I’ve gone completely mad over the TV series Mad Man. The plot. The characters. The costumes.
In my pretend world I’m the lead character, Don Drapper – tall, handsome, cool, always in control.
I my reality world…well, let’s just say I’m no Don Drapper. The character is dripping with that cool 1950’s retro style that doesn’t come natural to me. Not that I haven’t tried.
Drapper wears skinny ties…I went out and got myself some skinny ties. Drapper drinks Scotch. I drink Scotch. Drapper lives in Westchester, NY. I lived there for a number of years. Drapper wears that cool brimmed dress hat…I found a similar one (actually, my hat is from Target. Don’t laugh).
I realized while standing in front of a full length mirror wearing my new treads that I didn’t look like Don Drapper at all. I looked liked I was going to a custom party. That’s when I also realized that some retro trends should just stay in the past. But there are exceptions. Take this dessert for instance: Clementine & Ginger Gelatin.
Excluding any recent hospital stays, can you even remember the last time you’ve eaten a fruit based gelatin dessert?
As best I can recall, I was probably around eleven years old. And quite frankly, I can’t say that I ever planned on eating it again. Plans change.
I recently saw this Clementine & Ginger Gelatin recipe in Jamie Oliver’s magazine, Jamie, and thought to myself, “This doesn’t look like the Jello of my past.” It was fresh – no artificial flavorings just freshly squeezed juice. It was not overly sweet – I had total control over the amount of sugar I used. And it incorporated a more sophisticated blend of flavors – instead of the laboratory-made grape and ‘tropical punch’ flavors of my childhood memories this had a more complex flavor profile of fresh clementine juice infused with a hint of ginger.
Plus, it looked ridiculously easy to make.
I used the Jamie recipe as a jumping off point. While I liked the concept of the dish, in my opinion, the recipe itself was poorly written: it offered no measurement for the sugar, no yield notation, and it called for the not so precise measurement of a ‘tiny bit’ of ginger. Seriously?
With that said, the dessert was pretty cool. And topped with a dollop of Greek yogurt and chocolate shavings it really comes alive. The gelatin is sweet, slightly sharp and acidic. The yogurt is creamy and slightly sour. And the chocolate is rich and deep. The three elements work very well together. (Note: Don’t use too much yogurt. It can easily over power the other elements).
This dessert has thought me a good lesson: sometimes there’s nothing better than a retro oldie but goody. Now, I just need to figure out what to do with all of those damned Mad Men skinny ties that mock me every time I open up my dresser drawer.
CLEMENTINE & GINGER GELATIN
2.5 cups of freshly squeeze Clementine juice (about 25 clementines)
¼ TSP ginger, diced
1- ¼oz pack gelatin
1/8 TSP of vanilla extract
2 TBL granulated sugar
½ cup of Greek yogurt, for garnishing
bitter sweet chocolate shavings, for garnishing
Pour clementine juice through a fine meshed strainer.
In a medium saucepan, heat the ginger and 2 cups of the clementine juice just until it begins to simmer. Remove from heat. Cover. Let juice and ginger steep for 20 minutes.
In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the remaining ½ cup of the clementine juice with the gelatin powder. Let mixture sit until the gelatin dissolves. About 3-5 minutes.
Strain out ginger from heated juice. Discard ginger. To the bowl containing the gingered clementine, add vanilla extract and stir in sugar until it dissolves.
Pour sweetened juiced into the bowl with the gelatin mixture and stir until well blended.
Divide mixture evenly among 4 juice glasses. Chill until set, about 2 hours.
Serve dessert with a dollop of Greek yogurt and chocolate shavings.