Friday, June 24, 2016

Buttermilk Panna Cotta – The Magic of Barely Cooked Cream

For something called “cooked cream,” there’s very little cooking involved here. Actually, there is very little anything involved here. If you can somehow manage to start your panna cotta the day before you want to eat it, this classic Italian recipe is about as simple as it gets.

As long as you keep the same basic gelatin to creamy liquid ratio, you can flavor this any way you want. I’ve had them scented with everything from Earl Grey tea to cardamom, so feel free to play around. Same goes for the proportion of buttermilk, which can be increased for a tangier version.

One thing I should have mentioned is not to put the plastic wrap on while they’re still warm. It looked like I wrapped mine immediately, but I actually let them cool before putting them in the fridge. It’s not a huge deal, but if you put the plastic on warm, you’ll get condensation, which will then drip, and wreck that perfectly pristine surface.

This is so perfect in the summer, and not just because it’s easy and refreshing. All that amazing seasonal fruit gives you the perfect reason…excuse…to make these easy treats. I hope you give this panna cotta recipe a try soon. Enjoy!


Makes about 8 servings:
1 envelope unflavored gelatin (just shy of 1 tablespoon) sprinkled over 3 tablespoons cold water
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
3 strips lemon peel
extremely tiny pinch salt
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

“Gazpacho Verde” with Burrata Cheese – Swampy, in a Good Way

I’m not crazy about the name for this recipe, but I honestly didn’t know what else to call it, and I blame Twitter for that. Allow me to explain. I saw a photo on there of what I thought was a burrata sitting in a pool of green gazpacho soup, but after a closer look, it turned out to be salsa verde.

That does sound pretty good, but due to the mistaken identity, I was now fixated on the idea of serving this fresh, extra-creamy mozzarella in a bowl of ice cold, cucumber and herb-based gazpacho.

Except, I wanted the cheese to be the star of the dish, with the soup acting almost as a sauce. I thought of calling it something like, “Burrata in a Swamp,” but that didn’t pass the wife test, so long story short, I went with the search engine friendly name you see at the top of the post.

I really wanted a thin, light texture to play off the gooey cheese, so I didn’t add any bread, and also strained it through a fine sieve. The gazpacho seems colder, and more intense this way, and in my opinion works better than a thicker version would. So, whether you’re going to do this with the cheese or not, I really hope you give it a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredient for 4 portions “Gazpacho Verde” with Burrata:
8 ounces burrata cheese (1/4 cup per serving)
3 cups sliced English cucumber (about one large)
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 tablespoons picked fresh oregano leaves
1 cup packed picked basil leaves
1/4 to 1/3 cup seasoned *rice vinegar, to taste
1/4 cup olive oil
pinch cayenne pepper
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup water, plus more as needed

*If using regular rice vinegar, season to taste with salt and sugar. You can also use white wine or sherry vinegar, and do the same.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Potato Roses – A Side Dish That's Stacked

I saw a picture of something called “potato stacks,” online last year, on a blog called Home Cooking Adventure, and I thought to myself, those sure look a lot more like roses than stacks. So, long story short, I stole the idea, and now that it has a much more social media-friendly name, I fully expect this to go viral.

The technique is straightforward, but make sure you season the potatoes generously. I use about two teaspoons of kosher salt in this, and along with the cheese, that seems to be just about right. Having said that, taste for salt varies greatly from person to person, so remember what you used, and adjust next time if need be. These would be great for entertaining, since you can make them ahead, and keep them warm in the pan, or cool and reheat in the oven when you are ready to serve. I really hope you give these a try soon. Enjoy!


Makes 12 Potato Roses:
3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/3 to 1/2 cup melted butter (1 stick)
1 tablespoon minced rosemary or 2 tablespoon thyme leaves
freshly ground black pepper and cayenne to taste
3/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

- 400 F. for 45-60 minutes