finger lime recipes

Embrace the Exotic: Finger Limes

At a lavender festival I attended several years ago there was a vendor selling finger limes. I didn’t know what they were;  I had never seen them. My curiosity got the best of me so I bought a few.

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I took one to a party and treated it like an elementary school “show and tell” exercise. It seemed like a novelty fruit. People were amused, just as I had been when I laid eyes on my first finger lime. A short time after that I received an email from a local nursery advertising the availability of a limited stock of finger lime trees. I immediately called and was told they only had two left; the rest had already been sold. Who knew they would sell out so quickly. The nursery reserved one for me and I picked it up the following day. Last year I had real hopes for it bearing fruit. Unfortunately, the buds it produced did not survive.

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In the garden of Reviving Charm: Our Finger Lime tree

This year seems promising. I’m so excited because we might stand a chance at getting some real fruit off the tree. There are many flowers and several large pods of fruit forming, one of which you can see in my picture below.

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In the garden of Reviving Charm: Our Finger Lime tree

So what exactly is a Finger Lime? The botanical name is Citrus australasica, but is commonly known as the Australian finger lime. It is a thorny shrub/tree native to Australia. You can grow them in California but will do best if you are in a coastal, Mediterranean climate like us. They produce a small flower and pod-shaped fruit. Inside the pod are small beads known as “juice vesicles” where the juice is stored. These vesicles look similar to caviar which is why finger limes are often referred to as “citrus caviar”.  Sounds exotic, right?

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Finger limes can produce fruit in an array of colors. The small citrus beads are best used as a garnish when a hint of citrus flavor is needed. They will definitely add a bit of the exotic to your recipes.

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How to use finger lime. 

Use as a garnish on desserts. Here it is accompanied with mint on a key lime pie tart.

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Cucumber popsicles with finger lime & coconut water.

Dress up scallops with a finger lime garnish.

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Scallop ceviche with finger lime. 

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Salmon stuffed avocados with finger lime garnish.

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Use them as a cocktail garnish. I would love to try the Bixby Bloody Bixby. 

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If you happen to come across finger limes for sale, do not pass them up. You can host your own “show and tell” to put your own citrus caviar on exhibit to wow your guests.

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In the Mood

It’s currently raining at our Seaside Ranch Home. It wasn’t supposed to rain until tomorrow but apparently, Mother Nature had other plans. So did I…and they involved being outdoors. I’m quickly shifting into Plan B which includes sitting in front of the computer (with the pup in my lap) and composing a long overdue post. I was researching some information for another post idea that’s been swirling around in my head when I stumbled across the Italian blog of Antonella Pagliaroli, a full-time Italian food blogger and photographer who lives in the small town of Bracciano located about 20 miles northwest of Rome. The blog is called “Fotogrammi di Zucchero”, which translates to “Frames of Sugar”. It is a beautiful site chock full of captivating photography and recipes that even non-cooks (like myself) can appreciate. The site has a dark, moody quality to it that captures the feeling of this winter day perfectly.

The inspiration for today’s post title, In the Mood, is actually the name of Antonella’s online magazine, which led me to her website. The most current magazine she publishes is from almost a year ago but the 7 issues she has posted are a feast for the eyes and are still relevant today. 

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30 DAY OF COOKIES_REVIVING CHARM

30 DAYS OF COOKIES

It’s the season of festivity and food. I don’t cook but I have been known to bake on rare occasion. Very rare occasion. Even though I don’t spend a lot of time in the kitchen I am always on the lookout for recipes, particularly for cookies and dessert, “just in case” I ever need to whip up a few batches of sweet treats. If you plan on gifting cookies to friends and family this holiday season or plan to attend any cookie exchange parties, Williams-Sonoma has you covered. This year they collaborated with 30 bakers and bloggers to come up with 30 holiday cookie recipes and all of the recipes are currently shared on their website. Try one or try them all. There’s nothing better than baking on a cold day with the oven to warm the house and having the smell of freshly baked cookies permeating through the air. Print the recipes even if you don’t plan to bake this holiday season because they can easily be adapted for anytime of the year. And if you need any baking supplies, be sure to take advantage of the free shipping they are currently offering. And don’t forget, you can also save money by signing up for The Key (read this post). Don’t these look yummy?

