Scripted Limoncello (Update!)

Since this was the first time I’d made the limoncello from scratch while documenting everything, it’s to be expected that there would be some changes. Also, I have a new beer making kit that I’ll be making use of down the line that should make my life easier. The instructions have been updated to reflect the new gear.

Anyhow, here’s the updated information on how to make my version of limoncello (with an addition for making my now-infamous blueberry limoncello).

Total Time: 8-10 weeks (depending on if berries are added)

Ingredients:

3.5 L (2 – 1.75 L Bottles) of 80 Proof Vodka (I use Sobieski)

96 oz. Lemon Juice (Bottled, from concentrate is fine.)

1 Tbsp. Kosher Salt

12 C. Sugar

4 lbs. Lemons

Instructions:

1. Rinse lemons twice in hot water to remove any wax that may be on them. Once lemons are clear of wax, zest them using a potato peeler so that you have large strips. They will be removed prior to bottling, and this will make that easier.

2. In a large pot, combine 32 oz (1 bottle) of lemon juice, 4 cups of sugar, salt, and lemon peels. Toss the peels in cheesecloth to make them easier to remove later. Bring up to a simmer and allow sugar to dissolve.

3. While waiting for the sugar to dissolve, juice the fresh lemons. Add the fresh lemon juice to the container you’ll be using to make your limoncello. I’m using my beer kit’s fermentation bucket for this. It’ll later be transferred to a glass carboy to finish doing its thing.

4. Once cooled, add the sweetened juice mixture to the fresh juice and stir to combine. Peels go in, too!

5. Add your vodka, stir to combine again, and put in the corner for the next month.

6. After a month has passed, heat the rest of your lemon juice (64 oz. – 2 bottles) and sugar (8 cups) together and combine to make a lemon simple syrup. Remove bundle of lemon peels from base and discard. While the lemon simple syrup is heating up and the sugar is dissolving, transfer the base to a glass container (I’m using a 3 gal. carboy now). Once the sugar’s dissolved, add the simple syrup and combine.

7. After  another months, bottle and enjoy your regular limoncello. If you want plain limoncello, stop here. If you want blueberry, proceed to the next step!

8 (Optional). I usually split my batches of limoncello into regular and blueberry. Start with a pint of blueberries. Roll them in sugar and add to your bottle. I usually add enough blueberries to fill 1/6 to 1/4 of the bottle. Top off with limoncello, shake to dissolve the new sugar, and let sit for 2 more weeks. After 2 weeks, it’s ready to drink, but it only gets better as it ages.

Limoncello — Scripted Version!

As you may or may not know, my home Barony, Ayreton, has hosted a Scribal and Brewing event aptly named A Monk’s Life: Scribin’ and Imbibin’ for the last 2 years. This upcoming year, it’s being held on my birthday.  So, you KNOW I have to make something for it.

I chose to make limoncello. I tried to make a honey-lemon cordial last summer that ended up being more like limoncello, so I just ran with it. This time, though, there’s a recipe involved. We’ll see in March how it matures, but when I blended everything earlier, it tasted pretty darn good.

Start Date: 12/31/2016

Bottle Date: 3/17/2017

Ingredients:

3.5 L (2 – 1.75 L Bottles) of 80 Proof Vodka (I use Sobieski)

32 oz. Lemon Juice (Bottled, from concentrate is fine.)

1 Tbsp. Kosher Salt

3 C. Sugar (More may be added later when tested)

4 lbs. Lemons

Instructions:

1. Rinse lemons twice in hot water to remove any wax that may be on them. Once lemons are clear of wax, zest them using a potato peeler so that you have large strips. They will be removed prior to bottling, and this will make that easier.

2. In a large pot, combine bottled lemon juice, sugar, salt, and lemon peels. Bring up to a simmer and allow sugar to dissolve.

3. While waiting for the sugar to dissolve, juice the fresh lemons. Add the fresh lemon juice to the container you’ll be using to make your limoncello. I’m using a 2 gallon glass container for mine. Glass > Plastic!

