Mint Smoothie

June 3, 2008

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“Um, Mum, we are coming with you, aren’t we? Because (and sorry to have to tell you this), we actually have more fans than you do on this blog.” 

The home I grew up in could very well have been the original inspiration for the mantra, “Reuse, Repair, Recycle.” My dad, the quintessential progeny of The Great Depression, still saves everything from empty jam jars, to twine from UPS boxes, to old socks, to almost-moldy tomatoes, and puts them to use again in some other context (pre-Nalgene vessel to transport iced tea on a road trip; means to repair broken screen door latch; protection for hands while emptying garbage; and lunch, respectively). Seems I’ve earned my title as Femme Frugal honestly.

Besides, I’ve always considered myself pretty eco-friendly, being the bag-saver, container-reuser, water-conserver and late-night clothes washer that I am.  With all the talk of eco-consciousness, carbon footprints, 3 R’s and whatnot these days, I fully expected I’d eventually go “green”; I just never imagined it would be quite in this way. 

You see, our lives have been overtaken by green. Each time I glance out the window at the side of my house, leave via the front door, or stroll round toward the back yard, I’m confronted with GREEN. Mint green, that is. Yes, the DDD household has been invaded by rogue gangs of wandering mint, all vying for supremacy in the ‘hood.

Mint abounds. . . .Mint surrounds. Mint embraces us with its color and scent, tickles us as we tiptoe through the grass, envelops us at every turn.  We are circumscribed by mint.  Yes, dear readers, you were all so right (or, as the HH often translates it from the French, “You have reason”) about that gypsy mint! My days are now lived from within an undulating, leafy, lush sea of green.  Inhaling the verdant aroma from the garden, my mind reels with a heady intoxication (almost as intoxicated, I imagine, as Obama’s fans were last evening after that rousing, pre-victory speech).

Oh, and you know what else?  We’ve got no shortage of mint around here.

So, what to do when you’re inundated with a tasty but not overly utilized herb?  You improvise, that’s what.

Sunday morning, with the weather finally warming up, I thought I’d prepare a refreshing, cooling and nourishing drink for the HH, who was still fairly wilting from the effects of his cold (and, come to think of it, a looking a little green himself).  Fresh fruit is a great option for anyone suffering from weakened immunity, as it digests fairly easily and quickly, without taxing the system too much.  I had just the idea.

Around here, our freezer tends to house a variety of frozen fruits at any given time.  As I’ve mentioned before, even though we choose the smallest organic produce box for delivery each week, often there’s still too much fruit for two of us to consume in a mere seven days.  As a result, I end up chopping and then freezing chunks of overripe mango, pear, banana, grapes, or even (as I did a couple of weeks ago), watermelon for later use.  These frozen cubes generally work beautifully in smoothies or when I want to whip up some nearly-instant sorbet.  Sunday, I opted for a smoothie.

I had been thinking about Mojitos ever since Russ mentioned them in a comment last week, but since I have no interest in drinking alone (I know–how un-writerly of me), and since the HH wasn’t up for alcohol (unless I was going to rub it into his congested chest), I took the general concept of citrus + mint and ran with it.  Rummaging through the various containers of frozen fruit, I uncovered both pear and watermelon, which I imagined would offer a refreshing sweetness without an overpowering flavor (as banana, for instance, might).

Don’t let the intense grassy color deter you–the taste is just right, not too sweet, with a lovely minty flair. It’s refreshing and fairly light, so if you’re thinking “breakfast,” this is the type of smoothie that works as a beverage alongside  your main meal rather than as a beverage instead of your main meal. It would also make a lovely postprandial sip (and maybe even better with a splash of rum–I’ll have to save that version for when the HH is feeling better). 

And, of course, with all this mint (plus the other great fresh fruits) that it contains, how could I not submit this to Kalyn’s Weekend Herb Blogging, this week hosted by Maninas at Food Matters?

Mint Smoothie

TO VIEW THE COMPLETE RECIPE, PLEASE VISIT THIS PAGE ON THE NEW DIET, DESSERT AND DOGS, BY CLICKING HERE.

 

This is a cooling, refreshing drink that would be great for a hot summer’s evening, or served in a big bowl at a Bar B Q.  (And iwhat a fun challenge to convince your friends to drink something this green!)

TO VIEW THE COMPLETE RECIPE, PLEASE VISIT THIS PAGE ON THE NEW DIET, DESSERT AND DOGS, BY CLICKING HERE.

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DIET, DESSERT AND DOGS has moved! 

If you’re reading this page, you’ve landed on the old site.  Please visit the new location by clicking here–and don’t forget to update your readers and blogrolls!

As always, thanks for reading.  I look forward to seeing you at the shiny new Diet, Dessert and Dogs!

“Um, Mum, we are coming with you, aren’t we? Because (and sorry to have to tell you this), we actually have more fans than you do on this blog.” 

There are certain food combinations that strike one as just so naturally compatible, you couldn’t imagine them any other way. Consider the seminal chocolate and peanut butter, for instance: could there be a happier marriage of sweet, salty, creamy, smooth, and enticing? Or what about vodka and orange juice, or pancakes and maple syrup, or french fries and gravy, or macaroni and cheese, or apple and cinnamon or–I could go on.  On the other hand, it’s always gratifying to discover alternate matches that may seem bizarre at first glance, yet actually work once you give them a try (funny, why did the HH suddenly come to mind?)

When I was an undergraduate at the University of Windsor, my wacky room mate had a friend who ate her pizza with peanut butter where the tomato sauce should have been.  She swore it tasted great (I declined to sample a slice). During my childhood in Montreal, my friend Gemini II used to eat liver sandwiches with cream cheese (again, I believe I passed on that one).  The well-known duo of french fries and mayo always struck me as odd until I was served sweet potato fries with mayo at one of my favorite vegan restaurants  (which, of course, prompted me to head straight home and prepare spicy sweet potato fries with avocado mayonnaise, and now I’m hooked).  I’m sure you’ve got your own personal favorite fixings that, any disparaging comments aside, you adore nonetheless (and please feel free to ‘fess up in the comments section!).

Well, as some of you may recall, the HH and I have just a smidge of surplus mint around here this summer.  Yes, indeed, I’d venture to say that my garden is in mint condition!  I’ve been concocting as many beverages, appetizers, dips, entrées or desserts containing the stuff as my little hands can muster, and even thought I was doing pretty well until the other day when I stepped round the corner of our house and saw that those darned wanton herbs had been propagating over night–it appeared as if I’d used nary a leaf!

