25 August 2009

Mint, marvellous mint

So as I'm sitting here, once again laid up with post-surgical restrictions (nothing major, no worries), I'm looking at the herbs I potted this past spring. Most of them have done incredibly well, despite my black thumb. Herbs are the one type of plant I can't seem to kill - most of the time!

In a huge galvanized wash tub I've got at least three different kinds of mint. Spearmint, chocolate, and I think apple. (I wanted orange mint, couldn't find it this year) I'm grateful for the recipes that hit my email box from care2.com. Last year, thanks to care2, I used up a bunch of mint and lemon balm making jelly. Since my family isn't much into jelly, though, I gave most of it away and still have a few jars left. I need some fresh ideas. Anyone? :)

Mint has been used in cooking, ritual magic, and for healing for as long as animals have roamed the earth. Legend has it that the beautiful nymph Menthe used it liberally, which made Persephone so jealous she turned Menthe into a plant. Her husband, Pluto, couldn't undo the curse, but he could give the new plant its lovely fragrance.

Raspberry Mint Punch
3 sprigs fresh mint leaves
1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
1 cup water
1 1/2 quarts lemonade
Fresh mint for garnish
Bring water to a boil, add mint leaves and steep for five minutes. Strain and cool. Stir in berries and add mixture to the lemonade. Chill for at least two hours to allow flavors to blend. Serve in tall glasses with ice, garnished with a mint leaf. Serves 6-7.

White Grape & Mint Salsa
4 cups seedless white grapes
2 tablespoons chives (or green onions), chopped
Juice of 1/2 fresh lime (or a couple key limes)
2 tablespoons spearmint, chopped
1 whole jalapeƱo, diced (remove membranes and seeds for less heat)

Combine ingredients in food processor and barely pulse blend, or chop by hand. Mix and refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving. (HerbCompanion.com)

Mojito
1/2 teaspoon powdered sugar
1 sprig spearmint
Juice of 1/2 fresh lime (or 1 key lime)
2 ounces rum (preferably white)
4 ounces club soda
1/2 cup crushed ice
1 sprig fresh mint

In a glass, use a muddler to combine and bruise the herb and sugar. (blunt end of a wooden spoon works, too) Add lime juice, rum and club soda, mix lightly, then add ice and mint sprig for garnish.

Grilled Chicken with Mint
1 cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoons cooking oil or olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
Grated zest from 1 fresh lemon
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup finely chopped spearmint leaves
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

In a one-gallon plastic bag, add all ingredients except chicken breasts. Combine well then add chicken breasts, close bag, and let chicken marinate in the refrigerator overnight.

Remove the breasts from bag (discard bag and marinade). Grill over medium heat until chicken begins to brown. Turn chicken and reduce heat to low. Cook slowly until seared on both sides, turning often, to avoid burning. Should take about 20-25 minutes to cook.

Resources:
Celtic Teas with Friends
Celtic Breakfast Tea
Scotland's Love Affair with Tea
Tea Ettiquette

16 August 2009

Crab Cake!

My friend Lynelle, who lives in Louisiana, sent these pictures to me. :) She writes: "Thought you folks might enjoy these photos of a basket of crabs - it is a cake! It was made for a post rehearsal party dessert and the crabs, corn, and yes, even the Old Bay are made of white chocolate. The entire $700 cake was edible!"