Saturday, December 27, 2008

Elegant Cocktails & Mocktails for this Holidays


A French bistro favorite, this aperitif turns an everyday white wine into a festive cocktail. To really make it an occasion, use sparkling wine.


Makes 4 servings

ACTIVE TIME: 5 minutes

TOTAL TIME: 5 minutes


4 tablespoons crème de cassis (black currant liqueur) or black currant syrup
16 fluid ounces (2 cups) chilled dry white wine or sparkling wine
Twists of lemon or orange zest for garnish

Spoon 1 tablespoon crème de cassis (or black currant syrup) into each 8-ounce wineglass. Fill with white wine and add a twist of lemon or orange zest.

Pear-Ginger Shooters

Fresh ginger and fragrant cinnamon infuse this chilled pear soup. Serve it in large shot glasses. Guests may add a splash of vodka if they like.

Pear-Ginger Shooters

Makes 12 servings, about 1/3 cup each

ACTIVE TIME: 25 minutes

TOTAL TIME: 4 3/4 hours (including chilling time)


4 ripe Anjou pears, peeled and quartered
1 cup apple cider
1 cup dry white wine
1-2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger or ginger juice (see Note)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 4-inch cinnamon stick
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons honey

1. Stir pears, cider, wine, ginger (or ginger juice) to taste, lemon juice, cinnamon stick and salt in a large saucepan; bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce heat, and gently simmer until the pears are very tender, about 20 minutes.

2. Discard the cinnamon stick. Pour the soup into a large blender or food processor; add honey. Blend or process until smooth. (Use caution when pureeing hot liquids.) Pour into a large bowl, cover and refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours. Pour into small glasses to serve.

TIP: Note: We use bottled ginger juice (pressed gingerroot) to add the taste of fresh ginger without the work of mincing or grating. Use it to flavor drinks, stir-fries, marinades or anywhere you’d use fresh ginger.

Blueberry Ginger Bellini

Muddling is is a traditional bartending technique where herbs and/or fruit are crushed, releasing their full flavor into a cocktail. Here we muddle blueberries and ginger with sugar and lemon to add another dimension to our take on a bellini.

Blueberry Ginger Bellini

Makes 4 servings

ACTIVE TIME: 10 minutes

TOTAL TIME: 15 minutes


1/2 cup blueberries
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon sugar
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 cups blueberry juice
1/2 cup sparkling wine, divided

Mash blueberries with ginger, sugar and lemon juice. Add blueberry juice and let steep for at least 5 minutes. Strain; divide among 4 champagne flutes. Top each with 1/2 cup sparkling wine.

Pomegranate Cosmos

Make the base for these pomegranate cosmopolitans ahead of time and shake individual cocktails “to order.” Or for individual drinks, combine 3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) each pomegranate juice and vodka, 4 teaspoons lime juice, 1 tablespoon Cointreau, 1 1/2 teaspoons ginger juice and 1/2 teaspoon sugar.

Pomegranate Cosmos

Makes 12 servings

ACTIVE TIME: 10 minutes

TOTAL TIME: 10 minutes


2 1/4 cups pomegranate juice
2 1/4 cups vodka
1 cup lime juice
3/4 cup Cointreau or Grand Marnier
1/4 cup ginger juice (see Note)
2 tablespoons sugar, preferably superfine “bar sugar,” plus more for the rims
Strips of lime zest for garnish

1. Mix pomegranate juice, vodka, lime juice, Cointreau (or Grand Marnier), ginger juice and sugar in a large pitcher.
2. For each drink, fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice, add 1/2 cup Cosmo mix, and shake until the shaker turns frosty and cold. Dip the rim of a martini (or highball) glass into water and then in sugar (to “sugar the rim”). Strain the drink into the martini glass (or over fresh ice in the highball glass). Garnish with a twist of lime zest, if desired.

TIP: Note: We use bottled ginger juice (pressed gingerroot) to add the taste of fresh ginger without the work of mincing or grating. Use it to flavor drinks, stir-fries, marinades or anywhere you’d use fresh ginger. Find it in specialty stores or online at

MAKE AHEAD TIP: Prepare through Step 1 and refrigerate for up to 1 day.

Raspberry Spritzer

A refreshing and low calorie alternative to sugar-laden sodas.

Makes 2 servings

ACTIVE TIME: 5 minutes

TOTAL TIME: 5 minutes


2 cups seltzer
2/3 cup frozen raspberries
2 sprigs fresh mint
3 ounces raspberry-flavored syrup or Chambord
Ice cubes

Combine seltzer, raspberries, mint and raspberry-flavored syrup (or Chambord) in a small pitcher. Pour over ice.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Healthy and Yummy Salads for the Holidays

Seasons Greetings to everyone. Enjoy this delicious salads. Holidays need not always mean unhealthy eating habits. Just remember to add alot of these great salads and reduce on those really sweet and fattening deserts, cookies and meals.

Bold Winter Greens Salad

For this cousin of the Caesar salad use a combination of winter greens, such as radicchio and escarole; the anchovies and lemon juice temper their bitterness. Vary the amount of garlic and anchovy according to your preference.

Makes 10 servings, about 1 1/4 cups each

ACTIVE TIME: 20 minutes

TOTAL TIME: 20 minutes


2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, or to taste
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
3-4 anchovy fillets, rinsed and chopped
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
12 cups chopped mixed bitter salad greens, such as chicory, radicchio and escarole
3 large hard-boiled eggs (see Tip)

1. Place garlic to taste in a large salad bowl and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add lemon juice and vinegar; let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in anchovies to taste. Whisk in oil in a slow steady stream until well combined.
2. Add salad greens and toss. Shred 3 egg whites and 1 egg yolk through the large holes of a box grater (reserve the remaining yolks for another use or discard). Sprinkle the salad with the grated egg.

TIP: To hard-boil eggs: Place eggs in a single layer in a saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and cook at the barest simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, pour out hot water and run a constant stream of cold water over the eggs until completely cooled.

MAKE AHEAD TIP: Prepare the dressing (Step 1), cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day.

Crispy Potato Latkes
Crispy Potato Latkes

It is a holiday tradition to fry latkes in hot oil, but here shredded potato-and-onion pancakes get a coating of matzo crumbs, are pan-fried in a small amount of oil and finished in a hot oven for a few minutes. The golden-crisp results have only 4 grams of fat and 100 calories per serving—truly a miracle.

Makes 12 latkes

ACTIVE TIME: 50 minutes

TOTAL TIME: 1 1/2 hours


1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes (about 2), shredded
1 medium white onion, shredded
2 medium shallots, minced (about 1/4 cup)
1 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 pieces whole-wheat matzo (6-by-6-inch), broken into pieces
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
3 tablespoons peanut oil or extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1. Toss shredded potato, onion, shallots and salt in a medium bowl. Transfer to a sieve set over a large bowl; let drain for about 15 minutes. Squeeze the potato mixture, a handful at a time, over the bowl to release excess moisture (don’t oversqueeze—some moisture should remain). Transfer the squeezed potato mixture to another large bowl. Carefully pour off the liquid, leaving a pasty white sediment—potato starch—in the bottom of the bowl. Add the starch to the potato mixture. Stir in egg.

2. Put matzo pieces in a sealable plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin into coarse crumbs. Sprinkle the crumbs and pepper over the potato mixture and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate until the matzo is softened, 20 to 30 minutes.

3. Preheat oven to 425°F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.

4. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir the potato mixture. Cook 4 latkes per batch: place 1/4 cup potato mixture in a little of the oil and press with the back of a spatula to flatten into a 3 1/2-inch cake. Cook until crispy and golden, 1 1/2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer the latkes to the prepared baking sheet. Continue with 2 more batches, using 1 tablespoon oil per batch and reducing the heat as needed to prevent scorching. Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and bake until heated through, about 10 minutes.

Gingered Cranberry-Raspberry Relish

Unlike cranberry sauce, a relish involves no cooking. Here, plump raspberries add a juicy freshness, while crystallized ginger provides sweetness and warmth. It is best served cold. Hold the mayo on your post-holiday sandwiches—use this relish instead for a real treat.

Makes about 4 cups

ACTIVE TIME: 10 minutes

TOTAL TIME: 3 hours 10 minutes (including chilling time)


1 12-ounce package fresh cranberries
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup minced crystallized ginger (choose soft nuggets over disks, if possible)
3 cups raspberries (2 pints), fresh or frozen (not thawed)

Pulse cranberries in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Transfer to a medium bowl. Stir in sugar and crystallized ginger. Gently stir in raspberries—it's fine to crush some of them. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours to let the flavors combine.

MAKE AHEAD TIP: Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week.

Green Bean Casserole
This is not the no-mess, super-easy recipe of yore, but it is low in fat and high in flavor. To go one step further, substitute 1/2 pound fresh green beans for frozen. Simply trim and cut into 1-inch lengths. Then blanch the beans for 1 to 2 minutes in boiling water, refresh under cold water and spread in the baking dish.

