Showing posts with label fresh mint recipes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fresh mint recipes. Show all posts

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Summer Mint Syrup

With National Ice Cream Month coming to a close, it's time to move on to lighter fare.  But it's still brutally hot outside, so I'm still not wanting to, you know, cook.

As a result, I decided to go with something simple, refreshing, and versatile:  mint syrup.

Mint is the perfect antidote to summer's woes.  The candy commercials get it right:  take a bite of peppermint or spearmint, and your core temperature seems to plummet.

Personally, I plan to spend this sweltering weekend on my front porch, keeping cool with a variety of minty treats.  And they all start with this basic mint syrup, a summer staple you can make for a specific recipe or simply keep in the fridge for whenever you want an extra dose of refreshment.

Hibiscus-Mint Iced Tea
Mint Syrup

2/3 - 1 oz. fresh mint leaves
1 c. sugar

Chop the mint.  Combine the mint, sugar, and 1 c. water in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves.

Simmer syrup (without stirring) 2 minutes.  Allow the syrup to cool for 15 minutes, then pour through a fine mesh sieve to remove the mint.  Cover and chill up to two weeks.

What to do with it:
  1. Add a couple of tablespoons of the chilled syrup to lemonade, limeade, iced tea, or a combination of the above.
  2. Drizzle the syrup over well-chilled cubed or sliced watermelon (1/2 to 3/4 of a cup of syrup is enough for a regular-sized seedless watermelon).  If you like, squeeze the juice of a fresh lime (or two) over the melon, too.
  3. Make minted hibiscus iced tea:  Bring 6 cups of water to a boil.  Remove from heat, stir in 1 oz. dried hibiscus flowers, cover, and steep for 10 to 15 minutes.  Strain the tea.  Stir in another 4 cups cold water and 1 cup of the minted syrup.  Serve chilled over ice with wedges of fresh lime.
  4. Make mojito slushies:  combine 1 recipe of the syrup with 1/2 c. fresh lime juice, 1/2 c. light rum, and 8 cups crushed ice in a blender and, well, blend!


    Wendy is the author of the Mysteries a la Mode. Visit her on the web or on Facebook.

    Friday, June 18, 2010

    Tale of the Virgin Mojito by Cleo Coyle

    I'm a cheap drunk, meaning very little coin at the bar will get me loopy.

    I'm sure this isn't much of a revelation to anyone aware of my partiality for the most classically sobering of beverages (i.e. coffee, which I normally take via an IV drip beside my writing desk).

    My husband is the same way when it comes to alcohol. We enjoy a nice, cold beer on the weekend; a glass of vino with dinner every now and again. For the most part, however, cocktails are a special occasion thing and not part of our daily routine.

    That's mostly why I came late to the mojito. The drink, which is basically a Cuban mint julep, has been trendy for some time now, but I only got around to trying one about two years ago. Well, let me tell was love at first sip!

    I sampled the mojito a few more times, even began to make them at home. But, it seemed to me, a pattern was emerging. A short time after I drank my little Cuban friend, I started feeling annoyed, antsy, even argumentative. Was I imagining it? Hmmm....

    I couldn't help thinking of one of our rescued stray cats. We took in Mr. Fellows when he was a very tiny kitten. He loves us. We love him. And he's about the most pleasant, even-tempered, genuinely happy feline in our house. BUT...get a little catnip into this puss and he starts to growl and proceeds to pick fights with every furball who passes his paws.

    So I'm thinking maybe there's something to my pattern, too. I mean, beer and wine don't have a negative impact on my mood. So I tried my rum mojito one more time and decided I was not imagining it. Sad but true, too much white rum sends me to the Dark Side.

    This is one reason my "Virgin Mojito" was born. The other reason is my realization that the refreshing experience of sweetened lime and mint over ice was the real attraction for me all along.

    Do I miss the rum buzz? Not really. I mean, I could try switching the alcohol to bourbon, essentially making the drink a mint julep. Maybe next time I'm at a party or in a bar I'll give it a test. I'm not really that concerned. At heart, I'm a relentlessly sober sort of person anyway, more workaholic than alcoholic. Which isn't to say I wouldn't consider a trip to the Dark Side again...if tempted.

