Tomato Water Geleé and Pickles

The dinner for ten was a success except for the tomato water geleé.

The tomatoes were perfect Farmers’ Market fresh and the geleé was cool and shining, but it might have been too strange for the relatives. Perhaps I shouldn’t have mentioned that it was made with agar agar. But then again, there were lots of hors d’oeuvres to choose from with the fresh vegetables, edamame hummus, and a variety of rice crackers.

Tomato Water Gélatine

  • 2 cups tomato water
  • 1 tube of powdered kanten (agar-agar powder) (1 teaspoon)
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt (taste)

Mix the agar agar with the hot water. Bring 1 cup of tomato water to a gentle simmer. Stir in the agar agar until it dissolves. Add the salt, and the remaining cup of tomato water. Pour into a mold: you can use a square plastic Ziploc container, a bread pan, candy molds or an ice cube tray—I have a couple of nice ice trays that make small half-spheres. Chill. If you use a square container, cut the geleé into cubes.

Tomato Water

tomato water agar agar with somen and pickles

tomato water agar agar with somen and pickles

Tomato water is beautiful: a lovely clear sunset orange.
And the tomato water retains the essential flavor of
perfectly ripe juicy tomatoes.

  • 1 generous quart of perfect tomatoes
  • Pot of boiling water
  • Bowl of ice water
  • Colander
  • Cheesecloth or thin cotton fabric
  • Deep pot or bowl
  • Salt
  • A wooden spoon or dowel to suspend the pulp over the container

Cut a small slit into the skin of each tomato. Drop them one by one into the boiling water. Use a slotted spoon to place them into the ice water. Pull the skins from the fruit, then trim away the stem end. Discard the skin and stems. Use 4 to 5 layers of cheesecloth or thin cotton fabric to line a colander. Place the colander over the bowl. Add about a teaspoon of salt to draw out the tomatoes’ liquid. Squash the tomatoes with your hands, tearing the flesh into very small bits. Tie up the corners of the cloth and use a dowel to suspend the tomato bundle over the bowl. Refrigerate overnight.
Use the remaining pulp to make a thick sauce. Use the juice to make the geleé.

I love the package design for these Japanese garlic pickles. They look like what you’d display for the Japanese Doll Festival (雛祭り Hina-matsuri)!

After the dinner for ten family gathering I was left with the leftovers
and drinking the excellent wine on my own:
the pasta queen!


5 thoughts on “Tomato Water Geleé and Pickles

  1. “The dinner for ten was a success except for the tomato water geleé.”

    Just one thing, Tess – you don’t tell us why.

    If anyone was going to balk, I’d have expected it to be at the garlic pickle (garlic being an acquired taste), rather than harmless cubes of jellified juice.

    • You know, I don’t know. Could be the seaweed (agar agar) part of the geleé, or the pale color not looking bright tomato red. Or the fact that they mostly didn’t use the small appy plates and forks—just the paper flamingo napkins! We had chairs and little tables in the library, and of course the living room was available, but mostly they just stood, not even using the dining room chairs. Could be it was jet-lag and the fact that all the flights were a bit delayed so we were eating late.

      If we hadn’t had a frost the other night, thus ending the season for Farmers’ Market tomatoes, I’d certainly make this again. I’m already looking forward to next summer, LOL.

  2. I would have eaten the sparkly tomato gelee. And how perfectly lovely to say, “tonight we shall have dinner in the library.” It makes me come over all P G Wodehouse!

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