Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Key Lime Tarts

Key Lime Tarts

I got schoolgirl giddy when I passed by a sign at a local bakery that read, "KEY LIME SEASON IS HERE!" O.M.G. Key Lime Pie. WOOOT! If you've ever tasted key lime pie, and I mean real key lime pie (you know, with key limes) you know there's almost nothing that can beat that lip-puckering tart/sweet combo. Regular limes just don't cut it.

Sliced Key Limes

The thing about key limes is that they are annoyingly small. To get a good cup of juice you have to go through the agony of squeezing about 2 pounds worth of limes. Without the aid of a juicer or reamer, it can be a bit of a nightmare. Of course, I have neither. I found it helpful to slice the key limes in half and first press them in a bowl with the palm of my hand, to get most of the juice out, then tackle the last few squeezes with my fingertips.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Crispy Yellowtail Snapper with Red Watercress and Citrus

Purple Watercress & Yellowtail 

I'm a Florida girl at the core. I love blindingly sunny weather and wearing flip-flops all year round. I pledge to live out the second half of my life somewhere along a beach, and when I die, hope to be sprinkled across the sea.

I adore great seafood.

Yellowtail Snapper

I also adore great citrus... and good Lord, Floridians know great citrus.

I can't put into words the deliciousness of a blooming lemon tree... or how perfect life feels when a grapefruit is sweeter than an orange... or the joy I get from puckering my lips at the thought of key lime tarts.

Living in Atlanta means I'm too far away to pick the oranges right off the tree, but close enough to get some real Florida citrus from my local farmer's market. I've been looking forward to those early spring months when Mother Nature tells us it's time to boost our immune systems with vitamin C. The powdery blanket of pollen which has turned all the cars in the parking lot a pale shade of yellow let's me know that time is finally here.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Gnocchi from Scratch - First Attempt


Damn I love gnocchi. It brings me back to 2005 when I studied abroad in Florence. I would sit at this small cafe across the street from school, and trade a couple of meal tickets for a fantastically fragrant bowl of the basil and garlic coated potato pillows. It's one of my favorite smells. I can still taste it when I close my eyes. And still, to this day, I have not tasted another pesto gnocchi recipe that has topped it.


Keeping that taste at the back of my palette, I set out to make it myself. I know what I want it to taste like, now how am I going to pull it off?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Step Back and let the Chef do the Cooking

There are times when a person has to know when to step back... 

Final Plating

... and this time, that person was me. 

One thing I've learned from living with other foodies is that things can't always be your way, especially when it comes to cooking. It took a long time, and a broken relationship or two for me to appreciate something as simple as stepping back and letting the other person take the lead. I guess I'm kind of OCD in that that way.

The good thing about past relationships though, is that you learn (hopefully) from those flaws and failed experiences. With new relationships, you test yourself. You react how you normally wouldn't react, and you do what you normally wouldn't do, and maybe... just maybe, you realize it wasn't entirely their fault.

So I put myself to the test. Last week, one of my good friends from college came into town, and she graciously opened up her swanky bachelorette pad (and kitchen) for David and I to just have at it. If David cooked the dinner, she said, she'd pay for all the ingredients. Pretty sweet trade-off. A free meal of whatever we want to cook, in a gas-stove, kitchen-island, counter-tops-for-days dream kitchen? Ideas swirled in my head of what we could cook. Steak? Risotto? CHOCOLATE FOUNTAIN?!?!