I think Portland is rubbing off on me. This city is known as possibly the greenest in America (if you lived here, you would believe it), so I live in an atmosphere where recycling, upcycling, repurposing, etc., has gone from normal to expected. This, of course, is a good thing, but I fear its influence is now creeping insidiously into my kitchen— normally my final haven of sanity. But after today, I’m no longer sure of that…
It all started innocently. (Doesn’t it always?) 2 weeks ago, I took it upon myself to start my first batch of homemade limoncello (lemon liqueur). I procured not only beaucoup lemons, but also an orange and a satsuma, plus a bottle of vodka, and set to work.
(Aside: For those of you who might want to know the recipe for this citrus delight, let me say that although the basic ingredients and process seem to be the same across the 8 or so recipes I looked at, the details vary wildly, such as how long to steep the citrus peel and the proportion of simple syrup to infused vodka. I followed Giada’s recipe, but steeped the vodka for 10 days before adding the syrup. I suspect some enjoyable experimentation is in my future. End of aside.)
The never-ending part of this story began the day I started my liqueur project. Between the orange, satsuma, and lemons, I peeled over 2 dozen of these fruits, the peels being the parts that go into the vodka infusion. Which meant I was left with over 2 dozen naked fruits; I thought if I left them like that, they’d dry out completely. Being a resourceful Portlandian, I decided to go ahead and squeeze all the juice and save it, thinking that there must be lots of things I can do with fresh citrus juice; lemon curd was high on my list of new recipes to try. I popped the juice into the freezer. And yes, I did mix the juice from all the different fruits together.
Yesterday, I took the juice out to defrost, and today, I made my first-ever batch of lemon curd! Actually, it’s more like lemon-lime-orange-satsuma curd; since I used the peel from everything except the limes, I realized too late that I didn’t have any fresh lemons to zest for the curd. I did, however, find 5 limes in my refrigerator, so I sacrificed their zest to the cause. You can see the lime zest bits in this picture, taken just before chilling the curd:
The next chapter in this never-ending story is that, after using 4 whole eggs and 6 egg yolks in the lemon curd, I was left with 6 egg whites. The first thing I thought of was to make meringues, a favorite childhood treat, and one of the easiest things in the world to make. (And like the limoncello, there seem to be lots of variations in the recipes for meringues; my favorite has only egg whites and confectioner’s sugar for ingredients.)
So my story started by making lemon liqueur, which led to lemon curd, which led to meringues… but what do I do now with the naked limes? Gin and tonic, perhaps? (What? I have to do something to pass the time while the meringues are baking.)