Friday, May 8, 2009

Yogurt Panna Cotta

Panna cotta is one of my favorite desserts. It's so simple, yet so many are not quite right - too stiff, too fatty, too sweet. It's a delicate game to achieve the perfect balance.
Fortunately, we here in the Bay Area are blessed with some delicious dairy products, and I pretty much use exclusively Straus. We consume a lot of Straus yogurt in our house, and as far as yogurts go, it is quite thin, and quite tart. I imagined that in the right quantity, it would the perfect lift to the cream in the panna cotta. After a few batches, I came up with this recipe, which I think is delectable. It is yogurty, rich with cream, and unmuddled by vanilla or other flavorings. It makes the greatest breakfast. (For a lovely photo with all the accoutrements, check Danielle's blog entry.)
I urge you to consider the yogurt you are using as an indicator of the amount of sugar needed: for a mild yogurt, you could decrease the sugar by a few teaspoons, and/or just replace a bit of the cream with more yogurt. The point is that it's ridiculously easy, can be made in 10 minutes, and would probably take major deviance from this basic recipe before it tastes bad. The one thing that needs to stay the same is the 2+ish cups of liquid to 1 teaspoon of gelatin; better to err on the side of a little less gelatin when measuring.

YOGURT PANNA COTTA (4-6 individual panne cotte, depending on the size of your dishes)

1+1/2 c cream

2/3 c yogurt

5 tbs + 2 tsp sugar

pinch of salt

1 tbs cold water (tap temp)

1 tsp powdered gelatin

Put the water in a little bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over it. There’s just the right amount of water so that in a few minutes, the whole thing will come out in a blob.

In a saucepan, heat 2/3 c of the cream, the sugar, and the salt, until the sugar is dissolved and it’s quite hot. It can simmer around the edges. Mix the remaining 2/3 c cream and the yogurt in a bowl.

If you want to unmold them, grease your ramekins with a little plain vegetable oil: most easily done by swiping them with an oily paper towel.

When the sugar has dissolved, turn off the heat and stir in the gelatin mixture, until it is dissolved. Then gently whisk the warm cream mixture into the cold yogurt mixture. You don’t want too many air bubbles, so after it is fairly well combined, you can stir again with a spatula to be thorough and to calm the mixture down a bit.

Divide the mixture among your dishes, and cover and chill! They need at least 2 hours before they are set at all, and really should be chilled for 5-8 hours if you want to unmold them. They are delicious with any fruit, and most cookies, preferably something crisp and light.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Fried Chicken Sandwich

I've finally eaten the infamous fried chicken sandwich from Bakesale Betty! It's been years, and I've heard all sorts of wonderful things, but it just has never happened. So we blasted over there yesterday afternoon, ordered some, and pretty much inhaled them.

And my verdict was: Pretty Darn Good. Nice coleslaw, plenty of it, nice chile heat and pleasant pickley onions. The chicken was moist, the right temperature, and there were 2 hunks - the right amount. I felt like the "fried" of the chicken was a little hard and crunchy for my sensitive teeth, and everything was a touch dry and underseasoned. With a lighter, crisper coating on the chicken, more salt on everything, and a smear of mayo on the roll, this sandwich would be really good. For $7.xx, it's still a good lunch.

p.s. I asked them where all their ingredients come from, and a friendly employee came right out from behind the counter to rattle off the list of sources: Acme torpedo roll, Fulton Valley chicken, Bariani olive oil, and they were using Swanton's strawberries on the shortcake that day, which we didn't eat. They do get a bunch of produce from Berkeley Bowl, but I can understand a little bit because they make about a thousand sandwiches a day (and had almost 30 people working there)!

Gardenous Wonderment

I'm really excited about my garden right now. I started digging up part of the lawn almost the same day we moved into this flat, about 3 months ago. Although space is a bit limited, we've already harvested multiple rounds of radishes and kales, and will soon have a never-ending supply of lettuces. It's been fun working in this milder weather; I put things in the ground weeks earlier than I would have up in Sonoma County.


Hey all! Welcome to the Miel Cooking blog.
Let's geek out on food!!!

And to start 'er off, here's a random photo from yesterday's luncheon that Danielle took. We did a photo session for my website proper, and this was some delicious hand-rolled fettuccine with green garlic, peas, fava beans, and mint. So springy!