There are different moments throughout life that really signal adulthood. Times where you think to yourself “Wow! I really am a grownup now!.”
Some moments are major milestones, like graduations, living on your own for the first time, landing that first “big” job, getting married, having your own children, buying your own home etc. Some moments are not as glamorous, like paying all your own bills, or driving yourself to the doctor (or ER) when sick, or shoveling snow etc.
Recently, we have been housesitting & petsitting for some friends while they’re on vacation. We are thoroughly enjoying this little getaway to their house, but it has been an eye-opening experience for us too. Routine tasks like daily watering the grass & giving the puppy a bath because she had a little too much fun playing in the yard & waking up early to feed the poor dieting cat who must think we’re starving him have all been little reminders to us of true adulthood.
We realize just how relatively carefree we are in our pet-less, child-less apartment living.
It’s fun, though, to try out this different life for a while. And it has reaffirmed our decision to wait to get pets until we are no longer living in an apartment--I can’t imagine trying to train a dog from our 3rd floor apartment!
Another part of adulthood, I think, is eating different foods--perhaps foods you didn’t think you liked before or foods you thought were too grown up/sophisticated/fancy.
Panna Cotta is a dessert I discovered in my adult life. It is essentially a custard that is thickened with gelatin instead of eggs. They require only a handful of ingredients; they need very little prep time; they don’t even use the oven (a great bonus during summertime).
Panna Cotta made with buttermilk is a new-to-me flavor combination and seems like a very “grownup” option. To balance out the tart, slightly acidic flavor of the buttermilk, I added some sweet, juicy nectarines to bottom of the panna cotta vessels.
As the base was poured in, the nectarines evenly dispersed themselves throughout the slightly thick custard. After a short rest in the refrigerator to set the gelatin, the custards were ready. The flavor was very reminiscent of peaches and cream, but somehow a bit more exotic.
These panna cotta custards have been the perfect ending to summer evenings at this home-away-from-home, especially after the grass and plants have been watered, and the rambunctious puppy is in bed for the night.
Nectarine Buttermilk Panna Cotta (Naturally Gluten Free)
Serves 6, depending on vessel size
Adapted from “The Last Course” by Claudia Flemming via Saveur
1.5 tsp Granulated Gelatin
10 fl oz (1 1/4 c) Heavy Cream
7 Tbl (3.1 oz) Granulated Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste
14 fl oz (1 3/4 c) Buttermilk
2 medium nectarines, ripe
- In a small bowl, bloom the gelatin in 1 tsp of cold water. Stir together briefly (I use my clean fingers) and allow the gelatin to soften for about 5 minutes.
- While the gelatin is blooming, gather the rest of the ingredients & leave them out at room temperature. Place 6 small dishes (ramekins or small dessert vessels) onto a sheet pan for easy transport & set off to the side.
- Add cream and the sugar into a small sauce pan. Heat over medium heat, whisking occasionally, for approximately 5 minutes or until the sugar is completely dissolved.
- Pour a little of the hot cream into the bowl with the gelatin & whisk to melt the gelatin. Pour back into the sauce pan & whisk to combine, using the residual heat from the pan to melt any remaining unmelted gelatin. Pour into a separate bowl (preferably one with a spout for ease of pouring later)& set aside to cool slightly while preparing the nectarines.
- Cut the nectarines into small pieces. Place 1/3 of each nectarine into the bottom of each small dish.
- Add buttermilk into the slightly cooled cream mixture & gently whisk to combine. Divide the liquid between the 6 dishes.
- Refrigerate until set, approximately 2 to 3 hours. If planning on storing the custards in the refrigerator for longer, cover each one individually with plastic wrap. They will keep for several days in the refrigerator (though, the batches I have made always get eaten within 3 days!).