Monday, June 9, 2008

Episode: Mint

Quinoa and Pea Salad

Buying fresh mint + thunderstorm = recipes. And food porn. And goodness. (Although the thunderstorm does get in the way of proper lighting, so apologies for any slight decrease in photo quality. I think I managed to get a few good ones despite.)

I believe all the essentials have been said, so let the food post begin!

Quinoa and Pea Salad with Mint and Lemon

This salad has enough substance that you can eat it as a main dish, but is cool and refreshing to help you stay feeling light in the summer heat. This recipe makes 4-6 main servings, or 8-10 as a side.

Quinoa and Pea Salad

Ingredients:

1 cup quinoa
water (enough to cook quinoa, at least 2 cups)
1 cup frozen peas
2 tbsp roughly chopped fresh mint
1/2 a lemon
salt and pepper

Preparation:

Cook the quinoa by boiling it in the water until they look like miniature Saturns (little balls with rings around them)--drain well and put back in the pot, stirring with a fork to help fluff it up as it dries out.

Take the frozen peas and add it in to the quinoa once the quinoa is dry (but still warm)--this will defrost the peas and gently soften them without actually cooking them. Add in the mint and squeeze the lemon half till you feel you've gotten 1/2 to 2/3 of the juice in it. (So the juice of 1/4 to 1/3 of a lemon) This is, obviously, to taste. Sprinkle in a little bit of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Mix and allow to completely cool before serving. (If you leave out the salt to make this low sodium, the recipe won't suffer much. :))


Summer Strawberries

What's more refreshing than strawberies, mint, and lemon on a hot summers day? Makes for four generous servings (or 8 smaller servings).

Summer Strawberries

Ingredients:

1.5 lb strawberries
1.5 tbsp chopped fresh mint
2 to 3 tbsp dried blueberries
1/2 a lemon
1 tsp sweetener

Preparation:
Wash and slice the strawberries in half. (If they are really huge you can further cut them, but they really don't have to be even in size. What is optimal is to have them all of a size that can gracefully be put into the mouth and eaten.) Mix the mint, blueberries and sweetener with the juice of 1/3 to 1/2 of the lemon half and the zest of the lemon half. (So the juice of 1/6 to 1/4 of a lemon.) Mix well and allow to sit for the flavors to combine for at least 1/2 hour, preferably saran wrapped and refridgerated.

Summer Strawberries


Mint Milk


In the winter, as snow blizzards outside and the wind whistles at your windows you cuddle up with a warm cup of chocolate milk. Well now you can have that comfort year long--in the summer, as the rain pours outside and the thunder cracks in the distance you can cuddle up with a warm cup of mint milk.

This tea is warm and comforting. The almond milk thickens as it is heated and is infused with the soothing taste of mint. The mint is not overpowering but can be tasted clearly in the milk, and leaves you with a refreshing yet cozy aftertaste. The recipe makes for one serving.


Mint Milk

Ingredients:

Mint tea bag.
1 cup almond milk
1 tsp sweetener
a hint of nutmeg.*

Preparation:

Put everything into a pot and put the heat onto medium-low. Gently stir constantly to avoid scalding the milk. Stir for approximately 5 minutes; the milk sould be hot and a light matcha green color (like that of green tea ice cream). Serve hot.

*(No more than a scrape or two with your knife--on that note: always freshly grate nutmeg. I hated nutmeg until I started grating my own; now its the spice I will put in almost anything.)


Mint Tea


Mint tea aids in digestion, helps clear colds, and is just darn right comforting. How could I make a post on mint and leave out my go-to tea when my tummy is hurting or I'm feeling sick? No recipe, just get a mint teabag, boil the water, and steep. Alternatively; put the mint teabag into lukewarm water and allow it to sit for an hour before drinking, or even put it in cool water and allow it to sit overnight. I have been told that the cold/overnight method results in the best tea (plus it is then considered raw, I believe.)

Mint Tea


BONUS: Freezing Mint

Frozen Mint

If you're anything like me, an entire bunch of herbs bought at the grocery store is more than you could ever use in one recipe. So here's how I freeze the extra. I wash it and allow it to dry, or pat it dry. I take all the good leaves off the stem and spread them on a plate; make sure you don't have clumps of leaves and also try to avoid piling them too high. 2-3 high should be the maximum (you could even freeze them in a single layer, should you have enough freezer space). Once they're frozen you can put them in a ziplock bag; ready to be used. They will be defrosted enough to chop within minutes when you want to use them, assuming your freezer isn't deathly cold.

This method works well for any herb that is generally used raw, with only a rough chop. It works for cooking herbs too, however an easier method exists for those; wash them, pick what you would use of them, chop/dice/grind, and freeze them in an ice cube tray; half tablespoon per cube (or less, depending how many people you generally cook for. I usually cook for four.) Once frozen you can put these cubes into a ziplock bag, and when your recipe calls for a tablespoon of said herb, just grab two cubes (or the appropriate amount) and dump them in like that; no need to defrost.

4 comments:

danakscully64 said...

I had no idea you could freeze mint, thanks for the tip! I was craving Mojitos the other day and since I don't have a mint plant yet, I bought a bunch. It may be bad already, but I feel horrible tossing it, so I'm going to freeze it. My basil plant is getting huge, about to make some pesto. :)

Manda said...

Mmmmmm mojitos.

Pesto freezes really well as I'm sure you know! I love basil!! Are you going to hang some to dry?

Karyn said...

I have mint everywhere in my garden. I had no clue that I could freeze it!

Thanks for the tip, I will be enjoying mint all year round now.

..and mojitos!

(aka cowgirrlup)

Erin said...

When I first saw the strawberry pictures on ppk I thought those were whole peppercorns scattered around. And while I think it might be pretty awful to eat whole peppercorns, some ground black pepper might be really nice on it. Hmmmm...