Panzanella…the salad of summer!


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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  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
  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!
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Frozen Hot Chocolate

hc 3While we are soaring through the hottest part of summer, there is only one way to stay cool; frozen treats after a long day of outdoor play and back yard barbecues. Frozen hot chocolate has become a family favorite and it’s rich chocolate, not overly sweet and frothy flavor brings us back to the comfort of the hot chocolate we love during the winter months. Blend the frozen hot chocolate to be extra smooth before pouring into a large mug and top with fresh whipped cream, toasted marshmallows and crumbled graham crackers. hc

Frozen Hot Chocolate
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  1. 6 ounce Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
  2. 2 Tbsp Cocoa Powder
  3. 4 Tbsp Powdered Sugar
  4. 3 Cups Whole Milk
  5. 5 Cups Ice
Optional Toppings
  1. Whipped Cream
  2. Toasted Marshmallows
  3. Graham Cracker Crumbs
  1. Melt chocolate in a bowl over a double boiler, stirring constantly
  2. Once chocolate is completely melted, add in cocoa powder and powdered sugar, whisk until completely combined
  3. Add in 1 1/2 cups of milk to chocolate mixture and whisk until smooth
  4. Remove the chocolate mixture from the heat and allow it to cool completely
  5. Add Ice, the remaining 1 1/2 cups of milk and chocolate mixture into a blender and blend to remove all chunks of ice and it becomes very frothy
Pour frozen hot chocolate into a glass or mug and top with fresh whipped cream, toasted marshmallows and graham cracker crumbs
  6. Serve immediately!
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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
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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
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Lemon Shortbread

lemon 5It’s friday, YAY!  This was our back to school week and all went well, but I am excited for the weekend.  It is always interesting when summer is over and the routine comes back into our lives, but this year my oldest daughter started kindergarten and I might be feeling the emotion much more than she is :)  So, we are thankful for a great week, but going to celebrate the weekend with these perfectly tangy lemon shortbread cookies.  Hope you have a great weekend!lemon 2lemon 1lemon 3

Lemon Shortbread Cookies
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  1. 2 cups all purpose flour
  2. 1/4 tsp baking soda
  3. 1 cup granulated sugar
  4. 3/4 cup vegetable shortening
  5. 1 egg
  6. 1 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  7. 2 Tbsp lemon juice
Lemon Icing
  1. 2 cups powdered sugar
  2. 3 Tbsp lemon juice
  3. (more or less depending on how thick you want the glaze)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Combine flour and baking soda in a bowl
  3. Cream sugar and shortening with a paddle until light and fluffy
  4. Add egg, lemon zest and lemon juice and mix until combined
  5. Slowly add dry ingredients until fully incorporated
  6. Scoop into 3/4 ounce dough balls
  7. Bake at 350 degrees F for 8-10 minutes or until edges are light brown
  8. Once cookies are cooled combine powdered sugar and lemon juice to make the glaze (add more or less powdered sugar, depending on how thick you want it)
  9. Add a small amount of icing to the top of each cookie and garnish with lemon zest
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Cherry Almond Tart

chery 10Happy Fourth of July weekend!  I am excited about a relaxed few days of swimming, grilling and lots of family time.  Two of my all time favorite flavors, cherry & almonds, are brought together with the flakiest crust and will be a perfect ending to your Holiday weekend. cherry 1 cherry 2 cherry 3 cherry 4 cherry 6 cherry 7 cherry9 

