Posts Tagged holiday

Coconut and Date Granola + A Handmade Holiday DIY Gift Guide!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I really love Christmastime. It may sound cheesy, but I do believe this is the most wonderful time of the year.

Each and every year, I write out my thoughts on Christmas and include a handmade holiday gift guide. This year, I’m going to keep it short and sweet. I’ll include some of my text from last year’s post, as I think it sums up all that I want to say.

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I love Christmas: I love the baking, the decorations, the gifting, the crafting, the music, the family, the traditions, and the nostalgia of it all.

If only it were as simple as that. But there’s the ugly side of Christmas: The shopping malls, the parking lots, the Black Friday lines. The anxiety, stress, and despair. The wish lists, greed, credit card debt, and consumerism. The poor, the broken, the forgotten, the needy.

It’s all so unsettling.

But four years ago, I watched one short video (from the wonderful folks at The Advent Conspiracy) and it changed the way I do Christmas. The message was so simple and clear: Love All, Spend Less, Give More.

Those six little words pack quite the punch. They’ve given me a new outlook, they’ve given me hope. Christmas is different, in the best way.

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For the past four years, I’ve made most of my Christmas gifts. I find so much joy in the process and I have a ton of fun getting creative with gifts. I don’t pretend to be superwoman and I certainly don’t try to take on too much. I do purchase gifts from local businesses and artisans, and I’ll also pick up things at vintage and thrift stores.

This year, I put together A Handmade Holiday Pinterest Board, with 25 handmade gift ideas. There’s a little something for everyone – ornaments, terrariums, spice blends, jams, sauces, and more. Take a look!

Lastly, I am including a simple and delicious recipe for homemade granola with coconut, almonds, and dates. I plan on giving jars of this granola to various friends and family for Christmas.

You can’t go wrong with the gift of granola!

Coconut and Date Granola | Rosemarried

Coconut Granola with Dates and Almonds

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups oats
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup roasted coconut chips (from Trader Joe’s)
  • 1/2 cup toasted almonds
  • 1 cup dried dates, pits removed and roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • Generous pinch of sea salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°. Line two baking sheets with parchment or a Silpat.
  2. In a small pot, heat the coconut oil, olive oil, and honey over low heat. Whisk together until coconut oil is melted and the mixture is combined. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and spices.
  3. In a large bowl, toss together the oats, shredded coconut, and chopped dates. Toss with the honey and oil, to coat. (Note: I don’t add in the toasted almonds and coconut chips until after baking.)
  4. Pour onto prepared baking sheets. Using a spatula, spread granola into an even layer.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until granola is golden brown. Check granola every 5 minutes and stir, if needed. Allow the granola to cool on the baking sheets. Once cool, mix in the coconut chips and toasted almonds. Store in airtight containers in the pantry. Granola will keep for 1-2 weeks.

Notes

Adapted from La Casa De Sweets

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http://rosemarried.com/2013/12/17/handmade-holiday-coconut-date-granola-diy-handmade-holiday-gift-guide/


The Northwest’s Best Stuffing with Chanterelles, Hazelnuts, and Sage

Aside from the turkey, I’d argue that stuffing is the most important Thanksgiving dish. Stuffing is an absolute classic. Never mind the fact that we don’t actually stuff the turkey with stuffing anymore (it’s a health risk!), this classic still has it’s place on the Thanksgiving table.

I’ll admit, however, that I’m not crazy about the classic all-American Stouffer’s stuffing. I prefer a rustic, bread-pudding-esque stuffing. I like stuffing with flavor and texture and contrast. Stuffing should not be a lump of mushy bread, rather, a good stuffing is moist, rich, and perfectly crisp and brown along the edges.

This particular stuffing recipe highlights some of Oregon’s finest ingredients: chanterelles and hazelnuts. We are nearing the end of chanterelle season in Oregon, so I wanted to create a stuffing that highlighted these wonderful mushrooms. The chanterelles add a buttery richness to the stuffing, and the hazelnuts lend a delicious and nutty crunch. This stuffing is simple, elegant, and seasonal. If I may say so, I think it would make a wonderful addition to your Thanksgiving table.