Makes 6 servings

ACTIVE TIME: 45 minutes

TOTAL TIME: 1 hour


Onion topping
1/2 teaspoon canola oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs

Sauce & green beans
2 cups skim milk
6 black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
Pinch grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon canola oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 pound mushrooms, trimmed and sliced (3 cups)
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 9-ounce package frozen green beans (2 cups)

1. To make onion topping: Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over low heat. Add sliced onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until very tender and golden, about 30 minutes. Set aside.

2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread breadcrumbs on a baking sheet and toast, stirring once, until lightly browned, 5 to 10 minutes. Set aside.

3. To make sauce: Combine milk, peppercorns, bay leaf and nutmeg in a medium saucepan and heat over low until steaming. Remove from heat, let stand for 5 minutes and strain into a measuring cup. (Discard peppercorns and bay leaf.)

4. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add chopped onion and cook, stirring often, until golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Add mushrooms and garlic and cook, stirring, until tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Sprinkle flour over the vegetables and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Slowly pour in the milk, whisking constantly. Bring to a boil, stirring. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring, until thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from heat. Whisk in sour cream, salt and pepper.

5. To assemble and bake casserole: Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Spread green beans evenly over the bottom of a shallow 2-quart baking dish and pour the sauce over the top. Toss together the reserved onions and breadcrumbs in a small bowl and spread over the beans. Bake until bubbling, 15 to 25 minutes.

MAKE AHEAD TIP: The onion topping, toasted breadcrumbs and sauce can be prepared ahead and stored in separate containers, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

North African Spiced Carrots

The trinity of North African seasonings, cumin, coriander and paprika, lends exotic appeal to this simple carrot preparation.

Makes 6 servings, 1/2 cup each

ACTIVE TIME: 10 minutes

TOTAL TIME: 20 minutes


1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
3 cups sliced carrots (4 medium-large)
1 cup water
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, paprika, cumin and coriander; cook, stirring, until fragrant but not browned, about 20 seconds. Add carrots, water, lemon juice and salt; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook until almost tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Uncover and simmer, stirring often, until the carrots are just tender and the liquid is syrupy, 2 to 4 minutes. Stir in parsley. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Red & White Salad
Red & White Salad

Bitter, sweet and peppery flavors marry well in this confetti-like salad of wintery fruit and vegetables.

Makes 8 servings, about 1 3/4 cups each

ACTIVE TIME: 25 minutes

TOTAL TIME: 25 minutes


4 cups thinly sliced hearts of romaine
2 heads Belgian endive, cored and thinly sliced
1 bulb fennel, trimmed, cored, quartered and thinly sliced
1 15-ounce can hearts of palm, drained, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1/2 head radicchio, cored, quartered and thinly sliced
1 red apple, cored and cut into matchsticks
1 cup thinly sliced radishes
Champagne Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Toss romaine, endive, fennel, hearts of palm, radicchio, apple and radishes together in a large salad bowl. Add vinaigrette and toss to coat. Season with pepper.

MAKE AHEAD TIP: Prepare salad without dressing, cover and refrigerate for up to 4 hours. Toss with vinaigrette just before serving.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Sweet Pumpkin Treats

Sweet Pumpkin Treats

Great Pumpkin Cookies

4 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
2 cups quick or old fashioned oats, uncooked
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups butter or margarine, softened
2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 can, 16 ounce, solid pack pumpkin
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
sprinkles or other cookie decorations
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, oats, cinnamon, and salt; set aside. Cream butter, add sugars gradually, beating until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla; mix well. Alternate after each addition. Stir in chocolate chips. For each cookie, drop 1/4 cup dough onto lightly greased cookie sheet. Spread into a pumpkin shape using a thin metal spatula or the back of a large metal spoon. Add a bit more dough to form a stem. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until cookies are firm and browned. Remove and cool on racks. Decorate using your favorite icing and assorted candies. Makes about 32 large cookies. NOTES: I thought butterscotch chips, white chocolate morsels or toffee bits worked better in these. For icing you can use a plain white icing and add yellow and red food coloring to create orange or caramel frosting is nice too. You can make faces with another color of icing, or sprinkle with cookie decorations.

Frozen Pumpkin Mousse Pie
Frozen Pumpkin Mousse Pie

Makes 10 servings

ACTIVE TIME: 20 minutes

TOTAL TIME: 2 hours 20 minutes (including freezing time)


30 small gingersnap cookies (about 7 1/2 ounces)
2 tablespoons raisins
1 tablespoon canola oil

1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 pints (4 cups) frozen low-fat vanilla ice cream, softened (see Tip)

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan with cooking spray.
2. To prepare crust: Combine gingersnaps and raisins in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add oil and pulse until blended. Press evenly into the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pan.
3. Bake the crust until set, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
4. To prepare filling: Combine pumpkin, sugar, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg in a large bowl and mix well. Add ice cream and stir until blended. Spoon the mixture into the cooled pie crust. Freeze until firm, at least 2 hours. Let the pie soften slightly in the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes before serving.

Glazed Chocolate-Pumpkin Bundt Cake

Makes 16 servings

ACTIVE TIME: 30 minutes

TOTAL TIME: 3 1/2 hours (including cooling time)


1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup nonfat buttermilk
1 15-ounce can unsweetened pumpkin puree
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature (see Tip)
1 large egg white, at room temperature
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Glaze & Garnish
1/2 cup packed confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon nonfat buttermilk
2 tablespoons mini chocolate chips or toasted chopped nuts (see Tip)

1. To prepare cake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 12-cup Bundt pan with cooking spray.

2. Whisk all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, granulated sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice and salt in a medium bowl.

3. Blend 1 cup buttermilk, pumpkin puree and brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer on low speed. Beat in whole egg and egg white. Stir in oil, corn syrup and vanilla. Gradually add the dry ingredients, stirring until just combined. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan.

4. Bake the cake until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached, 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Remove from the pan and let cool completely on the rack, about 2 hours.

5. To glaze & garnish cake: Combine confectioners' sugar and 1 tablespoon buttermilk in a small bowl, stirring until completely smooth. Place the cake on a serving plate and drizzle the glaze over the top; garnish with chocolate chips (or chopped nuts) while the glaze is still moist.

No-Bake Pumpkin Squares


1 quart vanilla ice cream, softened
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
16 ounce can pumpkin
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
Remove the ice cream from the freezer and allow to soften. In a small dish, melt the butter or margarine. Place about 11 large graham crackers in a plastic bag and crush to make 1 1/2 cups of crumbs. Add the sugar and cooled butter and mix well. Press this evenly into the bottom of a 9-inch square pan. In a large bowl, combine the pumpkin, brown sugar, salt, and spices. Fold in the softened ice cream and stir until smooth. Spread this evenly onto the graham cracker base. Cover and freeze until firm, about two hours.

Twenty minutes before serving, remove the pan from the freezer and allow to thaw at room temperature. Cut into 3-inch squares. Serve with whipped cream.

Pumpkin Cheese Pie

2 unbaked 9 inch pie shells
3 cups pumpkin puree, (fresh or canned)
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
3/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
3/4 tsp. ground cloves
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 1/2 cups evaporated milk (1 large can)
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
12 ounces cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all filling ingredients in a large bowl. Beat well. Divide between the two pie shells. Combine all topping ingredients in small bowl of electric mixer. Beat until smooth. Spoon mixture carefully over the pumpkin filling, dividing topping between the two pies. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on racks. Chill for 24 hours before serving.

Pumpkin Pudding
Pumpkin Pudding

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
4 eggs, separated
1 pound can of pumpkin
6 ice cubes
3 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

In medium pan combine sugar, water and gelatin. Let stand 1 minute. Beat in egg yolks using a wire whisk. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until gelatin is dissolved and mixture is thick and foamy, about 3 minutes. Pour into 5 cup blender container. Add remaining ingredients. Process at high speed until ice is melted, about 2 minutes. Pour into serving dishes. Chill until set, about 1-2 hours. Serves 8. If desired top with crushed pecans and whipped cream.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Fast to Cook, Great to eat - Easy Dessert


2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
16 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 large banana, sliced
20 ounces crushed pineapple, well drained
12 ounces Cool Whip
1/2 cup chopped nuts
4 ounces maraschino cherries, drained & halved

Combine the 1/2 cup sugar, graham cracker crumbs and melted butter. Press into a 9 x 13-inch pan. Bake crust at 350 F. for 15 minutes. Let cool.
Cream together cream cheese, remaining sugar and butter. Spread cream cheese mixture over graham cracker crust. Layer sliced bananas, drained pineapple, and cool whip in order. Sprinkle with chopped nuts then maraschino cherries. Cover and refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight.

Serving Size: 8


1-1/2 cups graham wafer crumbs
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 pkg. (6 serving size) coconut cream pudding and pie filling
1 pkg. (250 g) cream cheese
2 medium bananas
1 can (10 oz.) Mandarin orange segments, drained
1 tub cool whip, thawed (1 liter size)

Mix graham crumbs and butter. Press firmly into bottom of 13 X 9 inch pan. Bake at 350ºF for 5 minutes. Cook pie filling mix as directed on package for microwave or top of stove. Beat cream cheese to soften then whisk in hot filling. Cover with plastic wrap and chill about 30 minutes. Slice bananas over crumb crust. Stir pudding and fold in oranges, then spoon over bananas. Spread whipped topping over filling. Chill 3 hours. Cut into squares. Makes about 12 servings.
*TIP* Substitute 2 medium oranges, peeled and sectioned, for the canned mandarins.

