Monday, November 2, 2009

Monday Munchies: Sweet, Sweet Mint

I’ve been running myself ragged lately, so after my weekly Castle viewing, I’ll be “toddling off to bed” (as my mother used to say). But I can’t let a Monday pass without honoring one of my favorite herbs.

Since arriving in New Orleans a week and a half ago, I’ve already sampled raw oysters (twice) at the Oceana Grill, messy beignets at Cafe Du Monde, fried seafood (and part of a muffuletta) at Cafe Maspero, and a bite of a much-beloved Lucky Dog (on Halloween night). So, believe me, I’m happy to be in the Big Easy. But still, it’s hard knowing that I’ll have to live without a garden until next May – which means I’ll have to wait six whole months for fresh mint.

Ah, fresh mint, how I love thee – let me count the ways...

When I was a little girl, I used to love picking wild mint leaves from my grandmother’s flower bed and then alternately munching them or rubbing the leaves between my palms to release their essence. During the past twenty-five years, nothing much has changed. Just this summer, I plucked several leaves from the little potted plant in our makeshift garden and happily mashed them between my teeth.

Of course, using the mint leaves to enhance food and beverages is even better. Periodically, I would gather fistfuls of leaves, and Dan would crush them with his mortar and pestle and blend them with ice, lime juice, white rum, and homemade sugar syrup to make one of our favorite cocktails: the oh-so-refreshing mojito.

Next summer, we plan to use the mint leaves for even more yummy treats – from mint sorbet to Vietnamese spring rolls. Do you know of any more mint-related recipes that we ought to keep in mind?

14 comments:

J.J. Bennett said...

I love mint in my lemonaide...it's so yummy!

Laura Martone said...

I've had mint in my iced tea before - mmm! - but never lemonade. I'll have to try that. Thanks!

J.J. Bennett said...

It's best in fresh squeezed lemonaide...It's the best! Keep me updated on your film fest and maybe I'll come and bring my posse with me. :)

Laura Martone said...

Mmm... I'll definitely keep that in mind. And I'll certainly let you know when the film fest is happening... the Beverly Hills one will be in mid-March. I'd love to meet you in person!

Stephanie Thornton said...

I love, love, love Cafe Du Monde! Best beignets ever- I'm actually drooling a little over here.

And the mint looks fabulous. My favorite herb is basil, but I'm an Italian addict.

Laura Martone said...

Wow! There are so many beignet lovers in the world! Glad you're one of them, Stephanie. And, yes, basil is big in our house, too. I don't think I could live without pesto sauce. ;-)

J.J. Bennett said...

You guys are making me want food now...

(Great...not at this time of night)

Tabitha Bird said...

I remember picking mint leaves from my grandmother's garden. Nice memories :)

Matthew Delman said...

My favorite food flavors are (in descending order): mint, peanut butter, and chocolate. If anyone ever finds an appetizing way to combine all three, then I will be in foodie heaven. Granted, the three combined might sound yucky, but I'd still want to try it.

Now I want to travel to New Orleans just for Cafe Du Monde's beignets. Darn it, Laura! ;)

Laura Martone said...

Sorry, Jen! (Teehee)

You, too, Tabitha? That's so cool!

Laura Martone said...

Well, let's see, Matt... I've had chocolate peanut butter cups and mint ice cream in the same night. Guess I'll have to try 'em all at once and get back to you. Sounds like a challenge!

Bane of Anubis said...

Matt, Mint-PB-chocolate chip ice cream... sounds like something Ben&Jerry would come up with.

Deb@RGRamblings said...

I love mint: growing it, smelling it, tasting it. We used to have it growing along the creek bank and it was awesome to walk through. Do you dry some leaves for tea? We've tried all different ones but the chocolate mint is the favourite around here. Probably because it smells like - chocolate! - mmmm!

Laura Martone said...

Mmm, Bane! That does sound good, although I'm partial to Cherry Garcia.

No, Deb, I don't dry them, but I will next year. Thanks! Mmm, I love mint tea. As for my favorite variety, I'm partial to apple mint... but chocolate mint sounds curious indeed.