Friday, 29 July 2011

JELL-O Pineapple Rings

Here's a nifty caker side dish that my mom used to serve alongside Sunday hams. Even though nothing made me gag more than a pink, simmered ham, I never had any trouble downing a few of these JELL-O pineapple rings.

Hmm. Wonder if the sugar had anything to do with it.





Drain a can of pineapple rings and fill with JELL-O.

Chill. When set, slide a knife around the edge and shake it out.

Slice and serve. So pretty you may want to wear it as jewellery.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Chocolate Chiffon Dessert

Book description: Attention all chocolate lovers! This is for you—a sheer bit of goodness you'll want to whip up often.

Well, here it is, folks. The last recipe for Gelatin July. 

You know, I learned two important things on my vintage caker journey. The first is that you can encase pretty much anything in gelatin. The second—and most important—thing I learned is just because you can encase anything in gelatin doesn’t mean you should. Like a dark night of the soul, gelatin can take you down paths that shouldn't be travelled. 

We end our month—fittingly—with dessert. This chocolate chiffon dessert wasn’t bad. It was light, moussey and not overly sweet. And while it left me feeling gassy, I’d eat it again. But only in private. Or in the company of elderly spinsters.

Next week, we return to old school caker cooking with a little help from the St. Mary's Catholic Women's League! 

1 envelope Knox Unflavoured Gelatin
1/2 cup sugar, divided
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup cocoa
3 eggs, separated
1 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Whipped Cream (I used Dream Whip. What the heck?)

Mix gelatin, 1/4 cup of the sugar, salt and cocoa in top of double boiler. Beat egg yolks and milk together. Add to gelatin. Cook over boiling water, stirring constantly until gelatin is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Chill to unbeaten egg white consistency. Beat egg whites until stiff. Beat in remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Fold chocolate gelatin mixture into egg whites. Turn into 4-cup mold or individual molds. Chill in refrigerator until firm. Unmold on serving plate and garnish with whipped cream.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.












Source: Knox On-Camera Recipes: A completely new guide to Gel-Cookery



Monday, 18 July 2011

Molded Macaroni and Cheese

Book description: None. It was a recipe tucked at the back of the book and I felt sorry for it.

Yes, I know this looks like a spaceship, but I wasn’t sure how to garnish it. That’s one of the dilemmas of vintage caker cooking—the presentation has to divert people’s attention from the taste.

In many ways, I have to tip my hat to my vintage caker forefathers and foremothers. They knew how to decorate the shit out of their food.

As to how that food actually tastes…meh.

And that, for me, is the crucial shortfall of vintage caker cooking. All style and no substance. I’d rather have five minutes of tasty ugly than a lifetime of pretty banality.

Wait a minute...is that the same thing Shelby said in Steel Magnolias?

I can’t think of a better way to wrap up Gelatin July than with a quivering brown tower. Watch for next week’s exciting final recipe!

1 envelope Knox Unflavoured Gelatin
1¼ cups water, divided
1 cup grated Cheddar Cheese
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated onion
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 tablespoon chopped pimento
½ cup diced celery
1½ coups cooked broken macaroni
½ cup mayonnaise

Sprinkle gelatin on ½ cup of the water to soften. Place over low heat and stir until gelatin is dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in remaining ¾ cup water and cheese. Stir until cheese has softened. Add lemon juice, onion and salt. Chill to unbeaten egg white consistency. Fold in remaining ingredients. Turn into a 3-cup mold or individual molds and chill until firm. Unmold by dipping mold in warm water to depth of gelatin. Loosen around the edge with tip of a paring knife. Place serving dish on top of mold; turn upside down. Shake, holding dish tightly to mold. Garnish.


Source: Knox On-Camera Recipes: A completely new guide to Gel-Cookery

Monday, 11 July 2011

Salmon Mousse

Book description: Ideal for meatless meals and hot-weather dining, this hearty main-dish salad is a compliment-getter.

First up, the book lied. I didn’t get any compliments on this.

Secondly, there’s something about food being molded back into the shape of when it was alive that disturbs me.

Thirdly, I ran out of capers and had to use a raisin for the eye.

