So where did I wind up? Well, with Just. One. Kid.
Very funny, universe - but I got it: the difference I make is behind the scenes, with my own family, in my own community.
Of course, having said kid meant I kept in touch with the work of said talented people, as their dedication and skill paid off. Every time I see a familiar name float by on big screen or small, I think about how their work spreads glee and tolerance, silliness and understanding to all kinds of people all around the globe. Sooo...this recipe is an homage to those friends and that past life. It's inspired, in part, by this song on Sesame Street (I wish I could embed this video - but, understandably, Sesame Street doesn't allow that.) Do click the link and play the video, because otherwise the connection may not be as obvious to you as it is to me.
Sparky's buddy Meep joined us for this particular olfactory adventure. (Hi, Meep!)
Berries: blueberries, blackberries, cranberries
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1-3 cups additional sugar
1 heavy saucepan,
1 spider or slotted spoon
1 rimmed cookie sheet, covered with a thick layer of about half of the additional sugar
We began by making a simple syrup - one cup of water and one cup of sugar in a saucepan. I managed the heating, because hot sugar is extremely dangerous stuff...so the kids dumped their ingredient and I took it to the stove and brought it to a boil. While I waited for the sugar to melt, I had the kids peel and section the clementines and the pomegranates.
After the sugar had dissolved, I turned off the heat and added our hard fruits first: the cranberries and kumquats. I allowed these to sit in the syrup until a few of the cranberries started to split, and then fished them onto the cookie sheet with the spider, allowing them to drain well.
The boys then played tug-of-war with the cookie sheet, thoroughly rolling the berries in the sugar until they were well-dusted and sparkling.
Without reheating the syrup, we added the softer berries and fruits to the syrup and allowed them to sit in it for a minute or two. We cleaned the cookie sheet and repeated the process with fresh sugar, using some to pour over the top as these fruits had more juice to absorb.
Ideally, after being rolled in the sugar, the fruits should be laid in a dry layer of sugar or dried on a rack for a bit, but we were impatient to taste the...um, fruits of our labor. They are delicious, crunchy, sour, sweet all at once.
Sparky and Meep decided to pose for Muppet-Nose Mug Shots:
Mr. Big Round Nose, a nose to smell a rose:
Mr. Turned-Up Nose, just give me one of those: