Category Archives: About Us

One Year Anniversary of Obsessing About Food Even More than Usual

Today is our 1 year blogiversary.  Foodiversary.  Cookiversary.  Recipeversary.  I’m done.

15 years of friendship 1 year of blogging

Sue and I have written 129 posts and have had 100 million conversations about food, which is about 40 more conversations about food than we used to have.  I remember fondly the days when we talked about feelings and boys and stuff.  I’m kidding, Sue and I still talk about feelings, of course.  Just mostly our feelings about sandwiches.

We’re really happy and grateful that anyone is reading this.  It’s been a fantastic year and we want to thank everyone for continuing to read about our triumphs (Sue) and our misadventures (me).  To celebrate this day, we would like to offer you two things.  The first is a selection of conversations from an ongoing post we’ve been writing for a year entitled “The Things We Talk About That Are Not Food”.  We get such an almighty kick out of each other that we figured the world must experience our wit.  Also- to us, everything is about food.

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Cat: Dude, I LOVE parentheses.  I mean, I really love them.

Sue: Me too!  They are the perfect way to insert something tongue-in-cheek.

Cat: Yeah!  How else do you put in a funny aside?

Sue: I know right?!  Also, Trader Joe’s has cinnamon cheese.  You should go get some and then get me some details.

Cat: That’s gross.  But also, what if it’s delicious?  I will buy some today.

Sue: Excellent.  Now, what should I make for dinner?

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Sue: Are you there yet?

Cat: Did you just type that?

Sue: Yes.

Cat: Because I was just typing that exact same thing.  So I had the best ice cream in the whole world last night.

Sue: Was it lobster?

Cat: What? No.  It was caramel ice cream with a salted dark chocolate swirl.  SO good.  The chocolate was soft, kind of like fudge sauce.  And they were not shy with the sea salt.

Sue: Oh yum!

Cat: Yes.  It sounds hipstery and regular, but I am telling you, it was delicious.

Sue: Okay, so two things, one about ice cream, one not.

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The second thing we’d like to share with you is our top 5 posts written by the other.

Cat’s favorite posts of Sue’s:

Fried Green Tomatoes – She doesn’t deep fry these!  I want them.

Chocolate Olive Oil Mousse – Sue is really, really good at desserts.  I’ve heard a lot about this mousse and I haven’t had it yet.  It is possible to mail refrigerated items, just saying.

Pork Chops with Maple Black Pepper Sauce – I almost chose the caveman steak instead of these, but I’ve had it (DELICIOUS.  Cook meat on coals immediately.)

Green Chili – I come from a red chili state, but I’m willing to accept the existence of green chili.  I wouldn’t trust anyone else to make it.

Diver Scallops with Linguine and Bacon – I have actually had this, but I want her to make it for me again because it’s flingin flangin amazing.  Sue cooks a scallop better than any I’ve ever had in a restaurant.

Sue’s favorite posts of Cat’s:

Falafel– Because Cat made these for me when she lived with me for one month and I have been thinking about them ever since.

Highball Pot Roast– Who wouldn’t like something with extra booze? My dad makes a wonderful pot roast but mine never turns out even when I use his recipe. If I trust anyone to successfully incorporate booze into meat it’s Cat.

Chicken Liver Pate– One time when I was visiting Portland, Cat and I had the most wonderful pate ever. I have full confidence hers is even better.

Coffee- Balsamic Flank Steak– My flank steak is always tough, Cat swears this is amazing. I think I’m going to have her make it for me this weekend. Plus she serves it with creamy Parmesan spinach. What’s not to love?

Shrimp and Grits– Yes, I am aware that there are no vegetables on my list, but I want to eat this too. Thanks to Cat I have learned to love grits (and polenta) and I am always up for a meal that includes them.

we were cool in middle school

-Cat and Sue

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Cat Wrote About a Burger, and Won a Contest

We have a couple of weekly papers in Portland, one of which is the Willamette Week.  (Word of advice- if you think it’s pronounced WILL-amette, you’ll probably get punched.  Oregonians are odd- they say Will-AM-ette.  Weird.)  Anyway, Dom came across a silly contest in it one week, which was to write 200 words about the best thing you’ve eaten in Portland.  Well, I entered, and I won free brunch.  Here’s the link to the thing, and also my super food porn-y entry.  And yes, I wrote it about a burger.

http://blogs.wweek.com/news/2010/11/15/the-best-thing-youve-ever-eaten-in-pdx-contest-winner-chosen/

Dick’s Kitchen Elvis Burger

Vegans, look away.

