Killer Key Lime Bites

Looking for a whimsical and light last minute summer dessert- perhaps for that big holiday right around the corner??? Try these individual Killer Key Lime Bites. There’s no worry about making a perfect pie crust because you use limes to hold the filling and you can whip up the key lime pie filling in a few fast steps.

I followed Ina Garten’s recipe for frozen key lime pie for the filling. Then, I substituted large, hollowed out limes to spoon the pie filling into rather than pie crust. You can make these treats ahead of time, pop them in the freezer and serve just as your guests are ready for dessert.

Ingredients
Filling:
6 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons grated lime zest
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (4 to 5 limes)

For the Topping:
1 cup (1/2 pint) cold heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Thin lime wedges
Crumbled graham crackers (crumble right before serving to keep them fresh)

The first step is buying the largest limes you can find. Cut each lime in half and use a juicer to squeeze all of the juice possible out of each half. After the lime is juiced the inside should be fairly empty. You can scoop out the remainder of the lime with a sharp pairing knife or a grapefruit sectioning spoon. The only secret to this step of preparation is a little patience.

Once the inside of the lime is scooped out, place each half in an empty egg container which holds the lime upright for filling. For the filling, beat the egg yolks and sugar on high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment for 5 minutes, until thick. With the mixer on medium speed, add the condensed milk, lime zest, and lime juice. Spoon the filling up to the edge of the lime. Top with fresh whipped cream and a touch of lime zest and place your filled egg carton in the freezer. When you are ready to serve the Key Lime Bites, take them out of the freezer and sprinkle fresh graham cracker crumbs on top.

I found the best serving holders for this mini dessert were circular napkin rings. The lime sits perfectly on top. Place each napkin ring on a large elevated cake plate or decorative platter and add a little more zest around the edges to complete the display.

You can also add mini-appetizer spoons to each Key Lime Bite for easy serving and easy eating.

Organic Strawberry Basil Margaritas With Ginger

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I hit up my local farm stand, South Coast Farms, on my way home from working out on Friday. The strawberries this season have been outrageous, baskets and baskets of pure berry sweetness filling up a large table every day at the farm. When I showed up Friday, the normal “strawberry” table was overflowing with heirloom tomatoes. Strawberry season at the farm ends today and the farm’s “U-Pick” option was the only way I could enjoy a few last baskets of their organic strawberries. So, I grabbed my basket and walked out to the field.

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A few observations from my strawberry picking: (1) There is no match for the goodness of food that goes right from the ground into your hands. (2) I will have a greater appreciation for naturally farmed food and the people that bring it to me, as my back was sore after a mere 35 minutes of picking strawberries. (3) Standing in the field and looking around at heirloom tomatoes on vines and giant bunches of fresh green lettuces and kale, I was inspired to keep shopping/eating/buying local farm stand fruits and vegetables. (4) It is the simple and pure things in life that make me feel good – standing in that field picking strawberries, chatting with people I didn’t know on a relaxed Friday afternoon, watching kids fill their little buckets with strawberries picked with their own little hands, the warm sunshine and cool ocean breeze.

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I decided to kick off the holiday weekend using the strawberries in fresh strawberry margaritas. All of the ingredients listed are organic (I purchased the basil and limes at the farm as well). Happy Fourth of July…Enjoy this “Farm-To-Glass” spirit.

INGREDIENTS
1 cup of organic strawberries, stems removed
1/2 cup Patron Silver tequila
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/8 cup Cointreau
1 Tb organic basil, roughly chopped +extra for garnish
1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger
*Fills two large margarita glasses or three smaller glasses

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DIRECTIONS
Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until thoroughly combined. Pour over ice into Margarita glasses and top with a few sprigs of basil. For garnish, create a mini kabob of strawberries, basil and ginger and rest on the side of the Margarita glass. Serve on a large farm tray with baskets of strawberries as decoration.

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