Coconut Panna Cotta with Spicy Mango

Coconut Panna Cotta -5964

I know people who organize their restaurant meals around dessert.  Pas moi.  The light in my brain, my desire for dessert, flickers in fits and starts, dependent on context and the availability of something inclined to my retrograde tastes.   A slice of fruit tart is never amiss at the end of a picnic: if I know that a master of crème caramel, flying in the face of fashion, resides in the house, I can be tempted.  As I can be with homemade panna cotta, that exquisitely delicate Italian wobbler.  When Sara Cravedi, the pastry chef at Trade, introduced a coconut panna cotta onto the dessert menu, my dessert light began flashing an SOS.  Sara’s dessert includes a scoop of avocado ice cream, crumbled peanut brittle and a mango macerated with lime and habanero pepper.  It come together in an interplacy of heat, fat, sweetness, delicacy and unctuousness.  Jody’s Coconut Panna Cotta with Spicy Mango pares things down to just a pair of flavors–coconut and mango–just in case you don’t have an ice cream machine and pastry kitchen standing in readiness for the next dessert launch.  To make it even easier, there’s no need to un-mold this panna cotta–it’s served in its glass, topped with a spoonful of spicy mango.  Think of the panna cotta and mango as a couple that wandered off the terrace party to do a little dance by themselves down on the beach.

Glazed and Confused

Hi, Everyone– For some reason a teaser for a post we haven’t yet published went out awhile ago.  Take my word for it – there’s no post there. Sorry for the bother.  We will have a new post tomorrow – but it won’t have anything to do with glazing, or seafood, or confusion.   Ken

Fig, Plum and Hazelnut Tart Redux

Oh, cursed keys!  Oh, wretched fingers!  Yes, well, it seems I’ve published this week’s post a few days in advance.  Haha.  Guess what?  It’s a Fig, Plum and Hazelnut Tart.  It won’t show the usual grammatical felicity only possible when I have time to send it to the monks atop Mount Athos for a prepublication …

Eat, drink, help.

The barricades have come down, and the improvised memorials for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing have been moved to Copley Square park, but still, every day, fresh flowers and notes and signs appear, including the three small presents in the first photo.   (And no, I didn’t look inside them.)  I visited a …

Flash in the Pan – Pork Scaloppine with Prosciutto, Capers and Sage

Pork Scaloppine with Prosciutto, Capers and Balsamic Vinegar TGF-1

Tackling your first scaloppine recipe is a bit like being handed the car keys for your first night driving solo, an event occasioning braggadocio tempered by  a gruff fatherly warning, Don’t screw this up.  Your skills are on display.  Since the dish is cooked just a few minutes before eating, it necessarily involves a bit of brinksmanship.  If it doesn’t work, well, there’s always pizzaphone.  The thing is, despite appearances there’s not much chance of that happening.  The risk is illusory.  This week’s Pork Scaloppine with Prosciutto, Capers and Sage is guaranteed to have you home by midnight.  Plus, you’re going to look really good.

Puglian Barley Salad with Pecorino Cheese


“Hot-buttered groat clusters!”  –Firesign Theater.

One of the pleasures of travelling is tdrawing close to the seemingly familiar only to suddenly discover it strikingly different, like this Puglian Barley Salad with Pecorino Cheese.  Looks ordinary.  But the taste – not like barley on this planet.  Many of the more forward thinking participants in Italy’s agritourismo movement are attempting to preserve regional variations on farm products that for one reason or another have fallen from grace or never gained the favor of larger commercial ventures. Barley is a case in point–in Puglia, where it’s often hulled, rather than pearled, it’s chewy.

And chewy barley is a delight.

In our absence…

Okay, so this is the week without a regular posting because one or both of us was out gallivanting about the Old World.  In the absence of a post from us, I have a few recommendations for recent goodies from other blogs that I follow.   Nothing really connects them, except my idiosyncratic taste and great writing.

Just remember, we’ll be back next week.  We know where to find you.

You say Apulia, I say Puglia.

Jody is still in Europe, hobnobbing with her fellow wizards, while I’m back home, working on my fourth expresso of the morning since my circadian clock stubbornly refuses to acknowledge that I’m no longer in the Mezzogiorno, the land that W. H. Auden aptly dubbed the sunburnt otherwhere.  I thought I’d post a few pictures of our trip (Wait!  Come back!) and offer a few observations about Puglia, food and biking.  

Warm Radish Salad with Bacon and Pea Tips

Sometimes you eat the bear and sometimes the bear eats you.  That’s the way it was with Warm Radish Salad with Bacon and Pea Tips.  Salad is a killer to photograph.  Light glints off the dressed surfaces, producing bits of glare or “hot spots.”  And if the salad is one part greens and another part something else, then while it may taste delicious to toss everything together, that homestyle approach doesn’t make for an alluring photo.  The heavier components tend to weigh down the more delicate ones.  What’s a guy with a camera and a chef for a wife to do?

Make the damn salad and photograph it a second time, that’s what.*  The salad above is composed with a photograph, or dinner guests, in mind–radishes here, salad there, easy on the dressing.  The photo shot from straight down later in the post is the way we’d normally eat the salad in all its messy collapsed glory.  Different stees.

You choose.

Easy Pizza with Sweet Onions, Spring Garlic, Cheese and Greens

To knead, or not to knead, that is the question. Whether ’tis nobler in the dough to fold, or to grunt and sweat under a weary kneading. Perchance to sleep, and in sleeping to dream of gluten–ay, there’s the rub. At least, that’s the rub with this Easy Pizza with Sweet Onions, Spring Garlic, Cheese and Greens.

To knead or not to knead, what do you think?