Monthly Archives: November 2008

Vanilla Panna Cotta with Raspberry Sauce

Once a week I eat at the sushi place in my office building. They have tiny shots of panna cotta and one serving never seems to be enough. So for this week’s lunch gathering I supplied the dessert.

Vanilla Panna Cotta with Raspberry Sauce

2 cups milk
1 cup sugar
1 ¾ cup cream
2 envelopes unflavored powdered gelatin (1/4 ounce envelopes)
1/4 teaspoon salt
½ tablespoon vanilla extract
splash of almond extract
1 ½ cup frozen raspberries
1/3 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon flour

Mix the milk and sugar in a heavy bottomed pan over medium heat. Pour the cream into a small bowl and sprinkle it with the gelatin. Whisk the milk over the heat until the sugar is dissolved. Add the cream mixture and the salt to the pot and continue whisking over the heat until the gelatin is completely dissolved, at least 10 minutes. Be careful and make sure that the milk doesn’t boil.

Pull the milk off of the heat and let it cool a bit, for at least 10 minutes. Add the extract and them carefully spoon it into 12 muffin tins to form nice molds. Refrigerate over night to set.

Heat the frozen raspberries, sugar and salt in a saucepan over medium heat. Once the raspberries are completely thawed, stir the mixture to break up the berries. In a small bowl mix the flour with water to form a slurry, make sure there are no lumps. Add the flour mixture to the raspberries. Cook for just a few more minutes to thicken the mixture. Transfer to a bowl and cool.

Fill the sink with hot water. Submerge the back of the muffin tin and let it sit in the hot water until the pudding gets a litter loose. Inver over a cookie sheet and tap the backs of the tin if needed.

Quickly move the individual desserts to plates, add a spoon of raspberry sauce and serve.


Elixir of Health: Vietnamese Chicken and Rice Soup

This soup is magic. It cures colds, the flu and any sort of weird bug that is ailing you. I suspect it’s a mixture of good chicken enzymes and black pepper, but it cured my classmates in college when a really bad flu broke out. You can make it in advance and freeze it to have it on hand for when you might some down with something.

Vietnamese Rice Soup

½ lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
½ cup jasmine rice
1 cup chicken broth
bunch of scallions, chopped
salt and pepper
fried onion, optional

Place the chicken, rice and broth n a large pot. Cover with water to form a decent amount of broth. Heat the soup on medium high for at least 30 minutes. The chicken will be fully cooked and the rice will bloom. Remove the chicken and set aside to cool. Add the scallions, salt and pepper to taste and more water to the pot, lower the heat to low and simmer. Once the chicken is cool enough, tear it into bite-sized pieces and add it back to the pot. Fill a bowl and garnish with the fried onions to serve.

Fall Festival

My co-worker Karen went apple picking the other weekend. She was kind enough to bring back a ton of fresh apples and I turned them into this delicious and decedent pie.

Caramel Toffee Apple Pie

1 cup sugar
½ cup cream
1 teaspoon sea salt

Heat the sugar in a heavy medium size saucepan on medium heat. Swirl the sugar occasionally until it liquefies and turns golden brown. Quickly add the cream and salt and return the mixture to the heat. Stir with a wooden spoon to combine. Let it boil to combine about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.

1 ½ cups flour
1 stick of butter, slightly cooler than room temperature
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons sugar
¼ cup water

In a large metal bowl, mix all ingredients, except the water with a fork or pastry cutter. The goal is to incorporate the butter until it is the texture of course meal. Slowly sprinkle in the water and quickly mix. Making sure not to put in too much water, briefly kneed the pastry so that it forms a cohesive ball. Separate into two balls and set aside.

½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar, packed
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
6 granny smith apples, pealed

Mix the sugars, flour, spices and lemon juice in a large bowl. Slice the apples very thinly on a mandolin. After each apple is sliced, add it to the sugar mixture and coat to toss.

Streusel Topping:
5 toffee bars, chopped
1 tablespoon flour
½ stick of butter
¼ cup milk chocolate chips

Mix all of the ingredients till combined and the butter is evenly distributed. Set aside.

Preheat the over to 450 degrees.

On a well-flowered counter top, roll out the first round and place it in the bottom of a 10 inch glass pie pan. Roll out the second half and leave on the counter until after the pie is filled.

Drizzle the bottom of the pan with some of the caramel mixture. Then fill the pie with all of the apples. Drizzle the tops of the apples with more caramel sauce. (You will most likely have caramel sauce left over, save it for a dip for apple slices.) Then pack the stop with the streusel topping.

Place the second crust over the top of the apples Fold the top crust over the bottom and then crimp the edges so that the juices do not escape. Place on a baking sheet and put into the middle over.

Bake for 15 minutes at 450 degrees then reduce the oven temperature to 350. Cook for another 30 minutes until the crust is golden brown.