Key Lime Pie Recipe

My Valentine’s day was pretty much perfect. Bernie and I spent a night in cooking and spending some quality time together without distractions. There was one major snafu – I totally screwed up our dinner.

I found a recipe for blue cheese crusted filet Mignon (hmmmm, yummm). But when Bernie and I went to the grocery store, they didn’t have the right cuts of meat. So we settled on tenderloin steaks thinking, “this should work, right?” Well, not so much. Everything was going really well; the red wine sauce was reducing, the potatoes for the mash were boiling, and the oven was ready. I took the meat out, and thought, “okay, I gotta butcher this.” I took off some of the silverskin left and the hard white stuff in the meat (what is this?) and before I knew it, our 8 oz steaks turned into 6 2oz steaks. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.

Luckily, Bernie is an extremely easy going person and thought it was the funniest thing in the world. I like to think that I’m a pretty decent cook, but I don’t work with red meat very often. I actually didn’t eat red meat at all for years, so I never learned to prepare it. The only thing I know how to make is burgers on a grill. Clearly, I had no idea what I was doing with the meat. After some angry pouting, we decided to try and order food. We ended up getting pizza. So Bernie and Sarah had pizza on Valentine’s day, and I loved every second of it. Sometimes it’s okay if things don’t go exactly as you expect them to. I got over it, and we moved on. This year will always be known as the year we had pizza for dinner because Sarah didn’t know how to butcher meat properly. Yup, I love him.

But one thing did go right – the dessert! I made a key lime pie to surprise Bernie for dessert. He hates chocolate, but loves a lot of fruit-based desserts, so I made him one of his favorites. I found the recipe on Food Network’s website – it’s one of Giada’s recipes. You can find it in detail here, but I thought I’d give you a quick overview. It was much easier than I thought it would be and turned out really great.

You’ll need:

  • a 9inch pie tin
  • a box of graham crackers
  • 5 tablespoons of melted butter
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons lime zest
  • 1 14oz can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 2/3 cup fresh squeezed key lime juice or bottled (I used about 6 limes to get 2/3 cup juice)
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar

Step 1: The Crust

Preheat the oven to 350. Take out one sleeve of graham crackers from the box (1/3 the box) and crush the crackers to small crumbs. The recipe calls for using a food processor – I don’t have one – so I put them in a plastic bag and used a glass to crush them.

Once the crackers are all crushed, mix them in a bowl with the melted butter and 1/3 cup sugar until it’s all mixed together. This is your pie crust. It may look really dry, but it isn’t, promise. Then pour it into the pie tin and push it down gently to form the crust. Make sure to push it up the sides of the tin. I ended up having extra crust.

Place the pie shell in the oven for 8 minutes. Once it’s done, take it out and put on a wire rack to cool. Leave the oven on.

Step 2: The Filling

Using an electric mixer, mix the egg yolks and lime zest until it gets fluffy, about 5 minutes. Remember when you zest the lime, don’t zest it all the way down to the white below the green outside. This white part is much more bitter and not good.

Next, gradually add the condensed milk and beat the mixture until thick, about 3-4 minutes longer.

Lower the speed of the mixer and add the lime juice slowly. Mix until just combined and then pour the mixture into your pie crust. Bake for 10 minutes.

Once it was done, I let it cool until it no longer felt warm to the touch, and then I refrigerated the pie overnight.

Step 3: Whip Cream Topping

This step was the easiest! When I was ready to bring it to Bernie’s for V-day, I made the whip cream topping. You want to do this step last before it’s time to serve – it’s fresher and better this way. Put the heavy whipping cream and powdered sugar in a bowl and whip on high until you get “stiff peaks”.

Then I put the whipped cream on top of the pie. I had whipped cream left over, but I wish I had put more on the pie, so feel free to put on as much as you’d like. Then serve! I put the pie in the freezer about 20 minutes before serving to make it super cold.

Overall, the pie was awesome. I love a super tart pie, and I don’t know if it was the particular limes I used or not, but it was TART! I didn’t use key limes – I couldn’t find any in the store or any bottled key lime juice – so I used normal limes. I loved this pie and so did Bernie. I hope you enjoy it too! 🙂

 

Readers: How was your Valentine’s day? How did you celebrate? Have you ever failed during an important dinner?

