Introduction: Bits of Brain Matter Appetizers

About: ...after 30 years of becoming corporately numb, my dreams of not working (for pay) and instead creating with my hands has become a reality. Life is grand!

While it's nice to have a "brain mold" for a Halloween gathering, it seems that I end up with a mess of grey jello for days following Halloween. 

This year I'm creating some truly terrifying tidbits which I don't expect to last after the big night has passed.

These appetizers are easy to make and don't necessarily require special equipment or ingredients.

Also, because the appetizers are small, guests can serve themselves as many as they want without being afraid of spoiling the imagery.

Step 1: Gather Up the Goods...

These 24* simple appetizers are made with 12 oz of salad shrimp, and a gelatin mixture consisting of...

1/2 cup chicken broth
Half an envelope of unflavored gelatin

1/2 cup chicken broth, which has been chilled 
1 Tablespoon of reconstituted lemon juice 
2 Tablespoons of tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic 
1 Tablespoon of corn syrup (optional)

Several Miniature Muffin Tins
Two rimmed Baking Sheets (that will accommodate the muffin tins)

*the gelatin mixture will easily cover more than 24 appetizers.  In my opinion it is more economical to toss out the excess than to attempt to split the gelatin recipe into smaller fractions.  Feel free to add another bag of shrimp without creating more of the gelatin mixture  - - that is if you have an abundance of muffin tins and space in the refrigerator since the unused gelatin will start to firm up quickly.

Step 2: Creating the Masterpiece...

Following the directions on the bag of shrimp, slowly allow the shrimp to thaw under cold water and gently drain any excess liquid.

Place about a tablespoon of shrimp into the mini muffin tin, filling 24 holders.  While you don't want to flatten the shrimp, you do want to make sure they cover the bottom of the tins and a portion of the side with as few air pockets as possible.

In a small saucepan, bring 1/2 cup chicken broth to a boil.  Remove from heat and stir in the unflavored gelatin until dissolved.

Once the gelatin has dissolved, add the remaining ingredients to the heated mixture and stir thoroughly.

Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the mixture on top of the shrimp, just barely covering the shrimp.

Step 3: Chill the Creation and Then Serve

(Although I'm not sure it's necessary, I briefly weighted down the shrimp with another set of muffin tins and items in my fridge thinking it would keep the shrimp from floating to the surface.)

Place in refrigerator and allow gelatin to chill/set for several hours.

To unmold, set the chilled muffin tin on a baking sheet that has a rim.  Pour hot water onto the baking sheet (not the muffin tin!) for a just few seconds to loosen the "brains". Place a separate baking sheet on top of the muffin tin and flip the mini-muffin tin over so the brains flip out - - right side up.

Gently move the "jelled brains" onto a serving dish, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve with a side of bloody cocktail sauce.

Let your guests ooh and aah over the best brain food ever!

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