Spiked, Layered, Amazeballs, Jello Mold

Behold! A spiked Jello mold!
It took about 5 hours to make, and 2 hours for the guests to eat.
It was definitely a conversation piece.

We used this recipe, from Tablespoon.


  • 4 1/2 cups water, divided
  • Six 3 oz packages of flavored gelatin dessert mix
  • 3 envelopes plain gelatin (6 tsp gelatin powder, divided)
  • 3 cups flavored rum or vodka, divded
  • 1 1/8 cup vanilla yogurt, divided


  1. 1Place the bottle of liquor in the freezer for several hours before beginning recipe.
  2. 2Lightly spray bundt pan or gelatin mold with non stick cooking spray. (I used a 10 cup bundt pan.) Wipe off the excess spray with a paper towel. A slight residue should remain, just enough to help unmold your gelatin, without affecting the taste or appearance.
  3. 3Pour 3/4 cup water into a saucepan and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the plain gelatin. Allow gelatin to soak for a minute or two. Heat over low heat, stirring constantly, until gelatin is dissolved (about 5 minutes). Wisk in the first package of flavored gelatin. Whisk for at least 2 minutes, or until completely dissolved. (I find the sugar free mix dissolves much faster than the regular!).
  4. 4Remove from heat. Add 1/2 cup of the cold liquor, and stir to combine.
  5. 5Pour 3/4 cup of the gelatin mixture into the prepared mold, and place in refrigerator. Allow to set for 20 to 30 minutes, until the gelatin is a little firm, but still sticks when touched. Very important – if the layers set up too much, the next layer won’t bond appropriated.
  6. 6Refrigerate the remaining gelatin mixture in bowl about 5 minutes or until slightly thickened (consistency of unbeaten egg whites). Gradually stir in 3 tablespoons of yogurt and stir until well blended. This cooling step is also important – the gelatin must be cooled to room temperature before adding on top of other layers, or the layers will not be well defined!
  7. 7Gently spoon the gelatin/yogurt mixture over set gelatin and return to the refrigerator Refrigerate about 15 minutes or until gelatin is set but not firm (Again, it should stick to finger when touched.) As the layers progress, the setting time will become shorter as the pan and gelatin becomes colder, and the layers become thinner as more layers are added to the mold.
  8. 8Repeat steps with remaining gelatin flavors, for a total of 12 alternating clear and creamy gelatin layers.
  9. 9After completing all the layers, refrigerate the gelatin overnight. To unmold, fill a larger container or clean sink with warm water (not too hot!). With clean fingers, loosen the gelatin around the edges of the mold cavities. Next, dip the mold almost to the edge into the warm water for just a few seconds (10 seconds worked for me). Dry the bottom of the mold with a towel and check the edges to see if they are loose, if not, repeat the dip for just a few seconds. Place your serving plate on top of the mold and invert. Viola!

[where: Minnesota, Food, Minneapolis, Twin Cities, 55418]

Mother's Day Butterscotch Chip Ranger Cookies, For The Win

Gerg's parents cruised in for Mother's Day weekend. Highlights included a hike around the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden, homemade beer and wine from dad Flanagan, plated desserts with the Vonos, cocktails with the Pearsons, and baking cookies with mom Flanagan.

Gerg loves him some ranger cookies, which I hadn't heard about until we hooked up. We swapped butterscotch chips for the traditional chocolate chips, and used pecans from Carrie's family ranch out in Utah. We also swapped one duck egg for one chicken egg. They're bombdiggity.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes


1 cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
2 cups crisp rice cereal
1 cup flaked coconut
2 cups (12 ounces) butterscotch chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Cream together the butter and both sugars. Blend in the eggs. Into a separate container, sift together the flour, baking soda and baking powder then add to the creamed mixture, blending well. Mix in the vanilla; stir in the rolled oats, corn flakes, coconut, chocolate chips and pecans. Form mixture into balls about 1 inch in diameter. Press down with a fork on greased baking sheets. Bake in a 350° oven for 12 to 15 minutes.

