Tag Archives: honey

Yogurt Panna Cotta with Honey


My first panna cotta experience was actually with my first job working as an Assistant Pastry Chef at Bailey’s Prime.  I was too embarassed to admit to the Chef that I had no CLUE as to what the heck panna cotta was except that it sounded fancy as hell.

Luckily, it was one of the easiest desserts I’ve ever made and actually turned out to be one of my favorites.  I loved the creamy yet firm texture, the lovely dressings on top and the way it looked so smooth and elegant — plus, who wouldn’t be impressed with a dessert called PANNA COTTA!  I say it exactly like that too when I serve it, with gumption, excitement and my best Italian accent.   

I found this recipe from an old issue of Food & Wine Magazine, I loved the simplicity of flavors with the yogurt and honey — did I also mention this was a healthy dessert?  *GASP* You’re welcome 🙂

Ingredients for Yogurt Panna Cottas with Honey:

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 cup fat-free milk
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 1 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • black grapes, for serving

In a small bowl, mix the gelatin with the water and let stand until softened, about 5 minutes.  In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a simmer with the sugar and cook until the sugar is dissolved, about 1 minute.  Remove from the heat and stir in the softened gelatin until dissolved.

In a medium bowl, whisk the buttermilk with the yogurt.  Whisk in the warm milk until smooth.  Pour the panna cotta mixture into six 4-ounce ramekins and refrigerate until set, about 3 hours.

To serve, drizzle the panna cottas with the honey and garnish with the grapes.  Make Ahead: The yogurt panna cottas can be covered and refrigerated for up to 1 day before serving. 

Moroccan Carrot Soup

Back in March, Collin and I purchased our very first home together.  It was ragged, beaten down and was practically obliterated by termites.  The woman who owned the house before us lived here for over 40 years and never did a single update.  I want you to imagine that — original wall paper and carpet, stove tops and ovens from back in the 70s, we even found a hoover vacuum cleaner back from the the 60s, and not to mention that the doors and walls had deeply yellowed with age.  It was just plain awful.

But together we saw something in this house: potential.  We knew with a little lot of hard work, we could make this into something liveable, something beautiful, something we’d be proud to call our very first home.  Finally now after 6 months, we’ve finished: new walls, new kitchen, new paint, new floors…the list goes on forever.  And let me tell you, it’s freaking fantastic.  As a way to celebrate our achievements, I’ve decided to throw a housewarming party this Saturday — complete with a roast pig, a keg, and plenty of food but most importantly sharing our new home with our family and friends. 

In many ways this house has become representative of my personal struggles these past couple of years.  Since graduating college two years ago it has been a challenge to figure out what direction I wanted to take in my life, especially career wise.  At my lowest point, I felt like this house the way we first found it: dark, in shambles, and completely unorganized.  However, with time, ample searching, commitment and hard work I’ve found my niche in cooking, photography and piano and slowly but surely I’m begining to feel myself flourish.  I wouldn’t be here if Collin didn’t notice my potential and continued to push me to strive for my dreams, what once seemed like an impossible feat has now become my gorgeous reality. 

We completed the very last project, the deck earlier this week and we couldn’t contain our excitement and wanted to put it to use right away. I made this hearty, comforting to the soul bowl of Moroccan Carrot Soup to perfectly compliment our cool Fall nights we’ve recently been having (finally Texas!!!!).  We spread out a blanket, lit a few candles and basked in the aromas of cumin and fresh wood as we had our soup in silence.  Collin laid back on the blanket, closed his eyes and let out a huge long sigh — “I can’t believe we live here, we have the best house in the world.” 

Indeed we do my love, indeed we do.

From Epicurious

Ingredients for Moroccan Carrot Soup:(serves 4)

  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
  • 1 cup chopped white onion
  • 1 pound large carrots, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 2 2/3 cups)
  • 2 1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt, stirred to loosen
  • Melt butter in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 2 minutes. Mix in carrots. Add broth; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until carrots are very tender, about 20 minutes.  Stir cumin seeds in small skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant, 4 to 5 minutes; cool. Finely grind in spice mill.

    Remove soup from heat. Puree in batches in blender until smooth. Return to same pan. Whisk in honey, lemon juice, and allspice. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle soup into bowls. Drizzle yogurt over; sprinkle generously with cumin.

    Watermelon Lemonade and Strawberry-Mint Iced Tea

    The sweltering Texas heat is beginning, y’all. And boy is it hot.  Though Dallas is not humid like Houston, June hasn’t even begun and I find myself blasting the AC wherever I go.  To make matters worse, I am awkwardly sweaty (I call it a sexy “glow”) so whenever I am outside there is sweat pouring down my face, non-stop.  I had to find a solution for not only the excessive heat but something to cure my insatiable thirst for something refreshing.

