Friday, December 17, 2010
It's almost Feast of the Seven Fishes time peeps! Almost time for stuffing my face with fried smelts, scungilli, and bacala. The weird thing is, I won't be doing it on Christmas Eve this year. I know you Italians are gasping for breath (like a fish out of water, no?) at the blasphemy of such a thing, but it's true. My aunt has decided to host the party this weekend instead, and I don't blame her. Hosting a Feast of the Seven Fishes every year for 20 or more people for 15 years would exhaust anyone. Plus, I'm kind of psyched. It means I get to spread out family holiday cheer for another week. Sweet.
Now normally, gifts and dishes are banned from this event. My aunt, uncle, and grandmother do ALL of the prep and cooking (I told you'd it was exhausting!), but I'm cheating this year. In a few ways. I wanted to bring something small and I've wanted to make limoncello for ages. I even had the perfect French lemonade bottles saved from the summer. But then I got forgetfully pregnant and found myself two weeks before the party, having not begun the 3 month process. Oops. Making limoncello for real takes time and is well worth it, but I found a cheater's version online (and yes, it's Giada's). Eric did the math and figured out that Giada's version would yield only a 14% alcohol content. Not. So we made a few adjustments and ours is 30%, much more like it! This is still not the real deal, which is far thicker and more potent in flavor, but it works for now. Next year I'll go for broke and do it up right, if the baby doesn't make me forget again.
adapted from a recipe by my ex, Giada DeLaurentiis
Makes 3 750 ml bottles, plus a bit of extra syrup
2 750 ml bottles of your favorite vodka
6 cups water
4 cups sugar
Using a vegetable peeler, carefully peel lemon zest in long strips, making sure to leave the white pith behind. Any pith that remains on the zest can be scraped off with a spoon. Place all zest into a large pitcher. Pour vodka over zest and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to sit at room temperature for 4 days.
On day 4, prepare simple syrup by stirring water and sugar in a large pot over medium high heat until sugar is dissolved and mixture comes to a simmer. Remove from heat and cool completely.
Be sure bottles are completely cleaned and dried. Pour vodka through a strainer to remove all lemon zest. Pour into prepared bottles until 2/3 full. Top each bottle with simple syrup and seal. Give them a quick shake to mix the contents. Store any remaining syrup in a sealed container in the fridge for up to a month. Label and decorate bottles if desired and store in the fridge for up to a month.
This post is linked to:
Vegetarian Foodie Friday
Free For All Friday
Hop Along Friday