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Entries in pomegranate (3)

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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Thursday
Dec062012

Chocolate Pomegranate Tart

Chocolate Pomegranate Tart

December is riddled with dinner parties and friend and family get-togethers. While I love a good reason to eat great food and spend time with loved ones, there is always pressure on me to bring a fabulous dessert. Truth be told, the largest contributor to the pressure is myself. I want to find a way to outdo myself, to wow the guests with unexpected flavor combinations or an elaborate dish. The baker inside me wants to be a bit of a show-off. However, as time has shown me again and again, the pressure I place on myself to perform tends to backfire.

For Thanksgiving a couple years ago, I created a wonderful caramel pumpkin bread pudding. It took me two attempts to get it right, once because I burned the pudding in the oven and the second because I burned the caramel on the stove. Pressure, it seems, brings about rookie mistakes. One year I attempted to create a meringue cake to share with you on my blog's first birthday. A year and a half later, I haven't recovered from the misfortune that happened in my kitchen (contrary to what my mother may believe, I'm still not ready to discuss it).

Chocolate Pomegranate Tart Chocolate Pomegranate Tart

This year, I've decided to learn from my past mistakes. While I can't erase the small part of me that wants to create brilliant, impressive desserts, I want to avoid disaster, disappointment, and rushing to the grocery store to grab more ingredients an hour before the event takes place (no one needs that kind of stress). This year, I am planning ahead. It seem like an obvious decision, but I've always been a last minute kind of girl, making the desserts the day or morning ahead and panicking if something goes awry.

I've gotten too good at panicking.

Chocolate Pomegranate Tart

A month ago, my boyfriend convinced me we needed to buy pomegranates. After bringing them home and prying them open, I quickly decided they would be heavenly with a bit of chocolate. It took a bit of convincing for my skeptical boyfriend (and a mouth full of chocolate chips and pomegranate seeds to prove my point), but he ultimately came to the same conclusion. I put this idea on the back burner for the last month, mulling it over and trying to figure out the best presentation. I've always thought pomegranates looked like gems so the last thing I wanted to do was hide them in a dessert.

This Chocolate Pomegranate Tart is the result of all the reflection and, well, reflect it does.

Chocolate Pomegranate Tart

A slice of this Chocolate Pomegranate Tart brings a hint of pomegranate to a decadent chocolate tart. The crust is made with ground almonds, reminding me a bit of sugar cookies. A rich chocolate truffle filling is baked in, setting like a thick custard. The finished tart is glazed with pomegranate juice (thickened to a syrup to strengthen the flavor) and dotted with pomegranate arils. The pomegranate seeds catch the light just so, making this a lovely tart to impress guests.

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Friday
Jul012011

Quinoa Pudding

Quinoa Pudding with Pomegranate

Quinoa has recently piqued my interest. I didn't realize it existed until I happened upon it while spending endless hours looking at recipes (and pictures!) of food on the internet. I spotted it in everything from salads and breakfast to desserts. Suddenly, I found myself wanting to know more.

What was quinoa, exactly? Was it a grain? Was it like rice? And, most importantly, how was this food I had never heard of so versatile?

Luckily, nowadays the answers are never too far away.

Quinoa Pudding with Pomegranate

Coming from the Midwest, quinoa is as foreign to our culture as tofu or bean sprouts. We like our meat and potatoes. We keep it simple. As if to prove this point, I had to search through 3 different grocery stores before I finally found it buried in the organic health food section.

Quinoa is a suspicious little food. It is neither a grain nor is it related to rice, though the taste and texture would have you convinced otherwise. In fact, it is more related to beets, spinach, and tumbleweeds than anything else. As if to further prove its originality, quinoa has a surprisingly high protein content for a plant (12-18%!) as well as a high level of fiber. Can we say super food?

In fact, as I learned while digging up information, the Incas so loved quinoa, they deemed it sacred and referred to it as the "mother of all grains."

When I finally got my hands on a package of quinoa, the possibilities were endless. So, I did as any baker would do. I turned it into a dessert (surprise, surprise!). If the Incas could have tasted this pudding, they just might have deemed it sacred, too.

Quinoa Pudding with Pomegranate

Quinoa Pudding is a twist on the traditional tapioca pudding. Instead of small tapioca pearls, nutty quinoa takes its place. I almost prefer the delicate and hearty texture of quinoa grains as opposed to the smooth, chewy tapioca pearls—it gives it a bit of a bite. The pudding itself is flavored with vanilla and is only slightly sweetened. You can top the pudding with any fruit of your choice. I used pomegranate, but any berry could be used with delicious results.

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