Limoncello

Limoncello and I go way back. My father used to travel a lot for his job and often found himself working in northern Italy, where he became good friends with his business counterpart in the local office. My mom accompanied him whenever possible (because, Italy), and they’d enjoy a nice vacation on the company dime. This was back in the ’90s when flying wasn’t such a slog, so they’d return with all sorts of goodies, including homemade limoncello, which the ladies in our town really loved. I have to say, it wasn’t really my thing at the time, but I’ve grown to appreciate it over the years. Bright and scented by the sun, with sweetness on a sliding scale according to your taste, it’s an amazing way to use an abundance of Meyer lemons if you’re lucky enough to have a tree, or just a good way to indulge if you want to go the supermarket route.

Please check out Darcie’s post for her personal take on limoncello via Perth, Australia. I don’t know about you, but I get a serious case of wanderlust whenever I read her posts. Her limoncello recipe is so similar to The Kitchn‘s that we simply adapted it for you here.

Remember: Drink responsibly and please designate a driver if you plan to indulge!

For a roundup of all of our Advent Calendar posts for the year, click here.
Darcie can be found at her website, Gourmet Creative and on Instagram at @darcie_hunter.
Find me on Instagram at @amyrothphoto, Pinterest at @amyrothphoto and my portfolio at (you guessed it) Amy Roth Photo.

Limoncello 2 - Amy Roth Photo

 

Limoncello

Meal type Beverage
Misc Serve Cold
Bright, scented by the sun, and just as sweet as you’d like, homemade limoncello is a special treat.

Ingredients

  • 10 organic Meyer lemons (washed and dried)
  • 1 bottle vodka (750-ml; 100-proof preferred, or 80-proof)
  • 1-4 cup sugar (to taste)

Note

Adapted from The Kitchn.

Directions

Use a vegetable peeler to remove the peel from the lemons, taking care not to include the white pith. Place peels in a large glass jar and cover with vodka. (The remaining lemons can be used to make lemonade- yum!) Allow the peels to steep for about a month (at least 4 days, but longer is definitely better).
Make a simple syrup by combining equal parts water and sugar. Heat until fully dissolved and set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, strain the vodka, removing all peels and sediment. Combine simple syrup and infused vodka until you reach desired sweetness and concentration.
Pour into a bottle. Chill and serve the limoncello on its own, or in a cocktail.

Stay Gold

You know how you have good intentions — to exercise more, to cook and post more, to do almost anything but hibernate — then it starts snowing and doesn’t stop? Yeah, that.

While we had a nice respite from the arctic chill last weekend, the polar vortex is back and demands respect, so I’m desperate to stay warm any way I can. So far, my methods have included propping up my desk so I can stand (and do squats) while working, wearing layers even in the house, and best of all, making plenty of warming tea during the day. We have boxes and boxes of specialty tea blends in the house, as my husband is a sucker for the Pukka brand, but my favorite is a new concoction that I’ve only been drinking for a couple of months. I like to think of it as Golden Milk Chai Tea.

I first read about Golden Milk on my friend Vivienne’s Facebook page, where she extolled its virtues and raved about how her children love it. The milk turns gold from the addition of turmeric, which has so many health benefits that it seemed silly not to give it a try. And I LOVED it from the start, but you know me — tinkering is SOP. I like to have a little hit of caffeine in the afternoon, so I thought, “Why not add some black tea?” Then it occurred to me that it was already so very close to chai tea that perhaps the addition of a few more spices wouldn’t be so far-fetched. As far as I’m concerned, Vij’s achieved perfection with their chai tea, so I went to the source then got to work.

I’ve pretty much settled on The One Recipe at this point, but who knows? It’s entirely possible probable that I’ll tweak it a bit more and come up with something better. And if I do, I’ll certainly let you know. (Update: As predicted, I did tweak it a bit more after reading that black pepper makes turmeric even more effective. Plus, I love the spicy hit it adds to the tea.)

If you’d like to see a couple of alternate photos for this post and talk about studio lighting setups, head over to my other blog at Amy Roth Photo.

Golden Milk Chai Tea adapted from every article ever written about golden tea plus Vij’s recipe

The wonderful thing about this recipe is that it’s so easy to adapt to your tastes. You can adjust the amounts of all the ingredients to your liking as well as substitute at will. Don’t drink milk? Try almond, rice or soy milk! Not a fan of molasses? Use your preferred sweetener. If fennel or cardamom don’t float your boat, leave them out. This is great with a sprinkling of cinnamon, too, if you don’t have cinnamon sticks on hand. You can even start with half the amount of turmeric paste and work your way up if you find one teaspoon is too strong for your liking.

For the turmeric paste
1/4 cup powdered turmeric
1/2 cup water

For the tea
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon turmeric paste
1/2 cup milk
1 Orange Pekoe teabag, or your favorite black tea
1 teaspoon molasses
1 cinnamon stick
2 green cardamom pods, crushed
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1-2 whole cloves
5-10 whole black peppercorns
1 teaspoon sweet almond oil

Make the turmeric paste
In a small saucepan, mix turmeric powder with water. Stir well to remove lumps. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until a thick paste forms. This happens in a matter of minutes, so be prepared! Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. You can store the leftover turmeric paste in a small jar in the fridge, where it will keep for a couple of weeks. If you don’t think you’ll get through this much paste in that amount of time, you can reduce the recipe or use it wherever you would use turmeric powder.

