Days of fun with lemons

The two recipes below are for people with basements and lemon trees...dare to dream.

Creamy Limoncellos

yield: Makes 8 servings

active time: 20 min

total time: 4 days (includes soaking and chilling) - Really good, or traditional limoncello is supposed to take between 40 and 80 days.

Ingredients
  • 6 lemons
  • 2 cups (16 ounces) good-quality vodka
  • 1/2 gallon 1 % (low-fat) milk
  • 1 cup sugar
Preparation

Remove zest from lemons with a vegetable peeler (about 5 strips per lemon), reserving fruit for another use. Scrape any white pith from zest strips, then soak zest in vodka at room temperature 4 days.

Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a liquid measuring cup, discarding zest, then transfer vodka to a glass bottle (preferably 2 quart).

Simmer milk and sugar in a heavy medium saucepan, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until reduced to about 4 cups, 25 to 30 minutes. (Skim off any foam.) Cool completely, then add to vodka. Chill until cold, at least 2 hours.

Preserved Meyer Lemons

yield: Makes 48 pieces

active time: 15 min

total time: 5 days

Adapted from cookbook author Paula Wolfert’s quick method, made it even faster by blanching the lemons first. The rind of a preserved lemon is a common ingredient in Moroccan dishes; also use also in soups, stews, and salads and as a low-fat alternative to olives. Save the pulp for Bloody Marys or anything else enlivened by a little lemon juice and salt.

Ingredients
  • 2 1/2 to 3 pounds Meyer lemons (10 to 12)
  • 2/3 cup coarse salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Special equipment: 6-cup jar with tight-fitting lid
Preparation

Blanch 6 lemons in boiling water 5 minutes. When cool enough to handle, cut lemons into 8 wedges each and discard seeds. Toss with salt in a bowl and pack into jar.

Squeeze enough juice from remaining lemons to measure 1 cup. Add enough juice to cover lemons and cover jar with lid. Let stand at room temperature, shaking gently once a day, 5 days. Add oil and chill.

*Both recipes taken from Gourmet Magazine.

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