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FreshTartSteph Recipe: Panna Cotta, Two Ways


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So long, Summer of Parties. You've been a stunner, truly. I ate more fresh, local, and beautifully prepared food this summer than I ever have in my life. From farmers' markets to farm dinners, from restaurants to my own kitchen, I've been living in a bit of a food dream for the last months, and I'm not quite ready for it to end.

So it won't! Not yet anyhow. It was just two weeks ago that I sat with web designer/photographer/cook/Tour de Farm (TDF) organizer Kris Hase at the TDF Celebrity Chef Tour dinner at Star Prairie Trout Farm. I had eaten dinner the night before at Corner Table, where National Geographic fellow and TDF guest chef Barton Seaver and chef/TDF founder Scott Pampuch were cooking together. The whole meal was spectacular, including a luscious sweet corn panna cotta for dessert that I embarrassingly inhaled. After I polished off my own, I ate my husband's, and then some of my friend Rudy Maxa's as well.

I walked away full, and thinking about panna cotta, hmmm...

And then the next night, at Star Prairie, while drinking gorgeous wines that Dara herself had chosen for each course (she was the evening's sommelier), what appeared before me but a lovely plate of grilled bison flank steak, served alongside...the same sweet corn panna cotta! Oh joy! I happily set about eating not just mine but also my friend Shaina Olmanson's, as well as Kris'...

My gluttony launched a whole conversation with Kris about panna cotta—how adaptable it is, how it can be served savory or sweet, how easy it is to prepare, how pretty it is. Kris told me how she serves two versions together as a cheese course, and my jaw dropped.

Now yours can too. These are both so quick to pull together, so gorgeous side-by-side, and so incredibly delicious that all I can say is...make them! I can't imagine a better way to celebrate the end of the Summer of Parties. And I should know—I've eaten more panna cotta in the last two weeks than I can hold. Cream and sweet corn are flowing in my veins as I write this and I couldn't be happier.

If you're interested in the recipe for the sweet corn panna cotta I devoured at Corner Table and at the TDF dinner—which is a different version than Kris'—see my recap of the of the night's dreamy events. Star Prairie Trout Farm is a pretty magical place on its own. Add chefs Barton Seaver, Scott Pampuch, Tim McKee, and Andrew Zimmern, with Dara pairing wines with their delicious food, and well...it was an unforgettable evening.
 

Goat Cheese Panna Cotta with Honey & Berries

Recipe by Kris Hase
Makes eight 4-oz. servings

2 c. whole milk, divided
2 tsp. powdered gelatin
1 c. heavy cream
1 c. fresh goat cheese, room temperature, cubed
1/2 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract or seeds from one vanilla bean

honey
fresh in-season berries
edible flowers

Pour 1/2 c. of whole milk in a small bowl and sprinkle gelatin evenly over the top to soften it. Set the bowl aside.

Combine the heavy cream, remaining 1 1/2 c. milk and sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer (not a boil) and stir until sugar is dissolved.

Turn off heat and whisk in goat cheese, until the pieces of cheese are totally incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Add the vanilla and the milk/gelatin mixture and whisk again to dissolve the gelatin. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a pitcher with a pour spout.

Pour the mixture into 6-8 ramekins or fancy glasses and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

When ready to serve, drizzle honey over top with fresh berries and edible flowers.
 

Sweet Corn Panna Cotta with Bacon & Blue Cheese

Recipe by Kris Hase
Makes eight 4-oz. servings

2 c. whole milk, divided
2 tsp. powdered gelatin
1 c. heavy cream
3 ears sweet corn, husked, kernels sliced off
1/4-1/2 c. sugar (to taste, depending on sweetness of corn)

crumbled blue cheese
crumbled crispy bacon

Pour 1/2 c. of whole milk in a small bowl and sprinkle gelatin evenly over the top to soften it. Set the bowl aside.

Combine the heavy cream, remaining 1 1/2 c. milk, sugar and corn in a large saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer (not a boil) and stir occasionally for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, whisk in the milk/gelatin mixture, and let steep for 20-30 minutes. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a pitcher with a pour spout.

Pour the mixture into 6-8 ramekins or fancy glasses and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

When ready to serve, scatter blue cheese and bacon over the top.

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