4. Once cooled, add the sweetened juice mixture to the fresh juice and stir to combine. Peels go in, too!

5. Add your vodka, stir to combine again, and put in the corner for the next 3 months. Once a month, stir to agitate the mixture.

6. After 3 months, bottle and enjoy!

 

Egg Custard Pie

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Ingredients:

1 – 9in/ Graham Cracker pie crust

4 Large Eggs

2 C. Milk, Heavy Cream, or Half-and-Half

1/4 C. Sugar

1/8 tsp. Mace (or 1/2 tsp. Nutmeg)

1 tsp. Vanilla Extract (either paste or liquid)

1/2 tsp. Salt

 

Instructions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 350*F.

2. Lightly beat eggs like you would for scrambled eggs.

3. Add salt, sugar, nutmeg, and vanilla to eggs. Beat lightly to combine.

4. Add milk to egg mixture. Beat to combine.

5. Pour custard mix into your pie crust.

6. Put the custard pie into the oven and cook for approximately 45-55 minutes. Custard will be firm and slightly jiggly when done.

7. Once done, remove from oven and allow to cool.

Optional: Sprinkle white sugar across the top of the pie, then melt with a culinary torch to create a creme brulee topping. Serve with whipped cream and/or fresh fruit.

 

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Stone Dog Inn XII – Thank You and A Gift

As written on the Barony of Ayreton page on Faccebook:

Greetings unto the Barony of Ayreton!

As announced yesterday at Stone Dog Inn, when called before Their Excellencies during Feast, I happily and humbly submit the book of recipes that my team and I used to create the modest feast submitted for the pleasure and sustenance of our populace. The recipes contained in this book are sized for a family gathering as I believe that food should be shared, doubly so amongst our kith and kin.

I would also like to take this time to acknowledge the efforts and time of Siobhan and Tiffany, who both tirelessly assisted with creating the feast set before Their Excellencies and the populace, and of Helewyse, who was a source of reassurance and knowledge in this endeavor. Thank you all for your help. Stone Dog’s Feast could not have been executed without you!

Thank you also to those who came in after us to help with cleaning the kitchen and dishes! I appreciate your efforts and time, as well!

Thank you once again for allowing my team and I the opportunity to feed you after a long day of tournaments and games of skill!

In Service,
Samson “Samii” Muskovich


Stone Dog XII Feast Recipe Book

 

Dark Chocolate Beer Cupcakes with Whipped Irish Cream Frosting

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Makes 24 filled and frosted cupcakes.

Cupcake:

1.5 C. All-Purpose Flour

6 oz. Dark Chocolate Hot Cocoa Powder (4 Pouches of regular, 6 pouches if you use the Simply Dark variant)

1.5 Tsp. Baking Soda

3/4 C. Porter or Stout (I used Revolution Brewery’s Eugene Porter, but Guinness or Dragon’s Milk Stout work just as well!)

1/2 C. Milk

4 Eggs

1 C. Melted Dark Chocolate

3.5 oz. Chocolate Fudge (or plain ol’ Chocolate) Pudding (3 Single Serving Cups)

(Note: You can make the quick and dirty version by purchasing a box of Betty Crocker Super Moist Triple Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix and just substituting the water for your choice of dark beer and following the on-box directions; I heartily suggest using either Guinness or Dragon’s Milk!)

 

Frosting/Filling:

1 Pint (16 oz.) Heavy Cream, Well Chilled

3/4 C. Powdered Sugar, Sifted

1/4 Tsp. Cream of Tartar

2 Tbsp. Irish Cream

 

Cupcake Directions:

1.Preheat oven to 350* F.

2. Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl.

3. Slowly add your beer to the dry ingredients. It will foam up. Whisk together slowly to incorporate.

4. Add the rest of your wet ingredients and incorporate.

5. Add cupcake liners to your tin and lightly spray (I used olive oil spray. Cake release can also be used.) so the batter doesn’t stick heavily to your liners.