Prep Time .. 20 minutes plus chilling.


2 eggs, beaten
juice of 1 1/2 lemons
1 cup sugar
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs

Combine ingredients and cook in a double boiler until thick. Allow to cool. Whip 1 cup cream. Fold into the lemon mixture.
Cover a shallow square glass pan with graham cracker crumbs, or alternatively, use a glass pie dish. Spread the lemon custard mixture on top.

Refrigerate until ready to serve. Cut into squares if a square pan was used, or wedges if served from a pie dish.

Variation: These can be served in custard cups for individual servings.



2 c. crushed pretzels
3/4 c. melted butter
3 tbsp. sugar


1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese
1 c. sugar
1 (8 oz.) Cool Whip


1 lg. pkg. strawberry Jello
2 c. boiling water
2 (10 oz.) boxes frozen strawberries

FIRST LAYER: Mix dry and pat bottom of 9x13 inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes.
SECOND LAYER: Beat sugar and cream cheese until creamy. Stir in Cool Whip. Spread over pretzels.

THIRD LAYER: Dissolve Jello in boiling water. Stir in frozen strawberries while Jello is hot. Put aside 15 minutes, then slowly pour over cheese mixture and refrigerate. May cut in half for smaller dish.

Makes 24 servings.


1 c. finely crushed vanilla wafers (22 wafers)
1/4 c. butter, melted
3/4 c. butter
2 (3 oz.) pkgs. cream cheese
1 1/3 c. sifted powdered sugar
2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 egg
2 med. bananas, sliced (2 c.)
1 (4 oz.) container frozen whipped dessert topping, thawed
1/2 c. broken pecans or peanuts

For crust, in a mixing bowl stir together crushed wafers and the 1/4 cup melted butter. Press mixture onto the bottom of an 8x8x2 inch baking pan.
In a small mixer bowl beat together the 3/4 cup butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Beat until smooth. Add egg and beat until fluffy.

Spread cream cheese mixture over crust. Arrange sliced bananas on cream cheese mixture. Spread the dessert topping over all. Sprinkle with nuts. Cover and freeze for 5-24 hours. Serves 16.


This top-rated four-layer dessert can be refrigerated or frozen.

1/2 c. butter
1 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. finely chopped peanuts
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 c. sifted powdered sugar
1 (4 oz.) carton frozen whipped dessert topping, thawed
1 (4 serving size) pkg. instant chocolate pudding mix
1 (4 serving size) pkg. instant coffee pudding mix
3 c. milk
Grated chocolate

In mixing bowl cut butter into flour until crumbly; stir in 3/4 cup of the peanuts. Press mixture evenly over bottom of a 13x9x2 inch baking dish. Bake in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes; cool.
Meanwhile, in small mixer bowl beat cream cheese on low speed of electric mixer until fluffy; beat in powdered sugar and half of the thawed whipped topping. Spread over crust; chill.

In large mixer bowl, combine both pudding and milk; beat with rotary beater 2 minutes. Spoon atop cream cheese layer in dish. Chill or freeze until firm, several hours or overnight. Top with remaining thawed whipped topping. Sprinkle with grated chocolate and remaining chopped peanuts. (If frozen, let stand 10 to 15 minutes before serving.)

Makes 16 servings.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Mocktails - Healthy Non Alcoholic Drinks

Healthy Non Alcoholic Drink aka Mocktail or Virgin Drink

The word 'Mocktail' is a derivative of two words - 'mock' meaning a copy or imitation of something and the word 'cocktail' meaning a mixed drink. A Non-alcoholic cocktail drink is also referred to as a Virgin Cocktail

Keep your Non Alcoholic Drink ( Mocktail or Virgin ) healthy by using a recipe which contain yoghurt or low fat milk. The recipes for these delicious Non Alcoholic Drinks - Mocktails or Virgin Drinks contain a variety of fruits including Berries (strawberry, blackberry, raspberry, blueberry etc. ) peach, melon, orange, pineapple, mango, and kiwifruit. The ingredients in a non alcoholic drink like mocktail or virgin cocktail are often high in vitamins, fibre, and antioxidants. But if you want to indulge yourself, or the kids, in a treat use a recipe for a Non Alcoholic Virgin Drink or mocktail which contains ice cream.

How to create the best special effects with the classic Mocktail Recipe

The following hints and tips will give you some ideas how to make the best special effects with the Mocktail Recipe :

* Serve your Mocktail Recipe in unusually shaped
glasses. Give your glasses a frosted edge by dipping the rim into
Lemon juice and then dipping it into sugar. Simple but effective!

* The presentation of your classic Strawberry Mocktail Recipe is
all important! Add colorful decorations - drink umbrellas,
swizzle sticks , paper flowers, straws and even sparklers! These
decorations are all cheap and easy to obtain from your local
grocery store

* Add some straws - colored straws are great - just cut them up for
small glasses!

* Use cocktail sticks or toothpicks to twist or skewer fruits

* Use slices of fruit to decorate and add a twist to Mocktail

* Add crushed ice - To make crushed ice just place your ice cubes
in a plastic bag and crush the ice with a heavy object

Mocktail Recipe Instructions:

Mix all ingredients in a cocktail shaker / stirrer and pour into an unusually shaped glass. Add Crushed Ice and decorations to create a great speciality drink from an easy to make recipe!

Quantities and Proportions

Quantities of ingredients tend to cause confusion - no problem, just use the correct proportions of each ingredient to create the best authentic & original recipe! You can use a thimble, cup or even a pitcher ( if you are making this recipe for a group or a crowd ) when you make a Strawberry Mocktail Recipe! The following simple guidelines will also help with the different quantities referred to in authentic & original recipes:

1 oz (ounce) equals 2 tbsp (tablespoons)

1 shot equals 1½ oz (ounces)

1 cup equals 8 oz (ounces)

Make some great healthy, nutritional and low fat, low calorie Non Alcoholic Virgin Drinks. But if you want to indulge yourself or the kids in a treat use the recipes for Non Alcoholic Virgin Drinks which contain ice cream. Non Alcoholic Virgin Drinks can also be mixed with soda pop to make a great mocktail.

Strawberry Mocktail Recipe
Strawberry Mocktail

4 oz Strawberry Yogurt
1 cup sliced Fresh Strawberries
1 cup Cold Milk
1/2 cup crushed ice or Ice Cream (optional)
Honey to sweeten if required

Pineapple Passion Mocktail Recipe

4oz Pineapple juice
2 oz Passion fruit juice
1 Tsp. Lemon juice
1 Tsp. Grenadine syrup

Shirley Temple Mocktail Recipe

4 oz Ginger ale
1/2 oz Grenadine syrup
Twist of lemon peel
Thin slice of orange
2 or 3 ice cubes

Crazy Cow Mocktail Recipe

3 oz Apple juice
3 oz Milk
Crushed Ice
Apple Slice

Apple Pie Mocktail Recipe

3 oz Apple juice
1 tsp Lemon juice
1/2 tsp Grenadine syrup
Crushed Ice
Orange Slice

Cranberry Clown Mocktail Recipe

2 oz Orange juice
2 oz Cranberry juice
2 oz pure Grape juice

Tropical Mocktail Recipe

4 oz Pineapple Yogurt
2 Mandarin oranges
1/2 cup Cold Milk
1/2 cup Fresh Orange or Apple Juice
1/2 cup crushed ice or Ice Cream (optional)
Tsp. Fresh Lemon Juice

Angel Face Mocktail Recipe

1 part Banana milk
1 part Chocolate milk
1 part Orange
1 part Brown sugar
1 part Cream
1 part Sugar

Monday, August 18, 2008

Cool as Cucumber - Various wonderful and delicious Cucumber recipes

Cold Salads

Cucumber Salad with Spicy Wasabi Dressing
Cucumber Salad

Serves 4
Rice wine vinegar is milder than most Western vinegars. If unavailable, mix 2 parts distilled white vinegar with 1 part water.

1 1/2 teaspoons dry wasabi (or to taste)
2 cucumbers
2 Tbs rice wine vinegar
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp sesame oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 green onion or 2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 Tbs black or toasted white sesame seeds

Mix the wasabi with 1/2 teaspoon warm water in the bottom of a mixing bowl and let it stand for 5 minutes. Peel the cucumbers, cut each one in half lengthwise, and use a melon baller or spoon to scoop out the seeds. Cut the cucumbers widthwise into 1/4-inch crescents. Add the vinegar and sugar to the wasabi and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the sesame oil, salt, and pepper. Just before serving, add the cucumbers, green onion, and sesame seeds to the dressing and mix well.

Watermelon-Cucumber Salad

1/4 c distilled white vinegar
1/4 c sugar
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
4 cucumbers, peeled, halved and seeded
8 cups seeded and cubed watermelon
1/4 red onion sliced thinly
Combine vinegar, sugar and pepper in saucepan. Bring to a boil; boil 1 minute, remove from heat and cool. Slice cucumbers and toss with 1 tsp of salt. Let sit in colander for 30 minutes. Pat dry. Just before serving toss watermelon with salt in a large bowl. Add cucumbers, red onions, and pepper syrup and toss.

