Last weekend, I organized a Jellopalooza luncheon. I wanted to get through a bunch of these New Joys of Jell-O recipes and a few jello shots, and I wanted some moral support when trying fish, meat, and veggie jellos for the first time.
When I sent out the invitation, I was surprised that 14 out of 15 invitees said they would be willing to come. I told them in the invite they would be expected to try a few bites of everything, no matter how scary. The only excuse would be dietary restrictions or vegetarianism – but instant vegetarian transformation would not be honored. So, with a full guest list, I began the planning.
Here’s the menu. All recipes came from The New Joys of Jell-O.
Green Goddess Salad Bowl
Turkey Souffle Salad
Salmon Dill Mousse
Crown Jewel Cake
Frosted Mandarin Dessert
Easy Fruit Tarts
Trying to get my guests in the mood to be adventurous, I also decided to make three jello shots from Your Complete Guide to Jello Shots by Aaron Wright.
Rebel Yell Jello Shot
Melon Ball Jello Shot
Bomb Pop Jello Shot
I also made a scorecard where guests could score and comment on each jello creation.
I have to say the preparation was grueling. It required one trip to the party store for some decor and jello shot cups, a trip to Target for a springform pan for the Crown Jewel Cake, a trip to Sur La Table for tart cups, and two trips to the grocery store. I’ve never bought so much jello at once. I started making jellos on Saturday around 4pm and worked til 1am. Graciously, my neighbor Larisa, one of my brave guests, allowed me to use some of her fridge space. Multitasking on the jellos kept me on my toes, trying to make a couple at once and then watching over them since they required various degrees of setting (until thickened, until barely thickened, until firm, etc) before the subsequent steps. I had a bit of a breakdown while making the Salmon Dill Mousse. I almost threw up. More details to come on the entry for that dish.
I had planned to also make a Jellied Salad Nicoise, but after the horrors of making Salmon Dill Mousse, I couldn’t face another fish jello.
On Sunday, I got up at 7am because I had three more jello dishes to make before the noon party. Guests arrived around noon and were impressed with the table display, but of course, a bit wary. Everyone tried everything they could, but there was a lot of disgust expressed over the savory jellos. I would tend to agree. I can understand why Julie Powell struggled over the aspics during her Julie and Julia project. The combination of savory ingredients and sweet jello is just hard to face. Luckily, the fruity jellos were a hit, as were the jello shots. We did end up ordering pizza a couple of hours into the party. Jello isn’t very filling, especially when the main course jellos are so disgusting, you can only handle a couple bites. After the last guests left around 5pm, the dog and I fell into a jello coma. I was totally wiped out. Nobody said this project would be easy.
On the scorecards, I asked guests to rate the jellos on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being disgusting and 5 being delicious. The highest rated were the Easy Fruit Tarts (4.6), Frosted Mandarin Dessert (4.1), Crown Jewel Cake (3.7), and Bomb Pop Jello Shot (4.3). The biggest loser was Turkey Souffle (1.4). One look at the photo and you can see why. Other losers were Green Goddess Salad Bowl (1.8), Salmon Dill Mousse (1.7), and Jellied Gazpacho (2). The Turkey Souffle and Salmon Dill Mousse were big hits with the dogs, though. Someone suggested I may have a future in making dog food.
I was not able to eat any of the leftovers. I couldn’t stop tasting the savory jellos for a couple of days. I may try another party later this year. I may need a new guest list as I’m not sure I can inflict this on the same group of friends. If you would like to volunteer, leave me a comment. I will discuss the reviews of all the dishes in subsequent entries.
A big thanks to my awesome friends who participated in this historic event! And special thanks to my very supportive boyfriend Dave who actually gave the Turkey Souffle a 4 and said he thinks it would be tasty on a sandwich.
Entry filed under: Jell-O experiments, Jell-O holidays and parties, Jell-O shots. Tags: crown jewel cake, fruit tarts, gazpacho, green goddess, jello, jello party, jello shots, salmon dill mousse, turkey souffle.