Nasello Family Summer Food Favorites

We love summer fun with family, and celebrating with food is at the heart of our festivities. Here are some of our favorite summertime recipes – Sarah’s favorites are the Walleye Cakes, Bacon Pancakes, and Easy Potato Salad, Gio loves the Flourless Chocolate Torte Bars, the Bruschetta, and the Roasted Red Peppers, and Tony is big on the Grilled Sirloin Roast, Grilled Bison, and Edamame Salad – to name a few. :)

Of course, it wouldn’t be a true feast without a little homemade Limoncello to finish the meal, would it? Not only does this Italian liqueur aid in digestion, but it will leave you feeling relaxed and mellow – in other words, you’ll feel like summer.

We hope you enjoy our list of favorites, and invite you to share your summer food memories with us in the Comments section below. Here’s to great food, good friends, and summer!

Nasello Family Summer Food Favorites:

Homemade Limoncello

Corn Fritters
Tomato Anchovy topping for Bruschetta
Zack’s Rough Cut Guac
Tony’s Marinated Olives
Corn Hummus

Parmesan Pepper Walleye
Grilled Salmon with Honey Soy Butter Sauce
Baja Fish Tacos
Walleye Cakes
Tom’s Crusted Macadamia Nut Mahi Mahi

Grilled Bison with Chimichurri Sauce & Salmoriglio Sauce
Grilled Top Sirloin Roast with Horseradish Sauce
Indonesian Pork Satay
Mojito Chicken with Grilled Corn Salsa

Salads & Side Dishes
Tony’s Edamame Salad
Honey Gorgonzola Hearts and Spears
Tuscan Bean Salad
Insalata Caprese
Easy Potato Salad
Pesto Pasta Salad
Watermelon Feta Salad
Roasted Red Peppers
Green Beans Nasello
Grilled Vegetables and Red Wine Vinaigrette
Insalata Italiana -Tomatoes, Avocado & Fresh Mozzarella
Peach Summer Salad

Dessert & Sweets
Honey Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
Strawberry Shortcake
North Dakota Sun Brittle
Coconut Cream Pie
Grand Marnier Zabaglione
Fresh Berry Galettes
Patriotic Flourless Chocolate Torte Bars
Cherries Jubilee
Red Wine Peaches
Rhubarb or Lemon Granita

Cherry Vanilla Scones
Fresh Berry Galettes
Egg Strata
Homemade Bacon Pancakes
Raspberry Friands (Australian Almond tea cakes)
Easy Fresh Fruit Salad
Rhubarb Coffee Cake
Apple Sausage Breakfast Ring

Cherry Vanilla Scones Make a Great Breakfast (or anytime) Treat

Cherry Vanilla Scones

Tony and Gio are big fans of American coffee house scones, and a recent purchase of some lovely dried Bing cherries from Trader Joe’s has inspired me to play around with my recipe to make these gorgeous Cherry Vanilla Scones.

American scones are usually sweeter than their British counterpart and are often enjoyed as a morning pastry, while British scones are typically served at tea time. And, while the Brits enjoy slathering their tea scones with heaps of butter and cream, over here we put those ingredients right inside our scones.

American scones are essentially a type of quick bread, like their other cousin, the southern biscuit, but they benefit from the addition of sugar and often an extra ingredient, or two, like dried fruits or chocolate chips. For practical purposes, (and in no disrespect to any British readers), I will refer to them from this point on simply as scones.

I confess that, until recently, I never quite understood the big attraction to scones, but, since I love baking and my guys love scones, I set out a couple years ago to find the perfect scone recipe. After trying out several versions, I’ve learned a few things along the way and have come to regard the scone with new respect.

First, (and best, in my opinion), scones are really easy to make, requiring basic pantry staples and very little skill. In fact, they are just another incarnation of flour, butter, sugar and cream, with a little bit of salt and baking powder thrown in for good measure. If you’ve ever found scones difficult to make, I urge you to try this recipe.

Next, scones are incredibly versatile. You can make them plain, or enhance them with a variety of add-ins like dried fruits, fresh fruits, chocolate chips, and nuts. Currants, raisins and cranberries are common add-ins, but we’ve also used dried strawberries and today’s special feature, dried cherries. I also like to throw in half a teaspoon of lemon or orange zest, just enough to brighten up the flavor without taking over.

Fresh berries can also be heavenly in a warm scone, and Gio loves to pick raspberries straight from our garden when they are in season. The extra moisture from fresh berries may alter the texture of the scone just a bit, so be careful when adding them to the dough and gently fold them in. Don’t worry, they may look slightly different but they will still taste amazing. You could even reduce the amount of sugar to just one tablespoon and make a savory scone, with add-ins like aged cheddar cheese and chives.