Peanut Cucumber Salad

2 medium and tender cucumbers, peeled, seeded, cut into small pieces and drained.
2 (or less) green chilies, minced
Juice of one large lime
1/2 cup finely chopped white or red onions
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh coriander leaves [Cilantro]
1/2 cup peeled and cubed *raw* mangoes
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup coarsely chopped peanuts
1 cup coarsely chopped spinach [optional]
Mix everything but the peanuts together. Add half the peanuts and mix well. Add the remaining when you are ready to serve, by sprinkling on top.

Cucumber Pineapple Salad


3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup white vinegar
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup peeled, cored fresh pineapple cut into 1/3 inch pieces
1 cucumber, peeled, sliced thinly
1 carrot, peeled and julienned
1/3 cup red onion, thinly sliced
4 cups torn salad greens
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
Bring sugar, rice wine vinegar and water to a boil in a heavy saucepan. Stir constantly until reduced to about 1/2 cup - about 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and place into refrigerator. When chilled, add pineapple pieces. Cover and return to refrigerator for one hour.

Add cucumber, carrot and red onion to the pineapple mixture. Mix well. Place salad greens onto plates. Top with pineapple mixture. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. Serve.

Yield: 4 servings

Appetizers and Side Dishes

Cucumber Granita


4 large cucumbers
1/4 c sugar
3 T chopped fresh dill
1/4 t salt
Peel the cucumbers, slice them in half lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Roughly chop the cucumbers and place them in a food processor with the sugar, dill, and salt. Process until completely smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the work bowl as necessary. Refrigerate until cold or overnight.

Stir the chilled mixture, then freeze in 1 or 2 batches in an ice-cream maker according to manufacturer's directions. When finished, the granita will be soft and have the consistency of sorbet. Transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze to harden. To serve, scrape the top of the granita with a heavy ice cream spade or scoop, creating shaved ice crystals. Serve in small, chilled dishes.

Alternately, pour the cucumber mixture into ice cube trays, filling only half way, and freeze until firm. Before serving, process the cucumber ice cubes in a food processor until chopped and slushy. Serve immediately.

Try this light, refreshing, and unusual ice as a summer lunch opener served in a hollowed-out tomato. Or, drizzle with a little buttermilk for a very interesting summer "soup."


Cracked Cucumber Granita: Substitute 1 tablespoon cracked black peppercorns for the dill. Proceed with the recipe as directed.

Cucumber Basil Granita: Omit the dill. Add 8 fresh basil leaves to the food processor along with the cucumber. Proceed with the recipe as directed.

Cucumber Mint Granita: Omit the dill. Add 1 teaspoon fresh mint leaves to the food processor along with the cucumber. Proceed with the recipe as directed. Optional: add 1 tablespoon green creme de menthe before freezing.

Cucumber Thyme Granita: Substitute 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves for the dill. Proceed with the recipe as directed.

Salmon-Cucumber Pate
Salmon-Cucumber Pate
Cucumber Layer:

1 package (8 oz) cream cheese
1/2 c sour cream
1 t salt
6 to 8 drops liquid red pepper seasoning
1 medium-sized cucumber, pared, seeded, and shredded
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 T snipped fresh dill

Salmon Layer:

1 can (16 oz) salmon, drained and skin and bones removed
3/4 c mayonnaise
1/4 c onion, finely chopped
2 T lemon juice
2 T horseradish
2 T parsley, chopped
1 t salt
1/2 t paprika
2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
1/2 c cold water
1 c heavy cream, whipped
Prepare the cucumber layer: Beat the cream cheese in a medium-sized bowl until softened and smooth. Beat in the sour cream, salt, and red pepper seasoning. Stir in the cucumber, onion, and dill. Set aside.

Prepare the salmon layer: Flake or mash the salmon with a fork in a large bowl. Combine the mayonnaise, onion, lemon juice, horseradish, parsley, salt, and paprika. Set aside.

Sprinkle the gelatin over cold water in a 1-cup glass measure, let soften for 5 minutes. Set the cup in simmering water, stir to dissolve the gelatin. Remove from the heat.

Stir 3 T of the gelatin liquid into the cucumber mixture. Wet a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan, or 7 to 8 cup mold, with cool water, and pour the cucumber mixture in. Chill while finishing salmon layer.

Stir the remaining gelatin liquid into the salmon mixture. Fold in the whipped cream. Carefully spoon salmon mixture over the cucumber layer in pan. Cover pan and chill 6 hours or overnight.

To serve, run the tip of a thin-bladed knife around the top edge of the mold. Dip the mold quickly in and out of hot water. Cover with a chilled serving platter, invert, shake gently to remove. Garnish with caviar, cucumber slices, lemon, and dill. Serve with party rye bread and crackers.

From: The Best of Family Circle Cookbook

Cucumber-Seafood Appetizers
Cucumber-Seafood Appetizers


cucumbers (I prefer the english ones)
mild salsa
sour cream
shredded shrimp or crab
tiny shrimp and dill for garnish
Cut cucumbers into 1/2 to 3/4 inch rounds. With a melon baller scoop out the middle without going all the way through, so you have a small cucumber dish. Fill with a mixture of mild salsa, sour cream, and shredded shrimp or crab. Place a dab in each cucumber dish. Top with one tiny shrimp and a sprig of dill. Get imaginative.... experiment with other toppings.

Tapenade in Cucumber


250 g pitted black olives
100 g garlic
100 g anchovy in olive oil
80 g drained capers
60 - 70 ml olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
Ritz crackers (or similar circular, salty crackers)
First, prepare the tapenade. Puree the olives, garlic, anchovy and capers in a food processor until you have a smooth paste of an appetizing colour. Add the olive oil, continue processing for a short while, and the tapenade is ready.

Cut off one end of the cucumber and remove the seeds using a narrow knife. Fill the hollowed cucumber with tapenade.

Press a cracker against the cucumber end, cut off a slice of the cucumber and catch the slice on the cracker. Repeat the procedure until you have enough crackers, each covered with a tapenade-filled cucumber slice.

Any tapenade that is left will keep for at least a week in the fridge and can be used as a spread.

Cucumber and Asparagus Boats


125g cream cheese at room temp.
1 Tbs lemon juice
6 spears cooked asparagus chopped (tinned may be used)
1/4 tsp mild curry powder
1 Tbs poppy seeds
2 med. cucumbers, peeled, quartered and seeded
Blend together cream cheese, lemon juice, asparagus and curry powder in a small bowl. Carefully spoon into cavity of the prepared cucumbers. Sprinkle with poppy seeds. Chill thoroughly. When required, slice into 2.5cm pieces. Insert a tooth pick in the centre of each piece to serve. Makes about 30.

Cucumber Mousse
Cucumber Mousse


1 T plain gelatin
3 T cold water
2 T vinegar, or lemon or lime juice
1 t grated onion
3/4 t salt
1/4 t paprika
1 cup cucumber, pared, seeded, and chopped
1/2 whipping cream
Soak gelatin in water. Dissolve in a saucepan over heat. Add vinegar or juice, onion, salt, and paprika. Chill this mixture until almost set.

Drain cucumbers well. Whip cream until stiff. Beat the gelatin mixture gradually into the cream. Fold in cucumbers. Fill a wet mold with mixture and chill thoroughly. When set, invert onto a platter and garnish.

From: The Joy of Cooking by Rombauer and Becker

Cucumber Aspic


4 cups cucumbers, pared, seeded and grated
2 T plain gelatin
1/2 c cold water or chicken stock
3/4 c boiling water or chicken stock
6 T lemon juice
2 t grated onion
1 t sugar
1/4 t paprika
salt and pepper
sliced tomatoes, watercress, marinated shrimp, mayonnaise (optional)
Soak gelatin in cold water or stock. Dissolve gelatin mixture into boiling water or stock. Add lemon juice and onion. Add gelatin mixture to cucumber pulp with sugar, paprika, and salt and pepper to taste. Strain mixture and fill a wet ring mold or other small mold. Refrigerate until firm.

When jelly is firm, invert onto a serving platter. Fill the center with shrimp, garnish the edges with tomatoes and watercress, and serve with mayonnaise if desired.

From: The Joy of Cooking by Rombauer and Becker

Hot Dishes

Trevally and Cucumber in Cabbage Rolls


8 large outside cabbage leaves (any variety, ie white, savory or chinese)
600g trevally fillets (skinned and boned) (or any mild white fish)
200g cucumber (peeled and sliced)
4 gherkins (sliced thinly)
100g butter
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
Sea salt
2 teaspoons pink peppercorns (if you don't have them don't fret)
Blanch the cabbage leaves for 1 minute in boiling water, then plunge into cold water and drain. In 100g butter softly cook the trevally fillets until half done, then remove.

Lay the cabbage leaves flat. Put some trevally, cucumber and gherkin slices onto each leaf, then sprinkle with spices and drizzle with butter from the pan. Roll up into tight parcels.

