Recipe: Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Apricot Gelée

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Panna Cotta, an Italian dessert of silky, sweetened cream set with gelatin, is all at once simple, classic and elegant.  It is, at its best, subtle, not overly sweet, and the perfect way to end a meal on a light and refreshing note.
Panna cotta comes together quickly and can be molded in any type of vessels you choose -- from ramekins to demitasse, martini glasses to mason jars.  I like to compliment my panna cotta with a thin layer of gelée -- a gelatin stabilized glaze made from fresh fruit.  Apricots are in season right now, and are bursting with summer sweetness, so I chose to do an apricot gelée.  You can use my recipe with any type of fruit you'd like.  
Here are some photos of panna cottas I've made in the past with a variety of gelées and vessels:
Vanilla Panna Cotta with a Honey Gelée and Bee Pollen
Lemon Panna Cotta, no gelée
Meyer-Lemon Panna Cotta, Strawberry-Rhubarb Gelee

I like to decorate my desserts with edible flowers, especially in summer and springtime. My theme fo…

Recipe: Spicy Avocado Crab on Wonton Chips



Here's a little recipe I came up with over the holidays while brainstorming quick, easy and delicious appetizers to teach at my Holiday Appetizers Workshop.  I was inspired by classic California Roll Sushi that features crab, avocado and cucumber.  Instead of cucumber, I used fresh chives for just a hint of onion to offset the sweet crab and avocado.


The crab salad comes together in just a few minutes and can be portioned on top of crispy wonton chips or served in a bowl as a self-serve dip.


Spicy Avocado Crab on Wonton Chips


  • 8 oz. package imitation Crab, flake style*
  • 1 small avocado, peeled and cubed 
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil 
  • 3-4 Tablespoons Sriracha mayonnaise**
  • A squeeze of fresh lime 
  • 1 Tablespoon finely chopped chives, plus more for garnish 
  • 1/2 package round wonton wrappers (or square wrappers trimmed with a circle cookie cutter) 
  • black sesame seeds for garnish 

Step 1: In a food processor, pulse crab until fine (approx. 15 seconds).  Do not process into a paste. 

Step 2: In a medium bowl, combine crab, avocado, sesame oil Sriracha mayo, and chives. Chill till ready to use.

Step 3: Prepare wonton crackers by heating vegetable or other neutral oil in a medium sauce pan. Fry a few wonton wrappers at a time, until golden.

Step 4: Serve crab on the wonton crackers, garnished with sesame seeds and chives

*Of course, you may use real crab if you wish.
**Most stores are selling pre-made Sriracha Mayonnaise these days.  You can make it from scratch by combining regular mayonnaise and Sriracha to taste.






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