Posts filed under ‘Jell-O holidays and parties’

Key Lime Pie

Here’s a delicious summer dessert.  Is it as good as the pies you can find in Key West? No. But it was a hit at Jellopalooza 2, scoring 3.7 on a scale of 1-5. The jello gives the pie a smooth consistency, and the condensed milk cuts the tartness with some sweetness.  It didn’t turn out too pretty because I had covered it with foil while it chilled, and some of the pie ended up sticking to the foil.

Here’s the recipe.

1 package (3 oz.) lime jello
1 cup boiling water
1-2 teaspoons grated lime rind
1/2 cup lime juice
1 egg yolk, well beaten
1 1/3 cups (14 oz. can) sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon aromatic bitters
1 egg white
few drops green food coloring (optional)
1 baked 9-inch pie shell, cooled

Dissolve gelatin in boiling water. Add lime rind and juice. Pour slowly into beaten egg yolk, stirring constantly. Add condensed milk and bitters. Chill until slightly thickened.

Beat egg white until stiff peaks form. Fold into gelatin mixture. Add food coloring. Pour into pie shell. Chill until firm – about 3 hours. Garnish with lime slices or Cool Whip, if desired.

Some comments from my guests, who had mixed opinions…

“Awesome! It’s the best one! Yum! Perfect balance of ingredients.” – Sara

“Good crust. Okay filling” – Ivanna

“Creamy and dense” – Larisa

“Generically sweet, too one-dimensional” – Christopher

“Good, but then an odd taste – is it the bitters?” – Shelby

This was the favorite dish of the party for 1-year-old Blake. Check out his cute lil’ puckered face as he enjoys the Key Lime Pie.

This was my first time using bitters in a jello recipe, but it seems that bitters are a common ingredient of Caribbean recipes like Key Lime Pie.   I had previously only associated bitters with cocktails. Hmm, maybe I should mix some bitters into my next batch of jello shots.

Here’s Jimmy Buffett’s recipe for Key Lime Pie (sans bitters).

April 11, 2011 at 12:11 am 2 comments

Jellied Fresh Vegetable Salad

Hmm, did 70’s parents think their kids might be more willing to eat fresh veggies if the veggies were encased in jello? If so, I think they were wrong. This was a foul concoction. It has the distinction of earning the lowest score at Jellopalooza 2: 1.4 out of 5. Yes, even Molded Ham and Egg Salad did better at 1.5.

I guess as a consolation, I can point out the dish is mostly healthy, if you overlook the sugary jello component. I took lemon jello, added bouillon, vinegar, salt and pepper, and sour cream. The vegetables in the mold were celery, radishes, cucumber, scallions, and green pepper strips.  The jello mold had a sickly cream color, probably due to the sour cream. It looks deceptively like pudding. Per the book’s suggestion, I garnished with lettuce. I did not serve it with French dressing – another suggestion of the book. It seems odd to me to put salad dressing on top of jello. And French dressing could not have saved this dish.

My guests were united in revulsion.

“This is absolutely terrible. I thought Ham and Egg was the worst…but no” – Sara
“Not horrible, still wouldn’t want it” – Brian
“Salty jello. Least favorite of the savory” – Ivanna
“Not my favorite, but a pretty cream color – cool presentation” – Larisa
“Salt doesn’t go well with it.” – Dave

Maybe I was too heavy-handed with the salt, but I don’t really think anything could save this jello mold.  A plain old salad may be dull, but it’s definitely preferable to salad vegetables in jello. If you wonder why my progress on getting through this cookbook is slow, it’s due to recipes like this one.

April 10, 2011 at 10:32 pm 1 comment

Ported Cherry Dessert

In search of more theme recipes for the Oscars, I made Ported Cherry Dessert in honor of The King’s Speech.  I don’t know if they actually drink port in the movie, but it seems like they would.  With enough port, one goes from stuttering to slurring, right?

This one turned out very tasty. My friend Christopher described it as “a party in a cup.”  So here’s the recipe.

