Panna Cotta with Balsamic Strawberries

by Kathy Strahs on May 2, 2011 · 24 comments

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A little over six years ago my then-boyfriend and I were renting a condo in southern Orange County. One Sunday afternoon, after friends who had joined us for brunch had left, Mike suggested we go for a walk on the beach. This was the second time he’d made such a suggestion that weekend. The previous afternoon when he’d asked I had a banging headache and declined. He seemed kind of persistent on this…I said sure.

And, like any smart gal in her early thirties who had been dating her boyfriend for three years and was on “ring watch”, I grabbed my camera.

Salt Creek Beach ~ March 20, 2005

Salt Creek Beach ~ March 20, 2005

It was one of those picture-perfect southern California afternoons, complete with a cloudless sky and gentle ocean breezes. We ventured out to Salt Creek Beach in Laguna Niguel, near the Ritz-Carlton. Mike walked a little bit ahead of me, surveying the scene of sunbathers and surfers. He seemed to be looking for something. Like a specific place.

A place where he would get down on one knee…and ask me to marry him.

It really does seem like just yesterday to both of us, but Mike and I will be celebrating our fifth wedding anniversary this week. The Riedel wine tumblers that I used to serve today’s Panna Cotta with Balsamic Strawberries were actually wedding gifts that I finally just took out of their boxes for the first time this weekend. Bringing out the glasses to display these cool, white, creamy pillows and their balsamic-drenched sweet toppers brought back fond memories of that exciting time when we got married.

Panna Cotta with Balsamic Strawberries

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cooking rookie May 2, 2011 at 11:01 PM

Wonderful recipe and beautiful photos! Stumbled 🙂


Irvin from Eat the Love May 2, 2011 at 11:31 PM

Awww! I love hearing the engagement story. And I can’t believe you waited five years to take out the Riedel wine tumblers too. But what a perfect way to break them in. Congrats on your wedding anniversary!
Irvin from Eat the Love´s last blog post ..The Sangria Cake- a DIY Desserts event- learning from your mistakes and a note about my Saveur’s Best Food Blog Nomination


Nate @ House of Annie May 3, 2011 at 1:54 AM

Ah, beautiful story, and happy anniversary!

Those tumblers are very nice, and the perfect vessel for your dessert. Balsamic and strawberry go so well together. I like the fresh mint leaf – nice touch!
Nate @ House of Annie´s last blog post ..Chicken Piccata Recipe


marla May 3, 2011 at 6:09 AM

Beautiful panna cotta. Strawberries and balsamic are always such a great pairing 🙂


Megan'sCookin' May 3, 2011 at 6:53 AM

What a beautiful place for a purposal. And I’m loving the strawberries and panna cotta.


Cara May 3, 2011 at 7:01 AM

I’ve got some strawberry infused balsamic I bet this would take over the top


Esi May 3, 2011 at 7:56 AM

So sweet Kathy. Happy anniversary. I just had my first experience with panna cotta earlier this year and I love it!
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Col May 3, 2011 at 9:03 AM

Awww… Happy anniversary! (and the panna cotta looks good too!)


Marcella May 3, 2011 at 9:28 AM

What a beautiful story! 🙂


Carolyn May 3, 2011 at 9:43 AM

Such a sweet story! And the panna cotta looks lovely in your wedding present glasses.
Carolyn´s last blog post ..Smoked Salmon Salad with Dilled Bearnaise Dressing


Susan Marie May 3, 2011 at 12:23 PM

I must make this! I’ve always wanted to try panna cotta, and now that the strawberries are in season, there’s no excuse not to – and I’ve also got some stemless martini glasses this would look great in. Congratulations on your anniversary!


Jennifer @ Raisin Questions May 3, 2011 at 2:00 PM

I have been keeping panna cotta recipes in the back of my mind for some time! The presentation is always so beautiful, as yours is, too! I think I’m worried about using gelatin though… not even really sure where to find it in the store?
Jennifer @ Raisin Questions´s last blog post ..If you’re on a diet- why not try Half-Pound Cake


Kathy May 3, 2011 at 4:14 PM

It’s super-easy, Jennifer – I wish I’d found this recipe a long time ago. They usually sell the unflavored gelatin right by the regular Jello (powdered form). Knox is a common brand.


kellypea May 3, 2011 at 3:57 PM

LOVE that beach and your story. Did he really get down on his knee? So romantic. 🙂 And the panna cotta goes perfectly with it all. I know I like the strawberries, but have never had panna cotta if you can believe it. Looks and sounds fabulous.


Kathy May 3, 2011 at 4:13 PM

Yes, the knee and all. 🙂 I can’t believe you haven’t had panna cotta – this is definitely right up your alley!


Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. May 3, 2011 at 6:44 PM

so pretty!


Karoline May 3, 2011 at 7:02 PM

Aww, beach engagement! Happy anniversary!

That extra touch of mint leaf is lovely. 🙂
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Lindsey@Lindselicious May 3, 2011 at 7:25 PM

These look so refreshing. Love panna cotta and with balsamic strawberries? Can we say Yes Please! 🙂
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megan @ whatmegansmaking May 4, 2011 at 5:21 AM

This looks so good! Beautiful photos 🙂 I’m seeing balsamic strawberries everywhere these days – I must be missing out!


Laurel Newby May 7, 2011 at 12:05 PM

Happy anniversary to one of my favorite couples! This recipe looks delicious (and I was looking for something to do with all the strawberries from the farmers’ market this week). Lots of love to you and the kiddos!

— Laurel


Marly May 7, 2011 at 12:10 PM

Love this story! What a romantic location to propose…


Mindy May 11, 2011 at 11:24 AM

Happy anniversary! 🙂 I was going to say that I have been wanting to make panna cotta, but couldn’t find any unflavored gelatin at our grocery store until I saw that you got this recipe from a Kroger box. I shop at Kroger, so I guess I need to scour that store a little better! 😉
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Barbara @ Barbara Bakes May 17, 2011 at 2:09 PM

What a fabulous dessert. It looks so elegant in your tumblers.
Barbara @ Barbara Bakes´s last blog post ..Strawberry Hand Pies


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