Thursday, April 03, 2008

Almost time for Limoncello

I don't know if I've mentioned Food Groupies in any previous posts, and that is a major oversight! We're a small group of friends who are obsessed with food. We meet once a month, each time at a different person's house, and that person leads the whole group in making something delicious and completely from scratch.

One time, John and Scott and I showed the group what we know about wild fermentation, and we made our own sauerkraut and pickles, and I swear the stuff we made is some of the best I've ever tasted!

Other sessions have found us making biscotti (of course!), Brazillian cheese biscuits and Brazillian fish stew, and last month, Kathleen taught us all how to make meyer lemon and orange marmalade, and Limoncello - a truly intoxicating Italian liqueur.

First, you peel the citrus very carefully, making sure not to include any of the white pith, which would make the final product bitter. We made one batch with oranges, and one batch with lemons.

Then, you soak the peels in grain alcohol for 13 days, shaking the jar every day. Later you remove the peels and add simple syrup to the alcohol, and set it aside for another 2 weeks or so, again, shaking it every day.

Next, you bottle it and put it in the freezer, where its color transforms into a very creamy, but still very bright orange or yellow. And then, it's ready to drink!

You serve it in very small, chilled glasses. And believe me, you want the glasses to be small because this stuff packs a punch! And it's easy to drink too much because it goes down soooooooooo smooth.

Our Limoncello won't be ready for another week or so.... not QUITE in time for my birthday! But since I plan to enjoy a week-long celebration (at the very least!), I will certainly get to make a few birthday toasts with it.

And speaking of birthdays, the celebration begins today. I'm headed back to Gualala to enjoy a bit of gluttony in the company of a few friends and a few dogs. Of course I've packed the essentials - cookbooks, knives, tortilla press, ice cream maker, and ... tequila. No doubt I'll have many fine food pics to post next week! So stay tuned...

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