Holding the Holidays Together
Are you gellin’?
Perhaps you have fond or not-so-fond memories of your Aunt Clara’s gelatin salad from years past. The fact is, gelatin has a purpose: It creates and holds a shape, which makes it a perfect choice for foods to be transported, part of a table presentation or sit out for a while. So, what is old is new again. Gel out this holiday season!
Chicken Salad “Pie”
Yield: 8 servings
1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon onion salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
6 cups cooked diced chicken
½ cup dried cranberries or cherries
1½ cups roasted chopped pecans
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish
Drain the pineapple into a small bowl and sprinkle with the gelatin. Let stand 1 minute to soften. Meanwhile, in the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the cream cheese, mayonnaise, curry powder, salt and pepper at medium speed until blended. Fold in the gelatin, chicken, pineapple and cranberries.
Transfer to a springform cake pan that has been greased and lined with parchment. Spread evenly, cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours or until set. To serve, invert onto a cake plate and gently press the chopped pecans into the side. Garnish with the parsley and serve.
Yield: 12 servings
3 tablespoons cold water
1 (0.25-ounce) envelope unflavored gelatin
1 (10.75-ounce) can condensed cream of shrimp soup
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, cut in large dice
1 cup mayonnaise
2 (6-ounce) cans flaked crabmeat, drained
4 green onions, finely chopped
2 medium celery stalks, finely chopped
¼ teaspoon black pepper
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
⅛ teaspoon paprika 1 pound cooked salad shrimp, drained
Fresh parsley for garnish
Grease a 5-cup ring mold or a shrimp mold and set aside.
Place the water in a small glass bowl and sprinkle with the gelatin. Let stand undisturbed 1 minute, then microwave on high (uncovered) for 20 seconds. Stir well and let stand another minute.
Meanwhile, in a heavy saucepan, combine the undiluted soup, cream cheese and mayonnaise over medium heat. Stir in the gelatin and cook, stirring frequently, for 5-6 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the crabmeat, onions, celery, black pepper, cayenne and paprika. Blend well. Transfer to the prepared ring mold and evenly spread the salad shrimp over the “top.” Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or until set. Unmold on a serving platter so the salad shrimp are on the bottom. Garnish with fresh parsley, and serve with assorted crackers.
Bourbon Panna Cotta
Yield: 4 servings
3 tablespoons plus 1¾ cups cold heavy cream, divided
1½ teaspoons unflavored gelatin
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup bourbon
⅛ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Honey or sorghum for garnish
If you want to serve the dessert unmolded, very lightly grease 4 (1-cup) custard cups and set aside.
Place 3 tablespoons of the cream in a small bowl and sprinkle with the gelatin. Let stand undisturbed 10 minutes, then stir.
Meanwhile, in a heavy saucepan, combine the remaining cream, sugar and bourbon over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, whisking frequently. Remove from the heat and whisk in the gelatin and extract, stirring 1 minute.
Evenly divide among the prepared custard cups. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 12 hours. To serve unmolded, gently loosen the sides from the cups with a paring knife and turn onto small serving plates, shaking vigorously to unmold. Drizzle with the honey or sorghum and serve. Otherwise, drizzle each serving with a bit of honey or sorghum and serve.
Dried Cherry Marshmallows
Yield: 36 marshmallows
½ cup cold water
3 tablespoons unflavored gelatin
1½ cups granulated sugar
¾ cup light corn syrup
¼ cup honey
½ teaspoon red food coloring
1 (6-ounce) package dried sweet cherries, chopped
1 tablespoon plus ⅓ cup cornstarch, divided
½ cup powdered sugar
Place the cold water in a medium heatproof glass bowl and sprinkle with gelatin. Let stand undisturbed 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, grease an 8-by-8-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Then line the sides and bottom with parchment paper and grease the paper. Set aside.
In a heavy saucepan over medium high heat, combine the granulated sugar, corn syrup, and honey. Cook without stirring until the mixture reaches 250 degrees. Then remove from the heat and cool to 220 degrees.
In a small saucepan over high heat, bring ½ cup of water to a boil. Place the bowl of gelatin over the water and whisk until liquefied. Transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer, adding the food coloring and the cooled syrup. Beat on high speed 5-6 minutes or until the mixture holds stiff peaks.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, toss the cherries with 1 tablespoon of the cornstarch. Fold into the marshmallow mixture and transfer to the prepared pan. Smooth the top with a greased spatula. Let cool at room temperature 6 hours.
Combine the remaining cornstarch and powdered sugar. Sprinkle a flat surface with some of the mixture and remove the marshmallows from the pan. Discard the parchment paper. Dust more of the cornstarch mixture over the top and carefully rub the sides and edges of a slicing knife to coat. Cut the marshmallows into 36 even cubes. Toss the cut edges with the cornstarch mixture. Store in an airtight container.
White Chocolate Mini Cheesecakes
Yield: 8 servings
½ teaspoon unflavored gelatin
2 tablespoons cold water
16 shortbread cookies, divided
2½ tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
4 (1-ounce) squares white chocolate, melted
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese
½ cup sour cream
¼ cup sugar
¾ teaspoon pure vanilla or almond extract
Lightly grease 8 cups from a regular muffin tin and line completely with plastic wrap. Set aside. In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water and let stand undisturbed 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in the bowl of a food processor, crush the cookies and set ¼ cup aside. Add the melted butter to the remaining cookies and process until blended. Evenly divide the mixture among the muffin cups and press in the bottom to form a crust.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, blend together the melted chocolate, cream cheese, sour cream, sugar and extract. Add the gelatin and mix until smooth. Evenly divide among the muffin cups. Cover and chill overnight. To serve, unmold and place with the crust down on a serving plate. Garnish with the reserved crushed cookies.
Pick Tennessee spokesperson Tammy Algood develops recipes for The Tennessee Magazine featuring fresh Tennessee food products. Pick Tennessee Products is a promotion of the Tennessee Department of Agriculture developed to help consumers recognize and choose foods grown or processed in Tennessee. To learn more about our state’s food products and find more recipes, go to the Tennessee Department of Agriculture Market Development website at www.PickTnProducts.org or contact Algood at 615-837-5160 or [email protected]
Watch us on the web
Tennessee’s growing season ended with the first hard freeze. With few fresh herbs to pick, now is the time to transfer herbs you dried earlier this year into containers. Watch our video at www.tnmagazine.org to learn the best — and less-than-ideal — places to stash your herbs to maintain their freshness and flavor through the winter.
To find farmers markets with winter hours and community- supported agriculture providers offering winter shares, visit www.PcikTnProducts.org .
And keep all those emails coming to [email protected]