Monday, April 26, 2010


A while back my friends in Sacramento, California, sent me a box full of lemons from their lemon tree. After some pondering I decided to use some of them to make homemade limoncello.

They smelled so good, you just can't even imagine. It was a burst of summer in the middle of a Michigan winter.

I did a simple Google search for "limoncello" and after some perusal settled on this recipe, from the Washington Post. I had a source from Indiana procure for me a bottle of true high-octane Everclear, 190 proof, which is unavailable in Michigan. This, according to various persons in the know, is what one should use to make homemade limoncello.

I used one of my growlers for the initial steeping. It worked perfectly! And yes, I did manage to get all of the lemon peel out of the jug once steeping was over. There was a lot of shaking involved.

The sugar water-lemon infusion mixing step. This was messy and sticky. The end result filled two half-gallon growlers. That's a lot of limoncello.

The finished product!

I was as careful as I could be when I peeled the lemons but I think a wee bit of white pith made it into the infusion and made it a tiny bit more bitter than it should have been. Nevertheless, for my first attempt at anything like this, it turned out remarkably well. It tastes great and is delicious by itself with some ice or mixed in with other things.

This is not a concoction for the impatient. It took five weeks from start to finish, and I have another half gallon that's still resting in my basement. Anyone want some homemade limoncello?

Monday, March 1, 2010

Chocolate Chambord Ice Cream

A random comment on Facebook did what nothing else could: prod me into updating my poor, sad, neglected food blog. I don't even know how I can be called a Michigan Lady Food Blogger since I haven't updated my food blog in five months! I've had the pictures for this sitting around since LAST SUMMER. There's no excuse. I'm just lazy as heck.

When I discovered how easy it is to make your own ice cream, I started experimenting with different flavors. I learned that I could take a plain vanilla cream base and add almost anything to it. In one memorable experiment, my friend and I made ice cream which contained Gummi Bears and mini marshmallows (that strange combination was his request). Why not? It was fun, and I love having fun with cooking. Additionally, I am in complete control of the ingredients, and as such my homemade ice cream has no salt, less sugar, and no weird chemicals with multisyllabic names.

Anything chocolate has long been a favorite ice cream flavor of mine, so I began playing with various kinds of chocolate. Orange-infused chocolate chip: a huge hit. Chocolate with Grand Marnier: not so much; something in the Grand Marnier prevents the ice cream from ever fully freezing so the ice cream is mushy and slippery. Chocolate Chambord, however: a smashing success.

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 8 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, broken into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 cups chilled heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanillla extract
  • Chambord liqueur
Heat the whole milk until it is just bubbling around the edges (this may be done on a stove or in a microwave). In a blender or food processor fitted with the metal blade, pulse to process the sugar with the chocolate until the chocolate is very finely chopped. Add the hot milk and process until well blended and smooth. Transfer to a quart-sized container and let the mixture cool completely. Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla to taste. Chill for 30 minutes or longer. Turn your ice cream maker on and pour the chilled mixture into the freezer bowl. Let mix until thickened, about 25-30 minutes. In the final five minutes of mixing, add 1/4 to 1/2 cup Chambord liqueur (depending on how strongly you wish your ice cream to taste of raspberry). Once mixing is complete, transfer bowl to freezer and cure for at least 2 hours. For the ice cream to freeze solid all the way through may take up to 4 hours, so if you want to have this for dessert, don't start making it at 8:00 pm!

This is the Basic Chocolate Ice Cream recipe from the user manual for my Cuisinart automatic ice cream maker (a truly wonderful machine). I added the Chambord all on my own. I like to use Ghirardelli bittersweet (60% cacao) chocolate chips because not only does it save you the tedious task of chopping chocolate, the chips are delicious to snack on.

A variation on this ice cream which I made another time included fresh raspberries, which I threw in along with the Chambord at the tail end of churning time. Now that was an epic ice cream!

I know it's winter and we're all so very tired of cold, but it's always time for ice cream!