Oh man, Chitlins. Is Mother Nature PMS-ing in your neck of the woods? She is super grumpy around New York, that’s fo’ shizzle. First it’s sunny and warm, and then she gets all P.O’ed and it’s freezing and cloudy. It hasn’t rained (yet, at least not since Sunday’s awesome storms) but it’s constantly threatening to. Girl needs to take a Midol, grab a blanket, a pint of Ben & Jerry’s and watch a RomCom, stat.
Or she can do what I did yesterday because the weather was bumming me out, eat chocolate three different ways before noon. I’m tellin’ yah, it works. I had to be up at 5am to run with a charity group (Back on My Feet, I’ll tell you more about it soon, I promise!) by 5:30am and I was just not diggin’ the early morning wake-up call. So I had a chocolate coconut water.
Guys, have you tried this stuff? ZOMG. If I were a vegan (a laughable concept, but let’s just play along) I would probably only be able to survive because chocolate coconut water tastes EXACTLY like skim chocolate milk. And let me tell you something else, I adore chocolate milk. Especially with a straw. I may have bought special swirly straws just to drink my chocolate milk, may have, but I won’t tell you for sure. I may also be known to drink champagne with said straws, but only on special occasions, like my birthday, and Fridays.
Anyway. If you’re grumpy, try a chocolate coconut water. It tastes nothing like that slimy regular coconut water, which has that really weird consistency that is best left unexamined. Moving on. (Side note: Did you guys watch Greek on ABC eons ago? Because one of my favorite characters, Katharine, would say this and it always makes me giggle. Damn I miss that show).
After the run and some pretty awesome conversation on the better works of Shakespeare (man these charity folks are deep, yo) I came home and was still jonsin’ for some chocolate. So I made chocolate milk (perhaps with the above mentioned straw) and sat down to a second breakfast. I felt like a hobbit. There’s first breakfast and then second breakfast. I think I might institute this, it’s pretty ingenious. Plus, it gives me more opportunities to make chocolate milk, always a win.
And then, I still wasn’t done with my chocolate hankerin’ so I made myself some chocolate tea to take with me to work. Harney & Sons, I talked about them awhile ago, makes a bangin’ chocolate black tea. Again, it’s like watery chocolate milk.
So basically, what I’m saying is, get your hands on some chocolate coconut water and chocolate tea, make yourself a glass of chocolate milk, and then consume them all rapidly, preferably within a four hour period, and your grumpy weather blues will be gone.
You could also just look at these pretty pictures of candied lemon peel, since they’re bright and sunny. I used these to garnish my Side Car cupcakes that never got posted (because of fuzzy photos). It’s a nice touch. I’m not a huge fan of candied citrus, but it has it’s merits, and it’s a beautiful garnish. I used a bunch of it in the traditional wedding cake I made.
*Just a Note: This is an astonishingly simple recipe, so don’t be scared off by the term “candied.” Besides peeling the lemons, it’s mostly a hands off recipe. Just make sure you peel them right the first time or you’ll be spending lots of extra, unnecessary time trimming pith. Trust me, it’s not fun.
Candied Lemon Peel
From David Lebovitz’s Ready for Dessert
5 lemons, washed
2 cups water
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp light corn syrup (optional)
Using a vegetable peeler, peel the rinds off the lemons. Try to keep only the peel and not the white pith part. If you get too much pith, which will make the finished product really bitter, you can take a sharp paring knife and scrape it off. I suggest you just do it right the first time, because it is painstaking to remove the pith later and you’ll likely be sick of the lemon peel before you even start. Once you’ve peeled your lemons, cut them into thin strips lengthwise so they resemble a matchstick.
Put the peel in a medium saucepan and add water to cover by at least an inch. Bring to a boil and cook until the peel is soft and translucent, about 5-6 minutes.
Drain the peel and discard the water. Using the same saucepan, bring the water, sugar and corn syrup to a boil and stir to dissolve the sugar. Add the peel and continue to boil gently. Cook for about 20 minutes, until the peel is translucent and syrup is thick. A candy thermometer should read 210°F.
Let the syrup cool and transfer to a clean jar for storage, with the syrup.
David says that the peel will keep for about 2 months in the fridge. If you don’t use the corn syrup the sugars in the syrup may recrystalize in the fridge. If this happens, you can gently heat the syrup adding water by the teaspoonful until you can untagle the pieces of peel.