6. Pour batter into liners (approx. 3 Tbsp/cup) and bake for 15-20 minutes (check after 15 — every oven’s different!).

7. Set aside to cool.

 

Frosting/Filling Directions

If you can, chill your whisk attachment and mixing bowl prior to making the frosting. It’ll make things move more quickly.

1. Combine dry ingredients in a small bowl (this one does not need to be chilled) and combine.

2. In your chilled bowl, combine wet ingredients. Start your mixer (hand-held or stand mixer) on slow and gradually increase speed until hard peaks form.

3. Once hard peaks form, lower the speed of your mixer and gradually add the dry ingredients, mixing until combined. The frosting will be stiff and will not run once it’s ready.

4. Using a pastry bag and a Wilton #230 tip, fill the bag with frosting. Insert the tip 2/3 of the way into the cupcake, and slowly pull out to fill. Repeat for the other cupcakes.

5. Once cupcakes are filled, take a second pastry bag with coupler and attach your choice of decorating tip (I like using a #32 tip). Decorate the top of the cupcakes.

6. Garnish with mini chocolate chips, if you’d like, and serve!

Stone Dog XII: Russian Into Fun

Hey, you! Yes, YOU!

Do you like games of chance, Darn Good Food, or the chance to earn fame and renown?

Well, you should mark your calendar for April 23rd for Stone Dog Inn XII: Russian Into Fun!

Why? Because we’re bringing a little piece of Mother Russia to the Midrealm, and it promises to be an event NOT to be missed!

(Shameless plug because I’m cooking Feast and I REALLY want y’all to come and enjoy some not-so-strange Russian food (you remember that amazing-looking chicken I made a couple months ago, right?), plus this is one of the SCA events I’m always at because it’s just plain fun.)

Here’s the deets:

When: Saturday, April 23rd, 2016 @ 9:00 AM – 10:00 PM

Where: St. Stephen Lutheran Church, 14700 Kildare Ave, Midlothian, IL 60445

Cost:
Site Fee: $5 for 13 years and older
$2 for ages 4-12
Ages 3 and under free
($5 nonmember surcharge will apply)
Lunch Tavern: $5 suggested donation
Feast: $10 suggested donation
And, because I’m the Head Cook, here’s a sneak peek of the tentative menu for the Feast:

On the Table

Bread

  • Chernyy khleb (Black Bread) – A dark rye bread that was a staple of Russian cuisine.
  • Drachona – A light, toasty egg-based bread often served in Russia.

Butter

  • Plain Butter
  • Honey Butter

 Cheese

  • Cream Cheese spread with herbs

 Drink

  • Kompot – Drink made by steeping dried fruit in water and sweetening slightly. Ours is made with dried apples and cranberries.
  • Water

 

Salad (1st) Course

Mixed Green Salad

  • Mixed salad with crumbled Goat’s Milk Cheese, Candied Walnuts (on table), Chopped Gala Apples, and Honey Apple Cider Vinaigrette

 

Main (2nd) Course

Russian Roasted Chicken

  • Succulent chicken thighs brined in a base of Russian Lager and period herbs.

Herbed Pork Loin

Kasha

  • Traditional Russian buckwheat side dish flavored with garlic and mushrooms.

Cranberry Sauce

Fried Cabbage

 

Dessert (3rd) Course

Medianyky

  • Russian Honey Cookies

Trudonoshi

  • Mini Russian-style cheesecakes served with your choice of Berry or Spiced Cherry Sauce

Potsticker Soup

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Something I love to make during the colder months is Potsticker Soup because it’s ridiculously quick to make and it’s filling.

Ingredients:

1 32oz. carton Swanson Thai Ginger stock

1 24oz. bag Tai Pei Chicken Potstickers

1/4 C. Sugar (optional)

Parsley (optional)

Dried Orange Peel (optional)

 

Instructions:

1. In a large (I used a 5 qt) pot, bring the broth to a boil. Add sugar, parsley, and orange peel at this time, if you’re adding them.

2. Once the broth is boiling, add potstickers and bring back up to a boil.

3. Once potstickers are hot and tender, ladle into bowls and serve!

Kahlua Balls

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In an act of holiday kindness, I made “care packages” for my Dispatch team with these and the Rumchata Truffles included. Suffice to say, they went over well.

