Thursday, March 19, 2009

Food: Twangy Goodness

It's almost that time of year again... the Friday mornings just warm enough that I feel the need to go to the farmer's market and buy way, way too many fruits and vegetables. I've learned that if I go by myself, baby in tow, I am limited by the weight of what I can carry, but it is so much fun going to our favorite market that I am hard-pressed to leave the man at home. One thing we always end up with too many of are perfect, sweet little clementines. This year (not being pregnant, and excited to invent some fantastic summer adult beverages for entertaining), I've decided to pay homage to my man's ethnicity and our neighborhood (though stretching the rules just a bit...): Behold, the Clemencello.
Of course based on limoncello, I thought this would be a fun way to upcycle all those peels we're going to generate in the not too distant future.


10 clementines (or try a combination of tangerines,clementines,mandarins and Valencia oranges), washed and dried
1 bottle of vodka (750 milliliters, 80 to 100 proof)
2 cups sugar
2 cups water


  1. With a Microplane, zest the surface of the tangerines and oranges, being careful to only take off the top layer; if you scrape too hard, you’ll end up with the pith (the white membrane under the peel), which results in a too-bitter brew. Add the zest to a large clean jar.
  2. Pour the vodka over the zest and seal the container. Let sit undisturbed in a cool, dark place for 3 to 4 weeks.
  3. Place 2 cups sugar and 2 cups water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook until the sugar has dissolved, then remove the pan from the heat. Let the sugar syrup cool to room temperature.
  4. Add half of the cooled syrup to the orange peel-vodka mixture, stir, and taste. If it’s not sweet enough, continue adding more syrup until you like the taste of it.
  5. Pour the clemencello through a funnel lined with a coffee filter or cheesecloth into a large spouted pitcher. Divide the clemencello among gift bottles and seal.
  6. Store clemencello in the freezer. To serve, pour into small glasses and offer it for dessert with a plate of biscotti and/or chocolate truffles.

This content is from the Culinate Kitchen collection.

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