Monday, March 24, 2008

Candied Lemon Peels and Berry Lemonade

For this month's Taste and Create, I was paired with Laurie of Mediterranean Cooking in Alaska. She has many wonderful sounding mediterranean dishes, but sadly (or not so sadly) I didn't have much time to try them because I was on Spring Break. I have just returned from the Sunshine state with a fully relaxed body and a sub-par tan. Anyway, this week away from my kitchen left me with just one day to whip up some mediterranean goodies, so I made her candied lemon peels and sparkling lemonade, turning the lemonade into sparkling berry lemonade.
The candied lemon peels were fairly easy to make. The hardest part, by far, was removing the white pith from the yellow peel. Thankfully only cut myself once, but take your time on this step. Also, I realized it was easier to remove the pith after boiling the peels in the water. So, if you are having trouble removing the white part, get as much off as you can before hand, then boil the 2 times, then, before slicing, get off the pith.
The lemonade was SUPER easy. I just added some of the lemon sugar syrup to strawberry sparkling water I had laying around and some ice. Very good...but looked so plain. Well, I also had some blueberry juice laying around (from blueberry muffins I was making) so I added a teaspoon or 2 of that and it looked and tasted great.

Overall this was an easy set of recipes and I Loved the lemonade. The candied lemon peel isn't really up my ally, but I think I just woundn't like candied peels at all. Nothing against the recipe. Oh, and my room mates kept commenting on how DELICIOUS the ENTIRE aprtment smelled during the process. I recomend this if you have company coming over, because, not only will you have lemonade to serve, it will also make your house smell so fresh.
Candied Lemon Peel
(Candied lemon peel is tasty on its own as a sweet treat, and adds flavor when added to cookies, cakes, or ice cream. I have yet to tyr it baked into things)

2 cups lemon peel (peel from 4 - 6 lemons)
3 cups sugar, divided
2 cups water

Peel the lemons in large pieces. With a sharp knife, remove as much white pith from the lemon peels as is possible; the edge of a teaspoon works well to remove pith from a lemon’s top or bottom end. Place the peels in a pot, cover with cold water, bring to a boil, cook for one minute, and drain. Return peels to the pot, cover with cold water, bring to a boil, cook for one minute, and drain. Cut the blanched peel into thin strips.

Mix 2 cups sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook, without stirring, over medium heat until you have light syrup, about 45 minutes. Stir in the strips of lemon peel and cook for 10 minutes.

Let the lemon peels sit in the syrup until the syrup is cool and the lemon peels slightly translucent (She lets the peels sit in the syrup overnight, Mine sat for 2 hours). Drain the lemon peel and reserve the syrup for another use (lemonade).
Put the remaining 1 cup sugar in a plastic bag. Add a handful of lemon strips to the sugar and shake until the pieces of peel are completely coated with sugar. Spread out the candied peel on two baking sheets and let sit until dry. Repeat until all the lemon strips are coated with sugar.Put in an airtight jar and store in the refrigerator.
Sparkling Berry Lemonade
Makes 1 drink

3 Tbsp. lemon syrup (from above)
1 cup strawberry seltzer water
1-2 tsp blueberry juice

Put lemon syrup, blueberry juice and seltzer water in a glass. Stir to combine. Add ice cubes and serve.

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