Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Orange Creamsicle Panna Cotta

 Panna Cotta is one of my favorite, easy, semi impressive desserts. They look great for a party and most people think they're a lot more work than they actually are. Unlike puddings, there's no flour ratio, no eggs and no real cooking. It's just gelatin, milk, cream and sugar. It's a very rich, very satisfying dessert that has just the right amount of sweetness and acidity to cut through the rich nature.

This recipe came about accidentally when I mis-measured my vanilla. It was so strong that I knew I wouldn't be able to mask it. Instead, I had to find a way to use the vanilla flavor to my advantage. I've always loved the orange and raspberry ice cream bars, and I knew that would be the closest I could get with this strong vanilla flavor. This didn't have the artificial taste the ice cream usually has. The vanilla was more subtle once it cooled, and the pure tangerine puree had a great, very sharp citrus note that was only present in the upper gelee. Highly recommended.

Orange Creamsicle Panna Cotta

  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 3 sheets gelatin (1 sheet is about 3/4 tsp powdered)
  • 2 ½ cup cream
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 zested blood orange or tangerine
  • juice from 1 orange
  • just over ½ tsp vanilla (closer to 1 tsp)

For the orange gelee

  • 4 Tbsp tangerine puree
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 sheet of gelatin
  • ½ cup + 2 Tbsp water


  1. Bloom 3 sheets of gelatin in ½ cup milk. Simmer sugar, cream, milk, orange juice and zest until sugar dissolves
  2. Add vanilla and dissolve in gelatin. Pour into cups chill until almost completely set
  3. Bloom 1 sheet of gelatin in 2 Tbsp water.
  4. Simmer together puree, honey, lemon juice and ½ cup water. Stir in gelatin until dissolved and let cool until panna cotta is almost set
  5. Gently spoon gelee over panna cotta and return to refrigerator. Let set completely before serving. 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Vinegar Braised Cabbage with Caraway

When I was younger,  my grandmother would make a vinegar cabbage every Christmas as a side dish. It wasn't exactly like this. Her's was just vinegar, salt and pepper. Her version of cabbage also took several hours to make. She got the recipe from my Uncle's wife, who made it as an Atkins diet, German heritage kind of side dish. We all liked the dish, but I never wanted to put the effort into making it. 

I adapted this recipe from my most awesome Polish/German/Russian cookbook. It only takes half an hour to make and might even taste better. The flavors are more complex. There's a great sweetness atop the sour and it smells exactly like rye bread from the use of so much caraway. Make sure to adjust the amount of seasonings and vinegar to taste and you'll have a great side dish. It goes especially well with good pork chops (what we had for dinner that evening)

Vinegar Braised Cabbage


  • 1 onion
  • 1 small red cabbage, shredded
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 Tbsp caraway seeds
  • 1 large apple, peeled and cubed.
  • juice of one lemon
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • ¾ cup water
  • ½ cup honey
  • salt, pepper, fresh chives
  1. Onion until translucent in desired oil/fat. I used duck fat for this, but you can use vegetable oil or 3 strips of cubed bacon
  2. Add cabbage, garlic, caraway and ½ cup water. Cook for 10 minutes
  3. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add apples, lemon, honey, vinegar and remaining water. Simmer 20 minutes or until tender. Add additional vinegar or water as necessary
  4. Adjust seasoning to taste and garnish with chives/caraway seeds.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Sesame Seeded Kaiser Rolls

When making a pulled pork sandwich, there's nothing better than eating it on hot, slightly toasted kaiser rolls. I'm still having some issues shaping these rolls, but they taste like any you would get at the bakery. 

This post will be submitted to Yeastspotting. Check them out for some other great recipes.

Kaiser Rolls

  • 1 lb bread flour
  • 1 ½ tsp yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp malt (or brown sugar)
  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white
  • 10 oz (1 ¼ cup) water
  • poppy or sesame seeds


  1. Proof yeast in water for 10 minutes.
  2. Mix together flour, sugar, salt and malt. Pour egg/whites, oil and water over the dry ingredients. Mix and knead until springy. Allow to rise for 1 hour
  3. Gently compress dough, releasing the gas, and let rise 1 more hour
  4. Divide dough into 12 pieces. Flatten into small circles and form rolls, bringing each side into the center and pressing firmly in the middle, like a flower
  5. Turn the dough over onto a tray of sesame or poppy seeds to pick up seeds and rise for 1 more hour
  6. Bake with steam at 450 degrees for 20-25 minutes
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