Friday, January 22, 2010

Limoncello Margaritas

We discovered a new, tasty application for the most recent batch of homemade limoncello this evening … limoncello margaritas. As is often the case, necessity is the mother of invention. Planning on tacos for dinner and not having the requisite limes to make margaritas, tonight we experimented and found an innovative way to combine the best of Mexico and Italy.

For one drink, combine:
• Two shots tequila
• One shot limoncello
• One to one and half teaspoons sugar
• Half a lemon, juiced
• Zest from one half lemon

Add ice to a cocktail shaker and strain into a crushed ice tumbler. Nice!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Asian Cilantro Chicken Bites - Our Version

After Jeff initially found this recipe on, we both decided that it sounded good but that the reviews weren't so hot. After a few suggestions, I came up with a version that turned out very good. We served it as an entree with jasmine rice and Jeff made a dipping (or drizzling) sauce out of hoison, honey, rice wine vinegar and soy sauce. The bites would also be great on toothpicks as an appetizers or served in bibb lettuce wraps.

Better Asian Cilantro Chicken Bites
* 1/2 T soy sauce
* 1/2 T rice vinegar (not seasoned)
* 1 lb ground chicken
* 1 large egg
* 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
* 2 scallions, finely chopped
* 3 teaspoons Asian sesame oil
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
* 1/4 teaspoon ginger (use less if fresh)
* 1/2 cup of plain breadcrumbs or panko breadcrumbs
* 3/4 cup cornstarch
* 1/2 cup vegetable oil

Stir together chicken, egg, cilantro, scallions, sesame oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, ginger, garlic powder, breadcrumbs and salt with a fork until just blended. Add more breadcrumbs if mixture is too wet.

Spread cornstarch in a shallow pan. Form chicken mixture into 1-inch balls, transferring them to baking pan as formed. Gently roll balls in cornstarch until coated. The chicken balls will be soft. (I made mine a little bigger and cooked them longer because we were't serving them as appetizers.)

Heat 1/4 cup vegetable oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then cook half of balls, turning occasionally, until firm and golden (they will flatten slightly), 2 to 3 minutes (3+ if yours are larger). Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Add remaining 1/4 cup oil to skillet and cook remaining balls in same manner. Serve meatballs with dipping sauce.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Limoncello Tiramisu

One of the best reasons to make limoncello (the recipe of which is by far the most popular post on our blog) is to use it in Lidia Bastianich's wonderful limoncello tiramisu recipe. This can be found in her book, Lidia's Italy or online at epicurious.

It is quickly becoming a holiday tradition to make for New Year's Eve dinner as I did last year. Memories of the lemon-y goodness spurred me to finish the latest batch of limoncello (straining, making the sugar syrup and bottling).

The limoncello was only the capstone to a crazy Italian dinner that included old favorites like the Tuscan bean puree crostini and saltimbocca alla romana, as well as some new experiments like a sformato di carote and pappa al pomodoro. I didn't love the new recipes and will probably turn to the cucchiaio argento next time.

Anyway. Happy New Year. Try the limoncello tiramisu the next time you have an Italian-themed dinner party. It works in the dead of winter just as well as in the summertime. Ciao!