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Valentine’s Day – The Same as Any Other

When I was single, I hated Valentine’s Day. Don’t we all? You see all your friends with significant others touting their Valentine’s Day plans. They receive roses and chocolates, get all gussied up to go out to eat at really fancy restaurants, and post to Facebook all the reasons why they love Valentine’s Day. When you’re alone, you don’t want to be reminded that you’re alone. I used to hate these people – until I became one of them. Bernie and I are celebrating our second Valentine’s Day together today, and in all honesty, it’s not a big deal.

Last year we went out to eat at a nice restaurant in Boston’s North End neighborhood (little Italy) and had a fantastic meal. We got dressed up, and he surprised me with roses on the table when we got there. It was probably one of the top romantic things he’s done – but the night wasn’t my favorite night we’ve had together – there have been so many more memorable moments that don’t involve this “love” holiday. There’s all this build up to Valentine’s day when you’re a couple and the pressure is pretty ridiculous. “What do you get them? Do they like chocolate? What flowers does she like? Should I get her jewelry? Wow…this meal is going to be EXPENSIVE!”

When you’re in the right relationship, every day, even the mundane ones should feel like Valentine’s day. Bernie is respectful and listens to me and my needs every day. He tells me he loves me every day. He supports every decision I make, good or bad, every day. He makes me laugh really, really hard every day. He shares his life with me every day. He’s my best friend every day.

Well, hello there!

If you’re single, who cares – Valentine’s day should be YOUR day. Your day to love yourself and your life. I know – that sounds so preachy and I bet you’ve read that Cosmo article headline every February 14th, but it’s true. Don’t hate on the people who are doing things with their boyfriends or girlfriends on Valentine’s day. It’s their day, they can do what they want. But it’s your day too. Do something you love. Treat yourself to some chocolate or flowers if you want them. Be your own Valentine, because at some point during the next 364 days, one of those couples you hated on February 14th with break up but you will still have your Valentine :).

Fun facts about V-day:

  • Moms are the best Valentines: My mom used to always be my Valentine. She would leave me and my sister little heart-shaped boxes of chocolates and cards in our bedrooms when we were younger. On Valentine’s Day morning we would open the cards and eat the chocolates. She continued this tradition up until we finished high school and moved out. Love you mom!
  • Things are not always as they seem: You may think that those “perfect Valentine’s Day dates” that your taken friends have are absolutely romantic and perfect…but think again. Last year, we saw a couple in an intense fight while we were waiting for the valet service to bring the car around after dinner. I’m sure a lot of couples go through that – relationship issues don’t stop for Valentine’s day. Yikes.
  • “Romantic” Cards: When Bernie surprised me with roses at our table at the restaurant, I thought “How romantic!”. Then I read the card and it said — “Let’s get drunk so we can fight!” **inside joke**, the romance died and I laughed so hard. It was perfect – for us.

He's always making me laugh.

Tonight, we’re celebrating by just making dinner at home together. No fancy restaurant. No fancy outfits (unless yoga pants and a t-shirt count). I did get him a card and I made him a surprise dessert, which I will post about very soon. Hopefully it turned out okay – it was a new baking experience for me. It’s going to be the perfect night for us; a normal night in together.

 

How are you celebrating Valentine’s Day? Celebrating with yourself or someone else?

2011: A Year in Review

Wow, 2011 has come and gone in such a flash! Things have changed quite a bit in the last 12 months. Here are some of my highlights:

NYE 2011: Spent ringing in 2011 with some of my favorite people
Late January: Celebrated my 23rd birthday at The Harp
February: ALMOST saw my beloved Northeastern Huskies beat Boston College in the Beanpot ice hockey tournament on Valentines day. Unfortunately, I’ll have to wait until next year.
March: Celebrated St. Patrick’s day, Boston style

April: I studied by butt off and I finished my final class of my undergraduate career!
Early May: I graduated from Northeastern!
Late May: I spent Memorial Day weekend on the Cape with my favorite people
June: We celebrated the Boston Bruins winning the Stanley Cup with a ridiculous parade downtown. I had the best seat in the house!

June: I PR’d in the Freihofer’s Run for Women in Albany and was in the paper!
July: Celebrated Bernie’s 24th birthday dressed like a fool for pub golf around BostonJuly/August: Bernie and I traveled for two weeks to Italy, France, and Spain

August: I packed up my college apartment that I had for two years, and Bernie’s offer on a condo gets accepted after 6 months of searching!
September: I moved! And Bernie and I celebrated our official 1 year anniversary
Late September: I ran the Northeastern Alum big dog 5k for the second year in a row.
Early October: Bernie moved into his new condo, and demolished his bathroom — he’s a proud homeowner!

