Limoncello is made in homes all over Southern Italy, where lemon trees grow in abundance. Less familiar outside Southern Italy is Rosolio di Limone, a lower-alcohol, sweeter variation of the liqueur that I find makes a better choice for using in desserts, such as Zabaione al Limoncello (page 97) and Biscotti di Ceglie (page 162).
To make limoncello, simply follow the instructions below, using 4 cups (1 L) of water and 2 cups (400 g) of sugar in place of the 6 cups of water and 4 cups of sugar below. An equal quantity of limoncello can be substituted for rosolio di limone in any of the recipes.
As a digestivo (after-dinner drink), both rosolio and limoncello are served cold; once you’ve opened a bottle, store it in the refrigerator or freezer. The alcohol will prevent it from freezing solid.
Here in California, I use Meyer lemons from my garden, but you can use any variety.
If you purchase the lemons, look for ones that have not been sprayed or waxed, the fresher the better.
Remove the peel from the lemons in strips with a vegetable peeler, taking only the yellow part and carefully avoiding even the slightest bit of white pith, which will turn the rosolio bitter.
Pour the alcohol into a clean quart (liter) jar with a tight-fitting lid, such as a European-style canning jar with a rubber gasket and clamp lid. Add the lemon peel.
Close the jar and let steep for 1 week in a cool, dark place, such as a pantry or wine cellar.
After the alcohol has steeped, stir the sugar with the water in a large saucepan over low heat until the sugar dissolves completely. The mixture should be clear. Remove from the heat and let cool completely. (Do not be tempted to rush into the next step; if the sugar syrup is not completely cool, your rosolio will be cloudy.)
Remove the lemon peels from the alcohol (discard the peels) and pour the infused alcohol into the sugar syrup, stirring to combine. Pour the mixture through a finemesh strainer lined with cheesecloth, then decant the rosolio into clean bottles and seal with a cork or lid.
Let the rosolio mature for 15 days in a cool, dark place before using it, then refrigerate.
Lemon verbena is a perennial herb that imparts the bright flavor of lemon without the acidity. The combination of lemon and green tea tastes light, refreshing, and clean, making these cakes the perfect finish to a spicy meal. The tops and sides of the cakes are left unadorned for a minimalist look.
For the Cake 1 ½ cups (7.5 ounces) all-purpose flour 1/3 teaspoon baking powder 1/3 teaspoon salt 1 ½ sticks plus 2 tablespoons (7 ounces) unsalted butter, softened 1 cup (7 ounces) sugar 1 ½ tablespoons matcha tea 3 large eggs 3 tablespoons crème fraîche or sour cream 2 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
For the Lemon Verbena Ganache 1 cup (8 ounces) heavy cream 2 tablespoons light corn syrup ½ cup (4 grams) dried lemon verbena 2 teaspoons powdered gelatin 3 tablespoons cold water 1 ¾ cups (9.5 ounces) 31% white chocolate chips or fèves or chopped 31% white chocolate 8 tablespoons (1 stick/4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest 1 tablespoon lemon juice ½ teaspoon ground dried lemon verbena
To make the cake
1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 325°F. Coat the bottom and sides of a 13-by-18-by-1-inch baking sheet with nonstick baking spray or butter and line with parchment paper. Smooth the parchment, making sure there are no air bubbles.
2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl, using a handheld mixer), cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the matcha and beat for 30 seconds, or until the color of the butter mixture is uniform.
4. Whisk together the eggs, crème fraîche, and vanilla in a small bowl, then pour into the creamed butter and beat until smooth. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl and the paddle and mix for 30 seconds.
5. Beating on low speed, add the dry ingredients in three batches, mixing for 1 to 2 minutes after each addition. Scrape the bowl again and mix for 15 seconds.
6. Pour the batter onto the prepared baking sheet, spreading it evenly with an offset spatula. Bake for 10 minutes. Rotate the pan and bake for an additional 3 to 4 minutes, until the cake appears firm and has a matte finish. Let the cake cool completely in the pan on a cooling rack. Chill the cake for a minimum of 10 to 15 minutes before building the mini-cakes.
To make the Ganache
1. Put the cream, corn syrup, and ½ cup dried lemon verbena into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Turn off the heat, cover the pan with aluminum foil, and poke a few holes into the top to allow steam to release. Let steep for 1 hour.
2. Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water in a small bowl. Let sit for 10 minutes, until the gelatin softens.