But all of that aside, I have to say this vintage caker salmon mousse was pretty tasty. Funny how whipped cream makes everything taste better: salmon, pasta sauces, toilet paper…The list is endless.

1 envelope Knox Unflavoured Gelatin
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dry mustard
¼ cup water
¼ cup vinegar
2 cups flaked canned salmon
1 tablespoons capers
½ cup heavy cream, whipped

Mix gelatin, sugar, salt and dry mustard thoroughly in a saucepan. Add water and vinegar. Place over low heat, stirring constantly until gelatin is dissolved. Remove from heat and chill mixture to unbeaten egg white consistency. Fold in salmon, celery and capers. Fold in whipped cream. Turn into a 3-cup mold or individual molds and chill until firm. Unmold by dipping mold in warm water to depth of gelatin. Loosen around the edge with tip of a paring knife. Place serving dish on top of mold; turn upside down. Shake, holding dish tightly to mold. Garnish.

It looks so sad here. 











Source: Knox On-Camera Recipes: A completely new guide to Gel-Cookery

Monday, 4 July 2011

Green Salad Mold

Book description: A new and deliciously different twist for a popular stand-by – green salad is molded for added pleasure.

I know what you’re thinking.

This looks like the brain of a Cabbage Patch Kid.

Admittedly, I went a little overboard with the styling, but that seems to be a fundamental part of vintage caker cooking. The dishes have to look pretty. Problem is, I'm not sure "pretty" is the first adjective that comes to mind when you look at this. I kept wondering, "Why? Why solidify a garden salad?"

Having said that, there were lots of different textures to enjoy: Crunchy, chewy, squishy, slimy. But I think I prefer my salads footloose and fancy free. Pass the Catalina.

1 envelope Knox Unflavoured Gelatin
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 ¾ cup water, divided
¼ cup vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
¼ cup chopped scallions
1 cup shredded raw spinach
1 cup chopped celery
¼ cup shredded raw carrots

Mix gelatin, sugar, salt and pepper thoroughly in a saucepan. Add ½ cup of the water. Place over low heat, stirring constantly until gelatin is dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in remaining 1¼ cups water, vinegar and lemon juice. Chill mixture to unbeaten egg white consistency. Fold in scallions, spinach, celery and carrots. Turn into a 3-cup mold or individual molds and chill until firm. Unmold by dipping mold in warm water to depth of gelatin. Loosen around the edge with tip of a paring knife. Place serving dish on top of mold; turn upside down. Shake, holding dish tightly to mold. Garnish.


Source: Knox On-Camera Recipes: A completely new guide to Gel-Cookery

Friday, 1 July 2011

July is Gelatin Month!

The Three Cakers

Before heading into the soft and glistening world of gelatin for the month of July, I thought it necessary to identify the three types of caker cooking – and here you thought there was only one!

1) New School Caker
Think Sandra Lee, Duncan Hines frosting and Philadelphia Cream Cheese commercials. 

2) Old School Caker
Think ’70s, full-sodium canned soup and TV Guide recipes.

3) Vintage Caker
Think Sunday hams, pickled watermelon rinds, gelatin molds and your grandmother.

Of these, cakers generally find vintage the hardest to…er, swallow. Case in point: a friend brought a party sandwich loaf to Caker Christmas a few years back. It’s a loaf of white bread, made into sandwiches with various fillings (usually tuna, egg and salmon). The sandwiches are then reassembled back into a loaf shape, which is then “iced” with cream cheese.

No one touched it. In fact, several people didn’t return the following year, including my friend. Perhaps, like Dr. Frankenstein, he was traumatized by his own creation.

Recently, someone gave me a copy of Knox On-Camera Recipes: A completely new guide to Gel-Cookery. I became entranced by the recipes: Tomato Aspic, Chicken Mousse and Chocolate Chiffon Dessert, among others. This was vintage caker cooking in all of its jiggly glory. Maybe the world needed to give vintage caker cooking a second chance.

For the next four weeks, I’ll feature a different recipe from the book. Truthfully, I have no idea how this will go. My old school caker gut is telling me that some foods simply aren’t meant to be encased in gelatin.

But I could be wrong.

Let’s go on a gelatin journey and find out. 



Special thanks to The Vintage Cabin for these kick-ass gelatin molds!