Lime Curd Cornmeal Cookies.

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A lot of times, recipes aren’t perfect. But as a general rule of thumb, even imperfect cookies are still delicious.

These cookies are some of those imperfect, but resoundingly delicious cookies. The flavors of lime and cornmeal, buttery, nutty cookies and rich, cool lime curd play perfectly together.  They’re not the prettiest of cookies, but just watch as they disappear by the dozens.

Fresh lime, kaffir leaves, and corn all are seemingly fresh flavors, which ties these cookies perfectly to our place: Miami. They require a bit of tinkering still—perhaps a little more elegant looking, a little more color on the cookie. But be sure that it’ll be tasty tinkering, which really is the best kind.

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Lime Curd Cornmeal Cookies sounds like a far cry away from Tartine’s 50/50 sables, but after a successful pecan and rye sable, we decided to mix it up with cornmeal, almond, and white flour. A 25/25/50 sable, which admittedly does not have quite as nice a ring to it. So Lime Curd Cornmeal Cookies it is. They’re fresh, tart, and just the right size for a perfect bite.

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Lime Curd Cornmeal Cookies
Loosely adapted from Tartine No. 3

Cookies
95 grams cornmeal
90 grams almond flour
185 grams flour
135 grams sugar
Pinch fine sea salt
135 grams unsalted butter, room temperature

1. Combine cornmeal, almond flour, flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Cut in the butter and blend until incorporated. Divide in two and mold into logs, about 1 ½ inch in diameter. Refrigerate until firm, about an hour.

2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove logs from refrigerator and cut into about ½ inch discs. Roll each disc into a ball and space evenly on parchment-lined baking sheets. Press an indent into each disc. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until lightly golden on bottom.

3. Let cool completely and top each with a dollop of lime curd.

Lime Curd
We used this recipe from Saveur, but with only one or two kaffir lime leaves and instead of key limes, we just used regular limes. A possible punishable offense considering we live in Miami, but we really wanted cookies, and we had limes. That’s our excuse officer, and we’re sticking to it.

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Mandarin Macaroons

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Hello Passover, it’s nice to see you. How about a mandarin macaroon to start off the festivities? Nothing like a little sugar, egg whites, coconut, zest, almond extract, and chocolate to start off a week.

A tasty, tasty week.

Candied Citrus Round 1. Tangelos

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Being in Florida means you might as well take advantage of the produce. And it’s citrus season.

In addition to grapefruit&oranges, there are slightly weirder things (just to me perhaps) like the tangelo. Which, yes, maybe I didn’t know was not an orange when I was at the most excellent fruit stand Robert is Here with my parents.

Try one resulted in tasty, attractive candied citrus peel. Next round will probably try a little longer cooking time.

Good thing we have 11 pounds of Meyer lemon in our kitchen.

Candied Citrus Peel
Adapted from Bon Appetit

Citrus peel from 2-3 oranges
Water
1 cup sugar plus 1/2 cup for later

1. Slice peel into 1/4 inch strips. Put in a pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes. Replace water with fresh cold water and repeat two times.

2. Add 1 cup sugar with 1/2 cup water to peel. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer until pith is translucent and peel is soft, about 20 minutes. Drain on a cooling rack for 2-4 hours. Toss with remaining 1/2 cup sugar. Store covered.

Tomato Salad with Sorrel Pesto

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This is a brag post.

But if you had local organic tomatoes in February, you’d brag too.

This quick dinner falls solidly in the #MiamiSweetLife category.

Sorrel Pesto
About two cups sorrel
2 clove garlic
1/4 cup Parmesan
1/4 cup toasted, sliced almonds
1 – 2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Blend it all together.

Grouper Gravlax.

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Sometimes, things in the kitchen fail. Grouper gravlax was one of them. (Thankfully we trimmed a half pound off the fresh filet for miso glazed grouper which was delish.)

After successfully doing two rounds of salmon gravlax, the thought was to give it a local spin with some fresh caught grouper. For a more fresh spin than the pepper/dill spin, we swapped in cilantro, green peppercorns, cumin seeds, and line zest.

