<b>FOOD FINDS | </b>By Deanna Duff For the Weekly Herald
Food is nourishment for the soul as much as fuel for the body. Leora Bloom’s new book, “Washington Food Artisans,” is a stunning pictorial of Washington’s food landscape, including vegetables, fruit, meats and more. The book profiles 17 food artisans and pairs them with chefs who provide complementary recipes.
“This recipe by Chef Robin Leventhal for a delicate, creamy panna cotta, comes from the section in the book about Alm Hill Gardens, a very well-established farm in Everson,” Bloom says. Ben Craft and Gretchen Hoyt of Alm Hill focused on raspberries when they started farming more than 35 years ago.
Leventhal, a familiar face around Seattle’s culinary scene and a former “Top Chef” contestant, used fresh berries for this barely sweet dessert. That light touch is the perfect addition to “this star anise-scented custard with its bright, herbaceous raspberry gelée,” Bloom says.
“Washington Food Artisans” can be purchased at most area bookstores.
Blueberry Panna Cotta with Raspberry Gelée
Makes 8 servings
3 cups whole milk, divided
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 wide strip lemon peel (do not include white pith)
1 cardamom pod, pinched to expose seeds
1 star anise pod
1 3/4 teaspoons powdered gelatin
1/2 cup cold heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 cups blueberries, plus extra for garnish
1 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 cup raspberries
1 teaspoon powdered gelatin
2 tablespoons cold water
Heat 2 3/4 cups of the milk in a saucepan over medium heat just until there are bubbles forming around the edge of the pan. Remove from the heat and add the sugar, cinnamon, lemon peel, cardamom pod and star anise. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Cover and let steep 30 minutes. About 10 minutes before the end of the steeping time, put the remaining 1/4 cup cold milk into a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over it.
After the 30 minutes are up, remove the cover from the saucepan and gently reheat the milk until bubbles form around the edge of the pan. Remove the pan from the heat, add the gelatin mixture, and stir, making sure the gelatin completely dissolves. Strain the milk to remove the aromatics and then add the cold cream. Stir gently to mix (whisking or stirring vigorously will make the milk mixture foamy, which you want to avoid).
Select 8 clear glass, wide-mouth dishes (glass ramekins, parfait glasses, or martini glasses work well) and set them on a tray. They should hold 6 to 8 ounces of liquid (1 cup or slightly less) each. Divide the blueberries between them, then pour the panna cotta mixture over the berries. Refrigerate the glasses for at least 3 hours, or preferably overnight.
Make the gelée after the panna cottas have set up completely. Bring the 1 cup of water, the sugar and rosemary to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from the heat, add the raspberries, and let steep for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, sprinkle the gelatin over the 2 tablespoons of cold water and leave it to soften for at least 5 minutes. Add the softened gelatin to the saucepan and gently reheat the mixture just until the gelatin melts (do not let the mixture simmer or boil, or the gelatin will not set). Pour the mixture into a blender and purée well (be careful because warm liquids rise in the blender quickly). Strain the purée through the finest strainer you have into a small, clear plastic or glass container. Let the purée sit for 10 minutes, undisturbed, then carefully skim off the pale foam that rises to the top. You won’t be able to get it all, but the dessert will be more beautiful if you just use the intensely colored part. Top each panna cotta with the raspberry gelée and chill in the refrigerator to set, at least 2 hours.
Garnish the top of each glass with a few fresh blueberries.
(c) 2012 By Leora Y. Bloom. All rights reserved. Excerpted from “Washington Food Artisans” by permission of Sasquatch Books.