Showing posts with label lime. Show all posts
Showing posts with label lime. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

On Losing a Pet: Pay Attention to the Cracks. It’s How the Light Gets In ~ Leonard Cohen (A post from Cleo Coyle)



“The birds they sang at the break of day. 
Start again I heard them say. 
Don't dwell on what has passed away… 

Ring the bells that still can ring. 
Forget your perfect offering. 
There is a crack in everything. 
That's how the light gets in…” 

~ lyrics from Anthem by
songwriter and poet
Leonard Cohen 


Inspiration for the annual
"How the Light Gets In"
Festival, taking place next week.
Click here to learn more.


Caring for an animal, making it part of your home or family is an act of courage. We outlive them, and we know we will, which means we commit to witnessing the arc of their lives. No mean feat. 

We watch as they move from puppies or kittens through their active prime years. We play with them, laugh with them, and eventually suffer with them as they decline. 

It’s hard to see those you love in pain, even harder to say goodbye, and real grief follows a beloved pet’s death. 

Why do we do this? 

Those who have never owned a cat or dog or opened their homes to a sentient animal may wonder why pet owners take on the cost and pain and trouble. Everyone has their own answers. Here are mine:

We do it because the joy
outshines the heartbreak...



We do it because cost 
is part of living
(and should be)...




We do it because 
when we experience pain, 
we crack a little, and 
whether we see it or not, 
the cracks in our darkest hours 
are how the light gets in.


Of course, I borrowed that last line from the gifted songwriter Leonard Cohen, who wrote a set of lyrics that helped me through this past week after I lost my little long-haired stray cat to cancer.

(Like me) she was a misfit from the start, a sickly little flea-bitten thing who my husband and I nursed back to health. The health stayed with her for ten very happy years until she died of a fast-moving cancer last week.



Subjects of this nature are usually reserved for great cathedrals, where they are preached with great profundity (and footnotes), but (for me) real understanding truly come during weeks like this. 

I loved my Fluffy-Bunny very much—and she loved me, which I saw (almost miraculously) in those big blue eyes, even at the very end, as I stayed with her while she was put to sleep. It’s something that will always stay with me...

When the pain and fear are over, when the grief begins to fade, one thing is left, in the mind and heart, and that is love. The love is what lasts—and that is what matters.

Who is Cleo Coyle? 
~ Alice Alfonsi,
...who writes as Cleo Coyle
in collaboration with her husband,
Marc Cerasini





Because this is a blog where we always share recipes, I’ve chosen an old favorite--Roasted Chicken with Lime and Rosemary

Our cat Fluffy always stayed close by the kitchen when we cooked this recipe. She enjoyed the aromas--and, at the end of our evening meal, we would share a few warm, juicy pieces with her in a ritual we called "Fluffy-Chicken" treats. If you make it, I hope you (and maybe your own sweet cat or dog) will eat it with the joy that we did.






To download a PDF copy of the above recipe for Roasted Chicken with Lime and Rosemary that you can print, save, or share, click here. To see the original blog post, click here, and...



Eat with joy!
~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries 

Yes, this is me, Cleo (aka Alice). 
Friend me on facebook here.
Follow me on twitter here
Learn about my books here.






To view the
Coffeehouse Mystery
book trailer, click here.
 








P.S.  "How the Light Gets In" is also an annual festival of philosophy and music in England's beautiful town of Hay-on-Wye (the internationally famous "town of books"). Learn more about attending (wish I could!) by clicking the link below. The festival begins next week.


Click here for more info on this year's
"How the Light Gets In" festival.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Mojito Sorbet

I see these ads on local TV all the time, touting the great bounty of fruits and vegetables that grow here in Texas.  I'm not sure what magic these farmers are using, what strange ju-ju makes their plants grow, but everything in my yard is deader than disco.

The one bright spot in my otherwise brown wasteland of a yard is my little duo of earth boxes.

Earth boxes, you ask?

Yes, earth boxes.  You can buy them ready-made, though I made mine with a big storage tub, a plastic colander, some duct tape, and a drimmel tool.  Basically, it's a big ol' box of dirt.  But the secret is that about a third of the way from the bottom there's a divider.  Below that divider, instead of dirt, there's a reservoir for water.  A small bit of the dirt (in my case, contained within the colander) dips down into the reservoir and wicks the water up to the plant roots.

