To make a quick and refreshing dish of tomato aspic, heat 1 cup of vegetable juice, such as V-8, and pour over one package of lemon gelatin. Stir until the gelatin powder is completely dissolved, and add 1 more cup of V-8 juice. Stir again and chill until firm.
Gather 1 1/2 pounds of plum tomatoes, 3 minced garlic cloves, 1 envelope unflavored gelatin, 3 tablespoons of fresh minced parsley or basil or both and 1 small, minced hot red pepper or chili pepper flakes. Also gather salt and 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil.
Cut the tomatoes in half and squeeze the tomato juice into a sieve over a small bowl to extract seeds and juice. Reserve the pulp and the liquid after sieving.
Use a food processor to puree the tomatoes and remove the skin. Pour the reserved juice into the pulp and sprinkle gelatin over the tomato pulp. Use a medium-sized bowl to heat the pulp and bring it to a boil. Add the boiled ingredients into the softened gelatin and stir until all the gelatin dissolves.
Add the remaining tomato pulp, pepper, extra virgin olive oil, garlic and basil. Put the mixture into a partially-oiled cup mold and allow it to rest for about three hours. Unmold and sprinkle some virgin olive oil on the top.
To liven up the recipe, add canned shrimp or your choice of vegetables. For a more complex and flavorful version of this recipe, use one package of unflavored gelatin, and in a saucepan combine the vegetable juice with a dash of Worcestershire sauce, 1 bay leaf and 2 cloves. Bring to a boil, and simmer for 10 minutes. Scoop out the bay leaf and the cloves, and stir in 1/2 cup of chopped onion and 1/2 cup of chopped celery. Fully dissolve the gelatin powder in 1/4 cup of boiling water, and pour the vegetable juice over the dissolved gelatin. Stir the liquid to fully mix, and refrigerate for about an hour or until completely firm.
This is a refreshing dish that can be served as a side with a summer salad or as a main course. It can also serve as a side dish on a Thanksgiving table. For a tangier and spicier variation, add 1 1/2 teaspoons of white wine vinegar and 1/8 teaspoon of hot sauce.