    I am making these 2 drinks for my Awesome Rawsome event this weekend and thought I’d give it a spin before serving them Saturday.  Oh yes, about that — FoodBuzz selected my proposal this month for 24,24,24!  So stay tuned for an exciting menu of Raw Foods hence the title “Awesome Rawsome”.  I’ll keep this short and sweet, the drinks are awesome — I’ve finished half the batch of Strawberry Lemonade because it’s probably the best drink EVER.  Don’t believe me?  Give it a try!  And seeing that Memorial Day is this weekend, why not whip up a big batch for guests?  Maybe if you’re feeling a little sassy, kick it up a notch with some gin or vodka (because who are we kidding, everyone gets a little saucy during Summer holidays).  Have a great weekend folks!

    Ingredients for Strawberry-Mint Iced Tea: (makes 6 servings)

    • 1 pint fresh strawberries, sliced
    • 8 fresh mint leaves
    • 1/2 cup honey water (1/4 honey 1/4 water) <— you can also use agave
    • 4 mint-flavored tea bags

    In a medium saucepan, bring 6 cups water to a boil.  Allow water to cool down to a warm temperature (around 110 degrees). Add 3/4 pint strawberries and mint. Allow to steep for 10 minutes then add honey water and tea bags.

    Strain mixture through a fine seive and mash strawberries to extract more juice.  Cool to room temperature and refrigerate until serving.

    Pour over ice.  Garnish with remaining sliced strawberries.

    If you do not feel it’s sweet enough, feel free to add more honey/agave.  The reason I did not steep the tea leaves in boiling water is because with Raw Foods, they have a rule where they do not cook anything above 118F.  However, if you could care less, feel free to simmer the strawberries and mint at a low heat for about 6 minutes, add the honey water and tea bags and simmer for an additional minute.

    Ingredients for Watermelon Lemonade: (makes 4 servings)

    • 1 1/2 lbs sliced watermelon, (preferably seedless), rind removed
    • zest of 1 lemon
    • 1 cup fresh lemon juice
    • 1/2 cup honey
    • 1 1/2 cups cold water
    • 1 lemon, thinly sliced, for garnish

    In the bowl of a food processor, place watermelon and process until very smooth.  Strain through a coarse sieve set over a bowl, stirring to push through any pulp.

    Pour juice into a large pitcher.  Add lemon zest.  In a bowl, whisk lemon juice and honey until honey dissolves; stir into watermelon juice.

    Stir in water; cover and refrigersate until very cold.  Serve over ice and garnish with lemon slices.

    Wheatberry Salad with Poached Egg and Potato Crisps

    So it has been a month of eating mostly vegetarian and I have to say guys, I think it’s honestly not half bad.  I figured by now I’d be ripping my hair out, screaming at the top of my lungs, WHERE IS THE MEAT????  But ya know, I think I enjoy not having meat in every meal…  I know what you’re thinking, I am probably losing my mind due to the lack of meaty goodness in my diet but the differences that I’m noticing in my energy and the reduction of body fat is incredible.

    I use to eat meat in every meal, except breakfast because for some reason I always skip that meal.  It’s horrible for you, I know, I am making a conscious effort to eat breakfast this year and this week I’ve done pretty good.  Anyways back to meat, I use to have it up to 12-13 times a week — I mean, that’s a lot of meat.  I would also eat a lot of red meat during dinner time as well: steak, pork, bison…okay YUM.  But seeing that our bodies are made to be mostly vegetarian (the proof is in our teeth!), like our common ancestor the Monkey, it just made sense for me to cut down my meat consumption to 3-4 times a week.

    Trust me, Collin was geekin pretty bad when we first started this venture.  “What are we going to eat if we can’t eat meat?”  “Does this mean we’ll be eating beans all the time?”  “Should I get beano?” “No really, what are we going to eat to stay full?” All valid concerns, and I don’t blame him.   I’ve eaten at vegetarian restaurants and I always feel like something is missing…like meat.  Then I realized, why make something that “tastes” like meat when obviously you know it’s not — I mean it’s just down right disappointing.  So I’ve embraced the flavors, textures and colors of vegetables and enjoy them for what they are, not for what they can “substitute”.

    For this lovely dinner I prepared last night I used a whole grain called “wheatberries”.  Basically it is the entire wheat kernel: the bran, germ, endosperm and all except for the husk.  The textures of these little “berries” are incredible, they are a chewy consistency and very firm in texture and also provide an excellent source of dietary fiber.  Dietary fiber not only gives you healthy poops (tee hee) but also lowers cholesterol, prevents heart disease and several other benefits that keeps your body strong and in good shape.

    I mixed the wheatberries with some diced bell peppers and toasted pecans.  I placed it on a bed of peppery argula greens and thinly sliced tomatoes and topped it off with a poached eggs and some potato crisps I baked in the oven.  It’s one of those meals you wouldnt expect to be soul satisfying, but it truly is.  It’s all of earth’s wholesome goodness in a bowl.

