Old Fashioned Lemonade

17 07 2011

Freshly squeezed lemonade is a great way to beat the heat!

We’ve been experiencing a bit of a heat wave in Southern Ontario and it’s the type of weather that calls for an ice cold glass of lemonade. A couple of years ago I featured a recipe for Tuscan Lemonade that has been quite popular. However, because it has liquor in it, obviously it’s not suitable for children. This family-friendly recipe will appeal to everyone (and you can always add a splash of your favourite bourbon, rum or vodka if you’re entertaining!).

I prefer a lemonade that is quite tart and bold – you can always adjust the amount of sugar and water slightly to taste. I used quite large lemons – if you can only find smaller ones, use a few more. Small inexpensive juicers can be found at most kitchen stores or you can squeeze them by hand but it may take a while!

Old Fashioned Lemonade

Makes about 8 cups

  • 12 large lemons (for three cups of juice)
  • 1-1/2 to 2 cups white sugar (to taste)
  • 4 cups cold water
  • 1 tray of ice cubes (about 14 cubes)
  1. Juice eleven of the lemons – they should yield about 3 cups of lemon juice. Pour the juice into a large pitcher through a strainer to get rid of any seeds and pulp.
  2. Slice the remaining lemon into slices and remove any seeds. Set aside.
  3. Stir 1-1/2 cups of sugar into the lemon juice until it fully dissolves. Add the water and stir to combine. Adjust the sugar and water to taste if necessary.
  4. Empty a tray of ice cubes into the pitcher and add the lemon slices.

Enjoy!

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Copyright Trish Coleman. Please contact the author to obtain permission for republication.





Artichokes with Lemon-Garlic Dip

4 09 2009

 

Ontario grown baby artichokes.

Artichokes are grown in Ontario? Yes they are!

I love artichokes and artichoke hearts. However, I don’t eat them very often for a couple of reasons.  First of all, I find fresh artichokes intimidating to prepare and eat. They’re beautiful to look at but I’m never sure what to do with all those leaves sticking out of them.  I usually eat them as part of an antipasto platter or in dips made with jarred hearts.  The second reason I don’t eat them is that I tend to focus on local produce in the summer so I don’t really think about them when I’m surrounded by local corn, tomatoes, peaches, etc.  However, all of that changed yesterday at the farmer’s market when I discovered this: artichokes are grown in Ontario.

For some reason this surprised me.  I’ve driven through Castroville, California which is the Artichoke Center of the World, growing 75% of U.S. artichokes.  Naturally I associated artichokes with California’s warmer climate and it never occurred to me that they might grow here.  I spoke to the farmer selling them and she told me that they are grown as annuals in Ontario (as opposed to perennials in California) and are started early in a greenhouse.  

An artichoke growing in Castroville, California

An artichoke growing in Castroville, California

The ones I bought were baby artichokes, which are smaller and more delicate than full sized ones.  Another surprise is that baby artichokes are very easy to prepare. Just trim the stem, peel off the toughest outside leaves, cut off the top 1/4 of the artichoke and steam the tender yellow heart.  The website oceanmist.com provides excellent step-by-step photos and videos that are very helpful. Once you’ve steamed them, let them cool.  Serve with a delicious lemony-garlic mayonnaise that pairs beautifully with the tender hearts. If you can’t find fresh artichokes to steam, serve the dip with jarred or canned artichoke hearts.

Lemon-Garlic Dip for Artichokes

Makes 3/4 cup

(VEGETARIAN)

  • 3/4 cup Hellman’s or Best Foods style light mayonnaise 
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 small garlic clove, very finely minced
  • Lemon zest strips, to garnish (optional)
  • Toothpicks to dip artichokes
  1. In a bowl, add mayonnaise, lemon juice, grated lemon zest and garlic.  Stir to combine thoroughly.  
  2. Arrange cooked artichokes on a platter and pour dip into a side dish.  Garnish with lemon zest strips if desired.  Use toothpicks to dip the artichokes in the mayo.

Bon Appétit and Enjoy!

 

Steamed baby artichokes with Lemon-Garlic Dip

Steamed baby artichokes with Lemon-Garlic Dip





Tuscan Lemonade

21 06 2009

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Welcome to summer, at long last!  This year the first day of summer also coincides with Father’s Day (and my parents’ 40th wedding anniversary – Happy Anniversary!). Now that the weather is warming up and casual entertaining is moving outdoors, a sweet-tart adult lemonade is the perfect drink to get festivities rolling.

This refreshing version of lemonade draws its inspiration from the idyllic notion of Tuscan afternoons amongst the olive and lemon groves, sipping chilled limoncello. Limoncello is a lemony Italian liqueur that is actually from the Amalfi coast in Southern Italy but it is enjoyed throughout Italy and around the world.  I have to admit to shamelessly adopting the ‘Tuscan’ descriptor to make it sound more appealing.  It’s a bit of  a joke that anything labelled ‘Tuscan’ tends to sell, whether or not it actually has anything to do with Tuscany (As an example, see  ‘Tuscan’ frozen pizzas, or an article from the satirical magazine The Onion: “Area Woman Will Eat Anything with ‘Tuscan’ in Name“).  Call it what you will, this is a great summer sipper that is perfect as an afternoon drink or pre-dinner aperitif.

 

Dream of the Tuscan countryside while sipping a pre-dinner 'Tuscan' lemonade

Dream of Tuscan sunsets while sipping a pre-dinner adult lemonade

This can be made for 2 people, or served by the pitcher for a crowd – I have given instructions for both.  You can also lighten it up by using sparkling water in place of the prosecco/sparkling wine.

Helpful tip: Use fresh lemon juice instead of the bottled kind if possible.  To get the most juice from a lemon, roll it on the countertop before cutting it open, pressing down on it so the insides break up a bit.  Keep lemons at room temperature instead of in the fridge.

Tuscan Lemonade

Makes 2 drinks – see below for pitcher proportions to serve a crowd

  • 3 oz. limoncello liqueur
  • 2 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • About 200 to 250 ml / approximately 1 cup (8 oz.) prosecco, cava or other inexpensive sparkling wine to top drink (substitute sparkling water for a lighter drink)
  • Ice
  • Lemon slices to garnish
  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add limoncello and lemon juice.  Shake well and strain into lowball glasses or small wine glasses.  
  2. Top with prosecco/cava/sparkling water and garnish with a lemon slice.  
  3. Serve with a dish of olives, if desired.

To Make a Pitcher of Lemonade:

The proportions for 2 drinks are 3:2:8 so you can adjust it accordingly for a group.  For 8 people, you would need:

  • 12 oz. (1-1/2 cups) limoncello
  • 8 oz. (1 cup) fresh lemon juice
  • 32 oz. (4 cups) sparkling wine or water
  1. Instead of mixing in a cocktail shaker, just mix in a pitcher, add a few ice cubes and chill in the fridge until serving. Cut lemons into slices and toss into the pitcher.  Garnish glasses with lemon slices for serving, if desired.

Cheers and Enjoy!

 

A refreshing adult lemonade that's perfect for hot summer days.

A refreshing adult lemonade that's perfect for hot summer days.