And so, by dint of mint, I was forced to come up with yet another recipe showcasing the stuff.  Which actually worked out perfectly, since Holler and Lisa’s No Croutons Required event this month requests a salad focusing on a favorite herb.  Well, if by “favorite,” they meant “so much that I could rip bagfuls from the yard and still have enough left to freshen the breath of the entire town of Gilroy, CA on July 25, 26 & 27th in the month of July”; or “so much that I will have to start using it as packing filler when I mail trunks of fine china or glassware across the Atlantic” or “so much that even the thought of mint makes me feel a bit queasy, which, as it turns out,  is actually okay, since mint helps to aid in proper digestion” or “so much that I will have to cook at least one dish with mint in it every single day for the forthcoming 11 months, until it sprouts up again next summer, just to use it up”–well, if that’s what they meant by “favorite herb,” then yes, mint is indeed my favorite, and definitely deserves to be featured in my submission to the event.  

I do enjoy a good fresh peach, but when I saw three of the fuzzy spheres nestled in our organic produce box a couple of weeks ago, I almost despaired.  A properly ripened peach is a wonderful thing, but there seems to be a terribly small window of maturity wherein peaches are at their apex of flavor and texture–firm, juicy and sweet-tart–before they quickly decline into dry, powdery mush. If not eaten precisely on the right day (sometimes the right hour), the peach becomes unappetizing at best, perhaps suitable for a sauce or baked good; at worst, it’s both tasteless and unpleasant, and destined for the compost bin.

Given the capricious nature of the downy stone fruits, I decided a salad would be the perfect context in which to combine it with other ingredients that could overshadow their potentially less-than-stellar consistency.  Mint was a given, of course, and for some reason, I felt that cucumbers would also suit the flavor palette.  The final addition was sweet corn kernels–partly because they just called, “pick me!” and partly because I thought the color would work well with all the other summer hues, which always elicit a desire in me for fresh fruits and veggies.

In the end, we both adored this random combination of ingredients and have now consumed it four times in the last 2 weeks.  The peaches are tart and luscious (and even the sub-par slices soak up the dressing and seem more juicy); the cucumber is cold, watery and mild; the corn is crisp and sweet; and the mint is pungent and peppery, all culminating in a perfect pastiche of color, flavor and texture.

It’s true, peaches, corn and mint may not have been born for each other; but their arranged marriage in this dish makes for one very harmonious union.  

Minted Peach and Corn Salad

TO VIEW THE COMPLETE RECIPE, PLEASE VISIT THIS PAGE ON THE NEW DIET, DESSERT AND DOGS, BY CLICKING HERE.

This salad comes together quickly, resulting in a fresh, crisp, juicy, altogether irresistible side dish for almost any warm weather meal.  It’s best eaten right away, but will keep for a day in the refrigerator.

TO VIEW THE COMPLETE RECIPE, PLEASE VISIT THIS PAGE ON THE NEW DIET, DESSERT AND DOGS, BY CLICKING HERE.

Gluten-Free Recipe Index

July 28, 2008

[Diet, Dessert and Dogs has moved!  If you’re reading this page, you’ve landed on the old site.  Please visit the new location by clicking here–and don’t forget to update your readers and blogrolls!

 

TO VIEW RECIPES FOR ALL THE DISHES LISTED HERE, PLEASE VISIT THE GLUTEN-FREE INDEX AT THE NEW DIET, DESSERT AND DOGS, BY CLICKING HERE.   

Appetizers and Dips

 Almond-Veggie Pate

Arame and Edamame Salad

 

Carrot Pate
Celeri Remoulade (use GF mayonnaise)

Eggplant “Caviar”

Herb and “Feta” Polenta Appetizers

Mock Tuna Salad

Muhammara (Pepper-Walnut Dip) (Uses GF bread)

Perfect Guacamole

Quinoa, Sweet Potato and Black Bean Bites (use GF bread crumbs)

Raw Imitation Fried “Rice” (use GF soy sauce)

Raw Nori Rolls 

Roasted Garlic and Pumpkinseed Pesto

Sweet Potato “Fries” Three Ways

Swiss “Cheese” 

 

Baked Goods and Sweets 

TO VIEW RECIPES FOR ALL THE DISHES LISTED HERE, PLEASE VISIT THE GLUTEN-FREE INDEX AT THE NEW DIET, DESSERT AND DOGS, BY CLICKING HERE.  

Apple-Quinoa Cake 

Apple Noodle Pudding (Kugel)  (use GF noodles)

Banana Daiquiri Ice Dream

Bean Brownies 

GF Cashew Chocolate Chip Cookies  

Cheela (Chickpea Pancakes)

Chocolate Pecan Pie Filling (use a GF crust)

Chocolate Tofu Pudding 

Cocoa Nibbles (LaRAW Bars)

Coconut Mini Loaves or Cupcakes

Decadent Chocolate Pâté

Frosted Banana Oat Bars

Fudge Two Ways

Grown-Up Baked Apples with Walnuts and Figs

Mostly Raw Chocolate Truffles

Peanut Butter Cinnamon Popcorn (or Rice Crumbles)

Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Warm Caramel Sauce (use GF pumpkin bread)

Pumpkinseed Shortbread Buttons

Raw Carob-Cashew Pudding

Raw Fig and Cherry Bars (high calcium)

Raw Milky Way Bars

Soy-Free Vegan Whipped Cream

Speedy Fruit Sorbet

Spiced Brown Basmati Rice Pudding

Sweet Potato and Carrot Casserole

Beverages

TO VIEW RECIPES FOR ALL THE DISHES LISTED HERE, PLEASE VISIT THE GLUTEN-FREE INDEX AT THE NEW DIET, DESSERT AND DOGS, BY CLICKING HERE.  

Ecuadorian Hot Chocolate

Ginger-Mint Iced Tea

Mint Smoothie

Mystery Smoothie

Sweet Potato Smoothie

Breakfast and Brunch

TO VIEW RECIPES FOR ALL THE DISHES LISTED HERE, PLEASE VISIT THE GLUTEN-FREE INDEX AT THE NEW DIET, DESSERT AND DOGS, BY CLICKING HERE.  

Apple Noodle Pudding (Kugel)

Apple-Quinoa Cake
 
Blended Hot Cereal  

Cheela (Chickpea Pancakes)

Grown-Up Baked Apples with Walnuts and Figs

Mediterranean Tofu Scramble

 
Mex-Ital Tofu Scramble
 
Mint Smoothie
 
Quinoa-Oatmeal Croquettes

Sweet Breakfast Scramble (the biscuits are NOT GF)

Sweet Potato and Carrot Casserole

Sweet Potato Smoothie

Swiss “Cheese”

The Best Home Fries Ever

Tofu Omelet with Pesto, Caramelized Onions and Mushrooms

Tofu Omelet with Sauteed Apples and Sweet Curry Sauce 

 

Condiments, Sauces and Toppings
TO VIEW RECIPES FOR ALL THE DISHES LISTED HERE, PLEASE VISIT THE GLUTEN-FREE INDEX AT THE NEW DIET, DESSERT AND DOGS, BY CLICKING HERE.  
 
