Monday, July 21, 2008

SHF# 45- Berries

Three weeks in heaven- buttermilk panna cotta, local berries, crispy phyllo, strawberry-balsamic reduction

First of all, thanks to all of you for your get better comments and for bearing with me during my silent period. I am starting to feel better, though I still seem to be drowning in phlegm (yeah, sorry thats disgusting. But sometimes you just gotta share).

If I haven't completely grossed you out, shall we talk about this month's Sugar High Friday? Susan at Food Blogga is hosting with the seasonally apt theme of berries.
I beam with pride when we get our first flat of local strawberries. As I have previously boasted, the Pacific Northwest is berry country. My neighbor to the south (Portland, to be exact- which is probably the coolest city on this planet) Heather pointed out that it's the volcanic soil. All I know is that with my first taste of the season, I renew my pact I have made with myself to never move from this glorious land.
My berry can kick your berrie's ass

This year, nature has been cruel to us. Our already short local strawberry season was almost a month late. Strawberries like a nice cozy 70-75 degree climate, which is why June and July here is perfect for them. But this year's weather has been all fucked up, resulting in a three week long season for our beloved strawberries. It ended on Saturday. I am still grieving.

I had a delightful dessert on the menu to showcase the lovelies this year. I am boycotting strawberry shortcake, due to the fact that I just need a break from it- and it's a somewhat tired (delicious, but tired) dessert. Instead, I turned to Claudia Fleming's buttermilk panna cotta. I have found many of Fleming's recipes to be hit or miss. Many of them are excellent ideas, but need some tweaking. Her buttermilk panna cotta, however, is stellar as is. All I did was replace the plain sugar with vanilla bean sugar. I firmly believe that the sight of vanilla beans makes people happy. And I am in the business of making people happy.
Next to the panna cotta and sliced, sugared berries are a a couple of triangles of crispy phyllo and a squiggle of strawberry balsamic reduction- which is equal parts strawberry puree, balsamic vinegar, and a little sugar reduced until it gets kind of jammy. This concoction is also amazing when brushed onto a roasted pork tenderloin. I would eat this dessert over shortcake (which I still love) any day. It almost feels..oh god.. "light" ..eek!

Buttermilk panna cotta
adapted from Claudia Fleming

1 1/4 cup heavy cream
4 oz sugar
1 1/2 tsp gelatin
1 3/4 cup buttermilk

Place the gelatin in a small bowl and sprinkle with 1 T cold water. Let soften for 5 minutes. Spray 6 large (or 10 very small- thats what I do) ramekins with pan release. Combine the sugar and cream in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved and cream is hot. Add the softened gelatin and continue stirring until gelatin is completely dissolved- do not let mixture boil. Remove from heat and stir in buttermilk. Strain into a measuring pitcher and pour into prepared ramekins. Let chill until set- at least 3 hours. Invert onto a serving plate and top with sliced, sugared berries.



Brittany said...

That looks delicious, and the berries make me jealous...but...more importantly, it only gets 70-75 in the summer?

Um, I am moving there!

Emiline said...

I'm moving too! I want to taste the berries up there.

I think buttermilk panna cotta sounds delicious! Especially with strawberry-balsamic syrup.

peter said...

I can't BELIEVE you gave me shit about my critch sweat joke and then you go and post about horking up giant loogies. Jeez.

Our strawberries are done already- I planted the June-bearing kind and they are very true to the name.

Welcome back.

peter said...

CROTCH sweat. That's what I meant to type.

Brittany said...

Brittany- well, it's like 70-75 in June and early July. Towards August we experience just as much boob sweat as you do.

Em- I want you to move here! We could hang out and bake and drink and stuff!

Peter- Notice how I also just mentioned boob sweat? I can dish it out- but I just can't take it. At least not while eating taco salad.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

You are so right, Brittany. Berries in the Pacific Northwest rule. And rich creamy buttermilk panna cotta is making me want to skip right over dinner and dig into dessert. Thanks a bunch!

michelle @ TNS said...

love. i am jealous of your berries. the COULD totally kick my berries' asses.

totally making that glaze to go on some grilled pork.

matt wright said...

Absolutely rocking. I love panna cotta, and this one looks awesome, even though the thought of buttermilk makes me gag. I actually made a panna cotta this weekend, and it didn't fuck up, which I am rather proud of!

Berry and tomato season here in Seattle is awesome :D

Emiline said...

You're tagged for a music meme!

Brittany said...

Susan- thanks for hosting!

Michelle- Your tomato can kick my tomatoes ass.

Matt- This will be the first discourse we have ever had. Our thoughts on buttermilk officially clash completely. It makes you GAG?? I don't know that I could bake with out it. Scones, cakes, cinnamon rolls- all, when made by me, are made with buttermilk. The panna cotta has kind of a yogurt flavor from the b-milk.
Thats ok- I still like you.

Em- Neat! I'll post ASAP

Norm Schoen said...

I love panna cotta.....In Portland we has some AWESOME local strawberries a couple of weeks ago. The season for the Willamette Valley berries is about 3 days long!

Jeanine said...

Oh wow, this looks so yummy. I've never tried a panna cotta before, but will soon. :)
I'm in central Canada, and our berry season was late & short too. I feel robbed.

Alexa said...

This looks so nice and summery... Lovely dessert. You are so right about Portland, it's the coolest!

Tartelette said...

I am a panna cotta freak and this one is just gorgeous!

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