Friday, December 17, 2010

Holiday Cheating

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.

Cheater's Limoncello
adapted from a recipe by my ex, Giada DeLaurentiis
Makes 3 750 ml bottles, plus a bit of extra syrup

20 lemons
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
Foodie Friday


sheribloggins said...

i LOVE the labels, such a cute idea!

Danielle said...

Thanks for commentng on my rocky road bars - I figured I would stop by and check out your blog and I love it! I am now your newest follower.

Joanne said...

I feel like such a bad Italian! We never do the feast of the seven fishes. My family isn't adventurous enough to eat that much or that varied an amount of fish. Homemade limoncello! Great idea!

Scratch.Love said...

Oh my goodness, this sounds great! I am going to have to try this, anything with vodka is a friend of mine ;)

~Chris said...

I figured you were making Limoncello when I saw all the lemon peels! :)

I have been wanting to try it for a few years. One of my ex-bosses gave me his recipe, but it calls for Everclear, which is apparently illegal to sell in NY. I keep forgetting to pick some up when I'm in MA. Maybe I'll have to try it with the Vodka.

Love your labels! :) Sux (for this anyhow) that you're preggers and can't really enjoy it. Who wants to stop at just a sip?!? :(

Jessica Gardner said...

This is what they call the "backslide," when you think you can go back to your ex and it will all be okay. *shakes head* Don't do it, girl. Be strong. But drink the crap out of that limoncello.

Rhondi said...

I was hoping to see you post a Limencello recipe soon so I could give it a try too. The labels are very cute! I thought you were probably making limencello and not lemonade for this time of year. Maybe you can have some next year after your baby boy arrives. Have a great celebration with your family this weekend!

Anonymous said...

I love limoncello! And what a delicious idea - cute bottles!
-Jenny C

Shanee said...

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Have a great day!

Donnie said...

That sounds like a potent brew. Wow.

Joanna said...

Chris - my other recipe also calls for Everclear, but I have no idea if I can buy it in Jersey! Maybe I should pick some up in RI! I'm definitely making the real stuff next year.

Jessica - I'll bring some to Jenny's so you can have it, since I can't!

eof777 said...

Great label and sounds like the perfect wintertime drink.
Stopping by/commenting back from your visit to my blog - Positive Kismet...Thank you!
I'm now a follower of your blog.
Have a Happy Holiday Season!

Melodie said...

Yum! Sounds great! And so pretty too! I'm so glad you posted this at Vegetarian Foodie Fridays!

Pierce said...

I would be all over that!!!!!! I think I'll resolve to drink more next year :-) said...

YAY! I've always wanted to make (and drink) some Lemoncello! I'm excited!!!

Happy Holidays!


Laura @ Frugal Follies said...

Wow, what a great gift! And I agree with the commenter that the labels are incredibly cute...

Thanks for linking up to Frugal Food Thursday at Frugal Follies!

Amy said...

I love limoncello! Never made it myself though. Maybe I'll do so after I finished my store-bought bottle. Just want to share with you what I do with limoncello besides having shots over ice. ;)