In many aspects of my life, I am a sipper. I hold a wine glass filled with hopes, dreams, thoughtfulness, silliness, adventure, and love—the components that make a life whole. I drink from my glass slowly, appreciating each mouthful, taking a sip only when I can feel the energy draining from my spirit. I am frugal with my glass of wine; so eager to savor my glass, to keep it full, I would rather swirl the liquid around the cup and look at my potential than experience what is inside. I want to take a sip, to drink the glass, to down a bottle, but fear whispers in my ear and I set my glass down on the table.
Sometimes I forget that when the bottle of life runs dry, it is okay to pop the cork on another one.
I have been doing a lot of slow sipping lately, taking in just enough of life to keep myself from feeling bogged down. I may be content, but I am not always satisfied, the routine of daily life trumping adventure and new experiences. I have a tendency to get caught up in work and responsibilities, turning my weekends into just another weekday. While I realize I cannot always drink a full glass of life, I seem to forget that I can still take a few mouthfuls. It is a work in progress for me.
I am learning how to adjust, to remind myself it is okay to take a little break every now and then, to drink the glass instead of admiring the liquid swirling around in the light.
When I am not drinking life out of wine glasses, I like to enjoy eating desserts out of them. The ability to layer and present a dessert in a new and interesting way appeals to me, especially when serving them to someone special. These Pomegranate White Wine Panna Cottas were originally an idea at the tail end of December, but I envisioned them as a dessert for Valentine's Day. The vanilla panna cotta contrasted against the pinks and reds of the pomegranate seeds seem like a colorful match. With a little white wine, these desserts make it hard to go wrong.
These desserts can be made a day ahead of time, so if you are planning a fancy evening or a dinner party, you can cross off the desserts well ahead of time.
Pomegranate White Wine Panna Cotta is a flirtatious little dessert. A rich vanilla panna cotta is topped with a white wine reduction and a handful of pomegranate seeds. The pomegranate seeds add a crunch to an ordinarily smooth dessert. For a smoother texture, you could certainly substitute the pomegranate seeds for raspberries or softened strawberries. This is a sweet dessert to share with a dear friend or special someone.
Pomegranate White Wine Panna Cotta
Yields 4 servings
Vanilla Panna Cotta
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet or 15 grams) unflavored powdered gelatin
3 tablespoons cold water
1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream (or half-and-half)
1 cup (240 ml) milk
1/4 cup (56 grams) granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the water, whisk together, and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes to "bloom" or activate.
In a large saucepan, heat cream, milk, sugar, and salt over medium heat, stirring until sugar fully dissolves. Bring to a low simmer and add in the gelatin, stirring constantly for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
Divide evenly between serving glasses (or ramekins) and refrigerate until set, about 4-6 hours.
White Wine Syrup
1 cup (240 ml) sweet white wine
2 tablespoons granulated sugar, optional
In a small saucepan, bring the white wine and sugar to a slow simmer. Reduce the wine by half (1/2 cup) to concentrate the flavor. Remove from heat and chill.
Spoon the wine syrup evenly over the panna cottas and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds. Chill until ready to serve.