Showing posts with label limoncello. Show all posts
Showing posts with label limoncello. Show all posts

Friday, November 6, 2015

Friday Contemplations - Christmas decorations in November and Homemade Goodies

Is it just me or does it seem like the stores break out the Christmas stuff a little earlier every year?  I went to the mall the other day (on November 1st...) and the sales people were packing Christmas merchandise on the shelves already.  Why are we always in such a rush??


I get that the economy is pretty crappy right now and Christmas is pretty much the only time of year that the stores do least here in Italy....but let's wait at least until after Thanksgiving. Maybe here the Christmas stuff is out because Thanksgiving isn't celebrated, but it's still way too early in my opinion.

I do love Christmas though! This year I want to try making Panettone  (Italian fruit cake) and Pandoro with my sourdough. These cakes are typically made for Christmas and New Years in Italy and originated in Milan. I'll have to ask my dear friend Alessandra how it's done. If you don't know what a Panettone or Pandoro is, I'll show you:


The Pandoro is on the left and the Panettone is on the right. I personally prefer the Pandoro...with a cappuccino...or a latte....or hot chocolate...SIMPLY DIVINE!
Panettone (on the right) is a sweet bread loaf with candied fruit and raisins in it. The Pandoro has no candied fruits and is softer. This year I would love to try making a Pandoro with a limoncello cream filling. Mmmmm...Ok now I'm talking about Christmas stuff in November.

Side note - I saw Cinderella (2015) the movie the other day and I really enjoyed it. I LOVED Maleficent as well. I think turning these Walt Disney Cartoon Classics into real movies is a great idea.  I'm a fan! - End Side Note

Last year and the year before, there was a huge scandal in Italy where the local police found many grocery stores that stored and sold expired Panettone and Pandoro. I'm not talking expired for months but these were fruit cakes that were sitting on the store shelves since 2008/2009... Just ridiculous and disgusting...

Hearing these things on the news is horrible because you just can't trust the foods you buy anymore. Home made stuff is so much better. It takes time and energy and passion for cooking but in the end it's worth all the extra effort put into it. No preservatives, no artificial flavoring or coloring, just plain simple whole ingredients...

I like to think of myself as a somewhat healthy eater. I'm not like obsessive compulsive about what I eat but I do make sure I get my veggies in and protein and so on. I also look at the ingredients listed on the foods that I buy and some of the ingredients I see listed I can't even pronounce....

I've been trying to avoid palm oil which is listed in a lot of foods. Apparently this type of oil is really cheap so many food manufacturers use it, for example I see it a lot in cookies, and crackers or cereal products and it's supposedly not very healthy or so they say... but regardless of whether it's healthy or not... homemade goodies are just an all around better option. That's my opinion and I'm stickin' to it!

and now...

Happy Friday Friends :-D

Monday, September 14, 2015

Homemade Limoncello - Part 2

On Saturday I finished both my Limoncello and Bay Leaf Liqueur. I bottled them up and will be giving them as holiday gift favors for friends and relatives. 

As I said in Part 1, many Americans I know use Vodka instead of 90%. The alcohol content in Vodka is lower than 90% therefore we have to add less water when making the syrup.
Here is the Limoncello recipe:
Step 1 – As shown in Part 1, steep 5 lemon peels in ½ liter of alcohol for 7 days shaking the bottle once a day
Step 2 – After the 7 days have passed the alcohol should turn a bright yellow and the lemon peels lose their color turning pale.
If using Vokda, bring to a boil 500 ml of water and 250 grams of sugar stirring until all of the sugar dissolves. Let cool completely. If you're using 90 proof alcohol or over, use 700 ml of water and 250 grams of sugar.
Step 3 – Mix the alcohol with the cooled syrup and filter into a bowl or directly in the bottle you will be using. Some people only use a strainer but I like to filter using napkins because I feel like it makes the Limoncello more translucent.  It takes more time but in the end I think it’s worth it.

At this point the Limoncello is ready to be sealed in bottles. You should write down the date it was  bottled and you can keep in the freezer. Alcohol is a natural preservant and will not freeze.   
The procedure for the bay leaf liqueur if exactly the same. Let 50 bay leaves steep in 1/2 liter of alcohol for 7 days and then mix with syrup. Enjoy!!


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Homemade Limoncello - Part 1

I promised I would be sharing our family Limoncello recipe and I figured I should share it before the summer is officially over since Limoncello is typically tied to the summer season and is an after dinner drink that should be served straight from the freezer! There are many variations and it is made at home by many in Italy, especially in the southern regions.

It is VERY important that the lemons be organic and fresh. I can’t emphasize this enough because as I will be describing later on, only the peel of the lemon is used therefore it is imperative that the lemon has not been treated with pesticides or chemical fertilizers. It takes at least one week to make, some people let the lemon peels steep in the alcohol for one month but I find that one week is suitable.

First things first, gather together your ingredients for the first step. You will need 90% alcohol. From what I understand, this is not easily found in the States. I know that some use vodka. Vodka is usually about 38% alcohol so the recipe with have to be modified using less water to even things out (I'll elaborate more on that in Part 2). If you are using vodka, the first step is the same. So steep 5 organic lemon peels in a half a liter of vodka.
90% alcohol is sold here in regular grocery stores because, as I said earlier, many people make their own after dinner liqueurs using freshly grown organic ingredients. I will be sharing another liqueur that I made using bay leaves which is a typical digestive drink widely made in Italy and is also one of my favorites. Back to the Limoncello, you will need a half liter of alcohol and 5 medium sized organic lemons.
Begin by washing the lemons under running water and dry them well using paper towels. Peel the lemon with a knife or vegetable peeler making sure not to peel the white part of the lemon because it will make the Limoncello taste bitter.
This part sounds easier than it actually is. It takes time and patience. As you can see in the picture below,  if you see white on the lemon peel, just pry it off with a knife.  
Mix the lemon peels with the alcohol in a tightly closed bottle and let sit in an undisturbed area away from heat sources for at least 7 days. You will see the alcohol turn a beautiful bright yellow as the days go by :-). I place mine on top of the open shelves in my kitchen and once a day I shake the bottle to mix the lemon peels. My bottle has been sitting since Sunday so I plan to finish the Limoncello this Saturday.  As soon as I finish I will post the next steps. Ciaooo