February 15, 2024

Back at it!

After a long hiatus, I’m back at it on the Good Eats project.

The project has been on hold while we moved and other projects have taken precedence as we’ve settled into the new place.

When I finally got the time and attention to return to cooking Good Eats, I decided that Tuesday’s snow day would be a good chance for use to try some Stove Top Mac-n-Cheese for lunch.

homemade stove-top mac and cheese

The family thought it was delicious, even Vivian who claims not to like mac & cheese gobbled it up. One point they made was that it tasted a little “too cheddary” – this is probably due to the sharp cheddar I used. Maybe next time I’ll try a less sharp cheddar. One thing to note about this mac & cheese – it’s very calorie dense at 65 calories per ounce. The recipe makes 40 ounces, so assuming even 5 servings means we’re looking at more than 500 calories per serving.

Then on Wednesday night, I made Panna Cotta Brain with Cranberry Glaze as a special Valentine’s Day dessert. Only, in my version I left out the brain and used ramekins instead.

panna cotta before putting it in the fridge to set

I made a half-batch, and since some of the amounts in the original recipe are weird to half (since they’re used in various places) here are the proportions I used for the panna cotta itself:

  • 18oz evaporated milk (1.5 cans) – use half a can to bloom gelatin
  • 2 packs of gelatin (I used Gelatine brand)
  • 3/4 Cup heavy cream
  • 6 Tablespoons of sugar
  • Half of a vanilla bean, split
  • 0.5 teaspoon salt

I served it by inverting it onto a plate, covering with chocolate sauce, and topping with whipped cream.

serving panna cotta

Everyone loved it. It kind of tastes like a cross between ice cream and Jello. It’s a super easy dessert that’s also very rich and elegant.

By the way, I did make the cranberry glaze, but it never really set up before it was time to eat. We did try it on the panna cotta though, and it’s a really good combination – the tartness is a great contrast with the sweetness/richness of the pudding. Perhaps next time I’ll make the cranberry way earlier and let it hang at room temp to set.

Stove Top Mac-n-Cheese

  • Crowd: 4/5
  • Ease: 3/5
  • Family said it was a bit "too cheddary" -- might try a less sharp cheddar next time

Panna Cotta Brain with Cranberry Glaze

  • Crowd: 4/5
  • Ease: 4/5
  • Might try reducing the amount of gelatin by ~25% next time
  • Cranberry glaze took a long time to set up -- do it early, keep it at room temp
  • Could probably put some plastic wrap on top while it sets to help avoid "skin"