There are a few key factors to know when making scones, and I cannot stress enough the importance of using cold butter, which creates wonderful steam pockets while baking. This enhances the overall texture of these scones, which are crispy-crumbly on the outside, and melt-in-your-mouth tender on the inside.

To ensure this result, I cut the butter into ¼-inch cubes and place it in the freezer for at least 30 minutes before using, and once the scones are ready to bake I’ll place them in the freezer for 20 to 30 minutes before putting them in the oven.

Cut scones into wedges

Another tip for success is to handle the scones as little as possible, which is why I prefer to cut them into wedges versus other shapes. I’ve found that shaping the dough in a round cake pan first allows me to get consistent portions with minimal handling, but you can shape it by hand, too.

Tony likes his scones plain, while Gio prefers his with a simple glaze over the top. I love that I can fill my freezer with them, baked or unbaked, and have a favorite treat on hand for breakfast or an after-school and work snack.

CLICK HERE for the Cherry Vanilla Scones RECIPE

Drizzle with glaze

Breakfast Favorite Video: Homemade Bacon Pancakes

One of our absolute favorite breakfast specialties is homemade pancakes, and cooking them in a bit of bacon grease takes them to a whole new level!

This week on North Dakota Today, Tony demonstrates how to make homemade bacon pancakes using one of our favorite kitchen appliances – the griddle. This recipe is easy to follow, and the pancakes are beyond delcious. We hope you give them a try! Just click on the photo above to watch Tony’s demonstration.

We serve our homemade bacon pancakes with real maple syrup, our easy fresh fruit salad, and of course, bacon.

We prefer to use Dakota Maid all-purpose flour, which we find has a lighter texture to it than other flour brands. Plus, it’s nice to support our locally-produced products!

Do you make pancakes from scratch, and if so, what is your favorite way to prepare them? Do you use a box mix? Which one?have a favorite way to prepare pancakes? 

Sweet Little Friands: Something New for Easter Brunch

Meet my sweet little friend, the Friand. I first discovered friands (free-onds) last spring when I was searching Pinterest for some new baking recipes, and was immediately attracted to their lovely presentation and unique oval shape. I knew that this was a specialty I had to make for Tony and Gio, who are now happily on the friand bandwagon.

Wildly popular in Australia and New Zealand but little known elsewhere, friands are charming almond tea cakes similar to the French financier. I confess, I loved discovering a darling new treat that no one else I knew was making. Even better:  In spite of their elegant, refined appearance, friands are surprisingly easy to make and the batter can be prepared up to two days in advance. Seriously, what’s not to love?

I have adapted our recipe from the Australian blog, “What Katie Ate.” While her recipe uses measurements in grams, I’ve converted our version to the American measuring system in case you don’t have a scale to use at home.

Their unusual oval shape makes them the perfect choice for an Easter brunch, but finding the correct pan can be difficult here in the States. After a bit of searching online last year, I found several silicone options available at for under $25. I’ve also used a mini-muffin pan with great results – the friands won’t have their signature oval shape, but they’ll be bite-size darling and just as delicious.

What makes these cakes so special isn’t just their shape. Friands are made with almond flour, which creates a wonderful flavor and texture. Almond flour is easily found in our local grocery stores and can be stored for up to one year in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.

The cakes may look like some version of a muffin, but the similarity stops there. Friands have a crispy top with a moist, almost-gooey inside, similar to a Petit Four. They are typically made with egg whites, and this fuss-free recipe only requires you to mix them for a few seconds until they are just combined. I usually count to ten, but (very) recently I felt like mixing them longer, which resulted in all of my berries sinking to the bottom of the cake. Lesson learned – they still tasted great, but weren’t as eye-catching as the ones with fruit on top (see pic below).

Melted butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract and a small amount of all-purpose flour round out the rest of the ingredients. This past weekend I attempted to make gluten-free friands by using a gluten-free version of all-purpose flour, but the results were less than thrilling. I’ll keep working on this recipe and will post an update on our blog once I’ve found the right balance.

I love the versatility of friands. You can play around with a wide variety of flavors and are limited only by your imagination. Today’s photos feature raspberry, blueberry and vanilla friands, but we’ve also made them with sliced apple, blackberries, strawberries, citrus zest, chopped up chocolate pieces, and even crushed Oreo cookies (a bit of genius from Gio, as they were delicious).

Friands can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for several days. I’ve read that they freeze well for up to three months, but honestly, I’ll have to take their word for it: ours have never hung around long enough to find out.

CLICK HERE for the RECIPE for Raspberry Friands