The last couple days have been pretty quiet, creatively speaking, as I’ve been booked with work stuff, and working on boiling down the candied citrus in whatever time I have to spare. So far, everything is going well except the kaffir lime. Kaffir limes have an incredibly pungent oil in the peel which can easily make them unpleasantly medicine-y in taste. I originally blanched it in boiling water, rinsed it, and relied on the syrup to mellow out the flavor (it usually does). Yesterday I had to face facts: there was still way too much oil in the peel, rendering it inedible. So I blanched it again, twice, and made up a fresh batch of syrup, this time adding some vanilla beans to mellow and smooth out the flavor. I really hope that does it!
The other flavors are going nicely, especially the rose geranium grapefruit peel. I rather like the idea of combining citrus peel with other flavors (cinnamon goes very nicely with orange peel) and will probably try more combined flavors in the future.
And tomorrow marks the official start of candy season! I’m armed with a shopping list and will be stopping by three or four shops at lunchtime to buy the stuff I need to make five batches of fudge this weekend. I’m also going to start cleaning the house, especially the kitchen and dining room, so I’ll have space to work in. The plan is to make the following fudges this weekend: chocolate cherry almond, coconut tequila lime, coconut almond, maple walnut, and white chocolate lavender Meyer lemon. Plus some fruit jellies if I feel suitably inspired. In the latter case I will probably try boysenberry or lingonberry paired with some form of citrus flavoring. Boysenberry with Cointreau and lingonberry with Meyer lemon sound good!
Registration for winter term classes are coming up in the next week or two, and I think I want to take a community college class in drawing. In particular, I have my eye on a distance-learning class taught by Foothill Community College, entirely Internet-based. I don’t know if I’ll be able to get in, but it looks really interesting and I’m attracted by the distance learning format, especially since it allows me to replay the lectures any time I want and doesn’t require me to show up at a particular hour (which can be difficult given that I work full-time). I can work on my own schedule, which is great since I do my best work in the early mornings. I do worry about missing the opportunity to view other students’ work and critique in real time, but they seem to be solving that by having a class website where people view and critique other students’ work. I think it’s definitely worth trying to get in, with a fallback to a conventional on-campus evening class.
Painting lessons tonight, and then it’s time to launch into FUDGE!