Recipe: Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Apricot Gelée

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…

Celebrate Back to School with SodaStream ~ GIVEAWAY!

The SodaStream is a wonderful way to add a little "sparkle" to your life!

Have you heard of the SodaStream? It's an easy, convenient and money-saving machine that turns plain old tap water into sparkling water in less than 30 seconds!  It requires no electricity, little counter space and doesn't leave you with any clean-up.  You can enjoy the freshness and convenience of homemade sparkling water and sodas and be kind to the earth at the same time because  SodaStream bottles are reusable  -- no more wasteful and heavy bottles to lug home from the store!

I had long coveted the SodaStream owned by a good friend.  I envied the way she was able to produce sparkling water and custom sodas on demand when last minute guests showed up.  I sought out this review of the SodaStream knowing that it was a product that my readers would love.  Thanks to the generosity of SodaStream, I've been enjoying my Genesis model machine all summer long.  It's given me ample time to live with and test the soda maker so that I can say with conviction and certainty that I recommend the product!

The verdict:  I love it!

Drinks on Demand We use our SodaStream every day.  I always have a bottle of sparkling water in the refrigerator.  The SodaStream allows me to add just the perfect amount of fizz to suit my taste.  When the mood for a cocktail strikes, we can instantly create a bottle of ginger ale or club soda.  The kids love being able to make their own sodas for special occasions.

Easy to use:  It didn't take but a few minutes for me, my husband and our two girls (7 and 10) to become pros at making our own soda water.  

Green We used to go through a case of Pellegrino each month.  In just a few months, the SodaStream has "paid" for itself and we're no longer filling our recycling bin with bottles.

For me, the biggest selling point is that I can make sparkling water in less than 30 seconds.  But if flavored beverages are more you style, there are over 50 SodaStream flavors available.  Unlike many sodas you find in the store, the sodamix flavors for the SodaStream are made without high-fructose corn syrup and aspartame!

This past week, my girls went back to school.  To celebrate the first Friday of the school year, the girls invited some friends over to make Root Beer and Orange Floats with homemade soda from the SodaStream.

The kids had almost as fun making the sodas... they did drinking them!

The best thing about this little party is that it came together in a snap!  All I had to do was pick up ice cream in the morning and set out some glasses and was ready to go.  

To add to the back-to-school themed fun, I served all-natural Smiley fries as a nod to the smiley-face stickers from my childhood.

SodaStream machines come in several different sizes and models and can be found in thousands of stores all over the country like Costco, Target, Kohls, Sears, Macy's, and Williams-Sonoma.  Click HERE to find a dealer near you.

OR, perhaps you'd like to win one instead?

The generous folks at SodaStream are giving one lucky Rook No. 17 reader (in the continental U.S.)

The giveaway package is a Fountain Jet Soda Lover's Start-Up Kit  (value:  $99.95).  It includes:
  • Fountain Jet – winner’s choice of color (black/silver, red/silver or white)
  • 1 carbonating bottle, reusable for up to 3 years
  • Reusable carbonator to fizz up to 60L of soda
  • Variety 6-pack of popular sample-size flavors
  • 3 full-sized flavors of the winner’s choice
 Entering is easy with Rafflecopter below
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good Luck! 

Disclaimer:  I received a complimentary SodaStream Genesis Starter Kit and an assortment of flavors for this review.  My favorite of all of the flavors was the Diet Cranberry Raspberry.  All opinions are genuine and are my own.  

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