Sunday, February 16, 2014


Khoi is very happy to be chopping veg ^^

The spread. Sadly I didn't take the pic from a good angle -- there were more yummies than it looks.

 Khoi's papaya salad, so fresh and colorful

My main dish - thit kho (caramelized braised pork belly with eggs)

Steamed bao using Pillsbury Grands dough (see step 2) - this worked out surprisingly well :)

Garnishes to go with the bao: plum, cucumbers, scallions, and hoisin

My plate! Bao stuffed with the works, papaya salad, and brown rice. I had seconds...and thirds...

I went ham on prepping dessert: strawberry panna cotta and saffron orange honey ice cream. The ice cream is made with Jeni's ice cream base, supplemented with 1/4 tsp saffron threads crushed, 1/2 tsp orange zest, and half of the sugar in the recipe subbed with honey.

As for the panna cotta, I wanted to share the recipe process because it is so darn easy. And so darn tasty. And so darn impressive looking that it can win anyone over. You do have to start prepping it a day in advance of when you plan to serve it, but prep time total is under an hour.

Makes 3-4 portions, depending on how you plate it
Recipe from Home Cooking Adventure, although I used David Lebovitz's panna cotta base

  • 2 cups heavy cream or half-and-half (I actually used a mixture of heavy cream and milk)
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 packet powdered gelatin
  • 3 + 1 Tbsp water
  • 1/2 lb strawberries

Add contents of a gelatin packet and 3 Tbsp of water to a bowl. Allow gelatin to bloom by letting it stand for 5-10 minutes).

While the gelatin is blooming, heat up your cream with 1/4 cup of sugar over medium-low heat, stirring frequently and heating until it barely bubbles. Remove from heat. Ladle about 1/2 cup of the mixture into the gelatin bowl and stir well using a wire whisk, then transfer the gelatin/cream mixture back into the pot and stir well again until completely smooth

Transfer cream mixture into pretty cups and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. If you can't ladle it neatly into your cups, wait until your panna cotta sets and then wet a paper towel with warm water to clean up the edges.

A few hours before you plan to serve your panna cotta, reserve 2 of the prettiest strawberries for garnish later and wash/quarter the rest. Cook quartered strawberries with 1 Tbsp water and 2 Tbsp sugar until just boiling. Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth, then strain into a bowl. Refrigerate until completely cooled.

To put your masterpiece together, just spoon some strawberry puree on top of the white panna cotta. I also cleaned/halved the strawberries that I reserved earlier for garnish.

Isn't this gorgeous? You know you want to eat this ;)

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