Lemons are nice and all, but for an extra dose of zesty goodness (or color), try loading up on the underdog of the citrus family: the lime.
Iron chef: The Le Creuset people insist on calling their new green “kiwi.” (We see lime, but we’re willing to twist the truth.) Either way, the 5.5-quart round Dutch oven looks great sitting on the stove between uses. $195. www.cooking.com
We also love Lodge’s green enameled cast-iron pieces (which, of course, they call “apple” ... poor lime), including a five-quart Dutch oven for $168. www.lodgemfg.com
Pot luck: There’s no need to lug limes home from the market when you can pick your own just before you get to cooking. Smith & Hawken’s Thai Lime tree is happy indoors or, in sunny states, out. $49. www.smithandhawken.com
The big squeeze: No matter how many other citrus presses we try, we always return to this coated-green, cast-aluminum one for limes (the yellow one is for lemons).
It. Just. Works. (And it’s quite the smashing color.) $16. www.williams-sonoma.com
Eating (and Cooking) Green
Invite summer in a bit early with an around-the-world limefest. Chefs on many a continent depend on a kick from the green one to send their food soaring into the flavor stratosphere. (And it doesn’t hurt that you rack up vitamin C while dining on the delights.) Buy a bag of limes and a stack of the following regional cookbooks for a world-class lime education.
Thailand: There are no traveling food writers — at least none we know of — more devoted to teaching people about the tastes of Asia than Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid. Almost all of the couple’s cookbooks are equal parts cooking class and travelogue. Work your way through the lime-heavy Hot Sour Salty Sweet: A Culinary Journey through Southeast Asia (Artisan, $45) and our longtime favorite, Seductions of Rice (Artisan, $25). Try Thai tonight in Anchorage, Alaska. Siam Cuisine 1911 West Dimond Boulevard (907)344-3663
The Florida Keys: These tiny wonders have a namesake pie, and more than one drink has received a boost from them — they’re Key limes, and Florida residents couldn’t be more proud of them. Put the wee ones to work for you with The Florida Keys Cookbook: Recipes and Foodways of Paradise (Globe Pequot, $17). Dine on Key Lime Pie in Marathon, Florida. The Seven Mile Grill 1240 Overseas Highway (305) 743-4481
Mexico: Push the margaritas out of your mind for a moment — lime does so much more for Mexican cuisine. A well-known devotee of the country’s foods, Rick Bayless fills his latest cookbook, Mexican Everyday (W.W. Norton, $30), with plenty of lime goodness — even for cooks with a busy schedule. Get your ceviche on at one of Bayless’s own restaurants in Chicago. Frontera Grill
445 North Clark (312) 661-1434
Straight from Florida
The Blond Giraffe folks, who, by the way, are originally from Brazil, keep racking up honors for their made-in-Key-West Key Lime Pies. Eat at the original at 629 Duval Street in Key West (305-293-6998) or order some up at home (in which case we suggest opting for the easier-to-ship pie on a stick). www.blondgiraffe.com
By way of the Big Apple
Okay, so Steve’s Authentic Key Lime Pies aren’t made in the Florida Keys. They’re made in New York. But Steve? He grew up in Miami. And the price? Well, pricey. But one taste and you’ll realize why this even-if-you-only-order-it-for-a-special-occasion pie is worth it: This baby is made fresh, fresh, fresh, with just-squeezed lime juice. Oh, and Steve’s website is pretty funny too. Single pie, $51. www.stevesauthentic.com
Not in the Mood for Pie?
Then try delightfully tangy Key Lime Cooler cookies, which offer a ton of flavor in every little bite. $5 for three ounces; $11 for seven ounces. (800) 743-1480, www.sunharvest citrus.com
Also, any of Boule’s chocolate candies will turn you into a quivering mass of happiness, but the Kalamansi-lime one will send you positively over the edge. $28 for a 12-piece variety box. www.boulela.com