Last week mystery author Lesley Diehl told us about her microbrewing mystery series set in upstate New York and gave us a recipe for Ginger Stout Muffins. Today she returns to talk about her Big Lake mystery series set in rural Florida and offers a recipe for Key Lime Pie. Learn more about Lesley and her books at her website and blog. -- AP
Sweet and Savory Characters, Sweet and Savory Food, Part 2
In my series set in rural Florida (Dumpster Dying and Grilled, Chilled and Killed), my tiny woman protagonist, Emily Rhodes, is a retired preschool teacher who, out of financial necessity, takes a job as the head bartender at the local country club.
Small she might be, but Emily is not sweet Sally. She’s a tough woman who’s herded around her share of preschoolers and survived. As a bartender these tough qualities make her able to keep the cowboys, bass fishermen and even a local detective sweet on her in line.
The sweet woman in these tales is Emily’s next-door neighbor Vicki, who loves to bake pastries and pies and has won prizes for them. Vicki comes through in some touchy moments, offering the cantankerous bass fisherman, also fond of Emily, and the detective a piece of Key lime pie sweet/tart, enough to take the edge of both these difficult men.
Emily is fortunate Vicki is not as conservative as the rest of the community. Vicki is horrified that Fred, Emily’s partner, wrote no will, leaving Emily without a house or car, possessions in Fred’s name only, but she doesn’t blame Emily for the situation.
It is Vicki’s idea that Emily take a mixologist class to become a bartender. Emily has other friends, but Vicki’s sense of fun always keeps Emily seeing the bright side of every situation. Fun and a pie. What could be better?
There are many recipes for Key Lime Pie, but I think this one is the best.
Vicki’s Key Lime Pie
1 9" graham cracker crust or make your own
14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
3 egg yolks
1/2 c. Key lime juice (this can usually be found at most supermarkets in bottles, see note below)
Combine milk, egg yolks and juice. Blend until smooth. Pour filling into crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
Allow to stand for 10 minutes, then refrigerate. Cool several hours.
Top with whipped cream and decorate with key lime slices if you have them.
Note: Do not make this with regular lime juice (you know, the green limes; Key Limes are tiny and yellow) unless you want a regular lime pie, not Key Lime pie.
Grilled, Chilled and Killed
In the second Big Lake Mystery, Emily Rhodes, retired preschool teacher and bartender turned amateur snoop, wonders if she is destined to discover dead bodies. This time she finds one of the contestants at the local barbeque cook-off dead and covered in barbeque sauce in a beer cooler. She should be used to stumbling onto corpses by now and the question of who killed the guy should pique her curiosity, but Emily decides to let Detective Lewis handle this one, at least until she figures his theory of who did the deed is wrong, wrong, wrong.