This thing drips butter, gently melted pimiento cheese, and hot, rich burger juice down your elbow when you pick it up.  Lick it.  Take the first bite, feel the airy bun, toasted lightly on the insides, moistened by the butter and juice; it sticks to your lips.  Feel the tenderness of that grass fed, Oregon beef under your teeth.  The pimiento cheese will be making its appearance about now—some tang, some creaminess—proving texture can be just as important as flavor; its velvety, vaguely sweet smoothness helps the salty, earthy beef flavor along.  A sliver of raw onion provides a crisp crunch on the far side of that first mouthful, freshness just noticeable enough to enhance the savory burger.  House-made pickles adorn the plate as well, best as a vinegary in-between-bites foil to all that meaty lavishness.  Gilding the lily: chipotle aioli on the side, spicy and sweet, lightly rosy and flecked with bits of pepper.

Enjoy, and eat a salad tomorrow.

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Cat and Sue Cook Together For Once: Volume 1

It’s been awhile since either Sue or I posted, and a big part of the reason is that I went to Denver over Labor Day/Sue’s birthday weekend.  It was REALLY fun- Sue and I cooked a lot, and all the time we spent not cooking, we spent eating, or at least talking about what we were gonna eat.  I dimly remember one or two conversations about feelings, but mostly we talked about food.  And ate a lot of cheese (a lot, possibly a pound, and I ate all Sue’s sweet pickles, again).  And drank a lot of wine.

here is what happens when you drink a lot of wine and have a camera in your pocket.

And hung out  with some of my favorite people.   And played bags on the roof.  And I whined about the sun being too close to me.  And Nick (Sue’s boyfriend) cooked steaks RIGHT ON THE COALS and they were delicious.  And we ate a delicious dinner at Root Down (also with favorite people).  And I lost my voice for a whole day.  And Sue taught me how to make her shortbread (and made me swear to take the recipe with me to my grave).  And it was a fantastic weekend.

This post inaugurates our Cat and Sue Cook Together For Once series, so you’ll see exactly what we made well, and exactly what failed.

Sue and I actually get along quite well in the kitchen, even given our somewhat contradictory styles, and our mutual tendency to always want things our own way.  We compromised really well though, even in light of a few issues and one hilarious disaster, which I’ll detail later.  We did make some fabulous food though- especially one dinner, which is unique for us in that we didn’t use any recipes, we made it up, from start to finish.  Posts will be as follows:

Volume 1: Intro, and rambling

Volume 2: Pan fried Gruyere polenta cakes, with creamy braised leeks, seared diver scallops and a roasted tomato reduction

Volume 3: Vegetable samosas with mango chutney

Volume 4: Peach ice cream with blackberry sauce and dulce de leche shortbread, or Disaster Edition

Volume 5: Sweet corn and heirloom tomato salad

Volume 6: Caramelized onion dip, or How Sue Owes Cat an Apology

Volume 7: Oven fries with two sauces, or How Cat Owes Sue an Apology

Volume 8: Sue’s Birthday Cupcakes: lemon cake with white chocolate swiss buttercream frosting and blueberries

Look for upcoming posts!

aaaaand here we are looking like actual people.

Love,

Cat and Sue

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Things I Bring to Work for Lunch, or How I Love Jars

If you haven’t gathered this already, I am very specific about the things I eat.  I just don’t want to eat anything unless it’s worth eating.  Sometimes I see my boyfriend bring sad turkey sandwiches to work when I am packing several things in so many containers they warrant an entire tote bag and I think: I am neurotic about food, but also, my lunch is going to be AWESOME.  And, I figure if I take healthy, reasonable and tasty food for work, that means that later I can have a cheeseburger if I want.  Or 50 cent tacos.  Or like 14 of the s’mores bars Linda made the other day (recipe to come).

So, here are some of the ideas, tips and tricks I use when packing good work lunches.