To finish cooking use either a steamer, or pan with 1/2 cm of water and a lid, over moderate heat.

Serve with a fresh tomato sauce. Makes 4 servings. You can substitute sea bass or any mild, flaky fish for the trevally.

Baked Cucumbers


1 medium cucumber
mixed herbs
Wash then cut a medium cucumber in half, remove ends, slice each half lengthwise into six [6] wedges and place them in a casserole dish. Cover with knobs of butter and fresh herbs of your choice, add lid and microwave for three [3] minutes.

Thai Fish Cakes with Cucumber Sauce (Tod Mun)

Fish Cakes:

1/2 lb firm white fish fillet
3 oz fresh string beans, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1 stalk lemon grass, very finely sliced
1 T cilantro, finely chopped
1 or 2 finely minced asian bird chiles or serranos
1-2 T fish sauce
1 egg
2 T cornstarch
1/4 t sugar
oil for frying

Cucumber Sauce:

1 cucumber
5 tbsp sugar
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 tsp sea salt
3-5 asian bird peppers or 2-3 serranos, pref. red, finely chopped
3 shallots, finely chopped
Prepare sauce: Thinly slice cucumber, arrange in bowl; peeling is optional. Dissolve sugar in the boiling water. Stir in vinegar and salt. Pour this sauce over cucumber. Sprinkle with the chopped chiles and shallots. Chill. Mince the fish. Combine it with the string beans, onion, lemon grass, cilantro, chiles, fish sauce, slightly beaten egg, cornstarch and sugar. Blend well.

Shape fish mixture into patties 2" in diameter, 1/2" thick. Preheat oil to 350 degrees F. Fry just a few at a time until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.

Serve fish patties warm, with cucumber sauce. Garnish with sprigs of cilantro, if you like it, right before serving

Indonesian Fried Tofu with Cucumbers and Sprouts


2 c mung bean sprouts
3 cakes tofu, pressed and patted dry
vegetable oil
4-5 servings cooked rice
1-2 small cucumbers, cut in half, seeded and sliced
peanuts, toasted and chopped


2/3 c light soy sauce
3-4 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 T minced onion, shallot, or scallions
1-2 small chiles, minced (deseeded for less spicy)
1/4 c fresh lemon or lime juice
1/2 to 1 t sugar
In a small bowl, mix together sauce ingredients and taste to get a pleasing balance of hot, salty, and sour. Sweeten with sugar if you like. Everything else in this dish is bland, so the sauce should be intense.

Blanch the mung sprouts by placing them in a strainer and pouring boiling water over them. Immediately plunge them into a bowl of very cold water. When the sprouts are cold, drain thoroughly.

Cut each cake of tofu horizontally into thirds, and then cut each piece diagonally both ways to form triangles. Pat the tofu dry again. Heat about one inch of oil in a wok ar 1/2 inch in a shallow frying pan and, when it is hot, fry the tofu, a few pieces at a time, until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. The advantage of a wok is that you can use less oil, but you will fight to keep the pieces from sticking to one another. In a skillet you use more oil, but the tofu pieces won't stick together. If they stick to the bottom, just scrape them up with a thin metal spatula.

On a platter or individual plates, place first some rice and then the fried tofu with a drizzle of the sauce. Add the cucumber and mung sprouts and pour on some more of the sauce. Reserve some sauce to pass at the table. When you are ready to serve the dish, garnish it with a sprinkling of peanuts.

Cucumber as a Garnish
Cucumber as a Garnish

Cucumber-Carrot Pinwheels

whole cucumbers, unpeeled
whole carrots, peeled
Cut cucumber in 3" lengths. Hollow out seeded middle section. Push a carrot into the hollowed out center of the cucumber. Slice the cucumber/carrot wheels into 1/2-inch slices. You end up with a cucumber slice with a carrot center. Looks very attractive as a garnish and is fat free and tasty!!

Editor's note: Try scoring the cucumber skin before using them in this recipe: run a fork lengthwise down the cucumber skin all around the cucumber. Actually, this method makes pretty cucumber slices with or without skin.

Cucumber Fans

whole cucumbers, peeled or unpeeled
Slice cucumber in half lengthwise. Cut grooves in the skin with a citrus zester/groove tool. Cut four thin slices at a 45' angle, but held together in one corner. The fan is mooshed on to the plate to make an ornamental fan. If you have a very sharp knife and a steady hand, it's really quite easy.

Cucumber Lily


cucumbers, unpeeled
carrot sticks
Slice unpeeled cucumber thinly. Gently fold one cucumber slice around the base of the carrot stick. Fold a second slice around the stick from the other side. These form the lily petals, with the carrot stamen in the center. Fasten with a pick, being careful to watch all four lapped edges of the cucumber as well as piercing the carrot stick.

Wrap flowers lightly in a moistened paper towel and refrigerate until ready to use as a garnish
Cucumber Drinks

Cucumber Cocktail

1 kiwi, peeled and sliced
2 c diced cucumber
1/4 c water
1 T lemon juice
dash salt
1 c ice; finely chopped
Mix in blender until smooth.

Cucumber-Lemon Spritzer

3/4 cup water
6 tablespoons brown sugar
1-1/2 cups diced peeled cucumber
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
2 cups sparkling water, chilled
1 small cucumber, cut lengthwise into 4 spears
1. Combine 3/4 cup water and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil; cook until sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; cool.

2. Place sugar mixture, diced cucumber, lemon juice, and ginger in a blender; process until smooth. Cover and chill.

3. Combine cucumber mixture and sparkling water in a pitcher; stir gently with a whisk until blended. Serve over ice; garnish each glass with a cucumber spear, if desired. Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 cup).

Cucumber Lemonade (Agua de Pepino)

1 cucumber, peeled and cubed
1 lemon
5 c water
Sugar to taste
Add cucumber and water to a blender and puree. Strain. Add juice of lemon and sugar to taste. Serve over ice.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Soothing Herbal Tea - Relief for many ailments

Assorted herbal tea

2 oz Malva flowers
1 ½ oz Mullein flowers

Use 2 tbs of mixture per 1 cup hot water. Steep 10 minutes; strain.

8 oz Peppermint leaves
8 oz Lemon Balm leaves
8 oz Fennel seeds

Use 1 tsp of mixture per 1 cup boiling water. Steep 10 minutes; strain.

2 tsp Angelica root
2 tsp Lemon Balm leaves
½ tsp Fennel seed

Bring Angelica root to a simmer in 4 cups water. Turn off heat,add lemon balm & lemon; steep 10 minutes & strain.

½ tsp dried Ginger root
½ tsp Clove blossoms
1 tsp Chamomile flowers

Pour 1 cup boiling water over herbs. Steep 10 minutes, strain & let cool.

1 1/3 oz. St. John's Wort
1 oz. Lemon Balm Leaves
1 oz. Valerian

Use 1 tsp of the herb mixture per cup of boiling water. Steep for 10 min., strain, sweeten if necessary. Drink a cup before going to bed each night for several weeks to calm nerves, lift depression, and help you fall asleep more easily.
Herbal tea

1 ½ oz Peppermint leaves
1 ½ oz Lemon Balm leaves

Use 1 tsp of mixture per 1 cup boiling water. Steep 10 minutes & strain.

1 oz Lemon balm
1 oz Chamomile flowers
½ oz St Johns Wort

Steep 2 tbs of mixture in 1 cup boiled water. Cover 10 minutes; strain.

1 ½ oz dried Vervain leaves
1 oz Chamomile
½ oz Spearmint

Mix all and add to 1 cup boiling water. Steep 8 minutes; strain.

1 2/3 oz dried St Johns Wort
1 oz Valerian
1 oz Linden flowers
1/4 oz Juniper berries

Use 1 tsp of mixture per 1 cup boiling water. Steep 10 minutes & strain.

1 oz Blackberry leaves
1 oz Elder flowers
1 oz Linden flowers
1 oz Peppermint leaves

Pour 1 cup boiling water over 2 tbs mixture. Cover & steep 10 minutes; strain.

1 oz dried Blueberries
1 oz dried Blueberry leaves
1 oz Licorice root

Add 3 tbs mixture to 2 cups cold water. Bring to boil, lower heat & simmer 10 minutes; strain.

Green Tea

1 tsp Green Tea leaves

Simmer 1 cup water & pour over leaves. Cover & let stand 4 minutes.

2 tsp dried Catnip
1 tsp dry Vervain

Pour 2 cups boiling water over herbs. Steep 10 minutes & strain.

1/2 cup dried Red Rose petals
2 tablespoons dried Lemon Balm
1 tablespoon dried Rosemary

Mix well. Use 1 teaspoon for each cup.

2 cups dried Orange Mint leaves
8 teaspoons China Tea
1 teaspoon ground Cloves
1 cup dried Calendula petals
1 tablespoon dried Orange rind
1 tablespoon dried Lemon rind

Store mixture in airtight container.

