Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Adventures in Holistic Living: Panna Cotta

Blogging my exploits in cooking, health, and holistic living has changed me significantly. For two months I’ve sensed a gradual paradigm shift in my philosophies surrounding the kitchen, which has leaked into other areas of my life. I’m more adventurous in the ingredients I use and in the ways I prepare them. I’m more aware with how my body reacts to my environment. 

For those who’ve been following this blog, I’m sure you observed the last few posts being, well, downers. And I admit it. There was a down-ness to them, filled with yearnings of the old days where I was bubbly and energetic and all over the place. It was clear I was having difficulty readjusting to my life back from Sweden, and again when I moved back home. So much change had happened that I was having difficulty adapting.

My friend Change and I have a fairly rocky relationship. I envied those who went with the tides so easily, the ones Change seemed so compatible with. I knew that I had gotten it down to a science not too long ago, that Change and I were two peas in a pod. When I am able to anticipate things, for better or worse, I typically end up smelling like roses and I celebrate Change's contribution to the enrichment of my life. But when things suddenly shift to a completely different direction I wasn’t expecting, I panic and Change seemed fickle and unreliable. 

That’s the beauty of gluten free cooking, though. Sometimes things don’t go according to plan and you have to wing it. Sometimes you have to let things take its course, even if the end result isn’t what you expected. And when you give yourself that space for error, often times you don’t even need it.

Since I’ve become the foodie I am today, I’ve developed quite an adventurous palate (most people with food intolerances and allergies do). But my adventurousness hasn’t stopped there; it’s merely where it began. 

The support I’ve gotten at home has been phenomenal. Except for a particular meal I wasn’t too happy with last week, I’ve gotten quite a few compliments on the dishes I’ve prepared, both from family and guests alike. There’s no other feeling like the warm fuzzies you get when someone of your household tells others:
‘Why should I go out to eat when I can have a meal that tastes amazing at home?’

Oh yes, I’m feeling the love.

Panna Cotta

1 packet Gelatin, unflavored
16.5 oz Heavy cream
2 oz Half and half
4 oz Whole milk
2.75 oz Agave nectar 
1/4 tsp. Vanilla

Place the heavy cream, half and half, and agave nectar in a medium saucepan on medium heat until simmering (but not boiling).
In a large mixing bowl, particularly one with a spout, sprinkle the gelatin in with the whole milk and let stand for 5 – 10 minutes.
Pour the hot Panna Cotta mixture in with the milk and whisk until the gelatin in thoroughly dissolved and has lost that grainy texture.
Put into the fridge in the way* you are serving the Panna Cotta for three hours to overnight, when the dessert has solidified.

*If you want to serve the Panna Cotta freestanding, lightly oil the molds and let sit, then flipping them over onto another plate. If you want to do what I did, pour the liquid mixture into wine glasses and place fruit puree on top after it sets (I suggest sherbet glasses… which I did not have on hand).

Serves 6 – 8 people.

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