One of the great things about the food blogging community is the wonderful people you get to meet, and today was no exception. I had the pleasure to meet with a few bloggers over a late lunch organized by Stacey from stacey snacks, whom i thank a million for her generosity. Lupa was such a great spot for the occasion.
The guest of honor was Peter from Kalofagas who’s visiting from Toronto and taking a big bite of the Big Apple this week. After some friendly food blogger chit-chat we decided to take him hostage and we’re now asking the online community to pay-up a ransom of 10,000 peanuts in exchange for his safe return to Toronto. Peanuts can be Fedexed directly to me and will be shared with Giff from The constable’s larder, Rachel from Bacon and rhubarb, Claire from Colloquial Cookin’ and of course Stacey from Stacey Snacks who were all accomplices in his kidnap. They make great lunching companions as well.
We’re keeping Peter the Greek at an undisclosed location until further notice and will be feeding him cubes of feta cheese and kalamata olives, because we’re really not that cruel. I’m such an amateur that I didn’t even take any pictures so you’ll have to visit the blogs of the persons aforementioned to see more.
I know there’s more pumpkin recipes on the internet than fat molecules in Paula Deen’s arteries, but hey! One more fried butter ball won’t hurt, right? In this case – and healthy in comparison – a Squash Panna Cotta offset with the best cranberry compote on the planet (the same one i serve with my turkey at Thanksgiving) and a crispestest walnut tuile, eva’! Simple, good, and in the spirit of the Holiday season.
Crispetest is a new word. I just invented it. It’ s mine! You can keep the recipe though.
Squash Panna Cotta w/ Cranberry Compote & Walnut Tuile
~adapted from a recipe by Daniel Boulud in Daniel’s Dish~(serves 8)
For the panna cotta:
- 2 cups milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Four 1/4-inch thick slices peeled ginger
- 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 strip orange zest
- 2 star anise
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 3/4 lbs kabocha or butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1 -inch chunks
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- 1 packet unflavored gelatin
For the cranberry compote:
- 3 cups fresh cranberries
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup water
- Two 1/4-inch-thick slices peeled ginger
- 2 star anise
- 1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
- 1/2 cinnamon stick
- 1 strip of orange zest
- Pinch of salt
For the walnut tuiles:
- 3 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
- 1/4 sugar
- 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
To make panna cotta: Combine the milk, ginger, vanilla-bean, cinnamon, orange zest, star anise, and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat, cover, and let infuse for 20 minutes.
Strain the milk. Return to the same saucepan and add the squash. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and poach until the squash is very tender, about 20 minutes. Add the sugar, stir until dissolved, and remove from heat.
Transfer the squash mixture to a blender and puree until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a 4 cup liquid measure; discard the solids. Add more cream if necessary to equal 3 1/2 cups.
Sprinkle the gelatin over 2 tablespoons of water in a small saucepan; let stand 5 minutes to soften. Add 1/2 cup of the squash puree to the gelatin. Warm over very low heat, stirring until the gelatin dissolves. Stir into the remaining squash mixture. Divide the panna-cotta mixture among eight 4-ounce ramekins or fancy pants spheric molds. Refrigerate overnight.
To make the cranberry compote: Combine all the ingredients in a medium saucepan and cook 10 to 15 minutes over medium heat, stirring, until the cranberries start to lose their shape and most of the liquid has evaporated.
To make the walnut tuiles: Whisk together the butter, corn syrup, sugar and walnuts in a small bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic directly against the surface of the batter. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350F. For each tuile, drop 1/2 teaspoon of the batter onto the baking sheet, leaving 2 inches between each drops. Press the batter lightly with your thumb until each drop is about 1 inch in diameter. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until the tuiles are thin, lacy and golden brown.
Wait one minute and using a small offset spatula, remove the tuile from the baking sheet and place them on that bottle of cheap zinfandel vinegar you got as a gift last year. Let them cool and store in an airtight container in a cool, dry environment.
When the compote is ready, scrap onto a bowl and press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Discard the ginger, vanilla and spices before serving.
To serve: To unmold, run the tip of a small knife around the edges of the panna cottas. Dip the ramekin halfway into a bowl of hot water for 5 to 10 seconds. Dry the bottom and invert onto a plate. Garnish with a spoonful of cranberry compote and a tuile.