Tag Archives: mint

Sunday Brunch

My most common Sunday Brunch this year is a cup of Jamincan Me Crazy coffee and a cranberry-orange muffin at Kiskadee…..

I bought some grapefruits for something, but ate them. Just peeled and ate them. Not the something.

I bought some more, because they were for something…something….something .. what WAS it????

And I just found my grapefruit spoons – I love digging into half a grapefruit at a time with a pointy spoon, but that wasn’t the something, although it will happen, frequently, over the course of the winter grapefruit season.

While cleaning up another unpacking corner I found the pages I ripped from October’s

Food Network Magazine:

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Bobby Flay’s Brunch Menu

with – ta da – Grapefruit and Mint Salad

It’s a great brunch menu

Here it is –

Creamy polenta with braised greens and poached eggs

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But

Make you own chili oil? No thank you

My brain immediately translates it to: polenta with chains….been there, done that

He does make the polenta with milk (which you can also do in the slow cooker) which I almost never think of doing because I almost never have milk just about – it’s a separate trip to the store, another new item on my shopping list- and he braises the mustard greens with garlic, red onion and a little red wine vinegar to serve on top of the polenta and underneath the poached eggs. Mustard greens are a good and flavorful green for this. Bless his heart for not suggesting kale. Making polenta and braising greens is so far a no sweat morning, providing there is ample coffee earlier…..

Poached eggs are – well, poached eggs. Since I’m a huge fan of the hot hard-boiled egg, I would probably do that instead because not eating food prepared the way you like it from your own kitchen is just a little twisted, although poaching is pretty easy, and a broken poached egg on top of the greens and polenta would be layers of yumminess…..

Grapefruit salad with honey mint dressing

He uses both white and ruby red grapefruit, with the chopped mint on top sure looks pretty – but it also smells mouthwatering with that little dab of honey, in my minds nose.

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Why was this sooo familiar?

Oh, right – grapefruit salad with black olives

And then he makes sausage – homemade chorizo – into patties, which is the absolute easiest way to make sausage. He even uses ground pork from the market.

Genius.

Easy-peasy.

Like I didn’t already have a Kitchen Crush on him.

Homemade Chorizo Patties

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Although my grandmother’s grinder is around here somewhere, should I take it into my head in a fit of total insanity to buy a pork shoulder and grind my own while I’m still unpacking and it’s the month with Christmas in it. The grinder was in one of the boxes that was moved with my brothers; I saw it and we even talked about it. It was in a storage box that was part of a system of storage boxes, which means there’s more than one of those boxes, so far, none of them is the grinder box. I’m pretty sure.

My other grinder – the one I bought for sausage workshops – is in the kitchen…what, you don’t have more than one grinder?

It will be needing a place to live, either here, or, as soon as I find Nonna’s, somewhere else altogether. I also have a sausage stuffer I’ll never need again, between my Kitchen Aid (which has a stuffing attachment) and the stuffer attachment that goes with the grinder, that I think works with the old Nonna grinder. I just need to find it and try it again. Moving is so much more work then just packing and unpacking.

The boxes of things to be given away keep growing.

Back on the brunch front ….This menu really needs a sweet muffin/roll/biscuit/coffee cake something to enjoy with a second pot of coffee when all the heavy lifting eating is done.

Maybe some Jamican Me Crazy coffee and  cranberry muffins…..

coffee hat

Of course he looks sad – the coffee is missing his mouth! Cruel fashion!

 

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Leading by a nose…..

Herbal Inspirations.

This is the time of year that the garden is just bursting….

and it’s cool enough to want to eat it all!

cuke3

cool as a cucumber – they don’t even realize that their days are numbered

 

Thyme, ready to hang up and dry

Thyme, ready to hang up and dry

oregano

oregano

Basil

Basil

This time of year just plain smells good!

Herbs in the Kitchen was one of the earliest herbal reference book I bought.Herbs in the Kitchen I’m pretty sure I got it from the Paperback Booksmith in Hanover Mall, in either ‘75 or ‘76. It was one of the standards.  I still love it, and get inspired every time I read it.

My modern herbal library- not to be confused with my early modern herbal library – has grown since then.

Helen Morganthau Fox, gardening with herbsMrs Grieve, modern herbal

Eleanour Sinclair Rohde  ESR a garden of herbs I’ve read them and studied and collected all.

AGSAdelma Grenier Simmons inspired trips to Caprilands in Connetitcuct and I was able to attend several of her lectures and workshops, as well as collect her books;

Jeanne Rose’s Herbs and Things, herbsthingsnew_smallwhich nicely bridges the centuries of herbal lore;

Susan Wittag Albert and the China Bayles series. China Bayles even has her own book of herbal days, China Bayles Book of Days. China Bayles Book of DaysYes, a fictional herb guru has her own book!

Carolyn Dille and Susan Belsinger have written together and separately….