Lastly, tune in this Sunday, November 24th, to KPAM 860 for Missy Maki’s Ultimate Oregon Thanksgiving Show! I’ll be on air – along with a group of fantastic food bloggers – and we’ll be talking about our Ultimate Oregon Thanksgiving recipes (including this recipe). It’s going to be a blast, so be sure to listen in!

Northwest Stuffing with Chanterelles and Hazelnuts

The Northwest’s Best Stuffing with Chanterelles, Hazelnuts, and Sage

Serving Size: 8-10

Ingredients

  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) salted butter
  • 3 shallots, peeled and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 small yellow onion, peeled and diced
  • 3 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 3/4 pound chanterelle mushrooms, cleaned and roughly chopped
  • 1⁄2 cup white wine
  • 1 cup (or more) chicken stock
  • 8 cups cubed brioche bread (can substitute high quality white or sourdough bread)
  • 2 tablespoons sage leaves, minced
  • 3⁄4 cup roasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1.5 cups heavy cream
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Can be done ahead of time: To make stuffing, you’ll need dry/stale bread cubes. If you’re working with fresh bread, you’ll need to manually dry out the bread cubes. To do this, arrange the cubes on baking sheets in a single layer. Bake in a 300 degree oven, tossing occasionally, until the bread is crunchy and golden brown (about 15 minutes).
  2. To make the stuffing: Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish.
  3. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shallots, onion, and garlic and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until translucent. Add the mushrooms and 1 tsp of thyme. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the mushrooms have released their liquid and the liquid has evaporated. Add in the white wine and continue to cook, until the liquid has mostly reduced. Add in 1/2 cup of stock and cook until there is very little liquid left in the pan. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside until use.
  4. In a large bowl, toss together the bread cubes, hazelnuts, sage, thyme, and sauteed mushrooms. In a small bowl, whisk together the cream, eggs, and remaining chicken stock. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the cream mixture over the bread mixture and toss to coat. Spread the stuffing into the prepared pan. If the mixture seems dry (it should be moist), pour a bit of chicken stock over the top of the stuffing. Cover with foil and bake for 30 to 40 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Notes

Recipe adapted from NY Magazine

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http://rosemarried.com/2013/11/20/northwests-best-stuffing-with-chanterelles/


Ringing in the New Year: The French 77

Let me start off by saying this: 2011 was a great year.

*I turned 30.

*I got the best bunny in the entire world, Little Omar.

*I traveled to Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Seattle.

*My niece, Jubalee, was born in July (and she’s perfect and beautiful and the best little chunk of a baby).

*I finally got to dine at a Thomas Keller establishment (Bouchon in Las Vegas).

*I dyed my hair ‘ombre’.

*I planted my first real garden (thanks to the raised garden beds my husband built for me). I grew: squash (delicata, spaghetti, zucchini), chioggia beets, tomatoes, shallots, carrots, chives, arugula, kale, chard, peppers, and cucumbers.

*I was asked to join the board of the Montavilla Farmer’s Market. (And I accepted, of course).

*I finally got on the Harry Potter bandwagon. I read all the books and watched all of the movies this year, and I’m seriously kicking myself for not reading them sooner.

*In June, I celebrated 2 years of marriage to my best friend.

This is us, looking celebratory (!):

So, yeah, I’d say it’s been a fantastic year.

As for 2012? I’ve got a whole lot to look forward to…

*Hosting the PDX Food Swap (The next one will be in March, 2012!).

*Working with the Montavilla Farmer’s Market, specifically working to help reduce food insecurity through the Everybody Eats program.

*Eating at DOC in Portland – it’s been on my list for ages, and somehow I’ve not had a chance to eat there.

*Taking on new freelance writing gigs, in addition to expanding my wedding coordinating and events business. I have some exciting things in the works!

*Traveling to Europe with my love (The plans are still tenative, but if I write it here, that means we have to go!).

*Planting & growing an even more successful garden!

*Disneyland! (We’re going in January. I’m a total sucker for Disneyland.)

*Vegas in March with a couple of my favorite ladies.

*Trying new things, cooking new things, and learning new things.

I’m exciting to grow and change this year. I’m excited for whatever life throws at me. I’m thankful for all that I’ve been given, and I look forward to the new year with a sense of hope and excitement. God is good.