Makes about 5 dozen chocolate chip ranger cookies.

(Blogger finally released an app, and this is my first blog using the app. I'm thinking it'll be a lot easier to update the blog now that I can use my gadgetZ.)

These Are A Few of My Favorite Things: 2011

I started doing an annual recap of my favorite annual eats a few years ago, and it's a blog entry I've always enjoyed writing. Like I said last year, it's like looking at a yearbook, but without the "See you next year! Never Change!" crap.

From sensational seafood to a providential pizza experience, and everything in between, the meals and bites have been amazing this year. As always, I've had the perfect, charming date in my husband, gerg, along with smart, zany friends and family who are usually willing to share bites with me. If you're reading this, and you were there, thank you.

Here are my 10 favorite edibles from 2011 in no particular order:

The once-in-a-lifetime treat - aerated foie gras with pickled beet, mashad plum, and brioche - at wd~50 in New York was dizzying and delectable. Gerg and I ate it, with a wide-eyed expression conveying, "Holy hell this is good." Read this for a technical BrEaKdOwN: "He makes a terrine, breaks it, re-emulsifies it, and then places it in a food saver type container with a one-way valve. The container goes in the cryovac machine, the pressure aerates the foie." - Global Chefs. Photo by in-nycsite.com

Taking in a cheese, sausage, pepperoni, onion, and garlic at Grimaldi's Pizza in Brooklyn before it closed in December 2011 proved to be providential. "For those of you keeping score at home, here's where we're at: the beloved coal-oven pizzeria in Brooklyn was supposed to have closed (their lease was up) and moved next door last month, so that the space's original pizzaiolo, Patsy Grimaldi, could start work on his new pizzeria in the old space. The new space, at 1 Front Street, has been subject to some Department of Buildings drama over Grimaldi's plan to install an illegal coal-fired brick oven, and there is currently a stop work order on the address. So, in short: Grimaldi's as we've known it appears to be closed for good, with no re-opening date in sight. Better head over to Queens if you want a taste of the not-quite-original coal brick-oven pizzeria." - from gotham.com

Pizza Night at the Stone Barn in Nelson, WI was scenic. Along the back roads of the Mississippi River there’s a charming pizza farm, and it serves on the weekends (unlike A to Z’s pizza night). If you’re planning a weekend autumn trip through the Mississippi River Valley, the Stone Barn in Nelson, Wisconsin, is a fun stop, especially via motorcycle. We ordered the Stone Farm supreme, and we liked their house-made, Italian, pork sausage. Bring a frisbee, or a deck of cards, and be prepared to hang out. It might take awhile to get your pie, but are you really rushing when you're eating at a pizza farm in rural Wisconsin?

Early in the 2011 season, I told gerg that I'd make a 6 foot submarine sandwich when the Packers made it to the Superbowl. I called at least ten bakeries in the Twin Cities before I found one that would bake a 6 foot loaf of bread. For $40, we secured our loaf, and constructed our "Raji's Rocket." Half club, half Italian, with plenty of pickles and olives on the side, the rocket sustained the whole gang (except the vegetarians) during the game and for several meals after the game. The Green Bay Packers won the that Superbowl, and hopefully I'll be making another one this year! Go Pack!

My 2011 birthday trip for lunch at Le Bernardin in New York was probably the edible highlight of the year. The crispy black bass with pickled cucumbers and a black garlic-persian lime sauce was flawless. So was the shrimp with mâche and wild mushroom salad, topped with shaved foie gras, and a light white balsamic vinaigrette. Oh, and I forgot to mention how delicious the baked Maine lobster with caramelized endive-pear "terrine", and whiskey-black peppercorn sauce was. My celebrity chef crush, Eric Ripert, wasn't available for a wink, but the coat check girl's decolletage was. Ohh la la! Photo by rolala loves.

