Sunday, March 15, 2015

Savory Gelatin? Spicy Tomato Gelatin with Chipped Beef & Gravy

My boyfriend and I were talking, not too long ago, about different types of jello from the '50s.  I made mention of salad gelatin and mentioned that I wanted to try them.  In case you don't know, Jell-O used to make veggie flavors like: seasoned tomato, mixed vegetable, celery, and Italian salad.  It seems very strange and weird to many that someone would want a savory gelatin.

I wanted to make a savory gelatin to serve with a meal.

Tomato seems like something I could definitely get behind.  I thought about it some more and decided to make a tomato-based gelatin to serve with chipped beef with gravy.

Salad gelatin and savory gelatin  (or both) are hard for some of us to grasp.  We seem to be okay with suspending fruit in gelatin, so why would veggies or meat be any different?  Try mixing fruits and veggies together (like Naked or Odwalla drinks do).

Here are some ideas that come to mind if you are feeling up for a culinary challenge.

  • Two layer gelatin.  Layer 1: Creamy gelatin with tuna and seasoning.  Layer 2: A green veggie layer with spinach and cucumber pureed (kind of like a green smoothie) as a base for flavor and color with some other veggies diced up.
  • Chicken broth gelatin with chicken chunks and veggies, in a chicken pot pie theme.
  • Single color food medley.  Orange for example could have: orange, carrot, orange bell pepper, etc.  Red could have: Tomato, any kind of red berry, red cabbage (finely shredded), radish.
To accomplish my first attempt at Spicy Tomato Gelatin with Chipped Beef & Gravy, I first obtained my mold.  I could use a ramekin or a funky copper mold, but I decided that I wanted to use an oversized pineapple can but couldn't find one without pineapple, so I used a 6" cake pan.  Why?  I wanted it in round thick slices.

- 1 packet Knox Gelatin
- 1 8oz can Tomato Sauce
- Spices: 1/2 tsp of garlic, basil, and chili powder (or paprika)
- 1 cube Beef Bouillon
- 2 cups Hot Water
- 1 jar Hormel Dried Beef
- Brown Gravy Mix (I get the single packets because I rarely make gravy now)

The way gelatin works is that in hot water (or hot fluid) it dissolves, then can be cooled so it sets.  Gelatin does not set if you only use cold water.

1. In a bowl, mix together your tomato sauce and spices.
2. Place your beef bouillon cube into a measuring cup and place 1 cup of hot water in it.  Stir until cube is dissolved, then add this to your sauce.  You may want to use a whisk.
3. Measure out 1 cup of hot water and slowly sprinkle your single packet of knox gelatin into it, until it is all absorbed by the water.  Place your measuring cup into the microwave for 30 seconds (no more!).  When it is done, add and whisk into your tomato mixture.
4. Place your savory tomato gelatin mix into your chosen mold and refrigerate for 4-5 hours or until it is firm.  You can unmold your gelatin by filling a large bowl full of hot water and submerging the bottom of your mold into the hot water.  The gelatin should heat up fairly quickly (give it 30-45 seconds) and you can then flip out the gelatin.
5. As for the chipped beef in gravy, follow the directions on the brown gravy mix.  Most of the time you simply add the mix to one cup of water (in a pot on the stove).  When its thick and hot, its done.  While it's on the stove, slice up your dried beef and add it to the pot.  When your gravy is done, add it on top of your portion of gelatin.

It doesn't look that pretty.  The flavor of the tomato gelatin was great.  It was indeed a savory spicy tomato.  I think that I had too much tomato gelatin.  If I had used an ice cube mold, I would of had enough with the beef.  I wasn't too keen on cold tomato while the beef and gravy were hot - probably because there was just so much of it.  Smaller gelatin portions, smaller gelatin portions, smaller gelatin portions.  I did like how the gelatin melted in my mouth.  The beef was a little over salty, but the gelatin counterbalanced it nicely.

Would you be willing to try something like this?  Anyone brave enough to play kitchen chemist and show us their concoction?

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