Key Lime Pie

When you think of key limes, your mind probably automatically goes straight to pie.  But there are so many other uses for this versatile citrus.  Of course you can use it for other baked goods – think butter cookies, cheesecake, muffins, etc.  Grown in both Florida and Mexico, it is the most authentic lime to use for Mexican-inspired soups (you can give a nod to Florida by using it in fish preparations).  Key limes also make great additions to marinades and sauces.  As a bonus, they make for a super-tangy limeade.
But when I brought in the groceries, and the hubby noticed the bag of key limes that I had bought in a super-cheap sale, he said, “Ooooh.  Pie.”  So I’m posting my favorite key lime pie recipe.  I like to keep it simple, without meringue or what have you on top.  And it is just as easy to make two of them at a time.  In our house, the second one gets sliced and the slices set on a tray in the freezer.  Once they are frozen, I place individual slices in zipper bags so I don’t have to thaw the whole thing.
Key Lime Pie (makes 2 pies)
16 graham crackers (full sheets)
6 tbsp. sugar
 ½ c. melted butter
8 large or extra large egg yolks
2 (14 oz.) cans sweetened condensed milk
1 c. fresh key lime juice
2 tbsp. key lime zest
 Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large mixing bowl, crush the graham crackers. 
Add the sugar and melted butter and mix until well combined.  Divide graham crumb mixture in half, and press each half into a pie plate.  Place pie plates in oven and bake until browned, about ten minutes.  Transfer to a rack and allow to cool while you prepare the filling.  Beat the egg yolks on high speed until they thicken and turn pale.  Add the sweetened condensed milk and beat to combine. 
Add the lime juice and zest.  Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat until well combined. 
Pour half of the mixture into each pie shell and bake for 12 minutes.  Allow to cool on a rack for at least half an hour, then chill completely in the refrigerator before serving.


Quiche Me, Quick

Quiche is one of those flexable "everything but the kitchen sink" dishes that you can make with whatever you have on hand.  Keep the proportion of eggs to milk/cream/half-n-half/ yogurt the same (roughly 4 eggs to 1 1/2 c. dairy), and you can add cheese, meat, veggies, etc. to your heart's content.  If you add too much, just divide the mixture in half and make two quiches.

We glazed a spiral sliced ham earlier this week, and made steamed broccoli florets, so this particular quiche is a perfect exmple of how to use leftovers.  When I teach my cooking classes, I  have a hard time convincing students that the stalk portion of broocoli is not only edible, but delicious, especially in cassaroles, pot pies and quiches, where the florets might be distracting to the overall texture of the dish.

I wanted this to be a relatively quick breakfast dish, so I cheated a little and used a packaged pie crust.  Can it get any easier? 

Ham and Broccoli Quiche

2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 c. onion, diced
1/2 c. broccoli stalk, diced
prepared pie crust
4 eggs
1 1/2 c. milk
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 c. mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 c. ham, diced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a heavy skillet. 
Add onion and broccoli stalk.  Sautee these vegetables until the onion turns translucent and the broccoli softens.  Set aside to cool.  Roll out pie crust into a 9" pie plate, and prick the bottom of the crust with a fork. 

In a large bowl, scramble eggs.  Add milk, salt, pepper, cheese, ham and cooked vegetables. 
Combine well and pour this mixture into pie crust.  Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until firm.  Let cool for fifteen minutes before cutting.