1 cup good Black tea
1/2 cup dried Rose petals
2 tablespoons dried Jasmine flowers
1 tablespoon dried Orange peel, freshly grated
1 tablespoon Cassia Bark, crumbled
3 sticks Cinnamon bark, crumbled
4 whole Star Anise
1 tablespoon ground Nutmeg
1 teaspoon whole Cloves, freshly crushed

Mix all ingredients in a mixing bowl with your hands. Store in airtight tins. Use one heaping tablespoon per pot.

Relieve for many ailments

2 teaspoons dried Lemon-Balm leaves
1 cup boiling water

Steep the leaves in the boiling water, covered, for 10 to 15 minutes. Strain. Drinking this infusion will help relieve menstrual cramps, but take no more than 2-3 cups a day.

Do not drink more than 2 cups a day.
2 teaspoons dried German Chamomile flowers
1 cup boiling water

Steep the flowers in the boiling water, covered, for 15 minutes. Strain, then slowly sip the infusion to relieve nausea, stomach upset, and lessen menstrual cramps.


1 teaspoon dried Red Clover blossoms
1 cup boiling water

Add the blossoms to the boiling water. Cover and steep for 15 minutes. Strain, then sip. This infusion acts as a tonic specially suited for women.

1 teaspoon crushed Fennel seeds
1 cup boiling water

Mix the seeds with the boiling water. Cover and steep for 10 minutes. Strain, and sip the infusion. Drinking a tea made with fennel helps to promote the secretion of breast milk in nursing mothers.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Soups and Broths - Mouthwatering recipes from many different nations

For those of you who love soups and broth, here are some famous soups and broths from many different nations.

Scotch Broth Soup Recipe
Scotch Broth

Traditionally Scotch Broth is a bit of everything thrown into the pot and is quite a filling soup. In olden days Scots would eat this as a main meal. In modern times many Scottish households still serve Scotch Broth as a main meal rather than a starter soup. Ingredients can be substituted depending on your own tastes. It's best made the day before to allow the full flavour to soak through. We make a huge pot of it and boil it up each day, adding more tatties and water as needed. It is very warming when eaten during the winter and is popular on New Year’s Day. Scotch broth soup is sometimes called Barley Broth soup.


1kg neck of mutton or lamb (my mum sometimes uses chicken)
75g pearl barley
1 large onion
75g split peas or fresh peas
1 large leek
3 wee neeps (turnip)
1 swede
water depending on thickness required - try 2.5 litres
3 carrots
2 tablespoons of freshly chopped parsley
salt and pepper
small cabbage (optional)


1. Pre soak the barley and split peas

2. Chop all the vegetables

3. Melt a wee bit of lard/cooking oil and add the chopped onion. Once softened add the water and meat (you can just add stock rather than boil meat) and boil, skimming off any fatty deposits from the top.

4. After boiling for about half an hour add the barley and peas and simmer for another 30 minutes.

5. Add the remaining vegetables.

6. If used, remove the bone and strip off the meat and return this to the pot.

7. Give the dog the bone once it's cooled!

8. Add parsley before serving. Great with warmed bread rolls.

9. If making a big pot full it'll keep out provided you boil and stir each day.

Classic Jewish Chicken Soup
Jewish Chicken Soup

Makes a nice big pot of cure a cold, feel-good, Friday Night chicken soup. If you are looking for crisp veggies and a light, clear broth, this is not the recipe you want. Long cooking allows for the flavor of the veggies and chicken to really penetrate the broth (leaving the veggies quite soft), and keeping the cover off concentrates the flavors further. Add fine egg noodles or kreplach (Jewish meat dumplings) and you'll want to dive into the bowl! Enjoy!

20 cups cold water
8 bottom chicken quarters
4 large carrots, cut to 2 . 5 "x. 5-inch pieces
3 stalks celery, cut like carrots
2 parsnips, cut like carrots
1 turnip, cubed (bite-sized)
2 large onions, cut in half
1 bunch parsley (tied up)
1 bunch dill (tied up)
salt & pepper or chicken bouillon


1 Bring water to boil, add chicken, return to boil (covered).

2 Add all vegetables except for parsley & dill and allow to cook on medium to low heat, uncovered, until reduced by about half (2-3 hours). You may skim during the cooking or refrigerate the finished soup and remove the solidified fat.

3 Add parsley & dill and cook for 20 minutes, then remove the herbs and discard.

4 Season soup with salt & pepper or boullion powder to taste. If soup is too strong, add water. If it is too weak let it boil out longer (uncovered).

5 Remove from heat and allow to cool.

6 Remove the chicken and separate out the meat into bite sized pieces (shreds). Return the chicken pieces to the pot. Serve immediately or freeze.

Traditional Ecuadorian Soups

Soup is a necessary part of almost every Ecuadorian meal. The following recipes are quick to make and use staples of a typical Ecuadorian diet.

Quick Oatmeal Soup (Sopa de avena)
Oatmeal is part of a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet, rich with vitamins E and D, and other minerals such as zinc, copper, and iron. It is also a good source of soluble fiber. This quick soup recipe uses oatmeal in a tasty new way, and is easy to make.


4 c. beef or chicken broth
2-3 tbs oatmeal (not instant)
½ tsp cumin
dash annatto oil (color) (optional)
salt to taste
2 potatoes, quartered

1. Boil the broth and oatmeal in a large Dutch oven until thickened (depending on the altitude, this may take anywhere from 10-20 minutes).

2. Strain the soup. Toss the oatmeal pulp and put the broth into another pot. Add the cumin, color, salt and potatoes. Simmer 3-5 minutes longer or until potatoes are soft.

3. Serve immediately.

Easy Grated Plantain Soup (Rebanado de verde)

Plantains (sometimes referred to as cooking bananas) are common fare in Ecuadorian cuisine, used in place of potatoes or rice. Plantain soups are rich in potassium and vitamins B6 and C, as well as a good source of fiber.


6 c. chicken broth
1 onion, quartered
½ green pepper
1 tsp salt
½ tsp cumin
dash annatto oil (color) (optional)
1 plantain, shredded
¾ c. fresh farmer’s cheese, cubed

1. Make the stock by adding the first 5 ingredients to a large Dutch oven and boiling for about 15 minutes. Strain and return to the pot.

2. Add the color and shredded plantain. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the soup gets cloudy and a bit thickened.

3. Put 1-2 tbs cubed cheese in the bottom of each dish. Serve the soup over the cheese.

Bread soup (Sopa de pan)

This recipe is great for times when you have leftover bread. French bread works best, although any stale, crusty bread can substitute for it.


6 c. water
1 onion, quartered
½ green pepper
1 tsp salt
dash annatto oil (color) (optional)
2 c. milk
day old bread (1-2 rolls or servings per plate, torn into medium-sized pieces)
¾ c. fresh farmer’s cheese, cubed
1 egg per serving


1. Make the stock by combining the first 5 ingredients. Let boil for about 10-15 minutes.

2. While the stock boils, add the stale bread and 1-2 tbs of cubed cheese to each serving bowl. Set aside.

3. Add the milk and let simmer for another 5-10 minutes.

4. Just before serving, add a serving of the soup to a separate, smaller pot (about 2 cups). Over medium low heat, break an egg into the smaller pot and boil until just set (about 5 minutes). Keep the egg from sticking to the bottom of the pan by gently stirring the soup.

5. Once the egg is set, pour the contents of the smaller pot over the bread and cheese in the soup dish, trying not to break the egg yolk. Repeat steps 4 and 5 for each serving.

Traditional Greek Easter Soup
Traditional Greek Easter Soup

The main Easter meal (on Easter Sunday) has traditionally been an occasion to slaughter a lamb or goat, and this soup was designed to use the leftover parts so that nothing went to waste. This soup is prepared on Holy Saturday and eaten to break the fast after midnight church services. Traditionally, the soup is put on low heat to cook before leaving for church, and eaten on return. The recipe includes ingredients used in Greece.

Cook Time: 2 hours, 20 minutes

About 2 pounds of lamb or kid offal (liver, heart, lungs, and other organs)
Intestines from 2 lambs or kids
juice of 2 lemons
1 onion, finely chopped
5-6 green onions, finely chopped
1/3 cup of olive oil
2-3 rounded tablespoons of fresh dill, finely chopped
2 heads of romaine lettuce, well washed and finely chopped
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons of short grain rice, well rinsed

juice of 2 lemons
3 eggs at room temperature, separated
1 tablespoon of water

Wash the organs and set aside to drain. Cut the intestines lengthwise with a scissors and clean well under running water. Rub them with coarse sea salt and the lemon juice, then clean again under running water. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the organs. Boil for about 3 minutes then add the intestines and boil for another 5 minutes. Drain and chop into small pieces.

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy-bottomed soup pot. Sauté the onion and green onion for 2-3 minutes. Add the meat and sauté until browned (a few minutes). Add dill, salt, pepper, and 10 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a slow boil and cook for 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Add the chopped lettuce to a large pot of boiling water and boil for 5 minutes. Transfer to a colander to drain. 40 minutes after the soup has been slow boiling, stir in the lettuce.

10 minutes before the end of cooking time, stir in the rice.

At the end of cooking time, remove the soup from the heat.