1.  Jars.  You know how much shit you buy that comes in jars (salsa, jam, pickles, chutney, olives etc.), and when the shit is gone you recycle the jar?  Stop doing that.  Instead, run your jars through the dishwasher and enjoy all the free, microwave/dishwasher safe, glass-so-it-doesn’t-leak-toxic-chemicals-into-your-food tupperware.  My favorite jars are really small ones (perfect for salad dressings in single servings) and jars with wide mouths (for easy eating stuff out of).

these are my two favorite jars. salad dressing jar and oatmeal jar. this picture, and caption, make me look crazy.

2.  That brings me to my favorite work breakfast: oatmeal.  And don’t for one minute think I eat that crap that comes in a packet and has 400 grams of sugar.  Here’s what you do: go to Trader Joe’s and look at their hot cereals.  They have a barley/wheat/rye/oatmeal instant cereal mix right now that is $2 for a big jar and has no added sugar.  Buy it, or at the very least get yourself  a big container of plain, instant Quaker oats.  In the morning before going to work, pour 1/2 cup of oatmeal into a wide mouth glass jar.  Put any other delicious stuff you want in there too, I usually do only sliced almonds, because I don’t like fruit in my oatmeal, but you could put dried cherries, apricots, cranberries, whatever.  Then put in some sugar, which you can do safely because you control how much sugar goes in.  I’m not gonna lie, I put a few tablespoons of maple syrup in that jar.  You could put white sugar, brown sugar, honey, whatever.  Put the top on the jar and when you’re at work, pour about 1/4 cup of water into the jar and microwave on high for 2 minutes, without the lid.  Voila, hot, fiber-y breakfast.  When you’re done, put the top back on, put the whole jar back in your tote bag and throw it in the dishwasher when you get home.  Easy.

3. I’m sure that you, like me, are always trying to eat more vegetables.  Here are a few things I bring for work lunch that help me do that.

A.  Salads with homemade dressing in little jars.  I HATE store bought salad dressing.  It’s gross, tasteless and bad for you.  Most of all, it’s pointless, because homemade dressing is so flingin flangin easy.  Because I made the dressing so I know I like it (Uncle Chris’ Sweet Garlic dressing, and my made up Lime-Chipotle vinaigrette, I’m looking at you), it makes it a lot easier to be excited about a salad.  Stick your salad stuff in a tupperware container, pour dressing onto salad, shake it up and there you go.  Also, a note on low-fat bottled dressings: eat these only if you hate yourself and you don’t want to be happy.  Make all your dressings with good oils and you’re healthier than the disgusting chemical laden crap they put in bottled dressings any day.  If you’re making a creamy dressing, a little low fat sour cream or regular mayo (or Greek yogurt, which is super good for you and has protein) is a lot better for you than some re-hydrogenated milk powder poison they put in low fat creamy dressings.  Seriously, please don’t eat that stuff, just make your own and keep it in a jar in the fridge.

Sue said this post would be boring without pictures, so here is a picture of the salad I ate at work yesterday.

Here’s my Uncle Chris’ Sweet Garlic dressing recipe, which is famous in my family.  It is DELICIOUS, and makes about 2 cups if you make the whole recipe, so you might want to halve it.

6-8 cloves of garlic

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup white sugar

3/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup water

salt and pepper

Put everything in your food processor and pulse until smooth.  It’s a pretty thin dressing, but it sticks to salad really well and is intensely flavored, you don’t need much to dress a whole bowl of greens.

B. Tupperware containers full of easily microwaveable veggies, with seasonings.  My favorites are raw broccoli with olive oil, salt, pepper and grated Parmesan cheese, microwave for 2 minutes on high, snow peas and carrots with sweet Thai chili sauce and soy sauce, microwaved, halved cherry tomatoes with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, eaten cold.

C. Sandwiches with a serving of spinach on them.  If you make a sandwich and it doesn’t have some healthy greens on it, shame on you.  It’s the world’s easiest way to eat greens.  My favorite work sandwich: avocado, tomato, spinach, chipotle mayo and bacon.  Yes, I sometimes cook bacon before work so I can bring it in my lunch.  I told you I’m devoted.