Avocado Mayonnaise

Brandied Apricot-Ginger Spread 

Cranberry Preserves 

Creamy, Cheesy Pasta Sauce 

Homemade Crunchy Granola 

Lentil-Tomato Sauce

“My Life in Balance” Buttery Spread (butter substitute)

Pumpkin Butter

Roasted Garlic and Pumpkinseed Pesto

Soy-Free Vegan Whipped Cream

Sundried Tomato Tapenade

Swiss “Cheese”

Sweet Curry Sauce

Tahini-Miso Sauce

Tomato Tracklement

Entrees

TO VIEW RECIPES FOR ALL THE DISHES LISTED HERE, PLEASE VISIT THE GLUTEN-FREE INDEX AT THE NEW DIET, DESSERT AND DOGS, BY CLICKING HERE.  

Balti Tofu and Chickpeas in a Thick Creamy Coconut Sauce

Bangkok Noodles with Cashews and Pineapple
 
Chili to Last Through the Winter
 
Date Pasta (use GF pasta)
 
Frugal Frittata

Kale and Potato Lasagna

Kitchari (an Anti-Candida Stew)

Lentil Pistachio Patties

Meatball Stroganoff (use GF meatballs)

Mediterranean Rice Casserole

Mediterranean Tofu Scramble

Mex-Ital Tofu Scramble

Nutroast Extraordinaire

Portobello “Steaks”

Quick and Easy Tofu Masala

Quinoa-Oatmeal Croquettes

Quinoa, Sweet Potato and Black Bean Bites (use GF bread crumbs)

Roasted Potatoes with Sweet and Sour Cipollini Onions

Savory Veggies with Coconut and Rice

Sweet Breakfast Scramble (the biscuits are NOT GF)

Sweet and Sour Cabbage and Bread Stew (use GF bread)

Sweet and Spicy Tempeh

Sweet Potato and Kasha Burgers 

Tagine of Quinoa with Chickpeas, Olives and Prunes

Tofu Omelet with Pesto, Caramelized Onions and Mushrooms

Tofu Omelet with Sauteed Apples and Sweet Curry Sauce

Flash in the Pan (quick and easy) 

TO VIEW RECIPES FOR ALL THE DISHES LISTED HERE, PLEASE VISIT THE GLUTEN-FREE INDEX AT THE NEW DIET, DESSERT AND DOGS, BY CLICKING HERE.  

Avocado Mayonnaise
 
Blended Hot Cereal
 
Cauliflower, Parsnip and Bean Mash or Dip 

Cranberry Preserves 

Cultured Vegetables 

Ginger-Mint Iced Tea

Grown-Up Baked Apples with Walnuts and Figs

Kale and Avocado Salad (Raw)

Mex-Ital Tofu Scramble

Raw Carob-Cashew Pudding

Sautéed Greens with Onions and Apples

Speedy Fruit Sorbet

Raw (Or Mostly Raw) Dishes

TO VIEW RECIPES FOR ALL THE DISHES LISTED HERE, PLEASE VISIT THE GLUTEN-FREE INDEX AT THE NEW DIET, DESSERT AND DOGS, BY CLICKING HERE.  

Avocado Mayonnaise
 
Avocado Pesto Salad 

Bittersweet Salad with Apples and Dandelion Greens 

Chilled Avocado Soup

Chilled Peach Soup with Cashew Coconut Cream 

Cocoa Nibbles (LaRAW Bars)

Cultured Vegetables

Dilly Coleslaw with Raisins and Walnuts

Greens with Hearts of Palm and Pine Nuts

Kale and Avocado Salad (Raw)

Mango Avocado Salad

Minted Peach and Corn Salad

Mock Green Papaya Salad

Mostly Raw Chocolate Truffles

Perfect Guacamole

Raw Carob-Cashew Pudding

Raw Fig and Cherry Bars (high calcium)

Raw Imitation Fried “Rice” (use GF soy sauce)

Raw Milky Way Bars

Raw Nori Rolls

Speedy Fruit Sorbet

Salads

TO VIEW RECIPES FOR ALL THE DISHES LISTED HERE, PLEASE VISIT THE GLUTEN-FREE INDEX AT THE NEW DIET, DESSERT AND DOGS, BY CLICKING HERE.  

Arame and Edamame Salad
Asian-Inspired Napa Cabbage Salad
 
Avocado Pesto Salad 

Bittersweet Salad with Apples and Dandelion Greens 

Celeri Remoulade

Classic Three Bean Salad 

Cultured Vegetables

Dandelion-Potato Salad

Dilly Coleslaw with Raisins and Walnuts

Greens with Hearts of Palm and Pine Nuts

Kale and Avocado Salad (Raw)

Mango Avocado Salad

Minted Peach and Corn Salad

Mock Green Papaya Salad

Mock Tuna Salad

Quinoa, Roasted Beet and Walnut Salad

Quinoa Salad with Buckwheat and Cranberries

Radish and Grapefruit Salad

Raw Imitation Fried “Rice” (use GF soy sauce)

Sweet Potato and Ginger Salad

Swiss “Cheese” in a Mosaic Salad

Soups

TO VIEW RECIPES FOR ALL THE DISHES LISTED HERE, PLEASE VISIT THE GLUTEN-FREE INDEX AT THE NEW DIET, DESSERT AND DOGS, BY CLICKING HERE.  

Chili to Last Through the Winter
Chilled Avocado Soup
 
Chilled Peach Soup with Cashew Coconut Cream
Curried Root Vegetable Chowder (omit dumplings from original recipe)
 
Moroccan Spiced Tomato Soup
Pear and Parsnip Soup
 
Spiced Cauliflower Soup 

Sweet and Sour Cabbage and Bread Stew (use GF bread)

Turnip and Pear Soup

Tofu and Tempeh 

TO VIEW RECIPES FOR ALL THE DISHES LISTED HERE, PLEASE VISIT THE GLUTEN-FREE INDEX AT THE NEW DIET, DESSERT AND DOGS, BY CLICKING HERE.  

Balti Tofu and Chickpeas in a Thick Creamy Coconut Sauce

Chili to Last Through the Winter

Chocolate Tofu Pudding
 
Frugal Frittata
 
Mediterranean Tofu Scramble
 
Mex-Ital Tofu Scramble

My Mother’s Potato Corn Chowder

Quick and Easy Tofu Masala

Sweet and Spicy Tempeh 

Sweet Breakfast Scramble (the biscuits are NOT GF)

Tofu Omelet with Pesto, Caramelized Onions and Mushrooms

Tofu Omelet with Sauteed Apples and Sweet Curry Sauce

Vegetables and Side Dishes (Cooked) 

TO VIEW RECIPES FOR ALL THE DISHES LISTED HERE, PLEASE VISIT THE GLUTEN-FREE INDEX AT THE NEW DIET, DESSERT AND DOGS, BY CLICKING HERE.  

