Archives for posts with tag: limes

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Labor day weekend has just passed and I didn’t want to go back to work!  I’m sure this is a dilemma many of you are had.  I had a four-day weekend to just chill, enjoy, and of course eat yummy food.  Autumn is approaching and as much as I love it, summer is just summer.  Lots of long weekends, beautiful weather, and beautiful food.

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I’ve been cooking lots this summer, not as many desserts or baking as much as I wanted to, but that’s ok – fall is for baking cozy and comforting desserts.  Plus, technically summer isn’t even over yet!  That is why I wanted to share this Lime Curd Tart with Mangoes with all of you.  It oozes summer and bright flavors.

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I’ve always been inspired by beautifully arranged fruit tarts.  Mine always look a little homemade and don’t have that professional touch, but that’s okay!  We will leave the immaculate and perfect tarts for the pros.  I’ve made citrus curd tarts many times, but I never put so much effort and precision into arranging the fruit as I did for this one. I wanted it to look like a blossom.  Let me tell you, it was tedious work, the fifteen minutes or so I took arranging the mangoes (never mind the thinly slicing part) seemed to take forever.  But when it was done my blossom bloomed to the best of my ability.

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My in-laws came over that night after a delicious Thai meal.  I was glad they did because it would be me and a fork tackling this dessert if they hadn’t come over.  I was happy when people asked for seconds.  I think they also enjoyed this tart because it was cooling and refreshing after our spicy Thai meal.

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Take that extra effort and add a few edible flowers on top as well and this tart will bring a smile to people’s faces and on the plus side it feels so light that they will ask for seconds and maybe even thirds!

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Lime Curd Tart with Mangoes

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

1 recipe of this lime curd ( you can you key limes or regular limes and also chill it for several hours)

5-6 mangoes, sliced thinly*

1 graham cracker crust (I used my cheesecake recipe crust, but substituted graham crackers here instead of amaretti cookies and baked it for 20 minutes)

1 1/2 cup heavy cream whipped in a mixer with 1/4 cup sugar and the seeds of one vanilla bean

edible flowers, for garnish, optional

lime zest, for garnish, optional

Assembly

Allow the graham cracker crust to cool for 1 hour after it has baked and leave it in the spring-form pan.  Once cooled, spread the chilled lime curd over the crust in an even layer.  After that, use a spatula to spread the whipped cream over the lime curd in an even layer.  Top with the mango slices starting row by row from the outside of the tart, slightly overlapping each layer, as to form a blossom.  Complete each layer row by row until you reach the center.  In the center you can make a mango rosette, if you would like.  If you do not care to be finicky arrange the mangoes however you like.   Loosely cover the pan with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.

When serving, top with lime zest and edible flowers.  Serve chilled.

*The slicing of the mangoes is a little tricky.  Cut the mango along the seed lengthwise on all sides.  Then take those mango slices and lay them flat on a cutting board and slice thinly.  The slices should resemble long half-moons.

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Oh, how I miss Mexican flavors.  I envy people who have access to good authentic Mexican food.  Although, the dish I made here isn’t exactly Mexican, it does include Poblano peppers which do have some affinity with Mexican cuisine.  The day I saw these Poblanos at the farmer’s market, I literally screeched in excitement.  I was instantly reminded of my favorite dish, chilies rellenos.

In Rhode Island, where I grew up, is where I had first taste I had of authentic Mexican food, and no I’m not talking about Taco Bell or some Tex-Mex chain, I am talking about real authentic and fresh food.  The food where you taste the smokiness of fresh cumin, the tartness of lime, the creaminess of avocado, and the smoothness of crema.  It’s where you add radishes for that perfect and slightly piquant bite of fish taco.

Every time I visit my parents, I make sure to make a stop at our old family favorite, Mexico Restaurant.  I know new restaurants have popped up and some claim they are better, I have not found that to be so, maybe I am biased by the many years of dining there.  I have even made my husband a lover of their cuisine.

Again, I come back to the poblanos.  I wanted to make the chilies rellenos, but I feared I could not do them justice.  I will try another time, hopefully yielding delicious results.  With the days of summer gone, I decided to relish the last of its flavors.  Corn and poblanos are a natural paining.  Paired with some quinoa, the dish soared.  I almost forgot about the authentic Mexican food, almost but not quite.  Luckily, I will be visiting my parents soon and there will be poblanos galore waiting for me.

