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!

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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

Strawberry Pretzel Jello Salad

On rare occasions, my blogs overlap. My other blog, Cardinal Girl, is dedicated to the St. Louis Cardinals, and I sometimes do book reviews. I came across “Cooking with the Cardinals” – a cookbook from 1985 chock full of recipes by the Cardinals and their wives. Luminaries in the book include Whitey Herzog, Ozzie Smith, Willie McGee…and Tom Lawless.

While not the most famous Cardinal of the era, Tom did contribute one of the best recipes in the book: the iconic Strawberry Pretzel Salad.  This recipe had been in my mom’s recipe box for many years, and it’s a dish I’ve made quite a few times over the years and seen at many Midwestern gatherings.

This one’s good enough for me to include the recipe.

2 2/3 cups crushed pretzels
3/4 cup margarine, melted
3 tbs sugar
3/4 cup sugar
1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese
1 8 0z pkg Cool Whip
2 pkgs (3 oz each) strawberry jello
2 cups boiling water
1 pint frozen strawberries, with juice

Mix pretzels, margarine and 3 tbs sugar. Press on sides and bottom of a 9 x 13 pan. Bake 10 mins at 350 degrees. Cool. Cream 3/4 cup sugar with cream cheese; add Cool Whip and mix thoroughly. Spread on top of cooled pretzel crust. Dissolve jello in boiling water. Cool. Add strawberries and juice. Pour on top of cream cheese mixture. Refrigerate until set.

People are skeptical, but they can’t help but be bewitched by  the sweet/savory combo of the pretzel crust, the cream cheese, Cool Whip, and strawberry jello. And lots of sugar. Even jello haters are converted by this one, I promise ya.

While most famous during his career as a player for being the only player traded for Pete Rose, Tom Lawless has gotten involved in management since retiring and is now managing one of the minor league teams here in SoCal – the Lancaster Jethawks.

October 12, 2010 at 7:14 am Leave a comment

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