3. Put the chocolate into a medium bowl and set aside.
4. Strain the cream mixture and return it to the pan. Add the gelatin and heat over medium-low heat, stirring until the gelatin is dissolved and the cream has almost come to a boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate and let sit for 1 minute.
5. Using a small rubber spatula, begin stirring the white chocolate mixture in one direction, concentrating on the center, until smooth and glistening. Add the butter and stir until it is completely melted, about 1 minute. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, and ½ teaspoon ground dried lemon verbena and stir until well incorporated. Put the ganache in the coolest part of your kitchen and let set, stirring occasionally, until spreadable, for about 1 hour before using. (The ganache can be covered and refrigerated for up to 2 weeks; see instructions below.)
To Assemble the Cakes
1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a ruler as a guide, score lines 3 inches apart, both vertically and horizontally, on the chilled sheet cake. Then cut into 24 squares with a very sharp knife.
2. Place 8 cake squares on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Using an offset spatula, spread approximately 2 tablespoons ganache over each one. Top each with a second cake square and 2 tablespoons ganache, then top each with a third cake layer. Let stand until the ganache has set, then gently cover the tray pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving.
The cakes can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Using Leftover (or Chilled) Buttercream and Ganache
Leftover buttercream or ganache will keep in your refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, to be used for another dessert. And it will taste like fresh-made if you follow a few simple steps.
Chilled buttercream is very hard, so you need to let it come to room temperature and then aggressively whip it. Put the room-temperature buttercream in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl, and use a handheld mixer) and beat on low speed. As the buttercream starts to break up, increase the speed to medium. After about 1 minute, the buttercream will soften and separate. This may make you nervous, but just continue mixing, and within another minute or so, the buttercream will come back together and appear brand-new.
Ganache is not as malleable as buttercream, and leftovers require a more delicate handling. Let the ganache come to room temperature (do not try to rush the process—firm chilled ganache is likely to separate and become grainy when beaten). Then put it in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or in a large bowl, and use a handheld mixer) and whip on medium-low speed until the ganache forms soft peaks. Chill for 10 to 15 minutes, then spread it with an offset spatula.
Third excerpt from Take One Pot (Kyle Books, October 2013) by Georgina Fuggle after Hollow the Loaf, Quiche in a Suitcase is based on polenta, once a stomach filling staple for the poor to fill their stomachs, now gracing the best restaurants tables.
Polenta Bake with Tomato, Feta and Mushrooms
Years ago, ground polenta simply provided hunger-defying gruel to the poor, but today it’s found cooked with the expensive additions of Parmesan and butter. The transformation has put it back on the map of Michelinstarred menus and into the repertoire of enthusiastic cooks. Here, instant polenta is used, so there are only minutes from package to plate and the peasant price tag still holds strong. It’s well worth stocking a package in your pantry.
Prep time 10 minutes,
Cook time 20 minutes,
1 cup instant polenta 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks 31/4 cups hot vegetable stock 2/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese 11/2 cups thinly sliced mushrooms (any type really; mypreference would be mini portobello) 1 cup cherry tomatoes, some halved, some not 2/3 cup crumbled feta cheese A handful of delicate arugula Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat your broiler to high.
2. Put the polenta and chunks of butter in a deep, 10-inch diameter ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Gradually pour the hot stock onto the polenta, beating with gusto to prevent any large lumps forming. Keep beating until the mixture has thickened and is starting to bubble like erupting volcanoes, about 4 to 5 minutes. Season well with black pepper and salt.
3. Remove the pan from the heat and stir through the Parmesan. You could clean the sides of your skillet at this stage to remove any obvious volcano larva (spitting polenta). Top the polenta with the mushroom slices, tomatoes, and crumbled feta.
4. Put the pan under the hot broiler until the tomato skins have burst and the mushrooms have wilted with the heat, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes before dressing.
(* Recipe reproduced with permission from 'Take One Pot' by Georgina Fuggle- Kyle Books, October 2013- all rights reserved- Photo by Tara Fisher)
9- Looking for some excitement, then Try Grona Lund amusement park.
10- Enjoy the beauty of Stockholm. Take it easy and be Happy.
1- Do not forget your Id card when you want to buy alcohol.
2- Do not take black (unregistered ) Taxi. it is not safe.
3- Do not waste your time on shopping. Stockholm is more beautiful than that.
