Strawberries Romanoff

I’ve still got a bunch of recipes from my November Jellopalooza 2 event that I haven’t written up, so it’s time to catch up.

Strawberries Romanoff was the 2nd most successful dish of the day, scoring 3.9 on a scale of 1 – 5.  Clearly the writer of The New Joys of Jell-O was impressed with this dish, since he or she chose to put a photo of it as a chapter heading. It’s probably my favorite photo in the book. A couple are about to walk into a house. Clearly they are guests at a dinner party, although we cannot see the hostess. The gal carries Strawberries Romanoff in a large glass bowl, and she has coordinated her outfit to match the jello.  The couple smiles and seems to be saying, “Hello hostess, we’ve brought jello! But not just any jello – Strawberries Romanoff!”  And thus begins the chapter entitled “Bring on the Super Desserts.”  Super Desserts? Oh, they’ve already been broughten.

The recipes involves strawberries, sugar, strawberry jello, brandy, Cointreau, and cool whip.  You make a layer with the cool whip and a layer without, so the dish has a pretty layered appearance.  You serve it from the bowl without unmolding it, according to the instructions. Because of the high volume of jello dishes I made for the party, I was running out of large bowls, so I made it in my flag mold and did unmold it, so mine didn’t turn out so pretty.  I thought the berry and booze combination worked, but some guests felt it was too boozy.

Some guest comments…

“Tastes like alcohol and berries” – Dave

“The foam is nice and sweet.” – Ivanna

“Straightfoward, but satisfying” – Christopher

“Tasty” – Larisa

I would make Strawberries Romanoff again. And if I brought it to a dinner party, I would be sure to wear red.

If you want a more traditional non-jello version of Strawberries Romanoff, here’s Emeril’s recipe.

January 9, 2011 at 7:40 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

Molded Ham and Egg Salad

I’ve been dreading making this recipe ever since I saw the picture in the book.  While I do dig on swine, I don’t really care for ham. And I don’t much like hard boiled eggs either – in fact, I had to visit ehow to find out how to properly hard boil eggs in order to make this recipe. Pathetic, I know, but I never eat ’em. Anyway, I figured if I was going to have to endure this dish, it would be easier to be surrounded by friends at Jellopalooza II.

This is the first recipe I’ve made from the “Salads for the Slim Life” chapter of the book. Making the dish was pretty easy. I chopped up a ham steak, hard boiled and sliced the eggs, and chopped celery and onion. The recipe called for lemon jello, with some vinegar added to cut the sweetness. I was supposed to use a loaf pan, but I don’t have one, so I used a small cake pan.  I set a shallow layer of gelatin and then layered the egg slices. I then mixed the other ingredients into the rest of the gelatin mix and put it on top of the egg layer. I followed directions but my egg slices floated up a bit into the rest of the mix and the finished project didn’t have the neat rows of eggs like the cookbook illustration. Maybe I didn’t let the bottom layer set long enough, or maybe it’s because I used the wrong pan. Oh well, I don’t think neat rows of egg slices would have made this dish more attractive or palatable.

Surprisingly, it didn’t taste as horrible as I expected. It was edible, especially if you didn’t think about it being a jello dish and focused on the ham and egg flavor.  The look of the dish is just so foreboding, however, that it’s pretty impossible to enjoy.  My guests graded it a 1.5 on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being disgusting, 5 being delicious).  So it came a close second to Jellied Fresh Vegetable Salad (1.4) for worst dish of the party.

Some comments…

“Even the ham and eggs aren’t tasty.” – Dave

“The look alone…” – Ron

“Ewwww! It’s horrifying to look at AND to taste!” – Sara

“I really need negative ratings” – Brian

“Just tastes like ham and egg and jello. Doesn’t go together but not bad/nasty” – Ivanna, who gave it a 3 – very generous!

“The most terrifying to behold. So meaty! Flesh n’ Jello” – Christopher

If you are wondering why the party guests in the jello cookbook photo are smiling, I would say it’s because they are sitting far away from the Molded Ham and Egg Salad and they haven’t eaten it yet.

November 22, 2010 at 9:37 am 3 comments

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

Strawberry Yogurt Whip – aka Pop Rocks Jello

Whip it. Whip it good!

