78 comments

  1. says:

    May 7, 2014 at 7:35 am

    One time, at baking school, I did a project on cardamom. I got an A+, because I was the only person geeky enough to get in touch with every spice company on the planet in order to get “special” information to share with my class and chef instructor. This awesomeness does not, of course, relate to panna cotta, but I really wanted to tell someone.

    • tworedbowls says:

      May 7, 2014 at 3:26 pm

      Cardamom is definitely, definitely worth geeking out over. If cardamom were a person, it’d probably be that cool geek in school who was popular yet nerdy yet not ironic about it. You know. Just like me. (Not.)

  2. says:

    May 7, 2014 at 7:47 am

    Goodness, so many things to love about this post. First, I think we must live in the same neighborhood; I’m in Boerum Hill. A Cook’s Companion is a legit problem, and it does’t help that the people who work there are so friendly and accommodating! Also, I am crazy about panna cotta; I think it is such an elegant dessert, and so easy to make. It is one of my top recommendations when friends ask for a (simple) dessert recipe to impress a date. I like to make it in fancy plastic cups for parties–entirely make ahead and essentially no clean up? Yes, please. Your version with cardamom, saffron, cinnamon, pistachios, and almonds looks lovely. I agree with you–panna cotta is essentially a blank slate, so there will always be more ideas to try, it never goes out of stlye. (Also, what sushi place do you go to? We love Ki on Smith. It isn’t cheap, but it is delicious!)

    • tworedbowls says:

      May 7, 2014 at 3:29 pm

      Boerum Hill is such a gorgeous, gorgeous neighborhood! You must absolutely love it. We don’t live quite in that area but we’re not too far :) And yes to everything you said about panna cotta! It’s the perfect party dessert and so customizable :) We’ll have to try Ki — I’ve heard good things before too! (Smith Street is such a gem… you can’t go wrong there I feel like.)

    • tworedbowls says:

      May 7, 2014 at 3:30 pm

      Yay!! Oh my gosh, I can’t believe I never knew for so long that what I loved about all those Indian desserts was saffron and cardamom. It might be my all-time favorite flavor combo now. Thanks so much, Dixya!

  3. says:

    May 7, 2014 at 10:10 am

    So beautiful. I love the combination of saffron and cardamom. Not long ago I made a batch of ice cream with these flavors and pistachio, too. It was sooo good! And, hey, cheers to more date nights! :)

    • tworedbowls says:

      May 7, 2014 at 4:44 pm

      Oh my GOSH I read your comment and RAN (figuratively?) to your blog to find that ice cream. That sounds so out of this world delicious, I can’t even handle it. Ahhh. I’m so glad you told me about it, I can’t wait to make it! Thanks so much for your kind words, Ileana :)

    • tworedbowls says:

      May 7, 2014 at 6:22 pm

      Also, I definitely thought of your blog when I was adding “a little saffron” to this dessert… ;)

  4. says:

    May 7, 2014 at 10:28 am

    I’ve cooked with cardamom before, but never with the actual pods! I’m sure this tasted fantastic, and you’ve photographed it beautifully. Looking forward to the day when you tackle the inexorable flavor mash-up that is Indian food!

    http://thatumamilife.wordpress.com – a clean eating bento blog. Japanese or Asian-inspired!

  5. says:

    May 7, 2014 at 10:37 am

    Love panna cotta and this variation looks wonderful, great combination of flavors. Your pictures are so beautiful and unique in there own way. Well done!

  6. says:

    May 7, 2014 at 11:00 am

    I had my first encounter with panna cotta this past weekend and I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was to make and loved the possibilities of flavor combos! Saffron and cardamom sounds like the perfect spice / flavor blend. This is one I’ll be bookmarking for guests too!

  7. says:

    May 7, 2014 at 11:01 am

    these are so gorgeous!!! and yay for date nights!!!!! also, what neighborhood in bk do you live in?! i think this time last year we would have been neighbors?? i didn’t live too far from sahadi’s… right on the border of park slope and boerum hill. (have we discussed this already??)

