Sunday, January 30, 2011

When a Friend of Yours Gives You a Bazillion Lemons, Part II

Well, no recipe for the marmalade will be noted in this post... still no luck with that, but hope springs eternal and all that rot.
The girls before the run.
We wore yellow ribbons in our
hair in honor of a co-worker's
 daughter, who is fighting
bone cancer.
This weekend has been filled, although not necessarily with activities (I did manage a nap).  Most notably, though, I completed my first 10K at London's Run.  What an incredible event.  It was intensely moving, and I was honored to play even the smallest part in it.  The courses were covered with inspiring pictures of those who have and are fighting for their lives against cancer, and during the course of my run (the first time I have ever run such a distance), I wasn't tired; those faces (their names unknown to me) kept me from being tired.  I have no excuse to be tired.  I have health; I have an ability to run.  There were a few times that I became nearly too choked up to see two feet in front of me, but even that didn't deter me (thank goodness I was never within two feet of crashing into someone else, too!).
At the end, I still had energy to sprint out the last 200 meters or so (just like I used to tell the kids I coached to do), and I finished in 58:46, a full 3 minutes under my goal of 62 minutes.
After I completed the Undy 5000 last fall, I realized that I am insanely lucky.  I am healthy; my husband is healthy; our daughter is healthy.  I have full mobility and can even run when I want to (even though I never actually wanted to until very recently - shortly before this epiphany, actually).  Certainly, then, I have a duty to put that ability to the best use possible.  I decided, then, to continue running in events in order to help those who aren't able to join me on the road, always hopeful that my efforts, my fundraising, and my pounding of the pavement will make a difference and will help dispel the suffering of others.
Of course, this wasn't a race for me, but it certainly is a race for the children sitting in hospital rooms, and I most certainly will be racing in their stead in the weeks and months to come.

Today, then, I was kind of hoping to sleep in or at least get a good night's sleep.  HRH had other plans, so I was sucking down my creamer-loaded coffee earlier than I had planned this morning.
Nevertheless, it was a productive day.  I was FINALLY able to procure some vanilla beans so that I can make some extract and sugar, and Operation Limoncello has gone into effect.
It's raining lemons!
The first part of making limoncello isn't all that hard, just a little time consuming.  Thankfully, our lemon dealer - I mean friend - Danielle had us over for dinner, so she and I made a project of it, one that we are already planning to repeat.  While Scott picked yet more lemons (and grapefruit!), we filtered our grain alcohol, zested a boatload of lemons, and then juiced those bad boys.  HRH helped with this last step; she was entranced by the juicer.
That's a LOT of zest!
Once the booze was filtered and the zest freed from its lemony captors, we simply mixed the two together, sealed it, and placed it aside.  In 45 days, we can take the next step, which will help take away the "ZOMG" factor of using 190 proof alcohol.
There are recipes out there that call for vodka (100 proof-ish), but my friend's husband, who is from Italy and has family that has made limoncello for years, tells me that the grain alcohol imparts no taste like a vodka might and that the higher proof does something to the lemon and something else technical/science-y that is important to the proper end result.  Of course, the longer we let the finished product sit, the more mellow it will become, so perhaps a bunch of batches this year will mean a lovely, icy sipping liqueur next summer.  If we can wait that long - the summers are long and hot in Arizona.
Up close, the limoncello "starter" looks like
some weird underwater scene.
For now, at least...

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