Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Next year you're all getting gift cards to Big Lots.

In case you don't live in the South (bless your heart), you might not know that Southern Living magazine is required reading.  It's full of recipes with lots of mayonnaise and regional stories best read with a drawl.  It's best to keep it next to your bible in case of spiritual or potluck dinner emergencies.  When my copy comes in the mail it's a real event on par with tapping a new box of wine.

Last month's holiday issue inspired me to make something (that didn't involve mayonnaise) to give as Christmas gifts.  They had a recipe for Satsuma-cello which is lke Limoncello but saucier! 

Mine is going to look EXACTLY like that!
It seemed relatively easy and I thought my cocktail-loving friends who do not need any more tchotchkes would enjoy it.  I'm feeling all crafty lately and they will be the unwitting recipients of my popsicle stick/pipe cleaner love.  It's like vacation bible school but 21 and over.

Let's get this party started before Santa Jesus gets here!  (This is what I said last month.  I couldn't very well post this before the arrival of Santa Jesus since I made it for people who read this blog.)

Step 1A: Get your supplies. If you're really serious about making booze you have to put it in something.  My friends are No Expectations friends but I think they would probably draw the line at mixing a cocktail out of my reused milk cartons.  

These little guys are only 3.95 at Crate and Barrel and feel free to buy a few extras to style your fridge with once you've poured out your milk so you can reuse the cartons to give as gifts.

Step 1B: Buy a lot of vodka. If you're like me, the guy at the liquor store will say 'Just another Friday, huh?' 

Step 1C: Buy a case of satsumas - the delicious little mandarin orange-like citrus bombs of deliciousness that are only available in the expensive grocery store in town.  Thanks Southern Living.  Apparently clementines aren't good enough for the pages of your magazine.

Step 2: Eat 4-5 satsumas to test quality.  Feel free to do the same for the vodka.

Step 3: Now you have to separate the peel from the fruit meat.  They say to use a vegetable peeler but my vegetable peeler might as well have been a dull spoon with how it tickled the satsuma peel.  I don't know what the hell kind of peelers that Southern Living uses but I'm guessing it involves child labor and samurai swords.  Zesting might not produce as much satsuma essence that I would like and I want off-the-charts, over-the-rainbow, ass-slapping satsuma essence.  

I'm going in with a knife because after testing the vodka it seemed like a really good idea.
Those giant oil glands are kinda vulgar...
After four minutes and half of a satsuma I wanted to die.  These pieces are less than a centimeter in size because satsumas are tiny precious round things that don't like to give up their skins.  They hate being naked.  You can't peel these assholes like an apple and no amount of wishing or bargaining with the debil would make this easy.  SANTA JESUS WHERE ARE YOU WHEN I NEED YOU???!!

1 satsuma is manageable, 20 is suicidal.  I'd rather spend my eternity in hell giving cranky cats pills.  I hope my friends can taste how much I love them because they are never getting this again.
You can see where I mutilated the ones in the back although it was definitely more their fault than mine.  I put the pretty ones up front to bolster my self esteem because that is some fucking awesome knife work.  SHUT UP LET ME HAVE THIS!!

Satsuma juice is rather potent so after 1 hour, 20 satsumas and 2 near-finger-decapitating slips with the knife your fingernails will stained yellow like you violated an Oompa Loompa.

BUT you're left with this:

ESSENCE!  Like running your fingers through tiny orange coins. (But not the finger that is bleeding because I almost decapitated it.  No worries, friends who received this as a gift.)

After I cried tears of relief to be done, I poured vodka over all my hard work, another shot down my throat and let it sit for 10 days while I went to cancel my Southern Living subscription.  

I'm kidding, Southern Living.  I shouldn't even joke about something like that. 

Of course, now I have 20 naked satsumas that I have to eat in a hurry.  They are like little orange wedges that rode a rainbow from heaven into your mouth so it's really not a problem.  Well, the first 10 are.  After that I need to do something different.  So I made satsuma chicken stir fry, satsuma salsa and a satsuma dump cake.  You know, those cakes from the 80s (Southern Living probably invented it) where you dump some fruit in a pan and sprinkle dry cake mix on top and pour butter over it?  I make one about every 10 years - it tastes like yellow and my childhood.  It was good for breakfast.

