Wednesday, March 31, 2010

a mimosa break & funnel cakes

...silver white winters that turn into spring, these are a few of my favorite things:
salted, ripe avocado
tangerine emergence-C
breakfast tacos via Tamale House #3
antique pink hydrangeas
lemon zest
Voluspa Makassar Ebony & Peach Candle
silky soft sheets
made-from-scratch pie crust
velvety sage
Kashi truly vanilla oatmeal
raw, shaved fennel
amethyst orchids
charred surf & tender turf
baba ghanoush
lavender-salted bubble baths
dirty martinis
glossy lips
handmade pasta
candied ginger
strawberries & bananas
quirky glasses
Mexican chocolate cake
pan-fried potstickers
crusty-baked mac and cheese
orange French toast

The ice has melted, temperatures are rising and shoulders are baring in Fort Worth. Although a bit foggy, Easter Sunday was a lovely one spent at morning Mass, brunching, shopping and spending time with my hip 'rents.

After a gorgeous service at St. Patricks Cathedral, we sipped spicy, Belvedere mimosas, savored silky hollandaise and sliced into perfectly-poached eggs at Taverna downtown. Dessert was later savored at my apartment with a gorgeous and luscious "make ahead" dessert:

Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta
with Stewed Rhubarb and Fresh Raspberries
This is a light, creamy dessert perfect for entertaining. The tangy rhubarb is completely stewed down into a thick sauce with fresh, ripe raspberries folded in before chilling.
The bright pink sauce is gorgeous with the alabaster, vanilla bean-flecked custard.
Yields 8 small ramekins.
Panna cotta:

2 T powdered gelatin (one packet)
3 T water
2 c heavy cream
1 c half & half
1/3 c sugar
1 t vanilla bean paste
zest of 1 lemon

Combine gelatin and water in a small saucepan on low heat. Stir to combine until gelatin dissolves. Set aside. Combine remaining ingredients in saucepan. Whisk until mixture just comes to a boil.
Whisk in gelatin mixture until thoroughly combined and divide mixture amongst ramekins. Let mixture come to room temperature on counter then chill overnight. To invert, loosen molds with a butter knife and quickly dip ramekin bottoms into hot water. Invert onto a dessert plate.
Stewed rhubarb and raspberries:

2 ripe rhubarb stalks, ends removed, split and sliced
1.5 c water
2/3 c sugar
1 pint raspberries
zest of 1 orange

Combine rhubarb, sugar and water over medium heat to develop a simmer. Simmer on medium heat approximately 15 minutes until rhubarb has broken down. Add half pint of raspberries and orange zest. Continue to simmer another 30 minutes until fruit has broken down and mixture has reduced by half.
Let cool and fold in remaining whole raspberries. Cool and chill completely before serving with panna cotta.
My next weekend was also spent "brunching" after a gracious potluck brunch invite with a slew of local foodie friends.
Along with a hefty bowl of mixed chopped fruits
[apples, pears, green grapes, mango, grapefruit, orange,
strawberries, blueberries, blackberries & raspberries]
mixed with champagne, Meyer lemon zest and chiffonade mint,
I also contributed an:

Artichoke and Salami Tart with Parmesan and Lavender Salt

This tart is so simple-- I didn't feel the need to write a "formal" recipe. The process can be used with endless combinations of fruits, veggies or proteins!

1. Defrost 1 sheet of puff pastry careful to keep chilled

2. Pierce fork holes into "topping" area of pastry to prevent rise

3. Assemble toppings--
I used quartered artichoke hearts, slices of torn salami, fresh oregano, red pepper flakes, fresh-ground black pepper and aged parmesan shavings.

4. Brush edges with an egg wash or olive oil--
I also sprinkled edges with dried lavender salt.

5. Bake at 400 degrees approximately 30 minutes until puff pastry is cooked through and golden brown

6. Serve warm or room temperature--
I cut my tart into squares and served it at room temperature.

After our delicious brunch complete with crumbles, crepes, pasta, french toast, panzanella, tarts, flatbread, yogurt, dips, eggs bakes, fresh fruit, coffee and mimosas--
I headed off for an afternoon of
beginner's luck,
cold beer,
corn dogs & funnel cakes
at the horse races with my favorite guy!


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