This will make a chilling finale to a Halloween dinner.
Melon ball 'martini'
Cooking time: 3 minutes
Chilling time: 2 hours, 25 minutes
From New York's Artisanal restaurant and found in " The New York Times Dessert Cookbook," this recipe can be made with any type of ripe melon except watermelon. If you like, use a smaller melon baller to scoop small holes into the melon balls; insert fresh berries to create "eyeballs."
1 teaspoon plain gelatin
1 tablespoon cold water
2 cups Sauternes, white dessert wine or white grape juice
1/4 cup lime juice
8 cups small melon balls from 2 melons
2 tablespoons crystallized ginger, slivered, see note
1 teaspoon lime zest
1. Soften gelatin in the cold water. Heat Sauternes and lime juice in a medium saucepan over medium heat to a simmer; remove from heat. Whisk in gelatin; refrigerate until mixture begins to jell, about 25 minutes. Whisk the mixture until frothy; refrigerate 2 hours.
2. To serve, place a tablespoon of the gelatin mixture in each of 6 martini glasses. Divide melon among glasses; spoon on remaining jelly. Top each with lime zest and ginger slivers.
Note: Crystallized ginger is available in the supermarket spice section.
Per serving: 161 calories, 3% of calories from fat, 1 g fat, 0.2 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 39 g carbohydrates, 3 g protein, 81 mg sodium, 2 g fiber.
Jellied vegetables and seafood
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Chilling time: 8 hours
We made this recipe, from Machiko Chiba's "Japanese Dishes for Wine Lovers," in the test kitchen with both dashi broth (a Japanese-style broth) and canned vegetable broth. Make dashi broth with a 4-inch piece of kombu seaweed simmered in 4 cups water. (We purchased a package of kombu at Whole Foods Market with a recipe for dashi on the package. You may also find it at Asian specialty markets.)
1 small zucchini, diced
1/2 cup diced red, yellow, orange bell pepper pieces
10 small shell-on shrimp
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) chicken or vegetable broth or 2 cups prepared dashi broth
2 teaspoons each: gelatin, soy sauce
1 teaspoon mirin
1 okra pod, sliced crosswise
1. Heat a medium saucepan of water to a boil over high heat; add zucchini and peppers. Cook to blanch vegetables, 3 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl with a slotted spoon; set aside.
2. Add shrimp to the boiling water; cook until shrimp turn pink, about 2 minutes. Drain; set aside to cool 2 minutes. Shell and devein shrimp; cut into 1/2 -inch pieces. Slice the okra crosswise; set shrimp and okra aside.
3. Heat the broth and gelatin in a medium saucepan over low heat, stirring to dissolve the gelatin. Stir in the soy sauce and mirin. Raise heat to high; heat to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer; cook 3 minutes. Set aside to cool, about 2 minutes.
4. Place the broth mixture, peppers, zucchini, shrimp and okra in a lightly greased 2-cup mold or small loaf pan. Mix well; refrigerate until set, at least 8 hours. To serve, dip mold into very hot water 3-4 seconds. Invert a plate or platter over the mold; flip and unmold.
Per serving17 calories, 5% of calories from fat, 0.1 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 7 mg cholesterol, 2 g carbohydrates, 2 g protein, 365 mg sodium, 0.4 g fiber.
Jiggling fruit mold with berry compote
Prep time: 50 minutes
Cooking time: 12 minutes
Cooling time: 1 hour
Chilling time: 6 hours
This recipe from "The New York Times Dessert Cookbook" hails from Fifty-Seven Fifty-Seven, the now-closed restaurant in New York City's Four Seasons Hotel. The unmolded jellied fruit syrup sits atop the berry compote and is garnished with whipped cream.
4 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
2 3/4 cups water
1 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 envelope ( 1/4 ounce) plain gelatin
1 1/2 pints mixed berries (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries)
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
1/2 cup whipping cream, whipped, or non-dairy whipped topping, optional
Small chocolate chips, for garnish, optional
1. Combine raspberries, 2 cups of the water, 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt in a large saucepan over high heat. Heat to a boil, stirring; reduce heat to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, 4 minutes. Remove from heat; set aside to cool 1 hour.
2. Line a fine-meshed sieve with a double layer of cheesecloth; add the cooked raspberries. Press down gently to strain; discard the pulp. (There should be 2 cups of raspberry juice.) Transfer to a medium saucepan; set aside.
3. Soften the gelatin in 1/4 cup cold water in a small bowl; set aside 5 minutes. Add to the raspberry juice. Cook, stirring, over low heat until gelatin dissolves, about 2 minutes. Fill four 1/2 -cup lightly oiled ramekins with raspberry mixture; cover. Refrigerate 6 hours.
5. Meanwhile, combine the mixed berries, remaining 1/2 cup of the water, remaining 1/2 cup of the sugar, orange zest and remaining 1/4 teaspoon of the salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Heat to a simmer; cook, stirring, until the fruit is syrupy and has almost dissolved, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat; transfer to a bowl. Cool; refrigerate, covered, 6 hours.
6. To serve, spoon mixed berry compote onto four plates. Dip the bottom of each mold into water; unmold onto compote. Spoon whipped cream on top of each, or pipe whipped cream into ghost shapes through a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip; press in mini chocolate chips for eyes.
Per serving313 calories, 1% of calories from fat, 0.4 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 83 g carbohydrates, 3 g protein, 441 mg sodium, 3 g fiber.