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Why I Don’t Smoke {recipe, kind of: key lime pie}

26 Mar

There are a lot of reasons not to smoke, like that smokers die younger, get clogged arteries and causes heart attacks and strokes, have more wrinkles, and are prime candidates for mouth, throat, and lung cancer. I hear smokers lose their acute sense of taste. To not taste this, or this, or this?

Or this?

Oh, and it’s bad for other people. I would like to think that I am so selfless that even the last of those reasons would deter me. But I don’t think that’s right. I am pretty selfish sometimes.

I know it’s a big risk, but that’s not really what keeps me at bay. According to research, we take a lot of risks every day. Thirty-one percent of us occasionally use the top step of a step-ladder. Forty-three percent of us jumped on trampolines as kids (resulting in an average of 105,000 hospital visits, yearly). And, 39% of us eat raw cookie dough (and clearly, some us us lie about not eating it).

I drink the occasional diet soda, sometime I eat McDonald’s fries, I put candles out with my fingers, and often I lift with my back and not my knees. I have been known to haphazardly send emails after having a glass of wine.

There are other risks in my life. The health risks aren’t why I don’t smoke.

I don’t smoke because I think I would like it. I mean, I think I would love it. I think I would want to smoke all the time. I think I wouldn’t get work done because I would always be going outside to smoke. I would get sick because I stood out in the cold all winter, smoking. My friends, not to mention my husband, probably wouldn’t like me as much.

Take this week, Austin got pummeled with hail last night. Our house got some damage and my car is reminiscent of a once-pockmarked scarred teen, it’s outermost part tainted with dents and crevaces which are subtle from the distance, but definite upon inspection. I ran out in the hail with my helmet on to move my car into the garage. I looked like I do in this pic, except in my work clothes and without a bike. And our lawn looked like a driving range of hail-balls.

By 9am today we had been to Lowes, been home, figured out the car insurance and made a claim, and driven to work. Outside of the office, some committed smoker was outside, in the rain, with a cigarette. The slightly stifiling smell of smoke didn’t turn me off, but rather made me think, man, I wish I could relax like that right now.

Ok, I feel like that was a big confession. I should go now.

Oh. You wanted a recipe? For this?

This is the best key lime pie I have ever had. And I made it. I can’t give you the recipe on this blog, because there is someone who always talks of challenging me to a bake-off at the office, and we decided that for said bake-off, we will make a key lime pie. Because key lime pie is neutral and provides little enough variation that two different ones could be compared, but room for enough variation that two key lime pies can taste very different.

If you want the recipe and you don’t work at my office, leave a comment below and I will happily email it to you directly. If you do work at my office, you can just participate in the bake-off judging and see what you think whenever that happens.


Back in Action: Coconut Crust Key Lime Pie

12 Jun

My favorite Key Lime Pie is actually a Key Lime Cheesecake. They make it at Mozart’s Coffee Shop down on the lake and something about sitting on the deck by the water, with a huge piece of this rich, creamy, tart key lime cheesecake that is held together by a thick, sweet graham cracker crust is just pure bliss–add a cup of french roast coffee and I am good for the night.

This particular Key Lime Pie that I share today is different in it’s crust. Here, I have left behind what I thought was my favorite part of the pie–that super-sweet crust that melts in your mouth due to obscene amounts of butter and sugar. Now, we have a coconut crust: something lighter, the natural oil from the coconut leaving your pallate satiate and not yearning for the butter of the aforementioned graham cracker crust.

Try it out.


Coconut Crust Key Lime Pie

serves 8.

Crust ingredients:

7 oz. flake coconut

2 egg whites

1/4 cup sugar

For filling:

1/2 cup key lime juice, fresh or bottled

4 teaspoons grated lime zest

4 egg yolks

1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk

For crust:

Place coconut in thin layer on 2 (10X13″) cookie sheets.

Toast coconut in 350 degree oven for 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Stir frequently, and watch carefully. Remove from oven and let cool.

Meanwhile, reduce oven temp to 250.

In small mixing bowl, beat egg whites to stiff peaks, then slowly beat in sugar until completely dissolved.

Fold in cooled coconut.

Press this mixture into a greased 9″ pie plate and bake 7 minutes until lightly golden and set.

Remove from oven and let cool.

Heat oven to 325 to bake the filling.


For Key Lime Filling:

Whisk the egg yolks and lime zest together in a bowl until tinted light green. This takes about 2 minutes.

Beat in milk, then juice and set aside at room temperature till it thickens.

Pour the lime filling into crust, spread evenly, and then bake for 15 minutes until the center sets, but still wiggles when shaken.

Remove from oven and cool to room temperature.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.