Sunday, February 27, 2011

YAY! for Panna Cotta!!!

The February 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mallory from A Sofa in the Kitchen. She chose to challenge everyone to make Panna Cotta from a Giada De Laurentiis recipe and Nestle Florentine Cookies. I made mine a raspberry panna cotta with chocolate ganache with heart shaped florentine cookies.

I changed the recipe a bit to make it raspberry flavored:

1/2 cup raspberry puree
1/2 tablespoon unflavored powdered gelatin
1 cup whipping cream (30+% butterfat)
1/2 cup half and half
1/3 cup granulated sugar

Pour the puree into a saucepan and sprinkle gelatin evenly and thinly over the top Let bloom for 5 minutes.
Put the saucepan over medium heat on the stove and heat until the gelatin is melted.
Add the cream, half and half, and sugar and heat until the sugar is dissolved.
Remove from heat and cool before pouring into ramekins.
I used creme brulee dishes, so they set in about an hour and a half.

They were creamy and not too sweet, but the fat content got in the way of our enjoying the dessert, it kind of coated our mouths and stopped us from tasting anything else.

So, I tried again, with yogurt instead of cream to keep the texture and loose the fat, and it was much better. I made a Meyer lemon panna cotta with raspberry sauce and chocolate filigree.

Lemon Panna Cotta

1/2 cup meyer lemon juice
1/2 tbs gelatin
1/3 cup sugar
zest of 3 lemons
1 cup Greek style yogurt
1/2 cup half and half

Sprinkle the gelatin over the lemon juice in a saucepan. Let sit for 5 minutes.

Blend the sugar and lemon zest in a food processor until fragrant, add to gelatin mixture. Heat over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved.

Measure the yogurt into a mixing bowl. Add the half and half slowly, stirring after each addition to avoid making yogurt lumps. Add the warm gelatin mixture and stir to combine.

Pour into serving dishes and chill 1-2 hours, or until set.

Top with raspberry sauce and chocolate filigree if you'd like!

Monday, February 14, 2011

YAY! for Japanese Food!!!

The February 2011 Daring Cooks’ challenge was hosted by Lisa of Blueberry Girl. She challenged Daring Cooks to make Hiyashi Soba and Tempura. She has various sources for her challenge including,, and

Japanese food has long been a favorite in our house. My dad lived in Japan in his late teens and developed an appreciation for the food, which he and my mother learned to make while living in Frankfurt, Germany from some Japanese friends.

Soba salad is a frequent dinner in the hot summer months, and tempura a popular treat for birthdays or New Year's Eve. The first time I made tempura on my own was 10 years ago, when I was just 16.

This month's recipes didn't feel like challenges, but they were sure family favorites!