Monthly Archives: August 2015

Key Lime Pie

Key lime pie is an American dessert made of lime juice, egg yolks, and sweetened condensed milk baked in a pie crust. It is named for the small Key limes that were once abundant in the Florida Keys.

But you don’t have to use the very small Key limes to make this pie.  The regular limes found in your grocery store are perfectly fine to use.  I have only seen Key limes at my local grocery store a couple of times.  The Key limes are very small, about the size of a ping pong ball, and do not look like they would be fun to squeeze juice from. For this recipe, I used regular limes grown in Mexico that are available year round here in the USA.

limes

The first Key lime pie I ever ate was in the Florida Keys many years ago and I have loved it ever since then. It is a wonderful tart and sweet summer pie.

It is generally thought that a cook named Aunt Sally from Key West made the first Key lime pie sometime in the late 1800s, using a recipe created by local area fishermen as her guide.  The other key ingredient in this pie is sweetened condensed milk which was invented by Gail Borden in 1856. For more on the history of Key lime pie read the full article by Linda Stradley found here.

The graham cracker crust recipe is adapted from the one on the back of Keebler’s Graham Cracker Crumbs box. The pie filling is adapted from The Pioneer Woman and her original recipe can be found here.

Key Lime Pie

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Crust
1 1⁄4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1⁄3 cup melted butter

Filling
1 tablespoon grated lime zest
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime Juice
3 large egg yolks
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

For the crust:
Combine crumbs and sugar in medium sized bowl. Stir in the melted butter until thoroughly blended. Pack mixture firmly into a 9 inch pie (or tart) pan and press firmly to bottom and sides, bringing crumbs evenly up to the rim. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 6-8 minutes, or until light brown. Cool on a wire rack.

For the filling:
Mix lime zest, lime juice, and egg yolks in a mixing bowl. Add in condensed milk and mix on low speed until smooth and thick. Pour mixture into the prepared crust and bake until the center is set but still quivers when the pan is nudged, 15-17 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack. Then refrigerate for at least 1 hour before slicing.

key lime pie

Notes:
1. Bottled Key lime juice is available but I prefer using fresh regular limes.
2. Because of the small amount of filling this recipe makes, it is perfect for a tart pan, but I have used a regular pie pan in the past.
3. This pie is perfect as it is but can be served with whipped cream.

key lime pie

Jalapeno Baked Cheese Grits

 baked grits

Grits are made from ground corn, a food of Native American origin. It is a very common food in the Southern United States. I grew up in the south but really never cared too much for grits until I was an adult and had moved away. When I did eat grits as a child it was at one of my Aunt’s house. She always made a pot of grits for breakfast and homemade biscuits, without fail. She was a true Southern lady and cook.

Grits have a very interesting history. The early Native Americans ate a corn mush made of softened corn or maize. When Sir Walter Raleigh met the Indians in Roanoke, North Carolina in 1584 they were fed a boiled corn or hominy. One of Sir Raleigh’s men, Arthur Barlowe made a special note of the corn, “which he found very white, faire, and well tasted.”

Source for the preceding information is courtesy of Linda Stradley and her website What’s Cooking America. The complete article can be found here.

I tried jalapeno cheddar grits at a small local restaurant, the Horseshoe Smokehouse,  and they were so good. I couldn’t get their recipe so I went on a hunt for a similar recipe. This recipe is very similar in taste to the one at the restaurant. I think it may even be better.

This is a wonderful side dish to serve at dinner. It is great served with BBQ pulled pork sandwiches, grilled shrimp or grilled steak.

Jalapeno Baked Cheese Grits

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

1 cup quick-cooking grits such as Quaker Grits
4 cups water
1/2 tsp seasoned salt
1/2 tsp seasoned pepper
1/2 tsp seasoned garlic powder
1 1/2 cups grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated pepper jack cheese
1/2 stick unsalted butter
2 large eggs, well beaten
1  4 oz canned  chopped hot green chilies
1 green onion chopped, for garnish, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

For the grits:  Slowly stir the grits and seasonings into briskly boiling water.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook 5 to 7 minutes until thickened; staring frequently.  Remove from heat and add the butter. Stir until the butter is melted. Add the green chilies and grated cheeses, stirring to incorporate into the grits, reserving 1/4 cup of the Cheddar cheese for the top. Temper the beaten eggs by beating in a couple of tablespoons of the hot grits. Add the tempered eggs to the grits. Pour into a 10 cup, 9-inch springform pan that has been lightly sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Sprinkle the top with the reserved Cheddar cheese. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour. Let cool slightly before slicing and serving. Garnish the slices with chopped green onions.

Notes:
1. A buttered 9-inch baking dish or a cast iron skillet can be used in place of the springform pan.
2. The casserole is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
3. Any leftovers warm up very nicely in the microwave oven.

baked grits 1