This is a together one

This is a together one

But it’s only recently that herbs and other things you eat that come from the garden can be equal (ish) partners between the covers.

Vegetable Literacy Deborah Madison has her chapters based on plant families…..it’s very different kind of organizing and makes a whole lot of sense. This is from her blog

‘Vegetable Literacy’ is centered on 12 plant families and how they meet in the kitchen. It’s also a cookbook (some 300 recipe). Mostly it’s about connecting the dots between botany and the garden and the cook. People ask me what inspired this exploration and I have to say that I don’t recall a single moment in which that intention suddenly leaped to the fore. It was more like the idea of botanical families and the relationship between them and the kitchen had been there for a long time. Maybe it’s in my genes—my father was a botanist and gardener and farmer among other things. And even though it didn’t occur to me plant anything until I was in my mid-thirties, something must have rubbed off.  And it rubbed off from my botanist brother, Michael, my many farmer friends and the gardeners I have known. Most of all, though, it was starting to garden that made plants and their families come into view with increasing clarity. Once I started to grow vegetables, I saw them in different ways: how much space they need, how large and many their leaves, how similar the blossoms within a family, the possibilities of eating more of them then what we see in the store or even the farmers market—hence the many little pointers about eating the whole plant—and more. The garden reveals the big and sometimes gnarly world that lies behind the pretty vegetable.’

Deborah Madison with allium

Deborah Madison with allium

So, stop and smell the mint,mint close upand the fennel

fennel flowering

fennel flowering

and the borage….

borage

borage

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Beet it!

It’s a great time of year for beets, and by beets I mean red beetroot.

Central Italian School, 17th century

Central Italian School, 17th century. On closer inspection these ‘beets’ look more like turnips, but the little pan with the eggs….and that great big beautiful ham…and the cabbage, Oh, the cabbage..and the lovely little smoked mozzarella.

‘Turnip the Beet’ would be a great name for a rock band…..seems it’s not my most original thought today

 

 

Mint_2014-06-01_00-53

Mint – great time to pot some up to take indoors for the winter

But it’s also a great time for mint….actually it’s a great time for gardens in general. Warm days, cool nights, everything ready for the Harvest Moon on the 10th.harvest moon

Back to mint – so you have a few handfuls of mint, either because it’s chosen to grow everywhere you didn’t plant it or it’s doing just fine where you did plant it (you put it in a pot, didn’t you?) or they had really big bunches at the Farmer’s Market and they were practically giving it away? In any case, dry some for the winter (wash, shake, hang upside down out of direct sunlight but where there is good air circulation and when it’s dry, take it down and put it in a jar, either still on the stem or take the leaves off and use it all winter, because when the snow melts and the weather warms up, there will be more fresh.

Or you can make some mint vinegar.

Yes, you can.

Yes, YOU can.

Easy Peasey.

Mint Vinegar

1 pint wine vinegar, heated (save the bottle for the finished product)

1 pint clean fresh mint leaves

2 cloves

1 clove garlic, peeled

Crush the leaves slightly in your hands. Add clove and garlic and pour over the heated vinegar. Cover and let stand.

After 24 hours, remove the garlic clove.

Let stand 2 weeks.

After 2 weeks, strain and press though a cloth through a cloth. Discard the plant material. Bottle the vinegar and cover tightly. I use the same bottle the vinegar came in, and add a big MINT label to it. You can use other herbs the same way. Tarragon, for instance.

Irma Goodrich Mazza. Herbs in the Kitchen. Third edition, revised. Little Brown and Company.1939, 1947, 1975.

Herbs in the KitchenEven easier? Wash and dry the mint (say a cup, pack it in, it needs to be a little crushed, leaves no stems)  Put it in the bottom of a large clean jar. Top with vinegar, up to a quart. LABEL and set in the sun. After 2 week, if it smells good enough, strain through a coffee filter lined strainer and re bottle to use.

Minty Fresh Beet Salad

8 medium sized beets (2 inches diameter)
2 tablespoon raspberry vinegar (or any other fruit vinegar or apple cider vinegar or mint vinegar)
3 tablespoons oil, whatever you like on your salads
3 small very well mushed and minced garlic cloves (I love my garlic press)
½ teaspoon salt
¼ (packed) cup fresh coarsely chopped mint leaves
Optionals – this is the and/or list to make the salad:
½ cup crumbled feta cheese or ½ cup crumbled blue cheese or ¼ cup shaved Parmesan cheese….you see the pattern
½ cup or more plain Greek yoghurt
Leafy greens – lettuce, spinach, any sort of salad mix…..
4 hard boiled eggs, peeled and quartered
2 cups cold cooked white beans (more or less)
2 cups cold cooked macaroni (more or less)
1. Cook the beets. (If it’s not fresh beet season and you have a can, drain and rinse and proceed). Boil them or bake them until tender. Rub the skins off in cold running water.

