Now We’re Cookin’

Barbie Porter

Florida was named by Juan Ponce de Leon. The Spanish explorer lead the first official European expedition to the region. 

With about 230 days of sunshine a year,  the population of Florida in 1845 (when it became a state) was about 60,000 people. In 2020, the population of Florida was about 21.6 million. 

In addition to having plenty of sunshine and coastlines, other interesting facts about Florida are that it has the most golf courses of any state, there are no dinosaur fossils and key lime is the state pie. While we cover the delicious dessert, we will view a recipe  for Picadillo (Cuban-Style).  

Florida’s Key Lime Pie

When preparing a traditional Florida Key Lime Pie, make sure the grocery list includes a graham cracker crust, graham cracker crumbs, granulated sugar, butter, sweetened condensed milk, light sour cream, key lime juice, four key limes (or two regular limes), whipped cream topping, heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla extract. 

First, let’s focus on the graham cracker crust and preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Scoop 11/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs, 1/3 cups of granulated sugar, 6 tablespoons of melted butter in a bowl and mix it up. When mixed, scoop it with a spoon, slide it onto an 8-inch pie pan and press until it takes the shape of the pie pan. Bake for seven minutes and then let it chill in the fridge.  (Or, skip this step and buy a graham cracker crust.)

When the oven is heated to 350 degrees, let it be and pour 28 ounces of sweetened condensed milk into a bowl. Plop in 1/2 cup of light sour cream and add 3/4 cup of key lime juice.  Grate the zest, or peel, from four key limes (or two regular ones). Add zest to the filling and whip together.   

If you move slow enough, the above process will take at least a half hour, which is the minimum amount of time you want your crust to chill in the fridge.  If you’re quick with the filling, take a break – call your mom, go for a stroll, but give the pie crust at least 30 minutes in the fridge.

When the crust is ready, add the filling and spread evenly. Then, bake for 10 minutes and back into the fridge for at least three hours.

While waiting, fix up the topping by putting a cup of heavy whipping cream and 1/2 cup of powdered sugar into a mixer and beat until stiff. Add in one teaspoon of vanilla and give it a few more goes around the mixing bowl. 

After the key lime pie has had three hours in the cooler, add the topping.

Picadillo (Cuban-Style)

The grocery store list for this dish includes olive oil, onion, red bell pepper, garlic, dried oregano, ground cumin, ground cinnamon, small bay leaves, lean ground beef, stewed tomatoes, dry white wine, tomato paste, potatoes, raisins, salt, stuffed green olives and olive brine.
First, add a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan and then a medium diced onion, a chopped small red  pepper and dice three large garlic cloves. Mix and sauté. 

Add a teaspoon of dried oregano, a teaspoon ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon and two bay leaves, and sauté until very fragrant.

  Add a pound of beef, a half a can of stewed tomatoes, 1/3 cup of dry white wine, one tablespoon of tomato paste, a medium potato cut into small cubes, 1/3 cup  of raisins, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and cook covered partially. When the potatoes are tender, remove the lid and add 1/2 cup of olives. 

Let the picadillo cook until the liquid is just about gone and a thick sauce coats the beef. Then, add a tablespoon of olive brine and ring the dinner bell.