Coconut Milk Panna Cotta & Mother's Day Love

As some of you already know, I've recently returned from a magical week in Thailand. My parents were here visiting us and I decided if they were coming all of this way, I better show them some thing besides the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong. When I am planning getaways and vacations I typically involve a beach, so we spent half of their time here, and the other half lazing around in the sweet sunsets and soft sand of Patong Beach just outside of Phuket.

I'm happy to report I overly indulged in sun, swimming, coconuts, massages and green curry--a few things that warm my heart like nothing else. Special only begins to describe this unique time with my parents in a place that is so beautiful and kind, I'm feeling incredibly grateful and blessed for such an amazing trip. Some of the  highlights were snorkeling through the luminous beaches of Phi Phi Islands and unabashedly filling our tummies in a Thai cooking class. My favorite part of doing cooking classes in different countries (besides the food) is going to the local outdoor markets. It's fascinating to see all the different types of produce, and learn about the culture's relationship to food. Clearly, there are no easy access Whole Foods around. The commitment of time, love and work put into meals in this part of the world is beautiful. It's how it was intended to be. A time for appreciation, for slowing down and enjoying deliciousness with family and friends...not fast food and packaged goods with things that aren't even real food. You get my drift. Stepping down from the soap box....

Now my folks are settled back into the Texas hill country and Jaime is back to work, so as you can imagine I was left having a few withdrawals. Yep. I was yearning for little doses of home, family, friends and coconutty Thai treats! My mom and I were very committed to enjoying a coconut each day. Just the thought of it now makes me so happy. Shortly after they left,  I headed into the kitchen in search of something to appease my coconut craving and sadness from my parents departure. I came up with this coconut panna cotta...aka custard ;). It's pretty basic as my fridge was scarce at the time and I wasn't going out into the rain to make it fancy. Personally, I think it's a great simple recipe that you could dress up in many ways to make it your own. Try adding some fresh fruit (I vote mango-the candy of fruits!) to add some texture and sweetness to the creamy custard. You can get as fancy or simple as you want. It's up to you. My tolerance for sweet, sugary desserts is fairly low so you might want to double the honey in the recipe. I saved it for the topping as you can see in the picture. ;)

Lastly but not least... in honor of Mother's Day I want to give shout outs and love to all the Moms and maternal figures out there-- whether in this world or above in the ether. May you be filled with relaxation, gratitude and the most delicious heartfelt love. And mega love to my beautiful, sweet Mom. You're the best. This dessert is for you!

2 cups coconut milk
1 Tablespoon gelatin (I prefer this kind by Great Lakes)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 Tablespoon honey (double if you want sweet)

1/2 cups crushed nuts or seeds, pulsed in food processor a few times
heavy pinch of sea salt
couple dashes of cinnamon
generous dab of butter
melted honey to drizzle on each

1. Heat coconut milk on low-medium heat and stir in honey and vanilla until well incorporated.
2. Whisk the gelatin in the hot coconut milk mixture. It will start to thicken so be sure you whisk and stir thoroughly.
2. Turn off the heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
3. Distribute into ramekins or small bowls using about a 1/2 cup for each.
4. Place ramekins in the fridge and allow gelatin to set. Should be done in about 4-6 hours.
5. Toast nuts or seeds in a pan with a generous dab of butter, ghee or coconut oil along with the cinnamon and salt. Just a few minutes stirring until toasty and fragrant.
6. Once the custard is set, drizzle honey and toasted seeds/nuts on each.
7. Top with some mango or berries and grab a spoon.

Our own little island for a day.

Curry paste!

Sweet woman making heavenly coconut treats


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