Kefir Maple Bourbon Panna Cotta with Strawberry Jam & Black Pepper

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Aug 4, 2015 at 3:25pm

Kefir Maple Bourbon Panna Cotta  with Strawberry Jam & Black Pepper

My five year anniversary of going gluten-free is fast approaching. What an adventure it’s been and what a good reminder that sometimes the things that seem so hard provide the very kick in the pants we need to move onward and upward. Going gluten- and grain-free aka paleo changed my health, and then my energy, and then my writing and friendships and life, all for the better.

What a marvelous pain in the ass.

Kefir Maple Bourbon Panna Cotta  with Strawberry Jam & Black PepperFollowing the autoimmune protocol for the last year and a half has done the same – more challenge, but also more healing and a whole new set of wonderful friends. I’ve made some tasty and exciting reintroductions lately – high quality dairy for instance, as you can see from this recipe. I’m not much of a dessert person, but panna cotta is my JAM, especially with jam, so when my friend and neighbor Jen Sommerness gifted me a gorgeous jar of homemade strawberry jam, I became pretty instantly frisky for my fave cool creaminess.

(For past examples of my obsession, see Sweet Corn Panna Cotta I, Sweet Corn Panna Cotta II with Bacon & Blue Cheese, Goat Cheese Panna Cotta with Berries & Honey, and AIP/Vegan Coconut Maple Panna Cotta.)

Kefir Maple Bourbon Panna Cotta  with Strawberry Jam & Black PepperI was excited to play with tangy, fermented kefir as a foil for the sweet jam, plus I liked the idea of kefir’s naturally occurring probiotics making this a healthy-ish treat. Not that I’m opposed to having a non-healthy treat, but if I can sneak in some goodness, I do. Thinking about food as an opportunity for healing as well as deliciousness is the key to making good choices, I think. It took me a long, long time to make that shift but I’m glad that I have, because the best food is both of those things. The meals I savor the most intensely are both nourishing and divine – you know what I mean? They resonate at a deeper, DNA level, and as such they impart more pleasure. That’s a good connection to make because our most primal selves are pleasure seekers – might as well use pleasure for what it was designed -> to reinforce behaviors that propagate the species. That makes deeply delicious nutrition our evolutionary jam. See what I did there? Full circle, ha.

Paleo Sunday Suppers at Kitchen in the MarketThese are the things I think about before I share recipes with you, here or in the classes I teach. For proof, come to my next Paleo Sunday Suppers class at Kitchen in the Market on Sunday, October 25, 2015. We have so much fun cooking together! We cap the classes at 15 participants so that everyone can cook and learn and ask a million questions, so sign up early.

And stay tuned for more frequent posts! I don’t know if was burn out after writing Twin Cities Chef’s Table, or spending more time teaching, or burying myself in gut healing and health experiments, or all of the above, but you might have noticed that I lost my blogging mojo for awhile. For sure one culprit is snapping food pics with my phone (instead of my camera) on a daily basis – I post my most interesting meals daily on Instagram (@stephanie.a.meyer), follow me for healthy and creative inspiration, I do a lot of playing over there.  But I’m feeling the itch to pick up my camera again and a renewed desire to keep pushing myself to take better pictures. Always so very much to learn, gah.

Kefir Maple Bourbon Panna Cotta  with Strawberry Jam & Black PepperUntil my next post – which I’ve already photographed, woo hoo! – I leave you with this easy panna cotta recipe. If you don’t have homemade strawberry jam, just buy some. Or, hit the farmers market and make and chill a simple strawberry (or other berry or stone fruit) sauce. Don’t skip the black pepper, it adds a lovely note to the tangy, fruity creaminess.

Kefir Maple Bourbon Panna Cotta with Strawberry Jam & Black Pepper

Serves 4-6

Note: The inverted panna cottas pictured above were chilled in 4-ounce ramekins. If you don’t want to invert them, chill in any pretty cups or glasses or even in one large bowl. Prepare recipe the day before you plan to serve it to allow panna cotta to set properly.

3 teaspoons powdered gelatin (I use grass-fed Great Lakes Brand)
1 cup cold heavy cream
2 cups whole milk kefir
1/4 cup maple syrup (or more to taste)
1 tablespoon bourbon (or more to taste)
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
Scrapings from one vanilla bean pod
1/4 teaspoon salt

Strawberry jam
Freshly ground black pepper

Pour cold cream in a medium saucepan and sprinkle gelatin across the top. Set aside for 10 minutes to allow gelatin to soften.

Place pan over medium heat and heat cream until steaming and gelatin is dissolved, stirring frequently. Remove pan from heat.

Stir kefir, maple syrup, bourbon, cardamom, vanilla, and salt into the pan. Divide among ramekins, cups or bowls (see note above). Cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight.

To invert: Run a knife around the edges of the panna cotta. Place a serving plate over ramekin and flip upright. Holding ramekin firmly to plate, gently shake side to side until panna cotta releases.

To serve: Top with a teaspoon of strawberry jam and a few grindings of black pepper.

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