Aloo Masala (Potato Curry)

Apple Noodle Pudding (Kugel) (use GF noodles)

Arame and Edamame Salad

Baked Beans Nested on Greens

Balti Tofu and Chickpeas in a Thick Creamy Coconut Sauce

Brussels Sprouts Even My Honey Will Eat

Cabbage T’horin

Caramelized Baby Bok Choy with Cashews and Sesame Seeds

Cauliflower, Parsnip and Bean Mash or Dip

Dandelion-Potato Salad

Easy Millet and Red Pepper Pilaf

Mediterranean Rice Casserole

Peas in a Creamy Curry Sauce

Portobello “Steaks”

Quinoa, Roasted Beet and Walnut Salad

Roasted Potatoes with Sweet and Sour Cipollini Onions

Sautéed Greens with Onions and Apples

Savory Veggies with Coconut and Rice

Sweet Potato and Carrot Casserole

Sweet Potato and Ginger Salad

Sweet Potato Cranberry Hash

Sweet Potato “Fries” Three Ways 

Sweet Potato Smoothie

The Best Home Fries Ever

 

 

 

Ten Photo Meme

July 17, 2008

I must say, I never expected my little apple butter sauce to cause such a stir (no pun intended–oh, all right, pun intended).  It always amazes me which blog entries elicit a strong reaction while others, like Andy Garcia, might be on par with their (more popular) contemporaries, but for some reason still don’t garner the recognition I think they deserve.  I’m glad so many of you liked the idea of apple butter in a BBQ sauce on tempeh.  (And now the pressure’s on to create some other ostensibly innovative or creative recipe for my next blog entry. . . . collard cake? Turnip pasta? Eggplant cookies ?–oh, forgot, I actually did create that one).

Well, I’ve got nothing on the cutting board at the moment, so I’m afraid it will have to wait just a bit.

You see, I’ve been spending a lot of time at my computer recently, working on that pile of papers and online course work.  Mostly, I’ve been feeling frustrated because (a) the pile seems to be expanding of its own accord (sort of like my waistline); and (b) I’ve been spending less time focused on blogging as a result.  I’ve also been feeling a bit creeped out, as it happens, since our landlord is having the exterior of the house painted, and every time I glance toward the window to catch a thought or a glimpse of the sky outside, I’m confronted with a close-up of a man’s paint-splattered face, as if our window were a giant flat-screen TV right beside my desk. 

Well, a couple of days ago I was tagged for a meme by the lovely and talented Holler of Tinned Tomatoes.  As it turns out, I’ve already prepared and consumed my salad (twice!) for Holler and Lisa’s upcoming No Croutons Required Event; unfortunately, I haven’t yet had time to write the blog entry about it.  Instead, I decided to focus on some earlier blog photos to send Holler’s (and your) way.

The meme asks for your “top ten” blog photos.  As I mentioned in my comment to Holler, I had to laugh at that request.  As someone who knows nothing about photography and owns the cheapest camera possible (okay, a disposable might be cheaper), I never really focused that much on how I photograph the food; it’s only recently that I’ve begun to think, “hmmm, a better camera sure would make blogging easier.”  For now, a new camera will stay on the birthday wish-list.

I wondered how to select ten, when it was so hard to choose even one that I really liked. “Do I choose the top ten in terms of page hits? Or the top ten in terms of aesthetic appeal?  Or should I emulate Johanna at Green Gourmet Giraffe, and choose the ten photos that meant the most to me?” I decided to go with Johanna, who always seems level headed and whose logic I like.  

And so, here goes:

10) Spiced Cauliflower Soup

I usually take photos of food close up, partly because I have an extremely small surface area of the kitchen table that attracts full sunlight, and partly because the rest of my kitchen usually looks like the post-cyclone scene in The Wizard of Oz  and I’d be mortified if it got into a photo (unless, of course, I decided to show it to you myself , as in this blog entry). The cauliflower soup photo was the first time I’d consciously attempted to “style” a shot, and the feedback about the photo was so positive, I will always have a soft spot for this one.

9) A Year, Anew

flutesnewyear.jpg

Poor quality photo from a neophyte blogger, but this pic of four of my champagne flutes on December 31, 2007 has sentimental value.  Ever since I moved into my first apartment as an adult, I’ve collected individual, unique champagne flutes, and many were received as gifts (in fact, one of the first gifts the HH ever gave me was a handcrafted pewter-stemmed flute). Each glass has its particular story or background, even if the story is, “I found this for 25 cents at a garage sale!”.  I’ve sampled champagne from each and every one of the 21 in my collection, and they are all my favorites. 

8) Butterscotch Mousse Pie

This photo is dear to my heart, both because the recipe is from the first cookbook I reviewed on this site, and also because the book itself was the prize for a contest I won. I loved the actual pie as well (hmm–should really make that one again), and I know that Nava liked the photo, so it means a lot to me.

7)  Mint Smoothie

In real life, the drink in this photo was a plain, dull, swamp-like olive green. . .not the most appetizing color for a food photo. But somehow, wrapping that napkin around the stem of the wine glass elevated the smoothie to something elegant and even romantic.  And since the taste of the drink was truly sensational, I was glad I could make it seem more appealing.

6) Tagine of Quinoa with Chickpeas, Olives and Prunes

I love this recipe.  This was a dish I re-vamped from an old recipe, one I found in a cookbook I’ve had forever.  The HH and I feasted on this tagine many times over the winter, and I was happy to see that readers liked it, too. When I look at this photo, I can almost see the rich, sweet-and-savory sauce and the multiple layers and flavors in the casserole.  Comfort in a bowl! 

5) Old Reliables: Salads You Can Count On

Strangely, though I’m not really a salad person, I love this photo.  And the salad isn’t even dressed in it!  But I think the simplicity of the veggies and the bright colors allow the purity and beauty of the fresh food to shine through.  When I know I should eat salad and don’t feel like it, I just look at this photo.

4) Chaser Photo: If Vodka is an Elsie, then Beer is a Chaser

chaserhotgirl.jpg

This is my favorite photo of Chaser on the blog.  This photo of her as a pup was taken on a very hot day on our old deck, after the little tornado had leapt across the lawn, nipped at the water hose, chased balls, eaten some grass, growled at Elsie, shredded a rope toy, and tried to chew the plastic chair leg before her.  She finally stopped to take a break and pant a bit–and I snapped the photo. I think the impish nature is encapsulated in her lolling tongue, the mischievous glint in her eye, and the end of her collar askew.  Is she cute, or what?? 

3) Elsie Photo: This iz not a blg entree

elsietyping.jpg 

This is my favorite photo of Elsie on the blog.  The HH and I still erupt into paroxysms of hysteria when we see this.  I was taking a break from blogging at the time, but Elsie simply couldn’t resist updating all of you.  Notice that she types with a mini dog biscuit at the ready, beside her left paw.  Really, she is such a remarkable dog!