2. Dry your now tender naked beets with a paper towel. Slice them in half the long way and cut them into very thin half moons. Put them in a bowl or a jar with a cover.
3. Mix together the dressing: the vinegar, oil, garlic, salt and mint. Pour over the beets and mix well.
4. Cover and let marinate for at least 12 hours. This will keep for up to a week….I usually manage 3 or 4 days…..
5. Salad time options:
a. Add cheese and serve.
b. Add Greek yoghurt and serve.
c. Serve over leafy greens, with or without dairy.
d. Top with quartered hard boiled eggs, with or without leafy greens
e. Add cooked white beans while marinating and serve with or without dairy, topped or not with hard boiled eggs over leafy greens or not…..
f. Mix with cold macaroni and Greek yoghurt over leafy greens and if there’s anything left, beat a couple of eggs, stir it all together and have a frittata, topped with whatever cheese you have on hand…
g. And pears – this goes really well with pears, especially pears and blue cheese….
Adapted and inspired from ‘Marinated Beets with Mint’ if Mollie Katan, Still Life with Menu 1988 Ten Speed Press. p. 57.

Still life with Menu

 

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Minty Fresh

I’ve had mint on the brain recently.

Actually, on my hands…then the scent of it gets into your head, in spite of all the allergies the pollen wants to send my nose-way, and it’s a short trip from the nose to the brain…..

Mint, Ordinary mint, Mackerill Mint or Spearmint

Mint, Ordinary mint, Mackerill Mint or Spearmint

Mint is growing in my pilgrim garden, everywhere, except in the garden beds…and I do mean everywhere. Last Sunday I cut a bushel basket full of mint, and there was plenty left for the woodchucks to snack on.

Good thing mint is so  good for so much.

Wild mint of North America - Mentha canadensis. That's right, Canada Mint!

Wild mint of North America – Mentha canadensis. That’s right, Canada Mints!

Necco-Canada-Mints-and-Canada-Wintergreen-packages-2012

The other Canada Mints

Pa Flynn, my great grandfather who worked at Baker’s Chocolate, always had the little red and white peppermints in his pocket, so the smell of mint – and certain pipe tobaccos – remind me of him. They say that scent is the strongest sense to support memory. red and white candy

The Rx: Mint

The Target: IBS, headaches
The Dose: 1 cup of tea daily

Chewing on peppermint can freshen your breath, but there’s another reason you should try the herb. The menthol in peppermint helps prevent muscle spasms, one of the reasons peppermint oil effectively treats irritable bowel syndrome. The oil is also useful for relieving headaches. Rub some on your temples or wrists and breathe in the minty scent.

Botanist James A. Duke, PhD, author of The Green Pharmacy Guide to Healing Foods, recommends brewing mint tea for any type of pain. Pour boiling water over peppermint leaves and steep until the tea is as strong as you like. Add wintergreen leaves for an extra pain-fighting boost; a compound in wintergreen called methyl salicylate blocks the enzymes that cause inflammation and pain. “You could call it herbal aspirin,” he says. A final squeeze of lemon will help you extract as many pain-reducing chemicals as possible from the plants.

http://www.prevention.com/health/health-concerns/10-healing-foods-fight-pain?s=9&?cm_mmc=Facebook-_-Rodale-_-Food-_-10FoodsThatWorkJustAsWellasMedicine

Peppermint and Corsican mints

Peppermint and Corsican mints

My favorite mint is – no surprise here –  chocolate mint

choc mint

Chocolate Mint

he York Peppermint Patty - pretty close to perfect

he York Peppermint Patty – pretty close to perfect

My newest chocolate -mint combo treat – toothpaste.

Chocolate Mint flavored toothpaste. Oh, Yes!

Chocolate Mint flavored toothpaste. Oh, Yes! Oh, What a Beautiful Morning!

 

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Olive You More

The  sauce uses, at best, a half a can of basic black olives.

What to do with the rest?

This is not me, and yet it was me....olives are very philosophical, as well as tasty

This is not me, and yet it was me….and sometimes still may be me…..

Winter is full of citrus fruit, and Red Grapefruit seems to be the harbinger of Spring citrus.

The fruit that made Texas famous....not really, but not a lie, either. A Story for another day.

The fruit that made Texas famous….not really, but not a lie, either. A Story for another day.

This is why they're called GRAPE- fruit

This is why they’re called GRAPE- fruit

Add some mint – a breath of fresh air.Mint-leaves-2007

GRAPEFRUIT, OLIVE AND MINT SALAD

1 large red grapefruit, peeled and sectioned
1 cup pitted black olives
1 cup fresh mint leaves
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 tsp lemon juice (if the grapefruit is very juicy, I sometimes skip this)
Salt to taste (it SOOOOOO depends on the olives)

1. Mix it all together.
2. Adjust salt.
3. Eat.
It says 4 servings…but it’s more like 2. Four servings if you put it over salad greens.

Marion Cunningham. The Supper Book. p. 196.

The Supper Book - also fantastic

The Supper Book

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