Sunday, May 20, 2012

Denver, Part One: Limoncello

Since my ingrate of a dog didn't have anything planned for me for Mother's Day, I hopped a plane and went to Denver to spend it with my mother and the mother of my brand new nephew. I didn't take my camera, so I get to blame the poor photography on the fact that I was using Natalie's iPhone. And I think it must cause seizures because all the pictures I took with it are blurry. Natalie seems to be immune from this phenomenon  - her shots are fine.

It was an eventful trip. So eventful that I'm going to have to break it down into at least two parts. Maybe three.

For the flight to Denver, I got the best seat on the plane. No, I'm serious. Those of you who have been around me for more than 45 minutes know this.

The evening I got there, we got to go to Natalie's Aunt Marsha and Uncle Jack's and have dinner and make limoncello. Natalie's friend Dana went, too. (holla!) Man, that girl is funny. She's got the New Jersey Smoking Old Lady Accent down cold. Marsha is a wonderful cook and a fantastic baker. She fed us some seriously delicious Italian sausage sandwiches for dinner, and a fruit cobbler for dessert that was wonderful.  Then Jack set about the business of giving us a Limoncello tutorial. Here's how you make it:

Peel about a dozen lemons, making sure to get the yellow only, and not the white. The white is bitter. Put the peels in a glass bowl or jar and pour in 1 liter of Pure Grain Alcohol. Yes, the stuff that the guys in our dorm used to pour in a giant trash can with Kool-Aid, Beer, and any other kind of liquor they could get their hands on to make "punch". Seal it with plastic film and set the jar or bowl aside for 14 days. Jack did this step ahead. We didn't stay at their house for two weeks.

While Jack talks about the lemon peels, get a little distracted and take some pictures of your nephew. Try unsuccessfully to cut your brother out of the shot. (There's my mom on the left, and Marsha in the striped shirt on the right. And Jack's got the lemon peels. They smelled good.)

After you finish taking blurry pictures of the baby, strain the peels out of the alcohol. Or watch Jack do it.

You can throw the peels away now. Heat 2 liters of water in a large pot and add 2 cups of sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved, then set it aside to cool. While it's cooling, take a break and take another blurry baby picture. (He moves a lot.)

Here's Jack making the sugar water, and Dana taking notes. And telling us about smoking cigarettes and drinking limoncello with the old ladies in her apartment building in Jersey. I think it was Jersey. And I think they were Marlboro Lites.

Mix the sugar water with the lemon alcohol. It will get a little cloudy.

Pour it into bottles and it's ready to go. If you leave some room at the top of the bottle, you can store it in the freezer.

Ours was still a little warm, so we added some ice, but that's probably tacky. You should wait until yours gets cold. I'd recommend that you start making it before 8:00 PM.

If you'd like to try Jack and Marsha's Limoncello, here's the .pdf. Stay tuned! Tomorrow I'll tell you about big adventures! And breakfast pizza.

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