Fruits of our Labor

by Melissa on January 24, 2012

When we moved out to the suburbs of Atlanta over two years ago, my mind went into cultural shock from being one of the very few couples in our neighborhood without children to having a 40 minute drive get to midtown Atlanta. Luckily (or not) I happened to work from home and a daily commute wasn’t something that I needed to worry about.

Over the past couple years, I went through phases of “I hate living out in the ‘burbs” to “well, I love our house so I guess I’ll deal” back to “when are we going to move already?!”

Well, I am glad to say that I’m finally, really(?) starting to warm up to living in the suburbs. It may be from joining a gym that I really enjoy or having new neighbors that we like chatting with or finally realizing that we won’t be able to have a monster-sized backyard if we move back into the city.

What do you do with a large backyard? You plant things of course!

Edible things, that is.

I’ve been wanting to plant a fruit tree in our backyard for a little while now and when I heard about Atlanta Local Food Initiative‘s Incredible Edible Grow-It-Yourself Fruit Tree, Vine & Berry Bush sale (wow, that was a mouthful!), I immediately hopped over to Georgia Organics’ website and pre-ordered a brown turkey fig tree and a blackberry bush.

Figs and blackberries – two of my most favorite fruits in the world. If we can manage to nurture and grow our little plants, just think of the lovely fruits that can be picked right out in our backyard!

Pick-up of our new plants was over this past weekend at the Atlanta Community Food Bank. Despite the crazy thunderstorm that morning, we picked up our little ones and brought them home, safe and sound.

Then it was time to place the fig tree in the ground. Of course, my lovely husband was kind enough to do the hands on part:

Paul digging a big red clay hole in the backyard

And put up some chicken wire to deter our dig-happy pups from the new tree.

“Hey Mom… whatcha doin’?”

dogs mom what are you doing

Grow little one, grow!

Our figs and blackberries won’t be ripe and ready for picking for another year or two, so in the meantime, I thought I would satisfy my fruit craving with a nice coconut panna cotta with pomegranate jello inspired by my brilliant friend, Jen of Use Real Butter.

Coconut Panna Cotta with Pomegranate Jello (4 servings)
1 can coconut milk (15 oz)
1/4 cup agave nectar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons agar agar, divided
1/4 cup warm water
3/4 cup pomegranate juice
1/4 cup boiling water

Let’s Cook:
For the panna cotta, mix 1 teaspoon agar agar in a small bowl with 1/4 cup warm water, then set aside.

In a small saucepan, combine the coconut milk, agave and vanilla. Mix well and bring the mixture to a boil for about a minute. Pour the agar agar mixture into the coconut mixture and stir to combine.

Divide the coconut mixture evenly into four serving containers and place in the refrigerator to set for about 4 hours.

To make the pomegranate jello, mix 1 teaspoon agar agar with 1/4 cup boiling water. Then pour into a small mixing bowl with the pomegranate juice. Mix well, and then pour onto the panna cotta after the panna cotta has set.

Then place the containers back into the refrigerator to set for another 4 hours.

Note: If the pomegranate juice is too tart or sour, mix in some agave or sugar to taste. The result should still be tangy.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Heidi @ Food Doodles
January 25, 2012 at 12:57 pm

Oooh, this looks so good. I love that it’s vegan and I bet it tastes delicious. I don’t think I’ve ever had coconut and pomegranate together before. And I love that you planted a fig tree! I wish they would grow here because I’d plant one – they are so delicious!


January 26, 2012 at 2:41 pm

Oh, the coconut and pomegranate were great paired together :)

I am so excited about our fig tree. I’m really looking forward to picking figs from our backyard!


Simply Tia
February 2, 2012 at 8:15 am

This looks so rich and decadent! Yum.


February 6, 2012 at 4:10 pm

This looks fantastic! One question- did you use agar powder or flakes?


March 13, 2012 at 5:55 pm

So I tried making this and I’m terrible when it comes to baking so of course nothing set at all. I’m thinking I didn’t mix the gelatin well enough into either the panna cotta or the pomegranate part. I do have one question though: can you just susbtitute gelatin for agar agar? I couldn’t find it anywhere so that’s what I did, maybe that’s another reason why the panna cotta did not set?


March 13, 2012 at 6:17 pm

So sorry your panna cotta didn’t turn out well :( I’ve found that working with this type of dessert can be a bit tricky, you have to make sure everything dissolves, etc. You can definitely substitute gelatin for the agar agar – gelatin is a lot easier to work with. You can try adding a bit more gelatin next time, that may help it set. Also, I’ve found that leaving it in the fridge for a few more hours also helps it set as well. Good Luck! :)


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