Kefir Panna Cotta with Cardamom Plums

This is the fourth panna cotta recipe on this blog, and one I am delighted with.

Kefir Panna Cotta with Cardamom Plums

Kefir Panna Cotta with Cardamom Plums

I used tart, creamy kefir as the main dairy ingredient, and lowfat milk to keep the flavors light and focused.  I modified my buttermilk panna cotta recipe, substituting  kefir for the buttermilk.  I topped this light and refreshing panna cotta with red ripe Santa Rosa plums, macerated with sugar and scented with ground cardamom.  Altogether, a terrific summer dessert.  Enjoy!

Kefir Panna Cotta with Cardamom Plums
(makes 5 – 6 servings)

1 cup lowfat milk
1 1/2 cups kefir (plain, unsweetened)
1/2 cup (3.5 oz) sugar
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup cold water
5 or 6  fresh plums, pitted and sliced
3 TB sugar
1 tsp ground cardamom

First, soften the gelatin. Put the cold water in a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over the water. It should soak up the water in a couple minutes. Stir to make sure the gelatin is all moistened.

Next, heat milk in microwave or on the stove until hot but not boiling, then remove from heat and skim off protein layer that will form as a natural result of the heating. Stir in the sugar and the softened gelatin until both are completely dissolved into the milk. Cool the milk mixture to lukewarm. (lukewarm is the best temp as kefir may separate if it gets warm when adding it to the milk)

Add 1 1/2 cups cold kefir and stir to combine. Pour into individual serving glasses and tuck them into the fridge. Chill until set. This will take as little as an hour or two.

Just before serving, slice the plums and toss with the remaining 3 TB sugar and the cardamom.  Allow to rest for 15 minutes to dissolve sugar. Then top the kefir panna cotta with the sweetened, spiced plums.   Enjoy!

Purslane

There is a special ingredient that my CSA grows, and I have grown fond of it’s special crunch — beautiful, green purslane

purslane

purslane

Purslane Salad

Purslane Salad

It makes a powerful addition to a chopped summer salad.  I mixed together fresh tomato, purslane, cucumber and basil with a simple lemon and olive oil dressing for a crunchy cool summer salad.  Enjoy!

Purslane Salad

purslane, rinsed and chopped (about 4 cups)
ripe fresh tomato, chopped (about 2 cups)
cucumber, chopped (about 2 cups)
3 TB olive oil
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp sea salt, or to taste
3 TB fresh basil, chiffonade (optional)

Mix all ingredients together and enjoy.

Vanilla Frosting on a 4th of July Cupcake

Status

This was one of my earlier posts, and I’ve had a few recent requests for it.  Happy Independence Day!

A frosted cupcake is a classic American dessert.

Here is my go-to recipe for an easy buttercream frosting, made with powdered sugar, butter, milk and vanilla.  It’s sweeter and less silky than a classic European buttercream, but so easy to make.  Some of my friends prefer this version for its sweeter taste.  There are just a few tricks for getting it smooth and fluffy every time. (Chocolate Cake recipe here)  This recipe makes enough to frost 30 cupcakes, or a layer cake with enough extra for fun decorations.

Vanilla Frosting

3 sticks (12 oz) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 LB (about 6 cups) powdered sugar
5 – 6 TB milk or cream
2 Tsp. vanilla extract

Cream the butter until smooth.  Add the powdered sugar and mix until blended.  Then beat until it becomes very creamy and begins to get fluffy.  This is a stiff mixture, but this is an important step to get all the lumps smoothed out.

Add the milk and vanilla, scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Mix on low to incorporate the liquid, then beat until the frosting is light and fluffy.

Note:  to get the stripey red, white and blue frosting shown above, use a bamboo skewer to “paint” a stripe of gel food color inside your pastry bag.  Start from the tip and go to about 1/2 way up the inside of the bag.  I used red on one side and blue on the other side.  Then fill the bag with frosting.  When the frosting pipes out, it’s striped like above.