I didn’t have high hopes for Strawberry Yogurt Whip, despite its sassy name. This is mainly because I don’t care for yogurt, and the recipe consists of only strawberry jello, boiling water, cold water, and strawberry yogurt.  So, it was an interesting surprise that the chemical reactions produced a Pop-Rocks-ian taste sensation.  The dish was positively fizzy, even though no Sprite was involved.  Perhaps if I had added Sprite, it would have caused my head to explode, like Mikey’s did after ingesting Pop Rocks and Pespi, right? It truly did have the fizzy effect of Pop Rocks in my mouth, and the yogurt flavor wasn’t at all overpowering, probably because I used a fruity yogurt with very little nutritional value.

To make this dish, make the jello per usual. When it is slightly thickened, add the yogurt and whip it with a mixer until it’s light and fluffy.  The recipe recommends pouring into punch cups and letting it chill 2 hours before serving. I just made mine in a tupperware container as I wasn’t serving it for a party. However, there was a party in my mouth when the flavor started poppin’ off!



October 25, 2010 at 6:07 am Leave a comment

Lemon Chiffon Pie

I made this Lemon Chiffon Pie for my a going away party for my friends Mary and John.  It was a hit!  Sadly, I lost the photo I took of the actual pie, so I’m substituting a similar, though somewhat better looking, pic to give you an idea of how the pie looks.

To make this pie, I combined egg yolks, water, sugar, lemon jello, lemon rind, and lemon juice.  The challenging part for me was that I then had to beat egg whites until foamy, and then gradually beat in more sugar. It was then supposed to “stand in stiff peaks.”  I felt like I was mixing it forever but it was still somewhat flaccid.  Gradually, it approached the stiff peak consistency. I then folded in the gelatin mixture, blended it some more, let it chill and then poured it into the pie shell.

It came out tasting very much like a typical lemon meringue pie.  You wouldnt even realize there was jello involved unless someone admitted it. At the party, kids and adults alike enjoyed the pie.  John had some the next day and declared it my best jello dish yet (of course, he can compare it to some of the monstrosities of Jellopalooza like Salmon Dill Mousse, so there was nowhere to go but up).

Even though the beating was tiresome, I would definitely make this again. Maybe I need one of those fancy kitchenaid mixers? This is a great dessert for a summer picnic – delightfully refreshing.

October 18, 2010 at 6:05 am 2 comments

Double Strawberry Dessert

This was another easy one from the simple beginning chapter of the book.  I mixed strawberry jello, strawberry jelly, and salt in boiling water.  I then measured out 1/2 cup of the mixture and blended in sour cream and let it chill.  Meanwhile I added frozen strawberries to the rest of the jello mixture.  I had to let that chill for 3 hours or so until it was firm. I then spooned it into serving glasses. I beat the sour cream mixture and poured it on top.

I probably should have beaten it a bit longer as it turned out looking a little cottage cheesy rather than smooth like the photo in the cookbook.  Why do things never turn out like the photos in the cookbook? Still, it was tasty, kinda reminiscent of strawberry yogurt with the fruit on the bottom.  It’s nothing particularly exciting, but a nice simple dessert.

I think this recipe probably should have been named Triple Strawberry Dessert for its use of strawberry jello, strawberry jelly, and strawberries; however the recipe just calls for “jelly, any red flavor” so I guess that’s why they didn’t want to make assumptions and stopped with the Double Strawberry moniker.

It’s been trendy in the event business to serve mashed potatoes in martini glasses as part of a mashed potato bar.  So I’m hoping that these catering companies will soon start serving jello the same way, after they see my presentation here.

October 18, 2010 at 5:17 am 1 comment

Cubed Gelatin

I made this recipe a couple months ago but never wrote it up, because it was such a boring item.  But in the interest of completeness, I’ll include it here in the blog. Some of the recipes in the first section of the book are mainly just there to introduce basic jello craftsmanship. This would be one of them.  I had already succeeded at cubing jello, as it was required to make the Crown Jewel Cake.  But I can always use more practice.

To cube jello, you basically just need to make the jello as directed on the box, and make it in a flat cake pan.  Wait until it sets and cut it into cubes.  It’s fun because when you cut the cubes out, you can create a tetris-type pattern in the pan.  And the cubes look nice stacked in a glass or bowl, nicer than just a plain ol’ glob of jello.  It’s hip to be square!

October 18, 2010 at 5:05 am Leave a comment

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