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…

Recipe: Homemade Raspberry Balsamic Vinegar & Salad
A Heart Healthy Idea from Save Mart #FreshFinds #shop

I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and their client. All opinions are genuine and are my own. 

Sponsored posts can be a great way for bloggers to earn a little bit of pocket money to help cover the costs (and countless hours) that go in to providing free, quality content.  

But I feel strongly that sponsored gigs should be a natural fit for the style of the blog and present a real value to its followers.  Here's what you're not going to find me blogging about here at Rook No. 17:  Products that I do not or would not use.  This includes heavily processed and/or chemically laden foods, non-recycleable plastics, chemical air freshener and other items that I wouldn't naturally buy for my family.  I don't judge those that do -- it's just not authentic for me. 

 When considering a campaign, I ask:

Do I already use and love this product?
Is this something I'd be tempted to try anyway?

I'm always thrilled when the planets align and I'm asked to talk about a product that is already a regular part of my life.  Such is the case with the fresh finds at Save Mart like fresh local raspberries and OrganicGirl greens.  You may recall that back in July I wrote about how to make delicious Strawberry Rhubarb Yogurt Breakfast Parfaits with Driscoll's strawberries from Save Mart.

This time I'm back with a salad recipe you'll want to pull out when aiming to really impress your guests. I use OrganicGirl greens because, well, they're my greens of choice.  They are the absolute freshest, most delicious salad greens I've ever enjoyed (short of picking them out of your own garden).  They've been washed 3 times, so I they can go directly into the salad bowl.  Come to my house and you'll always find a container or two in the fridge.  But I'm getting ahead of myself...

Where we need to begin is with the homemade raspberry balsamic vinegar.  The inspiration for this recipe came as a result of running out of our favorite gourmet balsamic vinegar.  A trip to Williams-Sonoma for another bottle was simply out of the question (and out of the budget).  So, I decided to give making our own a try.  The homemade raspberry balsamic vinegar is so easy to make and is every bit as good as the $35/bottle stuff.    It is delicious drizzled over chicken, crispy duck, and even ice cream.  A beautifully packaged cruet of the homemade vinegar would make a great gift too.  

Here's how to make your own gourmet raspberry balsamic vinegar from scratch:

Homemade Raspberry Balsamic Vinegar

Yield:  12 ounces
Time:  approx. 45 minutes
  • 8 ounces fresh raspberries, rinsed
  • 8 ounces water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (I prefer organic Morena sugar)
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar, plus another 1/4 cup (we used Pompeii, a budget-friendly brand that was recommended by America's Test Kitchen).
Step 1:  In a medium saucepan, combine raspberries and water.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Simmer 8 minutes over medium heat, stirring ocassionally.

Step 2:  Strain over a large measuring cup or bowl to remove seeds.  Return raspberry juice to the pan.  Stir in the sugar and 1 cup balsamic vinegar.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then simmer for 15 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally.  Your mixture will go from approximately 2 1/4 cups to 1 1/2 - 1 1/4 cups.

Step 3:  Remove from heat and stir in the remaining 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar.  Cool, then store in a glass jar.

Note:  This recipe yields a very thick vinegar.

Now you're ready for the salad.  I used the OrganicGirl Power Greens blend (with baby red and green swiss chard, tat soi, arugula and spinach) because of the lovely red chard stems -- the perfect complement to the raspberry theme.

I call this the Heart Healthy Raspberry Balsamic Salad because the leafy greens contain folate and the raspberries are rich in polyphenols, which studies suggest may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.  The almonds can help reduce your LDL (bad) cholesterol, which can also help reduce the risks of heart disease.  With Save Mart and OrganicGirl, eating clean, healthily and deliciously is easy!  

Heart Healthy Raspberry Balsamic Salad

 Yield:  2 dinner salads or 4 side salads
  • 1 package OrganicGirl Super Greens
  • 3 Tablespoons raspberry balsamic vinegar (plus more for drizzling)
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh raspberries
  • Toasted almond slices (quantity to your liking)
  • Crumbled gorgonzola ( or goat, if you'd rather) cheese (quantity to your liking)

In a large salad bowl, whisk the oil and vinegar with a pinch of kosher salt.  Dressing will be thick.  Toss in the greens to evenly coat.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Plate into individual portions.  Sprinkle with toasted almonds, fresh raspberries and gorgonzola cheese.  Drizzle the top of the salad with just a touch more of the balsamic vinegar.
For more creative and heart healthy recipe ideas, check out the Save Mart Fresh Finds page HERE!

This post has been linked-up with:
Think Pink Sunday at Flamingo Toes

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