At our local orchard they have the most beautiful strawberries right now. I was originally going to use them in a savory dish of but came across this panna cotta and my plans immediately changed.
Vanilla flavored desserts are one of my favorite things in the whole wide world. Sure, I like interesting concoctions with fancy names and out of the norm ingredients – I’m all for that every now and then. But really, simple is how I like it. Give me a vanilla base with a fresh fruit topping and I’m happy. Could that be construed as boring? Perhaps. But what’s good is good.
This recipe called for crème fraîche, which is a thinner and creamier version of sour cream, and something that I couldn’t find anywhere. I made the decision to substitute regular sour cream, I figured it would be alright and it was. Of course, a week later I found crème fraîche at a gourmet market 30 minutes from my house. I seriously hope one day I find one store close by that carries all the stuff I’ll ever need. At this point, I’m going to have to start keeping a damn spreadsheet so I can remember all the places in my state where I find different things. If you have time to spare, you can always make your own crème fraîche using a recipe like this one from Joy of Baking.
I really loved this panna cotta. It was smooth, creamy, and a little tangy. The vanilla was very present and the touch of lemon was nice. The balsamic strawberries were the perfect topping. The texture of it would not set enough to be able to unmold onto a plate like other versions I’ve seen, but it was fine keeping it in the ramekin. Maybe the texture was due to using the sour cream or maybe adding some extra gelatin could have helped. I tasted both components separately and preferred them much more together. I thought the tastes really played off each other well when the panna cotta and strawberries were combined on the spoon.
Loved it. Would make it again without a doubt.
Tyler Florence’s Spring Panna Cotta with Fresh Strawberries and Balsamic Syrup
Show: Tyler’s Ultimate Episode: Ultimate Orecchiette
Cook Time: 15 min
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Nonstick spray, for greasing ramekins
1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup superfine sugar (I put regular sugar in a food processor and pulsed a few times)
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped (I used vanilla bean paste)
4 strips lemon peel
1 1/2 teaspoons powdered gelatin
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 1/2 cups creme fraiche, room temperature (I substituted sour cream)
1 cup good-quality balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons superfine sugar
1 large carton strawberries, trimmed and quartered
Spring Panna Cotta with Fresh Strawberries and Balsamic Syrup marks my eighteenth post for Tyler Florence Fridays, a group with the freedom to make any recipe of Tyler’s that they choose and then share their experiences every Friday.
Dacquoise (pronounced “da-kwaz”) is a cake made out of nut meringue and layered with, in this case, white chocolate ganache and roasted pineapple pieces. Toasted coconut is pressed all around the edges.
This cake was a little more labor intensive than I thought. At first look the recipe seemed fairly easy, it surprised me when I read over the recipe completely and realized this would most likely be a two day affair for me. It doesn’t really have to be I guess, but due to waiting times on some of the components it made the most sense time wise.
This was really good overall. I loved the white chocolate ganache and the roasted pineapple, while the nut meringue was just ok. This was a recipe I was always interested in Baking: From my home to yours and I’m glad that I finally got to try it. Head on over to Andrea In The Kitchen to check out the recipe.
Next week it’s Dorie’s Perfect Party Cake, see you next Tuesday!
Megan’s Challenge is an optional monthly event over at Tyler Florence Fridays. Megan chooses a recipe for everyone to test out if they want and for June the selection was Tyler’s Summer Rolls with Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce. Words like “Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce” really speak to me, I had to give these a shot.
The rolls are stuffed with cellophane noodles, peanuts, cilantro, and vegetables such as carrots, beets, bean sprouts and fresh chiles. A couple of mint leaves are tucked under the papers before the paper is completely rolled up. I stuck to the recipe on this one but I think you could easily switch up ingredients if you wanted to.
I’ve never made anything like this at home before and I didn’t have any problems. It’s moderate prep work, a little mixing for the sauce and filling, and then rolling up the filling inside wet rice papers.
