Is My Blog Burning? no. 15 – Trio of Lime Panna Cotta

Jules: Crème brulée can never be Jello. You could never be Jello.
Kimmy: I have to be Jello!
Jules: You’re never gonna be Jello!

It’s a scene from My Best Friend’s Wedding, which, though I shall forever be a bitter bridesmaid, is one of my all-time favorite movies. Julia Roberts’ character, Jules, is trying to convince Kimmy, played by Cameron Diaz, that someone as classy as she (Kimmy) couldn’t possibly be right for someone as plain as Dermot Mulroney’s character, Michael. Jules says that Kimmy is creme brulee, and that Michael needs a simple girl who’s just Jello.

I am Jello. I like simple things. I don’t own any designer handbags, purses, or clothing. I drive a reliable car, and even here in LA where everyone drives, even two blocks to the market, I took the Big Blue Bus to work whenever I could. Sure, I can appreciate the finer things in life, but I’m most certainly not a classy, sophisticated creme brulee. I don’t even like creme brulee. In fact, I’ve never really liked any desserts in creme brulee’s family like custards, puddings, flan, and creme caramel.

puree of nothing but fresh strawberries

blueberries sweetened to compote

So, in seeking out inspiration for this month’s Is My Blog Burning, hosted by Elise at Simply Recipes, it’s not a surprise that I kept coming back to Jello shots. LOL! But I refused to regress to those hazy days of college, and finally discovered a recipe in Joy of Cooking for panna cotta, an Italian dessert made of cooked cream, that’s similar to a creme brulee, but not baked in an oven. That was a hooray! for finding something a little classier than sugar-free raspberry Jello mixed with no-brand-just-charcoal-filtered vodka. But it was also a *eeps!* since 1) I’ve never made panna cotta, and 2) I’m just a Jello girl.

Flavoring it with just vanilla seemed, well, a little too vanilla, so it became lime; even after I just admitted that I don’t love citrus flavors for Sugar High Friday. Lime juice to soften the gelatin, and zest added to the cream. I don’t like citrus and I say one thing and yet do another. Maybe I’m not as easy as Jello afterall. :)

faint outline of “solo” from a jello shot cup

But the Jello shots came into play afterall, since I didn’t have any pretty fluted molds for the panna cotta. I just ladled the cooked lime infused cream mixture into tiny cups that we used for making Jello shots, uh…a long time ago? Yeah, a really long time ago. The baby panna cottas were lucky and got to chill in the fridge whilst I made an hour-long road trip down to Orange County to have dinner with my family.

avocados are technically fruits, too!

When I finally got back, the panna cottas slipped right out of their cups, smooth and wiggly, and got simple accessories. Fresh strawberry puree, blueberry compote, and the one that got a little haute couture, avocado! As strange as it sounds, avocado’s texture matches panna cotta, and it’s a natural with lime.

I can’t say that I’ve converted to the creamy custardy desserts yet, but these tiny panna cottas could just be my first baby steps in that direction. :) Or perhaps something else in Elise’s complete roundup will push me over the edge!

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Anonymous May 23, 2005 at 4:52 pm

Beautiful Sarah! JP.


2 Nic May 23, 2005 at 6:55 pm

Great choice to use those little Jello cups, Sarah. Since I don’t have molds either, everything smallish that I make tends to end up in my small ramekins, over and over…


3 sarah May 23, 2005 at 6:57 pm

jp – thanks. and maybe you will get to try one this week!

nic – that’s what i need…those little ramekins! which i used to have, but have one by one disappeared through many a move around greater l.a…


4 Elise May 23, 2005 at 11:01 pm

Ah, so elegant for a Jell-O gal!


5 Alice May 24, 2005 at 12:59 am


I LOOOOOVE panna cotta! And yours look lovely! Will you be willing to share your recipe?

Hmmm. Panna cotta. I think I know what my dessert desires are tonight!


6 BBQ Junkie May 24, 2005 at 6:09 am


I have to say that I really enjoy your photos… not just the ones from this post, but all of them.


7 Anonymous May 24, 2005 at 6:44 am

I have to agree, your photos remind me of Clotilde’s. You both use softly sourced side lights. — SoCal


8 sarah May 24, 2005 at 6:50 am

lu and socal – thanks…i’m glad you like the pictures, but i have to *chuckle* because “softly sourced side lights” sounds so professional, and well, i pretty much just put my desk lamp on a chair and prop it up againt the side of my kitchen table! it’s quite funny, now that i look over there and see my set-up. LOL!


9 Anonymous May 25, 2005 at 3:23 pm

I love how you incorporated the movie into your post about the panna cotta! I too love that movie.


10 Lex Culinaria May 26, 2005 at 11:04 pm

Those look fantastic. It is not oo late to convert to a panacotta-lover. There’s definitely innate potential there!


11 cindy February 12, 2007 at 2:27 pm

I am pretty sure the correct punchline from Jules was “Creme Brulee can NEVER be Jello!” :D


12 icr8trends21 April 27, 2008 at 6:49 pm

1) An amazing food blogger
2) Very inspiring
3) Make the food look so darn cute

;) Hanhie


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