These are a variation on the recipe for Rum Balls provided by Food Network, modified specifically for my Dispatch team’s particular allergies.
Ingredients :

2 cups finely ground Gluten-Free Brownies (Prepare according to package [I used Krusteaz]  — sub out water for Kahlua, if you like!)
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted, plus extra for rolling
1 cup Mini Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
2 to 4 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup Kahlua
4 ounces semisweet chocolate (or chocolate almond bark base), melted, optional

Instructions:

1. In a mixing bowl fitted with the paddle attachment, or by hand, mix together the brownie crumbs, powdered sugar, and nuts.

2. Stir in the 2 tablespoons of honey and the Kahlua.

3. Using your hands, try to form the mixture into a ball. If the mixture won’t hold together, add a little more honey (or Kahlua).

4. Roll the mixture into 1-inch balls (I used a cookie scoop), then roll them in powdered sugar or melted chocolate, and let them set up. Then, let them age or ripen 24 hours.

Rumchata Truffles

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Ingredients:

1/2 cup of Rumchata
12 oz bag of white chocolate chips
Vanilla almond bark or white chocolate chips for dipping the truffles
cinnamon

Instructions:

1. Set up a double boiler using a heavy pot and a Pyrex bowl. Fill the pot approx. 1/3 with water and heat water to just below boiling.  In the bowl, place your chips and Rumchata. Place the bowl over the pot. As the chips begin to melt down, stir the Rumchata and chips together, creating a smooth mixture.

2. Once all of the chips are melted and the Rumchata is incorporated, transfer the mixture to a container and let it set in the fridge for 2-3 hours.

3. Use an ice cream scoop (smaller size), to roll the truffles into a 1 inch size ball. You might have to use your hands to shape the ball.

4. Using the double boiler setup from earlier, melt the almond bark or chocolate chips.

5. Dip the truffles into the almond bark and sprinkle with cinnamon to decorate.

Russian Roasted Chicken

DSC_0812For Stone Dog XII, being held in 2016, I’ll be the head cook for our Russian-themed Feast. Since it’s my first go-round, I was asked to try the recipes I’ll be making (and actually document them, in some cases). Given that it’s the day before Thanksgiving, I figured I’d make the chicken dish I’m planning; it’s not turkey, but it’s pretty amazing all the same.

One batch makes ~10 lbs or 20 pieces of chicken.

Ingredients:

16.9 oz. Baltika No. 9 Russian Lager

1/4 C. Sea Salt

3/4 C. Sugar

1.5 L  Hot Water

1.5 L Ice Water

10 lb. or 20 pc. Chicken Thighs

1/4 C. (1 Stick) Unsalted Butter

1 Tbsp. Each of:

  • Whole Peppercorns
  • Thyme
  • Basil
  • Rosemary
  • Minced Garlic

Instructions:

1) Combine Russian Lager, Salt, Sugar, and Spices in a large bowl or kitchen tub. Stir to combine ingredients and begin dissolving salt and sugar for the brine base.

2) Heat up 1.5 L of water to just below boiling. Once heated, add into brine base and stir in, ensuring salt and sugar are dissolved.

3) Add 1.5 L of ice water to cool the brine down.

4) Add chicken, giving it a stir to distribute the spices throughout the mixture.

5) Cover chicken and brine, and refrigerate for 16-24 hours.

6) When ready to cook, pre-heat oven to 375* F, line pans with foil (helps with clean-up later), and melt butter.

7) Pat chicken pieces dry and lay them out in a single layer on the pans you’re using. Baste chicken with melted butter before placing in the oven.

8) Place chicken into oven and set the timer for 60 minutes. At the 40 minute and 20 minute marks, baste with more butter.

9) At the end of 60 minutes, check the internal temperature of the chicken with a kitchen thermometer to 165* F. Once it’s at 165* F, remove chicken from oven and allow it to rest prior to plating and serving.

10) Serve and enjoy!

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