    • tworedbowls says:

      May 9, 2014 at 12:32 pm

      OMG WHAT, no?! That’s wild!! We didn’t move to BK until about mid-May last year — did I just miss you? We’re actually not super close to Sahadi’s, so we might not have been super neighbors, but definitely more neighbors than Fargo and BK. If you weren’t coming to NY next month (omghyperventilating) I would be really sad that we didn’t know about this at the time. BUT instead I’ll just hyperventilate some more!!! :D:D:D:D

  8. says:

    May 7, 2014 at 11:12 am

    Your writing is always hilarious.. I mean ALWAYS :)
    I wish you can meet my mom; she will definitely talk to you about spices ALL DAY!!!

    I love panna cotta, esp YOURS. I also LOVE your photos SO MUCH I feel like making panna cotta right N-O-W!!!

    • tworedbowls says:

      May 9, 2014 at 12:35 pm

      Hahaha Pang you make my day with such sweet comments!!! Thanks so much! I could definitely use a dose of spice wisdom from your madre ;)

  9. says:

    May 7, 2014 at 11:50 am

    awwww you two little love-bowls~ The thing with marriage without children is that every dinner outside of our apt seems to be qualified as “date night”… but I usually feel like a third wheel between Jason and his blackberry aka his-real-wife. someday she’s gonna kick me out of this apt… Anyways, these panna cotta are so beautiful they’re jewel-like!

    • tworedbowls says:

      May 9, 2014 at 4:09 pm

      Hahaha, I know how you feel. B2 is usually busier than me, so his is usually going off way more than mine. (It also has a longer, sterner buzz that seems way angrier, in my opinion.) <3<3 Thanks, Mandy!!

  10. says:

    May 7, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    Oh my gosh I’m dying. This is SO creative–you always think of these insane flavor combos that I would never even think to try! And the light in these photos, particularly the first! And the shot of the cardamom pods!!!!! Pure love.

    You and Bowl #2 sound like such hard workers!! I’m glad you guys can at least escape for a bit of date night every week :) (though sheesh at least go watch a movie afterwards! ;)) Sahadi’s sounds amazinggg. Erik and I have been having sporadic date nights lately given his intense study schedule (his second round of PhD qualifying exams are coming up (ugh)) but oh man if there was a gourmet food store by his apartment, we would be having date night EVERY NIGHT!

    PS. Congrats on your Food and Wine feature! You are SO. CRAZY. TALENTED!!

    • tworedbowls says:

      May 9, 2014 at 4:13 pm

      Haha aww, Erika! No way — this was literally me sitting and eating some delivery kheer in my office and looking up kheer recipes on the Internet (what was that you said about hard worker?) bahaha. And haha, B2 is a way harder worker than I am! I may have painted a more dire picture of our lifestyles than I meant to — I think it’s just because I appreciate our little dates even more when there’s a lot going on :)

      Ugh, good luck to Erik on his PhD exams!!! (That sounds TRULY brutal!) And thank you so so much for your kind words as always, lady <3

  11. says:

    May 7, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    Date nights are so important! When the Husband and I moved in together 6 years ago (before we were married) we thought we would be spending so much quality time together. Hah! Exactly the opposite. When we lived apart, we made more of an effort to go on dates and actually do things together. Living under the same roof, you take for granted that the other person is always there. In a day, we probably only have about 5 minutes of real quality time after working, cooking, cleaning, exercising, taking care of the dog, etc. It’s such a grind. I’m glad that you and Bowl #2 have this ritual every week. It’s lovely. Just as lovely as this cardamom panna cotta. I’ve never made panna cotta before and I have a giant expensive bottle of cardamom that I’ve only used once. I should send it to you! Love the photos and the post as always, girl.

    • tworedbowls says:

      May 9, 2014 at 4:16 pm

      Nancy, you just put it so much better than I ever could! That’s exactly how I feel about it. It’s so funny (and such a bummer) how you can be in the same place as someone but not really spend time with them — then dinners like these are an excuse to do nothing but that. Hope you and your man are doing splendidly, Nancy!

