Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Perfectly minted

It's time. No, not time for Starbucks. Put down the cup, I just saw a news report that cautioned us to be sure we buy seed packets because the second greatest depression is headed our way. That is, to plan on growing our own food. We need to start now, this is not an immediately rewarding process, it takes time. In my case, it take multiple seedling attempts so, I have to start early. And often.

Apparently, Bear Sterns' panic results in a resurgence of subsistence farming, or so this learned economist would have me believe. While I suspect there may be a good deal more to it, I am most certainly on board. Firstly, growing the food we eat gives me a remarkable since of accomplishment. I can be certain what went into the food which goes into my child. And, I can save the earth a few daily trips to the store for the invariably missing item which would have made everything perfect had it only been accessible at my moment of culinary creationism. Last year, I had drop-dead gorgeous tomatoes, cukes, pattypans, and a kitchen herb garden to beat all former years.

The most wonderful of all the items in that herb garden was a oddity: Pineapple mint. It is an alluring possible-hybrid gifted with a rounded green leaf with white tips. And it tastes exactly as you might imagine: Like pineapple and mint. Like a great mojito in the making. But it also lends itself to the most magnificent traditional mint sauce for lamb. You may be thinking of some ghoulish green slop out of a jar ; I you assure my relationship with the same jar is long standing and acrimonious, grandchild of a British national that I am. But, I elected to give the real thing a try. In actuality, mint sauce or jelly, when it is well done is a perfect companion for lamb. Even if you think I have finally gone off the deep end into a pool of hallucinatory green jelly, I beg you to try this along side your lamb. If costs barely anything, takes but a minute, and barely consumes four square inches on the tabletop. Go on, live a little. Once you become addicted, you can order it online and horde it easily forever because it will take over the ground, as all mints do.

Assuming many will not have pineapple mint on hand, my recipe is adjusted to available ingredients and improved upon. However, my happy simple discovery was merely 1/2 cup cider vinegar and 1/2 cup sugar heated together gently until the sugar dissolved. I removed it from the heat, added the mint leaves, stirred, and walked away. When it cooled, it was fabulous. But here is a swanky version to serve to a dressed up crowd:

Pineapple Mint Sauce
North Salem, 2007, for Ernie

1/2 cup white wine vinegar (cider, in a pinch)
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1/4 cup pineapple, finely chopped
1 1/2 cup mint leaves, finely minced
Pinch of salt

In a saucepan over medium low heat, combine vinegar and pineapple juice, heat until mixture just simmers, do not boil. Remove pan from heat and add mint. Move mixture to a small bowl and cool. Add pineapple and pinch of salt. Taste and adjust vinegar or pineapple juice to taste. If your lamb is ready, best to try it with a bit of lamb.


Anonymous said...

First forgive me, I should have responded sooner but work has been busy and coworkers inept. When you first forward your blog I wanted to respond but I didn't due to silly things that plague me, like the afore mentioned grindstone and the 24 hour day, that lazy whore... So like our little hero, that demi tasse of mint jelly, there your blog stayed, in the back top shelf of my mind. I , often perusing yet putting you right back where I left you, in my favorites, left there to chatter with the capers and the dill pickle juice but mostly to remind me to comment until years later I find you again when I need you and here I am left with a sad solidified rock of mint, lamb leg on the table and me desperately trying to scrape off the hard bit so that I can scrape enough out to get through the meal...

but that won't be the case now will it...

I have been reading, and loving what you are writing.

oh and PS...
The world is most definitely ending, however I have found we city dwellers can put our minds at ease with a rooftop container garden. More on this later.


Anonymous said...

Making this today, hope it's good!! LVR