Recipe: Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Apricot Gelée

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Panna Cotta, an Italian dessert of silky, sweetened cream set with gelatin, is all at once simple, classic and elegant.  It is, at its best, subtle, not overly sweet, and the perfect way to end a meal on a light and refreshing note.
Panna cotta comes together quickly and can be molded in any type of vessels you choose -- from ramekins to demitasse, martini glasses to mason jars.  I like to compliment my panna cotta with a thin layer of gelée -- a gelatin stabilized glaze made from fresh fruit.  Apricots are in season right now, and are bursting with summer sweetness, so I chose to do an apricot gelée.  You can use my recipe with any type of fruit you'd like.  
Here are some photos of panna cottas I've made in the past with a variety of gelées and vessels:
Vanilla Panna Cotta with a Honey Gelée and Bee Pollen
Lemon Panna Cotta, no gelée
Meyer-Lemon Panna Cotta, Strawberry-Rhubarb Gelee

I like to decorate my desserts with edible flowers, especially in summer and springtime. My theme fo…

Roasted Root Vegetables Your Whole Family Will Fall For

 
This post is sponsored by Country Crock®. I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective, and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own. 
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How do your kids feel about veggies?  When it comes to my crew, there are one or two they love, a few more they'll tolerate under a veil of thinly concealed disdain, and others that the mere mention of leads to wildly incongruent facial contortions.  


So, it's always a delight to discover new ways to prepare vegetables that makes them fun and delicious (yet still healthy).  Recently, I was asked by the Clever Girls Collective and Country Crock® to try a recipe from the Clare Crespo Cookbook (a FREE download from Country Crock). 

Veggie Stoplights (with Polenta) , page 32

I was so pleased by what I found!  When it comes to recipes, flavor and healthfulness can often be sacrificed in the process of earning the "family friendly" or "fun food" moniker.  It was refreshing to find that this was not the case in Country Crock's Clare Crespo Cookbook.

Molecular Model Brussels Sprouts, page 6

In full-color and with step-by-step instructions, the free cookbook features 25 wonderfully creative, whimsical and delicious recipes for cooking and serving vegetables.  

Pizza Flag, page 12

So what's a butter lovin' pastry pusher like myself doing with a tub of Country Crock®?  On my journey to becoming a leaner bird, I'm keeping my mind open to healthier alternatives in my cooking.  With 70% less saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, and 30% fewer calories than butter, Country Crock® definitely deserved a try.  My family agreed that Country Crock® tastes delicious on vegetables, especially on our baked sweet potatoes. 



Several recipes in the Clare Crespo cookbook grabbed my attention, but it was the "Fall for Them Leaves" on page 16 that completely won me over with their elegance and simplicity.  


In this recipe, any seasonal root vegetables can be sliced into leaf shapes and baked till golden and tender.  A pile of these sweet and savory leaves would make a wonderful side dish.  They're the perfect garnish for a bed of healthy grains or a compliment to a baby greens and goat cheese salad.



I served the leaves over a bed of kasha at my mom's Sunday supper.  The kids especially loved the sweet potatoes and parsnips!

 
Root Vegetable "Leaves"

6 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes

3 thick carrots, peeled and cut lengthwise in 1/4" slices
3 thick  parsnips, peeled, trimmed and cut lengthwise in 1/4" slices
1 rutabaga, peeled and cut lengthwise into 1/4" slices
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut lengthwise into 1/4" slices
8 fresh sage leaves
3 Tbsp. Country Crock® Spread, melted
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
Kosher salt, to taste

Preheat oven to 400°.

 

Step 1:  With a small sharp knife, cut vegetables into leaf shapes.


Step 2:  Score the leaves with lines down the center to make them more “leaf-like.’’

Step 3:  In a large bowl, toss the leaves and sage with the melted Country Crock® and pepper.


Step 4:  Arrange leaves and sage in a single layer on a parchment lined sheet.  Lightly sprinkle with  kosher salt and bake until golden brown and tender (about 30 minutes).


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Are you looking for quick and simple tips and recipes to make serving veggies more fun? Download the free Clare Crespo Cookbook here for fun and whimsical recipes your family is sure to love!   Also, visit the Crock Country Chronicle site -- an excellent resource for quick and simple tips and recipes to help make serving veggies fun!
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