I’m sure you are all dying to hear about how my Aspic turned out, and I imagine my friends who came to my Tupperware party are anxious to read about themselves and their behavior, so I will dive right in.
Epic aspic fail
I would like to tell you about a really good friend of mine. Andrew Johnston is an amazing musician and the single hardest working person I know. Managing a full-time music career, a full-time job at the other end of the city, and a full-time family can’t be easy, but somehow he manages. Andrew released his self-produced CD The Wake of the Wonder Years last year, and it was absolutely fantastic, and now he is gearing up to release another bushel of songs. Here is his latest video, a beautiful tribute to Montreal:
I love this song, and I love how Andrew uses his talents not only to brighten people’s lives, but also to talk about the issues that are close to his sensitive artist heart. I feel like one of the few positives that have come up from this hideous charter train wreck has been seeing the amazing articles and beautiful artistic expressions that have been cropping up to counter the shameful vote mongering of the PQ. Let’s just hope this hateful trick doesn’t actually work for the Marois government!
(We’re living in a free world, so exercise your freedom and go out and vote on April 7th!)
Another thing about Andrew Johnston is that he has a wonderfully healthy appetite. Mike and I like to rib him about it, but quite seriously he is a joy to have over. The man expects to be and is fed well, he voraciously enjoys every dish I put in front of him and then generally compliments my cooking afterwards; he is everything a hostess could want in a guest.
Andrew Johnston was the only person who had the guts to try my aspic.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. The night before the Tupperware party, I prepared to make my aspic.
As you might recall from Aspic 1: Pick your Aspic, the reddish blob in the background was the recipe I had chosen to make for my friends.
It was only after I lined up the ingredients on the counter that I really started second-guessing my plan. Why, I asked myself, was I putting so much work into preparing something that nobody would be likely to enjoy?
I did learn how to work with gelatin, so now I can theoretically gelatinize anything! Look out world.
First you have to dissolve the gelatin in some cold water, after which you add some hot liquid (in this case tomato juice with onions, celery and lemon) and finally you stir in the items that you wish to gelatinize (fish and pickles, yum) and chill for a couple of hours.
So far so good, the problem came when I wanted to un-mold the aspic. Normally, you would put your plate face-down over your mold and then flip them both over. Unfortunately the recipe called for a platter decorated with lettuce leaves:
Not only was the aspic completely offensive flavor-wise, but Andrew and I both reported having nightmares in the following days. Aspic nightmares! I’m not even kidding.
I think I can fairly say that this is my biggest kitchen disaster to date. But at least it was hilarious.
Aspic # 2, slightly more appealing
I had planned to do a second, sweeter aspic from the same recipe book, this yogurt mold:
I used my mom’s super easy cake recipe for the biscuit, which I will share here as soon as I have better photos. I made a basic vanilla cake and cut it in half. I arranged the fresh fruit on top of the half cake, and using the spring-form as a mold, I poured slightly sweetened, cooling gelatin on top of the fruit to keep it in place.
This aspic-themed desert required a bit of gelatin finesse. You can’t pour the gelatin onto the cake right after mixing it, or it would just sink right in, but if you let it cool too long it will just take the form of the container in the fridge. You have to check your gelatin for the perfect slightly-gelled consistency before pouring on the berries. My grandmother does this cake way better than me.
- Andrew Johnston is the best and we should all go see him as part of his monthly residency at Bistro de Paris on St. Denis.
- Sweet aspic is better than savory, every time.
- Aspic will give you nightmares.
- Tupperware is great.