2) French Toast Soufflé with Summer Berries

This was one of my favorite recipes I’ve made so far.  Besides the intense purples and pinks being so visually appealing, the soufflé itself was easy to make and came out delicious–light, fluffy, moist, sweet (but not too sweet), fruity, and all around irresistible.  I caught this photo after the HH and I had each enjoyed a huge serving and would have liked more.  

1) Avocado Mayonnaise

I think this recent photo is my favorite so far (if you exclude the dogs’ photos), mostly because of its simplicity. I love the contrast of the green on the red, the fact that there are basically only 2 colors in the photo, and that the grounds of pepper are actually sharply visible (my cheap camera performs, for once!). I also loved the taste and texture of the mayo, and it’s become a staple recipe in our house. In fact, it makes me want to go and have some right now.

After selecting the photos and reading through this entry, it suddenly struck me:  THERE ARE NO PHOTOS OF CHOCOLATE HERE!  Astonishing, truly.  It’s not that I no longer love chocolate or that it’s slipped from Number One Food Spot in my esteem.  No; it’s just that I haven’t been able to adequately capture its magical essence in any of my amateur photos.  Gives me something to shoot for in the next 200 or so blog entries. . .

I’m not going to tag anyone specific, but I will say that it was a fun challenge to come up with the selections, so if you’re interested, please share!

Recipe Index

March 20, 2008

[Diet, Dessert and Dogs has moved!  If you’re reading this page, you’ve landed on the old site.  Please visit the new location by clicking here–and don’t forget to update your readers and blogrolls!

As always, thanks for reading.  I look forward to seeing you at the shiny new Diet, Dessert and Dogs!

“Um, Mum, we are coming with you, aren’t we? Because (and sorry to have to tell you this), we actually have more fans than you do on this blog.”]  

 

 

Appetizers and Dips

TO VIEW THE RECIPES LISTED HERE, PLEASE VISIT THIS PAGE ON THE NEW DIET, DESSERT AND DOGS, BY CLICKING HERE.

Almond-Veggie Pate

Arame and Edamame Salad

Carrot Pate

Cauliflower, Parsnip and Bean Mash or Dip

Celeri Remoulade

Cheela (Chickpea Pancakes)

Chinese Scallion Pancakes

Eggplant “Caviar”

Herb and “Feta” Polenta Appetizers

Katie’s Creamy Aspara-Dip

Mock Tuna Salad

Muhammara (Pepper-Walnut Dip)

Perfect Guacamole

Quinoa, Sweet Potato and Black Bean Bites

Raw Imitation Fried “Rice”

Raw Nori Rolls

Roasted Garlic and Pumpkinseed Pesto

Swiss “Cheese”

TO VIEW THE RECIPES LISTED HERE, PLEASE VISIT THIS PAGE ON THE NEW DIET, DESSERT AND DOGS, BY CLICKING HERE.

Baked Goods and Sweets

Apple Noodle Pudding (Kugel)

Almond-Quinoa Muffins

Apple-Quinoa Cake

Anzac Biscuits

Banana Daiquiri Ice Dream

Butter Tarts (Egg and Dairy Free)

Butterscotch Mousse Pie

Carob and Raisin Biscuits

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudgies

Chocolate Macaroons

Chocolate Pecan Pie

Chocolate Tofu Pudding

Cinnamon-Pecan Coffeecake Cupcakes

Cocoa Nibbles (LaRAW Bars)

Coconut Mini Loaves or Cupcakes

Cosmic Cookies

Decadent Chocolate Pâté

    French Toast Soufflé with Summer Berries

Frosted Banana Oat Bars

Fudge Two Ways 

Gluten Free Bean Brownies

Gluten Free Cashew Chocolate Chip Cookies

Grown-Up Baked Apples with Walnuts and Figs

Hazelnut Mocha Cookies

Holiday Apple Cake

Jam-Filled Turnovers

Last Minute Christmas (Agave) Cookie

Maple Walnut Cookies

Marzipan-Topped Shortbread Cookies

Mini Sweet Potato and Chocolate Chip Muffins

Mrs. K’s Date Cake

Oat-Nut Pie Crust

Orange-Oatmeal Muffins

Peanut Butter Biscuits

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Peanut Butter Cinnamon Popcorn (or Rice Crumbles)

Pear and Ginger Mini-Loaves or Muffins

Plum-Topped Cornmeal Cake

Polish Lemon Cake

Potato-Onion Bread

Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Warm Caramel Sauce

Pumpkinseed Shortbread Buttons

Raspberry Coconut Coffee Cake

Raw Carob-Cashew Pudding

Raw Fig and Cherry Bars (high calcium)

Raw Milky Way Bars

Soy-Free Vegan Whipped Cream

Speedy Fruit Sorbet

Spiced Brown Basmati Rice Pudding

Spiked Sweet Potato Truffles or Truffle Cups

Sweet Potato-Cranberry Scones

Tropical Lemon Coconut Muffins

Tutti-Fruiti Christmas Cookies

Vanilla Muffins

Vegan Lemon Cheesecake

Vegan Molten Chocolate Cakes

Zucchini and Pineapple Mini-Loaves

Baked Goods–Savory 

TO VIEW THE RECIPES LISTED HERE, PLEASE VISIT THIS PAGE ON THE NEW DIET, DESSERT AND DOGS, BY CLICKING HERE.

Beer Bread with Olives and Sundried Tomatoes

Cheela (Chickpea Pancakes)

Chinese Scallion Pancakes

Potato-Onion Bread

Spelt Pizza with Caramelized Onion, Artichokes and Chard

Beverages

TO VIEW THE RECIPES LISTED HERE, PLEASE VISIT THIS PAGE ON THE NEW DIET, DESSERT AND DOGS, BY CLICKING HERE.

Ecuadorian Hot Chocolate

Ginger-Mint Iced Tea

Mint Smoothie

Mystery Smoothie

Sweet Potato Smoothie

Breakfast and Brunch

TO VIEW THE RECIPES LISTED HERE, PLEASE VISIT THIS PAGE ON THE NEW DIET, DESSERT AND DOGS, BY CLICKING HERE.

