Tuesday, April 8, 2008

I am a prophet!

The Sherbs will attest that this is old news, but since we haven't blogged in forever, you haven't heard it yet.

Two weeks ago, we wanted to make a key lime pie for a guest who was coming over. We picked a recipe from the Weight Watchers' "comfort food" cookbook, which guaranteed that it would be acceptably benign.

Then we hit the Teet with a vengeance, getting limes, condensed milk, fat-free non-dairy topping, and a low-fat graham cracker crust. What we didn't do, though, is get gelatin, a necessary ingredient.

Knox seems to have a lock on the grocery store gelatin market. This is good, in the "Mrs. Knox ran the company for 40 years through the first half of the 20th century and therefore is a kickass feminist icon" sense, but not in the "gelatin is made from treif animals" sense, and we try to keep our apartment kosher vegetarian. We couldn't find kosher, much less vegetarian, gelatin for love or money, and not only did we try the Teet, but we tried Whole Foods (which also just carried Knox) and Trader Joe's (which carried no gelatins at all).

We went to sleep that night very disappointed, but the idea came to me the next morning in a dream: agar-agar. I then called around the local grocery stores to find some, but nobody had heard of it. I then tried the Super H Mart relatively close to us. On the phone, they had no idea what I was talking about, but none of the clerks I spoke to had a particularly accomplished grasp of the English language.

It took some searching through the claustrophobic aisles of dessicated anchovies and seaweed, but we found some packets which said they were agar-agar. We bought them with trepidation, as the "call for comment" number was in Thailand.

We used the agar-agar at a 1:1 for gelatin, and it worked out pretty well. It does have to be mixed with stuff because, when made to gel, it smells a little too much like its seaweed origins, and we were first worried that the condensed milk had gone off. That disappeared when we folded in the non-dairy whipped topping.

The pie turned out very tasty, mostly because the Sherbs rocks at pie-making. I can only claim credit for gelatin substitutes, which I can summon forth from my dreams.

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