Step 4:  After 7-10 days and an embarrassing amount of breakfast cake later, your juice has been juicified. Strain your previous handiwork.
These peels are now like candy!  I know because I ate a few pieces like candy.  I chopped them up and have been using them as zest in everything.  Bet you didn't think of THAT Southern Living?!  *eyebrow wiggle* 

It's dark because of all the extra essence in there...  I hope.

Step Whatever This Is:  In an effort to use every large pot, pan and container in your house, add in gallons of simple syrup for your orange "juice."  Let sit for another 24 hours while you attend to more glittery needs.

Step You're Not Even Going To Make This So Why Bother:  Let's make some labels for your fine liqueur!  Or not.  I apparently forgot everything I once knew in ID school about interior design glues and vellum and X-acto knives and could not actually make a label adhere to the surface of the bottle in a manner that didn't look like a homeless man pissed in a bottle and stuck a dirty piece of newspaper on the front with his spit.  

So I opted for just tie-on tags made of vellum.  AND GLITTER!!!  It was easier and didn't remind me of my wasted degree.  

It was by far the most exciting part that didn't involve a dull knife.  On the GLITTERY tags I wrote Southern Living's recipes for Satsuma cocktails.  

If a craft blogger made this they would have hired a calligrapher and spritzed each tag with homemade satsuma-scented Febreze but all I had was a sharpie and good intentions. 

And a limp bow.

Remember, we excel at mediocrity around here.  But after 10+ days of HARD GLITTERY WORK (doing mostly nothing) I just wanted to stop.  DIY is supposed to be a cheaper and easier alternative to actually buying real gifts for people but dammit I think Pinterest lied to me about this!!!  

I was drunk on the possibility of handicrafts much like I was drunk after a few cocktails made with satsuma liqueur.  This recipe makes enough for two gift bottles and a generous bottle for yourself (ok 3 if you use a big bow to cover the empty space up top).  And this stuff is so delicious I soon forgot about the neck cramps from my night of peeling. 

I also got to eat all the satsumas and am still using the zest...  Looking back I actually see that I came out ahead with this.  But let's not say that real loud so my friends can still think I almost killed myself because of my deep undying love for them.

(And liqueur.)

(And Southern Living.)

(But mostly the promise of homemade booze...)

Thank you Santa Jesus!


  1. That looks so hard! I hope your friends appreciated it. I made Rhubarb Schnaps one Christmas & it was waaaaayyyy easier; sugar, chopped rhubarb & vodka in a jar. Shake every day for 6 weeks. Put in a pretty bottle. The end.

  2. This was one of the funniest fucking things I've read all day. It made laugh out loud like a crazy person at midnight in my living room while listening to my all Journey, all the time Pandora station. Wait, maybe it was all the other things that make me sound crazy. Clearly I should be in bed like my husband and baby but this is much more important :)

  3. Mrs. BC - Honestly, I probably made it way harder than it actually was but don't tell anyone! Your rhubarb schnaps sounds super yum... I do have an extra bottle laying around. Hhmmm...

    Ish - OBVIOUSLY this is way more important! I'm trying to educate people to the real costs of DIY. And the sometimes saucy benefits.

    High five for Journey.

  4. DIY is never less expensive than what is mass produced - though it is way more authentic. I hope you had fun violating oompa loompas.

    This vaguely reminds me of a book I'm currently reading entitled "The Toaster Project".

    I think all this effort is awesome.


  5. I do enjoy giving homemade gifts even though the stakes are higher - you can't return it for something you like better!

    The Toaster Project sounds really cool! As someone who works in the manufacturing of consumer goods I'm always fascinated by process.

    And thank you. ; )

  6. "Little orange wedges that rode a rainbow from heaven to your mouth."


  7. I haven't eaten one in a month. I think I know what I'll be doing when I get home...

  8. Hilarious! Thanks for the mental image from Step You're Never Going to Make this So Why Even Bother. Laughed out loud (really) - and I never do that.

  9. Aww shucks. Just another homeless man piss joke. ; )

  10. Clearly I need to catch up my saucy reading so I can let everyone know that all of the effort and love and oompa loompa magic that went into the making of this fine gift was well worth it! Enjoyed a pitcher just last night... mmmmm!

  11. Thank you for the fine recommendation of my saucy skillz, friend! It may have been the Oompa Loompa magic but I think it was more likely the glitter paper. And the large quantities of vodka...

    Much love!

  12. What a great sounds yummy! Those tags look fantastic..i will definitely be stealing this!

    1. Go for it! I might suggest a really sharp vegetable peeler though...