Monday, September 26, 2011


What would you have done with all this citrusy goodness? 

 If you answered this, you're absolutely right.  Local lime meringue pies with perfumy zest added right in the filling is incomparably delicious to any other citrus pie I've eaten or made in my life.  They're also the best energy efficient pies because they only take ten to twelve minutes to bake.  Take that CUC!   
Ingredients: 3 limes, zested and juiced, 2 cups of sugar, 4 eggs (yolks, tempered), 2 tbspns of flour, 2 tbspns of butter and 1 1/2 cups of water make the silky filling.  Egg whites (of 4 eggs), 1 cup of sugar and a tspn of vanilla make the meringue.  Help from four daughters makes it extra delicious!
Trust me, it's good enough to tame even the hungriest bunch!

When life gives you limes and you've already made pie, you don't come up with more corny cliches -  you make more delicious concoctions.  I made Limoncello for the first time the other week.  Technically, I shouldn't call it that since I did use limes, but limecello sounds funny, so we're sticking with it.  There are literally dozens of recipes out there and they all say the same thing - authentic limoncello takes no less than 40 days. Ha ha, 40 days.  Who are we kidding?  Giada De Laurentiis is Italian and a chef and a judge on Food Network and she says 4 days is ok.  I like Giada. 

You'll need a really sharp peeler or paring knife and about ten limes.  Peel the limes, making sure to not include any pith (white thingy).  See the picture above? I had to scrape the pith off.  That's stuff might look innocent, but it's bitter and nasty and will ruin your beautiful drink. This is the most time consuming part and you'll need patience, but you'll smell really good after, so it's a fair trade. 

Place your peels in a glass jar and fill it with a bottle of the strongest vodka (good vodka or Everclear) you can find.  Leave the jar in a dark place like your pantry, in room temperature for about four days.  If you aren't in a hurry, go ahead and let it steep for 40.  It's your drink, not mine.  After you steep the rinds, it's time to add the second part of the ingredients.  The sweetness. Who called my name?

 Combine 3 cups of water with 2 1/2 cups of sugar.  Let it boil for about 5-7 minutes, or until you have a nice simple syrup.  Cool your syrup completely and then add it to your lime infused vodka.  Control your urges to try any and let that steep overnight in room temperature.

The next evening, strain the mixture into another bottle.  You can use a cheesecloth or coffee filter and a funnel.  You can make candied peels out of the leftover rind, but that's another recipe, so just dump em.  But, wait!  You can't drink it yet.  Let your limoncello chill in the freezer for at least 4 hours or overnight.  It won't freeze and will be good for about four months. In Italy, limoncello is shared super cold and after dinner as a sort of digestive, but I just like to bust out the shot glasses and "Cheers!" 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Peanut Buttery Pecks

I had a weird dream this afternoon while napping.  My son was five and sitting on the couch playing with a toy.  He had his head down concentrating on a bent wheel of a plastic truck while the other kids (who weren't even born yet) scampered around the house.  I woke up and felt an instant pang of longing.  The old days weren't all great, but the kids had good childhoods full of rice krispy basketballs, puppet show parties and cardboard playhouses.  I sat for a while and wondered why the dream made me so sad.  I didn't want to go back or even relive those moments.  Then it hit me.  I wanted to hold that little boy again and smush my face into his warm cheeks.  I miss the feel of chubby armed hugs around my neck and sticky peanut buttery fingers in my hair.  Sigh.  We can't ever go back kid and peanut butter will never taste the same again.

Love Letter

Dear Life,

Your most endearing quality is your endurance.   You do not buckle in frustration when the last eggs fall and crack on their way to the mixing bowl.  You do not stop, even for the rain that looms on your way to the beach.  When I think of how unyielding you are to whatever comes your way it makes me feel like I too can endure.  My enduring feeling looks like a plank on a withering rose bush, supportive and strong.  Like how Peyton never gives up on homework she can't understand, a furrowed brow, determined to get it.  It smells like the morning after a storm, mixed with sadness but bright with promise.  I am grateful for each new day and hopeful about every new step as I endure.