  12. says:

    May 7, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    This is just… incredible.. saffron just seems like such an exotic spice.. can spices be exotic. Love everything about the panna cotta. and yay for date nights.. they are very important…just keeping that time together going. :)

    • tworedbowls says:

      May 9, 2014 at 4:19 pm

      Oh, totally exotic! Especially all these Middle Eastern ones that are cropping up lately. (Can I admit I have no idea what za’atar tastes like?) Thanks, lady <3 :)

  13. says:

    May 7, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    Girl, you never stop to amaze me. I fell I’m repeating myself all the time but your photography is getting more and more gorgeous!! These shots are really stunning, Cynthia. And the recipe is a winner as well. You probably already know that I’m a huge cardamom lover (among with cinnamon, cardamom plays a huge role in Scandinavian baking) so this panna cotta is what my dreams are made of. Impressive work.

    • tworedbowls says:

      May 9, 2014 at 4:21 pm

      Oh my gosh, yes! Scandinavian baking sounds so luscious — I can’t wait to try cardamom in warm baked goods. It sounds incredible. You all know what’s up ;) Thank you so much for the kind words, Sini — you are always so wonderful!

  14. cakeoversteak says:

    May 7, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    Your posts have been so dreamy lately. My Bowl #2 and I tend to do “date nights” on Fridays as well. It usually involves making a more relaxed dinner, with alcohol in hand, or ordering chinese or dominos if we’re feeling lazy and naughty, and then either a movie or a TV show marathon. I love those nights!! I have yet to try panna cotta … or have any idea what cardamom really tastes like. I might have to try this one out!

    • tworedbowls says:

      May 9, 2014 at 4:28 pm

      Oh my gosh Sara, you are speaking my love language. Pizza delivery is our JAM. And TV show marathons!!!! (Right now we’re halfway through season 1 of Jericho… omg. I’m so hooked.)

  15. says:

    May 7, 2014 at 4:30 pm

    love ,love, love! fresh cardamom is the BEST, it’s flavor is so much more intense than the pre-ground kind. and sahadi’s! don’t even get me started! i have to make a pilgrimage there soon to stock up – reserves are running low! yes to nuts, spices and date nights!

    • tworedbowls says:

      May 14, 2014 at 11:47 am

      I’m actually so glad you said that, because I’ve never cooked with ground cardamom and don’t know how it compares! Do you grind the seeds when a recipe calls for ground? I’m so addicted to this stuff. <3 Thanks, lady!

  16. says:

    May 7, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    I do want to give cardamom a try…I’m seeing it pop up but I’m my usual reluctant-to-get-out-of-the box self over here! I finally started to cook more with spices this year and I wonder why I waited so long. Anyhow, Sahadi’s and the kitchenware store sound like places I could walk around in for hours while my husband wonders what’s happened to me. We also do date-nights but after having a child, it’s become at-home date nights, after bedtime, at the dining room table at home. We love it though… : )

    • tworedbowls says:

      May 14, 2014 at 11:48 am

      Same here, Monica! I feel like I haven’t really isolated a lot of spices before very recently to really figure out what tastes like what … same with herbs. It’s been super fun. Thank you so much for your comment :)

  17. says:

    May 7, 2014 at 6:31 pm

    Yes, date-night! Fridays for us as well… my husband works nights so our Fridays/Saturdays are precious. After work, I come home and cook up a fuss. Then almost unfailingly we end up at our favorite local brewery — food is scarce there aside from the occasional food truck, but we are always full anyway — we’ll close that place down, come back home and conk out watching Top Gear. Fridays are my favorite! Cardamom is also one of my favorites and I agree with whomever said the pods have such a different flavor from purchased ground cardamom. I love panna cotta, its simplicity, and texture! This could not be more beautiful with your finishing touches, Cynthia! Must try this.

    • tworedbowls says:

      May 15, 2014 at 5:52 pm

      Your date nights sound absolutely magical. Love ending the night with some TV and vegging out on the couch :) Thanks so much for your kind words!

  18. says:

    May 7, 2014 at 7:32 pm

    I don’t have any “date” nights, for obvious reasons… :) But yours sound wonderful!
    The panna cotta flavor combination sounds delicious! After school gets out I’m planning on making mango and coconut panna cotta. Your’s is something I’ll have to try sometime. I have no idea what saffron and cardamom taste or smell like, but by your descriptions they sound wonderful!

    • tworedbowls says:

      May 15, 2014 at 5:53 pm

      Mmm, mango and coconut panna cotta sounds fantastic! And you should definitely try cardamom at some point — you might actually be surprised and find out it tastes more familiar than you thought, like I did! :) Thanks, Anne!