These were the perfect summer dinner. The rolls are full of flavor from the vegetables and fresh herbs. The cellophane noodles are soft while the peanuts give some crunch. The sweet chili sauce gives a nice twist. I really hate cilantro, at first I was put off by it. I didn’t think I liked the rolls that much but I kept tasting just to make sure. These actually really grew on me, nasty cilantro and all.
The beets turn everything pink inside the rolls. As well as your hands, the counter, the cutting board… you name it. :)
This was such a fun recipe to make. I’m glad I attempted it. Thanks you Megan for choosing the perfect summer recipe!
Tyler Florence’s Summer Rolls with Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce
Recipe courtesy Tyler Florence
Show: Food 911 Episode: Thai One on
Yield: 20 rolls
Rated 5/5 stars on foodnetwork.com
3 ounces Vietnamese cellophane noodles, cooked according to package directions
2 cups bean sprouts
2 carrots, julienned
1 large beet, julienned
1 fresh red chile, cut in circles
2 handfuls fresh cilantro, hand-torn
3/4 cup chopped unsalted peanuts
2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
1 lime, juiced
20 (8-inch) round rice paper wrappers
40 mint leaves
Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce:
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1/4 cup hot water
2 tablespoons sugar
1 lime, juiced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon red chili paste, such as sambal
Click here for directions
Tyler’s Summer Rolls with Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce marks my seventeenth post for Tyler Florence Fridays, a group with the freedom to make any recipe of Tyler’s that they choose and then share their experiences every Friday.
I’m already looking forward to the Peach Festival that comes around here every August. There are peaches as far as the eyes can see. Peach jam, peach cobbler, and peach ice cream all just waiting to come home with me… mmmm. So I was really excited for this weeks Tuesdays with Dorie recipe, Honey Peach Ice Cream. For one, it made the wait for the festival in August not seem so bad. For two, my ice cream maker hadn’t seen any action since last year’s Blueberry Sour Cream Ice Cream. It really needed to be used instead of the canister just taking up room in my freezer.
I picked up some peaches at the organic market, used regular honey in the bear jar, and 2% milk instead of whole. The full recipe calls for 3 egg yolks but I made a half batch. So instead of using 1.5 eggs yolks I just used 2. I added a little extra vanilla to it as well. You have to cook the custard mixture on the stove top first and then chill for a few hours before churning. Then you need to freeze for a few hours before you can enjoy. So make sure you plan a little bit ahead.
This ice cream is delicious. I loved this one, it’s right up there in my favorite Dorie recipes. I loved the smooth, creamy peach flavor. Next time, I think I would puree all of the peaches together instead of having a chunky ice cream – just a personal preference. I will make this again without a doubt, we couldn’t stay out of it and it was gone in no time. I’m really lucky I even got a few halfway in focus pictures to post of this ice cream. I thought I was going to have to make another batch just so I could get some more photos!
Making your own ice cream is really the better way to go over buying it. You know exactly what’s in it, there’s no weird ingredients and you can customize however you want. You don’t even really need an ice cream maker either so don’t fear if you don’t own one. One of the girls over on the TWD P&Q posted a link to David Lebovitz’s technique – check out his article How To Make Ice Cream Without a Machine.
Thanks to Tommi of Brown Interior for choosing Honey Peach Ice Cream for this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie. Check out Tommi’s blog here to view the recipe. Next week, Andrea of Andrea In The Kitchen selected Coconut-Roasted Pineapple Dacquoise on pages 293-295 of Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From my home to yours. See you next Tuesday!
I didn’t prepare anything for Tyler Florence Fridays this week.
But my boyfriend did.
He didn’t want to do any writing, just the making part and taking the picture**.
Tyler’s Watermelon Gazpacho with Chiles and Feta Cheese
Don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned it here before, but my boyfriend is a pretty amazing cook. Nothing scares him in the kitchen, he will try anything and we’ve had some fantastic meals at home thanks to him. In the past, he’s actually picked a few of Tyler’s recipes at random from foodnetwork.com and I just recently realized this as I was going through my year 2005 printed recipe binder (that was a BIG year for him in the kitchen). I never made the connection since they were “the boyfriend’s recipes” but I had to smile when Mr. Florence’s name was appearing beneath quite a few of my most favorite homemade meals. Like this one.