Almond-Quinoa Muffins

Apple Noodle Pudding (Kugel)

Apple-Quinoa Cake

Baked Oats

Banana-Berry Breakfast Cakes

Beer Bread with Olives and Sundried Tomatoes

Blended Hot Cereal

Carob and Date Pancakes

Carob and Raisin Biscuits

Cheela (Chickpea Pancakes)

Cinnamon-Pecan Coffeecake Cupcakes

Corn Crêpes with Tomato Tracklement

Earth Bowl Breakfast

Fluffy Fruited Pancakes

French Toast Soufflé with Summer Berries

Frugal Frittata

Grown-Up Baked Apples with Walnuts and Figs

Homemade Crunchy Granola

Mex-Ital Tofu Scramble

Mini Sweet Potato and Chocolate Chip Muffins

Mint Smoothie

Mystery Smoothie 

Orange-Oatmeal Muffins

Peanut Butter Biscuits

Pear and Ginger Mini-Loaves or Muffins

Plum-Topped Cornmeal Cake

Potato-Onion Bread

Quinoa-Oatmeal Croquettes

Raspberry Coconut Coffee Cake

Savory Filled Breakfast Crepes

Sweet Breakfast Scramble

Sweet Potato-Cranberry Scones

Sweet Potato Smoothie

Swiss “Cheese”

The Best Home Fries Ever

Tofu Omelet with Pesto, Caramelized Onions and Mushrooms

Tofu Omelet with Sauteed Apples and Sweet Curry Sauce

Tropical Lemon Coconut Muffins

Two-Toned Potato Pancakes (Latkes)

Vanilla Muffins

Vegan Lemon Cheesecake

Zucchini and Pineapple Mini-Loaves

Condiments, Sauces and Toppings

TO VIEW THE RECIPES LISTED HERE, PLEASE VISIT THIS PAGE ON THE NEW DIET, DESSERT AND DOGS, BY CLICKING HERE.

Almond Curry Sauce

Avocado Mayonnaise

Brandied Apricot-Ginger Spread

Cashew Coconut Cream

Cranberry Preserves

Creamy, Cheesy Pasta Sauce 

Cultured Vegetables

 Miso Gravy

“My Life in Balance” Buttery Spread (butter substitute)

Pumpkin Butter

Orange Fig Sauce

Quick Tomato Tracklement

Roasted Garlic and Pumpkinseed Pesto

Soy-Free Vegan Whipped Cream

Sundried Tomato Tapenade

Sweet and Spicy BBQ Sauce

Sweet Curry Sauce

Tahini-Miso Sauce

Entrees

TO VIEW THE RECIPES LISTED HERE, PLEASE VISIT THIS PAGE ON THE NEW DIET, DESSERT AND DOGS, BY CLICKING HERE.

Balti Tofu and Chickpeas in a Thick Creamy Coconut Sauce

Baked Beans Nested on Greens

Bangkok Noodles with Cashews and Pineapple

Chili to Last Through the Winter

Corn Crêpes with Quick Tomato Tracklement

Date Pasta

Frugal Frittata

Jalapeno Pesto Pizza

Kale and Potato Lasagna

Kitchari (an Anti-Candida Stew)

Lentil Pistachio Patties

Meatball Stroganoff

Mediterranean Rice Casserole

Mediterranean Tofu Scramble

Mex-Ital Tofu Scramble

Nutroast Extraordinaire

Portobello “Steaks”

Quick and Easy Tofu Masala

Quinoa-Oatmeal Croquettes

Quinoa, Sweet Potato and Black Bean Bites

Reubenesque Sandwich

Savory Veggies with Coconut and Rice

Soba Noodles with Ginger, Chard and Walnuts

Spaghetti with Lentil-Tomato Sauce

Spelt Pizza with Caramelized Onion, Artichoke and Chard

Spiced Carrot Gnocchi in a Creamy Sauce

Spicy Red Pepper Pasta

Sweet Breakfast Scramble

Sweet and Sour Cabbage and Bread Stew

Sweet and Spicy Tempeh

Sweet Potato and Kasha Burgers

Tagine of Quinoa with Chickpeas, Olives and Prunes

Tofu Omelet with Pesto, Caramelized Onions and Mushrooms

Tofu Omelet with Sauteed Apples and Sweet Curry Sauce

Two-Toned Potato Pancakes (Latkes)

Flash in the Pan (quick and easy)

TO VIEW THE RECIPES LISTED HERE, PLEASE VISIT THIS PAGE ON THE NEW DIET, DESSERT AND DOGS, BY CLICKING HERE.

Avocado Mayonnaise

Blended Hot Cereal

Brussels Sprouts Even My Honey Will Eat

Cocoa Nibbles (LaRAW Bars)

Cranberry Preserves

Earth Bowl Breakfast

Ginger-Mint Iced Tea

Grown-Up Baked Apples with Walnuts and Figs

Mex-Ital Tofu Scramble

Raw Kale and Avocado Salad

Sautéed Greens with Onions and Apples

Speedy Fruit Sorbet

Gluten-Free

TO VIEW THE RECIPES LISTED HERE, PLEASE VISIT THIS PAGE ON THE NEW DIET, DESSERT AND DOGS, BY CLICKING HERE.

For GF recipes, see the new Gluten-Free Recipe Index, organized by category!

Raw (Or Mostly Raw) Dishes

TO VIEW THE RECIPES LISTED HERE, PLEASE VISIT THIS PAGE ON THE NEW DIET, DESSERT AND DOGS, BY CLICKING HERE.

Almond-Veggie Pate

Avocado Mayonnaise

Carob-Cashew Pudding

Chilled Avocado Soup

Chilled Peach Soup with Cashew Coconut Cream

Cocoa Nibbles (LaRAW Bars)

Cultured Vegetables

Dilly Coleslaw with Raisins and Walnuts

Earth Bowl Breakfast

Greens with Hearts of Palm and Pine Nuts

Kale and Avocado Salad

Mango Avocado Salad

Milky Way Bars (Raw) 

Mint Smoothie

Minted Peach and Corn Salad

Mock Green Papaya Salad

Mostly Raw Chocolate Truffles

Mystery Smoothie

Perfect Guacamole

Raw Fig and Cherry Bars (high calcium)

Raw Imitation Fried “Rice”

Raw Nori Rolls

Speedy Fruit Sorbet

Salads

TO VIEW THE RECIPES LISTED HERE, PLEASE VISIT THIS PAGE ON THE NEW DIET, DESSERT AND DOGS, BY CLICKING HERE.

Arame and Edamame Salad

Asian-Inspired Napa Cabbage Salad

Barley Hazelnut Salad

Bittersweet Salad with Apples and Dandelion Greens

Celeri Remoulade

Classic Three Bean Salad

Cultured Vegetables

Dandelion-Potato Salad

Dilly Coleslaw with Raisins and Walnuts

Greens with Hearts of Palm and Pine Nuts

Kale and Avocado Salad

Mango Avocado Salad

Minted Peach and Corn Salad

Mock Green Papaya Salad

Mock Tuna Salad

Quinoa, Roasted Beet and Walnut Salad

Quinoa Salad with Buckwheat and Cranberries

Radish and Grapefruit Salad

Raw Imitation Fried “Rice”

Sweet Potato and Ginger Salad

Swiss “Cheese” in a Mosaic Salad

Soups

TO VIEW THE RECIPES LISTED HERE, PLEASE VISIT THIS PAGE ON THE NEW DIET, DESSERT AND DOGS, BY CLICKING HERE.

