Hungry Locavore: Recipes and More

Limoncello

Limoncello is popular in Southern Italy, particularly on the coast of Amalfi. The drink is flavored, people say, with Italy, sun, and Mediterranean citrus. But California has its own gold coast and our own lemons. Your locally made beverage will be redolent of old California, the ocean, and the sweet balanced taste of these lemons.

Ingredients:
10 Meyer lemons
1 bottle vodka
2 cups sugar
2 cups of water

 

 

–Gather, wash and peel 10 organic Meyer lemons.
–Drop all the zest and a bit of yellow peel into a wide mouth jar( or jars), tighten the lids, and cover with vodka.
Use about 1 bottle of vodka for 10 lemons.
–Place the jar in the refrigerator and shake every day.
–After about six weeks (the time is flexible), make a simple syrup with two cups of sugar and 2 cups of water. Bring the water to a boil and reduce. When the sugar is completely dissolved and the syrup is slightly thick, cool the mixture. Add the zest of several additional lemons. Again, chill the mixture, shaking this container too each day (or so).
–At some later date–a week later or a month later–remove both jars from the refrigerator.  Pour the now flavored vodka through a sieve. Do the same to the simple syrup.
–Then, slowly add, tasting as you go, the syrup to the flavored vodka. Start with about  3/4 of a cup, and then adjust for your personal taste, making the beverage as sweet as you like. The traditional recipe would use all the simply syrup you’ve prepared.
Shake and chill again.
Within a week you will have staggeringly good (is staggering really the appropriate word choice here) limoncello. Decant the beverage into pretty bottles, if you like.

Serve your drink very cold in small glasses. Consider keeping the limoncello in the freezer and serving it in frosted shot glasses. Or, perhaps you’d rather fill a somewhat larger glass with ice and then pour cold limoncello over the cubes. For for a fragrant Mediterranean flare serve a California Fusion Cocktail.

California Fusion

–Put ice in a relatively small water or juice glass.
–Muddle a bit of basil in the bottom of the glass with the ice.
–Pour 1 1/2 ounces of your limoncello over the ice.
–Serve with another sprig of basil.

Here’s looking at you, kid.

 

 

 

California Pasta

Ingredients:

1 lb pasta —  fettuccine noodle or wider will work best. Fresh pasta is ideal; otherwise
use the freshest dry pasta you can obtain. (Call local restaurants, or, in apinch, contact the web site: “Made in California.”
1/4 – ½ cup good (the best you can find or afford) California olive oil
1-2 cups pasta water (left-over from cooking)
1-2 cups coarsely grated California jack (or any California cheese)
½ cup sliced California olives of any kind. Suit yourself–select green or black
Salt and pepper to taste. Add red pepper flakes, if desired.

*  *  *

–Boil pasta. Keep in mind that the fresher the pasta, the quicker the cooking time. Keep checking. Fresh pasta only takes a couple of minutes.
–Save 2 cups cooking water before draining noodles.
–Toss drained noodles with olive oil, adding judiciously (you don’t want slimy pasta).
–Add grated cheese, varying amount according to taste.
–Slowly add – ½ cup at a time—pasta water, until pasta “sauce” is the desired consistency. Add salt and pepper.

–Serve on warm plate. Sprinkle with a bit more cheese, if desired. Scatter olives on top. Adjust seasoning, as desired.

This is Central Coast fast food.