Monday, May 3, 2010

Cool and Refreshing

I grow apple mint.  Apple mint is taking over my yard.  On the one hand mowing the backyard is a pleasure, just when I am ready to be done and quit mowing, a burst of mint erupts from the blades of my Toro.  It's like aromatherapy for yard work.  On the other, it can be fairly aggressive.  Everyone should grow a pot of the stuff.  If you are inclined, plant some under a tree in a place that receives frequent mowing.  The shade and the mowing will help control it substantially.

Apple mint has a more subtle flavor, mint without the bite.  I use it in drinks, fruit salad, asian noodle salads and spring rolls, and desserts.  This year, I think I will try my hand at making some apple mint jelly and some mint ice cream.
Ladies In Hats, by Gayle Kabaker

Last night, I was going through my rss feed and I came across an article by Rod Dreher on BeliefNet entitled, the Best Mint Julep Recipe Ever!  Really.  Growing up in Texas, I missed out on a-many  culturally enforced traditions of my Louisiana betters.  Marrying a boy whose family came to Texas by way of the Mississippi Delta only re-enforced to me the existence of those ghosts of traditions. One being the mandatory watching of Kentucky Derby upon the first Saturday in May whilst drinking mint juleps.

While my breeding may be as Southern and genteel as ladies in hats on Sunday, I am not. We missed the Downs due to fishing and strawberry picking on Saturday.  I would like to recover my southern roots if at all possible and it occurs to me that learning how to make a proper mint julep might be a step in the right direction.  Maybe another time.  I made a frozen mint julep, and it was really perfect.  Here's the recipe:

Frozen Mint Julep

Fill a blender with ice and crush it.  Add a goodly amount of sugar (about 1/3 cup), more or less to your taste,  and a small handful of mint (less the stronger it is).  Pulse and add 2 1/2 ounces of good bourbon.  Pour up in some pretty glasses.  Grate some fresh nutmeg or a squeeze of lemon on top.  Enjoy!

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