    Until then, my quickie Virgin Mojito recipe will have to do. It's one I especially enjoy during New York's long, sticky summers.

    Finally, I still can't help wondering if the rum thing is all in my mind. Do any of you have a type of alcohol that sends you to the Dark Side?

    Cleo Coyle's
    Virgin Mojito

    Servings: 1


    10-20 fresh spearmint leaves
    1 wedge of fresh lime
    2 or 3 ice cubes
    ginger ale
    1 thin slice of fresh lime


    "Muddling" the mint is the only real technique to get right here. To "muddle" something for a cocktail means to crush it in the glass with a utensil. Bartenders have a device called a muddle, but the prongs of a fork will do the job just as well.

    Step 1 - Place your mint leaves in the bottom of your glass and squeeze the juice from you lime wedge onto the mint. 

    Step 2 - Use the prongs of a fork to muddle the dampened mint. (You are crushing the mint to release its essential oils.)

    Step 3 - Drop the spent lime wedge into the glass and toss a few whole ice cubes on top of it all. (Note: A classic mojito uses crushed ice, but I like the whole cubes, which serve as a kind of strainer, keeping the mass of crushed spearmint leaves away from the rim of the glass so you can sip the drink without most of the leaves getting in your way.)

    Step 4 - Fill the glass with ginger ale, place the slice of lime on the rim and...

    Drink with Joy!

    ~ Cleo Coyle

    New York Times bestselling author of
    The Coffeehouse Mysteries

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    Wednesday, June 16, 2010

    I MINT what I said...

    ...and I said what I MINT!

    It started at a plant sale at the
    Desert Botanical Garden five years
    ago. I bought a cute little sprig of
    mint in a small pot, a bay leaf plant
    that is now a tree (another story),
    and a rosemary sprig that is a nice
    plump bush (the only
    herb to behave thus far).
    For now, we'll discuss the mint.

    When I bought it, no one MINTioned
    that it would take on the attributes of
    an invasive weed. I now have a patch
    of mint that is roughly 3 feet by 5 feet
    and a favorite spot for my schnauzer
    Otto to rest. I don't mind as he smells
    quite nice afterwards, however, the
    mint is out of control and slowly
    crowding out my raspberries!

    Crop management is required and the only way to do it is
    to find uses for fresh mint -- other than making the dog smell

    So here is a bunch of recipes for any of you who are also being
    invaded by mint!

    We'll start with a lovely and
    refreshing sun tea with mint.
    I used a one quart glass pitcher
    with three Irish Breakfast
    tea bags and three mint sprigs.
    It is sitting out in front of my
    pomegranate (another great
    story). Because I'm in AZ, and
    it's going to be 102 today, I'll
    let it sit for 2-3 hours.



    And here is another yummy one for summer:

    Sliced Strawberries with Mint-Lime Syrup:

    In a bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup
    chopped fresh mint, 1/4 cup lime
    juice and 1 tablespoon sugar. Wash
    and quarter a container of strawberries.
    Pour syrup over berries and garnish with
    a mint sprig. This can be made up to four
    hours ahead and refrigerated until it's
    time to serve.

    And here is one more just to round out it out to three.

    Mint Scented Sugar:

    Place a sprig or two of mint (clean and dry) in a jar and fill
    with sugar. Put on the lid and place in a cool dry place for 1-2
    weeks. When done, strain sugar and ta da you have mint
    scented sugar, This is great for decorating cakes (or cupcakes)
    and cookies or putting in a hot cup of tea!

    Thanks for humoring me as I'm going a bit MINTal. Ha! What? You
    thought I was done? Never!

    Oh, and just so you know, yes, I have unloaded mint on my neighbors
    and friends for their mojitos and juleps, because you just can't go wrong
    with either of those when the mercury rises! So, does anyone else have
    any great ideas for fresh mint? Please share!



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