NO Gluten – NO Cheese – NO Shellfish – NO Soy – NO Acidity – NO Seeds – NO Eggs – YES Vegetarian Friendly >>>>>DOES CONTAIN CASHEW NUTS<<<<<
Over the past five or so years I have noticed a huge increase in food allergen modification requests that come across the lines of our kitchens. It puzzled me at first until I stopped to think about the possibility that our population has always had allergic reactions to foods and that they may have been misdiagnosed as some type of unexplainable illness. It make a whole lot of sense to me considering the advancements in dietary medical research. I’ve always known that people suffered from lactose intolerance. The inability to enjoy milk and cheeses seems like a punishment to me, but I give credit to anyone with the adaptability to eat healthy in modern day society.
Just recently I became friends with a really great guy named Joey. I learned that he suffers from coeliac disease which in simple language means he has great difficulty processing wheat and gluten. It’s no laughing matter as many people are hospitalized unexpectedly. I imagine this dangerous, inconvenience is often a result of restaurants providing incorrect information. It’s that or that the kitchen staff does not take the proper precautions when attending to the special dietary needs of their patrons.
Since my current menu themes revolve around light summertime fare, it seems appropriate to offer Joey C’s Strawberry Panna Cotta. (Pannacotta)
RECIPE SERVES 4 GUESTS – PREP TIME 15 MINUTES – INACTIVE TIME, 2 HOURS FOR CHILLING
Mise en place:
≽ 2 ½ cups fresh picked and hulled strawberries (use other fresh berries if you wish)
≽ 1tbls. Agave syrup
≽ 1 recipe of Cashew Nut Cream (see recipe below)
≽ 2 tbls. Fruit or granulated sugar
≽ 1 whole Madagascar vanilla bean, halved lengthwise and scrapped of the seeds. Save the seeds for later.
≽ 2tsp. agar-agar flakes
Cashew nut cream:
≽ 2 ½ cups cashews into a bowl of cold water cover and let soak at room temperature overnight. Drain and rinse. Add the nuts into a blender with 1 cup plus 2 tbls. water and blend for 10 minutes. (set it and forget it) it’s that easy to make.
≽ Food processor or kitchen blender
≽ Chinois or fine mesh colander
≽ Thick bottomed saucepan
≽ Glass bowl
≽ Plastic wrap
≽ 4 ceramic ramekins
Nous allons commencer:
In to your processor or blender, add your fresh berries and let them blend approximately 2-3 minutes. ( Always remember to hold the lid down with a kitchen towel unless you’re tired of the color of your kitchen paint)!!
Take the fruit mixture and strain it through the chinois or a fine mesh colander into a clean glass bowl. You now have a simple coulis. Discard the left over seeds and pulp. (compost).
Put half of your berry coulis into a glass measuring cup, add the agave syrup and then mix well. Let this chill down in the refrigerator.
The other half of the berry coulis goes into your sauce pan with the cashew nut cream, sugar and the whole vanilla bean and the flavorful seeds. Heat this mixture over low heat no more than 2 minutes. Taste it and adjust the sweetness level to your taste. Now is the time to add the agar-agar flakes. Stir this non-stop for 5 minutes or a little longer if you notice the agar-agar flakes have not completely dissolved. Remove the saucepan from the hot burner and remove the vanilla bean. Let this cool down for about half an hour.
Almost done! Take 4 regular size ramekins or small round glass bowls and line them with the plastic wrap. There is no need to do this perfectly because the imperfections of the wrap make for an interesting, textured look once the mixture is turned out. Spoon the now chilled mixture into the ramekins making sure to smooth the top with the bottom of a spoon or small Teflon scraper. Cover the tops with more plastic and place them in the refrigerator for a minimum of 1 ½ hours.
To plate: remove the top cover of plastic wrap and turn the ramekins over into the center of a chilled plate or even a small serving bowl. Ladle or drizzle the berry coulis over the Panne Cotta, add fresh berries and a sprig or two of mint. An edible flower like an orchid blossom also looks stunning.
Serve your guests, kiss the one you love and then relax for the remainder of the day. Ciao… Tpum