First, the showstopper news: the new Shuttle, Spindle, and Dyepot arrived in my mailbox today, with the article on my wedding dress! I was totally thrilled to see it in print. There’s something magical about opening up a magazine and realizing, hey, I wrote that article! I made that dress! So I am really psyched.
But back to the important stuff – chocolate!
The ants invade every time there’s a rainstorm, and it rained heavily all weekend. So I found exploratory ants on the kitchen counters – a real recipe for disaster when you have four giant bowls of sugar syrup on the counter!
Fortunately, they didn’t get into the candied citrus, and equally fortunately, I had enough free time yesterday to preserve the candied peels – reboiling the peels + syrup, adding a sizable dose of glucose (to discourage crystallization), and sealing in a boiling-water bath. I now have half a gallon of candied grapefruit peel (with rose geranium syrup), 1.5 quarts of candied Meyer lemon peel, and 1.5 quarts of candied yuzu peel. The kaffir lime peel I tossed out: no matter how much I blanched it, or how much vanilla I added, it retained an unpleasantly medicinal pungency. Oh well; can’t win ’em all!
Here’s a photo of the finished result. The darker jars are grapefruit peel with rose geranium syrup; they were pink grapefruits, giving a lovely rose tinge to the syrup and candied peel. The lighter jars are Meyer lemon peel; the yuzu is in the back.
That was yesterday. Today I cast another six chocolate molds, and weighed out all the little baggies of chocolate for tomorrow’s chocolate centers. I’ll be mixing up the easy ganaches first: Armagnac, Scotch, saffron, jasmine tea, and green tea. I need to do a small flavor trial to figure out the teas: I have some Snow Leopard white tea from Peet’s (which I recall being one of my favorites, the year I tested five white/green teas), and some Lung Ching Dragonwell, also from Peet’s, which might make for a more traditional green-tea flavor. Tomorrow I’ll test both and see which I like more.
I’m also considering the saffron. A friend put me on to an intriguing mix of spices: saffron, cardamom, and rosewater. I tried saffron and rosewater a few years ago and found it overpoweringly sweet in fragrance, but the addition of a little cardamom might offset the rosewater enough to make for some very interesting flavors. I will probably test that out tomorrow morning as well.
And tomorrow evening starts Chocopalooza! I’ll start by mixing and pouring five flavors of dark chocolate centers, to be dipped Thanksgiving morning. We’re having Thanksgiving dinner (lunch, really) at a friend’s place around 1pm, then it’s back to work, mixing up the white chocolate centers, and thence into the dark madness of frenzied chocolatiering. Muahahahaha! Soon the world will be mine, mine, mine!
And here, in finis, is a sneak preview of this year’s holiday cards: