My nephew Ben, who lives in the greater Boston area, was invited to celebrate his best friend’s 16th birthday in New York City. His friend’s grandmother would be their host & guide.
Over the weekend my mom received an email with an update from my sister-in-law listing where he’d been, what he’s up to and where he’s yet to go. One of the places on the list which of course included MoMA & much to our surprise, The Book of Mormon was dinner at Blue Hill in Manhattan. I immediately went to the site to see what the weeks menu was and what peaked my interest was celery root risotto with squid & it’s ink. Sure I’d eat that but what I knew was, I’d be making celery root risotto in my house – this weekend, no recipe required. I did however check a few recipes for celery root risotto, just for the heck of it & chose in the end to work from the most complicated recipe I could find, a Jame’s Beard recipe calling for a ramp & celery root puree & lemon confit. I pulled the JBF recipe off, sans the ramp inclusion, for my Academy Awards dinner but made the Recipe$ 4 Survival version Tuesday night to watch the Master Chef Jr. Finale.
Also that week I read an article on Food 52 titled, Cooking for the Oscars. This is where I found the inspiration for my apricot flavored tea panna cottas.
How to make Celery Root Risotto
- 2 medium celery roots (celeriac) with leafy tops
- 1/2 large onion – diced
- 4-6 Cs – vegetable broth
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 C arborio or Carnaroli rice
- Parmesan for grating
- Peel the celery root. Cut in half then slice into across the top, then cut slices into enough 1/3-inch cubes to measure 2 cups. Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in celery root cubes and leek. Cover; cook until celery root is tender but not brown, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Mix in rice; stir 1 minute. Add broth; increase heat and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until rice is tender and risotto is creamy, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Mix in 3/4 cup cheese. Season risotto to taste with salt and pepper. I garnished the dish with chiffonade celery leaves & honey glazed lemon confit slices.
With the 2nd celery root I made the puree which the risotto was served upon. making the celery root puree is very simple. Bringing a medium diced celery root to a simmer in about 1 C of milk & 1 C of water w/a few bay leaves & garlic cloves. Puree the fork tender celery root with a little of the cooking liquid. S & P to taste.
Panna Cotta, yield – 4 – 5
- 1/3cup milk
- 1 packet powdered gelatin – I used 1/2 a gelatin pac & find the panna cotta to be perfectly firm
- 3 cups cream – I used 2Cs of milk & Half n’Half mixed & 1 C cream
- 1/4 Cs sugar
- 3 strips lemon peel
- 2 Ts bourbon – for some reason I’m out so I used Marsala
- 2 Ts strong bergamot tea (brewed about 5 minutes) – I made a strong apricot black tea
WHAT TO DO:
- Warm 1/3C of milk in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over a medium heat.
- Pour in a bowl & sprinkle the gelatin over the milk to soften. Stir or whisk to dissolve
- In another saucepan, I warmed 2Cs of the milk & Half n’ Half with the sugar, and the lemon peels, mixing to dissolve the sugar. This mixture is brought to a brief boil, then remove it from the heat immediately .
- Remove the lemon peels.
- Add the warm milk and gelatin mixture to the hot milk and whisk very well to dissolve any stubborn gelatin lumps.
- Pour through a strainer into a bowl, and leave to cool
- Add 1 tablespoon of bourbon or alcohol of your choice and 2 tablespoons of strong tea.
- Whip the heavy cream to soft peaks.
- Mix gently into the cooled cream mixture.
- Swirl the remaining tablespoon of bourbon around the base and sides of each panna cotta mold to wet each one, pouring it into the next mold when each one is sufficiently coated (use more if you run out!).
- Pour the cream mixture into the individual molds, cover, and chill for at least 3 hours.
- To unmold, slide a knife dipped in boiling water around the edge of each mold, or dip mold briefly in hot water. Invert swiftly onto individual plates.
Drunken Cranberry Compote
- 1 C strong flavored hot tea (brewed about 5 minutes) – again, I brewed the black apricot tea
- 3 Ts bourbon or other alcohol – I used 2 caps full of Marsala
- Handful of dried cranberries
- Pour the hot tea and the alcohol over the cranberries and leave to infuse for at least 3 hours, or as long as overnight, in the fridge.
- To serve, scatter plump cranberries & liquid around each panna cotta in a small dessert bowl.