Lastly, I thought I’d share a festive cocktail recipe that is perfect for ringing in the new year. It also happens to be my favorite cocktail of all time: The French 77.

The French 77 is a variation on the classic cocktail, The French 75. The French 75 was created in 1915 at a bar in Paris and the drink was originally made with gin, champagne, simple syrup, and a lemon twist. The name hails from the fact that the cocktail was rumored to “have such a kick that it felt like being shelled with the powerful French 75mm field gun”.

The 77 doesn’t differ much from the 75, but the one slight change makes all the difference (in my humble opinion). The 77 uses Elderflower Liqueur (St. Germain) in place of the simple syrup. The St. Germain adds a sweetness that isn’t too sweet. It’s slightly floral, without being too overpowering. It’s perfect. The cocktail is smooth, balanced, and goes down ridiculously easily. And yes, it certainly has the kick of a French field rifle. This cocktail packs a punch (in the best way).

So, Happy New Year to you and yours! I plan on celebrating with a French 77. Maybe you’ll join me?

The French 77
Note: The drink is often served in a champagne flute, but I like to serve it in a smaller classic cocktail glass.

Ingredients:
2 oz Gin
1/2 oz St. Germain (Elderflower liqueur)
1 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 ounces Champagne (or sparkling wine)
1 small strip lemon zest

Shake together gin, lemon juice, and St. Germain with ice. Strain, and pour into a cocktail glass. Pour champagne float over the top, garnish with lemon zest. Serve immediately.

Makes one cocktail.

Happy New Year, y’all!

Chai Snickerdoodles

We made it through the holidays! High fives all around.

Granted, my house is in shambles and my pants feel like they are two sizes too small. But that’s what the holidays are all about, right? In all seriousness, I had a wonderful Christmas. I spent a lot of quality time with my family (and adorable nieces), I ate a lot good food, and played a lot of Just Dance 3. (In case you were wondering, I’m absolutely horrible at Just Dance 3.)

However, the holidays aren’t technically over yet. We still have to ring in the new year! I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions – namely, I don’t like making promises I can’t keep – but I do plan on making a few dietary changes on January 1st. No, I am not going on a diet. I’m just going back to the way I normally eat. I like eating fruits, veggies, and whole grains. I feel better when I eat healthy and exercise (call me crazy, but I actually like feeling good). So, I’m going to listen to my body and I’m going to cut back on sugar, carbs, alcohol, etc.

But, that starts on January 1st. Meaning: I’ve got a few more days to eat cookies. And so do you!

So make these cookies now and gobble them up before your New Year’s resolutions begin. ;)

P.S. I’m aware that these cookies may appear to be sprinkled with black pepper, but I can assure you that they are sprinkled with Chai tea leaves (and cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, etc). And I can assure you that they are really, really delicious.

CHAI SNICKERDOODLES
Adapted from The Novice Chef

2 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cream of tartar**
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), room temperature
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs

**If you do not have cream of tartar, you can substitute a 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice.

For the Chai sugar:
5 tablespoons white sugar
2 teaspoons Masala chai tea leaves (Use loose leaf, or empty the contents of a couple of tea bags)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

Method:
Using a food processor or mortar & pestle, grind the Chai tea until it is fine. Combine chai with the sugar and other spices in a small bowl. Set aside.

In another (medium) bowl, combine dry ingredients.

Using a stand mixer (or hand mixer), cream together butter until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time. Add in vanilla (and lemon juice, if substituting for cream of tartar).

Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, and mix until combined. Place dough in refrigerator to chill for a half hour.

Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper (or a Silpat).

Once the dough has chilled, remove from fridge. Using your hands, form dough into large balls (about 1″). Roll each ball in the chai sugar mix, and place on a baking sheet (leave space, as the cookies will expand during baking). Bake for 12-14 minutes, until edges are just barely beginning to turn golden brown. Allow cookies to rest for 5 minutes on cookie sheet before transferring to a cooling rack.

Miniature Smoked Salmon Tartines

I’m a bit of a nomad. In my short life, I’ve lived in various parts of California (Sacramento, Los Angeles, Orange County, etc.), Alaska, Wyoming, Oregon, along with a very brief stint in Mexico.

