Cranberry and Pistachio Panna Cotta

Cranberry and Pistachio Panna Cotta

Servings

 6

Active time:

15 minutes

Ready In:

6 hours and 30 minutes

Good For:

Dessert

Inroduction

About this Recipe

I don’t know about you, but I always end up with extra cranberry sauce after Thanksgiving and this is the perfect way to use it up.  I usually make my own but this recipe would work with canned as well.  I used my fancy glasses because I don’t get many chances and it really makes a beautiful presentation but ramakins or any small bowls would work. 

Ingredients

  •  1 cup jellied style cranberry sauce
  • 1 tbsp powdered gelatin
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 vanilla beans or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup pistachio nuts (split evenly)
  • 1 tbsp powdered gelatin
  • 3 cups whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • pinch of salt

To get started warm the cranberry sauce in the microwave for 30-60 seconds until it is pourable and divide equally in 6 dessert glasses. If you have a chunky style sauce like the Cranberry Blueberry recipe below, blend it with a blender or stick blender and run it through a sieve to get a smooth consistency.  You an angle the glasses or just put a nice layer on the bottom.  Place in the refrigerator while you make the panna cotta.

Step by Step Instructions

Step 1

Sprinkle the gelatin over the milk in the measuring cup and let it stand 3 to 5 minutes.

Step 2

Pour milk and gelatin into a heavy saucepan and the split vanilla pods and 1/2 of the pistachio nuts.  Stir over medium heat about 5 minutes until the gelatin dissolves.  Don’t let the milk boil. Turn off the heat and let the vanilla beans and pistachio nuts steep in the warm milk for about 10 minutes.

Step 3

Add the cream, honey and salt. Turn the heat on medium and stir 5 to 7 minutes until the mixture is warm but not boiling. Remove from the heat and strain out the vanilla beans and nuts.

Step 4

Remove from the heat and cool for about 15 minutes. Pour into the glasses. Cool slightly. Refrigerate until set, at least 6 hours.  Garnish with cranberries (sugared by dipping in simple syrup then sugar) and the remaining nuts.

The Daring Cooks Challenge – handmade spätzle (with meatballs in cream sauce)

Spätzle with meatballs in cream sauce


This month’s challenge was to make noodles, with a suggestion for Spätzle.  A long (long) time ago I lived in Germany for several years and became very fond of them but although I’ve made lots of other types of noodles,  for some reason just never tried these.  I know my choice of meatballs in cream sauce really isn’t traditional with them, there was the usual time crunch and I had some ready made meatballs on hand that could be made quickly.  Thanks for the great idea and I will be making these more often (and with more traditional meals – maybe schnitzel) now that I know how quick and easy they are!
Steph from Stephfood was our Daring Cooks’ July hostess.  Steph challenged us to make homemade noodles without the help of a motorized pasta machine.  She provided us with recipes for Spätzle and Fresh Egg Pasta as well as a few delicious sauces to pair our noodles with!
I followed the recipe given by Steph for the Spätzle but instead of the sauce she provides, I made the weekday meal version – prefab meatballs with a simple cream sauce to serve with them.
Spätzle:

Boiling the spätzle


Draining


Meatballs and Cream Sauce
Ingredients:
1 lb fully cooked meatballs (purchased or your favorite recipe)
1 medium onion finely chopped
2 TBS butter
2 TBS flour
1 TBS Better than Bullion (or 1 teaspoon bullion granules)
2 cups milk or half and half
Procedure:
Heat and brown the meatballs in a large skillet adding a little oil if needed, then remove and set aside.  Add the onion to the skillet and brown well (add a little more oil if there is not enough fat from the meatballs).

Saute the onions and meatballs


Add the butter and stir in the flour and cook until it is lightly browned.

Make the sauce


Stir in the Better than Boullion or bouillon granules then add the milk or half and half. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Return the meatballs to skillet and heat through, about 1 minute.

Citrus cream parfaits

Citrus Cream Parfait


While I was visiting the LA Times test kitchen, Noelle Carter was gracious enough to share a great trick with me.  Instead of whipping cream with a whisk or mixer, try doing it in the food processor.  The cream has less air and is more substantial so it holds better and tastes amazing, a little more buttery.  I couldn’t wait to get home and try it out and since I had collected quite a few fruits from my sister-in-law’s trees and the Santa Monica farmer’s market, I decided to make a citrus cream parfait.  I used the lime cream recipe (Printable Lime Cream Recipe) substituting a mixture of lemons, limes, grapefruits and oranges to make a double batch.  Use whatever citrus fruits you have, as long as it equals the right amount of juice.  I zested all the fruits because I like things tart, but you can do only some if you prefer a slightly sweeter recipe.

Citrus Cream


Once the citrus cream was ready, I made the whipped cream by adding 2 cups of heavy whipping cream, 1/4 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla to the food processor and processing for a brief (1-2 minutes) time until it was smooth and thick.
Gently fold 1/2 of the whipped cream with 1/2 of the citrus cream.  In dessert cups or nice glasses, add a layer of the citrus cream, a layer of the cream mixture and a layer of whipped cream, then repeat if you are using large glasses.  You could also do it in a single large glass bowl like a trifle.  That’s it!
A double batch of the citrus cream and 2 cups of whipped cream makes 4-8 servings depending on the size of your glasses.

Lime Cream Coconut Pie


The citrus cream is great for desserts or put it in a jar for gifts.  You can use it to make pies, filled cookies, tarts and almost anything you would use lemon curd for, even just on toast or muffins so while I was at it, I also made a double batch of the lime.  I put it in a pre-baked pie shell and sprinkled with some toasted coconut for another quick dessert.
Enjoy.

