Latte Panna Cotta

How do you sneak in an espresso beverage before bed? By hiding it in your dessert!

latte-panna-cotta

Latte Panna Cotta

Yield: 8 servings

 

Nonstick spray

1 packet powdered unflavored gelatin (2 teaspoons)

3 tablespoons cold water

2 cups heavy whipping cream

⅓ cup granulated sugar

1 cup half-and-half

2 ounces (2 tablespoons) brewed espresso

 

Prepare eight 4-ounce ramekins by lightly spraying nonstick spray into each and wiping gently with a paper towel to distribute the spray evenly along the sides and bottom.

Add the gelatin to the cold water in a medium bowl, and allow to bloom (soften) for 5 minutes; do not stir.

Meanwhile, stir the heavy whipping cream and sugar together in a small saucepan set over medium heat. Heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is fully dissolved at just barely a simmer.

Slowly add the warm sugar cream to the gelatin and stir until the gelatin is fully dissolved.

Pour the half-and-half into a large bowl (or a large pitcher for easier pouring) and, stirring continuously, slowly pour the warm cream mixture into the half-and-half.

Stir in the espresso.

Fill the ramekins equally and refrigerate uncovered for approximately 5 hours until chilled and completely set.

To unmold the panna cotta, dip the bottom of each ramekin into very hot water for 45 seconds, or until you can see the panna cotta just beginning to melt around the sides. You may also take a knife and run it around the inner circumference of each ramekin. Place a dessert plate on top of the ramekin, then holding both the ramekin and plate, simply invert.

Apple and Fennel Salad

Stay healthy in 2017 with this crisp and bright salad!

apple-fennel-salad

Apple and Fennel Salad with Shaved Parmigiano and Black Currants

Yield: 4 servings

 

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 medium shallot, peeled and diced small (3 tablespoons)

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

1 large apple, unpeeled (preferably Braeburn, Fuji, or Honeycrisp)

1 large fennel bulb

¼ cup black currants

⅓ cup toasted, salted walnut pieces

¼ cup finely chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, not pre-grated, for serving

In a small container with a tight fitting lid, combine the vinegar, lemon juice, shallot and olive oil, close the lid tightly, and shake well to combine. Or, whisk to combine the ingredients in a small bowl.

Slice the apple and fennel bulb into French-fry strips on a mandolin (or cut into matchsticks), for approximately two cups apple and two cups fennel.

Toss together the apple, fennel, currants, walnuts and parsley in a medium bowl. Add vinaigrette and gently fold to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve, divide the salad among 4 large plates and drizzle extra-virgin olive oil over each salad. Lastly, using a vegetable peeler, top each serving with shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Hot Mulled Cider

Ring in your New Year with a steaming mug of cider! Adult and kid friendly versions available!

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Hot Mulled Cider

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

 

½ gallon freshly pressed apple cider

3 sticks cinnamon, plus more sticks for garnish

1 medium orange, unpeeled, sliced thinly

2 whole cloves

½ vanilla bean, seeds and pod: slice down the length of the pod, spread open, and scrape out the flesh by pressing with a butter knife

1 tablespoon honey, preferably orange blossom

⅓ cup brandy, optional

 

In a large saucepan or small pot over low heat, add all of the ingredients, and mix together. Stir occasionally until very warm. Serve in mugs with slices of orange.

Notes:

  • If the mulled cider will be sitting for an exceptionally long time, remove the cloves when the flavor is to your liking.
  • If you are a big fan of spice, combine 3 star anise and 1 inch of peeled, roughly chopped fresh ginger and put them into a tea strainer or mesh bag to steep along with the other ingredients. Much like steeping tea, remove the tea strainer or mesh bag of ginger and star anise when the desired flavor is achieved.

Pot Roast with Root Vegetables and Kumquats

Presenting… your holiday roast!

pot-roast-with-veggies-and-kumquats

Pot Roast with Root Vegetables and Kumquats

Yield: 6 servings

1 (2½- to 3-pound) boneless beef chuck roast

1½ teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

2 large yellow onions, peeled and diced medium (3 cups)

3 celery stalks, chopped roughly (1½ cups)

5 large carrots, peeled and chopped roughly (5 cups)

3 tablespoons tomato paste

3 large garlic cloves, peeled and chopped roughly (1 tablespoon)

2 cups red Zinfandel wine

4 cups chicken stock

2 dried bay leaves

5 sprigs fresh thyme

1 pound small yellow potatoes (7 to 10), scrubbed

6 kumquats, halved and seeded

  1. Remove the roast from the refrigerator, pat dry and season all sides with the salt and pepper. Allow the roast to sit at room temperature for 1 hour.
  1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position, then preheat the oven to 300ºF. Open a few windows or turn on the oven hood/fan; it might get a little smoky.
  1. Heat a small oven-safe pot over medium-high heat until hot, then add 1 tablespoon oil. It will most likely start to smoke. Immediately add the roast and brown on all sides, 2 minutes per side. Transfer the roast to a large plate and discard the oil.
  1. Return the pot to medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, the onion, celery and carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally for 5 to 7 minutes until the onions are soft and translucent.
  1. Add 1 additional tablespoon of olive oil, the tomato paste and the garlic. Cook 2 minutes more, stirring often.
  1. Add the wine and stir with a wooden spoon, loosening up any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Cook for 3 minutes more; it will begin to thicken just a bit.
  1. Stir in the stock, bay leaves, thyme, potatoes and kumquats. Replace the roast in the pan. Depending on the size of your pot, the roast may be halfway or completely submerged.
  1. Bring the pot just barely to a simmer, cover and carefully place in the oven for 2 hours and 45 minutes. Remove from the oven.
  1. Season to taste with salt and pepper. To serve, remove the roast and cut into pieces, or simply pull apart with two forks. Discard the bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Ladle pieces of the roast, vegetables, and broth into soup bowls.

