Olivia Dish

Archive for July, 2010|Monthly archive page

My Little Limoncello

In Beverages, Homemade on July 31, 2010 at 10:49 pm

Why limoncello packs a punch

Global warming made me do it.

Made me drive over to the liquor emporium and buy my first ever bottle of Everclear. (How was I lucky enough to miss out on that in my youth?)

Made me skin lemons and steep the rinds.

Yes, global warming is the reason I’m stewing up a batch of limoncello crema in my kitchen.

Making limoncello is fairly easy. What’s not so easy is finding the definitive recipe.  I stumbled across one on NPR’s website, while I was tracking down a story about climate change. Limoncello crema sounded delicious. And doable. So I started assembling the ingredients.  But then, a closer look and my questioning began.

The original recipe calls for not one, but TWO bottles of Everclear. A 5-pound bag of sugar. A half gallon of milk. It seemed huge, too sweet, too Evercleary.  I googled and the questions only multiplied.

“Never use Everclear.”
“We only use high-quality vodka.”
“Never use vodka.”
“We always use Everclear or some other pure grain alcohol.”

Hmm.

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Whoopie Pie Yay

In Homemade, Sweets on July 21, 2010 at 11:26 pm
whoopie pies in progress

Let them eat whoopie pies!

You go ahead and eat your of-the-moment cupcakes. I’m already on to the next small thing: whoopie pies.

Whoopie pies may be old news to the people of Maine and Pennsylvania Dutch country, but in the South, I still have to explain what they are. Odd, isn’t it, since a whoopie pie sounds pretty danged Southern, right up there with the Moon Pie and Cheerwine.

Despite our being Southerners, my nieces and I have made baking whoopie pies into something of a summer vacation tradition. I first learned about whoopie pies while visiting Rockport, Maine, with my friend Beans Somegood. Beans insisted we stop at a gas station and pick up a couple of homemade ones. “They’re everywhere,” she promised me. And they were.

Whoopie pies, if you don’t know, are two small rounds of  cake (a bit like mini hamburger buns) sandwiched around a cream filling. The story on the name is this: Amish wives packed the easy-to-hold desserts in their farmer husbands’ lunches. When the husbands would find the cakes, they’d cry “whoopie!”  True? Who cares? Let the cupcake top that story, I say.

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Barbecue Spice Girl

In Homemade, Taste Tests on July 9, 2010 at 9:32 pm
homemade barbecue chips

The orange residue of shame

I’m sure I should prefer the fruit. Or even the circa 1980s pasta salad. But the shameful, orange-tinged truth is this: I’d rather have a side of barbecue potato chips.

I really can’t tell you why, on occasion, I lust for BPCs. After the first bite or two, they always leave me feeling dirty. And I’m not just talking about the residue (which, by the way, is as hard to clean up as fingerprint powder but that’s another story).  Even all-natural BPCs take on an aura of chemical fakeness about ten chips into your basic bag.

cape cod chips bag

More evidence: an empty bag

So I wondered, as I always do—what’s the attraction?  Standing in the checkout line at Fresh Market, I flipped over the perfectly respectable bag of kettle fried barbecue chips and looked at the ingredients.

Well what do you know? Paprika is a major ingredient. And as it happened, I had just put a can of smoked sweet paprika in my basket. Maybe a batch of homemade barbecue potato chips would help me get to the root of the thing.

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