Elderflower Cordial and Rhubarb Pannacotta
|Grow Spinach, Grow!!!|
I was in the Cafe kitchen, hurriedly prepping lettuce before a busy dinner service last Saturday. I had too much to do and not enough time to do it. An old familiar feeling crept over me, a kind of stressed out resentment. And then, just as it came, it vanished with this thought: I am doing what I’ve always dreamed of doing. And I am alive to do it.
|a Wine Tasting at the Cafe inspired this purchase|
Our asparagus is bursting through the ground like mad, despite the fact that weedier asparagus beds never existed. We moved a few huge asparagus crowns to our main garden, where I hope to take better care of them.
|I mulched this Asparagus right after I took this picture, honest!|
Last week Rowan and I planted twenty different tomato varieties from Glad Gardens and he sowed a row of broad beans from a free packet he picked up at the local school’s Edible Garden Grand Opening. We still have a long way to go before our garden’s finished, but our spinach, kale and Swiss chard are up!
|Bonus when you purchase Mushroom Compost at Valley Mushroom|
About a week or more ago I made a pot of tea for a friend from mint in my backyard, and gave her some eggs for a new broody hen of hers to sit on.
In exchange she brought me a jar of Vanilla Bean Rhubarb Jam. It sat for about a minute on my counter before I had to toast some bread and try it out. Pink with flecks of vanilla seeds, it looked amazing and tasted even better….
It inspired me to make this dessert. I had wanted to try out a Panna Cotta recipe based on the recipe in Michael Smith’s Chef at Home cookbook and knew it would be lovely with a sauce inspired by the jam. I made this in two stages: the Panna Cotta, a sweet custard-like dessert set with gelatin was made one day, and I made the Vanilla Bean Rhubarb Sauce the next.
for the Panna Cotta:
4 C. Milk (whole Milk is lovely, but 1% will do)
2 Packages of Gelatin
3/4 C. Sugar
1 Bay Leaf
2 t. Vanilla (I used a vanilla bean, hence the little black flecks)
Choose 6 ramekins or teacups to mold your panna cottas in and lightly oil them.
Pour 1/2 cup of the milk into a medium bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over to soften it. Heat the remaining milk with the sugar, bay leaf and vanilla over medium heat until just beginning to steam. Pour the hot milk mixture over the gelatin-milk mixture and whisk gently to combine. Pour into your molds and put in the refrigerator to set for at least two hours, or overnight.
for the Vanilla Bean Rhubarb Sauce:
5 C. chopped Rhubarb (the pinkest you can find)
1/2 C. Sugar
pinch of Salt
1 Vanilla Bean
Place the rhubarb, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan. Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise, then scrape all the seeds out with your knife and add them to the pot. Drop the pod in, too. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer (you shouldn’t need additional liquid). After about five minutes, shut off the heat and let the rhubarb cool, then remove the vanilla pod.
To serve, unmold the panna cotta by dipping the mold into hot water, then run a knife around the edge. Place a serving plate on top, then flip over. Add a big spoonful of the rhubarb sauce and maybe some whipped cream.