The advantage to the earth box is that the water is deep, so it doesn't evaporate in the hot Texas sun.  The plants take just exactly what they need (no more, no less).  And when you refill the reservoir (through a 2 inch pipe with an "L" in the bottom), it waters the plants for at least a week ... so you can go away for a weekend without all your plants dying in the heartbeat you look away from them.

Spearmint and oregano going crazy in my homemade earth box.  Note the dead stuff on the ground nearby.

I use my earth boxes for herbs.  I have one chock full of beautiful basil (just made a simple pasta with vegies and basil last night!).  The other, this year, has oregano and spearmint, both of which are going nuts.

That abundance of spearmint--which I'm using in iced tea and lemonade and half-and-halfs every day--inspired this yummy grown-ups only, completely refreshing summer treat.  I bring you ...

Mojito Sorbet

1/2 c. fresh lime juice (strained)
1 1/2 c. water
1 c. sugar
1 bunch spearmint leaves, cleaned
2 Tbs. rum (I used coconut rum, but regular is fine)

In a small saucepan, heat the water, sugar, and spearmint to a boil.  Remove from heat and allow to steep until cool.  Strain the minted syrup through a sieve and add the lime juice and rum.  Chill in the refrigerator for a couple of hours, until nice and cool.

Process in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer's directions.  Note that the sorbet will melt quickly, so be ready to serve right away OR pack into a container, cover, and freeze overnight.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Roasting Chicken with Rosemary and Lime + The Most Asked Author Question by Cleo Coyle

The top question authors are asked (after "Have you ever met Stephenie Meyer?") is probably: "Where do you get your ideas?"

The question isn't a bad one, really, just way too general, which is why some novelists roll their eyes when they hear it.

I'll give you a culinary analogy. Imagine lifting a menu and asking a chef: "Where do you get your ideas?"

"Excuse me," the chef would likely reply. "For which course? Which dish?!"

Like a multipage restaurant menu, a piece of fiction has dozens if not hundreds of ideas layered into it. We authors draw from our pasts and presents, our pets and peccadilloes. We're inspired by our friends and families, our reading and hobbies. We might groove on a passing conversation or a passing thunderstorm; an exquisite or exquisitely bad meal; a brilliant sunrise or a lunar eclipse (dang, another Stephenie Meyer reference).

We writers harvest ideas 24/7, and spend months if not years cooking them into works of fiction, poetry, or dramatic lit. That's why a better question for an author might be: "Where did you get the idea for that particular storyline, character, or (in the case of mystery writing) crime..."


Cleo Coyle, who never
met Stephenie Meyer, is
author of The Coffeehouse
Mysteries
Like writing, cooking is an inspirational occupation, and often the ingredients dictate the dish. In the case of today's recipe, rosemary did the talking. Yes, a gorgeous green bundle of piney rosemary waved her little needles at me, and I swooned.





"Chop me up and cook me with a chicken," rosemary whispered in her needling little voice, and (for a moment) the shimmering image of a succulent, perfectly roasted rosemary-lemon chicken floated down the grocery store aisle. I blinked and it was gone, replaced with a rather burly produce manager, wondering why I had his herbs to my ear.

Granted, rosemary-lemon is a classic flavor combo, one I also use in my go-to recipe for rack of lamb. (Click here to download a free PDF of that recipe.)

Krista also did a wonderful rosemary-lemon chicken post, sharing a diet version using skinless breasts. Click here to get Krista's recipe.

But...after making Key Lime Coolers (cookies) last week and doing the lime taste test, I still had plenty of Persian limes on hand. (Click here if you missed the cookies post.)

With so many limes still rolling around my countertop, I decided to live dangerously, and switch the classic lemons for limes in my chicken recipe. I'm glad I did, too. My husband and my taste buds found the change a lovely and lively one.

Final Note: You might think it odd (at the end of the recipe) when I suggest squeezing a wedge of lime on the finished, carved meat, but a squeeze of lemon often finishes a dish, and I found the tart and tangy dash of lime especially refreshing on a warm summer day. I hope you do, too...



CLEO COYLE’S
ROASTED CHICKEN
with
LIME AND ROSEMARY



To download a free PDF of this recipe that you can print, save, or share, click here.