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A balanced diet is having a cookie in both hands.  –Paula Deen

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Matcha Gingerbread Cookies

Olive Oil Sugar Cookies with Pistachio Glaze

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Cinnamon Logs

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Dipped & Crisp Peanut Butter Cookies

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Espresso Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Christmas Truffles

THE ALLURE OF BURGUNDY

Burgundy is one of my longtime favorite colors to wear. It compliments my dark hair and skin tone and I will almost always fetch a compliment while wearing this color. For me, burgundy is one of those “feel good” colors. I’m sure you have one of those….a color that just makes you feel your best. It’s usually a color you start seeing around this time of the year. However, it really seems to be a color that is dominating this year in both fashion and home decor. I love when those two world collide. I couldn’t be happier to give this color the recognition it deserves. So let’s celebrate the allure of burgundy…

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I have mentioned before that my favorite brand of lipstick is by Yves St. Laurent. I couldn’t publish a post without my sharing my favorite lipstick color at the moment. I am not a fan of the name (#54 prune avenue) but the color is beautiful. favorite-lipstick-of-reviving-charm-ysl-54-prune-avenue

By the way, you may have noticed that I made some subtle updates to my site. One of them includes adding a new category of topics that is called “Series: Color Stories”. I get a lot of compliments on my posts dedicated to color so I thought I would make it easier for you to find these posts in one  dedicated spot. You can still find them in the “all posts” category. And of course, if you choose to follow along (and hope you do), you will always be notified of the latest posts. Thanks for visiting Reviving Charm! Have a great weekend.

DESSERT: MACARON ICE CREAM SANDWICHES

I don’t cook and I rarely bake. Even so, I am always on the look-out for very simple recipes in case the domestic mood strikes. I recently saw an ad that featured this beautiful dessert offered at the modern french restaurant Marche Moderne in Costa Mesa, California. The dessert combines two of my favorite sweet indulgences: gelato and macarons. This is an easy dessert to recreate and what I love most about it is that it involves absolutely no baking. My version is all about the art of assembly which can make even someone like me look like a professional.easy summer dessert via REVIVING CHARM

The Marche Moderne version is described on the menu as a combination of “strawberries, Yuzu Mousseline, Pistachio Nougatine Raspberry coulis and Pistachio gelato.” Don’t let the fancy culinary jargon intimidate you. Making your own version of this delectable dessert is actually very simple. I have oversimplified the ingredients here so you can personalize it with your flavors of choice and put your own personal touch on it. You will need the following ingredients:

  • Your favorite macaron flavor. Unless you are proficient in the skill and art of baking French macarons, I suggest that you just simply purchase them. Since I am in California I find it easiest  just to buy mine in person at ‘Lette Macarons although they will also ship.
  • Gelato. Almost any macaron flavor will work with vanilla bean gelato. If you choose a flavored gelato just be sure to select one that will not compete with the flavor of your macaron.
  • Fresh fruit.
  • Crème fraîche.
  • Finely chopped nuts. (optional,  especially if you or your guests have allergies)

Bring macarons to room temperature. Separate the top and bottom of a macaron and add a small scoop of gelato to bottom of a macaron before adding  back the top of the macaron. Sprinkle a small amount of nuts on the gelato onto the top side of gelato. To decorate your plate, add a dollop of crème fraîche and top with fresh fruit to  compliment your mini macaron ice cream sandwich. Enjoy!

EQUESTRIAN ELEGANCE

equestrian chic equestrian elegance kentucky derbyToday is the Kentucky Derby and they say it is the fastest 2 minutes in the world of sports. I’m not a horse betting kind of woman but attending the Kentucky Derby and all the festivities that surround it is something that is on my bucket list. I think it’s because it is a great excuse to travel, party and have the most outrageous hat custom made for me. The more I think of it, it really must be more about the hat! I have been know to wear a stylish hat (or two) in the past….I digress..

I won’t be at Churchill Downs today but I like to pay homage to the event from across the miles by sporting my vintage bracelet depicting various equestrian scenes (shown above) that I pull out only once a year. I will be watching the race from afar, perhaps with the signature drink of the Kentucky Derby in hand: the Old Forester Mint Julep (recipe below). In honor of the 141st annual Kentucky Derby I raise my julep cup and leave you with a gallery of equestrian elegance. If I have left you wanting for more inspiration, be sure to check out my Pinterest board where you can find these and other beautiful images. Enjoy race day!

The Old Forester Mint Julep Recipe

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INGREDIENTS:

•  2 cups sugar
• 2 cups water
• Sprigs of fresh mint
• Crushed ice
• Old Forester Straight Bourbon Whisky
• Silver Julep Cups

INSTRUCTIONS:

Make a simple syrup by boiling sugar and water together for five minutes. Cool and place in a covered container with six or eight sprigs of fresh mint, then refrigerate overnight. Make one julep at a time by filling a julep cup with crushed ice, adding one tablespoon mint syrup and two ounces of Old Forester Kentucky Whisky. Stir rapidly with a spoon to frost the outside of the cup. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint. Recipe via the  official website of the Kentucky Derby.