Make the avgolemono (egg-lemon sauce): Beat the egg whites until frothy. Continue beating and add the egg yolks, 1 tablespoon of water, the lemon juice and several large spoonfuls of the soup broth. The key is to beat continuously. Add mixture to the soup, stir, and cover the pot with a towel. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Yield: serves 8

Cabbage Soup

1/2 medium head of chopped cabbage
4 large cubed carrots
4 stalks of cubed celery
1 sweet minced onion
3 c. of vegetable broth
1 (14.5 oz.) can of chicken broth
1 (14.5 oz.) can of peeled and diced tomatoes
3/4 c. of ketchup
1 1/2 c. of tomato-vegetable juice cocktail

First put cabbage(chopped) in a large soup pot.

Next you want to microwave chppped carrot in 2 tbsp. of water for approx. 6 min.

Then microwave chopped celery in 2 tbs. of water for 4 min.

Add the vegetables into the large pot.

To this add sweet onion, celery, and the ketchup.

Now add the cocktail, chicken and vegetable broth, and the tomatoes.

Then add around 2 cans of water to the mixture.

Bring flame to medium, letting the mixture cook for around 20 min.

Now reduce to low for approx. 2 to 3 hrs.

Ladle into bowls and serve!

French Onion Soup
French Onion Soup

many recipes for French Onion soup skimp on the time to caramelize the onions, but the lengthy caramelization is what provides that amazing depth in a loving, patiently prepared, French Onion Soup.
Keep an eye on your onions when cooking, if you notice there is too much liquid in the pan turn up the heat and make sure you dry them out a little otherwise they will boil instead of caramelize.


For the Soup
4 lbs yellow onions
4 ounces butter
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons flour
32 ounces beef stock

For the Croutons
1 baguette
12 ounces gruyere cheese, finely grated
olive oil
kosher salt


1 For the Soup:.
2 Cut of tops and bottoms of the onions, then cut the onions lengthwise in half.
3 Remove the peels and tough outer layers. Cut a V wedge in each one to remove the core.
4 Lay an onion half cut side down on a cutting board with the root end towards you. Note that there are lines on the outside of the onion. Cutting on the lines (with the grain) rather than against them will help the onions soften.
5 Melt the butter in a large heavy stockpot over a medium heat.
6 Add the onions and 1 tablespoon salt, and reduce the heat to low.
7 Cook stirring every 15 minutes and regulating the heat to keep the mixture bubbling gently, for about 1 hour, or until the onions have wilted and released a lot of liquid.
8 Continue to stir the onions every 15 minutes being sure to scrape the bottom and corners of the pot, for about 3 hours or until the onions are caramelized throughout.
9 Sift in the flour and cook over a medium-high heat, stirring for 2 to 3 minutes.
10 Add the beef stock, bring to a simmer, and simmer for about 1 hour.
11 Season to taste with salt, pepper.

12 For the Croutons:.
13 Preheat the broiler/grill.
14 Cut 12 3/8 inch thick slices from the baguette (reserve the remainder for another use) and place on a baking sheet.
15 Brush the bread lightly on both sides with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt.
16 Place under the broiler/grill and toast the first side until golden brown then turn and brown the second side.
17 Set aside and leave the broiler on.

18 To Complete:.
19 Place six flameproof soup bowls, with about 1 ½ cups capacity on a baking sheet to catch any spills. Add the hot soup to the bowls and lay the croutons on top.
20 Cover with Gruyere.
21 Place under the grill for a few minutes until the cheese bubbles, browns and forms a thick crust.
22 Eat carefully the soup will be very hot.

23 Cooks Note: One of the most unpleasant tasks associated with French Onion soup is chopping the mounds of onions required. I've found that if I wear my sunglasses, pushed as far up my nose as possible, the tears never really come. When sliced, onions produce a gas that mixes with your natural tears creating an acid very similar to sulfuric acid. By wearing the sunglasses so close to your eyes it doesn't allow the gas to get inches Works like a charm!

Acquacotta, the Stone Soup - Traditional Recipe from Tuscany

Though the famous popular Acquacotta soup has a very mysterious and unusual name, it is a well-known soup dish that originates from the Maremma area of Tuscany. The Italian name of this soup literally means “cooked water”.

Legend has it that the inventors of this dish, the herdsmen and coal men of Maremma, were accustomed to frequent journeys, and thus normally traveled with stale bread, dried meat, oil, garlic, onion, and a few herbs, in order to prepare acquacotta.

(serves 4)

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: about 1 hour
Recipe grading: fairly easy


- 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 onions, thinly sliced
- 2 cups (10 oz - 300 g) fresh or frozen peas
- 1 and 1/4 cups (l7 oz - 200 g) freshly hulled broad beans
- 1 medium carrot, sliced
- 1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
- 1 crumbled dried chili pepper
- salt to taste
- 12 oz - 300 g trimmed young Swiss chard or spinach leaves, washed and shredded
- 10 oz - 300 g firm, ripe tomatoes, skinned and chopped
- 6 and 1/2 cups (2 and 1/2 pints - 1.5 liters) boiling water
- 4 large fresh eggs
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup (2 oz - 60 g) freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino cheese
- 4 slices firm-textured white bread, 2 days old
- 1 clove garlic

Suggested wine: any dry white wine


Pour the oil into a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add the onions, peas, fava beans, carrot, celery, chili pepper, and a dash of salt.

Sauté for about 10 minutes until tender and lightly browned. Add the chard or spinach and the tomatoes and simmer for 15 minutes.

Pour in the boiling water and leave to simmer gently for 40 minutes, adding more salt if necessary.

Using a fork or balloon whisk, beat the eggs with salt, pepper, and the grated Parmigiano or pecorino cheese.

Toast the bread and when golden brown, rub both sides of each slice with the garlic. Place a slice in each soup bowl or in individual straight-sided earthenware dishes, and pour a quarter of the beaten egg mixture over each serving.

Give the soup a final stir and then ladle into the bowls. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and add a pinch of pepper.

Feta Haroof wa Khubz
(Lamb and Bread Soup)

Egyptian recipe can be eaten as a main course.

Serves 6

1 1/2 pound lean lamb meat without bones

2 medium onions, chopped fine

Fresh ground black pepper

6 cups plus 3/4 c. water, divided

1/2 cup rice

1/4 c. plus 2 Tablespoons ghee or butter, separated

3 large cloves garlic, crushed

1/4 c. wine vinegar

2 rounds flat bread, toasted

Cut lamb into 1 inch cubes and place in a large pot with 6 cups of the water. Bring slowly to a boil, skimming occasionally. Add onion, salt and pepper. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 1 1/2 hours or until meat is tender yet not falling apart. Meanwhile wash and drain the rice. In a medium saucepan boil one cup of water add 1 Tablespoon of ghee and 1/2 teaspoon of salt, than the rice. Bring back to a boil, stirring occasionally. Cover and simmer over low heat 15-20 minutes until tender.

Using a slotted spoon remove meat from cooking liquid. In a separate skillet melt 1 Tablespoon of ghee, add the meat and fry it a few minutes. Remove from heat. Set aside and keep it warm.

In the same frying pan used for the meat melt 1/4 cup of ghee over medium high heat. Add the garlic and sauté until it begins to take on color. Remove skillet from heat. Stir vinegar into the skillet. Return to heat and boil a few seconds. Set this mixture aside.

Place 1 round of toasted khoudiz in a large casserole or soup tureen. Spoon some of the garlic mixture over the bread then add half of the cooked rice. Pour some of the soup broth over top of this. Place second round of toasted bread then the remaining rice. Place fried lamb cubes on top the fried lamb. Top this off with the remaining garlic mixture.

Pour the remaining soup broth over this. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley.

Note: adding a clove to boiling water will help to cover the aroma of boiling lamb if desired

Moroccan Spiced Soup (Harira) - Vegetarian version
This is a simplified vegetarian adaptation of the classical Moroccan soup, Harira, which is often served in the evening as a fast-breaker (buka puasa in Malay, iftar in Arabic) during Ramadan. The version commonly served in Moroccan households usually contains lamb or chicken.

Ingredients (serves 4-6)
1 large onion, chopped
1.2 litres/2 pints/5 cups vegetable stock
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cayenne pepper or chilli powder
2 carrots, diced
2 celery sticks, diced
400 gm/14 oz can chopped tomatoes
450 gm/1 lb floury potatoes, peeled and diced
5 strands saffron
400 gm/14 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves
1 tbsp lemon juice
salt and freshly ground black pepper
wedges of lemon, fried in olive oil for a few minutes, to serve

Place the onion in a large pot with 300 ml/½ pint/1¼ cups of the vegetable stock. Simmer gently for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix the ground spices and 2 tbsp of stock to form a paste. Stir into the onion mixture with the carrots, celery and remaining stock.

Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat, then cover and gently simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and potatoes and simmer gently, covered, for 20 minutes. Add the saffron, chickpeas, chopped coriander and lemon juice. Season to taste and serve hot, with the fried wedges of lemon.

Barley Soup
Great served with a fresh salad and feta cheese
Serves 4-6

1 cup dried barley

1/2 c dried lentils

6 cup water

3 small diced onions

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 teaspoon of dried mint

1 teaspoon of turmeric

1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper

1 cup of cooked chick peas

Fry onions in hot olive oil until golden. Combine in a large saucepan all ingredients except for the chic peas. Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat and simmer approximately 1 to 1 1/2 hours, stir occasionally.