INGREDIENTS:

4 – 6 pound whole chicken
5 – 6 fresh limes (medium size)
1 tablespoon sea salt
6 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons chopped, fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
½ teaspoon white pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil (divided)

METHOD:

Step 1: Prep meat: First preheat your oven to 350º F. Allow the meat to reach room temperature (20 to 30 minutes outside the refrigerator). Rinse the chicken and pat dry. If your limes were in the refrigerator, warm them to room temperature, as well.


Step 2: Stuff the bird: Quarter one lime and place the sections inside the chicken cavity, along with a dash of sea salt and white pepper. Close the cavity. (I use a simple wooden skewer for this.)

Step 3: Create the rosemary-lime slurry: Place the sea salt into a small bowl and smash the garlic on it. Mix in the freshly squeezed juice of 2 to 3 limes (enough to measure about 1/4 cup). Add the chopped rosemary, poultry seasoning, white pepper, and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Now rub this slurry all over the bird and place breast side up on the greased rack.





Step 4: Roast: Lightly coat the top of your broiler pan or roasting rack with the final tablespoon of olive oil. (For easier clean up, I also like to cover the bottom portion of my pan with aluminum foil.) Place your pan in the center of your oven for about 25 minutes per pound, giving a bird of 6 pounds about 2½ hours of cooking time; a bird of 4 pounds about an hour and forty minutes. You’re looking for the thickest part of the thigh to reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.




TO FINISH: Once cooked, allow the chicken to stand for 15 minutes before carving. To keep it warm, tent foil over the bird. If you cut into the bird right out of the oven, the juices will run out and your chicken will be dry instead of succulent.

TO SERVE: Cut your remaining limes into wedges and serve on the side with the chicken. Invite guests to squeeze a little juice over the meat before digging in, and please do…




Eat with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle, author
of  The Coffeehouse Mysteries





To get more of my recipes,
win free coffee, or learn about
my books, visit my *virtual*
coffeehouse at:







Cleo's culinary mystery novels are published by
Penguin USA.
Click here or on the covers above
to learn more about them.




Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Key Lime Coolers and a Tart Taste Test with Cleo Coyle




This post was chosen as a "Top 9" post
(of over 4,000) by the editors of 

Foodbuzz.com and its online
community of users. Click here to see.


Thank you, Foodbuzz!



I have a thing for alliteration. No surprise, right? My pen name is Cleo Coyle, and my amateur sleuth-cum-coffeehouse manager is Clare Cosi. So, of course, I’m going to like the sound of Key Lime Coolers...

But guess what?

You don’t have to use Key limes to make these delectable, sweet-tart meltaway cookies. You can bake up this recipe with your standard (American) grocery store limes (aka Persian limes).



Cleo Coyle, alliterating
author of The Coffeehouse
Mysteries
For those of you in the USA, this may beg the question: What's the difference between Key limes and the "everyday" limes I usually buy?

Well, I'll tell you... 

Key limes are smaller, rounder, more aromatic, and have a thinner rind than our more common Persian limes. They're picked green and turn yellowish as they ripen.


The name Key lime comes from the fruit’s association with the Florida Keys, but today most Key limes are cultivated in Mexico. Around the world this variety is more commonly known by other names: the West Indian lime, the Omani lime, the Mexican lime, and the Bartender’s lime. 

What about the taste difference? Is there one?

There should be in theory. The larger, Persian limes were created in 1895 by a California man named Bearss who wanted to develop a seedless lime that was milder than the Key lime, but I never actually sampled them back-to-back. For this blog post, I decided to give it a try.

My husband, Marc, helped me set up a blind taste test with: (1) freshly-squeezed Persian lime juice; (2) bottled Key lime juice; and (3) freshly-squeezed Key lime juice.

How did I do?

I guessed every one correctly --and not because I'm ready to take on Gordon Ramsay. :) I simply knew Key limes were supposed to be more acidic than Persians. I expected the Key lime juice to be more tart and intense. And it was.

The difference was not subtle. The Persian lime juice (1) smelled and tasted almost sweet. I could easily sip the juice without...well, gagging.

On the other hand, the freshly-squeezed Key lime juice (3) was so acidic that I had a hard time sampling it straight. Clearly, the Key limes bring a much bigger punch to any flavoring party.

The bottled Key lime juice (2) was easy to identify, as well, but not for a good reason. Like most bottled juices, it tasted more sour than bright. In the past, for convenience, I have used bottled juices, but after this taste test, I’m going to try harder to use fresh-squeezed whenever possible. When you sample them back-to-back, there really is no comparison.

