indoor grilling, grill pan works great!)
  2. 2. Melt butter and mix in cinnamon and sugar
  3. 3. Brush peaches with butter mixture and place face side down on the grill and grill until cooked through
  4. 4. Once peaches are removed from the grill brush one more coat of butter mixture while hot
INK foods : In Nanny's Kitchen http://inkfoods.com/
Brown Sugar Whipped Cream
Serves 8
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  2. 4 Tbsp light brown sugar
  3. 1 tsp vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. 1. In a medium bowl beat heavy cream until soft peaks form
  2. 2. Add brown sugar and vanilla extract
  3. 3. Continue beating until stiff peaks form
  4. 4. Serve with grilled peaches and shortcakes
  5. 5. Serve immediately
INK foods : In Nanny's Kitchen http://inkfoods.com/
 

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