Monday, January 25, 2010

Moving on

Yes, I am still recovering from my failed attempt at Shrimp Scampi. My HUGE mistake was trying to make it healthy with olive oil in place of the butter. It just wasn't going to satisfy my craving. Some foods you just cannot create a healthier version (like today I tried to make a turkey melt with dry toast, low fat Laughing Cow cheese and turkey! Yuck!) Some foods were made to be eaten with many calories!
So I am going to switch gears and write about something I also know a bit about: booze. More specifically, limoncello. In case you have never heard of limoncello it is a wonderful after dinner drink from Southern Italy. The first time I had it was in New York with my family. We were at an amazing Italian restaurant and our waiter, insisted that we try the in-house made limoncello. Now, we were all a bit buzzed on wine and thought he was bringing out dessert. To our surprise he brought out four frosty glasses filled with the pale yellow drink. The first sip was like nothing I had ever tasted. (Lemony sweetness, smooth and viscous, ice cold.) It was so good, we had another. When we returned home to SoCal my Dad sought out to recreate this delicious digestif. I watched as he spent hours carefully peeling the zest from a dozen organic lemons. Then, he mixed the zest with vodka, and let it sit for several weeks infusing it with it's color and flavor. After much anticipation, it was time to taste. My Dad was so excited, he was like a little kid on Christmas morning. We all eagerly stood around him as he he took the first sip then....he gagged! His labor of love was bitter. Although he had been careful to peel just the zest, a minuscule amount of white pith found it's way into the mix. It was ruined. Down the drain it went. After his failed attempt he tried several kinds from the store. As you can imagine, they were awful, the taste resembling very much what lemon cleanser smells like.

See, I have time on my hands, and lemons are plentiful at our local farmer's market ( With that damn cocky voice in my head nagging me, my friend and I along with Baby Julian decided we would give it a go. After a quick google search, I found a limoncello guru ( If you are interested in making your own limoncello, I suggest checking out this site. This guy has it down to a science. Aimee, Julian and I went to the market, picked out the best, smoothest looking lemons (total of 37), zested them with a Microplane and mixed them with Everclear. Vodka has a flavor that will affect the final product, while grain alcohol tastes like burning! (I don't know any other way to describe it! )

Now we let it rest for 45 days. Already the alcohol has turned bright yellow (my Dad saw it one day and asked why I was saving my urine...really?) and the zest's color has faded. The next step will be straining it and mixing in simple syrup then back to resting for another 45 days. But, by sometime mid March, I will be sipping on my ice cold, from scratch limoncello. And maybe if you are lucky, I will share!

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