Homemade Limoncello

Limoncello is an Italian lemon liqueur with the nice fresh taste of lemons. It is easy to make yourself, and in many trattorie in Italy it is customary to get a glass of ice cold homemade limoncello on the house when you get the check. As with many Italian recipes, the quality of the ingredients (in this case the lemons) is important, and the ingredients are not always simple to find (in this case 95% proof alcohol). 95% proof alcohol is difficult to find and expensive in the Netherlands, but in Italy it is sold by every supermarket. So I brought some home from my latest trip.

Since you will be infusing the liqueur with the zest of the lemons, they need to be ‘untreated’. Most lemons (and oranges) are treated with wax. Since you’d like to make a lemon liqueur rather than a wax liqueur, you need untreated lemons. The best lemons are those from the Sorrento peninsula, but you may be hard pressed to find those.
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Homemade Lemon Sorbet

I’m making homemade limoncello with the 95% alcohol I brought from Italy. (I will post about the limoncello in a few months, as it requires 10 weeks to make it.) One bottle of limoncello requires the zest of five lemons, so I ended up with five zested leftover lemons. What to do with the juice? I decided to make homemade lemon sorbet. It’s very easy to make if you own an ice cream maker: simply mix the juice with a simple sugar syrup and let the ice cream maker do the rest. Lemon sorbet can be served as a palate cleanser, or be used for an Italian drink called sgroppino, about which I will do a post later. For now, here’s how to make lemon sorbet. Continue reading “Homemade Lemon Sorbet”

Baby Lady’s Easy Lemon Chess Pie

One of my favorite pies is a Key Lime Pie. It takes a bit of work as you have to make a pastry crust that has to be baked ‘blindly’ before baking it with the filling, but it is worth it. A pie that is almost as good is this very easy Lemon Chess Pie, from RemCooks.com. The texture is like velvet and it has a very nice sweet lemony flavor. I had never heard of a Lemon Chess Pie before. The difference with my Key Lime Pie is that it does not have a separate crust. The crust and the filling are one. This also makes it a very easy pie to make: just blend all the ingredients together, pour them into a buttered pie dish, and bake. It is that easy. Thanks to Baby Lady for this great recipe! When I first saw this recipe, I was surprised at how easy it looked. I tried it, and it turned out great! Of course it is very easy to substitute lemon with lime and turn this into a faux Key Lime Pie as well. Continue reading “Baby Lady’s Easy Lemon Chess Pie”

Fabio’s Grandmother’s Meatballs (Le Polpette della Nonna di Fabio)

I had invited some Italian friends from Amsterdam for dinner. I thought it would be nice to cook something for them that their grandmother used to cook for them, something that they had fond memories of. My friend Fabio said his grandmother always made meatballs that were outstanding with a bit of lemon. This post is the result of my attempt to make Fabio’s grandmother’s meatballs, without having the actual recipe. Fabio liked them a lot and he was taking lots of pictures. When we were pestering him about taking so many pictures, he said he was going to send them to his grandmother. For the next attempt, we should probably just ask her for the recipe… Whether or not they were close to her original, they were great anyway. Here’s what I did… Continue reading “Fabio’s Grandmother’s Meatballs (Le Polpette della Nonna di Fabio)”

Lemon-Basil Chicken breast sous-vide

Believe it or not, but after experimenting with sous-vide cooking for over a year now, I’ve just tried chicken breast sous-vide for the frist time! This is because I usually stick to chicken thighs, which have more flavor and are juicier and when properly cooked are just as tender as chicken breast. But after some raves about chicken breast sous-vide I thought I’d give it a try. The verdict: I still prefer chicken thighs, but the chicken breast sous-vide wasn’t bad at all! Whenever you eat chicken, make sure to invest in at least some quality. You don’t want chicken … Continue reading Lemon-Basil Chicken breast sous-vide