Tag Archives: Mint

Garlic Mint Shoulder Roast

Recipes posted a year ago:

With me working lots of long hours the past six months, we seem to have had a bit of a pattern emerge with our weekends – Sunday has become “roast day.”  It turns out to be the one day where we seem to have enough time to get a large cut of meat fully thawed (starting the night before) and cooked on the grill or in the oven.  This past Sunday was no exception…

With spring finally “officially” here, and with a mix of weather that certainly shows promise of an end to the gray and gloom, we also see the trees, flowers, and herbs showing signs of new life.  Among those herbs is mint – whose flavor is traditionally paired with lamb this time of year.  Rather than lamb, I decided to give mint a twist and try it with one of the elk shoulder roasts we had in the freezer from this past fall.

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Merlot-Braised Rhubarb

Rhubarb has always had a bit of a special place in my memories.  As a kid, we had a huge garden with all of the typical garden plants: carrots, peas, beans, corn, pumpkins (growing among the corn), lettuce, beets, broccoli, and plenty other things I don’t remember.  Along the outside edge of the garden was a row of assorted apple trees, and even a cherry tree (although the birds usually got more of the cherries than we did).  At the other side of the garden was a raspberry patch with a mix of both red and yellow raspberries.  There was a patch of mint, and strawberries.  And there was a rhubarb patch.

A simple snack my mom would give us in the summer was a stalk of rhubarb and a small cup of honey.  Dip the end in honey, then take a bite.  Repeat…but don’t go overboard with the honey (you didn’t get any more when it was gone – but we weren’t worried about double-dipping either).  If we were out playing in the garden, we’d often skip the honey and simply chop off a stalk and share it – enjoying the tart bite and celery-like crunch.  We’d take the giant leaves from the ends of the biggest stalks (don’t eat them – they’re poisonous!) and wear them upside down on our heads – pretending we were visitors from far-off Asian lands (quite a stretch of imagination for two blue-eyed toe-heads from North Idaho).  Then there was strawberry-rhubarb pies and jam, and often a large yellow GOTT-style cooler filled with a chopped rhubarb must and cheesecloth over the top.  In fact, years later, it would be the finished product of that same fermenting rhubarb that would provide me with my first bona fide hangover…though I won’t divulge here the specifics of that encounter.

As the years have passed, however, I haven’t run across rhubarb often.  I will see it in the stores on occasion, but usually only limp skinny stalks hiding next to the anemic green beans and not looking very tasty.  Or I’ll see some fresh at the farmer’s market, only to hesitate from buying it because I didn’t have a specific purpose to use it (and eating a whole bunch of it raw by myself might be likened to eating a whole bag of raw lemons).  That was until recently, when I ran across an idea that gave me reason to search out some fresh rhubarb (and this time of the year is when it is the best to pick) and rediscover a little bit of my childhood…with a little adult twist.

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Mint Vinaigrette

Here’s a great easy dressing for salads that would also go well over a variety of other veggies like steamed broccoli, riced cauliflower, or blanched asparagus.  A full batch saved in a glass container in the fridge should last several days (assuming you don’t use it all up sooner).

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Shredded Chicken Strawberry Salad

As the afternoons get longer (and, in spite of daylight savings, we also seem to be gaining daylight earlier in the morning as well), and the sun starts making appearances more than bi-weekly here in the PNW, our thoughts turn to spring and summer.  About the same time, we start to see strawberries arriving in the local market.  Now, I know they are not really local and nowhere near in season yet.  But before someone chastises us over buying some organic strawberries that are from southern California (unless you live there), consider that after finally plucking the mushrooms off that have formed behind our ears from so many months of wet and dark…a little indulgence to make us feel the sunshine can really help brighten the week.

So, if you are like us and need a little brightness amidst the spring thaw or mixed rain showers, then go ahead and pick up a quart of as-local-as-possible strawberries and give this refreshing salad a shot.  And if you’re really, really strict about waiting for them to be straight from your garden (when they really do taste the best), then bookmark this one for sometime in early June when most of us will actually see a fresh strawberry in its natural environment.

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Cool Cucumber Avocado Dressing

This recipe makes a nice refreshing dressing for salad, or a great dip for fresh veggies.  It’s ready in a matter of minutes, and will keep in the refrigerator for several days, so you can make an extra large batch and use it for several meals…if it lasts that long!

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Mango Tomato Pork Skewers

Pork is one of those meats that just begs for something tangy and sweet to be served with it.  Mango chutney, peach salsa, melon pineapple salsa, or even just good old applesauce warmed up with a little cinnamon mixed in all just seem to fit naturally with the flavor of a juicy pork chop.  Even the traditional roasted pig usually has a cavity stuffing of vegetables and apples (not to mention the apple stuffed into its mouth).

In this recipe, we’re going to keep the fruit itself simple, add the tanginess with the sauce, and throw in a little southwestern kick to the pork itself.  It’s a combination that works great on skewers, or can be sautéed up in a wok just as well on a night when the weather just isn’t right for grilling.

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