Gail Simmons’ rhubarb panna cotta and a giveaway

A few months ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Gail Simmons and Tom Colicchio (of “Top Chef” fame!) – along with some of the research team from Bounty and Cascade – to discuss the importance of keeping your kitchen as clean and bacteria free as possible. Simple steps like washing your hands frequently, wiping down surfaces and making sure cutting boards and utensils that have been in contact with raw protein are properly cleaned are essential tasks when you’re cooking up a storm.

Gail Simmons also demonstrated her own recipe for Rhubarb Panna Cotta during the event. I sampled the finished product and would definitely have reached for seconds if there had been any left! Here is her recipe, if you’d like to try it at home. It’s a fantastic way to showcase seasonal rhubarb and a pretty dish to entertain with.

Gail Simmons plating her panna cotta. Photo by Talisman on behalf of Cascade.


Gail Simmons’ Panna Cotta With Rhubarb and Mint
Serves 4 to 6.

Panna Cotta

1 cup whole milk, plus 1/4 cup for blooming gelatin
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup superfine sugar
1 vanilla bean
1 strip of lemon rind
6 slices of peeled fresh ginger
2 tsp powdered gelatin
Nonstick spray
1 cup crème fraîche, at room temperature

Rhubarb garnish

1/4 cup sweet wine, like Muscat
1/4 cup sugar
1 slice of peeled fresh ginger, finely diced
1 cup fresh rhubarb stalk, trimmed, washed and cut into one-inch pieces (or strawberries, hulled and quartered)
3/4 cup water
2 tbsp chopped fresh mint

Begin by adding 1 cup whole milk, the heavy cream and superfine sugar to a pot; set over medium heat. Split and scrape the vanilla bean into the pot. Add lemon rind and fresh ginger. Bring to a simmer, then shut off heat and cover. Allow to steep for 15 to 20 minutes.

While the mixture is steeping, bloom the gelatin. Whisk together 1/4 cup whole milk and gelatin until it is completely dissolved. Add bloomed gelatin to the cream mixture and whisk to dissolve evenly.

Spray four to six 6-ounce ramekins with nonstick spray to evenly coat the insides. Add crème fraîche to a large mixing bowl. Strain cooled cream mixture through a sieve into the bowl and discard the vanilla pod, ginger and lemon rind. Gently whisk to combine the mixture. Distribute evenly among ramekins, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight until they are well set.

Meanwhile, make the rhubarb garnish. In a medium saucepan heat the wine and sugar until dissolved. Then, add the ginger and rhubarb, and cook until simmering. Add the water, lower the heat and cover for about 15 to 20 minutes, until the rhubarb is tender. Strain the liquid into a measuring cup, reserve the fruit and allow to cool. (If using strawberries, cook for only about 10 minutes in reduced liquid, then add water to finish, making one full cup of liquid.)

When panna cotta is set, carefully invert each ramekin into a shallow bowl. Gently toss the fruit with the fresh mint. Pour about 1/4 cup of the poaching liquid into the bowl and place a tablespoon of the rhubarb on the side or on the top to serve.

And now, for our special giveaway! The winner will receive a one-year supply of Bounty and Cascade (nine 6-roll packs of Bounty DuraTowel and 26 bags of Cascade Platinum), as well as Gail Simmons’ book Talking With My Mouth Full. A native Torontonian, Gail recounts how her love for food eventually turned into a full-fledged career. She’ll take you through working for Daniel Boulud in New York City to getting cast as a judge on “Top Chef,” all while sharing some of the best food she’s enjoyed along the way. To enter the giveaway, write a comment on this post and let me know what your favourite kitchen cleanup tip is. A winner will be chosen at random. Good luck!

**Contest closes May 15, 2013, at 12:00 p.m. (EST). Open to all residents of Canada, except those in Quebec. Not open to any Transcontinental Media employees, their families, or any other persons with whom they reside.**

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