  19. says:

    May 8, 2014 at 12:41 am

    I am going to be a complete Debbie Downer and say that I have hated cardamom ever since I was a weeee lassie and I bit down on it while eating my pulao (if you know your Indian food, we love rice and spice). But. BUT, if you grind the seeds into smithereens and put it in a dessert, I am a fan, waving my white flag for cardamom. In Kashmir, they make a saffron tea called Kava, and drinking that warm concoction in a houseboat “village” on the Dal Lake, is pure bliss. I can’t imagine anything bad about this panna cotta… it only seems like a match made in heaven. Your photography too = I’m a fan.

    • tworedbowls says:

      May 15, 2014 at 5:55 pm

      Hahaha oh NO! I have definitely had that experience and can totally see how it’d ruin a person for cardamom forever. I was eyeing that cream like a hawk to make sure all those seeds got strained out… lol. But in that case your comment is especially kind — thank you!! And saffron tea sounds magical.

  20. says:

    May 8, 2014 at 3:49 am

    Aaaaaand places like Sahadi’s are one of the many reasons why I love Brooklyn.

    This post is gorgeous! Love those pics and It’s also wonderful to see all these variations of panna cotta that have been popping up.
    Here in Italy it is still very difficult to find people and restaurant serving fancy versions of panna cotta. We aren’t that used to spices. I love all of them…except cardamom. Sorry ;_;
    Still, saffron + pistachio makes SO MUCH sense. I wanna try it!

    Another thing many italians do is making panna cotta using half the amount of heavy cream and half whole milk. It gives a lighter, fresher result in my opinion (but maybe because I’m used to lighter desserts).

    If you’re ever up on 49th & 9th ave, the International foods market there is also great. They have tubs of loose everything and make a pretty killer hummus and homemade yogurt (though most people don’t really have a reason to go up there, and that’s why it’s so cheap).

    • tworedbowls says:

      May 15, 2014 at 8:16 pm

      Yes! Totally a fan of the half-milk half-cream combo too, Valentina! I just thought I’d stick with a cream recipe to avoid any mishaps with the milk and cream separating… which has, sadly, happened to me in the past. Also, I kind of love the Italian devotion to basics — more often than not, simple really is best, eh? I feel a little sacrilegious messing with it! :x

  21. says:

    May 8, 2014 at 6:55 am

    I love, love, love the look of these! Saffron and cardamom is such a heavenly combination – was first introduced to it when I tried some Iranian sweets called sohan ghom, which are truly addictive. Since then I’ve been a fan of cardamom in just about everything too :) Love the use of the fresh pods in your recipe. x

    • tworedbowls says:

      May 15, 2014 at 8:16 pm

      Ooh, interesting! I’ll have to try that sometime if I can find it — thank you for your kind words, Tamsin!

  22. Anonymous says:

    May 8, 2014 at 8:09 am

    Such gorgeous photos as always! Looks absolutely delcious. I’ve only really come across cardamom in sweets relatively recently. My wedding caterer suggested cardamom ice cream to go with the pear and almond tart we wanted for dessert. I was seriously suspicious at first having only associated cardamom with curries previously, but wow was it delicious!

    • tworedbowls says:

      May 15, 2014 at 8:17 pm

      Oh my god! That sounds like one amazing reception. Love it — cardamom ice cream sounds so delicious. Thanks so much for the kind words! :)

  23. says:

    May 8, 2014 at 11:40 am

    Such a gorgeous post and I love your surprise over cardamom and saffron – something we indians take for granted.
    You will love cardamom kulfi (indian no churn ice-cream) and cardamom mava cake – they are awesome and really showcase cardamom so well.

    • tworedbowls says:

      May 18, 2014 at 12:12 pm

      Ha, YES! Isn’t it hilarious? I really should have caught on earlier than I did — but better late than never ;) Thank you so much for stopping by, Archana!

  24. says:

    May 8, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    For the lack of a better word to describe this goodness I am going to get very British on you and say, “This looks lush”! hahaha I love panna cotta so much mostly due to the fact that the very first time I tried it was in a tiny Italian hotel. It was the simplest thing ever-flavoured with vanilla only and made in a big pan and then sliced into individual portions. It was however, absolutely out of this world wonderful. What a great dessert. I love what you’ve done with the spices here, so creative and the first photo is gorgeous.

