Thursday, August 21, 2008

The arrival of The Wee is ever closer (really the only way this kind of thing works!)

Some of The Menagerie readers may be wondering just what we want/need for the upcoming arrival of The Wee (due late September/early October). Mostly, of course, The Wee wants love and food and somewhere to poop and pee. We know everyone will adore The Wee (you'd better! or watch out!). And we've got the food part covered. Well, mostly Daniela's got that covered or uncovered, actually, but we won't bore you with those details! However, we are planning on cloth diapering so you can always help us out by getting us some of those! Babies, apparently, go through A LOT of diapers...who knew? Ha! As well, we have found some cute and funny and ironic and wry bits of clothing, various toys, slings/carriers, and various other assorted baby stuff. So should you feel so inclined and of course you don't need to!, please feel free to visit the registries we have set up with a number of local retailers (yeah, we don't really do Babies R Us, etc...).

Pacifier - 888-623-8123 or 612-623-8123, located in NE Minneapolis, 310 E. Hennepin Ave. Various cute, funny, funky clothes & accessories, including organic cotton clothing.

Twin Cities Green
- 612-374-4581, located in Uptown Minneapolis, 2405 S. Hennepin Ave. Natural/organic cotton clothes, washcloths, cloth diapers, bottles & accessories.

Peapods - registry is not on-line but you can call, 651-695-5559 or 1-866-WOOD-TOY, and they will help you out, located in St Paul, 251 Snelling Ave South. Cloth diapers, natural/organic clothes and toys, baby carrier, baby bouncy seat.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Homemade Limoncello

A few weeks ago, I saw a recipe in the paper for homemade limoncello. I don't think than anyone who knows me would be surprised that I immediately began planning to make my own batch!

I was very curious to see how it would compare to the limoncello we had in Campania and elsewhere in southern Italy last year (where limoncello was invented), and also to the limoncello I've had at a fine local restaurant which makes its own. (The picture at the top is from a wonderful restaurant in Basilicata, Italy, in the town of Aliano-- I asked for some limoncello after lunch, and they brought me the whole bottle!)

The recipe is pretty simple. Start with 2 pounds of lemons (I used organic lemons).
Zest the lemons (phew!).
(We used the leftover lemons to make a big batch of lemonade. Yum!)

Soak the zest in a quart of vodka for at least 3-5 days, stirring frequently.

I used 2 kinds of Minnesota-made vodka. Mostly this one, which is new and happens to be organic!
And a bit of this one, after I ran out of the other one...
I steeped for about 10 days, after which I was sick of waiting. Next time I might try to do it longer.... It says the zest should turn white when all of its flavor has been extracted-- mine never did....

Strain out the zest. Meanwhile, add 2 1/2 cups of sugar to 6 cups of water and heat over low heat till dissolved and clear. I used slightly less than 2.5 cups of organic sugar. Next time I think I will use even less.

Once simple syrup is at room temp., mix with vodka. Strain through coffee filters and bottle. Chill. The recipe says to strain through "several changes of coffee filters," but I just did it once. Again, I'm impatient. It's pretty clear but could be clearer....

I made up some labels, got some nice bottles at the local homebrew store, and voila!

Limoncello, a.k.a. grown-up lemonade. It has a lovely pale yellow color, a nice lemon aroma, and a delightful taste. It's a bit sweet for me, but I think it's right about the same as the "real" stuff we had in Italy. I just might prefer a bit more lemony pucker.
(cross-posted at Eric's Beer Blog)

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

A bit of food blogging

Lately Eric has been making a lot of hummus- here's a photo of some with roasted garlic. Hummus is like a perfect food, as far as I am concerned. Chick peas! Garlic! Olive oil! Today he is making baba ghanouj, another Mediterranean great.

I made a crustless quiche with Rainbow Chard, new potatoes, eggs, swiss cheese, and parmesan. All ingredients but the parmesan cheese were local! Yay for famrer's markets and CSAs!!!

More rainbow chard! This time sauteed with onions and bacon, served over brown rice (we've been trying to do more brown rice lately),

Local green beans and new potatoes and our very own garden basil contributed to this classic Italian dish. The recipe called for a pound of pasta so we had leftovers for a long time. Heaven!!! Cos pesto-- another one of those perfect foods!

Friday, August 01, 2008

Maine trip...part 2

We took our traditional canoe trip on Long Pond. We saw at least 2 loons and one of them called with its eerie call-- it was VERY loud, I've never heard one call so close by before. We also saw two bald eagles, one possibly with a fledgling. We'd never seen bald eagles at Long Pond before.

The light was really beautiful that day.

We picked some particularly wonderful blueberries just above Linda & Richard's house.

And made blueberry sauce for pancakes...yum!

We hiked up Cadillac Mountain for Eric's birthday, which we always do if we are on MDI on that day. It was incredibly windy. I only hiked up & then pooped out, Eric hiked back down and got the car to come pick me up while I sat around and ate chocolate (hey! it's good for pregnant women!).