Local Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Candied Kumquats and Toasted Pecans
For the Buttermilk Panna Cotta:
Put the vanilla bean seeds and bean in a pot with the cream. Scald the cream, then take off the heat to steep. After 15 minutes, turn the heat back on (so the cream steams only) and mix in the sugar, stirring constantly so it dissolves. Remove from heat, and discard the vanilla bean.
Bloom the gelatin in water in a medium-sized bowl. After a few minutes, pour the cream mixture into the bowl and whisk to combine. Pour this mixture into the buttermilk through a fine-mesh sieve and whisk again to combine. Pour the mixture into 5 small containers, wrap tightly, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.
For the Candied Kumquats:
While the Buttermilk Panna Cotta is setting, make the kumquats. Put the sugar, vanilla bean and seeds, and water in a pot. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the sliced kumquats to the pot, and simmer until they are tender and translucent, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.
To Assemble and Serve:
Put a spoonful of Candied Kumquats on top of the Buttermilk Panna Cotta, along with some of the liquid from the candying process. Top with toasted pecans.