D. Fruit smoothies, with spinach in them.  Easy, you’ll never taste it.  Also, you can bring smoothies to work in a jar.

4.  You know when it’s 3pm and you’re hungry for something probably crunchy and maybe sweet?  If you packed some dry cereal in your food tote bag, like I did, you’d be in business.  One of my favorite things on this earth is Smart Start.  I tried to write a whole post, entitled Ode to Smart Start, about how much I love it, but Sue wouldn’t let me post it.  Smart Start has big, nicely sweet bran flakes (big enough to eat dry and comfortably with your fingers, and not look like a jerk shoveling tiny cereal particles into your mouth) and lovely oat clusters.  Any dry, easily edible cereal would do (Frosted Mini-Wheats are a good choice), but why you’d eat cereal that isn’t Smart Start is beyond me.

5.  Leftovers.  Do I need to include this?  Does anyone NOT bring leftovers to work?  Best work leftovers: pasta, soup, Indian/Thai food.  Things that you can eat without use of a knife.

6.  Sweets.  Because not having sweets with  you is the quickest way to end up buying 4 boxes of Junior Mints from the cigar store down the street to try to meet their $5 minimum charge for credit card transactions.  Today I didn’t bring anything, because I have half a chocolate bar and some taffy my boss brought me from Seattle.  He knows how I roll.

– Cat

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Have you made any of our recipes?

We’d love to know if you have.  We want to post recipes that people actually WANT to make, and your responses will help us do that.  Please comment on this post and let us know if you’ve tried anything we’ve posted- how it turned out, if you had any problems, if there was any information missing from the recipe.  Sue and I share recipes mostly with each other, so we know that the other one knows what we’re talking about – so please tell us if we’re excluding important information!

We’re also interested in knowing  if you have any suggestions of types of food you’d like to see made, photographed and written about; any specific recipes would be welcome as well.  For example- I know we’ve been a bit lazy on the breakfast food front (there are multitudinous reasons for this, including my boyfriend LIVES to go out for brunch so I never end up making it, I am fundamentally incapable of making good pancakes, and there’s no point in trying to out-do Sue’s delicious chorizo biscuits and gravy, I’d rather just let her make it for me).  In addition to breakfast, I think we’ll be including more vegetarian/vegan recipes as well, but we’d like to know what you think!

Thanks to all of you for reading our blog. We love doing this, and really appreciate all of you out there who enjoy it as much as we do!

-Cat and Sue

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About us, a little late

What is your favorite cookbook?

CAT: Hmm.  I have a Nigella Lawson cookbook, How to be a Domestic Goddess…, which I’ve read from cover to cover more than once, but which I’ve never once made anything from.  I love her, but I find my recipes on foodgawker.com or my own brain.

SUE: The internet, it is such an amazing resource between blogs and sites like Epicurious you can find anything. My go to cookbook is the classic Better Homes and Gardens, my mom used this cookbook for everything and it’s an excellent resource for basics.

What is one family recipe you would be sure to pass onto the next generation?

CAT: This question has a million answers.  Off the top of my head- Dad’s tuna mac, my mom’s chicken paprikash, my grandma’s brownies, my aunt Suzy’s M&M cookies, my mom’s baked beans, my mom’s honey mustard chicken, my mom’s beef burgundy, my mom’s Christmas morning chicken and asparagus crepes…

SUE: My parents’ spaghetti sauce recipe, they created it together when they first got married. It’s beautifully simple and always brings me home.

What are 3 items in your kitchen that you couldn’t live without?

CAT: This is a Sue question, definitely.  She’s crazy for fancy kitchen gadgets, and she puts them to genuinely good use.  Whereas in my world, Linda has a lovely Kitchenaid mixer that I never even use.  So, my answer is, the big old chopping knife my mom got me for Christmas, our bamboo cutting board, and our big nonstick skillet, which I love at least as much as I love my boyfriend (sorry!).

SUE: Wooden spoon(s). My J.A. Henkels Chef’s knife. My Lodge enameled Dutch oven(s), and on a side note- even though Cat is right, I do have a lot of kitchen gadgets (like the potato ricer that I DO use) I always fall back on the basics.

What kind of cuisine would you like to learn more about?

CAT: Indian.  In fact, I once contemplated finding an Indian guy to marry so I could access his Indian grandmother and she could teach me how to make real channa masala.  This would also work with a Mexican guy and learning how to make real tamales.  Was this question about dating?

SUE: Curries. Specifically Indian style curries.

Favorite restaurant in the city you live in?

