Here Comes Peter Cottontail

Chocolate Tarantula and Octopus

Gosh! Easter’s on its way! April Valley must really be hopping right now. Well you know, in Spring the Easter Bunny never sleeps. There are tulips that need tending and baskets that need mending and a million other things. But don’t worry guys. Peter Cottontail’s the right bunny for the job and he’s got everything covered. He won’t let us down. Sure he made one little mistake and ruined Easter, but that’s all in the past. You know the story, right? Seymour S. Sassafras first told/showed it to me a long time ago and it’s been one of my favorites ever since.

Colonel Wellington B. Bunny decides to retire from the position of Chief Easter Bunny and chooses Peter as his successor. However, the kid hating, January “Boom Boom” Irontail (Hee hee. I couldn’t help myself.) wants to be the ruler of April Valley and won’t allow Peter to have the the job. According to the constitution of April Valley, the Chief Easter Bunny shall be the one who delivers the most eggs, so Irontail swoops in and proposes a contest. Peter readily accepts, certain that he’ll win. But instead of getting lots of sleep, the irresponsible bunny decides to stay out late partying the night before Easter. Thanks to that and Irontail sealing the lips of Peter’s alarm clock rooster, Peter sleeps through Easter and loses to Irontail. To make up for his blunder, Peter sets out in Mr. Sassafras’ Yestermorrowbile, piloted by Antoine the caterpillar, to revisit Easter. Unfortunately, Irontail spies Peter and has his spider foul up the wires of the Yestermorrowbile. They pass right over Easter, but there are still plenty more holidays in a year. If Peter wants to give away his eggs, he has to try one (or all) of those.

Now you’d think that since Here Comes Peter Cottontail is all about Easter eggs, I’d just paint some eggs. Well it’s not happening. Maybe someday in the future, but not today. I’ve always enjoyed the egg hunt, but my favorite part of Easter is the chocolate. Works of delicious art like those created by Milkchocolateangelo and Leonardo di Bittersweet. And even though Irontail’s idea of Easter is a lot less…umm cheerful, he still wants the candy sculptors to keep busy. But instead of bunnies and chicks, Irontail wants chocolate tarantulas and octopuses. Ha! I just can’t pass those up! The candy carvers of April Valley start off with big blocks of chocolate to make their art, but I don’t have those. Plus carving isn’t very forgiving because you can’t add back what you’ve taken away. So I’m going to sculpt these guys out of modeling chocolate instead. A wise caterpillar once said, “When you can’t get it all together, improvise.”

Recipe makes one chocolate tarantula and one chocolate octopus.

Ingredients

2 pounds chocolate, finely chopped-Milk, Dark, Whatever (I’m a Semisweet fan myself.)

2/3-1 cup light corn syrup (Milk takes closer to 2/3 cup while Dark takes 1 cup)

 

Directions

I prefer to make the modeling chocolate in two smaller batches, but you can make it all at one time. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or a bowl over a pot of simmering water. At the same time, microwave the corn syrup for a few seconds until it’s warm. Allow the chocolate to cool to 90-91 degrees F., stirring often. Pour the corn syrup into the chocolate and fold it in with a rubber spatula until fully incorporated. Be careful not to overmix! Pour the chocolate out onto a cool countertop. I like to chill a baking sheet in the refrigerator and work my chocolate on that. Cover with plastic wrap and let the chocolate rest until it firms up to a workable consistency. Depending on how hot it is, this can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours. Unwrap the chocolate and knead until smooth.

Now comes the fun part. Half of the modeling chocolate will be used for the tarantula and the other half for the octopus. For the tarantula, you’ll need to mold a large oblong shape and a large round shape for the body. You’ll also need to roll out 6 legs. Now I’m no artist, so please sculpt as you see fit. I placed the oblong piece on a support. (They were small boxes of jellybeans.) I attached the round piece to the back and placed more support behind it to keep it in place. Then I attached the legs. For added stability, use toothpicks or dry spaghetti noodles to attach the pieces. Let the tarantula sit until firm. For the octopus, you’ll need one oblong/rounded piece for the body and 6 arms. I flipped a short glass upside down and placed the large piece on top. I then attached the arms. Let the octopus sit until firm. Now you can eat them!

