Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Limoncello: The Perfect Gift

By Erin Ferucci
Celebrity Lifestyle Designer

Looking for the perfect present for your the adults on your gift list? Homemade Limoncello is delicious treat that will be sure to please everyone on your list. It's inexpensive to make at this time of year when ripe lemons are cheap.

What you will need:

15 or 20 ripe lemons- It is important to buy them right off the tree. You are going to be using the skins for zest, so you don't want the variety that you would buy in grocery store (those are usually coated with wax). So buy fresh organic lemons at the Farmer's market or pick them right off of your tree if you live in Southern California.

2 Bottles of 80 Proof Vodka or Everclear

3 cups of Water

3 cups of Sugar

2 -large (at least 3 liters) glass containers with lids

2-4 glass jars with resealable lids (the size will depend on how large you would like your gift to be)
Wash the glass containers thoroughly with warm, soapy water. Rinse them well and then sterilize them in boiling water for at least a few minutes. Set them on a rack or dish towel to cool.

Wash the lemons thoroughly, remove any blemishes and all stems and ends, you only want to use perfectly yellow skin. Zest the lemons using great caution to get only zest and no pith. Pith is the white part directly below the skin. Pith is bitter and will make your Limoncello bitter, so avoid getting any in your luscious mix!
Put all of the zest into the glass containers. Pour the vodka on top. Make sure that all of the zest is submerged in the vodka and leave at least 2 inches of head space between the top of the liquid and the top of the jar. Put the lid on the jar and seal tightly.

Put the jars in a cool, dark place to rest. The zest needs to marinate for at least 2 weeks, but you can leave it for up to 3 months! The longer you wait the better your limoncello will taste.

About 2-4 weeks before gift giving time it is time to make the simple syrup that will finish the recipe. Place the water and sugar in a heavy saucepan and heat slowly while you stir. Gradually the sugar will all dissolve. When it has dissolved, let it cool. Once the simple syrup is thoroughly cooled add it to the zest/vodka mixture. Reseal the jar and leave it in it's cool, dark place for at least 2 more weeks.
At least a week before gift giving bottle your limoncello in clean sterilized jars. Strain all of the zest from the liquid before bottling. You can do this using coffee filters or clean cheesecloth. Keep the bottled gifts in a cool, dark location for at least another week.Before giving my gifts I look to put them in the freezer and attach a pretty ribbon with a tag that says: Serve Chilled. Don't be surprised if your recipients ask for more!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Late Summer Lemon Fantasy by Erin Ferucci, Designs 4 Living

By Erin Ferucci
Celebrity Lifestyle Designer

I'm in the middle of a late summer lemon fantasy. I was in a meeting with one of my assistants talking about great homemade Christmas gifts and the subject of limoncello came up, which got me thinking about this fabulous restaurant I visited in Capri a few summers ago. Da Paolino is situated in the middle of a lemon grove. The branches of the lemon trees are literally the roof of the terrace. The have to most luscious Italian waiters that serve lemon inspired heaven on a plate. I had lemon fettuccine, lemon creme puffs and of course perfectly chilled limoncello. To sit in a lemon scented grove, your sun kissed by the Capri sun and sip this heady nectar....Ahhhhhh.

Even if you can't afford to fly to Capri in this economy you can still give the gift of limoncello - stay tuned to the blog, I promise to give the complete recipe and how to...

Sunday, September 20, 2009

My Mad Crush on Darryl Carter by Erin Ferucci, Designs 4 Living

By Erin Ferucci
Celebrity Lifestyle Designer
I have a bit of a designer's crush on Darryl Carter.
It all started with a blog I did on Kitchen Designs that I like... In the blog I featured Darryl Carter's personal kitchen in his country house in Virginia...I sent him an email to tell him how much I admire his work and to check out my blog...he was sooo nice... his company actually sent me a thank you letter!!
Talk about class..... I then proceeded to say I would like to marry him in another life, that we would be very happy together...he was amused!!! Which was the point.I love his class, his effortless style, his simplicity, his all around good taste...and I find him handsome.
He looks like a gentle person who is nice. Check out his new collection for Thomasville Furniture. I believe in supporting other designers and this is truly beautiful work. His fresh "Americana" style has a wonderful taste level. Love his style!

All photographs by Gordon Beall

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Dressed in Black by Erin Ferucci, Designs 4 Living

By Erin Ferucci
Celebrity Lifestyle Designer

Black. It's bold, versatile and back! In this month's Elle Decor, there was a story on Badgley and Mischka's weekend getaway farm, in Kentucky.As a designer, I am constantly surrounded by colors, textures, finishes, various fabrics, etc, etc.
Seeing color so much, I tend to stay neutral at home, myself.
Seeing their black barn and black kitchen and black dining room and black bedroom....I was like...hmmmmm?? They seem to have made it work for them....I thought I had a lot of cookbooks!! I love the way they color coded them.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

My Heart is in Paris, by Erin Ferucci, Designs 4 Living

By Erin Ferucci
Celebrity Lifestyle Designer

Life happens. It was my intent to be in Paris this weekend for the magnificent Maison & Objet professional trade show. Instead I will be remaining locally, embroiled in work, watching as Los Angeles continues to burn. Still, a part of my heart is in Paris and if I can't be there I will write about Maison & Objet and what I hoped to see.Just a little background this is the most amazing event, spanning 5 days and closed to the public From the Maison & Objet website:

Explore the whole world of home-fashion

More than just a trade show, MAISON&OBJET is a magnetic pole for all professionals. Design, home-fashion, objects, tableware…
6 quarters each explore a decorative world and a style: fodder for giving you fresh ideas, or changing tacks, inspiring you, and creating your own world. A true reference in the world of decoration, creation and design, a mosaic of trends, new talents and new concepts...
MAISON&OBJET offers you a new vision, a new atmosphere: a high added value offer!

The exhibits feature:

Hall 1: Ethnic Chic
Hall 2: Home Textiles
Hall 3: Tableware
Hall 4 L'espace - One of a kind masterpeices
Hall 5: Interior Decoration
Hall 6: Home Accessories

Maybe in January...