1 package of frozen cherries, thawed (10 oz)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup port wine
1 package (3 oz.) cherry Jell-O
1 1/2 cups crushed ice
1/2 cup sour cream

Drain cherries, measuring syrup. Reserve 6 cherries for garnish. Add lemon juice to syrup and wine to make 1 cup and bring to a boil. Combine gelatin and boiling liquid in a blender. Cover and blend at low speed for 30 seconds or until gelatin is dissolved. Add crushed ice and blend at high speed until ice is melted – about 30 seconds.  Pour into individual dishes or wine glasses. Add cherries. Garnish with sour cream and reserved cherries. Chill. Makes about 4 cups or 6-8 servings.

This was super-quick to prepare, since the ice makes the jello set immediately. I guess blending it gave the jello a fizzy appearance.  I didn’t garnish it with sour cream, and I poured it into plastic wine cups since I didn’t have enough martini glasses. It certainly looks much classier in the martini glasses, as depicted in the exciting illustration from the cookbook. It seems to be exploding with flavor!

Not having really paid attention to the recipe when shopping, I didn’t realize the recipe was only going to make 7 servings. I thought I might need a little more for the Oscars gathering, but the only red jello I had in the kitchen cabinet was sugarfree raspberry.  Interestingly, the sugarfree jello did not work at all. It turned into a massive gelled blob in the blender.  I had to toss it.  Maybe a reader with a science degree can explain the reasons for that mishap.

I used a very tasty port wine from Kalyra, my favorite central coast winery. The dessert was light and frothy, and the cherry and port flavors complemented each other well. I’d make this one again, perhaps even for royalty.

March 6, 2011 at 5:10 am Leave a comment

127 Hours Jello Shots

I usually go all out with my Oscar parties, but this year Dave hosted and invited a few friends over and kept it small. I still couldn’t resist the urge to do some theme food and asked friends to bring theme food. Here were some highlights:

  • Winter’s Bone Missouri Gooey Butter Cake – everyone flips out over this cake whenever I make it. Such a decadent delight.
  • The Ballerina Buffett (aka, a veggie tray)
  • Black Swan Punch – mix grape and orange kool aid, add vodka and it looks pretty murky and black
  • The Kids Are All Right healthy, organic salad
  • The King’s Speech Scones
  • 127 Hours Rock Candy

I came up with the idea to make 127 Hours jello shots.  I’d use gatorade, which James Franco drank in the film, and lemon jello, and the finished product, when served in a “sample” cup, would resemble something else James drank in the film.  Here’s my recipe:

6 oz lemon jello
2 cup boiling water
1 cup gatorade
1 cup vodka

Mix jello with hot water until dissolved (about 2 mins). Add gatorade, stir. Let sit until steam dissipates.  Add vodka and stir thoroughly (1-2 mins). Pour into jello shot containers and chill for 4 hours or until set. Makes 20 jello shots.

If you can get over the associations from the movie, you’ll find it tastes refreshing. Some of our guests were grossed out, and some just don’t drink booze at all, so I had a bunch of shots leftover.  Too bad, because I’m sure the show would have been more entertaining if we were drunk on jello.

I don’t recommend these gatorade shots for use during your workouts, but if you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place, you could do a lot worse. It’s the stuff that hallucinations are made of.

March 2, 2011 at 7:16 am 1 comment

Green Bay Packers Jello Shots for the Super Bowl

I was rooting for the Packers in the Super Bowl. I’m not particularly a Packers fan (I like the Rams and the Cardinals), but I have some friends who are big Packers fans. Plus I have always disliked the Steelers. One of my reasons for disliking the Steelers is pretty irrational. I don’t like that they only have their logo on one side of the helmet. This unbalance has upset me since childhood. I looked up the reason for it and discovered that it’s due to ambivalence on the part of the team that the logo would be well-received, so they tried it just on one side. After all these years, can’t they commit and put it on the other side?  Another reason also stems from childhood. I was a big fan of Roger Staubach when he was a Cowboy. I disliked Terry Bradshaw. The Cowboys and Steelers were rivals, so I had to go with the Cowboys.  The final reason is current. Ben Roethlisberger seems like a thug.

So, since I was having a few friends over to watch the game, I decided to make Green Bay Packers jello shots.  This was my first attempt at layering a jello shot.  Here’s the recipe…

Green Bay Packers Jello Shot

First layer

3 oz pkg Tropical Fusion Jell-O
1 cup boiling water
1/4 cup cold water
1/2 cup vodka
1/4 cup melon liqueur

Mix gelatin with hot water until dissolved (approx. 2 mins). Add cold water, stir.  Let sit until steam dissipates. Add alcohol, stir thoroughly (1-2 mins).  Pour into jello shot containers. Refrigerate until it begins to set – a skin will form on top.

2nd layer

3 oz pkg Lemon Jello
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup cold water
1/2 cup vodka

Mix gelatin with hot water until dissolved (approx. 2 mins). Add cold water, stir.  Let sit until steam dissipates. Add alcohol, stir thoroughly (1-2 mins).  Let cool. Pour into jello shot containers on top of 1st layer. Refrigerate until set. Yields 20 shots.

I rushed these shots a bit and there was a little mixing of the yellow and green jello, but they still turned out good. Midori melon liqueur made them very tasty, especially mixed with the Tropical Fusion Jell-O (green in color). I bought that Jell-O last summer but haven’t seen it since. Maybe it was a limited edition.

I guess if it was truly a Packers shot, it should have involved cheese. But I just kept the cheese in my fondue pot this time.  It turned out to be a good game, and between the 5 of us we polished off all 20 jello shots which even helped make the Black Eyed Peas halftime show entertaining.

Go Pack Go!

 

February 13, 2011 at 12:03 am Leave a comment

Jellied Holiday Nog and Eggnog Martinis

It’s not a cool yule without eggnog.  But eggnog and jello? Does it work? Yeah, actually it’s not bad. It’s better than it looks in these iphone pics, I swear.

I made Jellied Holiday Nog for a dinner party.  The recipe involves lemon jello, jello vanilla pudding, sugar, dream whip, rum extract, vanilla and nutmeg. It turned out to have a pudding consistency. I didn’t try to keep it in a mold but let it run free.  It made a nice sidecar to the delicious layer cake made by HungryKat. I think if I made it again I’d put real rum in it, and more than a dash.  Even though the recipe involved no actual eggnog, it did taste noggy, due to the rum extract, vanilla, and nutmeg.  Jello magic!

My favorite seasonal eggnog recipe is for an Eggnog Martini.  I got this recipe out of Sauce Magazine. If you happen to have any eggnog left in your fridge from the holidays, try this out.

1.5 oz vodka
1.5 oz amaretto
3 oz eggnog
Splash of cinnamon schnapps
Sprinkle of nutmeg

Chill the first 4 ingredients in a shaker with ice. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Sprinkle with nutmeg.  Enjoy!

January 7, 2011 at 7:44 am Leave a comment

Grasshopper Dessert

On New Year’s Eve, I figured if I was going to make jello, it had to involve booze. So I chose to make Grasshopper Dessert.  Dave and I were staying in on New Year’s, and he loves mint, so I thought this would be a good choice.  He pronounced it the best jello yet! I thought it was good but not awesome, but then I am not a huge mint fan.

The ingredients were lime jello, sugar, creme de menthe liqueur, and dream whip.  I had to go to 3 liquor stores before I found creme de menthe, and the lone bottle they had was very dusty. I guess people aren’t drinking a lot of grasshoppers these days.  Growing up, I recall my mom sometimes ordered a grasshopper with ice cream as a dessert drink.  Do any bars still make that?

Part of the jello was made the usual way, and then cut into cubes. The rest of the jello was blended with the dream whip. As directed, I arranged the cubes of jello in a ring around a creamy center of boozy jello dream whip.  It turned out pretty and would be a good choice for St. Patrick’s Day.