PeterCottontail ChocolatePeter Cottontail ChoTarOct

Halloween is more of Irontail’s kind of holiday, so my chocolate tarantula and octopus don’t seem too Eastery. I still like them, but I don’t think they’ll catch on. Can you imagine an Easter basket with one of these guys sitting in it? Peter Cottontail’s got jellybeans for Tommy, colored eggs for sister Sue, and a big chocolate tarantula!!! Nope. Not going to work. Oh well. Have a hippity hoppity, Happy Easter Day!

 

Tune in next week for more Cartoon Cravings!

Jack Frost

Noodles

If you look at your calendars, you’ll notice that today is February 2 and that means it’s Groundhog Day. If you’ve been experiencing February 2nd for several days now, sorry but I can’t help you there. I’m not covering THAT movie. This may be Punxsutawney Phil’s day, but I’m giving some love to a different groundhog: Pardon-Me-Pete from Jack Frost. He’s the one that spilled the beans on the whole Groundhog-seeing-his-shadow bit. I knew there was something funny going on because how often do we really see an early Spring? Jack Frost is nipping at noses well into late March and even April. (So much for Father Winter’s sign from Nature.) But it’s hard to say no to Jack Frost. He’s just so cute and sweet and he breaks my little heart when he sings “It’s Lonely Being One of a Kind.” So because I love him so much, you can guess that I’ve got some issues with this special. After watching it again and again and it always ending the same, I practically banned it in my house for years. Of course, that never stopped my dad from going around saying, “Hello, Kubla,” every time he got the chance. (He actually does a pretty decent Dummy impression.) Well I couldn’t stay away from Jack Frost forever and it’s now my first stop when I’m looking for some Groundhog Day animated goodness. (Even if it is considered a Christmas special.)

Jack Frost is the special to check out for wintertime goodness in general. I love the idea of the Kingdom of the Winter Clouds and how Snip, the Snow Gypsies, the Sleet Sisters, and the Hail Fellow all create and provide the snow and ice that falls on us all year. And I can’t get enough of January Junction’s ice money. I could watch Papa cut coins all day. Ah, and now we’ve come to the part where you ask why the residents of January Junction need ice money. That’s because Kubla Kraus rules over them with an iron hand. He owns all the timber and the brick, the only horse, and all the gold. He’s got everything, except human and animal companions. I love how Kubla Kraus is such an awful guy, that no one could stand to live with him. He had to build himself a horse, a butler, ka-knights, and even a friend. And Dummy is still pretty harsh. (“How can you woo her? She doesn’t like you.”) Kubla Kraus is such a great character, I can’t help liking the guy. So when I saw him slurping up his noodles, (Well, noodle.) all sad and alone, I knew that I had to give a little love to the villain and make some.

Recipe makes about 4 cups of noodles, cooked.

Ingredients

1 ¼ cups flour

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled slightly

2 tablespoons water

½ teaspoon salt

 

Directions

In a large bowl, combine eggs, butter, water, and salt. Add the flour and mix until the dough just comes together. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes. Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes.

Roll the dough out into a rectangle an 1/8 inch thick and let rest for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with flour and roll into a cylinder. Cut into 1/8 inch thick strips. Spread out and let rest for 15 minutes.

Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add the noodles and cook for 5-6 minutes and strain. Enjoy!

Variations:
Kubla Kraus seems to have just one continuous noodle, so you can cut out a ridiculously long noodle if you want. The noodles are perfectly fine on their own but you can also toss them in a bit of melted butter before serving.

jack-frost-noodlesjack-frost-kubla-noodles

Kubla Kraus can build a machine that can serve noodles and he wants to be a cruel ruler? He totally missed his calling. Whether he was a pharaoh, a rajah, or a shogun, he’d still end up alone. Oh well. Villains will be villains. That’s why he loses because this is Jack’s story. (Although Jack kind of loses too.) I think the one who has it best in this special is Pardon-Me-Pete. The worst he gets is a kick in the butt and a little scare and then he’s rewarded with six more weeks of shut-eye. Speaking of the little forecasters, I just checked the news on Punxsutawney Phil and he saw his shadow. (I’m not too surprised.) And I wasn’t there so I don’t know, but some people are saying that it was too cloudy to cast a shadow. Hmm. I see what you did there, Jack Frost.

 

Tune in next week for more Cartoon Cravings!