Panna Cotta
Italy's simple and delicious Panna Cotta for Valentine’s Day. (Contributed)

It was in the year 1590, Sir Edmund Spense continued his poem… “the honey’s sweet, and so are you.” And the last two lines of this poem, “The lot was cast and then I drew, and Fortune said it shou’d be you,” has been written by too many to count in cards and letters over these past 400 and more years.

Valentine’s Day is one of the most difficult days for me since my sweet hubby Norm’s passing. This was the day Norm would open our door, carrying the long gold box filled with a dozen red roses along with a Valentine’s card signed “with Love, Norm” followed by so many xxxooo’s.

Today I was in the market buying the ingredients for Panna Cotta, being careful to avoid the greeting card aisles of the market though seven years have passed; the pain is too much. However, I will smile and say “she’s a lucky lady” when I see a fellow carrying flowers on Cupid’s Day, all the while remembering the “gold box” from the past.

Seven years ago, on an evening like this one, where the rain was steadily pouring from the sky, I was sitting in front of the fireplace writing my Plain Talk About Food column. Because my hubby was in the hospital and would be there during Valentine’s Day, I decided to write a thank you to him as part of my column, a part of which read…

“I am so grateful for your loyalty, friendship and trust. You have been so patient, faithful, forgiving and respectful, with a pinch of sternness added. Laughter abounds in our household and Faith is constantly with us. My cup of happiness spills over.”

When the paper was circulated, I took the column I had written into the hospital. Norm showed his doctors and nurses what I had written, and one nurse asked if she could make a copy. Norm was so proud. During the next day, Norm passed, and it became my turn to take charge of our ship in this sea of life.

To those of you, dear readers, who will be celebrating Valentine’s Day with flowers, candy, cards and the most important of all, love, I ask… take time to sit and talk about how much you mean to each other. Remember the hours your partner spends working each day to pay the bills, cooking the meals, doing the laundry, caring for the kids. For there is nothing greater nor more rewarding than love.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Dear Readers!

Panna Cotta

Serves 6

3 Tbsp. room temperature water

1 Envelope Gelatin

In a small bowl pour gelatin into water and mix well. Set aside.

1 1/2 cup half and half

1/4 cup Honey

1 Tbsp. Vanilla Paste or Vanilla Extract

1 pinch salt

In a small saucepan, mix well and stir constantly. DO NOT ALLOW TO BOIL.

Take off heat and add the bloomed gelatin and mix well.

Add 1 1/2 cups Heavy Whipping Cream.

Mix well and pour into 6 oz ramekin

Chill 6-8 hours or overnight.

Berry Coulis

In a small saucepan add:

1 cup frozen blueberries, raspberries or strawberries.

3 Tbsp. water.

1 tsp. lemon juice.

Heat until simmering.

Mix together in a small bowl.

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp. cornstarch

Stir into berry mixture.

Cook until thickened.


When cool, pour on top of ramekins and top with whipped cream.

Colly Gruczelak, a Ben Lomond resident, loves people and loves to cook. Contact her at [email protected].

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Colly Gruczelak, a Ben Lomond resident, loves people and loves to cook. Contact her at [email protected].


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