Freshen Up Your Spring Recipes With Mint

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Several years ago, I purchased fresh mint from the Master Gardeners at the very famous Annual Plant Sale, and to my surprise and delight the mint has returned each year looking better than the year before!! The very popular fresh herb is currently in season and is no longer used just for Derby parties and making julips!!
Mint has its own set of health benefits, it is rich in nutrients, containing hardly any calories, it is a good source of vitamin A, good for eye health. Mint is also loaded with antioxidants which aids in the protection of damage to your body cells.
Mint can aid in the relief of indigestion and upset stomach. Some research shows that mint is known to improve brain function, the oils increase alertness and decreased levels of frustration.
Of course, mint can fight bad breath!!
On a warm summer day, cool down by adding fresh mint to your drinks, main dishes and desserts!! Try these ways to use fresh mint in your dishes!

Fresh Mint Dressing

  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup lemon juice, about 2 lemons
  • ¼ cup packed fresh mint leaves
  • 3 tablespoons local honey
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 10 twist of freshly ground pepper

In a food processor, combine all of the ingredients and blend until smooth. Taste, and add more salt and/or pepper if necessary. Use as desired!
This dressing will keep well, covered and refrigerated, for up to 1 week.
Each 2 tablespoon serving contains; Calories 152, Fat 14 g., Sodium 113 mg., Carbohydrates
8 g., Protein 0.3 g.

Watermelon Feta and Mint Salad

  • 3 pounds seedless watermelon, cut into 1 inch chunks, about 2 pounds of chunks
  • 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • ¼ cup roughly chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, more if desired
  • 4 ounces arugula leaves, chopped, optional
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 4 ounces crumbled feta

Place watermelon chunks in a large bowl. Finely chop lemon zest. Add lemon juice and half of zest to bowl with watermelon. Add mint, oil, and arugula (if using) and toss until watermelon is evenly dressed. Season lightly to taste with salt and pepper. (The cheese will add saltiness, so go light on the salt at this stage.)
Transfer salad to a wide, shallow bowl or a large plate and spread out evenly. Crumble feta over
the top. Sprinkle with remaining lemon zest. Drizzle with more olive oil and a few grinds of black pepper. Serve immediately.

Mediterranean Tomato Salad with Herbs

  • 1 cup finely diced cucumber, if seeds are large remove them
  • 1 cup finely diced tomato
  • ¾ cup finely diced onion
  • 1 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 cup finely chopped fresh mint
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, more or less to taste
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, more or less to taste
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • Optional: Top with crumbled feta cheese

Chop cucumber in pieces less than 1/2 inch and put in colander. Add a generous amount of salt and let sit while you chop other ingredients.
Chop tomatoes in same-size pieces as the cucumbers. If the tomatoes are extra juicy drain them.
Chop onions (Cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions should be cut in same-size pieces.)
Parsley and mint should be chopped very finely.
When all ingredients are chopped, combine in mixing bowl.
Mix in olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
Sprinkle with feta if desired. Serve immediately.

Fresh Mint Pesto

  • 3 cups fresh mint leaves, lightly packed, stems removed
  • ¼ cup cashews or almonds
  • 1 garlic clove, sliced
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Zest of 1/3 lemon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Remove the mint leaves from the stems, wash and drain them, you can use a salad spinner here.
Add the extra virgin olive oil to the food processor first, then add the rest of the ingredients.
Season with salt and freshly ground pepper and blend to a smooth paste, adding a tablespoon or two of cold water to help it along, if needed. Taste it and season again according to your liking.

Use immediately or cover with a thin layer of olive oil and cling film. This can also be frozen.
Yields 1 ½ cups.

Old Fashioned Grasshopper Pie

For the Crust

  • Cooking spray
  • 1 (9-oz.) box brownie crisp cookies
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted

For the Pie

  • 1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons. whole milk
  • 1 (16-oz.) package. miniature marshmallows
  • 1/3 cup green crème de menthe
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons clear crème de cacao
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 4 drops green food coloring gel
  • Chocolate shavings (from 1 [4-oz.] semisweet chocolate baking bar)
  • Freshly grated nutmeg

For the crust, preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate with cooking spray; set aside. Process cookies in a food processor until finely ground, about 10 seconds.
Add melted butter to food processor, and pulse until mixture holds together when squeezed, about 15 (1-second) pulses. Using your hands or bottom of a measuring cup, press mixture evenly into bottom and up sides of prepared pie plate.
Bake in preheated oven until fragrant, 10 to 15 minutes. Cool crust completely on a wire rack, about 30 minutes.
For the pie, place ice and water in a heatproof bowl; set aside. Place milk and marshmallows in a medium saucepan; cook over low, stirring constantly, until marshmallows are completely
melted, 5 to 8 minutes.
Remove saucepan from heat, and stir constantly until marshmallow mixture begins to deflate and is no longer foamy, about 2 minutes.
Place saucepan over ice water, stirring constantly, until thickened and cooled to room temperature, about 3 minutes. Stir in crème de menthe and crème de cacao. Refrigerate until completely cooled, about 20 minutes.
Beat heavy cream and food coloring with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until medium peaks form, about 3 minutes. Fold whipped cream into marshmallow mixture in 3 additions, gently folding to incorporate before adding each addition, about 4 minutes total.
Spread mixture evenly into cooled crust. Refrigerate, uncovered, until filling is set, at least 4 hours or up to 8 hours.
To serve, garnish with chocolate shavings and nutmeg. Serves 8.