CAT: 3 way tie between Pok-Pok (palm sugar and fish sauce chicken wings!!!), Voodoo Donuts (Maple Bacon Bar!!!) and Genie’s at breakfast, because they make the best spicy Bloody Mary I have ever had.

SUE: Right now, Olivea. It is this quaint little Mediterranean-influenced restaurant in the uptown area of Denver. Every meal I have had there has been amazing. They really shine in their ability to highlight the fresh, clean flavors of their ingredients.

Last meal?

CAT: Grilled hotdogs, my mom’s baked beans and my dad’s tuna mac.  You can all look forward to this exact meal also being served at my wedding someday.

SUE: Something that included Kruse and Muer bread and really good bourbon.   – I feel the need to note here that the last time I flew to Denver from Detroit, Sue made me pack her Kruse and Muer bread in my suitcase.  That’s how much she loves it.  -Cat

What’s the story behind the name?

CAT: So.  Sue and I have been more or less joined at the hip since 7th grade when we met because Sue was wearing iridescent white lipstick and I thought she was the coolest.  Because of that, people often said our names together, like Cat-Sue.  Sometime in high school, someone said that our names together sounded like a sneeze: cat-SUE!  And it does.  So, we named the blog – catsue. Bless you.  Let’s eat!

What is your fondest food related childhood memory?

CAT: Once when I was a kid, my mom went out of town and my dad was in charge, and he let us have snow cones and Cheetos for breakfast.  It was awesome.

SUE: I have so many.  Although I wouldn’t consider my family to be food-centric, some of my fondest memories were made around our dinner table, and baking chocolate chip cookies with my mom and my sister. One memory that specifically sticks out in my mind though, is going to the “pick-your-own” farm and picking everything from various berries to green beans, and then coming home and making jam, and sitting on the porch drinking sun tea and tipping green beans to freeze.

Favorite comfort food dish?

CAT: I’ve never really understood this term, so instead I’ll answer the question: What do you cook when you come home from work and are starving and there’s nothing reasonable in the fridge like leftovers?  An egg sandwich, egg over medium, with cheese, spinach and chipotle mayo, because those are things I always have in the house.

SUE: Soup, I love soup. There is nothing quite like a bowl of soup and a toasty warm baguette. I love all (homemade) soups. Chicken noodle, corn chowder, chili (that counts in my book) potato leek, minestrone, ham and bean…you name it.

What would your dream kitchen be like?

CAT: This is also a Sue question, she is always talking about kitchens, and she also does a way better job than I do of optimizing her kitchen space.  Case in point- her really cool pegboard thing for hanging pots and pans.  Anyway- it would be exactly like the kitchen in my parent’s old house, which had the perfect balance of counter space and room for people to stand around and bug the cook.

SUE: I don’t know where to start, but I can tell you some must-haves. Sky lights (we said dream right?) LOTS of countertop space,  an independent ice maker, a Kitchen –aid stand mixer, a huge chalkboard, a big wood table with chairs on one side and a bench on the other, and a beautiful Viking gas burning stove…and about a million other things.

What is the weirdest thing you ever ate?

CAT: I have had sushi a few times with people actually from Japan, and on one of those occasions, I tried this funny dish which turned out to be mashed sea anemone with chopped up sea urchin in it.  It was an orange paste with chunks of what really looked like purple gummy bear in it.  The weirdest part was that it tasted EXACTLY like cheese.

SUE: Crickets- science class 7th grade.

What do you listen to while cooking?

CAT: Episodes of Bones or Linda talking to me.

SUE: Some chick flick on HBO or Van Morrison.

What do you always get at the grocery store that is not on the list?

CAT: Wine.  Wait, no, wine is always on the list.  Okay, onions.  I buy a lot of onions.  Who wants to be cooking and discover they’re out of onions?

SUE: Some kind of beverage:  pineapple juice, Simply lime-aid, Izze, grape soda…whatever suits my fancy that day.

Who is the best cook you know (serious edition)?

CAT: My mother.  Bar none.

SUE: Alton Brown. Cat said I should say my mom, but I’m not going to. Sorry Mom, you’re a great cook, and I learned a lot from you, but Alton has continued my education. I love the science of cooking and baking- and those are the things Alton Brown has inspired me to learn and explore.

If you had to eat dog food or cat food, which would you choose?