I have fond memories of most of these places, but none of them compare to my memories of Alaska. My family and I lived in Anchorage, Alaska for 3 years – from the time I was 8 until I was 11 – and I can honestly say that there is no better place to be a kid. My sisters and I built sled runs in our front yard, we fed moose from our deck, we hiked, skiied, fished, and adventured. Alaska was a magical place for kids. I was too busy being young and wild and free to be bothered by the long, dark days of winter. I loved Alaska.

And to this day, whenever I eat smoked salmon, I can’t help but think about Alaska. During our time there, my parents bought a boat and got really into salmon fishing. One year, my mom caught a 65 pound King salmon (Naturally, we had it stuffed. His name is “Sam the Salmon” and he still hangs on the wall at my parent’s house.). Needless to say, we ate a lot of salmon in those days. We ate so much salmon that I grew tired of it. I remember thinking to myself (or whining, aloud), “Salmon for dinner? Again?”. Only in Alaska, I suppose.

(A photo of us from the Alaska days, with our giant stuffed Salmon. This was our Christmas card photo one year.)

But as much as I whined about salmon for dinner, I never seemed to grow tired of smoked salmon. Specifically, my mom’s smoked salmon. Her smoked salmon is ridiculously good, and strangely addictive. In fact, my favorite snack when I was a kid was Ritz crackers with cream cheese and smoked salmon. I ate it constantly. So, then, this recipe is really just a grown up version of my favorite childhood snack. This is my version of Ritz crackers with smoked salmon and cream cheese.

Sadly, I did not use my mom’s smoked salmon for this particular recipe. The days of Alaska and salmon fishing are long gone, and so I had to resort to purchasing Trader Joe’s smoked salmon. It certainly isn’t my mom’s smoked salmon, but it worked nicely in the context of this recipe (and, it’s really affordable!).

I’ll admit, this isn’t a terribly inventive recipe. In fact, I can hardly call it a “recipe” at all: this is a few key ingredients arranged prettily on a mini toast. But, the tartines are easy to put together, they taste fantastic (who doesn’t like salmon with dill and cucumber?), and they make for an elegant holiday appetizer. In the midst of a busy season, this is exactly the type of holiday appetizer I like to make.

And, with that I’d like to wish you a peaceful and restful holiday. Happy Holidays, everyone!

MINIATURE SMOKE SALMON TARTINES (WITH CUCUMBER AND DILL)

Ingredients:
8 oz smoked salmon, sliced thinly
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
2 tablespoons minced fresh dill, plus a few extra sprigs of dill for garnishing
1 package of mini toasts (from Trader Joes). You could substitute crostini, melba toasts, etc.
The zest of 1 lemon
Salt & pepper, to taste
1 cucumber

Slice cucumber thinly, using a knife or mandoline. If using the mini toast (or very small piece of bread), cut each cucumber slice in half. If using a larger bread/cracker base, you may leave the slices whole.

Method:
Mix together the cream cheese, lemon zest, minced dill and salt and pepper. Chill until needed.

Make the tartines immediately prior to serving, so that everything is fresh and chilled when eaten. Spread a small amount of the cream cheese mixture on each mini toast. Place a half slice of cucumber atop the cream cheese. Then, place a small roll of smoked salmon atop the cucumber slice (you could just place the smoked salmon on top without rolling it, I just think that the roll adds height and elegance). Garnish with a bit of fresh dill.

Meyer Lemon Curd & A Handmade Holiday

This post is only slightly different than my handmade holiday post from last year. I was reading over last year’s post (to gain inspiration for this year) and I realized that it said everything that I want to say. I liked it so much that I just decided to repost it for this year. However, I changed out the recipe – last year I made Spicy Brown Mustard, and this year I went with a Meyer Lemon Curd. In addition, I’ve updated and added to my list of homemade and DIY gift ideas. Lastly, I’ve included a few links to organizations that you can donate to in lieu of giving gifts. I think that about covers it, so please read below.

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This time of year is just so overwhelming. It seems that every year, the advertisements get louder, the Black Friday lines get longer, and the things I love about Christmas are seemingly lost in the throes of American consumerism. It all just seems so Charlie Brown, if you know what I mean. And I get so discouraged by insanity of it all! I feel like I need my own personal Linus to come remind me what Christmas is all about.

