Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Wake me up so I can go, go...

Dear Lord, the traffic! Y'all, I truly had absolutely no idea what I was really getting myself into when I went back to work. Sure, I had poked fun at the folks back in My Hometown about their piddly little growing pain traffic woes with the self-assured snootiness of someone who lives in a Major Metropolitan Area (hah!). "You people don't have a clue what "real" traffic is all about," I would sniff. "It's not like you have to make what should be a 30-minute drive in at least an hour, or sometimes more."

Obviously, I had no real idea of what I was talking about either. Smack! When I got up early for those Fine Technical College classes, I was going in waaay before the regular commuters, or going in later for those noon classes, and definitely was not going in past the Perimeter (which should really have a sign that says "Abandon Hope, All Ye Who Enter Here," or maybe they should put that up at Barrett Parkway), so I had no freakin' idea of what it was truly like to live this 7th circle of hellish commuter life.

And, there's no predicting how it's going to go. Yesterday morning, I left at 7:25. I have exactly 40 miles to go for work. I got to work at 9:20. The Friday before, I had left at 7:15 and got to work at 8:10, so there was nothing to prepare me for the difference that 10 lousy minutes was going to make. Ten, 10, X, deci...no matter how you slice it, it shouldn't make THAT much of a difference. Yet, it does. Sigh.

I talked with the Chiclet today about garde manger class. They were working with aspic and chaud-froid. Chaud-froid is a dish consists of cooked poultry or fish that is cooled and then coated with a jellied white or brown sauce. The final dish is served cold. Sounds thoroughly yummy, doesn't it? (Not!) We had briefly discussed chaud-froid last quarter in Pantry class, when we were working on mousses and gel strengths. She was babbling something about they were going to hollow out the breast of a chicken, stuff it with mashed potatoes, cover it with chaud-froid, and decorate it with colored aspic, which was the point I sort of zoned out with the sheer idea of it all...the stuffing with mashed potatoes was weird enough without adding the aspic to the mix. Somehow, I'm not really all that sad about not being there to participate in this bit o' culinary discovery. Check out this site for more detail than you probably ever want to know about smothering food with goo.

Don't get me wrong...I love a good congealed salad kind of thing...you know, Jell-o with fruit and whipped cream and cream cheese, etc. Something that glows and jiggles and looks not of this Earth...that kind of "chaud-froid" appeals to my inner southern belleness. One of my favorites is what we fondly call "Moldy Jell-o." It probably has some sort of fluffy, genteel sort of Junior League luncheon kind of name, but it does look sort of like it's molded...and not just in an odd shape, if you know what I mean. It's green and has nuts and pineapple...but not just any green...sea foamy green to be exact. That's because of the marshmallows. (I could digress for many more paragraphs on the evils of marshmallows in Jell-o, but honestly, they're only bad if you don't melt them first.)

When I was in the 2nd grade, I was the sickliest child imaginable for about 3 weeks. I had bronchial pneumonia, the stomach flu, and a raging case of strep throat pretty much all at once. I essentially lived off of ginger ale and congealed salads. My mom would get this green "moldy" looking stuff from the local Giant Foods deli, and it was literally all I could get down and keep down. And, I loved this stuff. Loved it with all my little heart, and was devastated when the Giant Foods went away and we could no longer get the moldy Jell-o.

And, no one in my family could remember what the hell I was talking about when I mentioned the green stuff and tried to describe it. I felt that maybe I had imagined it during that 3 weeks of infectious hell. So, I tried to forget about it. Every once in a great while, I would peruse the deli cases at local groceries, hoping in vain to see the green delight of my childhood dreams.

Fastforward about 20 years...and I'm invited to Tesla's annual Easter brunch, which was held at Mothra's house that year. Tess mentioned something about "moldy Jell-o," and I confess, I didn't even blink...I had given up. Until I arrived and saw it shimmering on the table in all it's opalescent glory! There it was! My Holy Grail of gelatin! And, then Mothra gave me the recipe, and I have been in her debt ever since. I'll share it with you, too and put you under its thrall as well.

Moldy Jell-O

½ Cup hot water
12 marshmallows (or 1 ½ cups miniature)
1 small package lime Jell-O
½ Cup cold water
½ Cup crushed pineapple
½ Cup cottage cheese
½ Cup mayonnaise
½ Cup chopped walnuts

Melt lime Jell-O and marshmallows in ½ cup hot water—just boil until marshmallows are melted (can be microwaved). IMPORTANT! Marshmallows must be melted. Otherwise, it is crap, I tell you, crap!!! Undissolved marshmallows in gelatin are the devil's work!

Fold in rest of the ingredients; put in mold like this one, which is amazingly the color of the finished product, and chill until set. Eat it all yourself or share if you must.

You can thank me later.


Avalon said...

OMG! Uhmmmmm, maybe it was the fever or the strep or a bump on the head, but if someone served me that jell-O, I would definitely barf. Even if the marshmallows were properly melted LOL

Linna said...

I love Moldy Jell-O! (Or we call it Green Goop at our house.) I actually went to Ebay to buy the same Tupperware ring mold, which they no longer make. (Or maybe they make it, but have you tried to find a Tupperware Lady these days?) The seller actually makes his living selling "vintage" Tupperware, which I assume he finds at estate sales. The concept of applying the word "vintage" to something as basic as Tupperware boggles my mind. I do love Ebay.