I connect lemons with summer. We always had lemonade. Though, not fresh squeezed lemonade, we had Country Time Lemonade. My mom knew how to mix it up just right. Now that I live in Florida, I am having to rethink all of my perceptions about when certain fruits and vegetables are ripe. Lemons are no exception. I do realise it is July as I am typing this, but I made these bars back in February when the lemons on the neighbour’s tree were ripe for picking. Though I am sure, these bars will be just a good with the imported lemons currently available.
Until this year, I had never used lemons. Like I said, lemonade came from a powder! I enjoyed testing out a few recipes using fresh squeezed lemon juice. Topping the charts was the lemon bar recipe I tested. It was the perfect blend of sour and sweet. Even the crust was amazing. It wasn’t too crumbly and it seemed to melt in your mouth.
Since this was my first time making lemon bars, I followed the recipe from Smitten Kitchen exactly. (You can find it here.) I used the full-sized lemon layer. It was perfect. Even my fiance (who dislikes cheesecakey things because of the texture) loved them. I thought he would prefer a thinner layer of lemon, but he didn’t.
I don’t believe I would change anything to make this recipe again. Well, except maybe line the pans with parchment. Even with greasing the pans, the bars stuck to the sides.
Our limoncello is finally complete! I waited the maximum suggested time for both infusion processes. Following the soaking of the lemon zest (only the yellow part). You then add sugar and let it rest yet again. I’m thinking it was well worth the 2 month wait. Particularly since it is toasty warm again and our pool is ready for use. This will be a nice Sunday afternoon treat.
To complete the limoncello, you will need:
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- bottle for storage
- On the stove, heat water and sugar in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil and let boil for 5-7 minutes. Remove pan from heat and allow to cool. This is a simple syrup.
- Dampen the cheesecloth. Spread a double layer of cheesecloth over your bowl (It helps to have an extra set of hands for this part). Carefully pour the infused vodka and lemon zest through the cheese cloth into the bowl. Be sure to squeeze every last drop of liquid out of the cheesecloth as possible.
- Pour the simple syrup into the vodka. For a clear limoncello, wait for the syrup to cool completely; for a cloudy syrup, pour in the syrup while it is still warm.
- Using your funnel, transfer the limoncello into your storage bottle. Seal the bottle and let age in that same cool dark corner for at least a week but up to a month. The longer you let it age, the smoother the taste. Refrigerate or freeze after ageing.
- Convince fiance to design a label!
For both processes, I let mine sit for nearly a month. It is wonderful. It is also very strong and sweet. I have found I can’t drink more than a shot or so of it at a time. It should last me for much of the summer.
I have seen other flavor options around. I may give them a go next!
I told you I went on a Laurel craze when this pattern was first released. I’m currently pondering what fabric I have in my stash would make another cute version. Part of this craze was inspired by a contest Colette Patterns was running. My goal was to enter in each category. I don’t think I quite succeeded, but I had fun making them.
This version was a concept I imagined for my sister. My first thoughts were to use yellow linen. Yellow is one of her favourite colours. I planned to make it sleeveless. To line the neckline and arm holes, I planned to use a blue piping. It sounded good in my head. Then I discovered that my local shop didn’t have a yellow linen. While searching for an alternative, I found a yellow eyelet fabric. I knew she would love it. Since it was a lighter fabric, I lined it with a coordinating Kona cotton. I decided on a green piping for the arms and neck.
Conveniently, one of the versions included in the pattern is designed with an underlining. The difference between an underlining and a lining is simple. An underlining is sewn together with the outside fabric. This means there are no seams showing between the outer fabric and the inside fabric. (I didn’t sew it that way!) I had to be difficult because I had to make the dress sleeveless.
Instead, I attached the piping to the sleeve and arm edges. Then I followed the tutorial from Green Apples on how to line a sleeveless dress. This tutorial has changed my life! I love how simple her instructions are on how to sew the lining. I no longer have to hand stitch a little opening closed. I love it!
To finish the dress, I just stitched the sides together in one long seam. To make sure the arm seam lay flat, I top-stitched around the arm holes just inside the piping.
Look at that perfect zipper!
I believe on my next version, I am going to add side seam pockets. I have discovered a love for pockets on dresses.
As I mentioned the other day, we were able to pick the lemons from our neighbour’s lemon tree. He no longer eats them and didn’t want them to go to waste. We gladly accepted them and picked them ourselves. This also opened a great opportunity to try out a few new recipes I’ve wanted to test.
Limoncello is the project I was the most excited to test. It is still a work in progress, but I couldn’t wait to share. Limoncello is a lemon liqueur made from the rinds of lemons, vodka, and sugar. It is fairly simple to make, though it does require days to steep.
To begin, you scrub the skin of your lemons to remove any pesticides, dirt, and any other outdoor debris. Thankfully, my neighbour doesn’t spray for bugs. Then, using a peeler or small knife, you carefully remove the peel of the lemons. You want to try to only get the yellow part and leave the white pith behind. I will need a bit of practice to perfect this skill.
Once you have peeled about 12 lemons (I did a few more since some of the lemons had part of the skins nibbled on), you place the lemon peels in a jar large enough to hold a 750-mil bottle of vodka. Then pour the vodka over the lemon peels and seal the jar.
This jar now needs to sit in a cool dark place for anywhere from 10-30 days. Ten days appear to be the recommended shortest number of days. Though I did see a few that said 4 days. The longer you let it sit, the darker yellow your liqueur will become.
We have shaken oursa couple of times, but there also appears to be mixed suggestions on that instruction as well. Some say it isn’t necessary and others recommend it. We have been picking it up every couple of days to inspect the colour; it gets a little shake then. It appears to be doing just fine.
I plan on soaking the lemon peels for the maximum number of days. It will be a couple more weeks before we get to see the final product. I can’t wait!
One of my boyfriend’s bosses has key lime trees in his yard. Twice a year, he brings in a plethora of key limes to be shared by the employees. I love coming home to a bag full of fresh key limes. My first project is to make a key lime pie for my boyfriend to take back to work to share with everyone.
One of my photography projects is to add googly eyes to fruits and vegetables. The project has been on the shelf for a bit, but I’ve decided to take it out and dust it off. You can read that to mean, we will be eating a larger variety of vegetables in the next few months.