When my husband asks me what I want for supper, the following usually comes to mind in any particular order: Vietnamese, Thai, Japanese, Korean. I like Korean food, and I like Sole Café in St Paul. Their kimchi jjigae with tofu is good—a hot and steamy bowl of stew made with their house-made kimchi, tender onions, and tofu. The thin, tangy, spicy, red pepper broth is balanced by a side of white rice which helps cool and recalibrate your palette after every three bites or so, as do the five small plates of seasoned vegetables (namul) that are placed at your table.

While in San Francisco for Dreamforce 2011, I dined solo at Ame. My meal was a tasting from the Sashimi Bar. A suave gentleman speaking Italian dropped the eye on me, but my meal was the star of the show. The seafood was slapping me with seaweed it was so fresh. My meal from the bottom left - clockwise: 1) sashimi of Santa Barbara sea urchin and spot prawn in aonori ocean gelee, 2) cuttlefish staff meal (center) with Santa Barbara Sea Urchin and trout roe, 3) tempura “poke” with ogo seaweed, hawaiian sea salt and green onions, 4) kaisen salad with Japanese cucumber, Hijiki, Tobiko caviar and yuzu soy vinaigrette, and 5) sea bass crudo with olive oil, lemon, and sea salt.

For our 3rd anniversary, gerg and I rode our Honda Nighthawk motorcycle to Niagara Falls. On our return trip, we swung by Bortell's Fisheries in Ludington, MI for some fried perch and cold beer. As we ate at a picnic table and watched the sunset, we thought, "this is the best thing ever," and we were right. "Jane and Michael Stern named the 110-year-old fish depot one of America's Top Ten Seafood Shacks, of the ilk of The Clam Shack in Kennebunkport, Maine, and the Swan Oyster Depot in San Francisco. Bortell's Fisheries seafood of choice is Great Lakes whitefish, but the menu also includes walleye, catfish, trout and smelt, all sold by the piece or pound." - from mynorth.com

This summer was all about food trucks in the Twin Cities. The truck that consistently satisfied and delighted, and the truck that had me daydreaming about griddled cornmeal dough patties overflowing with local meat, veggies, and spicy sauces was Hola Arepa. My favorite was the slow-roasted pork arepa stuffed with saucy shredded pork, black beans, and cotija cheese. While the sauces of the slow-cooked meats are bold and spicy, they’re not hot, unless you add one of their signature hot sauces. I like their mild Hola Sauce, made with mangoes, yellow peppers, and other “super secret” herbs and spices.

Pizzeria Lola in Minneapolis serves a Sunnyside pizza that is reminiscent of a Sunday brunch with crunchy toast, salty bacon, and sunny-side up eggs. The crunchy, chewy, wood-fired crust of the Sunnyside is baked with folds of La Quercia guanciale (unsmoked Italian bacon prepared with pig's jowl or cheeks), slivers of melted pecorino; a splash of cream; browned, buttery leeks; and framed in the middle, is a just-set egg. From southern Tuscany to Hoboken, especially on the Pizza alla Bismark, people enjoy rich egg yolk with crunchy pizza crust. Tear off the crust, and dip it in the egg yolk. You'll be b'eggin for more! -- Ok, sorry about that. That was a bad joke, but my dad would LOVE it.

Other notables:
- So many of Carrie's sweets, and learning how to make bahn zeo and really good papaya salad with both of the Vonos.
- The potted duck meat with fresh bread and mustard at Tilia
- My awesome chocolate, coffee, salted caramel birthday cake made by Sarah
- 6lbs of the illest sausages in a crockpot by Cohen
- Aimee and Jon's camp stove eggs n' salmon saving me from certain destruction due to
- The popovers and honey butter at Bachelor Farmer
- The beef tenderloin at Ag in
Niagara Falls

My past year's recaps can be found below:
These Are a Few of My Favorite Things: 2010
2009: A Few of My Favorite Edible Things

[where: Minnesota, Food, Minneapolis, Twin Cities, 55418]