Wednesday, July 30, 2008

mint follow-up & more CSA goodness!

So, I've polled as many people as I could get my hands on (and luckily have lots of chefs within arms reach) regarding my mint conundrum, and maddeningly I've gotten lots of different answers. I'm stumped because peppermint and spearmint are such different flavors it's hard for me to believe that everyone's just using them interchangeably. But, one of the chefs told me yesterday that if she saw "mint" listed in a recipe, she'd just look at the other ingredients to see what made the most sense--using her innate chefly instincts. Which makes sense if you're a real chef. But, when you're just a gal who likes to hang out in the kitchen, it's confusing! Most people said they'd assume "mint" with no context would mean peppermint, but one fine dining chef said he generally uses spearmint. Another said that he almost always uses peppermint, because spearmint is spicier, and has a more distinctive flavor that doesn't always meld as well with the other flavors (but I kinda think the opposite is true! maybe he's confused, too!).

I looked at ingredients of some minty things over the past few days to just better acquaint myself with which is which--Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream is spearmint, a lot of mint teas are a blend of the two, xmas stuff is peppermint, tabbouleh calls for spearmint, mojitos generally say spearmint, but I saw a few with peppermint. Not to mention there are countless other varieties of mint. Seriously. These are the varieties I've come across (other than peppermint and spearmint) in the course of my "research": chocolate mint, orange mint, banana mint, basil mint, Moroccan mint, Habeck mint, Egyptian mint, lemon bergamot mint, orange bergamot mint, lavender mint, pennyroyal, curly (or curled) mint, Kentucky Colonel, apple mint, pineapple mint, eucalyptus (yeah! it's in the mint family!), Austrian mint, Chinese mint, English mint, Corsican mint, ginger mint, lime mint, black-stemmed peppermint, grapefruit mint, Japanese mint, variegated mint, Scotch spearmint, menthol mint, silver mint, Swiss mint, Vietnamese mint, water mint, berries and cream mint, candy-lime mint, pink candypops, Hillary's sweet lemon mint, Julia's sweet citrus mint, margarita mint, Marilyn's salad mint, marshmallow mint, oregano-thyme mint, sweet bay mint, sweet pear mint, mountain mint, Bowles' mint, Nana peppermint, Hairy spearmint, candymint, doublemint, Persian mint, Blue Balsam mint.

Okay, that's enough for now. I read in one place that there are rumored to be over 600 varieties!

Now I feel like Bubba--that shrimp guy from Forest Gump.

Okay, anyhow. It's CSA day!! C-S-A! C-S-A! C-S-A!

This week's box contains:
-free range eggs
-head of lettuce
-spearmint (!!!)
-green peppers
-green beans
-crookneck squash
-Hungarian hot wax peppers


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