As it was New Years Eve, I had to reflect on my first year of jellocraft. I made 29 of the 109 recipes in the cookbook. I also made some recipes and jello shots that weren’t in the book.  So I didn’t match Julie of “Julie and Julia” who finished her cookbook in a year, but I hope to double my efforts this year and finish it in 2011.  I have to blame the savory jellos. The experience of making them and eating them would cause setbacks and lack of jello motivation.  But, continue I shall!  I wish you all the best in life and jello in 2011!

January 7, 2011 at 7:18 am Leave a comment

Jellopalooza II: Savory Jello Strikes Back

Having not made a ton of progress on my quest to make every recipe in The New Joys of Jell-O, I decided I needed to have another all-jello luncheon.  I was pleased to have 5 returning guests from the last party, plus 4 jellopalooza virgins.  I decided to make more jello shots this time, in hopes that it would make the savory jello dishes go down easier.  Unfortunately, none of my guests were big drinkers that day, at least not in jello form, so there were more low ratings on the savory dishes.

Here’s the menu and the overall scores.  Reviews of the individual dishes will be covered in separate blog posts. Guests were asked to rate each dish on a scale of 1 – 5, with 1 being disgusting and 5 being delicious.

Jello Shots

French Tickler (4.3)
Midnight Affair (4)
Sour  Apple (3.1)
Long Island Iced Tea (2.6)

Jello Dishes

Banana Nut Ring with Ginger Topping (4.3)
Strawberries Romanoff (3.9)
Key Lime Pie (3.7)
Under the Sea Pear Salad (2.6)
Spanish Tuna Salad (1.9)
Molded Ham and Egg Salad (1.5)
Jellied Fresh Vegetable Salad (1.4)

Just like last time, everyone was still hungry after trying the jello dishes, so we ordered pizza. I think if I do this again, I’ll have to break the all-jello rule and serve sandwiches or something else to go with the jello.  There’s just a limit to how much jello a person can consume, and you need something to balance the sweetness, preferably something that doesn’t jiggle.

I have to say that I find the overall view of my all-jello buffet to be just enchanting. I love all the colorful food and the crazy molds. Unfortunately, eating it isn’t as much fun as looking at it.

Preparation was pretty uneventful this time. Nothing was as gross to make as the Salmon Dill Mousse had been the first time around.  The Molded Ham and Egg Salad was definitely the most talked about dish in terms of grossness to behold.  Most felt the taste wasnt as bad as they’d feared.  I don’t know how people felt about this in the 70s, but people today just dont want to eat meat, fish and vegetables encased in gelatin.  I doubt that any of the savory recipes in this book will ever score higher than a 2.  If you are reading this and you were an adult in the 70s who attended parties where savory jellos were served, please leave a comment explaining how you felt about it at the time.

My guests got a kick out of perusing my vintage jello cookbooks and the always jaw-dropping book That Amazing Ingredient: Mayonnaise! My friend  Ron noticed this photo of a swanky 70s all-jello party in The New Joys of Jell-O, and we all admired the color block dress. He suggested I should have all the guests dress 70s for the next soiree. I agree it would be fun, but I feel I am lucky enough that my friends are willing to show up and eat Molded Ham and Egg Salad for the sake of my blog – I’m not going to insist they wear bell-bottoms and afro wigs whilst doing it.

My dog Edgar probably ate the most of all of us. He even got tricked into eating vegetables, which he normally hates, since they were hidden in the Jellied Fresh Vegetable Mold.

Look for upcoming entries on each dish and jello shot.  And here’s all the pics from the party. My thanks to my brave guests!

November 19, 2010 at 8:24 am Leave a comment

Mmmmm brains!

Happy Jelloween, everybody!

My friend Mary gave me this awesome brain jello mold for my birthday, so I decided Halloween was the day to break it in.  I had planned to make this for the Googleween party at the office, but last minute preparations for my Android costume and the Witches Brew punch kept me too busy to get ‘er done.

