Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Chocolate Panna Cotta with Amaretto Whipped Cream

From Giada's Kitchen

2 cups cold whole milk, divided use
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 packet unflavored gelatin
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 (12-ounce) bag bittersweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds
1 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon almond liqueur such as Amaretto

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 2-quart casserole dish. In a small saucepan, combine 1½ cups of the milk, the granulated sugar, and the vanilla. Bring to a simmer and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat. In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the remaining ½ cup of cold milk and let it dissolve for 2 minutes. Combine the cold milk and gelatin with the hot milk and sugar. Stir to dissolve the gelatin, about 5 minutes. (If the gelatin is not dissolving easily, heat the milk gently.) When the gelatin is dissolved, combine the eggs with the warm milk mixture, whisking constantly to avoid scrambling the eggs.

Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a large measuring cup or small pitcher. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate chips over simmering water in a double boiler. When the chocolate is melted, gradually combine the milk and egg mixture with the melted chocolate, stirring between each addition to create a smooth chocolate mixture. Pour the mixture into the prepared dish. Sprinkle the top with the almonds. Place the casserole dish in a larger baking pan or roasting pan and add hot water to the larger pan until the water comes halfway up the sides of the casserole dish. Place both pans in the oven and bake the panna cotta until the sides are firm and the center jiggles slightly, about 1 hour.

Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 30 minutes. Just before serving, whip the cream to soft peaks in a medium bowl using a whisk or electric hand mixer. Add the confectioners’ sugar and almond liqueur and whip to combine. Spoon the panna cotta into individual serving bowls and dollop the top with the almond whipped cream.

4 to 6 servings

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Linguini with Shrimp and Lemon Oil

From Giada De Laurentis: Giada's Kitchen New Italian Favourites

This was quick, easy, and such a winner!

Nothing beats the clean taste of peppery arugula with shrimp, olive oil and lemon.

The perfect dish after some of the heavier meals at Christmas.

For the lemon oil:

* 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 lemon, zested

Combine the olive oil and the lemon zest in a small bowl and reserve.

For the pasta:

* 1 pound linguine pasta
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 2 shallots, diced
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* 16 ounces frozen shrimp
* 1/4 cup lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
* 1 lemon, zested
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 3 ounces arugula (about 3 packed cups)
* 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

For the pasta:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, in a large, heavy skillet warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook until pink, about 5 minutes. Add the cooked linguine, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Toss to combine. Turn off the heat and add the arugula. Using a mesh sieve, strain the lemon zest out of the reserved lemon olive oil and add the oil to the pasta. The zest can be discarded. Add the chopped parsley to the pasta and toss to combine. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Fruity, Creamy Coleslaw

This is such a beautiful accompaniment to any kind of roast...

You will need about four cups of shredded cabbage or one bag of prechopped coleslaw mix (to be honest, I make it easy on myself and buy the pre-shredded stuff. )


One cup mayonnaise (to lighten the recipe use low fat)
Two tbsp sugar (to lighten recipe, substitute unsweetened apple sauce)
one tsp salt
pepper to taste
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 cup low fat milk

Whisk together leave in fridge until ready to put the salad together.

To assemble salad add one bag coleslaw mix, one small drained tin mandarin oranges, 1/2 cup halved maraschino cherries or dried cranberries, one granny smith apple chopped into small pieces, one cup toasted almonds and the salad dressing.

Delicious and perfect with turkey!

Right before serving add one cup of toasted slivered almonds to the salad.