30 June 2006


We're about to head out on vacation...a combination of touring the Niagara Region (camping, so don't visualize some big romantic and glamorous getaway...this is adventurous!) and a week in the woods at a cottage completely off the grid. So you won't hear from me for a couple of weeks.

Summer is good for the fresh veggies, herbs, and fruit that we can suddenly afford again - and which look appetizing, ripe, luscious and fresh as they are. But also, summer is good for the process of eating these foods. Whether it's a quiet dinner for one or two, or a big backyard bash, I love the possibilities of entertaining in the summer.

Here are a couple of quick mint-based things to use in the process of entertaining.

Fire up that grill, and serve up some lamb. Some dislike lamb for it's greasiness...and I think these folks should try it grilled, either as a leg that's slow roasted on indirect heat, or quick cooking chops. Or they should go over to my mother's place for her famous roast lamb with garlic.

Making your own? To add a little pizazz, try this rub:

You need:
Olive oil
Salt & Pepper

Take four or five stems of mint. Rinse, pat dry. Strip the leaves, toss in a blender or hand blender (those funny long things that make great smoothies) cup. Add one small clove garlic, cut in half. Drizzle in about a tablespoon or two of olive oil and a large pinch of sea salt. Sprinkle in a little black pepper.

Pulse that up to a rough blend (or go crazy and make it a paste!). Pat this generously on your lamb, throw on the grill (if you think to make it ahead, put it on the meat and cover loosely, refrigerating until you're ready to grill). While grillling, try to minimize the number of times you turn...you want the rub to stay on!

What to drink? How about some mojitos? A great summer cooler, with fond memories for those who've been to Cuba.

5-8 stalks fresh mint
1/3 cup sugar
5-6 fresh lemons
2 litres Club Soda
1/2 cup White rum (or for non-alcoholic, three drops of rum flavouring)
Optional: three drops of Angostorra bitters)

Take a large glass pitcher. Toss in five or six stalks of rinsed mint leaves still on the stalks. Add 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (about four lemons, squeezed). With a large wooden spoon, muddle the leaves and juice (bash them together) to release the mint flavour.

Add about 1/3 cup white sugar, stir very well. Add the ice and top with rum. Stir some more. Add the club soda, and bitters. Taste, adding more lemon or sugar or rum as needed. It should be tangy, but sweet.

Top the pitcher with a few lemon slices. Serve sooner than later. Best way to serve? Long or short glassware, with an ice cube, mint leaf, and lemon slice.

Enjoy responsibly.

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