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Goat Cheese Panna Cotta

I love this at home but it is also suitable for picnic dinner at an outdoor concert. Transport in ramekins (even use large disposable cups, tomato salad in separate container, then add some tomato salad to each disposable cup for eating with a teaspoon). I also thought about mixing fresh peach and fresh mango with a peach salsa or just same oil and herbs mix as below.

Watch me make this on NH's ABC WMUR Cooks Corner.

I make sweet panna cotta and got the idea for a savory version from a recipe from Wilson’s Farms in Lexington Ma, one of my favorite places for fresh fruit and vegetables. I like that this recipe can easily be adapted for as many people as you need to ‘cook’ it for, this makes life so much easier when you are either trying out a recipe or there are only 2 of you at home. This tomato salad is really a bruschetta topping.

Makes 2 ramekins for a generous portion, for dinner, or make 4 ramekins for lighter appetizer.

One of my recipes for National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (now Beyond Celiac) May 2014 and in Delicious Gluten Free Cooking my E-Cookbook.

Gluten Free Goat Cheese Panna Cotta

2/3 c (160ml) half and half -richer fat content than whole milk, but not as rich as single/light cream.

1 tsp (5ml) sour cream - I use lite or else plain yogurt – optional if you have in the fridge

¼ c (roughly 2 oz, 55g) mild goats cheese at room temperature. I am not fond of the strong tang from some goats cheese, so I make sure I have a mild brand. Plus half and half etc tame the tang. There are logs of goats cheese with herbs or with Mexican spices for a different taste.

½ tsp (3ml) Knox gelatin.(from the orange packaging, store remainder in snack size ziploc bag)

1 tbsp (15ml) water

1 tbsp (15ml) finely chopped fresh parsley

1 tbsp (15ml) finely chopped fresh chives or green of green onions. If you use green of green onions, choose very thin green onions. The thicker and therefore older the green onion, the stronger the raw onion flavor, even from just the green leaves.

Pinch of salt and white pepper so no black flecks are visible.

1. Warm half and half in the microwave in a microwave safe bowl, add goats cheese and stir until goats cheese is totally melted.

2. Sprinkle gelatin (looks like fine sand when dry) over water in a small microwave safe bowl, stir in and leave to stand for 2 minutes. It will now look like a lump of rubber. Microwave for about 10 seconds until gelatin is totally melted and liquid is clear yellowy color. If gelatin is not completely melted it will set to rubbery bits in the panna cotta.

3. Stir in sour cream, fresh herbs, salt and pepper then gelatin. Pour into lightly oiled (oil on paper towel) ramekins and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Turn chilled panna cotta out onto individual plates and garnish with tomato salad.

Note: If you are heavy handed measuring gelatin, then panna cotta will be tougher and rubbery. Just enough makes a lovely creamy custard. It goes well as an appetizer, salad or side dish with grilled steak or chicken.

Use different herbs in the panna cotta, fresh dill, lemon thyme, basil, even cilantro and some finely diced hot pepper. I wouldn't recommend rosemary as it is very woody and spiky.

Tomato salad:

1 pint basket of grape tomatoes, washed, dried and ¼ ‘d or about 4 large tomatoes (I like Campari) cut into small pieces.

½ tsp (3ml) sugar

salt and pepper to taste

1 tsp (5ml) Balsamic vinegar, or more to taste or fresh lemon juice

1 tbsp (15ml) ordinary olive oil (if you have a very acidic extra virgin olive oil, then I prefer to only use regular olive oil.) With olive oil scandal and so many strong evo's, I normally mix with avocado oil.

2 tbsp (30ml) chopped fresh parsley

2 tbsp (30ml) chopped green of green onion

Some fresh chopped basil is also an option

1. In mixing bowl mix together tomatoes, sugar, salt and pepper, balsamic, olive oil, fresh herbs and leave at room temperature for at least one hour to allow flavors to mingle and juices to be produced.

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