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Steve Gilliard, 1964-2007

It is with tremendous sadness that we must convey the news that Steve Gilliard, editor and publisher of The News Blog, passed away June 2, 2007. He was 42.

To those who have come to trust The News Blog and its insightful, brash and unapologetic editorial tone, we have Steve to thank from the bottom of our hearts. Steve helped lead many discussions that mattered to all of us, and he tackled subjects and interest categories where others feared to tread.

Please keep Steve's friends and family in your thoughts and prayers.

Steve meant so much to us.

We will miss him terribly.

photo by lindsay beyerstein


Key Lime Pie

As I said in a comment, food is my friend in times of distress or conflict. A food post is therefore my first humble contribution to The Newsblog in honor of Steve, Jen, Jim in LA and the rest of you irregulars.

Summer is just around the corner if you count the days until kids are out of school in many parts of the US. Here in South Florida, we have what passes for summer in most places year round!

I’m not much of a dessert eater, especially as I get older and the battle of the waistline reaches epic proportions. However, Key Lime Pie is something special and always welcome on my table. Not too sweet, a great take-along to a party or BBQ, and absolutely refreshing. Kinda healthy, too – if you count mental health!

Easy to make – unless you are the lucky chef’s assistant assigned to juice the key limes. Key limes are rather tough-skinned little rascals with a firm pulp and many seeds, and you need a bunch to extract enough juice for a decent pie. (Decent is defined in my pie lexicon as having enough citrusy tang to curl your lip but not your hair.)

Fresh key limes come in a net bag and are more yellow-green than their big perfectly colored green cousins (see photo). Most in the Miami area are imported from Mexico. The good news is that stores now carry bottled key lime juice. The Pompeii brand in a sage green lemon-shaped plastic container is a good alternative if you can’t find fresh.

The following egg-free, no baking required pie travels well to outdoor picnics or ‘cues. No worrying about spoilage if you do not tope it with whipped cream. I added recipes for a crumb pie crust and whipped cream if you have time to make your own.

Key Lime Pie

• Graham cracker, other crumb-crust* or plain pie crust (pre-made or homemade)
• 8 oz cream cheese, softened
• 1 can sweetened condensed milk
• 3/4 cup key lime juice (fresh or bottled) – I add extra for more tart goodness!
• 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
• Key lime zest, swirls or thin slices (optional garnish)
• Whipped cream topping (optional) – I only use the real thing or Reddi-Whip (in a time pinch), never Cool Whip

Soften cream cheese. Place in blender or food processor and add sweetened condensed milk. Mix in lime juice and vanilla extract. Pour cream cheese mixture in crust. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Top with whipped cream plus key lime garnish if desired.

Crumb-Crust Pie Shell

• 1-1/2 cups fine crumbs* (graham crackers, toasted bread, vanilla wafers, or zwieback recommended to complement the key limes)
• 1/4 cup sugar
• 1/2 cups butter, melted

Mix crumbs and sugar together; stir in melted butter. Line pie plate with mixture, pressing firmly into place. Chill for 20 minutes or bake at 350° for 10 minutes. Makes 1 pie shell, 9-inch.

Whipped Cream

• 1 cup whipping cream or heavy cream
• 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 1 tablespoon confectioner’s or superfine sugar (they dissolve faster than granulated sugar that also can be used)

For 2 cups of whipped cream, pour whipping cream or heavy cream into a chilled bowl and whip it vigorously until it just begins to hold its shape. Add vanilla extract and sugar and continue to whip until it holds very soft, droopy peaks. Best used immediately, but can be refrigerated up to 24 hours and briefly whisked by hand before serving.

-- murfmom