Archive of ‘Life in Alaska’ category

Greek Yogurt Panna Cotta with Blueberries

panna cottapanna cotta, blueberries

The kitchen is coming together surely but very slowly.  Funny how somethings always take longer than anticipated, cost more and are just more difficult than you imagined.  I oscillate between excited anticipation, plain old freaking out and tired frustration.  Good news is the countertops have been ordered and will ship at the end of February.  Our wall has insulation again, yippee for cheaper gas bills in winter.  The next big hurdle will be building the cabinets.  This is a time where I sit back and trust the husband and go into the office/kitchen/wine cellar/nursery to cook something.  I needed to use up some cream, terrible dilemma, and with having no oven what better than panna cotta.

panna cottaPanna cotta, meaning cooked cream in Italian, is just cream, milk (in this case yogurt) and gelatin gently heated.  You can add sugar, fruit, flavorings, or not.  I had an amazing buttermilk panna cotta at Coppia Restaurant and Wine Bar in Portland.  It was cool and silky with a delicate tang from the buttermilk.  I like the tartness and color from the blueberries.  I think blueberries and Greek yogurt were meant to be.

panna cottaThis would be perfect in the summer too, use whatever fruit is in season and you don’t need to worry about heating up your house with the oven.  It’s also easy to make ahead, say for a dinner party.

panna cotta and blueberries

Recipe

adapted from: The Kitchn

Time: 4-6 hours including chill time

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
  • 1 1/4 cups cream
  • 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk Greek yogurt
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 cups of blueberries, fresh or frozen

Instructions:

  1. Put water into a small bowl and sprinkle gelatin over the top, set aside to let gelatin soften.
  2. Put cream into a saucepan with the sugar and place over medium heat, whisking well until bubbles form around the edge, don’t let it boil.
  3. Remove saucepan from the heat and add gelatin, whisking well to combine.
  4. Then add yogurt and salt.  Continue whisking every few minutes until cooled to room temperature.
  5. While panna cotta is cooling, divide blueberries among four medium sized bowls.
  6. When panna cotta is cooled divide equally among bowls.  Place bowls in the fridge for about four hours or until set.

Note: I like to keep it simple and serve in the bowls.  You can unmold the panna cotta for presentation purposes but I would recommend leaving the berries out of the bottom and adding to the top.  The frozen berries especially can make the consistency a little thinner.  Here is a great tutorial on doing such from The Kitchn.

panna cotta

An Evening of Sourdough at Fire Island Bakeshop

sourdough from Fire Island Bakeshop

A good homemade sourdough has eluded me to this point.  My bread was dense, decent flavor, flabby crust.  My starter was sluggish.  I could give up and head to nearby Fire Island Rustic Bakeshop and grab a loaf there.  But wait!  Even better, they are offering a course on DIY sourdough.

Sourdough Fire Island Bakeshop

Fire Island is offering a series of Monday evening classes ranging from vegan baking to home smoking.  See the class schedule for their offerings.  There was a group of ten of us, and we were put to work immediately.  Friendly and knowledgeable baker, Carlyle, had us start with shaping dough.  Three doughs were already prepared for us.  A whole wheat, a 50/50 wheat/white blend and an all white.  We started shaping the loaves to give them time to proof before baking.  Starting with the wheat as it was easiest to handle with our newbie boule shaping skills.  By the time I reached the full white (which was a sticky and stretchy beast) I was getting a rhythm down, the idea is to create surface tension over the top of the loaf to let it rise.  This is done with a gentle rolling motion while pulling the top edge of the loaf down but keeping it attached to the counter surface.

Fire Island Bakeshop

Fire Island Bake shopFire Island Bakeshop

Next was on to preparing our own dough to make at home.  We were provided with prepared starter, white or wheat.  A formula was provided and any wheat/white flour combo was ok.  We used the fold method, where every 30 minutes the dough is pulled and folded over until it no longer stretches.  A nice option, avoiding the 20 minutes or so of hand kneading I usually do, but this does require a bit more babysitting as you need to be near your dough for the next 3 hours or so.

Sourdough at Fire Island Bakeshop

Plenty of small breaks provided time to enjoy snacks and ask questions.  Why is my bread so dense?  How do I steam inject my oven?  Then on to the baking.  Our loaves were baked in their own fancy steam injected oven.  At home you can put a oven safe pan in your oven while oven preheats, once you put in the bread pour about a 1/2 cup hot water into already heated pan to give a nice bit of steam to provide that shiny, chewy crust we are all striving for.

I left with three loaves, one batch of dough to finish myself and a large bucket of starter.  Maybe some sourdough pancakes are in my future as well.

Fire Island Bakeshop

Slow Cooker Salted Caramel Brownies

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I have moved out of the world of slow cooker stews and into the realm of desserts.  My lack of an oven is requiring this.  The kitchen is making progress daily, albeit slow.  The doorways has been moved.  The wiring is near completion.  The biggest setbacks of the week: our cabinets have turned out to be particleboard held together by glue (not gonna work) and lack of companies wanting to ship large chunks of butcher block counter tops to Alaska.  They will ship to the lower 48 states, and they will ship internationally, but if you are in the death zone of Alaska or Hawaii you are expected to down your own trees as it was likely your choice to live in such rural and inaccessible reaches.

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Italian Sausage with Kale and Orecchiette

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Just because my kitchen has gone from small and not very useable to the approximate size of a twin bed (extra long at least) does not mean I can’t cook a decent meal. Right? Because I thought no better time to start a food blog than while in the middle of a kitchen remodel. I am ripping down drywall saying a fond farewell to chipped baby blue laminate counter tops.

Just take a deep breath and think positive

Just take a deep breath and think positive

I have been dreading/anticipating this endeavor with the husband for the past couple years. The thing is I don’t like remodeling, I like the finished outcome but I don’t like dust and loud noises. From our spare bedroom/temporary kitchen/office/nursery (more on that later)/wine cellar/shoe closet I will now be cooking and preparing our meals.

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