Saturday, May 05, 2012


Excellent Ingredient of the Week
Mint — how can such an invasive weed be so useful in the kitchen? I think it is one of my favorite secret ingredients. I throw it in mixed green salad, I use it to brighten up my pesto, I chop it into my tomato basil salad, I combine it with ginger in Thai cooking. I love to use it in crying tiger beef salad. I throw it into my smoothies. It's great with yogurt and fruit for breakfast. Anyone can grow it — but be careful as it tends to take over. Some of my friends sink a coffee can open at both ends in the ground to contain the root system. Try some in a pot on the porch. It comes back every year. There are millions of varieties — I grow chocolate mint and pineapple mint. Check out your local choices. And of course, you have beverage options from the Mojito to the Julep. This easy Cilantro Mint Chutney is perfect for dipping veggies, spreading on sandwiches, or adding a bright kick.

Cilantro Mint Chutney

1 serrano chile
2 cups cilantro leaves
1 cup large mint leaves
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
3 Tbsp. water
1/2 tsp. salt

Remove stem and seeds from the chile. Whiz chile, cilantro, mint, oil, water, and salt in a blender or food processor until smooth. Taste and add more salt to taste, if you like. Use immediately or cover and chill and use within three days.