Add chic peas near end of cooking time.

Mediterranean Leek and Fish Soup with Tomatoes and Garlic
Mediterranean Leek and Fish Soup

This chunky soup, which is almost a stew, makes a robust and wonderfully aromatic meal in a bowl. Serve it with toasted French bread spread with a spicy garlic mayonnaise or aioli.

Ingredients (serves 4)
30 ml/2 tbsp olive oil
2 large thick leeks, white and green parts separated, both thinly sliced
5 ml/1 tsp crushed coriander seeds
good pinch of dried red chilli flakes (or grind 1 dried red chilli)
300 gm/1 1 oz small new or salad potatoes, thickly sliced (peeled if preferred)
200 gm/7 oz Italian peeled chopped plum tomatoes
600 ml/2½ cups fish stock
150 ml/ 2/3 cup fruity white wine
1 bay leaf (preferably fresh)
1 star anise
strip of pared orange rind
good pinch of saffron strands (about 12-15 strands)
450 gm/1 lb white fish fillets (suggested: cod, haddock, monkfish, sea bass)
450 gm/1 lb small squid, cleaned
250 gm/9 oz uncooked peeled prawns
2-3 tbsp chopped parsley
salt and freshly ground black pepper

To serve, 1 French loaf (baguette) sliced and toasted
Spicy garlic mayonnaise or aioli

Gently heat the oil in a pan, then add the green part of the leeks, the coriander and the chilli, and cook for 5 minutes

Add the potatoes and tomatoes and pour in the stock and wine. Add the bay leaf, star anise, orange rind and saffron.

Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and part-cover the pan. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Cut the fish into chunks. Cut the squid sacs into rectangles and score a criss-cross pattern into them without cutting right through.

Add the fish to the stew and cook gently for 4 minutes. Add the prawns and cook for 1 minute. Add the squid and the shredded white part of the leek and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Do not overcook or the squid will be tough.

Stir in the chopped parsley and serve with the toasted French bread and spicy garlic mayonnaise/aioli.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Fresh Minty Recipes - Makes scent and sense with these lovely recipes

Fresh Mint
Here are some easy ways to use mint:

Use sprigs of mint as a pretty garnish for a special dessert.

For a casual arrangement for your dining room or kitchen table, fill an attractive glass or ceramic pitcher, vase, or other container with water. Add several long sprigs of fresh mint (being sure to strip away any mint leaves that would be covered by the water). The mint will add color to the room, scent the air, and even help keep pesky ants away.

Mint Tea

Put a few fresh spearmint or peppermint sprigs in a teapot with your favorite tea. Let steep for 2-3 minutes and serve.

Pot your favorite mint in a pretty container on your front porch to provide a welcoming fresh scent to anyone who comes to visit.

Add chopped mint leaves to scrambled eggs, omelettes, quiches, or souffles.

Mix mint in with your regular tabbouleh recipe for a refreshing summer salad.

Add mint to cooked peas, carrots, or potatoes at the end of the cooking process, then discard the mint leaves before serving the vegetables.

Make frozen mint cubes to use in many of your favorite foods and beverages. Finely chop some mint sprigs, then stuff them into ice cube trays, and fill each section of the tray with water. Freeze. When frozen, empty the trays into freezer bags. Use the mint cubes for iced tea or other beverages, or put a few cubes in your favorite casserole or stew.

More Minty Recipes

Mint Tea Punch

"Tea, mint, sugar, orange and lemon juices make this a quick and easy, refreshingly delicious drink on a hot summer's day, given to me by a true Southern lady. Goes great with Cajun or spicy foods too. Every time I serve this someone asks me for the recipe!"

3 cups boiling water
12 sprigs fresh mint
4 tea bags
1 cup white sugar
1 cup orange juice
1/4 cup lemon juice
5 cups cold water
3 orange slices for garnish (optional)
3 lemon slices for garnish (optional)

Place the tea bags and mint sprigs into a large pitcher. Pour boiling water over them, and allow to steep for about 8 minutes. Remove and discard the tea bags and mint leaves, squeezing out excess liquid. Stir in sugar until dissolved, then stir in the orange juice and lemon juice. Pour in the cold water. Serve over ice cubes, garnished with orange or lemon slices.

Chocolate Mint Cookies

3/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons water
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
36 chocolate mint wafer candies

In a large pan over low heat, cook butter, sugar and water until butter is melted. Add chocolate chips and stir until partially melted. Remove from heat and continue to stir until chocolate is completely melted. Pour into a large bowl and let stand 10 minutes to cool off slightly.
At high speed, beat in eggs, one at a time into chocolate mixture. Reduce speed to low and add dry ingredients, beating until blended. Chill dough about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Roll dough into balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake 8-10 minutes. While cookies are baking unwrap mints and divide each in half. When cookies are brought out of the oven, put 1/2 mint on top of each cookie. Let the mint sit for up to 5 minutes until melted, then spread the mint on top of the cookie. Eat and enjoy!

Minted Sugar Snap Peas

1-1/2 pounds sugar snap peas, trimmed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons finely shredded fresh mint leaves, divided

In a kettle of salted boiling water cook the snap peas for 1 to 3 minutes, or until they are crisp-tender, drain them, and plunge them into a bowl of ice and cold water to stop the cooking. Drain the peas well.
In a large skillet melt the butter, add 1 tablespoon of the mint, the peas, and salt and pepper to taste, and heat the mixture over moderately low heat, stirring, until the peas are heated through.
Sprinkle the peas with the remaining 1 tablespoon mint and serve.

Serves 4 to 6.

Apple Mint Chutney


5 Lb Tart Apples -- Peeled, Small Dice
2 2/3 C Light Brown Sugar
2 1/2 C Cider Vinegar
2 C Onion -- Chopped Fine
1 1/4 C Dates -- Pitted And Chopped
1 C Golden Raisins
1 Tbsp Salt
1 Tbsp Ground Ginger
4 Tbsp Fresh Mint -- Chopped Fine

Bring to a simmer in a stainless steel pot. Stir often, cook approximately 1 1/4 hour until thick and golden brown.
Stir in mint and let cool.

Apple-Mint Jelly


4 cup Apple juice
1 1/2 cup Fresh mint leaves
2 tbl Lemon juice
1 pkt Powdered fruit pectin
5 1/4 cup Sugar
Green food coloring

Method :
In a Dutch oven, combine apple juice, mint leaves, lemon juice, and pectin over medium-high heat. Bring to a rolling boil. Add sugar. Stirring constantly, bring to a rolling boil again and boil 1 minute. Remove from heat; skim off foam. Strain mixture; discard mint leaves. Tint jelly green. Pour into heat-resistant jars with lids. Store in refrigerator.
Yield: about 3 pints jelly.
Tasty Christmas Gifts.

Apple Raisin and Mint Salsa

Ingredients :

1/2 cup raisins
2 lrg crisp, green apples, such as Granny Smith
1 x to 2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 sm mild onion or 4 green onions, finely chopped
Leaves from 1 large bunch fresh mint
1 tbl clear honey

Method :
Place raisins in small bowl, cover with boiling water; leave five minutes to plump. Drain well on paper towels.

Peel apples, if desired, then remove cores and chop. In medium bowl, toss apples, lemon juice and onion or green onions together.

Reserve a few mint leaves for garnish. Chop remaining mint very finely. Stir into apple mixture with raisins and honey and stir well. Spoon into serving bowl and garnish with reserved mint
leaves. Serve within 30 minutes.

This recipe is from "The Book of Dips and Salsas." It goes well with chicken or duck. It could be saved for apple-picking season.

Makes: 6 servings

Arabic Sesame Lamb Meatballs with Mint Yoghurt

Ingredients :

1 sm minced onion
1 lrg garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp dried mint, crumbled
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground allspice
a pinch of cinnamon
1/2 kg minced lamb
1 cup fine fresh bread crumbs
1 lrg egg, beaten lightly
2 tbl dried currants, (optional)
1/4 cup black sesame seeds**
1/4 cup white sesame seeds, toasted lightly
2 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup packed fresh mint leaves, chopped
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste

Method :

Saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil in a non-stick frypan until golden then transfer the mixture to a bowl and add the mint,, salt, allspice, cinnamon, lamb, breadcrumbs, egg and currants (if using) and using your hands, combine the ingredients thoroughly.

Shape the mince mixture into tablespoon size balls and set aside.

Roll half the meatballs in black sesame seeds and roll the remainder in white sesame seeds. Transfer the meatballs to a baking tray and bake at 220c. for 10 minutes until golden and cooked through. Alternatively, you can pan fry the meatballs in olive or peanut oil.

To make the yoghurt, transfer the yoghurt mixture to a sieve that has been lined with some muslin or cheesecloth and set over a bowl, covered and chilled for three hours.

Discard the liquid in the bowl and transfer yoghurt cheese to bowl. Add fresh mint and salt and stir well. Serve the cooked meatballs with the yoghurt.