As for the recipe I'm sharing with you today, I made batches of these cookies using each type of juice tested above, and all three worked just fine. Key limes will give you a more intense lime flavor, but Persian limes work, too. The only advice I can give you is to use fresh-squeezed juice if you can. You’ll get much better flavor that way, and you know I always want you to eat with joy. :) 

~ Cleo




Cleo Coyle’s
Key Lime Coolers


To download a free PDF of this recipe that you can print, save, or share, click here




Makes about 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar 
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon Key lime zest* (see my note)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 Tablespoon Key lime juice* (see my note)

For sugar-dusting:

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons Key lime zest* (see my note)

*Note: As mentioned above, if you can’t find Key limes, simply substitute the more common (Persian) limes for this recipe. The tart flavor will be less intense, but the cookies will still taste delicious.

Warning: Lime juice may curdle your butter so follow this recipe's directions. Do not add the lime juice to the dough until the end of the mixing process.

Directions: First preheat your oven to 325° F. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Blend in the vanilla extract, salt, and lime zest.



Add the flour and baking powder, and mix very briefly until a shaggy dough forms.


Now add your lime juice and mix until a smooth dough comes together, but do not over-mix or your cookies will be tough instead of tender.




Roll the dough into balls about one inch in diameter.

Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. cookies are done when bottoms are slightly browned. Note that cookies are fragile while warm, so handle with care.

To finish, mix ½ cup confectioners’ sugar with 2 teaspoons lime zest in a shallow bowl. While cookies are still warm, gently roll them, one at a time, in the bowl of sugar and lime zest.



After all the cookies are coated, finish by sprinkling any remaining sugar-lime mixture over the cookie tops.


Store cooled cookies in an airtight plastic container. They also freeze extremely well. I store my extras in freezer-safe re-sealable plastic bags. On a hot day, these babies truly do live up to their “cooler” name. So…
 



Eat (and read) with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Yes, this is me, Cleo (aka Alice). 
Friend me on facebook here.
Follow me on twitter here
Visit my online coffeehouse here.







To view the
Coffeehouse Mystery
book trailer, click here.
 







* * * 

Just Released: The NEW
Coffeehouse Mystery...



Join amateur sleuth Clare Cosi as she
sets out to caffeinate our nation's capital
and solve a capital crime.

Coffee.  
It can get a girl killed...




To buy now click links for...

Amazon * B&N






This culinary mystery
includes more than 25
 delicious new recipes! 



Download the free
Recipe Guide by...



* * *


The bestselling Penguin hardcover 
is now a bestseller in paperback!




Once Upon a Grind 
by Cleo Coyle

To learn more, 


A Best of the Year Pick ~ Kings River Life 
"Fresh and fun...clever" ~ Booklist
A Mystery Guild Selection 



Join coffeehouse manager Clare Cosi as she solves the crime against "Sleeping Beauty," opens secret doors (uptown and down), and investigates a cold case that's been unsolved since the Cold War.

*

Wonderful recipes are also featured
in Cleo's 14th culinary mystery, Once Upon a Grind including...

* Dairy-Free "Cinderella" Pumpkin Cake
* Dairy-Free Almond Milk Custard
* Caramel-Dipped Meltaway Cookies 
* Black Forest Brownies 
* Cappuccino Blondies 
* Shrimp Kiev
* Dr Pepper Glazed Chicken
* Silver Dollar Chocolate Chip Cookies
* Poor Man's Caviar
* Snow White Chocolate Mocha

...and many more recipes, including 
a guide to reading coffee grinds...



See Once Upon a Grind's 
Recipe Guide by clicking here.



* * *




Billionaire Blend:
A Coffeehouse Mystery
to learn more 

click here.



See Billionaire Blend's 
Recipe Guide by 




The Coffeehouse Mysteries are bestselling
works of amateur sleuth fiction set in a landmark
Greenwich Village coffeehouse, and each of the
15 titles includes the added bonus of recipes. 




GET A FREE TITLE CHECKLIST

OF BOOKS IN ORDER
(with mini plot summaries)


* * * 





Book #1 of...
which Cleo write under the name 
Alice Kimberly


Haunted Bookshop 
Mysteries

Get a free title checklist, with 
mini plot summaries, by clicking here.


Or learn more about the books
and meet Jack Shepard,
our PI ghost by clicking here.

* * * * * *


Comments and
Questions!



To leave a comment or 
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