Friday, July 26, 2013

All the Mint!

As we're heading into August, the parking lot garden continues to flourish, for the most part.  My biggest success this year has been in the herb department.  Earlier in the season, I bought a few different mint plants and threw them all in a big pot, with the gigantic Vietnamese mint in the center.  Guys, it has grown into an epic mint bush!  And I'm so bad about using it!  But I did manage to use some last night as a garnish for my fancy pants non-alcoholic drink:

Camera Roll-82

Strawberry syrup, peach syrup, orange juice, and lemon-lime soda, yum!  The mint was a nice addition because you smell it as you're drinking so it adds something special without being in your face with mintyness.  I know at least one of my neighbors in the building is using my herbs too, which makes me happy.  But what else should I be doing with my mint?

What are some of your favorite recipes that call for fresh mint?



Adi Pantera. said...

That looks awesome! My mom had a mint plant when I was very little but we would use it for medical purposes or to add into the food she'd make sometimes. :)

I planted a black bean about three weeks ago and it has two large leaves already and the roots are starting to grow!

Lauri said...

I love one of Jamie Oliver's recipes. I couldn't find it on his website, but I saved it to my computer years ago. It should be really easy to modify to be vegan by leaving out the parmesan in the dip. I like it fine without any kind of cheese between it and the bread. Hope I don't blow up the comment space with the recipe. :)

Smashed Peas and Fava Beans with Fresh Mozzarella
Adapted From Jamie at Home: Cook Your Way to the Good Life, by Jamie Oliver

Both the peas and fava beans are used raw in this recipe, and Jamie suggests mashing all the ingredients together using a mortar and pestle to get some 'bashed and bruised flavor that makes this dish incredible.' I don't have a mortar and pestle nearly big enough to do that, so I made mine in my food processor. To make the pea and fava bean puree even smoother, consider blanching the fava beans before processing them.

1 pound of peas in their pods, or about 5 ounces shelled
1 1/2 pounds of fava beans in their pods, or about 9 ounces shelled
Small bunch of fresh mint leaves (I used about 20 leaves)
2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
Juice of 1 lemon
Extra virgin olive oil (at least 2 tbsp)
Kosher salt
For serving:
Hearty bread like sourdough or ciabatta, sliced
Boccocini, buffalo mozzarella, or other fresh whey-packed mozzarella

Shell the peas and fava beans, and remove some of the fava bean skins if they are thick. If you prefer, blanch the fava beans in boiling water for 3-5 minutes, and slip off the skins.

Add the peas, fava beans, mint, and lemon juice to a food processor. Blend until the peas and beans are in small bits, then add the parmesan cheese and about 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil.

Blend well, and then check for texture. You will probably need to add at least 1-3 more tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to get a smoother, richer texture - this will really depend on the size/ texture of your peas and fava beans. You want the richness of the oil and the cheese to balance the peas and beans, and the texture should be spreadable yet still grainy.

To serve, top sliced bread with some of the pea and fava bean puree, then tear off some of the fresh mozzarella to top the puree. If you like, add a bit more pea and fava puree on top and garnish with fresh peas, mint sprigs, or a sprinkle of parmesan.
Serve immediately. Puree is best made the day of serving (color and flavor are brightest), but will keep refrigerated for 2-3 days more.

---This pea and fava bean puree can also be used like pesto - the addition of some extra olive oil will give a great consistency for coating the warm, fresh pasta.

Marissa said...

I'm pretty sure the only thing I can think of at the moment would be a mojito! But that could be the year without alcohol talking ;) I've added mint to my smoothies before and it's actually really good. You just don't want to go above 1 TBSP becuase it would overpower the whole drink.

Trinity said...

You can make fresh mint tea! Smash a handful or two of mint in a mug of hot water. You can add lemon or sweetener if you want to.

Mint syrup is good, too. For that you make simple syrup (heat equal parts water and sugar) and steep mint leaves in it for a while. Strain the leaves out and refrigerate the syrup. The mint syrup is good over a fruit salad or mixed with seltzer water.

Jam and chopped up mint makes for a great (vegan) ice cream topping.

Can you tell I really like mint?

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