hi there!

I’m Mari.
On Marivelous Me! you’ll find recipes, food gifts, food I’ve traveled for and food solutions. Poke around, maybe you’ll find inspiration for something you’re working on. Enjoy! 


Limoncello - Part I

One of the glories of living in LA is the bounty of fresh produce but more specifically - the citrus bounty! Oh how I love oranges. Growing up on the East Coast, I had no idea so many varieties existed. Going to Berkeley Bowl years ago opened my eyes to the incredible options. Mr. Mari laughed as I collected two of each orange so we could later sample them back in the hotel room.

Prior to moving into our home, we stayed at friends’ that have a lemon tree. Overflowing with lemons, they said to take as many as I wanted (Really? Did they think about to whom they were making this offer?). Anyway, I took a bunch; I’m not shy. My first thought was to make lemonade and granita for myself but one of the things I’ve always wanted to make was limoncello, a lemon liqueur originally from Sicily. I drank it in Italy as a digestif but it’s more commonly known for being a key ingredient in a Lemon Drop martini and that it can be cloyingly sweet (blech). Buying lemons in New York City at my local Food Emporium supermarket for this purpose never sounded right so here was the perfect opportunity!

I’m only part way through the process but I thought I’d show you what I’ve got going so far. As part of my OCD nature, I read a whole lotta blog posts about this. Some recipes call for grain alcohol, others vodka. A great source that was easy to stumble upon was Limoncello Quest. As far as the vodka goes, 100-proof is ideal but if you can’t find it, they say 80-proof will do in a desperate pinch (the lower alcohol content of the limoncello may end up freezing instead of remaining liquid yet icy cold in your freezer). Most sites recommended staying away from grain - too biting and raw, they say, others (purists) say vodka imparts too much of its own flavor. Grain sounded a little too Thunderbird to me so I decided to go the vodka route. I couldn’t find any 100-proof at first so I ended up combining two 750ml bottles of Smirnoff in 80- and 100-proof each to make a 90-proof batch. For marinating time, the options there varied too from 10 to 45 days. I opted for the 45 day resting period, thinking that the longer it soaks, the more flavor will be extracted. I’m starting another batch that’s at the desired 100-proof. We’ll see. I’ll post the final recipe when all’s said and done.

Next steps: Adding the simple syrup and straining the zest. Stay tuned! 

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