Sunday, June 7, 2015

"The New Joys of Jell-O" - Under-the-Sea-Pear-Salad - Celebrating the introduction of Jell-O to the marketplace

Date I made this recipe:  May 28, 2015 – the 118th anniversary of the introduction of Jell-O to the world!

The New Joys of Jell-O Brand Gelatin Dessert by General Foods Kitchen
Published by:  General Foods Corporation
©1973; 3rd edition 1975
Recipe:  Under-The-Sea Pear Salad – p. 69

Well was I excited or what?

According to  Food Network magazine's May culinary calendar showed that Jell-O was introduced to the world on May 28, 1897, a day that will live in infamy right along with Pearl Harbor Day.  That's 118 years of Jell-O salads, folks.  One hundred and eighteen years.

Faithful readers may recall that last summer, my husband, brother and sister-in-law visited the birthplace of Jell-O in LeRoy, NY.  My brother and sister-in-law live nearby and yet had never been – amazing, right?  After that visit, dubbed by my sister-in-law as "the trip of a lifetime," I just had to make a few Jell-O recipes from my collection.  And then of course, once I used those up, I had to replenish by Jell-O recipe book collection and found this one within days.  Remember, "There's always room for Jell-O."  (And by the by, the other day an ad for Jell-O aired and it was just like the days of old where they used to sing and spell out Jell-O:  "J-E-LL-O!"  I honestly needed a moment to compose myself after that.)

Just days before I made this dish, I talked to my Aunt Mary, who, at age 93, remembers well Jell-O's popularity.  Really, no table was complete without a Jell-O salad back in Jell-O's heyday and my mother's table was no exception.  I have and use, all of her fabulous Jell-O molds.  It's the gift that keeps on giving.

As to recipes, this book contains both sweet and savory Jell-O, and by savory I mean vegetables plus Jell-O and trust me when I say I have enjoyed both in my day.  You can find recipes for savory Jell-O throughout the book, like "Garden Soufflé Salad" on p. 70; "Turkey-Soufflé Salad," p. 71 and "Molded Vegetable Relish" on p. 99, just to name a few.  Mind you, I'm not exactly advocating that you make these (I can already see the look on some of your faces and it isn't pretty) but rather I'm just pointing out that you have options.  Jell-O is a very versatile product so why limit yourself to just the sweet stuff?

When it comes to sweets, Jell-O once again saves the day as you have recipes galore for Jell-O parfaits, Jell-O pies, and Jell-O salads like the one I made.  My mom made a version of this salad using cottage cheese instead of cream cheese and it was one of my favorites.  In fact, due to my own ineptitude at following directions, my cream cheese, which should have been softened until creamy, came out looking more like cottage cheese.  Perhaps I was channeling mother?

I loved this recipe and in fact, have probably eaten most of it.  My husband, Andy, doesn't mind Jell-O but I don't think his family embraced it like mine did and so it wouldn't occur to him to just have a small bowl of it to finish it up.  Thankfully, I am more than up to the task of polishing it off.  In fact, when we got a turkey dinner takeout from one of our favorite restaurants the other day, it almost made me cry to pull out my Jell-O creation as it was just the thing to go with a Thanksgiving meal.  I should talk to Key's Cafe about this combination....

So here you go, a quick and easy recipe for J-E-LL-O!  Enjoy.

Under-The-Sea Pear Salad – makes about 3 ½ cups or 6 servings
I can (16 oz.) pear halves in syrup
1 package (3 oz.) Jell-O Lime Gelatin
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup boiling water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 packages (3 oz. each) cream cheese
1/8 teaspoon ginger

Drain pears, reserving ¾ cup of the syrup.  Coarsely dice pears and set aside.  Dissolve gelatin and salt in boiling water.  Add pear syrup and lemon juice.  Measure 1 ¼ cups into an 8x4-inch loaf pan or a 4-cup mold.  Chill until set, but not firm – about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, soften cheese until creamy.  Very slowly blend in remaining gelatin, beating until smooth.  Blend in ginger.  Stir in pears.  Spoon over set gelatin in pan.  Chill until firm – about 4 hours.  Unmold and garnish with chicory or watercress.  Serve with mayonnaise, if desired.  Makes about 3 ½ cups or 6 servings.  Note:  Recipe may be doubled, using a 9x5-inch loaf pan.

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