Friday, July 18, 2008

What To Do With Too Many Limes

Karl and I bought a ton of limes at Shur-Save in Bloomfield because they were 6 for $1. I suppose you can probably get them even cheaper if you buy them by the 5- or 10-lb bag at CostCo or some other similar store, but we don't have a membership to anything like that.

So, what to do with all these limes?

Well, I decided to keep it simple. I had contemplated trying my hand at lime curd, since lemon curd is so amazing, but I am attempting to watch it with the calories if you know what I mean. (For those of you who don't know, lemon or lime curd traditionally uses quite a few egg yolks and quite a bit of butter....and is absolutely heavenly on a scone with some clotted cream!).

But enough drooling. Instead of slaving over a hot stove making curd, I decided to make limeade.

After reading about a few techniques I discovered through various recipe search engines (check these out! They're great: FoodieView and ProjectFoodie), I decided I'd use the simple syrup method.

The benefits of creating a lime simple syrup are twofold. First, the sugar gets completely dissolved when it goes into solution as the water boils, which means no more sludge at the bottom of your glass (sad news for some, I guess?). Second, you can control how "watered down" each glass of limeade is (to accommodate for varying tastes).

I like my limeade to be much more tart than sweet, so I adapted a recipe for limeade that I saw on many sites which called for 3 cups simple syrup for every 1 cup of lime juice. I cut that ratio to 2 cups simple syrup to 1 cup of lime juice, and it turned out great! There is just no more refreshing way to cool off after a 90˚F day than by sipping on a tall, frosty glass of limeade.

Stay cool everyone!

Limeade Simple Syrup
Yields 3 cups syrup

1 cup fresh-squeezed lime juice, seeds removed (it took me about 7 limes to yield one cup of juice)
1 cup sugar
1 cup water

Place the sugar and water in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil, stirring, until the sugar dissolves completely. Pour the hot mixture into a heat-resistant container with the lime juice and stir. Allow to cool, then refrigerate.

That's it! When you are ready for a frosty glass of limeade, put a couple of of ice cubes in a tall glass and fill 3/4 of the way with the lime simple syrup. Top it off with cold water.

Alternatively, you could top off your limeade simple syrup with some sparkling water or club soda. Or add some gin, vodka, tequila, or rum for an adult twist. Use your imagination!

I Read the News, Too!

Sorry ahead of time for no visually stimulating pictures...Blogger is acting up!

Some time in the last few weeks, I stumbled across this article on my New York Times newsfeed Called "The 11 Best Foods that You Aren't Eating." The author had compiled a list of nutritious, easy to find, cheap to purchase foods that most people don't even think about keeping around the house even semi-regularly. You can go read the list for yourself for a few more days, but I will list them here also, without the explanations and suggestions for preparation given in the article:
1) Beets
2) Cabbage
3) Swiss chard
4) Cinnamon
5) Pomegranate Juice
6) Dried Plums (Prunes, but doesn't it sound better this way? Seriously)
7) Pumpkin Seeds
8) Sardines
9) Turmeric
10) Frozen Blueberries
11) Canned Pumpkin

It's a good list! I personally will not be stocking up on beets or sardines (for matters of taste) or pomegranate juice (for matters of economics).

Karl and I actually decided to grab a big ol' can of pumpkin puree at the store the other day, and have been enjoying mixing things in to see what we can come up with. The pumpkin puree we got was about 28 oz for $1.79 (ridiculous price for the store brand!), and magically had NO salt added. This is wonderful news for all people who think that unsalted canned vegetables are amazing (that would be me, by the way). I just like to control the amount of salt in my food, that's all!

So, the first time around, we just tasted the pumpkin puree alone. BLAND. I think that was when I realized that pumpkin is probably more versatile than sweet potato, though the two are used interchangeably for many things (like soups and pies). Pumpkin is almost tasteless without some help, especially unsalted, canned pumpkin puree.

So the first time we made poor man's pumpkin pie by heating up about a cup of puree in the microwave, melting some SmartBalance in it, and adding a tablespoon of brown sugar, 1/4 tsp of cinnamon, a dash of nutmeg, and a dash of allspice. It was absolutely delicious!

Tonight, we decided to piggyback off of our recent windfall of limes, and we whipped up some chili-lime pumpkin puree. This was pretty tasty, despite what I can imagine you are thinking!

I'm looking forward to some more adventures with pumpkin, which is apparently low-calorie, high-fiber, and packed to the gills (or gourds, I guess...) with vitamin A. Eat up!

Chili-Lime Pumpkin Puree
Yields two 1/2 cup servings

1 cup canned pumpkin puree (unsalted)
1/2 TBSP Smart Balance (or butter, let's be honest!)
1/2 tsp lime zest
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/2 TBSP lime juice or lime simple syrup (recipe coming shortly!)

In a microwave-safe bowl, heat up the pumpkin puree in the microwave until it's steamy. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir to incorporate. Taste a few times and add more of anything that you think it missing until you like what you taste. I kept adding chili powder, until I figured out to add cinnamon (which makes the spice pop in the absence of sugar!). I also added a bit more lime zest to make it good and limey.

This is great on a spoon, or for dipping tortilla chips or pita wedges.