The local Oriental Market is a handy place to have around, as I recently resolved to remove gelatin from my diet. Yes, some of you will think this is strange as I am a lifetime vegetarian. I have no excuse for myself except to say that growing up we ate this in our vegetarian home and I never questioned it. Now I know that gelatin is made from animal bones and parts and it grosses me out! No more yogurt for me as even yogurts that have kosher gelatin often contain fish gelatin. So, another good step in the dairy-free direction. In any case, back to why the Oriental Market is handy to have around. Besides a wide variety of tofu, canned vegan "meats," and oriental veggies, they also have agar. I discovered there a packet of agar for making a gelatin dessert. Double-checking the ingredients, I found that it did not actually contain any gelatin, only agar and sugar. My kids have never had gelatin, but became entranced with it recently as we were reading a book where a group of toddlers shares this "jiggly-goggly" treat. So, I made it today, with pieces of cut-up canned pears inside. I then cut it into toddler-sized pieces and the kids were able to pick it up and eat it. They were very excited to tell daddy all about it when he came home. So, recipe-wise:
Buy a package of agar "gelatin" dessert at the oriental market, follow directions, but:
Replace half of the water with fruit juice, I used pear
One can of pears, diced
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 pkg black cherry drink mix, no sugar added
(this picture is from my daughters' 4th "Hello Kitty" birthday party)
Mix all ingredients in a pan on the stovetop, stirring constantly until it boils. Remove from heat and pour into a shallow dish. It will be completely set within 2 hours and it actually turns out firmer than gelatin. Then, you can cut it into cubes or other shapes.