Well this is delicious, and so was 2007. It started off slow and almost melancholy, then right around September began to blow things up. I don't know what happened, but it was awesome, like the first time you saw your Dad yell at a mean kid. Or Denzel Washington in "Man on Fire".
There was enough momentum right at the end to slide me into 2008 with incredible distractions, the least of which was snow on Christmas Morning, which is so lame but just one of those little awes the latter half of this year has been full of. I am excited, and looking forward to things but not expecting anything, and I hope that my resolution comes true, the same one I make every year -- that things just keep moving forward, up and onward. That I get over old wounds and handle new ones gracefully, and that I celebrate more than victories. Basically, that things just get stuck on the 'Awesome' channel, also known as USA, also known as Law and Order: SVU or WE: Bridezilla Marathon channel.
I hope your New Years was good for and to you, and I hope that the New Year treats you just as nicely. I drank a few of these, and then woke up this morning feeling like I had body slammed each solid surface I came across, and that someone had stuffed my face with lint, used tissues and fiberglass. They are all fizz and tang, inevitably able to "Chirp you up" as Amanda Hesser says (about Kir Royales, but still). Be careful with them, because I wasn't last night, not when I poured them out and not when I stood in front of the television one hand balled into a fist, swinging back and forth as Mary J. Blige sang everyone's new personal anthem, the other clutching a stemless martini glass full of this business like I had no idea how badly it would violate me. They're great, and I think when people start talking to me again, they'll agree.
Meyer Lemon Champagne Cocktail
Ice-cold Champagne, Prosecco, Cava or other tasty sparkler
Meyer Lemon Simple Syrup
Candied Meyer Lemon peel
Drop a teaspoon or two of Meyer Lemon simple syrup in the bottom of your chosen vessel, and fill to the top with your favorite fizz. Hook a strip of candied peel on the rim, and let another one float to the bottom. Chin Chin, son.
Candied Meyer Lemon Peel
1 organic (or well-scrubbed) Meyer Lemon
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup cold water
Granulated sugar, for rolling
Using a paring knife or vegetable peeler, peel wide strips of skin off of your lemon, trying not to take any flesh with you -- the chalky, rubbery white pith is fine. Set aside the stripped lemon, and cut each strip of peel into smaller, long strips, each around 1/4 inch wide.
Heat a pot of boiling water, and blanch the peel strips three times, for ten to fifteen seconds at a time.
In a small saucepan, heat the water and granulated sugar until clear, swirling to dislodge any sugar stuck to the sides of the pan. Bring to a boil, add the blanched peel and turn heat to low -- you want a slow, calm simmer, nothing too wild. Allow the lemon to candy for 30 to 45 minutes, until the strips begin to turn translucent from the outside in. The syrup will thicken and reduce, but as long as it is still somewhat liquid and the strips move around easily, you're fine.
Once the peel has candied, remove with a fork and roll around in granulated sugar until coated -- take the pot off the heat, but reserve the dregs/syrup. Use your fingers or the tines of a fork to separate each strip, and cool on a metal rack, sheet of parchment, or upside-down mesh strainer. Once dry, store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
Meyer Lemon Simple Syrup
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup Meyer Lemon Juice
2 Tablespoons water
Add all ingredients to the dregs in the pot used to candy the peel -- if the mixture has crystallized, use a fork or wooden spoon to break it up over low heat. Allow the mixture to dissolve, swirling the pot if necessary to wash any crystals off of the sides, over low to medium heat, until clear and reduced by 1/4 -- syrup should be thick, slightly tacky and no sugar crystals should remain (rub a bit between your fingertips to test). Remove from heat, pour into a bottle or dish and store what you don't use in the fridge, using for whatever you like within the week.