I found this brain jello recipe online and thought it sounded good. There were some recipes that tried to achieve the gray  or tan color of actual brains, or a pink color, but I like the green brain idea. It’s more festive and more appealing to actually eat. I did make my Witches Brew punch a very sludgy gray color, thanks to the Blavod black vodka, but I don’t think one should serve too many gray items at a Halloween party. You can find the punch recipe and other Blavod recipes here.

I made the recipe as directed, however I substituted Hansen’s Kiwi Strawberry soda for lemon-lime soda, since I happened to have it on hand.  I sprayed the mold with Pam, and I must have soaked it pretty good, because the brain slid perfectly from the mold without me even having to put it in hot water. The ingredients are lime jello, walnuts, cream cheese, and boiling and cold water. Follow the link above for the full recipe.

This was really simple to make, took probably 15 minutes total, plus 3 hours to set.  The nuts and some of the cream cheese settled to the bottom to make a sort of crust that gave an accent to the flavor. I’m not a huge fan of lime jello in general, but this is definitely a fun jello mold that I would hope to bring to a future Halloween party, or the next time I invite some zombies to dinner.

October 31, 2010 at 11:19 pm 1 comment

Have another cherry…

I’m sad to report that my good friend and Ape Culture co-editor Nerdia recently moved from LA to Santa Fe. While I have no doubt our friendship and creative partnership will remain strong across the miles, I will definitely miss seeing her regularly.  Before she left, we got together to watch one of our favorite films: The Witches of Eastwick. This movie features a merger of our celebrity obsessions. I’m a big Jack Nicholson fan, and Mary is a Cher Scholar.  When we were roommates and Witches would happen to be on TV, we used to play a game where we’d notice how far into the movie it was based on the start time on the TV guide channel and try to guess what scene would be on before turning to the movie. We were scarily accurate in these predictions due to obsessive watching of the film over the years.  A small corner of my brain is devoted to having memorized most of Jack’s lines in the film.  Although it’s been about 20 years since I watched it repeatedly, I can still remember most of the soliloquies.

Anyway, I’m digressing from the topic of this blog: Jell-O.  As I enjoy theming jello dishes to my parties, I knew that the jello for this occasion would have to feature cherries.  If you’ve seen the film, you know why – if not, you need to see it! I decided to make two recipes – Cherry Chiffon from The New Joys of Jell-O and Coke Salad – a beloved recipe from my youth.

Cherry Chiffon was the more popular of the two dishes. Most people had seconds.  It involved cherry jello, cool whip, and a can of dark cherries. The recipe also called for using ice instead of cold water, which allows the jello to set super-fast. This was definitely handy and a tip I’ll keep in mind for when I have jello-making time constraints. It turned out pretty with the contrast between the jello and cherries layer and the jello and cool whip layer.

Coke Salad was popularized in my childhood by my friend Christine’s mother, Barb Horace.  Since Christine and I have been friends since kindergarten, Barb has been like a second mother to me, and she has made Coke Salad for me on many occasions.  It never fails to cheer me up. She and I both love Coca Cola and adding it to jello can only produce a winner. This recipe is simple.

Coke Salad

1  3 oz black cherry jello
1 cup hot water
1 cup Coke
1 pkg Philadelphia cream cheese
1 can black cherries (drained)
pecans (optional)

Combine all ingredients. Chill until set.

It can be hard to find black cherry jello sometimes, but luckily Ralph’s had it in stock. Folks didn’t really express much enthusiasm over this one. I partially blame myself for using the hand mixer to try to get the cream cheese to blend in with the jello better. When it doesn’t blend in, it makes the jello mold resemble cellulite. My vigorous hand mixing resulted in the spattering of the cherries everywhere (kinda like the cherry scenes in the movie), so the finished dish lacked the zing of whole cherries. I do recommend you try this dish yourself though. It kind of tastes like Dr. Pepper.

Fortunately, neither dish caused an upchucking of cherries, although that would be a sort of homage to the movie, I guess. Watch the clip if you don’t know the connection between The Witches of Eastwick and cherries – but watch at your own risk, and preferably not while eating these jello molds.

August 25, 2010 at 6:38 am 1 comment

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