Note: When shopping for your boneless beef chuck, look for a lot of marbling in the meat. Those white streaks are marbling, or fat. It is the fat, in part, that gives this dish loads of flavor and keeps the meat moist. The total cooking time is just over 1 hour per pound of meat. Thus, a 2½ pound beef chuck roast will take approximately 2¾ hours to cook.

Cinnamon Sweet Potato Purée

This Thanksgiving, forgo the marshmallows, lighten your mash and make my Sweet Potato Puree. Your stomach, taste buds and guests will thank you! (Okay, if you still want those marshmallows, I can attest that they do pair well with this dish ;-))

cinnamon-sweet-potato-puree

Cinnamon Sweet Potato Purée

Yield: 4 to 5 servings

3 medium sweet potatoes (2 pounds), peeled and diced into 2-inch cubes

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 tablespoons of pure maple syrup, preferably Grade B

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated on a Microplane

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  1. Place the potatoes in a small pot filled halfway with cool water.
  1. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the potatoes are easily pierced with the tip of a knife, then drain well.
  1. Add the drained potatoes to a food processor with a metal blade attachment (for a super smooth texture) or large bowl (for a more rustic texture).
  1. Process in the food processor or mash with a potato masher, then add the remaining ingredients and continue processing or mashing. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Honey Vanilla Ricotta with Fresh Berries

It’s summer! Make use of your stash of berries with this simple and super quick dessert. Sure to be a crowd pleaser (for kids and adults)… Enjoy! Recipe is below (and in my cookbook, Great Food Starts Fresh, page 110) AND you can also watch me make this on my youtube page. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=quJvHnOrIlE

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Fresh Fruit with Honey Vanilla Whipped Ricotta

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Fruit: (feel free to make your own berry combo!)

2 cups fresh sweet cherries, halved and pits removed

2 pints strawberries, hulled and quartered

1 pint blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, or a combination

5 large fresh mint leaves, chopped finely (2 tablespoons) plus 4 large whole mint leaves for garnish

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

Vanilla Whipped Ricotta:

1 (16-ounce) container whole-milk ricotta cheese, drained

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

⅓ cup confectioners’ sugar

2 tablespoons honey, preferably orange blossom

 

In a medium bowl, toss to combine the fruit salad ingredients.

Put the ricotta, vanilla extract, confectioners’ sugar, and honey in the bowl of a food processor or mixer. Process or whip until smooth. Refrigerate until it’s time for dessert.

To serve, divide the fruit into bowls, top with a generous spoonful of the Honey Whipped Vanilla Ricotta and garnish with a mint leaf.

Vegan Vanilla Marshmallow Fluff – Enter Aquafaba

This recipe is pretty darn amazing! Not just because it gives a vegan alternative to marshmallow fluff (something usually made with gelatin), but because it uses the liquid found in a can of chickpeas (which, let’s be honest, is commonly tossed out). This liquid is called aquafaba and it’s like magic. Whip it up and it will form stiff peaks like a meringue. The aquafaba has properties akin to egg whites and the taste is so similar, you probably won’t even notice the difference. That makes this the perfect Drought Friendly Recipe. And when you pair the fluff with the Drought Friendly Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies and a slathering of some more peanut butter, you have a fluffernutter cookie sandwich that is knock ’em out of the park delicious. So, next time you open a can of chickpeas or other white beans (yes, you can use other canned bean brine!) reserve that liquid and whip up something deliciously cool.

fluff 1

Whipped Aquafaba Fluff

fluff 2

Looks just like the “real” thing!

vegan cookies fluffernutter

Fluffernutter cookie sandwich, anyone?

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Overhead shot of deliciousness

vegan cookies fluffernutter torched

Get crazy and torch that marshmallow for a fluffernutter s’mores cookie sandwich – WHAT?!

vegan cookies fluffernutter sandwich

This is taking your cookie sandwich to the next level…

 

Vegan Vanilla Marshmallow Fluff

Yield: 5 cups

 

½ cup garbanzo bean brine (the liquid from a can of garbanzo beans)

½ teaspoon xanthan gum

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

½ cup organic powdered sugar

¼ cup water

¼ cup organic corn syrup

½ cup organic granulated sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

 

Add the brine to the bowl of a stand mixer. Sprinkle over the xanthan gum and using a hand whisk, whisk vigorously until fully combined. Add the salt and powdered sugar and whisk vigorously until fully combined. Using the whisk attachment, turn the mixer to medium-high and let whisk until it looks like whipped meringue, white in color and holds a medium peak. Turn off the mixer.

In a small saucepan add the water, corn syrup, then the sugar. Place over medium heat and cook until an instant thermometer reads 240 degrees Fahrenheit.

Turn the stand mixer to medium speed and very slowly stream (the slower the better!) in the hot syrup aiming for the space between the whisk and the inside of the mixer bowl.

Add the vanilla extract, a few drops at a time, aiming for the space between the whisk and the inside of the mixer bowl.

Turn the mixer to high and mix for an additional minute.

Store in refrigerator.