Monday, March 9, 2009

Vanilla Panna Cotta Soup with Marinated Strawberries

I have to admit the major inspiration behind blogging this crazy diet experience, failures, insanity, crying jags, and all was reading Julie and Julia. A secretary in New York decides to cook every recipe in Julia Child's Mastering The Art of French Cooking in a year, a huge and difficult undertaking. If you haven't read it you're missing out. There were so many times I was reading it that I broke down in helpless piles of laughter that took me minutes to recover from. The lady can really write.

Julie Powell's book also prepared me for the difficulties that come with pannacotta making. The recipe is deceptively simple and yet oh so easy to ruin. Gelatin is a cruel mistress that requires all of your undivided attention and devotion. And even then the damn pannacotta will only turn out with a lot of luck.

With this is mind I warned all of the people coming to dinner to not be too surprised if the pannacotta was a failure and to try not to laugh too hard at my pannacotta soup. It was still a blow to my fragile fledgling French cooking self esteem when I reached in the fridge for the custards and got pannacotta soup. I took the advice from my friendly peanut gallery and put it in the freezer to ice up during dinner, because anything with that much cream, sweetness, and strawberries would be great regardless of consistency.

That was good thinking.

The balsamic vinegar really gave the strawberries a rich tart edge. I'm going to start keeping a container of vinegared berries around for putting on my yogurt and oatmeal in the mornings. On the soupy half frozen pannacotta the berries were divine. They were a perfect ending for my first dinner, with one really great dish, one demi-failure and one recipe that didn't turn out but ended up perhaps tastier in its new form.

With bellies full and two bottles of wine under our collective belts we retired to the living room to be hypnotized by a warm fire and play silly card games until way past my bed time. It was an evening well worth missing sleep over.

Also included in this menu:
Chicken in Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
Eggplant Pizza

Vanilla Panna Cotta with Marinated Strawberries

1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored powdered gelatin
1 1/4 cups 2% milk
1 3/4 cups half and half
2 tablespoons fructose
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

In a small bowl, soak the gelatin in 1/4 cup of the milk until soft, about five minutes. While waiting for gelatin to soften warm the remaining milk, half and half, and fructose in small pot until fructose dissolves, about five minutes. Leave the milk mixture to cool until barely warm and then add the gelatin mixture to pot, stirring well until gelatin dissolves completely.

Pour the mixture into four 2/3 cup ramekins, cover and chill at least over night.

To unmold pannacotta, fill bowl with boiling water and dip bottom of each mold into water for a couple seconds. Place a plate on top of the mold and flip it over. Carefully lift off the mold. If your pannacotta doesn't set, place ramekins in freezer until the liquid is half frozen and enjoy it as an odd ice creamy dessert.

1 pound of strawberries, halved
1 teaspoon fructose
1 1/4 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

Prepare this at least an hour before you plan to serve the pannacotta. Sprinkle strawberries with fructose and vinegar. Toss to combine in a bowl and chill until ready to serve. Sprinkle a fourth of the strawberries over each pannacotta or serving of failed pannacotta ice cream.

Original recipe from The Big GL Plus Diet Planner.

1 comment:

Quincidence or MissTree said...

interesting that you got soup. I will get "E's" aunt's recipe for it and maybe there won't be super needs for sugar or something.. but hers was a huge success. Someday, we will share some of the deliciousness.