While it worked, it wasn’t amazing. There’s just something about salmon that makes it great for a quick cure. Probably the delicious fattiness that grouper lacks.

So what to do with a pound of gravlax you don’t want to eat? Fish stock.

Mm.

New Year’s BIPA.

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While there is no conclusive evidence, it’s possible the delay in posting is partly due to the fact that we recently cracked our first batch of homebrew. And with five gallons of anything, it takes a while to get to the computer and type up something…in English.

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Just kidding.  [Promise.]

There is no excuse for the delay, or if there is, blame the Miami weather. Largely, it’s been so nice here, even your momma wants to spend time outside.

But really.

Without further ado, here it is, Pan Tropical’s first foray into homebrew.

We started with John Palmer’s basic first all-grain batch, which is a nice, dark brown ale. But then I swapped 2-row for the DME and added extra hops to make what is essentially a brown IPA. We kicked off the year with a batch of homebrew so officially, this is our New Year’s BIPA.

Overall, it’s pretty good. Very light on the tongue, super dry, and with a nice bitter finish. Unfortunately being Miami, the temperature during primary was a bit high (~76°), but any fruitiness from that temperature dissipates after the first sip. Up next will be our Kumquat Saison.

New Year’s BIPA
Batch size: 5 gallons

Fermentables
8 lb 2-row
1 lb Crystal 60
.25 lb Chocolate malt

Hops
.75 oz Nugget
1 oz Willamette
2.5 oz Citra

Yeast
West Coat IPA, Wyeast

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Strike temperature: 165° for 152° mash for 1 hour
Batch sparge with 172°

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60 min boil: Nugget at 60, Willamette at 30, 1.5 Citra at 15, 1 Citra at 5

OG: 1.040
FG: 1.008

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barley stir fry.

When you get home and there’s a CSA slowly leaving the world- or has already questionably crossed over to the inedible side- the only thing to do it to throw it all in a pan.

With garlic, vaguely Asian seasonings, and an egg right?

Because there’s no better way to use up broccoli, bok choy, and green onions than in a barley stir fry…

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Barley Stir Fry

2 cups mixed veggies, like broccoli and bok choy if  you’re feeling it…
1 cup cooked barley, drained. Preferably old
1 egg
Soy sauce, Korean red pepper flakes, fish sauce, sesame oil, hoisin…
Green onions

Making pan tropical.

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Baby baguettes for catering party. Or small French children.

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Rollin’

Fermentation

Sourdough in the hall. Beer in the closet.

We like fermenting things. Well, we like eating and drinking things that have been fermented. Therefore, we ferment. We also live in Miami, where it tends to get hot every now and then (as in, it’s 80 degrees in January and the jokes on the rest of the country). But high temperatures + fermentation? We don’t want our yeasts to go too wild. So we seek out the cool spots for our living and growing baby creatures. Let them eat up the sugars and expel carbon dioxide in peace.

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Black Eyed Pea + Berbere Soup

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sometimes, you just gotta add spice.

my little sister delivered this christmas with six little containers of salt, spice and everything nice green pepper. one such little box contained berbere.

not knowing what it was, I threw it in a mix of onions, garlic, peppers, tomatoes, and black eyes peas. what could go wrong?

absolutely nothing, because NOW i know that berbere is the ethiopian spice mix that contains cinnamon, ginger, paprik, fenugreek, and more. basically, it kicks up any sort of simple soup.

berbere soup

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 huge yellow onion
4 cloves garlic
2 bell peppers, colors optional
1 tablespoon berbere
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 c white wine or beer or …
1 can diced tomatoes with juice
4 c vegetable broth
2 c cooked black eyed peas
2 tablespoons adobo from chipotle
salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat oil in large pot. Sauté onion until translucent. Add minced garlic and sauté until soft. Add pepper and spices. Sauté 2 mins. Deglaze with wine.
2. Add tomatoes and broth and bring to boil. Reduce to simmer and blend half the soup with a blender. Add peas and return to a boil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with sliced green onions and a dollop of Greek yogurt.

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