    • tworedbowls says:

      May 18, 2014 at 12:14 pm

      Oh, I believe it! Italian food epitomizes the mantra that simplest is best, doesn’t it? I’ve only been to Italy once, but it was incredible how I don’t think I had a bad meal the entire time I was there, down to the rest stops on the highways… True commitment to good food. :) Thank you so much, Julia!

  25. says:

    May 8, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    um…i’m not a huge fan of panaa cotta, but the addition of saffron, cardamom and pistachios is really, really making me want to try this!!

    and i love your “date nights” with $3 spicy tuna rolls. those kind of date nights are the best date nights!

    xoxo

    • tworedbowls says:

      May 18, 2014 at 12:15 pm

      Haha! I think I’d eat that combo on cardboard, to be totally honest. ;) Thanks, lady <3 (and omg.. see you SO SOON!!!)

  26. says:

    May 9, 2014 at 8:33 am

    I love that cardamom fragrance and I think you’re right that a panna cotta is the absolute perfect way to let it shine. Gorgrous photos as usual lady!

  27. says:

    May 9, 2014 at 9:21 am

    Cynthia, these are just magical photos, how do you always get such vivid atmosphere in your compositions? You are truly talented. I’m also juggling blog-world and work-world (though nowhere near as crazy-busy as yours, by the sounds of it), so am double, triply impressed that you still find the time and energy to create such dreamy recipes for us.

    • tworedbowls says:

      May 18, 2014 at 4:23 pm

      Oh, thank you so very much for such kind words!! I’m sure I’m painting a bleaker picture of our lifestyles than reality here ;) in the end work is just work! But your sweet words are so appreciated.

    • tworedbowls says:

      May 18, 2014 at 4:27 pm

      Yes!!! It’s really a wonderland — one shelf has the most gigantic blocks of Guittard chocolate I’ve ever seen (and I can never go without drooling over them for a good few minutes). Thanks, Cate! :)

  28. says:

    May 12, 2014 at 8:21 pm

    This look amazing! Have you ever had the cardamom butter that accompanies some of the seasonal pancakes at Rosewater in Park Slope? That was my jam when I lived in the neighborhood. Totally delicious and temporarily nap-inducing all at the same time.

    • tworedbowls says:

      May 18, 2014 at 4:29 pm

      OMG no?! That sounds amazing. I’m suddenly seized with the desire to make a gigantic stack of pancakes…

  29. says:

    May 13, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    I am not familiar with cardamom or Panna Cotta so I feel like I learned a lot reading your post today. You have definitely peaked my curiosity. And your pictures are beautiful! It is a pleasure just to look at your posts. Love that you have date nights with your husband. We have one on Tuesday nights, and I always look forward to it.

    • tworedbowls says:

      May 18, 2014 at 4:30 pm

      Thank you so much for such kind words, Shari! And yes — I think this is a tradition we’ll definitely want to keep up :)

  30. says:

    May 14, 2014 at 12:14 am

    I look forward to trying this recipe! It looks perfect. I have to travel a bit to get to Sahadi’s from my end of Brooklyn. I try to do it on Tuesdays, when Cook’s Companion is closed, to avoid financial ruin.

    • tworedbowls says:

      May 18, 2014 at 9:43 pm

      Hahaha! That’s pure strategic genius. Thank you so much for the kind words — and I just saw your rhubarb tart!! That pistachio cardamom crust sounds beyond delicious.

  31. says:

    May 28, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    ooh these are gorgeous perfectly pretty looking things!! i have never made panna cotta… but i feel inspired now cynthia!!! (we try to have date nights, too – i think it’s SO crucial in a relationship to make time for each other. even if just calling it “date night” makes it feel a bit more special!) ^__^

  32. says:

    June 4, 2014 at 1:59 am

    I have a minor panna cotta addiction and these flavors are calling my name!! Perfect for summer. Love that you have “date night.” My favorite nights tend to be cooking at home with the hubs or simple take-out and Netflix. Super fancy ;)

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