    Ingredients for Wheatberry Salad with Poached Egg and Potato Crisps:

    (serves 2-3)

    • 2 cup wheatberries, rinsed and soaked overnight
    • 1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced
    • 1/4 cup yellow bell pepper, diced
    • 1/4 cup pecans, chopped
    • 1/2 lemon, squeezed, juice only
    • 2 tablespoons honey
    • 1 medium red skinned potato, thinly sliced
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 1 roma tomato, thinly sliced
    • 1 cup arugula greens, rinsed and dried
    • 2 eggs
    • 1/4 cup white vinegar
    • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan
    • salt pepper to taste

    Preheat oven to 400F.

    In a medium heavy bottomed pot, place your wheatberries and cover with water — cook at medium high heat for 30 minutes, or until softened.  Meanwhile, take your thinly sliced potatoes and minced garlic and place them on a prepared baking sheet.  You can either spray with cooking spray or evenly coat with olive oil.  Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and crisp.

    While you are waiting for those items to cook, this is when you can prep the other vegetables like the diced bells, tomatoes and arugula.  You can also begin poaching your egg during this time as well, for those of you who have never poached an egg, it is better to use fresh eggs when poaching so it holds together better while cooking.

    My friend Dhale has great instructions as to how to poach eggs on her site that can be found here. If you prefer a less runny yolk, leave it in for 4-5 minutes, if you like yours runny (as I do) leave it in for 2-3 minutes.  Be sure the whites are fully cooked before you consume them, you can check the whites by raising the poached egg out carefully with a slotted spoon.

    Take your potato crisps out of the oven and set aside.  Once the wheatberries are fully cooked, strain and place in a large mixing bowl.  Place the lemon juice and honey along with the chopped bell peppers and pecans and mix together.  Plate your arugula and tomatoes and place a spoonful of the wheatberry salad ontop.  Top it off with the poached eggs and potato crisps and season with salt and pepper and a little bit of grated Parm — I actually kicked it up a notch and used “smoked salt” which is VERY yummy and can be found at the bulk spice section at Central Market.

    Heh heh heh, thought I’d share some pictures with you guys — both of my animals and some of my food art.  I would love some feedback so tell me what you guys think!!

    I am not sure what Lily is doing here, she looks like she’s recovering from a hangover, oooh kitty….

    Heh heh heh heh

    It didn’t work quite as well on Lays — and just so you guys know (because it is not seemingly evident in the pictures), my animals love me hahahahaha 🙂

    Can anyone guess what this is?

    Food art time!!

    There ya go folks! Until next time …

    Caramelized Pear Phyllo with Vanilla Ice Cream and Honey

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    So this is the last of my pears that I bought, yes I am JUST NOW finishing them.  Perhaps buying so many pears may not have been the best idea seeing that it is just me and my fiance but they’re so versatile you can use them in anything.  But I think the best way is to use pears would be in desserts, I love how they transform in flavor and texture once they are poached or baked.  It simply melts in your mouth and the flavor of the pear seems to be accentuated.  For this recipe, I poached some pears in a red wine mixture, wrapped it in phyllo and sprinkled it with some sugar and butter so it’d have a caramelization effect.  The warm crunchy pear phyllo pairs great with the cold and creamy vanilla ice cream — a pear a la mode! 🙂


    Ingredients for Caramelized Pear Phyllo:

    • 12 sheets phyllo dough, defrosted (12″ x 18″ sheets)
    • 6 large pears, peeled, cored and halved
    • 2 cups red wine
    • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 2 cups water
    • 2 cinnamon sticks
    • 2 tablespoon cloves
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
    • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
    • 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

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    For the pears, in a large pot place add the wine, vinegar, water, sugar, and spices and heat mixture at medium heat until sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes.  Cook at a low medium heat where the liquid is barely simmering, (if it is bubbling lower the heat) and carefully add the pears. Cook for about 15- 20 minutes until the pears are soft and are a nice red color from the wine.  Remove pears from the poaching liquid and set aside to cool.


    Pre-heat oven at 375F.

    Take the cooled pears and slice them in half horizontally so they can be layered with the phyllo.  Mix the melted butter, brown sugar and ground cinnamon together in a bowl. Line a large baking pan with parchment paper or foil and butter the bottom.  Lay down two strips of the phyllo dough and brush with butter mixture.  Lay down the pear slices and repeat with the phyllo dough process until the entire pan is filled ot the top.  Sprinkle the very top with some brown sugar and place in the oven for 30 minutes or until phyllo is a crispy golden brown.

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    Cut the Pear Phyllo into squares and serve hot with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and drizzle it with some honey.  The crunchy carmelized phyllo pears great with the spiced pears and creamy vanilla ice cream — you have a great combination of not only textures but a nice contrast in flavors as well.

    If you want to serve it they way I have pictured, simple cut the phyllo with some metal rounds or if you do not own any, use the mouth of a large wine glass!  Carefully move the round to a plate andtop with ice cream and garnish with the crispy sides of the phyllo dough.  This is actually a really healthy dessert, the phyllo is low in fat and so are the pears — to save calories skip the ice cream and use low fat yogurt instead 🙂