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Key Lime

Posted Aug 26 2010 12:00am

The name 'Key lime' comes from its association with the Florida Keys.  Although nowadays, the Key limes you see in the grocery store have either come from Mexico or Central America thanks to the 1926 hurricane that wiped out the citrus groves in Florida.  The Key lime originated in South East Asia and made its way across North Africa to Europe by Arabian traders and to the Americas by Spanish and Portuguese explores.  The Key lime is smaller, juicy, bitter, more tart, and contains more seeds than the Persian lime (the typical lime carried in the grocer).  Key limes are also called, Mexican limes, or the West Indies lime.  Limes and citrus fruit are an excellent source of vitamin C.  Did you know that 250 years ago the first nutrition experiment was conducted on human beings to try and find a cure for scurvy.  If you were a sailor more than 200 years ago, you didn't have a chance on the long voyages.  The chef usually ran out of fruits and vegetables by week 2 and then there was no sources of Vitamin C left aboard.  When the British finally realized the power of vitamin C and its ability to prevent Scurvy, all sailors were required to take a shot of lime juice daily.  Hence the nickname "Limey" sometimes used for the Brits.  Ascorbic acid is just another name for vitamin C, which literally means "no-scurvy acid".  Vitamin C helps produce collagen, a protein needed to help build and maintain healthy teeth, gums, bones, cartilage, and skin.  That is probably why all those expensive anti-aging skin creams contain vitamin C.  Do you think it would still work if we covered our faces with oranges before we went to sleep?

Vitamin C is an antioxidant, meaning is helps the body defend against free radicals, which are unstable molecules which attack the bodies cells.  Vitamin C also promotes healing, fights infections, aids in the absorption of iron, and the list goes on and on.  Some people will take vitamin C when they are feeling sick, although the use of vitamin C in the prevention and treatment of the common cold is controversial.  Why all this talk about vitamin C and Key limes you ask?  I went to a dinner party on Tuesday and of course I chose to bring the dessert.  One thing you probably don't know about dietitians, is that we love our dessert.  My favorite dessert is cheesecake, and I finally bought a springform pan and decided to make my very first cheesecake.  I was planning to make a pumpkin cheesecake, because that's my husbands favorite, but had to abort that plan when I found out that there is a pumpkin shortage in Washington, and there is no canned pumpkin on the shelves.  So, I decided to make Key Lime cheesecake, and it was amazing.  I then took the rest of my Key limes and made black bean dip and couscous (recipes to follow). Yum!

Cheesecake Factory Key Lime Cheesecake
1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs5 Tbsp melted butter1 Tbsp sugar1 cup sugar3 8oz packages of softened cream cheese1 tsp vanilla1/2 cup lime juice3 eggswhipped cream for dolloping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Make the crust by combining the graham cracker crumbs with the butter and 1 tbsp of sugar in a medium bowl.  Stir well enough to coat all of the crumbs with butter.  Press the crumbs onto the bottom and about one half of the way up the sides of an 8-inch springform pan.  You don't want the crust to form all the way up the back of each slice of cheesecake.  Bake the crust for 5 minutes, then set it aside until you are ready to fill it.  In a large mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, 1 cup sugar, and vanilla.  Mix with an electric mixer until smooth.  Add the lime juice and eggs and continue to beat until smooth and creamy.  Pour the filling into the pan.  Bake for 60-70 minutes (if the top of the cheesecake is turning light brown, it's done).  Remove from oven and allow to cool.  When the cheesecake has come to room temperature, put it in the refrigerator.  Once the cheesecake has chilled, remove the pan sides and cut the cheese cake into 8 equal slices.  Serve with a generous dollop of whipped cream on top. Black Bean Dip
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 onion
1 can black beans rinsed and drained
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tomato
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 Tbsp adobo sauce
4 tsp fresh lime juice
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp ground cumin

Saute garlic and onion with canola oil until slightly soft.  Add beans, salt, and cumin and continue cooking for 2 minutes.  Remove mixture from pan and mix in blender with 1 diced tomato, adobo sauce, and lime juice.  Blend until a puree consistency.  Mix in sour cream and serve with warm tortilla chips.  Tastes great with a margarita on the side. 

Tomato and Feta Couscous Salad

1 cup whole wheat couscous
1 cup broth
2 Tbsp margarine
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup feta cheese

In a saucepan combine 1 cup broth and 2 Tbsp of margarine.  Bring to a boil and remove from heat.  Add couscous, stir, cover and let stand for 5 minutes.  Add to the couscous cherry tomatoes halved and feta cheese.  Cool in refrigerator and serve.  

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