Archives for category: liqueur

Six weeks ago I began the process of attempting to make my own limoncello. The lemon peels have been stewing in a noxious mixture of Everclear and vodka this entire time, waiting to be turned into something delectable.

Still referring to this recipe, today I came much closer to having my very own bottled limoncello. First, I removed as many lemon peels as I could from the lemon/alcohol mixture with a slotted spoon.

I noticed the peels were quite pale and had lost a lot of their yellow color. Apparently this is both normal and good — the lemony color and essence had successfully transferred into the alcohol.
Then I poured the rest of the alcohol mixture through a wet coffee filter, to strain out the other particles and impurities. I had to attach the filter to the funnel with paper clamps, to keep the coffee filter from sliding down. (Later I realized I probably could have strained it through a french press coffee maker, making sure the french press was super clean so my limoncello wouldn’t tase like coffee.)

Then I poured each cup of filtered lemon alcohol into a bowl, on deck until I completed a simple syrup. (I used 4 cups of water, 4 cups of sugar, dissolved the sugar then brought to a boil, boiled for 7 minutes, removed it from heat and let it reach room temperature).
After mixing the simple syrup with the lemon alcohol, it was time to bottle. This recipe made way more than I’d expected so I had to scrounge for bottles and put some of it in a mason jar.

So… how did it taste? Well, according to the recipe I followed I still need to wait another week to let the sugar and lemons and alcohol work their magic, and in the meantime keep the bottles in the freezer. I did have a little taste on ice, and it was pretty good. And strong — I had less than a shot’s worth and determined that this stuff is definitely not just for the ladies. I’m hoping that in a week I’ll have something even more tasty. And maybe I can mix it with a little club soda, fresh lemon juice and fresh mint leaves? Mmmmm…

PS – I’ve been kind of overwhelmed that my bagel post has been on the WordPress Freshly Pressed front page for the last three days. Before this happened, I’d honestly never really even looked at that page and had never considered that a bunch of random people would read any of this. (Otherwise I would’ve written clearer instructions on how to make the bagels!) I started this blog mainly for myself, so I can look back and remember that I actually am accomplishing things in my new city, and to keep friends and family updated on what I’m doing. I’ve had almost 5,000 hits, 80 comments and over 100 likes on that post. Guess people really like bagels. (Well, yeah. That makes sense.) I’m sure most people who checked this blog out probably won’t keep reading, but for those that do, thanks!

I am not a cupcake maker. I am not a baker. And I don’t want to steal my cupcake blogging friend Jess‘s thunder.
But I’m Irish by heritage. And when I saw these cupcakes on Smitten Kitchen, I had to make them. And eat them.
Guinness cupcake with a chocolate whisky filling and an Irish Cream frosting. You can’t get much better than that. I think.
So I made them last night for my boyfriend and myself, and brought the remainder to work today. Hopefully I can make someone’s day. Because I know that every day around 3:30pm I wish someone had brought in some cupcakes. And now I can be that magical green glitter-covered hero.

I should add that I followed the Smitten Kitchen recipe exactly, but needed to double the frosting. And it still didn’t seem like enough, so I made an extra half portion of it. That’s also why I was only able to make pretty piped frosting on two of the cupcakes and had to spread the rest with a knife. But I’ve never made a buttercream frosting before, so I wasn’t really sure what kind of consistency I was looking for. And once I got to about 2 cups of powdered sugar, it seemed ready. I don’t know. But it tastes good. And the whole thing took me about three hours. How long are homemade cupcakes supposed to take? I’d venture to guess not usually three hours. But these are special filled cupcakes, and I’ve never made my own cupcakes before. So hopefully they get enjoyed today. Happy St Pat’s!

I was able to snag some Meyer lemons at the farmers market last week, and needed to figure out what to do with them. Every food blog I’ve read says things like “you haven’t lived if you haven’t tried a Meyer lemon!” Ok, then. Time to start living. Martha-approved and gourmet chef lauded, they’re notoriously sweeter and supposedly more graceful on the palate than regular Eureka lemons. Making my own limoncello sounded far more interesting to me than making preserved lemons or a lemon pie. So here’s Part 1 of how I did it. Using this recipe as a base, I went to town.

I used 18 Meyer lemons of varying size and freshness, a 750ml bottle of Everclear and about the same amount of Ketel One leftover from a party. The instructions say to scrub the lemons with a brush and some vegetable wash; but not wanting to buy any I forged my own from a little baking soda and vinegar. Did it work? I really have no idea – the lemons seemed clean enough to me. After cleaning the lemons, then came the peeling.

I found that the firmer and larger the lemon, the easier to peel while getting minimal pith (the white stuff on the underside of the peel). I used two types of peelers – one horizontal one (pictured) and another vertical one. The horizontal peeler for some reason seemed to get less pith, but really only worked well on the larger firmer lemons. Limoncello diehards are super anti-pith — apparently the world will end if any bit of pith lands in your precious limoncello nectar. But to me, there’s just no way to use a regular veggie peeler and get pith-less peel. Just. Not. Happening. So, because I had some time on my hands I decided to do a little pith scraping with the back of a knife. Will it be keep the bitterness out of my limoncello? I have no idea. I wasn’t able to really scrape off that much, either. And it probably added an extra 10 minutes to the 30 minutes total it took me to make all the peels.

So then I dumped the pith-scraped peels into a giant jar along with the Ketel and Everclear. Smells like rubbing alcohol now, but hopefully in a few weeks everything will come together.

I marked the top of the jar with a 2-week and a 4-week mark, so I can tell when to stir it, when to remove the peels and complete the process. In about a month, I’ll post Part 2. (Update: Check out Part 2 here!)