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Limoncello

6 Aug

Although I had originally made this three different posts, it’s easier to read as one. Just remember: there are three distinct steps, each taking place at least a couple weeks from each other.

Long story short, you take the rinds off of lemons, steep in grain alcohol, add sugar, and drink. Sounds easy enough, right?

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STEP ONE:
What I used:
1 handle of grain alcohol (or the highest proof alcohol you can find)
25 lemons
a sharp knife or veggie peeler
a large container that you can close up tight (large tupperware works well)
recommended: citrus juicer

What I did:
Start by peeling all the lemons, being sure to get only the rind with no pith (so just yellow, with no white parts). Throw it in a giant tupperware container (or whatever you’ll be using), and pour in all of your alcohol.

Cover and put in a cool, dark place. Shake it up every once in a while, about once a week or so. The booze should sit in the tupperware for about 6 or 7 weeks – you’ll know it’s ready when the lemon peels get crispy and snap when you bend them.

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STEP TWO:
What I used:
The aforementioned grain alcohol with lemon peels
Funnel (or some type of funnel-y apparatus)
Coffee filters
Bottles
Water
Sugar

Only do this step when your liquid is now bright yellow and the rinds are brittle.

Start by making a simple syrup. For the amount and strength of alcohol we used, we’ll use 8 cups of water and 5 cups of sugar. Feel free to scale up or down if you prefer tart or super-sweet drinks, or if you use a different strength alcohol. You’ll definitely want to scale if you used a different volume of booze.

Heat 8 cups of water in large pot until boiling. Turn the heat off, add sugar, and stir until dissolved. Let rest until cool enough to handle.

As you’re waiting for the water to cool, take a minute and sanitize your bottles and funnel. We have a sanitation powder we mix with hot water that Nick uses in brewing, so I just used some of that. I didn’t know if our funnel could stand boiling water… but that’s always an option.

Pour the lemon mix into a large bowl through a colander to remove large lemon peels. Add sugar water and stir well until everything is fully combined. If your funnel has a filter, that’s great, but if not use a coffee filter in there and filter/funnel the booze into bottles. Some people like to filter it several times… but I am partially too lazy and partially too impatient for that. I find that one pass through the filter is enough for my inexperienced palate. Warning: this will take longer than expected so be ready to wait for a while! You may need to change/clean the filter out a few times during the process.

Once the bottles are full, throw them in the freezer!

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STEP THREE

Assuming you followed steps one and two, you should be left with a couple bottles of stuff in your freezer. I’ve seen some sources that say you can drink it right away and others saying you should wait between 30 and 45 days for it to mellow and for the flavors to come together. I am personally of the belief that it is just sugar, water, alcohol, and lemon, so let’s not waste more months waiting around.
I’d say I waited about two weeks before I became too impatient and started drinking it. I’m going to try and wait another month before enjoying the rest… but we’ll see what happens. You can enjoy it alone, or make it into a mixed drink. Just watch out – even though it tastes like candy, it is super duper potent. Enjoy!

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Rosemary-Infused Lemonade

31 Jul

Whenever it gets really hot out I just absolutely crave lemonade. I had a bunch of lemon juice leftover from the limoncello, it was like the drink gods were calling to me! We had recently tried a rosemary-infused lemonade at a sandwich shop, and I wanted to see if I could copy the recipe but also cut down on some of the calories. I used Stevia instead of sugar and it tasted pretty delicious.

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There are a couple different brands of Stevia with different conversions. It typically tells you on the package what it is – mine was 1 Cup=6 TBSP, so I used 12 TBSP for this recipe. As this amount isn’t true for all types of Stevia, I put in the sugar equivalent and you can do the math yourself.

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What I used:
2 cups of lemon juice (probably about 12 small lemons worth)
12 cups of water
2 cups of sugar (or an equivalent – I used stevia)
4-5 sprigs of rosemary

Heat 4 cups of water and the sugar (or substitute) in a medium sized saucepan on high, stirring until it’s dissolved and the water is clear again. Turn the heat off, put the rosemary in, and let sit until cool.

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Combine the lemon juice, rest of the water, and the cooled water/sugar mix. If not drinking immediately, discard the rosemary and garnish each glass with a new sprig.

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I think the hardest part about making this was resisting the urge to drink it all in one day!

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Limoncello, third and final step!

18 Jul

Here it is… the third (and final) installment of the Limoncello series. It’s my personal favorite part – the drinking!

