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Entries in panna cotta (2)

Sunday
Feb032013

Pomegranate White Wine Panna Cotta

Pomegranate White Wine Panna Cotta

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.

Pomegranate White Wine Panna Cotta

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.

Pomegranate White Wine Panna Cotta

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

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.

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Sunday
Dec042011

Pumpkin Panna Cotta

Pumpkin Panna Cotta

The Midwest has its own quirks, as does any region. It isn't until you leave the area for awhile that they suddenly become apparent (and oh do they become apparent). I've moved around a bit in my 20s—living in North Dakota, Minnesota, Montana, and Wisconsin for various lengths of time—but it wasn't until I spent some time in Europe that my Midwestern quirks really began to show.

As a child of the Midwest, I would occasionally see television shows or movies that would mock the Minnesotan "yah, sure, ya betcha" accent (Fargo and New in Town, I'm looking at you). Unlike the classic Minnesotan accent (which, by the way, is greatly exaggerated and I haven't met a soul who actually speaks like that except this woman), the quirks of the Midwest seem to stay in the Midwest. In fact, we hardly recognize we have them.

Pumpkin Panna Cotta

Lately, I've noticed the Midwestern use of the phrase I s'pose. Let's be clear; it is never "I suppose." It's I s'pose. Around the Midwest, this turn of phrase is used frequently and I've only recently started realizing just how often I use it myself. I s'pose has come to mean I-don't-want-to-talk-to-you-anymore when you are on the phone or I'd-really-like-to-be-going-now when you are visiting someone in person. It's perceived to be very polite, but it's nevertheless effective.

For instance, when on the phone with a relative or friend, simply saying "Well, I s'pose" will signal the end of the conversation and the goodbyes will soon begin. Just recently, when my family had the relatives over for Thanksgiving, everyone was sitting in the living room and it was getting late into the evening. My uncle said the magic words I s'pose in a short lull of conversation and everyone immediately stood up to head on home.

Who knew such a simple, grammatically incorrect phrase could hold so much power?

Pumpkin Panna Cotta Pumpkin Panna Cotta

Perhaps the biggest Midwestern quirk is our pronunciation of very simple words. We use long vowels instead of short vowels in certain situations. Simple words like bag, magazine, or dragon are pronounced with the long a sound (as in baby or mate) instead of the short a sound (as in cat or mat). While most Midwesterners would hardly bat an eye at this, I've found you do get made fun of for it when you venture out into the rest of the world (and I have, on several occasions).

This was never more apparent to me than when I was at a grocery store checkout in England. I was packing my purchases up in my backpack when I realized everything didn't fit and I would need another bag. I asked the lady for a bag (using the long vowel "a") and she stared at me like I had grown a second head. "A bag?"

"Yes, a bag? One of those?" I said, pointing to the paper bags in her hand.

She still stared at me, uncomprehending this seemingly ridiculous request.

"A BAG?" I said once more, confused, resorting to miming the shape and function of a bag to get my point across.

"Oh, you mean a bag." She said, using the short vowel a, looking sorry for me, as if I had gone through my life mispronouncing such a simple word.

What quirks do you notice in the regions where you live?

Pumpkin Panna Cotta

Pumpkin pie has been a staple of the holiday season for as long as any of us remember (and for good reason, too—it's delicious!). This Pumpkin Panna Cotta is a twist on the traditional pumpkin pie. With the buttery crust gone, the pumpkin filling finally has a chance to truly shine on its own. Panna Cotta is essentially a thick custard and, when combined with the flavors and spices of the classic pumpkin pie, it becomes the perfect substitute to the real deal. Once you taste your first bite, I have a feeling you will forget pumpkin pie ever had a crust.

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