4- Do not expect to buy cheaper from Ikea in Sweden. It is a myth.
5- Do not visit Fjäderholmarna island unless you have lots of money to spend.
6- The only Casino in Stockholm is not worth a try!
7- Do not pee in public. there is always a toilet nearby but do not forget your pee money (10 swedish korons ) , Nothing is free.
8- Do not run after bus or train from SL (Stockholm Public Transport). There will be another one in just a few minutes. Take it easy. As mentioned before, you can also take local boat service like Djurgarden ferry which "depart for Djurgården from Slussen; they are a classic feature of life in Stockholm and they carry city slickers and tourists to Skansen, Waldemarsudde or the Rosendal gardens."
9- We do not smoke indoor in Sweden. including while standing in bus stop.
10- Avoid drunk people. Stockholm and Sweden is mostly safe but there is no harm to avoid drunk people or dark areas during the night.
"Renowned and beloved cookbook author, Paula Wolfert, was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. In true fighting spirit, Paula has become a leading spokesperson for Alzheimer’s; championing preventative measures and ways to mitigate symptoms of the disease.
Mediterranean Feast for Paula is a grassroots fundraising and outreach campaign organized by chefs Farid Zadi and Susan Park with the support of Paula Wolfert and the Alzheimer’s Association. All proceeds go to the Alzheimer’s Association."
"Frustrated at the ‘cheesy pile of utter toss’ usually written about the relationship between food and romance, Helen Graves decided to do something about it. Cook Your Date Into bed is an ant-cliché cynical sideways glance at the genre backed up by food and drink recipes that will make you look totally slick with minimal effort.
Every situation is covered, from the classic evening dinner date scenario to the morning after (wahey!), the picnic date, the cinema date, right through to the post pub munchies. There’s a lot of bitching about silly assumptions along the way, like the concept of aphrodisiac foods, tirelessly rolled out every year around Valentine’s day, the pros and cons of the various dating scenarios and some horror stories involving food and dating, collected from Graves’ (brave) friends."
I have not had the pleasure to read either book yet.
Postwar Japan is on display in Chewing Gum and Chocolate (Aperture, US publication, May 31, 2014) featuring photography of Shomei Tomatsu (1930-2012).
"Shomei Tomatsu originally named this series Occupation, but later retitled it Chewing Gum and Chocolate to reflect the handouts given to Japanese kids by the soldiers--sugary and addictive, but lacking in nutritional value. And although many of his most iconic images are from this series, the best of this work has never before been gathered together in a single volume. Leo Rubinfien, co-curator of the photographer’s survey Skin of the Nation, contributes an essay that engages with Tomatsu’s ambivalence toward the American occupation and the shifting national identity of Japan."
Life in Japan after the war for Tokyo Thursdays # 278
She knows how to make things happen in her many projects including currently We the School India an We Magazine- Middle East. Ulrike Reinhard is always generous with her time and advice so when she asked me to give a hand in spreading the word on an auction she is spearheading to raise funds for a skatepark in rural India, I could not say no.
This effort reminds me of model that was adopted for Menu for Hope (the brainchild of Pim Techamuanvivit of Chez Pim) of which i was happy to be a small part.
Ulrike and her team put together a nice international roster of creative minds and asked them to offer their Skateboard designs for Artboard/ Skateboard...
BIDDING OPENS ON MARCH 20...Bidding Links will not be active until that date.
Among the 20 pieces, I picked 3
Bollywood style by Kanhaiya Prasad Singh
Goddess like by Atita Verghese listed asthe 1st female Indian skateboarder
To get your chance to help the project and hopefully be the proud recipient of one of these unique pieces, all you need is a minimum of 300 Euros ($ 411 at today's rate) and a little chance.
Rules of the Bid
ARTBOARD / SKATEBOARD IS AN INITIATIVE OF WE_SCHOOL, INDIA. Over the last year we’ve done various skateboard workshops – now we decided to build a skatepark in rural India. To raise funds for the skatepark we’ve asked designers, photographer and artists to “design” a skateboard. This site is set up to auction the artboards.
100% of the auction proceeds will go into the project!
The auction will be live from March 20 until March 26, 2014. During this time the YOUR BID button will be activated.
The minimum bid for each ARTBOARD / SKATEBOARD is 300 €.
Get your bids going and spread the word.
(* Images shared with permission, all rights reserved)