October: Bernie passed his series 6 exam and he began studying for his series 63
Early November: Bernie passed his series 63 exam!
Mid November: My friend Lauren and I held our second annual She’s the First fundraiser, Boston Gives Back, and raised almost $1,700!
December: I started my blog, Blonde Bostonian

Wow, quite a year. There have been so many changes this year – from graduating college and joining the working world, Bernie becoming a homeowner at 24, and traveling the world – I cannot wait to see what 2012 has to offer. There have been some pretty rough bumps along the way, but I’m going to try to focus on the positives in 2012. I’m slowly starting to figure out this whole post-graduate thing: it’s a work in progress.

Happy New Year!

And thank you for reading and joining me on my journey so far.

Dating in a City of Single Men

Dating is hard. Dating in college is even harder. In a city that’s population is 30% college students, you would think that it would be easy to find the special person to spend all your free time between classes with. Oh no my friend, this is not so easy. It’s easy to find someone, but it’s not so easy to find the person that is right for you.

I think a mistake a lot of girls make in college (and I am guilty of this too) is that they find a guy and immediately fall for the idea of what he could be to her. You know the feeling – you meet a guy at a party or somewhere, you exchange numbers and hope that he’ll call you. He’s nice, funny, and super cute. Your mind starts going in a million directions. “He’s taller than me, so we’ll look really good in wedding photos.”… “He has really good hair and eyes…I wonder what our kids would look like.” … “I think my mom would REALLY like him!”

WHOA! Slow down there chicka! As college students, I think we’re all in a hurry to grow up. We’re told that we’re adults now, and are responsible for our own lives and decisions. While this is true, I think many girls are in a hurry to find that college boyfriend that they will date and then eventually marry once they leave school. In my grandmother’s time, girls only went to college so that they could meet their future husband. In the 21st century, this is a pretty archaic idea of college and relationships. I found that it took 5 years of college to really find who Sarah really is, so why would you want to force yourself into a relationship when you barely know who you are? So here are the things I learned in college about relationships and love.

  1. Stop wasting your time with assholes. Does he call you constantly for a week and then stop? Have you gone on one or two dates that were nice but not great? Do you only see him after 1 a.m. on the weekends? Do you constantly freak out when he doesn’t text you every few hours? If any of these things asshole characteristics are happening, I hate to break it to you, but he’s just not that into you! When I was in high school, Greg Behrendt’s book He’s Just Not That Into You came out. Even though I was not very experienced in the healthy-relationship front, I read it, and it made sense. A guy who likes you will follow up after dates, introduce you to friends, call you back, and be 100% straight forward with how he feels. Guys ARE easy to understand, ladies. We just have to stop getting in our own way and listen. If he’s an asshole to you, he doesn’t like you enough to date you. Sorry.
  2. Make you a priority. College is all about figuring out who you are, what you believe it, and what you are passionate about. The person I was at 18 entering college was definitely NOT the person I was at 23 graduating. My biggest advice for girls is to have fun in college. Make out drunkenly with a cute guy at a party, but don’t expect him to call you back the next day. It may happen, but it’s not the norm. Enjoy your time. Make great girl and guy friends, join some awesome clubs, focus on school work, and try to figure out you. Relationships work best when you bring your best self forward. You can’t do that if you don’t know yourself yet.
  3. Be open to possibilities. When I met my current boyfriend, I was in a sort of friends-with-benefits relationship with a guy who clearly did not want a commitment. While he told me that he cared about me, we never hung out outside of his apartment, I didn’t meet many of his friends, and we never went on a proper date. A few days before I met my future bf, I realized I needed to stop the shenanigans and drop this guy. Then boom, I met someone who actually wanted to be in a relationship. I didn’t see it coming, and it sort of happened spontaneously. But the lesson is this; if a guy is dragging out along with broken promises that he never really fulfills, walk away. Life is too short to waste any time on someone who can’t make up their mind. If a guy really wants to be with you, he will be with you.

So college dating in a large city full of other single college students is not always easy. Be open, know yourself, and understand when someone isn’t treating you like the amazing person that you are. Someone better who will fully appreciate everything about you (flaws and all) might be right around the corner. In the meantime, enjoy your friends and life!

Girlfriends are the best!