Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Fragrance of Mint

The French poet Paul Verlaine, was born in Metz, in the northeast of France, in 1844. He began writing as young as 14, when he sent his poem "La Mort" to Victor Hugo. He published his first volume of poetry when he was 22. 

Verlaine wrote:  
You must let your poems ride their luck 
On the back of the sharp morning air  
Touched with the fragrance of mint and thyme
And everything else is Literature
I liked the added touch of mint and thyme to Verlaine's words. Mint reminds me of the Kentucky Derby which just happens to be right around the corner on May 5th. Perhaps you might be thinking of hosting a gathering to watch the minute and half race which starts at 5:00. The distance of the race course is only 1-1/4 miles.  Traditionally, Mint Juleps were often served in silver or pewter cups and held only by the bottom and top edges of the cup. Hand placement may have been a way to reduce the heat transfer from hand to glass. Today most juleps are served in an tall Tom Collins glass or an old fashioned glass. Preparation of this cocktail is widely debated among bartenders. Mint Juleps have been promoted by Churchill Downs in association with the Kentucky Derby since 1938. On the day of the Kentucky Derby 80,000 mint juleps are sold.  
This recipe works for me even though I skipped using the simple syrup method.
2-4 fresh mint sprigs-set aside one sprig
2-1/2 oz bourbon whiskey
1 tsp. powdered sugar
2  tsp. water
Finely chop mint sprigs, add powdered sugar and water to a tall frosted glass
Stir and fill glass with crushed ice
Add bourbon
Add mint sprig for garnish 

Thursday April 26th I posted two mini appetizers recipes from Southern Living April 2012.
Please see link to recipes 
Both of these recipes were quite easy, received great reviews for presentation and taste when I brought them recently to a dinner. A lot of the preparation can be made a day ahead. But I would like to make some revisions to the original recipes previously posted.
 Chicken Salad Tarts
Cook's note: the recipe called for using prepared deli chicken salad
I made my own using
  • 3 pieces of cooked chicken, cooled and chopped in food processor
  • Add 1/3 cup chopped onion to food processor when chopping chicken
  • Place chicken/onion in a bowl adding finely chopped walnuts 1/3-1.2  cup, celery 1/3-1/2 cup, 1/2 tsp. curry powder, 2 TB drained pickle relish and Miracle Whip to moisten 
Cover chicken salad and refrigerate overnight
Bake mini phyllo shells 30 using (2 packages) on a cookie sheet for 5 minutes @350
Cool and fill with chicken salad and add 1 blackberry in center of each tart shell as garnish
Makes 30 tarts

Strawberry Pretzel Cracker
Cook's note: Crackers can get soggy with strawberry mixture on top if prepared too much in advance -45 minutes ahead is enough 
makes about 36 appetizers
I used a product called Town Country Flip Side Pretzel Cracker
3 oz. softened cream cheese
strawberry mixture: 

  • 2 cups finely chopped strawberries
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
  • 2 TB. brown sugar
  • 4 tsp. minced shallots
Spread cream cheese on pretzel side of cracker
Add 1tsp. strawberry mixture on top of cream cheese

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