Saturday, November 29, 2008

Operation Limoncello

Friend and Neighbor VICTORIA has been working with me for days now, diligently creating home-made Christmas cards {for herself to give - NO, she's not helping me reach my stated goal of 125 for 2008!} ... and if she doesn't stop coming up with cool recipes for us to "make and give away for the holidays", I will never, never, never A) get my cards finished and B) lose a single ounce!

First we had the bright idea {well, it IS a good one, this ...} that we should make HOMEMADE LIMONCELLO {you know it - the oh-so-potent Italian lemon-infused liqueur}. Being half-Italian, I jumped all over that like chocolate on peanut butter. But wait, I'm getting ahead of myself.

Not just any Hooch {er, I mean Limoncello} recipe would do, though. NO. Victoria asked her friend Eugenio, down at our neighborhood Vigilucci's {Italian restaurant} the "best" way to do this. His answer, of course, required not one, but two phone calls to Mama in Roma ... I swear it. They were horrified that anyone would attempt to make Limoncello using Vodka {as many recipes call for}. OH NO !!! No, instead, they insist -- INSIST -- that one use Pure Grain Alcohol. You know the stuff -- aka "Everclear". Anyone out there have their very own special memories of this stuff? I do, but I'm not telling.

There's a reason they call it "Everclear", you know. It will forEVER CLEAR one's sinuses out. Did I mention FOREVER?! Yes, and not only that - it's so industrial-strength, it comes with 84 warnings on the bottle, seriously. It could embalm an elephant, just one bottle. With some to spare.
Oh, and did you know that it comes in two "proofs" {ie, strengths}? Yes, it does. 150 proof -- but that's for wimps; and 190 proof. And according to Eugenio and his darling mama, 190 is the ONLY way to go. I'd sure like to meet his Mama some day ...


This presented a bit of a problem. 190 proof is illegal to buy or sell in California. Wow. Although we couldn't find proof in writing that it's illegal to POSSESS it in the Sunshine State, so we procured it via secret sources in Arizona ... and are only USING it here to make our 1,000 proof After Dinner Limoncello. God have mercy, this stuff can clear a ROOM, not just one's sinuses.
Then there's the matter of the LEMONS. One can only use lucious smelling lemons, of course. We used what God provided ... lemons from V's friend John, and a bag full hand-picked by V from another friend's garden -- albeit unbeknownst to them, since they had the good sense to be out shopping on Black Friday when she stopped by to raid the tree!

We zested. We laughed. We got lemon rind all over my kitchen! My friend Debbie stopped by, and thought that for inspiration, we should pull out the commercial-variety of Limoncello {by Caravello} and do some shots. We tried it straight. We then topped it with heavy cream, which "softens" it a bit and makes it like a Lemon Shake. Holy Toledo, did we have fun!

Stay tuned, 'cause this stuff has to brew for ten days, during which, one inverts the jug carefully ONE TIME and then sets it back upright. No shaking. No stirring. And please God, no earthquake. Given the warnings on the bottle of Everclear, we would not survive one of those!
Yours in making home-made Christmas gifts ...
-- D.
I almost forgot to tell you -- yesterday was Day One of Operation Limoncello. TODAY, my friends, it was all about her mother's famous recipe for BUCKEYE BALLS. I kid you not. It's a heart attack in a ball. Melted butter, peanut butter, and powdered sugar -- rolled into balls -- once cool, you dip them into melted chocolate chips with nothing less than Paraffin Wax. Honestly, this is scary stuff. EACH LARGE GUMDROP SIZED BUCKEYE BALL has 153 calories, and we're afraid to calculate the FAT GRAMS. Photos to follow.
Come December 15, Victoria is going to take me by the hand to WEIGHT WATCHERS and they are going to hog-tie {no, really, I mean literally HOG tie} me into a new regime. This is ridiculous! And I'm not even consuming all this stuff. I'm just looking at it and the ounces creep on. I swear. Stop laughing at me !!!

5 comments:

ann said...

What fun!!!
btw - i make a mean buckeye ball myself - would love to compare recipes and laurie lives in THE buckeye state - a national passtime in Ohio.
I'm going for a new version of peppermint bark today.
Yesterday finished packaging my gift from the home - sweet peas seeds from my garden (well not exactly mine, but close).

Ben said...

I'll warn you on the use of 190, it's hard to make a batch that most normal people will put in their mouth with that stuff. I've made a few and they are STRONG. Italians like that heat on the finish that Americans generally don't, but you can get that with 151 proof. The batches I made using 190 were very rough even after 6 months on the shelf.

DH 2Travelers said...

Thanks (I think!) to Ben for his honest commentary on the 190 proof EVERCLEAR variety of home-made limoncello. Boy, we're sure left hoping that it IS, in fact, drinkable after all this -- I kid you not, tonight when I inverted the jugs, the kitchen towel that I top the jar off with (in case of leakage) came away smelling no less like JET FUEL than it did last night -- 24 hours later, and I'm still thinking I could put down a hippo with the fumes. ;-) WILL KEEP YOU ALL POSTED. Operation Limoncello continues ...

ann said...

one of the gals visiting for the weekend convinced me i should make limoncillo; am just going to use regular vodka, (I'm not italian) but what can i put it is when it's done???? to give as a gift? where can i get containers locally or what bright ideas do you have?

ann said...

typo again - oh well, i'm dying to blog so am in a hurry....