Chili to Last Through the Winter

Chilled Avocado Soup

Chilled Peach Soup with Cashew Coconut Cream

Curried Root Vegetable Chowder with Dumplings

Moroccan Spiced Tomato Soup

My Mother’s Potato Corn Chowder

Pear and Parsnip Soup

Spiced Cauliflower Soup

Sweet and Sour Cabbage and Bread Stew

Turnip and Pear Soup

Tofu and Tempeh

TO VIEW THE RECIPES LISTED HERE, PLEASE VISIT THIS PAGE ON THE NEW DIET, DESSERT AND DOGS, BY CLICKING HERE.

Balti Tofu and Chickpeas in a Thick Creamy Coconut Sauce

Chili to Last Through the Winter

Chocolate Tofu Pudding

Frugal Frittata

Mediterranean Tofu Scramble

Mex-Ital Tofu Scramble

Quick and Easy Tofu Masala

Reubenesque Sandwich

Sweet Breakfast Scramble

Sweet and Spicy Tempeh

Tofu Omelet with Pesto, Caramelized Onions and Mushrooms

Tofu Omelet with Sauteed Apples and Sweet Curry Sauce

Vegetables and Side Dishes (Cooked)

TO VIEW THE RECIPES LISTED HERE, PLEASE VISIT THIS PAGE ON THE NEW DIET, DESSERT AND DOGS, BY CLICKING HERE.

Almond-Veggie Pate

Aloo Masala (Potato Curry)

Apple Noodle Pudding (Kugel)

Arame and Edamame Salad

Baked Beans Nested on Greens

Balti Tofu and Chickpeas in a Thick Creamy Coconut Sauce

Barley Hazelnut Salad

Brussels Sprouts Even My Honey Will Eat

Cabbage T’horin

Caramelized Baby Bok Choy with Cashews and Sesame Seeds

Cauliflower, Parsnip and Bean Mash

Chinese Scallion Pancakes

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudgies (cookie)

Dandelion-Potato Salad

Easy Millet and Red Pepper Pilaf

Mediterranean Rice Casserole

Peas in a Creamy Curry Sauce

Portobello “Steaks”

Quinoa, Roasted Beet and Walnut Salad

Roasted Potatoes with Sweet and Sour Cipollini Onions

Sautéed Greens with Onions and Apples

Savory Veggies with Coconut and Rice

Spiked Sweet Potato Truffles or Truffle Cups

Sweet Potato and Carrot Casserole

Sweet Potato and Ginger Salad

Sweet Potato-Cranberry Hash

Sweet Potato “Fries” Three Ways

Sweet Potato Smoothie

Tagine of Quinoa with Chickpeas, Olives and Prunes

The Best Home Fries Ever

Two-Toned Potato Pancakes (Latkes)

Vegan Molten Chocolate Cakes

Zucchini and Pineapple Mini-Loaves

DIET, DESSERT AND DOGS has moved! 

If you’re reading this page, you’ve landed on the old site.  Please visit the new location by clicking here–and don’t forget to update your readers and blogrolls!

As always, thanks for reading.  I look forward to seeing you at the shiny new Diet, Dessert and Dogs!

“Um, Mum, we are coming with you, aren’t we? Because (and sorry to have to tell you this), we actually have more fans than you do on this blog.” 

[I thought it would be fun to run a little series over here at DDD: I’ll profile one one of my favorite foods, or a food that I’ve recently discovered and enjoyed, over several days.  For this third entry, I’m focusing on Avocados. The series is presented on an occasional (and entirely arbitrary) basis, before I move on to the next lucky comestible. ]

[Sorry about the poor focus. . . that free point-and-shoot camera of mine has been rather uncooperative lately. Maybe time to bite the bullet and finally buy a real camera?]

Well, last Wednesday evening was our final Total Health class.  As it’s been all along, the meeting was terrific, though this final gathering wasn’t about education so much as eating.  We were split into groups of three or four people and asked to cook up a couple of recipes each; then we all sat down together and devoured the feast we’d made.  It was a great way to end the course in a social, relaxed fashion.  When the end of session arrived, no one wanted to leave!  We lingered and chatted for an extra 45 minutes before finally filing out of the house (sorry about that, Caroline).  And so, the question remains: what now?  Do I continue to consume my fruit-and-vegetable, raw-leaning diet?  Or do I slide like a 300 ZX on black ice, right back to my chocolate and high-grain days? 

That, my friends, is the 64,000 Calorie question.  Only time will tell, dear readers, only time will tell. . .

But in the meantime, I sure am going to give it my best shot.  And with salads like this one, veggies and fruits never tasted so good.

This is my own adaptation of a Thai-inspired salad the HH and I had many years ago at a cooking class we attended.  The class was a birthday present for my friends Gemini I and Gemini II (whose birthday, as it turns out, is on the same day!) about ten years ago.  Six of us cooked together and then shared our meal (sort of like Wednesday’s class, come to think of it, except the Thai meal wasn’t nearly as healthy).  I’m not sure why, but I still have a crystal clear vision of the HH that long-ago night, as he chopped onions, sliced mango and juiced limes. . . hmm, perhaps because that was the last time he voluntarily chopped onions, sliced mango, or juiced limes?  Oh, no, silly me–he juices limes all the time; you need those for gin and tonics. 

Anyway, the original salad didn’t contain avocado, of course, but one day I just threw it in, and it made such a perfectly compatible addition to the mix that the mangos and avocados have been keeping company ever since (they’re practically engaged by now).  I’ve also tinkered a little with the seasonings over the years to create what I think is the perfect dressing for this salad.  In fact, the combination of tastes is so summery, so refreshing and so tantalizing that I’ve even been known to eat this salad for breakfast (What? Fruit for breakfast is good for you!).  I use a combination of mint and cilantro, but if you’re not a fan of either, you can leave it out.  (And if you’re short on mint, feel free to drop by my place and grab some from the massive waves of green beside the house–see right). 

Besides tasting great, this dish offers a sweet treat for the eyes as well.

As I mentioned earlier, avocados are a fantastic source of heart-healthy monounsaturates.  But mangos are no slouch in the hale-and-hearty department, either; they’re rich in antioxidant vitamins C and beta carotene, fiber, and potassium.  With all these cardiac benefits, I’ve decided to submit this recipe to Ilva of Lucullian Delights, who is hosting her monthly Heart of the Matter event featuring heart-healthy salads this month. 

Mango Avocado Salad

TO VIEW THE COMPLETE RECIPE, PLEASE VISIT THIS PAGE ON THE NEW DIET, DESSERT AND DOGS, BY CLICKING HERE.

This refreshing salad combines all five flavors common in Thai cooking: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and spicy, in perfect proportions.  Great as an appetizer or side salad, this dish is best eaten fresh–though we’ve never had leftovers to worry about in our house, anyway!