Quinoa with Poblanos, Corn, and Chives

Ingredients

Serves 2-3

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup dry quinoa, soaked in water for 15 minutes and then rinsed

3 Poblano peppers, cut into strips (seeds and ribs removed)

1 cup corn kernels

2 shallots, chopped

3 cloves of garlic, finely minced

the juice of 2 limes

a bunch of chives (as much as you want really, I like a lot)

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground cumin

salt, to taste

black pepper, to taste

optional–lime wedges, avocado slices, sour cream, extra chives, for garnish

Method

I like to cook quinoa in the pasta method, if you prefer it the traditional way, go with your own method.  Boil ample water in a medium-sized pot.  Add the quinoa and allow to boil for about 15 minutes, or until cooked.  Drain the excess water in a colander and set aside.

In a sauté pan, on medium heat, cook the shallots in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until translucent, about 5-7 minutes.  Add in the garlic and allow it to slightly change color, about a minute.  Add in the corn and cumin and allow the corn to cook for 3-4 minutes.  Next, the Poblanos along with the lime juice go in and do not let them get mushy, they should still have a little bite left in them, season with salt and pepper.

The corn and Poblano mixture should cook for about 5 more minutes.  At this point, toss in the quinoa and chives and incorporate the whole mixture together.  Serve warm with a dollop of sour cream, avocado, chives, and lime.

This cheesecake was the finale to my husband’s birthday dinner.  There were no surprises here, my husband has simple tastes and knows what he likes and for dessert it was this cheesecake.  The original version, or inspiration, for this cheesecake is from Pastiche’s Vanilla Bean Cheesecake with a Raspberry Coulis.  For years, everyone in my family has loved this cheesecake.  It’s so good that when you first take a bite of it you can’t think for a moment.  It is so lovely, whipped like clouds and so very smooth on your palate.  It is the ultimate form of decadence.  We arrive early to Pastiche, just so they don’t sell out of this incredible dessert. You chocolate lovers out there may not agree, but there’s enough love to go around.

Here I come along and try to mess with perfection.  I add lime zest, my ode to Miami and the amazing Key Lime Pie I had there and I changed the fruit around because the apricots at the market were so gorgeous, that I simply could not resist.  The color, oh my, too beautiful for words, light orange with a slight  blush developing on the sides.  I scooped those babies up and picked up a pint of strawberries, with the stems still attached.  I don’t know if I’m brainwashed, but I’m convinced that strawberries with stems taste better than ones without.

Since introducing my husband to Pastiche’s cheesecake, I have recreated it for him several times.  In all honesty, I think the base for the recipe came from the inside of a Philadelphia Cream Cheese Box.  Over the past few years I have adapted it and added my own flair to it.  I wish I had the patience to make homemade graham crackers for the base, but when you’re making cheesecake you’ve got to be totally crazy to make homemade graham crackers for the crust.  Totally crazy.  Instead, I use amaretti cookies and almonds, and they work together quite nicely.

My husband had the boys over for his birthday dessert.  My husband, becoming too macho in front of his friends, didn’t want me to put candles on his cake or have him cut it, as I had planned.  Perhaps, he should rethink his favorite dessert–Vanilla Bean Cheesecake, doesn’t sound that macho to me.

Vanilla Bean Lime Cheesecake with Stewed Strawberries and Apricots

Serves 8

Ingredients

Crust:

1 cup of amaretti cookie crumbs

3/4 cup ground almonds

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons raw sugar

5 tablespoons melted butter

a pinch of salt

Filling:

16 ounces of cream cheese, softened

3/4 cup fresh ricotta cheese

1/2 cup sour cream

1 cup sugar

4 eggs, at room temperature

2 tablespoons flour

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 vanilla bean, scraped

1/4 cup heavy cream

zest of 1 lime

Fruit topping:

10 apricots, pitted, peeled, and cut into segments

1 pint strawberries, stems removed and quartered

1/4 cup sugar (use less or more depending upon the sweetness of your fruit)

juice of 2 limes

Method

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Mix together all the ingredients for the crust in a bowl and press into a 9″ springform pan.  Bake the crust in the oven for 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Prepare the filling by creaming together the cream cheese, ricotta, sour cream, and sugar with an electric mixer.  Beat in the eggs, heavy cream, and vanilla extract. Fold in the flour, vanilla beans, and lime zest.  Pour the batter onto the cooled crust and bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour.  Remove from the oven and let it cool, then place the cheesecake in the fridge for 6-8 hours.

Prepare the fruit topping by combining the strawberries and apricots with the sugar and cooking them with the lime juice on medium heat for about 20 minutes, or until the mixture resembles a loose jam.  I like to leave the chunks in, but you may puree and strain them out if you wish.  Serve the sauce chilled on the side with the cheesecake.  Dust some confections sugar and lime zest on top of the cheesecake as a garnish, and also a sprig of mint, if you’d like.

*don’t fret if your cheesecake cracks a little on top, it adds to the homemade feel!

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