Panna Cotta and critique my menu for a date

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by curtis73, Jan 20, 2017.

  1. curtis73

    curtis73

    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Home Chef
    First, I'm Curtis.  I'm a new member.  I should have joined ages ago, but I am now cooking dinner for a gal I'm dating and need some help.  She's into me anyway, so even if I microwaved a Swanson pot pie she'd be happy, but I want to show off a bit as this will be the first time I'm cooking for her.  I am a great "scientific" cook and have particular talents in flavor pairings.  She doesn't do gluten or egg, but pretty much anything else is fair game.

    Dessert first.  Panna Cotta.  I absolutely love Panna Cotta.  I have had it with textures that I love and textures that I dislike.  The texture I like is more like a super soft custard; almost like the consistency of Creme Brule.  Some Panna Cottas are gelatinous like flan (don't like) or too firm (don't like).  My favorite consistency is soft and smooth; almost soft enough that you're worried it won't hold its shape when unmolded.  Can you help me walk through some recipes that might point me in the right direction?  Corn Starch?  gelatine?  fat content of the dairy?  I'm going traditional and have some vanilla beans and fresh strawberries, kiwi, and blackberries, so I don't need a coffee caramel coconut variety.

    The rest of the menu looks something like this (but not set in stone).

    She said she likes (among other things) Greek and Steak, so... I bought a whole beef tenderloin and dry aged it for 5 days.  Tomorrow I'll pull off the cap and cut two thick Filets from the large side of the center.  (and god bless her, she likes her steak medium rare. She's a keeper).  I think I'll rub them with EVOO and some marjoram, thyme, basil, and oregano and salt and pepper, grill to rare on the propane grill with a foil packet of just a couple hickory chips for the hint of smoke, then top with an olive/feta tapenade that I'll make with Kalamatas, sun-dried tomatoes, and a touch of some acid. (or will I be OK on acid with the sun dried tomatoes?)  Let the Feta melt as they finish to medium rare.  I have some peppered bacon that I could par cook and wrap around the filets as well, but will that be a mismatch?

    Side will be broccoli tossed in olive oil and garlic and a scant dusting of cumin, roasted until the tips just get a tan.  Starch will probably be my potato/shallot fried Gnocchi which is basically 1/2 and 1/2 mashed potatoes and caramelized shallots with a bit of parm and cheddar pan fried golden.

    But my main purpose in posting was to get the Panna Cotta right.  Ideas?  Fool proof recipes?