At the end of the day, I believe that Christmas is about a Savior who came to earth. It’s as simple as that. And whether or not you share my beliefs on Christmas, I do hope that we can all agree that there is something disconcerting about the modern American Christmas. The holiday has become a hallmark of greed, materialism, stress, waste, and so much more. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

For the past few years, my family and I have participated in the phenomenon that is known as The Advent Conspiracy. The Advent Conspiracy is trying to change how we do Christmas. Their motto is simple: Love All. Spend Less. Give More. I was struck by the simplicity of the statement: so much truth in so few words. To expand upon the motto, essentially The Advent Conspiracy challenges people to change their Christmas spending habits. Instead of spending bunches of money on traditional gifts, they challenge people to instead use that money to do good. They do not suggest that you forgo all gifts entirely, rather they encourage people to give thoughtful and handmade gifts, the gift of time (i.e. babysitting for someone, cooking a meal for someone), and other such gifts. (For more info, watch their fantastic promo video here.)

So, my family and I have done just that. We’ve gotten really creative with our gifts – it’s usually a combination of handmade items, secondhand items, or things purchased from local businesses. There are no hard and fast rules, we just do the best we can. And maybe I’m crazy, but I take so much joy in the process. For me, this is what Christmas is all about (Ahem…Charlie Brown). It is about taking the time to invest in those that you love, to gift meaningful and thoughtful gifts, and to use your resources in a way that will benefit others.

That’s my reasoning for making a lot of my Christmas gifts, anyway. I’m not particularly crafty, but every year I challenge myself to try something new. This year, I’m making a few darling yarn wreaths, as well as Meyer Lemon Curd, Crema di Limoncello, Apple Butter, and a few other fun things that I’m not allowed to mention (yet). I haven’t personally tried all the recipes and/or crafts on this list, but they’re all on my list of “things to eventually make”.

I hope that you’re inspired this holiday season, and a happy handmade holiday to all of you.

A HANDMADE HOLIDAY ROUNDUP: GIFT IDEAS FOR YOU AND YOURS!

*Yarn Wreaths with Felt Flowers
*Homemade Creme de Menthe
*Grapefruit Cranberry Marmelade
*Crema di Limoncello
*Cute Little Marble Magnets
*Homemade Vanilla Extract
*The Cutest Little Holiday Snow Globes
*Moss Terrarium | Tiny Terrarium | Hanging Succulent Terrarium
*Chai Tea Mix
*Ina Garten’s Chipotle and Rosemary Spiced Nuts
*Hot Chocolate on a Stick
*Vodka Infusions (Rosemary Lavender & Rhubarb)
*Pumpkin Butter
*Basil & Wine Jelly
*Balsamic Fig Thyme Jam
*Hazelnut-Lavender-Coconut Granola
*Maple Cinnamon Granola
*(Really Cool) Vintage Tin Candles
*Spice Blend: Herbs De Provence
*Vanilla Sea Salt
*Homemade Curry Powder
*Slow Cooker Apple Butter
*DIY Reed Diffuser (Air Freshener)

WAYS TO GIVE TO OTHERS:
I highly encourage any/all of you to give back this holiday season. Here are just a few (of many) organizations that could benefit from your charitable donations:

Give a goat to a family in need (via Oxfam)
Clean Water for Haiti
The International Justice Mission
The Oregon Food Bank
Women for Women: The Women of South Sudan
Chickens for Christmas
No Kid Hungry: Share Our Strength

And finally, here’s one of my absolute favorite recipes for gift giving!

Meyer Lemon Curd
Confession: I’ve already posted recipes for Lime Curd and Grapefruit Curd on my blog, so at this point I think I’m what you’d call a “curd enthusiast”. But, my aunt gave me a whole bag of Meyer Lemons from her trees in Palm Springs, California. I had no choice but to make Meyer Lemon Curd!

1 and 1/2 Cups of fresh squeezed Meyer lemon juice* (from 10-12 lemons)
10 tablespoons of chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
6 eggs, plus the yolk of one egg
Zest of 2 lemons (cut into large pieces for easy retrieval)
1 cup of sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

*If using normal lemons instead of Meyers, you may need to add a touch more sugar.

Method:
Juice the lemons. Rolling the lemons with your palm on the counter will yield much more juice. Pour juice through a strainer or cheesecloth to remove any seeds and large bits of pulp.