Make the tea
In a small saucepan, mix 1 teaspoon of turmeric paste with a little bit of the water to form a smooth, thin paste. Add remaining water and stir well. Add milk, teabag, molasses and all of the spices to the turmeric mixture and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. When bubbles form at the edge of the pot, remove it from the heat. Cover the pot and allow it to steep for five minutes.

Strain the solids from the tea, add almond oil and serve immediately.

Field to Feast: Spinach

Kasha and I are back with more Field to Feast posts this week! Head over to The FarmGirl Cooks for more ideas on what to do with what’s in season.

Spinach never was something I ate as a child, so I’m not sure when or where I developed my love for it, but love it I do. And after hardneck garlic, it’s my favorite thing to buy from Bialas Farms at the market. We see it a couple times a year — first in Spring, when I gobble it up after a long winter of the industrial, bagged stuff. Then, after I’ve eaten my weight in summer-ripe tomatoes and corn and think another zucchini might be the death of me, it crops up again when the weather cools down. So by June, I’ve waited the better part of a year for spinach to come back to market and what happens? I’ll tell you what happens. A sinus infection happens! A disgusting sinus infection that sapped my energy and kept me shuffling between the bed (for naps) and sofa (for marathons of Doc Martin and Wallander) for a full week. (Side note: My ass is tired of all the sitting, which seems ridiculous, because aren’t asses made for that very thing? My body craves movement and walking for more than 20 feet at a stretch. When I’m able to do a downward dog again, I have a feeling the angels will sing.)

So that’s why this post is so slim. My nasal passages apologize for the interruption, but promise that next week’s post will be a doozy, so be sure to tune in.

My busy schedule of TV marathons and napping notwithstanding, I DID manage to work up a new spinach recipe this week. I wanted to make gluten-free spanakopita for you, but let’s get real. There’s NO WAY I’d attempt to make my own phyllo dough (gf or otherwise), so I thought spinach turnovers would be an acceptable substitute.

Spinach Turnovers at Minimally Invasive

And they were entirely delicious, if not the same texture as flaky spanakopita. For the pastry, I used the pie crust recipe at Cup4Cup minus the sugar, then adapted the filling from Vegetarian Times. I rolled out the dough to about 1/8″ thickness, then cut out individual turnovers with a 4″ round cutter, which made a nicely-sized turnover to be eaten in a few bites. You could size these up or down without too much of a problem, as long as you adjusted the amount of filling in each. Believe me, what looks like a paltry amount of filling can become a big mess when folding and crimping if you’re not careful. Just a word of warning.

Spinach Turnovers Recipe at Minimally Invasive
Click on the picture to embiggen.

Spinach Turnover at Minimally Invasive

And since everyone (me included) seems to be on a green shake kick lately, I’ve included the one I make for myself nearly every morning. It’s a good baseline to use and produces a very pretty shake. You can always add other fruits or vegetables to it. Just know that strawberries and blueberries, while delicious additions, mean you’ll be drinking a shake the color of a bruise. As long as visuals aren’t that important to you, carry on!

Green Shake Recipe at Minimally Invasive

Click on the picture to embiggen.

This post brought to you by Cefuroxime Axetil, Nasonex and DayQuil.

Recipes below, if you want to copy and paste text instead of referring to an image.

Spinach Turnovers adapted from Cup4Cup and Vegetarian Times

Your favorite double-pie crust recipe (I used this one, minus the sugar.)
8 cups spinach leaves
1 tablespoon garlic confit, or 2 teaspoons olive oil + 1 large garlic clove, minced
1 small onion, finely chopped
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1/3 cup feta cheese, finely crumbled1 egg, beaten
Maldon sea salt

Rinse and drain spinach and, with water still clinging to leaves, transfer to large skillet. Cover, and cook over medium-high heat until wilted. Rinse with cold water in a colander, squeeze out liquid, and coarsely chop.

Heat garlic confit (or garlic and olive oil) in a large skillet over medium-low heat. When it starts to sizzle, add onion and cook until softened. Add spinach; cook 2 minutes more. Transfer to bowl and cool.

Stir ricotta and feta cheeses into spinach mixture. Adjust seasoning, if necessary.

Preheat oven to 350˚F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Roll dough to 1/8″ thickness and, using a 4″ round biscuit cutter, cut out as many circles as you can. Remove extra dough and place back in bowl. Put one tablespoon of spinach mixture in the center of dough rounds and wet edges of dough with water. Carefully fold dough in half, pressing out air, and crimp the edges with a fork. Poke holes in the top of the turnovers for air to escape during cooking. Place on parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough.

Brush tops of turnovers with beaten egg and sprinkle with Maldon sea salt.

Bake 30 minutes, or until turnovers are golden brown. Cool on wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Green Shake

1/2 cup water
1/3 head romaine
1 handful spinach
2 tablespoons parsley
1 stalk celery
1/2 granny smith apple
1/2 lemon, peeled
1/2 cucumber, seeded
1/2 cup yogurt or 1/2 avocado

In a high-speed blender, combine the first four ingredients(water through parsley). Blend on high speed for 30 seconds. Add remaining fruits and vegetables and blend until combined. Add yogurt, if using, and blend for just a couple of seconds.

Delicious additions:

1/2 frozen banana
strawberries
blueberries
kiwi (if you like a tart shake)
pineapple
1 kale leaf
1 tablespoon chia seeds or flax seed