Step One

Step Two

Assuming you followed steps one and two, you should be left with a couple bottles of stuff in your freezer. I’ve seen some sources that say you can drink it right away and others saying you should wait between 30 and 45 days for it to mellow and for the flavors to come together. I am personally of the belief that it is just sugar, water, alcohol, and lemon, so let’s not really waste more months waiting around.

I’d say I waited about two weeks before I became too impatient and started drinking it. You can enjoy it alone, or make it into a mixed drink. Just watch out – even though it tastes like candy, it is super duper potent. Enjoy!

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Limoncello, step one

13 Jun

Life has been pretty crazy since we got back from Ireland. We have been traveling to New Hampshire, Maine, and Connecticut to visit friends and family; we have prepared (and successfully thrown) my college graduation party; and we have been preparing for a summer full of weddings. All in all, it’s been a pretty crazy and I haven’t had a ton of time to cook (or write about cooking).

Although – I have had something wonderful and delicious going on. I decided to make some boozy Limoncello. I set it up a few weeks ago as an experiment and it is going much better than anticipated. It’s a three step process, and it takes a couple months all in all. Long story short, you take a high proof alcohol (preferably grain, but literally whatever the highest proof you can), steep some lemon rind in there, take them out after a while, and then throw some sugar and water in there. Sounds simple, right? It is.

Here are links for:

Step Two

Step Three

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First step:
What I used:
1 handle of grain alcohol (or the highest proof alcohol you can find)
25 lemons (yup… thats right.)
a sharp knife or veggie peeler
a large container that you can close up tight
recommended: citrus juicer

IMG_0133-001

What I did:
Start by peeling the lemons, being sure to get only the rind with no pith (so just yellow, with no white parts). Throw it in a giant tupperware container (or whatever you’ll be using), and pour in all of your alcohol.

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Cover and put in a cool, dark place. Shake it up every once in a while, about once a week or so. The booze should sit in the tupperware for about 6 or 7 weeks – you’ll know it’s ready when the lemon peels get crispy and snap when you bend them.

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Optional: juice the lemons and save it for your next cooking adventure. We probably had a liter when all was said and done!

 

Ommegang’s new Game of Thrones “Fire and Blood” beer

1 Apr

Last night Nick and I met up with some friends to go to our weekly Pintley event. This week was the Boston release of Ommegang’s new Game of Thrones beer, Fire and Blood, at East End Grill in Somerville. Let me stop here and remind everyone that I am not an expert on beer, nor am I an expert on Game of Thrones (the only time I’ve ever seen it was at the bar last night)! That being said, I thought the beer was incredible.

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It’s a red ale – and a gorgeous one at that. It has a deep ruby coloring. The creamy head was full at the beginning, and lingered just the slightest bit through the duration of the beer. It had both a tart and sweet fruity and also slightly floral taste, finishing with just a bit of spice.

According to Ommegang, the beer is slightly dragon-inspired – they used seeded ancho chiles in the production. After going to Extreme Beer Fest last week I was skeptical – both Crime and Punishment from Stone was so spicy, it made me think I’d never taste again. This one was much easier to handle – it had the flavor of the chiles without too much kick.

Moral of the story: smooth, fruity and slightly spicy red ale that makes you want to slay dragons.

Brewday: The Mead

22 Feb

A couple weeks ago Nick and I made mead. It was my first time actually participating in the brewing process beyond just capping the bottles.

For my non-brewer friends, mead is made like this: boil a crapton of water, pour >10 lbs of honey in, put 7 lbs of fruit into a bag and steep it just like tea. Add some yeast, let it cool (and sit for a couple months) and it goes from a hot yummy breakfast drink to alcohol.

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Me adding in 13ish pounds of honey to the pot

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This is what the fruit looked like before it was steeped

At the end of the day, I ended up standing in my kitchen with a giant sack of hot mushy leftover fruit bits, pondering how my life had gotten to this wonderful point. I then started to brainstorm what I could do with the leftovers. Nick and I looked over at the dehydrator on our counter, and decided we wanted to see what happened if we just dried it out.

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I look ridiculous but this is me steeping the fruit bag

After a bunch of hours, the fruit finally turned into a mixed fruit leather. It was a combination of blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, mangoes, and oranges – it was sweet, citrusy and seedy.

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The fruit, halfway through drying

Nick cut it up into little pieces, and added it into the granola/granola bars. The fruit is so delicious, it makes me so excited to drink the mead (it only has two months left!)

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The granola bars and chopped up fruit bits

Related: Granola bars, made from leftover barley