Anyway, Tyler’s Watermelon Gazpacho with Chiles and Feta Cheese happened to catch my man’s eye while checking out tylerflorence.com last week. He took one look and said “I’m making it.” I thought to myself, of all of Tyler’s dishes he could’ve seen… Gazpacho? Gazpacho to me = ACK! Of course, I wasn’t going to stand in his way. We headed out to the farmer’s markets for all the things he’d need.
He seemed to have an easy time making this, the soup is made entirely in the blender without too much prep work.
The taste test? He loved it.
And me? I was prepared to hate it. I ended up loving it too.
His notes and thoughts:
*the flavor of the feta accented the softer flavors of the watermelon and tomatoes
*watermelon was good in this as it added a sweetness which he liked better compared to other gazpachos he’s had
*would mince up the cucumber a little less, or add some diced cucumber so it had a bit more texture
*would not buy a 7 pound watermelon again just for this recipe (my note: LOL, we had watermelon FOR DAYS)
*he would make this again
The recipe can be found by starting here on Tyler Florence.com. Just select the “Soup” button and scroll down until you see the Gazpacho – it’s the perfect summer recipe. Happy Blending!
Tyler’s Watermelon Gazpacho with Chiles and Feta Cheese marks my sixteenth post (can I still say “my”?) for Tyler Florence Fridays, a group with the freedom to make any recipe of Tyler’s that they choose and then share their experiences every Friday. Thanks to my boyfriend for stepping in this week. It was fun having someone else do the work, but I’ll be back next Friday with my own creation. I really would like to thank everyone for the nice comments and emails I’ve gotten recently, just want you to know it meant a lot and made me smile. Hope you all have a great weekend!
**Oooohhh, the boyfriend’s camera makes me extremely jealous. A Canon EOS 5D Mark II Digital SLR… I’m still trying to get my paws on this baby to test it out, but have not been successful as he won’t let me near it!!
I have two Ina Garten recipes to share today.
First is Curried Couscous which was chosen as the first June recipe for the Barefoot Bloggers by Ellyn of Recipe Collector and Tester. I wasn’t sure I’d like this recipe going in because I’m not 100% fond of curry all the time, but I ended up being pleasantly surprised.
This was an easy recipe to make and it only took a few minutes. I changed some ingredients to match what I had on hand and it turned out great, I think this is a very adaptable recipe. If you don’t like an ingredient, leave it out or replace it with something else you do like. I used heavy cream in place of plain yogurt and chives in place of scallions. I honestly thought of using Key Lime Pie yogurt when I realized I was out of plain, but the heavy cream was expiring first so I went with that. I’ve mentioned before that I avoid going to the store like it’s the plague, right?
The curry was not overwhelming at all. It was just the right balance of spices. There were a lot of different ingredients going into this but all of them stood out on their own. I loved the sweetness from the raisins, the flavors from the curry and onions, and the crunch from the carrots all against the backdrop of the couscous which is quickly becoming one of my favorite things to center a dish around. This dish is perfect as a side or would work as a meal.
I probably wouldn’t have ever made this own my own so thank you Ellyn for choosing it.
