Weekly Photo Challenge: Sharing My Italy 2012 in Review

WordPress has compiled a 2012 annual report for my blog so I thought it would be fun to share it with you.

Also, this week Photo Challenge gives me the opportunity to review my first year of blogging through some of my favorite pictures. The first 12 pictures are some of my favorite recipes, the next 24 are pictures from my 2012 trip in Italy, and the last two are . . . you will have to scroll all the way to the bottom to find out!

I want to also take this opportunity to thank everyone that has supported me throughout this year and I wish everyone a New Year 2013 filled with peace, joy, and health.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 19,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 4 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

Weekly Photo Challenge: My 2012 in Pictures

My most viewed post for 2012: CALZONI E PANZEROTTI 

Calzoni and Panzerotti

NEAPOLITAN RAGÙ

Neapolitan Ragu`

PESTO TRAPANESE

Maccheroni al Pesto Trapanese

CHIACCHIERE DI CARNEVALE

CHIACCHIERE

EASTER PIZZA PIENA

PIZZA PIENA

ZEPPOLE DI SAN GIUSEPPE

ZEPPOLE DI SAN GIUSEPPE

POTATO GATTÒ

GATTO` DI PATATE

DELIZIA AL LIMONCELLO

DELIZIA AL LIMONCELLO

PARMIGIANA DI MELANZANE

PARMIGIANA

CIAMBELLA DEI SETTE VASETTI

CIAMBELLA

BUTTERNUT SQUASH RISOTTO

BUTTERNUT SQUASH RISOTTO

EASTER NEAPOLITAN PASTIERA

PASTIERA

IMAGES FROM MY 2012 TRIP IN ITALY

Navigli, MilanoBroletto, Novara

Cantine Marchesi di Barolo

BaroloLake OrtaLake OrtaVeneziaVeneziaGondole, VeneziaBuranoBuranoBuranoTorcelloTorcelloLake ComoLake ComoOrvietoCivita di BagnoregioCivita di BagnoregioCivita di BagnoregioSorrentoAmalfi CoastAmalfi CoastAmalfi Coast

AND MY LAST TWO

my birthday

MY 50TH BIRTHDAY!

And the hightlight of the year . . . My trip to China

The Great Wall, China

THE GREAT WALL!

FELICE ANNO NUOVO!!!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Related posts:

Lake Como not off the beaten path but still beautiful

Two nights in Venice

A day in Barolo

Limoncello

Today I will diverge from my Holiday theme because I was able to taste my homemade Limoncello.

Il Limoncello di Capri

It is still up for debate where this lemon liqueur originated between Sorrento, Amalfi and Capri. The liqueur first appeared in 1900, but only in 1988 Massimo Canale registered the first trademark “Limoncello”.  Still, at that time only a few restaurateurs on the Amalfi coast, Sorrento and Capri were producing it. However, it was often only reserved for special guests (ospiti).

The first time I tried the lemon liqueur was in 1986. I was with my recently married husband in a little family owned osteria in Tramonti, a small town in the Amalfi coast area sitting at the foot of the Lattari Mountains. At the end of what I recall as a delicious lunch (pranzo), the host, feeling cheerful  in the presence of this happily newlywed couple, offered a taste of his precious homemade lemon liqueur. Oh . . . it was special! The aroma of the lemon alone was exhilarating!

A few years went by before I saw this liqueur Limoncello, on the shelves of restaurants and markets. Today the Limoncello is everywhere in Italy and abroad. Does it all taste good? I don’t believe so. At first, the recipes were passed on from mother to daughter, but now they are all over the internet. There are many variations, such as the use of grain alcohol or Vodka, how long the peels have to steep in the liquid, and so on.

I personally only trust my Zia (aunt) Anna’s recipe. She makes the best homemade Limoncello! However, there is a catch! She tells me ”the only lemons you can use are the ones handpicked from Sorrento” It’s easy for her to say, she lives ten minutes from Sorrento!

Well . . . I live on the other side of the Ocean. So I had to give up the idea of making my own Limoncello and, I did. Until two months ago, when one of my clients from my cooking classes asked me if I would teach her how to make Limoncello. I couldn’t say no.

Four weeks ago Mary Anne and I met to start the long process of making Limoncello.     Earlier that morning I had been to the local organic market in search of the perfect lemons (limoni). And, lucky me! I found these beautiful lemons, medium size and with still a tiny hint of green, just what I needed! Most of all  they had a wonderful aroma, I was all set!

Mary Anne and I peeled the lemons to perfection with no trace of the bitter pith on the rinds.

We transferred the rinds into two glass jugs, added the alcohol, sealed the jugs and wrapped them in kitchen towels.

For four weeks the jugs  sat in my kitchen (cucina) cabinet. Finally, yesterday I added the water-sugar solution and let it rest overnight. This morning Mary Anne and I finally strained and bottled the liqueur. 

The bottled Limoncello should have rested in the refrigerator for at least four hours before the first taste, needless to say . . . we couldn’t wait!

Here it was, the moment of truth! And then Mary Anne said “Oh my . . . it smells so good! and . . . it is yummy!”

This Limoncello surely will be under someone’s Christmas Tree!

Dear Zia Anna, thank you for the recipe. The lemons are not from Sorrento, but I think you would be proud. Cin cin!

And you . . . have you ever had Limoncello? Do you like it? Where did you have the best one? Do you make your own?  Tell me!

I know what you are thinking . . . and here it is, Zia Anna’s Limoncello recipe (ricetta).

Limoncello di Zia Anna

 Ingredients:

10 medium organic lemons

5 cups granulated sugar

1 qt filtered water

1 qt Everclear (190-prof) grain alcohol

Make sure you use organic lemons. DO NOT WASH THE LEMONS,  just rub them with a clean damp kitchen towel.

If you cannot find organic lemons, wash them in warm water and brush them, then dry them completely.

Using a vegetable peeler (Y peeler works best), remove the peel from the lemons in long strips.

My suggestion: reserve the lemons for another use such as scaloppine al limone or tagliolini al limone.

Using a small sharp knife, trim away any residual white pith from the lemon peels; discard the pith.

Place the lemon rind in a glass jar (3-qt jar with wide opening and with lid).

Pour the alcohol over the rind and seal the jar.

Cover the jar with a large kitchen towel and let the lemon rind steep, in a dark place for one month.

After one month, stir the water and sugar in a large saucepan over low heat until the sugar completely dissolves, about 10 minutes.

Cool completely. Pour the syrup over the alcohol/ rind mixture.

Seal the jar and allow to rest overnight.

The next day, strain the limoncello into a large pouring bowl,  by lining a strainer with heavy-duty cheesecloth  to make sure that no rinds or residuals get into the limoncello. You might have to do this in batches.

My suggestion: save the rinds in a Tupperware in the refrigerator and wait for my next blog!

You are now ready to bottle. Use sterilized bottles. Line a funnel with cheesecloth and fill the bottles, seal and refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours.

Transfer the bottles in the freezer.

Alway serve ice-cold. Enjoy!