First, I can’t believe that it is 2015 and that January is almost half over with.
Secondly, I can’t believe that it is time again for C.L.U.E.
Cook, Learn, Undertake and EAT (also known as the C.L.U.E. Society) is a similar to the board game of CLUE. It involves secrecy, fun, challenge and cooperation with the other game playing members. But don’t be alarmed, there are no murders in our society.
We might cook with plums but we would never harm a soul.
This is how it works.
Each month our members receive the name of a food blog and a theme. We lurk and hunt through our assigned blog to find a recipe that we adore and that fits the month’s theme. This month our theme was “Something Sparkly” (think champagne, sparkly sugar topped desserts, even sea salt garnished dishes) to welcome in 2015!
My assignment this month was Alice from A Mama, Baby, and Shar-pei in the Kitchen where she cooks and bakes while juggling “general chaos.” Alice’s dream is to one day open the perfectly quaint tea house. Alice, I would be first in line.
I feel like her food beliefs and traditions are similar to mine. She has some delicious preserve recipes and she is all about homemade. I love that she regularly features a local product and/or farm.
I found many things on her site that I will make one day. But, keeping with the theme of the month to find something “sparkly” and festive, I went back and forth between a few recipes. Here’s what made the short list:
A Very Merry Vanilla Birthday Cake because I could add some sanding sugar or silver nonpareils to make it sparkly. The Hubs has a birthday coming up in January but I didn’t want to make his birthday cake this early in the month so it was a pass on this recipe for the time being.
Chocolate Cherry Scones that I could top with sanding sugar. Who doesn’t appreciate a good scone, but we are trying to eat healthier in 2015 so I decided to pass on this (for now). (Wouldn’t these be perfect featured on the menu at her future tea house?)
Cardamom White Chocolate Panna Cotta came out as the winner (in more ways than one). Alice developed this recipe after visiting a local dairy facility, Clover Stornetta. I enjoyed reading about her visit and what impressed her at the plant, including the technicians experimentation with expiration dates.
To make this rich dessert “sparkly,” I would add some pomegranate arils left over from the holidays, perfect ruby red jewels to celebrate the new year.
Cardamom White Chocolate Panna Cotta
from A Mama, Baby, and Shar-pei in the Kitchen
12 green cardamom pods
1 c. whipping cream
1/2 c. sugar
1-1/4 c. plain low fat yogurt
1/2 t. Kosher salt, divided
1 t. pure vanilla extract
1 pkg. of unflavored, powdered gelatin (Knox)
3 T. hot water (for blooming the gelatin)*
11 oz. white chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli chips.)
Place green cardamom pods in a skillet over high heat and cook, swirling the pan occasionally until the pods are charred and burnt in spots, about four minutes. Transfer to a bowl, let them cool a bit then crush to expose the seeds.
Transfer the seeds to a saucepan large enough to hold 4 cups of liquid, then add the cream, sugar, 1/4 tsp of kosher salt and vanilla. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Once the liquid is heated through, remove from the heat and steep the cardamom seeds in the cream for 30 minutes, making sure that the sugar has completely dissolved.
Strain the cream mixture through a fine sieve into a large bowl. Add the yogurt and remaining salt, then whisk until thoroughly combined.
Melt the chocolate over a double boiler and cool before incorporating it into the cream/yogurt mixture. Whisk thoroughly to combine.
Bloom the gelatin in 3 tablespoons of hot water then add to the yogurt mixture, stirring until completely combined. *For gelatin blooming tips, click here.
Carefully pour or ladle into ramekins, cups or vessel of your choice. Garnish with fresh fruit and honey if desired.
Yields: 4-6 servings
This is the creamiest panna cotta I have ever made. (Qualifier: I have only made two or three, but this is superb.) We deduced that the white chocolate was the key to the consistency and creaminess of this dessert.
I am not done with Alice’s recipes, not by a long shot. I have pinned these three to make as soon as I am able.
- Blue Ribbon Apricot Amaretto Jam
- Peach Early Grey Jam
- White Bean “Cock” Sauce Party Dip (Love her sense of humor!)
Please stop by next month as I reveal the next C.L.U.E. assignment. Obviously, our theme for February is red. Thanks for stopping by today.
(I guess I could utilize pomegranates for February C.L.U.E. as well.)
Here are the rest of the Blogger C.L.U.E. Society posts from today, be sure to check out all the sparkly things we made!
Sparkly Shortbread Cookies from Lisa of Authentic Suburban Gourmet
Cherry and Cream Pavlova from Ramona of Curry and Comfort
Pomegranate Champagne from Christy of Confessions of a Culinary Diva
Rosemary Peach Sparkling Cocktail from Alice of A Mama, Baby and Shar-pei in the Kitchen
tba from Azmina of Lawyer Loves Lunch
Maple, Caramel, Golden Sugar Blondies from Kelli of Kelli’s Kitchen
Strawberry Champagne Cocktail from Stacy of Food Lust People Love
Milky Way Martini from Aly of Cooking in Stilettos
Cornish Game Hens with Whisky Herb Citrus Glaze Lea Ann of Cooking on the Ranch
Peach Buckle from Anna of Anna Dishes
Potato Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette from Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm
Lemon-Ginger Crinkle Cookies from Jean of Lemons and Anchovies
Soft Pretzel Sticks with Spicy Mustard Sauce from Heather of girlichef
Salted Toffee Chocolate Chunk Cookies from Liz of That Skinny Chick Can Bake
Blood Orange Margaritas from Liz of That Skinny Chick Can Bake
Mini Cinnamon Rolls from Kate of Kate’s Kitchen
Brown Butter, Brown Sugar Banana Bread from Christiane of Taking on Magazines
Cardamom White Chocolate Panna Cotta from Debra of Eliot’s Eats
Savory Clafoutis from Christiane of Taking On Magazines