Iron Skillet Steak with Basil Cream Sauce – sometimes the old fashioned way really works

Iron Skillet Steak with Basil Cream Sauce – sometimes the old fashioned way really works

Pan Fried Steak with Basil Cream Sauce

As I have mentioned before, I love my cast iron skillet rediscovered a couple of years ago when husband unexpected brought one home.  Our weather is pretty much grill friendly all year, but I also really love gravies and sauces so I decided to go with the pan for some steaks this time.  I also roasted some vegetables (very simply yellow squash, zucchini and Roma tomatoes, cut in half, drizzled with some olive oil and sprinkled with garlic bread crumbs and shredded Parmesan) and did a recipe test of Cook’s Country Delmonico Potatoes with some small multi-colored potatoes.  The potatoes turned out well and I was pleased with the mult-color.

For the steaks:

2-4 steaks – whatever kind you prefer

4 tablespoons olive oil

4 tablespoons garlic minced (I always use lots of garlic feel free to use less if you prefer)

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup fresh basil leaves torn into small pieces

1 small onion chopped finely

1/2 cup heavy cream

Montreal Steak Seasoning or salt and pepper

First:

Steaks marinating

In a large glass baking dish lay the steaks flat, sprinkle with the seasoning salt, drizzle with  1 tbsp olive oil, spread 1/2 the garlic on the steaks, splash with Worcestershire and sprinkle with 1/2 the basil.  Turn them over and do the same on the other side.  Cover with plastic wrap and leave out for 1/2 hour.  Meat will cook more evenly if it is closer to room temperature.

Next:

Add 1-2 table spoons olive oil to an iron skillet over high heat until it is shimmering and really, really hot.

Reserve the Marinade

With a spatula push the garlic and basil off the steaks and reserve in the pan for the sauce (otherwise it will burn).

Steaks in the pan

Place two steaks in the pan, don’t crowd them or they won’t brown as well.

Almost done

Cook about 4 minutes on each side for medium on a fairly thick steak, more or less to your taste and the thickness.  They should have a really nice brown crust and be at least 120 degrees when tested with a thermometer.  Remove the steaks from the pan and place under a foil tent to rest.  If you are doing more steaks, repeat this.

Brown the onions then add the reserved marinade

When you’ve finished the steaks, add the onions to the pan and cook them until they are soft and  brown, then add the reserved marinade from the baking pan.  Cook briefly, for 1 minute or so to prevent the garlic and basil from burning, then add the cream and cook for another minute or so.  Check the plate the steaks are resting on and if there is any juice, add that to the sauce.

Add the cream

Serve the steaks with some of the sauce.

Creamy Pesto and Sausage Penne

Creamy Pesto and Sausage Penne

Creamy Pesto Sausage Penne

After making all that great Pesto for holiday gifts, I did sort of keep some for myself and found a great way to use it for a quick weekday meal.  It took about 15 minutes, just long enough to cook the pasta.  Considering all the basil, I’m counting this as healthy (ignoring the cream sauce and sausage of course – but I did use chicken sausage so I get points for that).  The other great thing about this recipe is it hardly even makes a mess (something I am normally really, really good at).  It takes only two pans, one for the pasta, one for the sauce.

Ingredients:

1 lb penne pasta

1 lb sausage (I used a chicken with mozzarella sausage this time) sliced into 1/2 inch slices

2 tbsp olive oil

1 cup pesto (homemade if you have it)

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup shredded Parmesan

Procedure:

Cook the pasta according to the package directions.

While the pasta is cooking, brown the sausage pieces in the olive oil in a large skillet, then remove them and set aside on a paper towel to drain.

Pesto and Cream

 

Add the pesto and cream to the skillet and bring to just a boil

Adding the cheese

Add cheese and stir until melted.

Return the sausage to the sauce.

When the pasta is done, drain and add it to the sauce, mixing well.

That’s it – time to eat!

Creamy Pesto Sausage Penne

 

 

 

 

Recipe test:  Rachael Ray’s You Won’t be Single for Long Vodka Pasta Sauce

Recipe test: Rachael Ray’s You Won’t be Single for Long Vodka Pasta Sauce

You Won't Be Single For Long Vodka Penne

I know I haven’t always been kind to some of Rachael’s recipes, but this is one of my favorites.   I make it quite often and even follow the recipe You Won’t Be Single for Long Vodka Pasta Sauce pretty faithfully, which is quite unusual for me.  The only change I make is to start with 1 pound of hot Italian sausage removed from the casing and fried (leave the fat in the pan and continue on with the recipe for the best flavor).  It gives it a little more kick and of course makes the meat eaters happy.  I find that the fresh basil is what really makes it, so definitely don’t skip that.  Otherwise, it is a great, simple and quick recipe that you can easily make after a workday, serve in a bowl with some garlic knots or garlic bread and if you must, a salad (sorry I don’t do salad).

You won't Be Single for Long Vodka Penne and Green Beans with Bacon

I also sometimes serve it with green beans (with bacon of course).

Green Beans with Bacon

While frying the bacon in a large skillet, steam about a pound of green beans in the microwave for 3 minutes.   I get the packages from Costco that you can steam them right in or you can just do them in a bowl.  Fry 4 slices of bacon cut in small pieces until very crisp, then remove it from the pan, leaving the fat.  Add the partially cooked green beans and finish for a couple more minutes in the pan to the doneness that you like, then add back the crispy bacon.