MINT

Mentha sp.

Mint is prized for its aromatic, medicinal, and culinary uses.  Keep your fresh mint in a glass of water in the refrigerator.  Change the water periodically.  You can also freeze your mint.  Remove the leaves and freeze whole in plastic freezer bags or mince the leaves and freeze with water in ice cube  trays.  Mint goes well with veal, chicken, pork, eggplant, cabbage, cucumbers, new potatoes, carrots, white beans, black beans, lentils, yogurt, vegetable soups, and fruit salads. On hot summer days, a few leaves in your ice water is especially refreshing.

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Mojito
Eben Freeman, bartender of Tailor Restaurant in New York City, developed this adaptation of a classic Cuban cocktail. As a sweetener, Freeman trades the traditional sugar syrup for superfine sugar, which gives the drink a slightly grainy texture.  Yield: 1 serving

2 tablespoons (1 ounce) fresh lime juice
2 heaping teaspoons superfine sugar
1 cup crushed ice
12 fresh mint leaves, plus 5 small sprigs for garnish
1/4 cup (2 ounces) white rum
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) club soda

In a 10-ounce glass (such as Collins or highball), stir together lime juice and sugar until sugar dissolves. Add 1/4 cup crushed ice. Rub mint leaves over rim of glass, then tear leaves in half and add to glass. Gently stir for 15 seconds, then add rum, remaining crushed ice, and club soda. Gently stir for 5 seconds, then tuck mint sprigs into top of glass and insert tall straw.

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Fresh Mint Salsa for Grilled Lamb Chops
This recipe came from Jim Cardiff when he was chef at The Creamery Restaurant in Downsville, Wisconsin.  It’s also delicious with pork tenderloin.  Makes 4 servings.

3 plum tomatoes, seeded and finely diced
1/2 cup finely diced red onion
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp lemon juice
3-4 Tbsp chopped fresh mint
salt and pepper to taste
8 lamb loin chops

Combine all ingredients except lamb; chill 1 hour.  Prepare charcoal or heat outdoor grill.  Cook lamb chops to medium-rare, 4-6 minutes per side.  Top each serving (2 chops) with salsa; serve immediately.

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Tan (Armenian Mint Yogurt Beverage)
From From Asparagus to Zucchini

2 cups plain yogurt
2 cups cold water
sprigs of fresh mint

Stir yogurt until smooth; gradually add water.  Chill thoroughly; serve over ice with fresh mint.  Makes 4 servings.

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