FLOWERS THAT ARE PRETTY ENOUGH TO EAT

Oh, how I love the beautiful flowers this time of the year. As our seaside ranch home slowly comes together after over 3 years, I find myself starting to thing about the outside spaces. No doubt that I will be posting about pretty flowers and garden inspiration in the future. However, at the moment I turn my attention specifically toward edible flowers. Perhaps you might want to use this Mother’s Day weekend as a perfect excuse to create a beautiful, albeit delicious dish. I am sure the mothers in your life will approve!

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DRINK

Frozen in time and straight from your freezer….floral infused ice cubes are a great way to add a touch of simple charm.

Floral ice cubes.

A bucket full of floral infused ice cubes create a beautiful statement.

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This recipe is for chamomile whiskey but these flowers would look equally as lovely garnished in a glass of fresh squeezed lemonade.


Important Disclaimer: This post was intended to provide inspiration only. I’ve provided pretty pictures but it is entirely up to you to figure out what is safe to consume and to do so at your own risk. Sorry, but that’s the reality of it….

  • Do not eat any flower or plant unless someone knowledgeable has informed you that it is safe to ingest and they have informed you about how to prepare it safely.
  • Keep allergies in mind..for your and your guests.
  • Avoid any flowers or plants that may have been sprayed with pesticides. 
  • Not all plants and flowers are edible. Some are poisonous either naturally or from the use of toxic chemical pesticides.
  • Flowers from florists, nurseries and traditional garden centers should not be eaten as pesticides may have been used.
  • I am not a expert nor or claim to be one. It is up to you to figure out what is safe to consume.
  • I have not tested any of the recipes linked to this article. By linking to them I am in no way saying they are safe. Refer to bullet point above.

 

IN THE KITCHEN: GOAT CHEESE AND CHERRY BRUSCHETTA

The whirlwind season of gift giving and never-ending holiday parties with copious amounts of food and drink has arrived. And if you are like me, you are always looking for simple, yet crowd pleasing recipes to share with guests. This goat cheese and cherry bruschetta peeked my interest with its festive appearance and ease of assembly. I made it yesterday and was very pleased with the results. It is definitely one that will be incorporated into our Christmas Eve Dinner menu. The printable recipe is at the bottom of this post.

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This recipe is a keeper and I can’t wait to jot it down on one of the new recipe cards I purchased from Bell’ Invito Stationers. As an early Christmas gift to myself, I bought their stylish black embossed recipe card holder and a few packages of spare blank recipe cards also! The cards have a few different motifs. I purchased the fork  & spoon motif, but I also love the sunburst design.

My new recipe box arrived on Saturday am very happy with it. It’s a tad larger than some traditional recipe boxes, which is great because it provides a little bit of extra room in the event I want to clip out or print a recipe and store it directly in the recipe box.  If you have any great recipes to share, please let me know. After all, I have an entire recipe box to fill with a few new culinary delights!

foodie gift, luxury recipe box by bell'invito stationers with engraved dividers

Goat Cheese and Cherry Bruschetta
This is a super simple appetizer that is sure to be a hit! You can follow the recipe but I just eyeball my ingredients.

INGREDIENTS:
•  16 diagonally cut French baguette slices. Each slice cut to 1/2 inch thick.
•  2 tablespoons olive oil
•  4 ounces good quality goat cheese (chèvre)
• 16 to 26 canned or frozen black sweet cherries, drained, rinsed, and halved;or pitted fresh cherries, halved.
•  3 tablespoons honey
•  1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

INSTRUCTIONS: 
Preheat a large grill pan over medium-high heat. Brush bread slices with olive oil. Grill bread oil side down for 3 to 5 minutes, or until grill marks form and edges. Transfer grilled bread to a plate and top with 2 or 3 halved cherries. Drizzle with honey. Sprinkle with thyme leaves. Enjoy!

Homage to Arnold Palmer: The Golfer & Namesake Beverage

In the sweltering heat here in Southern California I can’t help but think of ways to cool off. I recommend a classic Arnold Palmer for those who prefer a refreshing, non-alcoholic drink. Plus, there isn’t a better day to enjoy one than today which is the 86th birthday of legendary golfer Arnold Palmer, who invented the drink in the 1960’s.

Classic Arnold Palmer:  Combine approximately 70%  ice tea, 30% lemonade and add sugar to taste, if needed. If you have any sparkling water on hand try adding a touch or used flavored fruit tea to create a unique flavor.

Shaken and served over ice, this proves to be a classic summertime drink that can also feel like a lifesaver on hot days like this!  Don’t forget to serve them up in a cute little mason jar to add a bit of summertime charm.

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Better yet, why not step it up a notch and turn those Arnold Palmers into a delicious popsicle treat to beat the heat. Enjoy….and stay cool, my friends.