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Coconut Milk Panna Cotta With Maple Syrup

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Sep 3, 2013 at 12:18pm

Coconut Milk Panna Cotta with Maple SyrupSo long Minnesota State Fair! It was a wild ride this year, loads of food fun despite soul-sucking heat followed by mercifully cool breezes…which in turn drew the largest crowds I’ve ever experienced.


I tend to indulge in savory foods when I’m out there, mostly in the form of pork (this year I enjoyed pig wings, porketta sausage, pork chop on a stick, and bacon) and of course, my fair favorite french fries. After the salt and sweat, dragging a cooler full of cooking demo ingredients back to my car, and sitting in a sea of traffic, I would put my feet up and cackle with delight to indulge in the cool, creamy panna cottas I alluded to in my last post. I made a big batch a couple of weeks ago and enjoyed them all fair long, threatening to end up photo-less because I seemed to find plenty of time to eat the panna cottas and no time to photograph them.Coconut Milk Panna Cotta with Maple SyrupSometimes I ate them with fresh blueberries, which have been spectacular this season, and are a match made in heaven with a hint of cardamom warming the creaminess. Mostly I ate them plain because I wanted to marvel at the complexity of tropical coconut milk sweetened with cold-climate maple syrup. Was I over-tired with a blown out palate? Utterly. And yet even on a normal eating day, coconut milk and maple syrup are two of my favorite ingredients, each with so many layers of essence, delicious in both savory and sweet dishes. On paper they don’t belong together but trust me, it’s a beautiful pairing.Coconut Milk Panna Cotta with Maple SyrupI should add that panna cottas are the perfect party dessert. They are as easy as a sneeze to prepare yet somehow feel fancy enough for guests, especially if you serve them from pretty demitasse cups (my favorite way; less fussy than inverting them). Keep the garnish simple for a light and refreshing effect; in this case, a scattering of fresh berries and a drizzle of maple syrup. Done.

If you missed last Friday’s Foodie Roundtable on Minnesota Public Radio’s Daily Circuit show, have a listen here as Andrew Zimmern, James Norton, and I were put on the spot answering host Kerri Miller’s (and the live audience’s) fair food trivia questions. Hot seats! Tough questions! But so much fun. I’ll take this opportunity to say that I would love to see more gluten-free treats at the fair. Foxy Falafel’s cheese curds with honey dipping sauce? Fair-goers would go crazy for them!Amanda Paa, Stephanie Meyer, Minnesota Wine Country

Amanda Paa, Stephanie Meyer, Minnesota Wine CountryThat said, there are plenty of naturally gluten-free goodies to be had. Bookmark for next year the fantastic write-up Amanda Paa of Healthy Life, Happy Cook blog did of our presentation pairing gluten-free fair foods to Minnesota wines at the Minnesota Wine Country exhibit. We had a blast! As did chef Scott Pampuch and I pairing and sharing grilled sausages and pickled cabbage with the crowd.

If you’re a panna cotta fiend like I am, see also:
Goat Cheese Panna Cotta with Honey & Berries and Sweet Corn Panna Cotta with Bacon & Blue Cheese
Sweet Corn Panna Cotta with Fried Sage

Recipe for Coconut Milk Panna Cotta with Maple Syrup at TC Taste/Minnesota Monthly Magazine.

Yes, I Am Alive

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Dec 10, 2009 at 8:20am

Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Hanukkah, and Merry Christmas!  Apparently an entire month has disappeared in a puff of puppy, bronchitis, travel, guests, 8th-grade basketball, and holiday decorating, shopping, and planning.

You can probably tell that I didn’t host Thanksgiving dinner this year (given detailed posts in years previous, a snapshot overview here), but I did bake no-knead bread (crusty, delicious, beyond easy) and reprised the fantastic brussels with pancetta and dried cranberries that I tried for last year’s feast.  The key to the deliciousness is the pulled-apart brussels, which result in a pile of tender leaves that cook quickly and lose any bitterness.  The result is so good, I’ve been asked to make it again for Christmas. Keep it in mind if you’re itching for a new vegetable dish on your holiday table (it’s pretty to boot).