Cherry Almond Tart
Serves 8
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  1. Pate Brisee (Flakey Pie Dough)
  2. Frangipane (Almond Cream)
  3. Fresh Cherries, Pitted
  4. 1 Tbsp Cinnamon
  5. 1 Tbsp Sugar
  1. make pie dough and let chill for at least 1 hour
  2. make frangipane and refrigerate until ready to use
  3. roll out pie dough and shape into a 9" round or 11"x7" rectangle tart pan
  4. spread a thin layer of frangipane at the bottom of the dough
  5. place cherries to cover the entire bottom of tart pan
  6. roll out the remaining pie dough and cut thin strips to create a lattice on top
  7. egg wash the top of the crust and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar
  8. bake for 30-45 minutes or until filling is baked and crust on top is golden
  9. serve warm
  1. Cinnamon Sugar: Combine 1 Tbsp cinnamon and 1 Tbsp sugar and stir to combine
  2. Egg Wash: Whisk 1 egg and 2 Tbsp water
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Pate Brisee (Flakey Pie Dough)
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  1. 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  2. 1 tsp salt
  3. 1 tsp sugar
  4. 1 cup butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
  5. 1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water
  1. place flour, salt and sugar in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine
  2. add the butter and pulse until it looks like a course meal
  3. continue pulsing and slowly add water at a slow stream
  4. process just until the dough comes together
  5. turn the dough onto a floured work space and knead until fully combined
  6. divide dough in half and wrap each piece and refrigerate before using
  1. makes 2 9" single crust pies or 1 9" double crust pie
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Frangipane (Almond Cream)
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  1. 7 ounces almond paste
  2. 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  3. 3 Tbsp sugar
  4. 2 eggs
  5. 3 Tbsp All purpose flour
  1. cream almond paste, butter and sugar until smooth
  2. add in eggs, 1 at a time
  3. mix in the flour and beat until combined
  4. refrigerate until ready to use
  1. *Almond paste is not the same at marzipan
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photography: Megan Weaver


It’s The Cherry On Top

As we are dreaming of warmer weather and sunny skies (here in Texas), this oh so simple and kid approved Ice Cream recipe will brighten your days and fill your bellies with joy!

Pouring silky custard into a churning ice cream machine will be the start to one of the most rewarding recipes you make in your kitchen. Begin with the perfect ice cream base, and the flavor combinations are endless. This recipe will bring out the creative side of your whole family with flavors of lavender and honey or traditional cookies and cream. You will be enjoying your favorite frozen treat all summer long. SONY DSC SONY DSC


Vanilla Bean Ice Cream Base
Yields 1
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  1. 2 Cups Heavy Whipping Cream
  2. 1 ½ Cups Whole Milk
  3. ¾ Cup Granulated Sugar
  4. 5 Egg Yolks
  5. 1 Vanilla Bean, halved and seeds scraped
  1. In a medium saucepan whisk together cream, milk, half of the sugar and the vanilla bean seeds; bring to a boil
  2. While the cream mixture is heating up, whisk the egg yolks and remaining sugar in a bowl until thick and pale in color
  3. Once the cream mixture has come to a slight boil, add about 1/3 of the mixture to the egg mixture and whisk until fully combined
  4. Slowly add the egg mixture to the remaining cream and stir until mixture becomes thick (do not bring cream/egg mixture to a boil); immediately strain custard
  5. Cover and allow the ice cream base to cool at room temperature and then refrigerate for at least four hours or overnight
  6. Pour ice cream base into ice cream machine and churn (follow manufactures directions)
  7. Once ice cream is frozen, slowly add your choice of ingredients
  1. Flavor Add In
  2. Cookies and Cream
  3. Add 1 cup crushed chocolate cookie sandwiches
  4. Birthday Cake
  5. Add 1 cup crumbled baked vanilla cake and ½ cup rainbow sprinkles
  6. Honey Lavender
  7. Remove ¼ cup granulated sugar from recipe
  8. Once ice cream is frozen, drizzle in ¼ cup of honey and 2 Tbsp dried lavender
  9. Salted Peanut Butter Crunch
  10. Add 1 Cup creamy peanut butter to the egg and sugar mixture
  11. Once frozen, add ½ cup crushed pretzel pieces and 1 cup mini peanut butter cups
  12. Mint Brownie Chunk
  13. Once cream/milk mixture has come to a boil, add in ½ cup fresh mint leave and allow the cream to steep for 30 minutes. Pour the mint infused
  14. cream into a blender and then bring back to a boil before tempering into egg mixture
  15. Fold 1½ cup of baked brownie chunks into mint ice cream
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