Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Homemade Orangecello Liqueur

Homemade Orangecello liqueur on the rocks.
Liqueurs are versatile. They make a good after dinner drink to sip instead of a big dessert. They can also be used with a mixer for a lighter daytime thirst quencher.

I found a recipe for Orangecello Liqueur online and it peaked my interest. We use a lot of oranges in our breakfast fruit bowls, so I have plenty of orange peels that can be used for other purposes.

Here's the complete recipe I found online. I cut mine in half.

Homemade Orangecello Liqueur

Remove bitter white pith from peels.

1 bottle 80-proof vodka
peels from 6 oranges
half of a vanilla bean
Simple syrup (2 cups water and 2 cups sugar)


Remove as much white pith as you can from the orange peels. The pith will make the Orangecello bitter.
Place ingredients in a jar.
Slice the prepared peels into strips.

Place the ingredients in a sealable container. I used a Mason jar with a plastic lid. Save the orange fruit for other uses.

Store the jar in a dark place.

Check daily to make sure the vanilla bean isn’t overpowering the mixture. Remove the vanilla bean after three days maximum.
My Orangecello resting in the pantry.

Let the mixture continue to infuse with the orange peels for five to seven additional days. Check daily to make sure the flavour and colour are to your liking.

More orange flavour will be imparted to the alcohol the longer it infuses. I left mine work for two weeks and it was perfect for my taste.

Strain the mixture.

Strain the mixture.
Make a simple syrup with two cups of water and two cups of sugar. Heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved.

Allow the simple syrup to cool completely. Add one cup to the infused alcohol and give it a taste test.

Add more if you like a sweeter liqueur. Because mine was a little bitter, I used the whole amount.

It reduces the amount of liquor in the final product, but for me it improved the taste.
Make a simple syrup.

Chill the Orangecello, or serve it on the rocks.

It also makes a nice, light spritzer by combining it with lemon-lime soda.

The completed Orangecello liqueur will keep for several months, if it lasts that long. It’s like drinking liquid orange candy.

Add cooled simple syrup to the infused alcohol and store in a sealed container.

I hate to throw useful things away, so I put the strained orange peels in a pan and let them dry in the oven with the pilot heat. I love it when nothing goes to waste. -- Margy

Friday, February 17, 2017

Girls Night Out

Enjoying a Suncoast pale ale at Coastal Cookery.
Wayne and I are what you might call soulmates. We spend almost all of our time together, or at least near each other, up at our off-the-grid float cabin home on Powell Lake. We share lots of the same interests, but once in a while I enjoy a "girl's night out,"

My special day started when I dropped Wayne off at the Shinglemill Marina to head home alone.

We have a condo in Powell River on Marine Avenue. We chose the location because of its proximity to restaurants and shops, and its view of the marina and the Strait of Georgia beyond. It gives us a place to use the Internet, and a place to stay if we can't get home before dark. We prefer not to boat on the the lake at night.

I started my girl's night out with a Townsite Brewing Suncoast pale ale and dinner at Coastal Cookery just down the block. We are so lucky to have great restaurants and an excellent craft brewery here in Powell River.

Then I took a walk down to the marina for a beautiful Powell River sunset. Some people pay lots of money to take vacations to destinations with great sunsets, and we have them every night for free.

To top off my evening, I went to a sketching class with Rick Cepella sponsored by the Powell River Public Library and organized by Mark Merlino, the Adult Services Coordinator.

We used permanent ink pens to learn how to free up our minds and hands to create freeform sketches. Here's mine. It started as lines, swirls and squiggles, but ended up as sunrise over Goat Island. I had fun and learned a lot. 

So ended girl's night out. Now I'm heading home to enjoy some together time with Wayne. -- Margy

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Back in Time at Boomer's Drive-In

If you asked me, "What's your favourite movie?" my answer would instantly be American Graffiti. "Why American Graffiti," you ask? The "short" answer is, I learned to drive in the early 60's, I did my share of cruising, and I spent my summers near Modesto, California, the location for the movie.

Every time I see it I think of swimming in canals, cruising 10th Street, dragging on country roads and parking in peach orchards. Several movie scenes were at Mel's Drive-In, the quintessential 1950's fast food restaurant and teenage hangout. The real Mel's was in San Francisco, but almost every town had a similar drive-in with car service (with or without roller skates).

This brings me to Boomer's Drive-In in Bellingham, Washington. It truly is a step back in time. You can still pull up to covered parking, read the carside menu, turn on your lights and the waitress comes to take your order.

She returns with a window tray of delights that will really take you back. Boomer's signature dish is the Boomer Burger (really big and juicy) in a combo with one of their scrumptious hard ice cream shakes (try peanut butter) and crisp waffle fries. It's enough for even the hungriest guy.

They have other items, but I haven't made it past the Boomer Burger. When the weather's too cold for car dining, Boomer's has indoor seating next to a roaring fire. Maybe it's not Mel's, but a good addition for the Pacific Northwest.

You'll find Boomer's at 310 N. Samish Way (360-647-2666). Heading south, take the Samish Way exit from I-5 and turn right.

Boomer's is about half a mile on the right. It's a little hard to see until you are right on top of it, so go slow. -- Margy

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Cranberry Stuffed Acorn Squash

Cold nights always make me think of comfort foods. Winter squash fills that bill in my cookbook.

I chose acorn squash because of it's size is perfect for the two of us, and its shape is perfect for stuffing.

Like many of my recipes, I did Internet research then put together several to match the ingredients I had on hand and what I think will taste good.

Cranberry Stuffed Acorn Squash


1 acorn squash
1 cup unseasoned croutons
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 stalk celery diced
1/4 onion chopped
1/2 apple diced
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/8 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup apple juice
salt and pepper to taste


Slice the top off of the squash, scoop out the seeds, and trim the bottom so the squash can stand upright in a baking dish.

Fill the dish with 1/2 inch of water, place the squash upside down and bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes or until the flesh is softened.

While the squash is baking, prepare the filling. Melt butter in a frying pan and saute onion, celery and apple. When wilted, add cranberries, pecans, apple juice, brown sugar, allspice, cinnamon, and salt and pepper. Cook slowly until sugar is dissolved then remove from heat.

Remove squash from the oven and discard the water. Turn right side up. Stir together croutons  and the cooked mixture.

Stuff the squash and return to the oven for an additional 15 minutes or until browned.

The stuffed squash can be served as a side, but I think it's hearty enough to be a main dish. -- Margy