A recipe I like to keep close at hand for a quick dessert is Panna Cotta, especially when ripe fruit is abundant. I had barely unpacked from moving when my Aunt informed me she had signed me up for Italian class. I was a little unsure as to where I'd find the time to spare, but I was long overdue to learn to speak the language properly. My grandparents came here from Italy and spoke Italian in front of us, but they wanted my parents to be American, so insisted they speak English.
After the first two weeks of class I knew there was no turning back and that I’m not quitting until I’m fluent. The biggest hurdle to learning a language is not using it enough, so I told my Aunt she has to come over to my house once a week for lunch and practice.
When she comes over I try and fix her a simple Italian meal with dessert of course and when I don’t have to run right out afterwards a glass of red wine never hurts. (It improves your Italian too, my opinion anyways.)
This week we had a frittata with vegetables I picked up at the farmer’s market, a green salad and for dessert this perfect light and not too sweet dessert. My Aunt is a diabetic, so I made this dessert with her in mind and omitted the sugar in the panna cotta, it works just fine without it and including it is a matter of personal preference.
Vanilla-Almond Panna Cotta
¼ cup vanilla almond milk (or low-fat milk)
1 packet unflavored gelatin (2 ½ teaspoons)
2 cups heavy cream
¼ cup granulated sugar (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1 teaspoon almond extract
In a large bowl add the almond milk and sprinkle the gelatin over it. Heat the cream and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat until the milk starts bubbling. Take the cream off the heat and pour into the almond milk, add the vanilla and almond extract and whisk gently until combined.
Pour the mixture into 4 ramekins that are lightly oiled or do as I did and pour the mixture into 4 empty 8-ounce jelly jars (no need to oil). Cover the jars or ramekins with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for a minimum of four hours.
Serve with a generous amount of Apricot Mint Topping.
Apricot Mint Topping
5-6 apricots (I say the more the merrier.)
1 tablespoon apple-mint leaves (2-3), chiffonade
1 tablespoon agave sweetener or honey
Juice from ½ of a lime
Peel, pit and slice the apricots. Add the apricots, apple-mint leaves, agave and lime juice to a bowl and place in the fridge until ready to use.
I planted an apple-mint herb plant this spring and I’m so glad I did, it’s much milder than spearmint. Worth adding to your herb garden if you can find it.
I’ve had the words tired and apathetic running through my mind lately. I believe it’s more tired than apathy, I think the problem is I’m long overdue for a break. My schedule has been punishing as of late and I have some other projects that need my attention. One of them is my niece needs a mural of Rapunzel riding a unicorn over a rainbow. So I think I’m going to take the next few weeks off and just detour for awhile. Trying to reason with my apathy I was drawn to the poem “The New Colossus” written by Emma Lazarus and I knew it was no accident this poem crossed my path considering that my Grandparents were greeted by Lady Liberty when they arrived in this country.
If you e-mail me, I’ll try and get back to you promptly, but I probably won’t be online much.
p.s. I already published this once without the photos, duh. If that isn't a sign I need a break; I don't know what is.