In a saucepan, whisk the eggs (and yolk) together. Add in lemon juice and sugar, and whisk until well combined. Turn your stovetop on, and gradually heat up the mixture over medium-low heat, whisking constantly. Once the mixture is warm, turn the heat up to medium and add in the strips of zest. Next, begin to add the butter pieces, bit by bit, whisking the whole time. Continue whisking, adding butter all the time, until you’ve added all the butter. Continue whisking, being careful not to burn (or allow the eggs to curdle), and cook for 7-10 minutes, or until curd is thick and creamy.

Remove from heat and cool at room temperature for an hour. I put a piece of plastic wrap over it (so a film doesn’t form on top). Transfer to sterilized jars. These can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.

Crema di Limoncello

I went to the grocery store over the weekend, and while I was there my husband texted and asked me to pick up a can of red hair spray for his Halloween Costume (he dressed up as Ron Weasley). I went to the Halloween section, which just days before had been full of costumes, candy, and Halloween decor. But now, just 3 days before Halloween, the section was reduced to a measly and picked over half-aisle. I wandered down the aisles to see if there were any other Halloween supplies, but only found aisle after aisle of Christmas merchandise. It was red and green as far as the eye could see.

It’s all a little bit ridiculous, isn’t it? Christmas seems to come earlier every year. I’m just not ready for it — for all the holiday crowds and obnoxious renditions of Jingle Bells playing on repeat in department stores (does a non-obnoxious version of Jingle Bells exist?).

And yet, here I am posting about Christmas on Halloween. I’m just as bad as the grocery store, apparently.

But, the actual recipe has nothing to do with Christmas. The recipe is for Crema Di Limoncello, which is a creamy lemon liqueur that can be enjoyed year-round. I made a batch of limoncello a couple of weeks ago, with the idea of getting a head start on my Christmas presents this year. You see, I make most of my Christmas gifts by hand and so I figured that if I got started on gifts in October, then I’d be less stressed in December.

This idea was good in theory, until my husband and I consumed all the limoncello (OK, we didn’t consume all of it…I did swap some of it at the last PDX Food Swap). Oops. This stuff is dangerously delicious. I suppose this is one gift I’ll have to wait and make in December, as it simply won’t last long at our house. It is too good!

That being said, maybe I shouldn’t recommend that you make limoncello for Christmas gifts. Maybe you should just make a batch and drink it with friends and loved ones. However, if you’re one of my friends or loved ones, you probably shouldn’t make any as I will most likely be giving you a bottle for Christmas. ;)

Anyway…Happy Halloween (and Happy Reformation Day)! I’m going to celebrate with a big bowl of pumpkin curry, and I might just drink the last few drops of limoncello that I have left. Be warm, safe, and happy tonight.

Crema di Limoncello
Adapted from Vanilla Garlic

(**Note the original recipe makes twice this amount. My recipe starts with a pint of Everclear, as opposed to a full 750ml bottle. In addition, the ratio of milk to alcohol is 2 to 1, and yet this limoncello still packs a punch. I was dubious about the 4 cups of milk to 2 cups of Everclear, but it works, trust me.)

Ingredients
5 lemons
2 cups Everclear (You could substitute another brand of vodka in this recipe, but Everclear has a higher alcohol content than other vodkas. If you use another vodka, reduce the amount of milk used)
4 cups of whole milk
1.5 cups of sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla (or half a a vanilla bean)
Cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer

Zest the lemons (using a grater, or by peeling strips off with a knife/peeler). Place Everclear and lemon zest into a jar and seal. Store in a cool, dry place for one week (or more. I let mine steep for two weeks). Strain using cheesecloth or strainer to remove zest.

In a small pot or saucepan, warm the milk over medium heat. Add in the sugar and the vanilla, and cook (stirring frequently) until the sugar has dissolved. Remove milk mixture from heat and allow to cool.

Once cool, mix milk and infused Everclear together in a large bowl or pitcher. Funnel into bottles, jars, or other tightly sealed containers. Store in the fridge or freezer. Serve chilled.

Note: Limoncello is usually served as an after dinner cocktail. I like to serve it in small glasses, poured straight out of the freezer. The colder the better!