CAT: I don’t want to answer this question, which is stupid because I insisted that it be on the list.  Dog food, because my cat Jeff has really bad breath.

SUE: Cat- because its tinier.

What’s better, hotdogs or hamburgers (this was a question my dad would ask us when we were kids.  Also included was: What’s better, grape or cherry Kool-aid?  What’s better, Sprees or Sweet tarts?)?

CAT: Hotdogs. Grape. Sweet tarts.

SUE: Hamburgers. Grape (thank you Monaghan family for introducing me to this lovely treat that Audrey would not buy). I don’t like fruit flavored sweets, so neither.

What is your proudest cooking achievement?

CAT: It might be the sandwich I just ate, which was delicious.  I made pasta carbonara a few months ago that was restaurant perfect.  I tempered the hell out of those egg yolks, that sauce was like silk.  Creamy, cheesy, bacony silk.

SUE: The privilege of being the “pastry chef” at the Berkshire. I have no professional training, but they took a chance on me, and so far people have been loving my desserts. Either that, or the 140 cheesecake lollipops I made for my friend Beth’s engagement party (they were amazing- and took days).

We received a few GREAT questions from our buddy Heidi- here they are:

What do YOU do with the space between the cabinets and the ceiling?

CAT: I actually don’t have that in my current apartment.  My cabinets go right up to the ceiling, much to the chagrin of my hobbit roommate.

SUE: Stuff everything I possibly can up there. Currently I have a Tupperware cake keeper, my food processor, my mixer and various attachments, rolling pin…and a bunch of other random stuff. Oh the joys of a galley style kitchen.

What does your significant other contribute to your cooking style?

CAT: He eats it.

SUE: Meat mostly. He will say he doesn’t need meat to complete a meal…and then later I’ll find him snacking on a piece of bacon. But in all honesty, he is an amazing griller- he smokes meat, makes a perfect steak, grills the crap out of chicken and makes the best burgers known to man. I also had no idea that tapioca pearls and V-8 would make a delicious beef stew….but it did.  – I can attest to this, Nick makes a mean burger.  There’s something about his patty-making process.  – Cat

Did you eat “hot” lunch or “cold” lunch in elementary school?

CAT: Mostly cold.  My mom always packed me Minute Maid 100% juice boxes, which I hated.  I wanted Boku, which was like 5% juice or something.  But I never missed Pizza Day.

SUE: On rare occasions my mom would give us money for hot lunch- I always tried to make that day Frito Pie Day. Mostly I had strawberry milk and peanut butter and honey sandwiches.

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This has technically been in existence since 2008

Sad, I know.  Sue and I thought of the idea of writing a food blog about two years ago, and have discussed it endlessly ever since without doing anything about it.  It should be a great outlet for us, Sue in particular, seeing as for the past few years, every time I want to talk about some emotional issue, Sue wants to talk about tarts or pasta or pomegranate molasses or something.  For me, this combines two of my favorite pastimes: eating and laughing at my own jokes. 

Anyway.  I did a really stupid thing this past weekend, which was make homemade limoncello (hilarious because its made from everclear and we stored it in mason jars, which is oh-so-hillbilly, whereas limoncello is rather elegant) and some flavored vodkas without documenting it for this blog.  My roommate Linda took one sad picture of our beautiful jars and that was it.  Granted, I was high on DayQuil and everclear fumes at the time, but still, I have no excuse.   There are a variety of recipes for limoncello, some recommend you steep the zest for 3 months, some say 1 week.  We’re going to try both.  We’ll be doing the next step in the limoncello-making process this weekend, which I promise to document fully for your (my) amusement.

Fruit in booze.

As a matter of interest, Linda read that pineapple in booze is best kept in the fridge rather than on a windowsill so that neighbors may admire them.  We have since relocated it.

We made a half gallon of limoncello out of everclear and the zest of 15 organic lemons.  Normally I don’t believe in organic fruit, believing instead that it’s a marketing ploy designed to make me look like a chump, but in this case I made an exception as we were using the OUTSIDE of the fruit.  Also, I washed them thoroughly, something else I never do.   For the flavored vodkas, we used a half gallon of lowest-quality-possible to make vodka in 3 flavors: strawberry-tangelo, pineapple and kiwi-lime.  Next limoncello-related, very likely drunken post will be this weekend, stay tuned.

-Cat

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