Congealed Tomato Salad with Lemon Mayonnaise (updated recipe)


Hello again!  I know it has been five years since I last created a post on this brand new site.  Yes, you have that correct.  FIVE YEARS.  Life has gotten in the way more than once or twice, so I’ve let this sit quietly in the shadows until I was ready to take on this project again.

Without getting into too much detail here, if you read the About page, you will understand the concept behind Retro Chic Cooking and why I’ve decided that it’s important enough to revive this site.  As I mention in that page, there is a lot of culinary history and many family recipes that are in danger of being lost with so many people focused on eating gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, and Paleo diets.  I’m sure many younger folks have already tossed out most of granny’s recipes for some old-time favorites like Ambrosia Salad.  Granny probably served that salad every year at Thanksgiving, but many people today would never even consider making it because they wouldn’t dream of using canned fruit, sweetened coconut, and artificially flavored frozen “dairy products.”  

So, here’s what we’re going to do at Retro Chic Cooking.  Since most of our own older family members have passed on, I am going to prepare these old recipes just as they were written and see how they turn out.  I might make an obvious substitution sometimes (such as freshly whipped sweetened cream for Cool Whip).  If I think there’s a way to update it and make it better and in turn, more palatable to today’s fussy eaters, then I will do it, but I will always share the original recipe so that it’s your choice to make it however you choose.  You might even want to change the recipe on your own, but do so at your own risk.  I can’t guarantee recipes that have been changed up and not taste tested and approved at the Retro Chic Kitchen.


Now for the important stuff and our second recipe on the site (the first was a Cosmopolitan, very chic…), we are updating an old favorite of mine, Congealed Tomato Salad.  After all, who doesn’t love a gelatin salad?

These giggly favorites have graced family and holiday tables for years.  They come in all shapes and sizes and all kinds of flavors.  Most of us are familiar with the sweet gelatin salads filled with fruit, cream cheese or Cool Whip, but there are savory gelatin salads as well.  They are just less familiar.

This sweet and savory gelatin salad is perfect to serve as a refreshing salad with dinner or lovely as a luncheon side dish.  This updated version of an old favorite for Congealed Tomato Salad leaves you wanting more.  The bright flavors of fresh lemon replace the lemon gelatin box mix and the tangy tomatoes add a nice contrast.  I have left out the bite of the Worcestershire Sauce from the original recipe.

Once again, as an updated recipe, the salad is topped lightly with just a spoonful or two of lemony mayonnaise to brighten the taste even more.  You will be surprised at how much you enjoy these refreshing flavors, particularly in the summer months.  This one has even made my husband a convert.

Congealed Tomato Salad with Lemon Mayonnaise (updated recipe)
- Original recipe created for Retro Chic Cooking
Serves: Serve 8-10
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
  • ⅔ cup cold water
  • ⅔ cup strained, fresh lemon juice (4 lemons)
  • 1 cup Italian-style stewed tomatoes (from a 15-oz. can), drained and all juices reserved
  • 1 cup reserved tomato juice from the can (add water to make 1 cup if there is not enough)
  • 1 cup Olive oil mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons, or more to taste freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest
  • Lettuce leaves, for serving
  1. In a medium non-reactive saucepan, combine sugar and gelatin. Add the water and heat, over medium-low to medium heat to completely dissolve the sugar and gelatin. Stir frequently to make sure there are no lumps of gelatin that are not dissolved.
  2. When the mixture is very smooth, remove from the heat and add the lemon juice, stewed tomatoes and reserved juice from the can. Mix thoroughly and pour into a 8 or 9-inch glass square pan, that has been lightly sprayed with a canola oil spray. Alternatively, you could use a small gelatin mold.
  3. Place in the refrigerator and chill for 8 hours or overnight.
  4. In the meantime, whisk together the mayonnaise, lemon juice and lemon zest. Taste and adjust lemon juice to your preference. Cover and chill until you are ready to serve the congealed tomato salad.
  5. Slice the salad into 9 equal square portions and place each on a plate on serving plate on top of a lettuce leaf. Top with a dollop of lemon mayonnaise and serve immediately.


Enjoy and please come back soon!  We would love to hear your thoughts and comments, so please leave a message or you can contact me at

Cheers, Have a Cosmopolitan and Welcome!

Hello and welcome to Retro Chic Cooking!  Sometimes the old stuff is not so bad.  In fact, much of it is coming back in style.  I thought it would be fun to re-visit many of the old drinks, dishes and times.  That is why I am here.
Come on in.  I am serving Cosmopolitans to celebrate the first post in my blog.  I suppose I should have served a gin martini (since we are going back in time), however, I am a girl and my blog is pink…so, hey..we are having Cosmopolitans!  You truly cannot get more classic or chic than a martini (of any kind).
In fact “since its invention (in the 1930’s), the martini has been the preferred cocktail of Presidents and Heads-of-State.  FDR was known to carry around a martini “kit” during international summits and President Ford thought the martini was the exemplar of civilized life.
‘Prize -winning writers have sung its praise, allowing themselves one (E.B. White) or several (William Faulkner) for fortification when facing the empty page.”  (I am afraid that I might be needing a few of these martinis going forward…some days it is hard to be a brilliant writer!)
“Certainly not the sole territory of powerful men, Dorothy Parker enjoyed martinis as did (and do) many women journalists and authors.”
These quotes are from The Martini Book by Sally Ann Berk.  If you need a recipe for any kind of martini, you should consult this book.  It is truly a martini bible.
I am incredibly picky when it comes to Cosmopolitans.  The best Cosmo I ever had was at steak house called Gibson’s in an area known as The Gold Coast in Chicago (now that is a truly classic old-fashioned steak house).  I have not had one quite as good since then (in spite of consuming them from New York  to Boston to LA to Tampa). That particular drink was perfect in all aspects of a fine martini.  The glass was well chilled and the combination of liquers was perfect.  It is definitely an art to mix a proper cocktail!
I do not care for a very sweet drink, so here is my version.
Classic Cosmopolitan
Serves 3 
6 oz. Citron Vodka
4 oz. Cranberry Juice Cocktail (I use the light version)
2 oz. Cointreau
1/2 Lime, freshly squeezed (maybe more to taste)
Lemon twists for garnish

Chill your martini glasses well in the freezer.  Or if you are in a hurry, fill the glasses with ice and a bit of water.  Combine all the ingredients (except for the lemon twists), in a cocktail shaker.  Add about a cup of ice cubes. Shake well about 6 times back and forth.  Rub the lemon twist around the rim and toss in the glass.  Pour your cosmopolitan and enjoy!
I hope you will stop by often to rediscover some old recipes and have a bit of nostalgia.  Enjoy your Cosmopolitan and I will see you soon!