If Floridian expat Ray McGee wants a decent slice of key lime pie, he needs to head south.

No, not that far south. McGee isn't likely to venture to the Florida Keys every time he hankers for this beloved regional specialty. But McGee, who lives in Lafayette, might want to think about a day trip to the coast. Our coast.

"Gayle's Bakery in Capitola has a great key lime pie," Diane Bourdet says. Carole Matsumoto also recommends Gayle's key lime pie. All that deliciousness doesn't come cheap; I found key lime pie listed at $8.95 a slice or $32.95 a pie on the bakery website at www.gaylesbakery.com.

A reader named J.C. says you can find key lime pie by the slice or whole pie at California Pizza Kitchen. Nellie and Joe's Famous Lime Juice offers more key lime juice recipes than I'd imagined were possible at www.keylimejuice.com.

Finally, it's not the classic key lime pie, but Peggy Wilcox, who considers herself a "key lime pie aficionado," says nothing compares to the dessert her mom makes. Her mother Prue embellished a basic recipe off the back of a Nellie and Joe's bottle. Prue makes a rich crust using pecan shortbread cookie crumbs, pecans, toasted coconut, butter and sugar. She tops her key lime filling with Cool Whip and more toasted coconut.

Second helpings

When I mentioned infant-sized zukes a couple of weeks ago, Kris Holloway knew she had to send her stuffed zucchini recipe. "I have a use for these monsters, and I beg my zuke-growing neighbors to let a couple 'get away from them' to the size I want," Holloway says. "Then I stuff them! Delicious!"

Most stuffed zucchini recipes I've seen speak with an Italian accent. I like that Holloway's stuffed zucchini gets its zip from chorizo and taco seasoning mix.

You also can add chipotle, salsa or other seasonings you prefer to the sauce, which is thickened with tortilla chip crumbs. I often substitute chili powder, ground cumin and oregano for taco seasoning.

Eileen Milligan and Susan Haag have another suggestion for bumper zucchini crops. They make zucchini pancakes. Milligan adds a peeled and shredded zucchini, along with a half teaspoon of cinnamon and a half tablespoon of sugar to her usual pancake batter. "Serve topped with ripe nectarine or peach slices," she says. "Whipped cream is a special weekend touch."

Haag serves her pancakes, which include Gruyere or grated Parmesan cheese and chopped onion, as a savory side dish.

Request line

  • Ruth from San Ramon hopes Plates readers can share good pork tenderloin recipes with thorough instructions. Her friend Lilli bought two at the market and discovered the tenderloins are packed in a goopy marinade. It doesn't help that the package offers inadequate cooking instructions. They'd like to start over with tasty homemade preparations.

    Send recipes and requests to Kim Boatman at HomePlates@bayareanewsgroup.com. Find recent Home Plates recipes online at www.mercurynews.com/home-plates.