11/02/2011 05:29 pm ET | Updated Aug 31, 2012


Gail Simmons shows you how to use foods you already have in your pantry to make easy, delicious recipes. In this episode of the Pantry Project, Gail shows viewers how many ways there are to use both fresh and dried ginger -- the rhizome (underground stem) of the plant Zingiber officiale. She's created three recipes that showcase its spicy, zingy flavor.

In this video Gail demonstrates how to make her Ginger Panna Cotta recipe. Don't be intimidated by the term "panna cotta" -- it just means "cooked cream." The idea is to infuse cream with flavor (in this case, ginger, lemon, and vanilla) and then use gelatin to set it. Gail begins by peeling ginger and slicing it into rounds, then scraping vanilla seeds from a fresh bean. She adds sugar to a mixture of heavy cream and milk, then whisks to dissolve it. Cooking the cream over medium heat, she adds the ginger, some lemon zest, and the vanilla seeds and bean. When the cream reaches a simmer, she takes it off the heat and lets it steep for 20 minutes so all of the aromatics will infuse the cream.

While the cream is steeping, she whisks gelatin into milk, making sure the gelatin dissolves completely. When it's thoroughly combined, she adds it to the steeped cream mixture, whisking to get the gelatin disbursed throughout. She strains the cream/gelatin mixture into a bowl with crème fraîche (this adds a welcome acidic note to the sweetness) and whisks again.

She sprays six ramekins with a non-stick spray (this will help with un-molding once the panna cotta have set) then pours the mixture evenly among them. Once they've chilled and set, she dips them briefly in warm water to release them from the ramekins, then inverts them on a plate. To finish off the dish, she garnishes the top with crystallized ginger, toasted coconut and fresh mint.

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Malaysian Chicken Curry with Steamed Jasmine Rice
Ginger Panna Cotta