I have these attacks of weird cravings at weird times. One evening I wanted to have the cranberry jelly. Not the sweet kind, but kind of wanted that feel of that cranberry jelly, that smooth texture… Well instead of wandering away with that, let me tell you that this tomato jelly was created out of that craving I found out that this is actually called a Tomato Aspic. I am glad I made it. Not only does it look pretty, & colorful, tomatoes are loaded with all those lycopene, one of the most powerful natural antioxidants.
Tomatoes are native to South America, but they are consumed all over the world now, esp. a lot in Mediterranean cuisine. “Botanically, a tomato is the ovary, together with its seeds, of a flowering plant: therefore it is a fruit or, more precisely, a berry. However, the tomato is not as sweet as those foodstuffs usually called fruits and, from a culinary standpoint, it is typically served as part of a salad or main course of a meal, as are vegetables, rather than at dessert in the case of most fruits. As noted above, the term vegetable has no botanical meaning and is purely a culinary term.” (Wiki)
To the recipe now…
Ingredients: (made 3 small ramekins as shown in the picture)
- 1 Big Red Tomato quartered
- 6 oz Tomato Juice (I used from the can) [ Vegetable Juice/Bloody Mary mix may be used too]
- Black Pepper
- A pinch of Salt
- 1 clove of Garlic
- 1/2 Teaspoon Cumin Seeds (Optional)
- 1/2 Teaspoon Paprika or Red Chili Powder, like Cayenne (Optional)
- 1/2 Teaspoon Sugar, more or less depending on how Tangy the Tomatoes are.
- 6 Tablespoons Very Finely Chopped Celery **
- 4-5 Tablespoons Cooked Beans **
- 3 oz Unflavored Jelly Crystals ( I found this Lemon Flavored Jelly Crystals which were vegetarian, made from Vegetable Gum. I would have really preferred an unflavored jelly, for we did not enjoy this lemon flavor with the tomato … but i really did not have a choice but to use this… i did not find agar agar. ) [ This may be substituted with Gelatin or Agar Agar]
Note: The amount of the jelly crystals I used for this recipe is for 2 cups of Liquid/Puree. The Tomato Juice & the tomato after cooked & pureed was about 2 cups. If you are using gelatin or agar agar, adjust the amount needed.
** Please use any herb or veggie or bean .. of your choice. It can be done without any vegetables or beans too.
Combine Tomato Juice, Tomato, Salt, Red Pepper, Black Pepper, Sugar, Cumin & Garlic in a pan.
On the Stove Top, bring it to a boil & cook for about 5 minutes.
Cool it for about 10 minutes & Puree the above mixture… Make sure not to burn yourself, for this will still be hot.
(I needed 3 small Ramekins for this amount) Line the Ramekins with a rest of the celery. It will be thin single layer.
Top the celery with a single layer of beans.
Pour it back in the pan. Bring it to a boil at high heat & add 4 tablespoons of celery & the entire amount of Jelly Crystals. Stir for about a minute & a half till the crystals are dissolved.
(if you are using gelatin or agar agar, follow instructions to how to set the puree with them)
Spoon out the puree with the added jelly crystals, in to the ramekins over the beans. Sprinkle some celery or any greens on the top for some good looks.
Allow it to set. These jelly crystals were quick set, & it was not needed to refrigerate them. I did refrigerate for a chilled salad.
Make a bed of lettuce ( or any green you want).
Run a knife around the sides of the ramekin & turn the jelly over on a plate. It was pretty well set.
I had placed the bean & celery side down on the lettuce green, simply becoz’ the top side looked prettier.
I have dressed the salad with some mint yogurt (Plain Thick yogurt mixed with finely chopped fresh mint leaves) & mint leaves. (i have seen tomato jellies topped off with mayonaise.. but i am not fond of it)..
Now is it not pretty? Again this is a salad & the tomato jelly is the highlight.. like any other salad, add whatever you wish to. I feel this jelly would be a perfect pair with any grilled meat too.
Happy Birthday Holler! This one is for you:-D
A light Corn & Scallion soup with light rice & sesame crackers, Portabella Mushrooms stuffed with Mixed Beans & Brown Rice, Grilled Skewered Veggies with a drizzle of herbed olive oil, Jellied Tomato Salad, Some Tandoori Tofu & a BIG Black Forest Cake (Well that’s my favorite.. you pick your own! ) That menu is kind a mix cuisine, isn’t it?
This is for the NCR: APRIL .. The Birthday Edition! hosted by Holler – the birthday girl herself. These are actually darn good for summer/spring parties as these can be prepared ahead & looks just gorgeous. Either do individual cups or set it in a bundt pan and slice it out, make it look pretty. Besides, isn’t it always more fun to do something new & different?