April 2015

easy-vanilla-bean-panna-cotta

Oh, Panna Cotta.  I never really knew what you were. Until I had an intense craving for vanilla pudding, and you popped up during my Google search for recipes.

Did you know Panna Cotta might be the easiest fancy dessert out there? It is. And very delicious, very vanilla-y, and gluten free!

I have made it a couple times now, and I like this amount of gelatin the best. I used two packets once, and it turned out too jello-y.  This recipe is just the right level of creaminess and a lightened up a bit with the half & half.  Yes, lightened up with half & half.  Most recipes use all heavy cream.

Recipe

  • 1.5 cups heavy cream
  • 1.5 cups half and half
  • 1/2 cup plus 2T. sugar
  • 1 whole vanilla bean
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 package unflavored gelatin
  • 3-4 tablespoons cold water

Prepare 6 ramekins, or wine glasses, or small bowls, or whatever you plan to serve your Panna Cotta in.  I chose wine glasses (actually one time wine glasses and another time punch glasses), because I liked the ease of just eating these out of the glass instead of going through the hassle of dumping them onto a plate and making them look good.  And by ‘preparing,’ I mean set them on the counter.

In a large saucepan, combine the cream, half & half, sugar, and vanilla extract.  Slice the vanilla bean length wise, then scrape all the seeds into the cream mixture.  Add the pod.  Bring mixture to a simmer, then turn off the heat, cover, and let the vanilla steep for at least 15 minutes.

In a separate bowl, mix the gelatin and water.  Remove the pod from the cream mixture; bring back up to a low simmer just to lightly heat, then remove from heat and whisk in the gelatin.  Pour the Panna Cotta into your prepared dishes, cover, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.  Garnish with caramel, chocolate, candies, anything you wish – and remove from fridge several minutes or an hour before serving (it’s creamier than when it’s at its coldest).

Mashed Cauliflower

mashed-cauliflower

We love mashed potatoes.  We love cauliflower.  We love eating healthy during the week.  So it makes perfect sense that we would love to make this mashed cauliflower (in lieu of potatoes) during the week.

So much healthier than mashed potatoes, equally as delicious, and unbelievably easy and fast.

DISCLAIMER: I am not going to pretend these taste just like mashed potatoes and that you should substitute them always.  I love creamy, rich, fatty, mashed potatoes.  But once you reach your 30s, your body needs to pick its battles.

Recipe

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoon cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons plain greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup skim milk

Steam cauliflower about 10-15 minutes until very tender. Drain water and keep over low heat for several minutes to dry it out (the dryer the better).  Mash with a mashing utensil, or for a creamier consistency puree with a food processor.  Mix in the remaining ingredients.

Yep. That’s it.

kale-salad-with-creamy-poppyseed

People got on the kale bandwagon a long time ago.  In fact so long ago I think they have moved on to something else.  Well, I’m late to the game but HOLY $%#@ I LOVE KALE. THIS SALAD WAS SO GOOD. Like so good I never want another salad again.  I dressed the salad a couple hours before serving to help relieve a little bit
of bitterness and crunch from the kale – and I think that was the secret to
liking it so much.  The super sweet dressing pairs perfectly
with the bitter crunch, and after a few hours of marinading the kale turned into a perfect little bowl of deliciousness.  You can actually even dress the
salad several hours or the night before serving, making this a super easy make ahead dish.

Recipe
  • 1 bunch kale
  • Handful (or two) Craisins
  • Handful (or two) Slivered Almonds
  • 1-2 Avocados
  • 3/4 cup light mayo
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons skim milk
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1.5 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • Pinch salt
Mix the kale, craisins, and almonds in a large bowl.  Make the salad dressing of mayo, milk, sugar,
vinegar, poppy seeds, and salt.  Toss the
salad with about half of the dressing.  Before
serving, add the avocado to the salad and toss with the remaining dressing (or less to taste).  I ate this the next day and it was sooooo good leftover (with grilled salmon on top!).
cucumber-tequila-gimlet-with-jalapeno
Since it’s Monday, I decided to post about Tequila.  Very few people probably drink tequila on a
Monday, and yet I can’t think of another day when people need it more than
a Monday.  Oh, the irony.
I made this drink a couple weeks ago, and I fell in love
with it. Like, LOVE LOVE. Refreshing, light, and flavorful – I would take this over a margarita
any old day.
Recipe
  • 1 bottle (750 mL) good Tequila Blanco (I used a Blue
    Agave Tequila)
  • 1 cucumber, finely sliced
  • 2 jalapenos, roasted/browned until soft
  • ¾ cup fresh lime juice
  • ½ cup light agave nectar
  • 1.5-2 cups ice
Pour the tequila into a large pitcher or bowl, and add the
cucumbers.  Cover and let sit for at
least 6 hours, but up to 24.  Roast the
jalapenos in the oven until slightly soft, or brown them over a gas flame. Chop
them up and discard the stems and seeds (I left just a few seeds in for
heat).  An hour before serving the drink,
add the jalapenos to the tequila and let steep.   After
an hour or so, strain the tequila and discard the cucumber and jalapenos.  Stir in the lime juice and agave.  Add the ice and let melt to dilute and
chill.  Serve over ice, and garnish with
cucumbers or limes.