A Sloppy Joe's sandwich is the last thing one might expect to qualify as a Florida Keys flavor, but Gassenheimer (Dinner in Minutes) tracks its origins to a Florida speakeasy frequented by Hemingway and provides a classic, ketchup-filled recipe. Of course, among her more than 200 other offerings there are plenty of exactly what one would expect, namely, seafood, Key limes, and rum. There are tempting ceviche appetizers as well as plenty of shrimp options, and several of the fish entrees probably taste better than they sound. Dottie Hill's Hog Snapper and tuna puttanesca both have a garlic and onion safety net, while snapper Rangoon has a touch of cinnamon. The limes show up not only in pies, but in cake, ice cream, fudge sauce, cookies, and cocktails, as well as a seafood pasta and even French toast. Rum fuels three different mojito options in addition to a piña colada and the Tiki John's rum runner, which calls for blackberry brandy and banana liqueur. Spoon some colada into a rum runner and you get what the locals call either a candy cane or, more appropriately for those who think it a crime, a Miami vice. (Dec.)
After a brief history of the Florida Keys, James Beard Award winner Gassenheimer (Dinner in Minutes) credits originating restaurants for these recipes. As one would expect, there is an assortment of drinks, including Piña Colada, Key Lime Cosmopolitan, and Key Lime Martini. Seafood and desserts, such as Tropical Coffee Cake (made with key lime juice, pineapple, and coconut) and Key Lime Cookies, are also plentiful. Highly recommended for Gassenheimer's knowledge of the area and the well-written recipes.