Saturday, September 25, 2010

Lovely Cream

I have always wanted to make Panna Cotta (Cooked Cream). It is such a lovely, light dessert that is a blank slate for pairing with any fruit one desires. Or, you can flavor the cotta. Typically, you use a vanilla bean or, vanilla flavoring if you don't have a bean. But what about dark cocoa or mint? So, I decided to first do the classic dessert and at a later date, I will post my experiments.

Classic Panna Cotta
  • 4 C. heavy cream (or half-and-half)
  • 3/4 C. packed brown sugar
  • 2 tsps of vanilla extract, or 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 2 packets powdered gelatin (about 4 1/2 teaspoons)
  • 6 Tbsps cold water
Heat the heavy cream and sugar in a saucepan or microwave. Once the sugar is dissolved, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract. If using a vanilla bean, scrape the seeds from the bean into the cream and add the bean pod. Cover, and let infuse for 30 minutes. Remove the bean then rewarm the mixture before continuing.

Lightly oil eight custard cups with a neutral-tasting oil.

Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water in a medium-sized bowl and let stand 5 to 10 minutes.

Pour the very warm Panna Cotta mixture over the gelatin and stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved.

* I spooned two tablespoons raspberry pie filling into the bottom of each custard cup.

Then divide the Panna Cotta mixture into the prepared cups, and chill them until firm, which will take at least two hours.

Run a sharp knife around the edge of each Panna Cotta and unmold each onto a serving plate, and garnish as desired.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sweet & Savory Wins Hearts

Okay, I am drowning in pictures from our trip. I must have taken almost a thousand! I am having trouble knowing where to begin. So, I am avoiding and procrastinating.... sounds like it's time to cook! Pork chops were on sale so I prowled the aisles, wondering what to do with them. Shake and bake, while tasty, is such a cop out. Then, I remembered a delicious recipe that I've wanted to try that used apples. I am wary of sweet and savory, preferring to keep them separate. However, feeling adventurous, I think I succeeded in challenging my previously held notions.

Apple and Sage Pork Chops
  • 1 1/2 tsp. sage (rubbed w/fingers to crush)
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. ground thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika (smoked if available!)
  • 1 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 4 pork chops (boneless or bone-in)
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
Mix flour, all spices and salt in small bowl. Sprinkle both sides of pork chops with seasoned flour mixture. Set aside remaining mixture.

Cook pork chops in hot oil, on medium high heat until browned on both sides. Remove from skillet and set aside.
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced thin
  • 2 small red apples, sliced thin
Add onion to skillet and cook 3 minutes or until tender. Add apples and cook additional 2 minutes.
  • 1/2 C. apple juice (fresh squeezed is best!)
  • 1 Tbsp dark brown sugar
  • remaining flour/spice mixture
Mix juice, sugar and flour/spice mixture together and add to apples and onions in the skillet. Return pork chops to skillet. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until internal temp reaches 160° or no longer pink inside. I didn't specify a time, because it can vary based on thickness of chops.
Well, the kiddos loved it and had the gravy created, over mashed potatoes. My husband took the leftovers for lunch today. My six month old loved sucking on the cooked apples and I even mixed a little of the gravy in with his mashed veggies and he gobbled that right up. Enjoy!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Clicking My Heels: Nearing Home

Above Flathead Lake, Montana
What a long journey we have taken as a family. Full of discovery and adventure like I had never anticipated. We got under each other's skin from time to time, but being cooped up for days, driving endlessly would do that to the most sedate of people. Still, we managed and I think we have become closer as a family. I have endless pictures that don't nearly do justice to how beautiful and amazing our world is and how America is STILL, despite many attempts to the contrary, GOD'S country! I could not help but wonder at all the beauty and majesty around me and it just confirmed in my heart that this could never have been the result of accident and coincidence. I am going to share all of this with you in a few parts, because I came upon so many revelations, I had to take notes. Now, I realize I haven't many followers (guess I'm not as interesting as I assume! lol), so I will try not to be too long winded. And for those who are more visually motivated to at least skim a few lines, I will go heavy on pictures. Until I get settled once home (one day away!) here is just a taste of the fun we had!

L to R: Dad, Mom, brother Iain, Chad, Myself holding Lachlan.
Down front are Connor and Russell.

Here of course, is the whole reason for the trip. To see my folks, who sorely missed their grandsons, as well as extended family, not pictured.

Dad and Mom feeding Lachlan.
The boys were thrilled, hunting the tide pools of Bellingham, WA's shores.
My Three Sons and Husband
Muncho Lake, Canada

Time flies too quickly and I could have stayed for so much longer. I had fleeting moments where I pictured us moving to Montana. I wouldn't be hurt if we did. I guess I'm a cowgirl at heart, still.

Going on a hike up Columbia Mt. in Montana.

*Stay tuned for details and more pictures of our trip!

Past Musings You Might Ponder

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