The Magnificent Ina Garten’s Curried Couscous
1 1/2 cups couscous
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup good olive oil
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup small-diced carrots
1/2 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup dried currants or raisins
1/4 cup blanched, sliced almonds
2 scallions, thinly sliced (white and green parts)
1/4 cup small-diced red onion
Click here for directions
And now for the second show…
Eva of I’m Boring (I can’t help it, I love the name of her blog…she’s definitely NOT boring though!) chose these Outrageous Brownies that I ending up missing back in May. I had never made Ina’s brownies before although I’ve heard lots about them. I’d say they are one of her most well known recipes as they are everywhere on the internet, have tons of ratings on foodnetwork.com and I’ve seen them compared against other brownie recipes a lot when people try out new ones. Now, these are not for the faint of heart. She doesn’t call them “outrageous” for nothing. They were super chocolately and I could only handle a small piece at a time or I was overloaded. I don’t like nuts in baked goods so I left out the walnuts, everything else I followed exactly except the baking pan. A few years ago, my good friend Lisa gave me a Longaberger Grandma Bonnie’s Pie Plate for my birthday filled with homemade brownies. I’ve baked brownies in it ever since – more than I’ve baked pies.
Well, I was a little late on the Outrageous Brownie train but I have finally arrived! It was a sweet ride.
Thanks to Eva for pushing me to test this recipe out. I see a lot of workouts with my Cindy Crawford tapes in the near future trying to work off all those delicious calories. Yes, I said Cindy Crawford workout tapes. Circa 1992 & ’93 and still going strong, baby!
The Fabulous Ina Garten’s Outrageous Brownies
1 pound unsalted butter
1 pound plus 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips, divided
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
6 extra-large eggs
3 tablespoons instant coffee powder
2 tablespoons real vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided (1 cup for batter and 1/4 cup in the chips and nuts)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 cups diced walnut pieces
Click here for directions
Simple is best.
The Tuesdays with Dorie pick for this week was Parisian Apple Tartlet chosen by Jessica of My Baking Heart. Only four ingredients are needed to make it and the most work you’ll have to do is peel an apple. That’s my kind of recipe.
For how easy this is, the tartlets deliver taste wise. But then again, all of the ingredients by themselves taste good. Dorie says many fruits would work well with this. I think the mango or apricot versions in the Playing Around section would be interesting to try. I’m sure a lot of the TWD members have experimented with different fruits, be sure to stop by the Tuesdays with Dorie blogroll to check out a few.
Thanks to Jessica for a great choice this week, I can see myself making this again. Please visit My Baking Heart to view the recipe or see Dorie Greenspan’s fabulous book Baking: From my home to yours on page 319. Next week, Tommi of Brown Interior selected Honey-Peach Ice Cream on page 437. I can’t wait to break out my ice cream maker again, the Blueberry Sour Cream Ice Cream that I posted back in August 2008 was the first and last time I have used it. Sad.
Something exciting happened at Something Sweet by Karen. My recent Tyler’s Ultimate Cheesecake post for Tyler Florence Fridays was selected to be featured this week on Tyler Florence’s blog. Yes, the man himself! Click here to see the entry.
I couldn’t be happier. I love Tyler, his recipes, his show and his books, and I love being a part of the Tyler Florence Fridays group. Every week, TFF members cook and bake an impressive line up of Tyler’s recipes. I urge you to check out what everyone has been up to.
Showcases of TFF members will now be a weekly feature over at Tyler’s site, and one of many new innovative and interactive ideas being launched. It’s all very exciting, I can’t wait to see what the future holds!
I grew up watching The Golden Girls. Every Saturday night, no matter what we were doing, my Mom and I would rush home in time to see what those four crazy girls were up to that week. Blanche, Rose, Dorothy, Sophia – all characters we knew and loved. Of course, our favorite was Sophia, “Picture it… Sicily… 1932….”.
The Golden Girls would sit around the table late at night discussing their problems over a big fat cheesecake and I would sit there soaking it all in at the age of about 9 or 10, all the raunchy jokes completely going over my head. This show is how cheesecake was introduced into my life.
Isn’t it funny what you can vividly remember from your childhood? How you can play things back like a movie that’s just been held on pause waiting for you to push play? I recall this particular memory I’m about to share like it happened yesterday. One Saturday on our way home to catch The Girls, my Mom asked me what I would like for dinner. I answered the usual “Spaghetti” but then added “and for dessert I want cheesecake.” She was like “Cheesecake? You’ve never had it. You won’t like it, it’s for grown ups” I said “Yes, I WILL like it. It will be my favorite thing in the whole world.” She just rolled her eyes but drove to the store and got us a cheesecake for dessert that night anyway.