TO VIEW THE COMPLETE RECIPE, PLEASE VISIT THIS PAGE ON THE NEW DIET, DESSERT AND DOGS, BY CLICKING HERE.

DIET, DESSERT AND DOGS has moved! 

If you’re reading this page, you’ve landed on the old site.  Please visit the new location by clicking here–and don’t forget to update your readers and blogrolls!

As always, thanks for reading.  I look forward to seeing you at the shiny new Diet, Dessert and Dogs!

“Um, Mum, we are coming with you, aren’t we? Because (and sorry to have to tell you this), we actually have more fans than you do on this blog.” 

In my imagination, I’d love to live on a farm. I say “in my imagination” because, in my reality, I’m actually the farthest thing from a farm type of gal (“What the-?  What do you mean, 5:15 is the normal time for the rooster to crow?!!”  OR, “What do you mean, it’s almost 2 hours to the closest Barnes and Noble?” OR, “What do you mean, ‘that’s just what manure smells like, so get used to it’???!!!”).  Um, nope, I don’t think so. 

Still, in my fantasy, I’m a latter day Lisa Douglas. Mid-afternoon, I turn to my HH Wendell Douglas and casually remark, “Oh, dahlink, what shall we have for dinner tonight?  I think I vill go out back to our vegetable patch and pick something fresh.” And then I cook it and we eat it and it’s delicious, of course.

Well, now that it’s finally beginning to look a lot like Christmas hockey season reruns springtime here in Toronto, all the gardeners are out on our street.  Our neighbours across the way have been scattering a wheelbarrow full of rich, black composted soil over their front lawn.  Everywhere I look, I see women on their knees yanking weeds out of the flower garden, others pulling up dried-out webs of branches and roots.  

And I?  Not so much.  On the other hand, the previous tenants in our house were quite the gardeners. When we first viewed the place last August, the back yard was lush with flowers and all manner of greenery, and it seemed everything was in bloom. (Bizarrely, when we finally moved in in November, we discovered that they had literally uprooted every plant, bush or tree they’d planted in the back yard, and taken everything with them to their new home. Remember that huge, gaping crater out of which emerged the creepy farmer-cum-alien in Men in Black? Well, that’s what our yard looked like, times twenty.)

As far as I could tell until yesterday, what remained in our garden was one puffy green bush near the tree in the front yard, some teeny purple flowers (or were they weeds?) and a few long, sharp green plants that look like miniature palm trees.  What they are called, or what they will sprout, I’m afraid I have no idea. My one and only previous gardening experience involves a single jalapeno seedling (I chose a jalapeno because I guessed it would require no maintenance, would self-repel bugs and raccoons, and would yield a small enough harvest that I could use it all up before it began to rot).  I was correct on most counts, though the plant, remarkably, flourished and the HH and I ended up eating jalapenos in every imaginable food, from scrambled eggs to pesto to muffins to plain ole roasted in a pan. But at least it proved I could grow a plant without killing it (or neglecting it to the point of killing it).

This year, I vowed, I’d venture into something a bit more exotic. My friend Gemini I (a gardener extraordinaire) has promised that herbs are fairly easy to grow, so I figured I’d plant some basil, cilantro, dill and sage. Then, yesterday, I was strolling past the side of our house on my way toward the back yard for some Frisbee-toss with The Girls and noticed something odd. There, spanning the entire length of the house, was a patch of earth the previous tenants had evidently forgotten–completely covered in small, green, leafy, plants in full bloom. They were a dazzling, almost translucent shade of green, lighter than grass but deeper than lime. . . the color reminded me of something, but what?  It was sort of like. . . the color of. . . the color of mint.  Yes, mint!  And I’ll be darned, when I bent over and pinched one of those verdant babies between my fingers, that’s exactly what they smelled like.

“Oh, that’s mint,” my next-door neighbour said as she sauntered over to me and The Patch.  Wow.  And so, without even a modicum of effort, I now am the proud owner of a fully formed, instant mint garden.  But what to do with it?

“Want some?”  I asked her.

I am still planning to plant the cilantro and basil, as I can never get enough of either.  But I have to admit that, much as I enjoy mint as a flavoring, I’ve never really been forced to make use of this much of it before.  Something tells me I’ll be drinking my share of mint juleps over the next few months–though, even once I’ve given much away to friends and colleagues, I’ll still have more mint than could possibly be consumed even by Daisy and Tom and Jordan and Gatsby during a long, hot, humid summer.  (I see much green in my future: chocolate-mint cookies, mint smoothies, mint ice creams, mint salads and all manner of mint drinks, alcoholic and otherwise. . . ).

There was one high point to the discovery, however. Just around dinnertime, I glanced at the swath of green running across the side of my house and said, to no one in particular,  “Why, I think I’ll step over here to my herb patch and pick some fresh herbs for dinner tonight.”  And I cooked something, and we ate it, and it was delicious. (“Mum, why are you talking with a Hungarian accent?  And, come to think of it, why are you talking to yourself?”)

We had planned to have a favorite Indian-spiced potato dish called Aloo Masala, but the recipe didn’t call for any mint.  No matter; I threw some in anyway. Along with the complement of other spices, it made for a delightful, slightly sweet and slightly peppery bowl of spuds.  The HH had these with an organic chicken breast (on which he piled even more mint), while I was happy with a simple bowl on its own.  

Well, that took care of about 1/85th of our mint.  Any suggestions for tomorrow?

Aloo Masala (Potato Masala Curry)

adapted from Complete Indian Cookbook, edited by Meera Budhwar

These potatoes come together very quickly and offer a spicy, smooth and comforting side dish to pretty much any main.

3 or 4 medium potatoes, cubed

1 large onion, finely chopped

1/2 tsp. (2.5 ml.) turmeric

salt, to taste

2 green chilies, chopped (or 1/2-1 jalapeno)

2 tsp. (10 ml.) garam masala

2 Tbsp. (30 ml.) shredded or dessicated coconut, unsweetened

1-inch (2.5 cm.) piece ginger, peeled and finely grated

2 Tbsp. (30 ml.) olive oil

1 tsp. (5 ml.) glack mustard seeds

4-6 mint leaves, finely shredded

leaves from 2 sprigs cilantro, finely shredded

Cook the potatoes in just enough water to cover with half the onion, the turmeric and the chilies until about half cooked, about 8 minutes  [note: next time I do these, I will omit the onion here and simply fry it all together at the end–I think the potatoes would have a better flavor that way, infused with the caramelized onion].

Meanwhile, blend the garam masala, coconut and ginger in a coffee grinder or miniature food processor. Add to the potato and continue to cook for a further 8 minutes, until tender but not soft, and most of the water has evaporated.

Heat the oil in a skillet and add the mustard seeds.  Let them sizzle for a few seconds until they have popped, then add the onion and fry until deep golden brown. Stir this into the curry in the pot.

Add salt to taste and sprinkle with the mint and cilantro.  Makes 4 servings.