Saturday, April 10, 2010

Spring Dinner

Appetizer: Crab and Avocado "Ravioli"
Fish: Scallops with Parsley-Tarragon "Soup" and Morel Mushrooms
Main: Gnocchi with Truffled Wild Mushrooms
Dessert: Lemongrass-Ginger Panna Cotta

Lemongrass-Ginger Panna Cotta

Serves 8
  • 3 1/3 cups heavy cream
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 T powdered gelatin
  • 6" lemongrass stalk, sliced thinly; remove tough outer leaves (1-2 layers)
  • 2" piece of ginger, peeled and cut into a 1/6" dice
  • 2" piece of vanilla bean. Cut open lengthwise, and scrape out as many of the vanilla granules into the cream as you can.
Place 1/3 c of the milk into two wide bottom bowls and sprinkle the gelatin over the two. Allow to sit for 15 minutes. Bring the cream, sugar, lemongrass, ginger and vanilla bean to a boil. Remove from heat and let flavors develop for 10-15 minutes. Return to heat and warm slightly. Remove from heat again. Scrape the milk-gelatin mixture into the cream mixture and whisk until dissolved. Whisk in the remaining whole milk. Pour everything through a mesh strainer. Distribute evenly between receptacles (wine glasses, ramekins, whatever). Let cool to appx room temperature, then transfer to the refrigerator. Let set for at least 8 hours. If desired, you may run a knife around the edge of each receptacle, and dip each cup quickly into boiling water, then flip it out onto a plate. The best way to "flip" is to place the plate directly on top of the ramekin, as a lid almost. Then invert and gentle ease off the ramekin.

Notes to self on setting: Occasionally, I have had issues with separation. After doing some research, it seems like a few things will help. Cooling in ice, and stirring, probably the stirring more than anything. A pastry chef recommende not bothering adding powedered gelatin to water first, that you could just add it directly, and that would dissolve it, which kind of makes sense. I al also going to try cooking the milk with the cream, b/c it seems like they may not be homogenizing sufficiently.