That was the night my lifelong love of cheesecake began.
I’ve been doing Tyler Florence Fridays for a while now. One of the first recipes I really honed in on was Tyler’s Ultimate Cheesecake. If you’re a baker that loves cheesecake, seeing that title alone will most likely make you investigate. Then when you see the recipe was rated 5 out of 5 stars from about 685 total reviews on the ‘net, you’ll probably start to think you’ve really been missing something.
The graham cracker crust is refrigerated for five minutes rather than blind-baked. Sweet, I get annoyed with blind-baking. I made a full recipe and used the recommended 8 inch springform pan. The crust was easy to smoosh down on the bottom and up the sides. The filling has a 1:1 ratio of cream cheese and sour cream, eggs, moderate sugar, lots of lemon zest, and a hint of vanilla. It’s so easy to put together, even a person who claims to have no skills in the kitchen could get this done. The cheesecake is baked in a water bath at 325 degrees, Tyler says for 45 minutes. I did bake mine a little longer, more like 55-60 minutes after reading some of the reviews on foodnetwork.com. The cheesecake will still be pretty jiggly after it’s time in the oven, that is how it’s supposed to be. Don’t worry, it will firm up. I refrigerated mine overnight.
One word review: phenomenal.
The sour cream wasn’t overwhelming at all. The lemon zest stood out, it gave a nice brightness. The cheesecake was very creamy and made that deflating type of sound when you put your fork through it. Normally, I’m a Plain Jane with cheesecake but I loved the lemon blueberries on this.
I’m feeling a Golden Girls dvd marathon coming on with my Mom, my two sisters and this cheesecake right in the middle of us all. Maybe I’ll remind my Mom of that day all those years ago when she ended up being completely wrong about my 10 year old palate, but I’ll probably just keep that part to myself. I think I’ll thank her instead for driving to the store to pick up a cheesecake so I could try it even though she thought she’d be throwing her hard earned money right down the tubes.
Tyler Florence’s Ultimate Cheesecake
Show: Tyler’s Ultimate Episode: Cheesecake
Click here to see a how-to video
2 cups finely ground graham crackers(about 30 squares)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 pound cream cheese, 2 (8-ounce) blocks, softened
1 cup sugar
1 pint sour cream (16 oz)
1 lemon, zested
1 dash vanilla extract
Warm Lemon Blueberry Topping
Warm Lemon Blueberries:
1 pint blueberries
1 lemon, zested and juiced
2 tablespoons sugar
Click here for directions!
This Tuesday, Tracey of Tracey’s Culinary Adventures selected Cinnamon Squares. A layer of cinnamon espresso chocolate chips in the middle of a cinnamon cake that’s topped with a bittersweet chocolate frosting… Whoa, mama.
I halved the recipe and baked in a small round cake pan for about 25-30 minutes. I took the cake out even though the middle was still streaking the knife a little bit. Once it cooled, everything was all good and the cake was totally done without being overly done. I forgot that I had ran out of sugar while making last week’s Chipster-Topped Brownies so I made this all with Splenda instead of running to the store. I felt weird about it, I’ve never baked with anything but sugar but it worked out fine. This cake was pretty cinnamony, actually a bit much – but I’m not the biggest fan of cinnamon so what was strong for me may be ok for others. All in all, I did like it but I’m not too sure I’d make it again. The pluses about it: it smells great while baking, tastes good plain, is made even better by the chocolate icing, and is one of those outside of the norm recipes that is a refreshing change every now and then.
I’m exhausted today from working overtime so I’m keeping this short and sweet. Please head on over to Tracey’s blog Tracey’s Culinary Adventures to view the recipe or check out Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From my home to yours on pages 210 and 211. See you next Tuesday for Parisian Apple Tartlet chosen Jessica of My Baking Heart!