I brought the bread and brussels out to Willmar for Thanksgiving dinner at my aunt Marge’s lovely home.  We had such a beautiful meal – turkey, sage dressing with sausage, mashed potatoes/gravy, sweet potatoes with fresh cranberries, brussels (above), wild rice salad with pine nuts and orange dressing, and bread.  For dessert my cousin’s wife Amanda made pana cotta with cinnamon apples, a delicious and light end to the feast.  Puppy Louis and I spent two nights in Willmar, in fact, hanging with the fam, eating leftovers in the form of Marge’s killer panini sandwiches, and spending Friday night at the farm (aka my aunt Mary’s lovely home – my aunts have beautiful homes, what can I say?) for another gorgeous meal, this time green salad with pears and mustard vinaigrette, pork chops with cherry sauce, polenta, and green beans, with warm apple cake for dessert.  Uff.  Da.  Clearly not a weekend of moderation, but that’s Thanksgiving, and so it goes.

Right before Thanksgiving, John and I had a fabulous time in NYC, in town to celebrate our friend Bartley’s birthday.  We hit several favorite food highlights – the Gotham salad at Bergdorf Goodman, mushroom barley soup at E.A.T., truffles from La Maison du Chocolat, H&H everything bagels on our way to the airport.  New tasties included hand-crafted drinks at the Surrey Hotel’s chic new Bar Pleiades and a literal feast (crispy prawns, velvet chicken, orange beef, Peking duck, and totally craveable shrimp spring rolls) at Chinese hot spot Philippe.

Somewhere in there I got a nasty case of bronchitis which cut my cooking down to zero, other than scraping together a quick soup here and there.  I’m coming back on line, however, slowly but surely.  I made my first pot of New England clam chowder of the season a couple of nights ago, my goodness it tasted good.  I make the Cooks’ Illustrated version which is brothier and lighter than the typical, and more delicious (I think), I recommend it highly.  I also bought a couple of hundred pounds (literally) of high quality beef from my stepmom’s nephew Jay Taylor (thank you to my dad for driving it from Montana to Minnesota) and we’ve enjoyed tenderloin steaks already.  And oh, John and I are hosting an open house for his partners on the 20th, part of which I’m having catered, but part of which I’ll prepare myself.  Stay tuned for menu ideas and recipes as I get my, um, stuff together.

And oh again!  I’m not one for much holiday baking, but I am toying with the idea of trying the Star Tribune’s 2009 cookie contest winner, Almond Triangles (photo at left by Tom Wallace for the Star Tribune) which I’ve heard several raves about already.  They look decidedly un-moderate yet delicious and best of all, easy – yes!  Perhaps for the open house.  I’m also getting pressured by Nathan to bake cutout sugar cookies this year – most years he can take ‘em or leave ‘em (peanut butter kisses are his thankfully easy fave), but when he makes the request…I’m happy to step up.  The trick is finding the time to actually prepare them, hmmm, perhaps Sunday afternoon.  If we end up with anything interesting, I’ll post some pics.

If you’re looking for a great holiday gift idea, check out James Beard Award-winning, Minnesota Monthly food columnist/editor Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl’s new book, Drink This: Wine Made Simple.  If you don’t read her column, and Dear Dara blog, you should because not only is she smart and hilarious, she knows food and wine, big time.  She was on MPR last week with Rick Nelson (Star Tribune), hosted by Kerri Miller, respresenting an hour of laughs and info generated by three of the smartest, coolest people in Minnesota.  Good stuff.

For now, the tree is up, my shopping is more than half done, and I’m feeling unusually on top of things (BIG knock on wood).  Which is good, since Puppy Louis needs some extra TLC for a few days – he was neutered yesterday and is stuck wearing the cone of shame for the next week, poor little guy.  Hope your holiday plans are falling into place better than Louis’…  Good luck stealing some peace (and moderation!) amidst the cooking and baking and wrapping and partying and the general running around like crazy that happens to us all at this time of year.  Stay warm!


view from john’s dad’s office

lovely central park

john walking under bridge in the park

serving forth

wild rice salad, brussels

mashed potatoes, turkey

cooper ready for the feast />

marge’s dog and louis’ new buddy – puppy rosie

dinner at the farm – pear salad

pretty table

greenery inside…

…and out

mom & baby

bucky badger!

puppy louis’ last day of fertility