Tag Archives: mint

Customer Recipe: Cucumber Dill Soup

Here’s another great customer submitted recipe for a refreshing late summer soup. We love to share culinary inspiration, keep them coming!

Curah writes –

Had to pass on this recipe that I tried out last week when my girlfriends came over. We wanted to do a light dinner of cool salads and a summer soup .. so I decided to try my hand at a cool cucumber dill soup.  It was super EASY and very cool and refreshing.

Cucumber Dill Soup

4 large cucumbers — peeled, seeded and chopped. (reserve a small amount for garnish if desired)
1 cup plain yogurt
1 cup milk
Juice of Half a Lemon (or lime)
2 tablespoons fresh dill chopped
1/2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp chopped parsley
Mint for garnish

Process cucumbers in blender or food processor until smooth. Add remaining ingredients (minus mint) and pulse to combine. Chill soup about 1 hour. Serve in chilled bowls and garnish with mint sprigs and chopped cucumber (optional)

Thanks for sharing Curah!


Venison Keftedes with Tzatziki

This meal is the result of two competing desires. The resolution of an epic struggle today between my compulsion to use up all the groceries in my fridge and what felt like the world’s strongest craving for Greek take-out from the restaurant down the street.

I was doing my Sunday chores like a responsible adult when I started craving pita bread and schawarma from Arpeggio Grill, the little Mediterranian spot down the street from my apartment complex. Their pita is so soft and light it practically floats up to your mouth, and it’s the perfect vehicle for spicy lamb.

My desire for pita was strong. However, we had a bunch of extra food in the house, and I just couldn’t bear to buy more while so many groceries went unused on the shelf. So I decided to approximate the pita and schawarma lunch special from Arpeggio Grill using ingredients that I had on hand in the kitchen.

Recreating their pita was pretty straightforward. I used the recipe and method from one of my favorite learn-to-bake blogs, “The Fresh Loaf.” That blog gives a comprehensive breakdown of each ingredient, plus specific step by step instruction with pictures. Perfect for a novice pita-maker like me.

To complement the keftedes and pita bread, I made tzatziki with an Indian cucumber from My Father’s Farm. Indian cucumbers are big, yellow vegetables that taste the same as green, English cucumbers. I like using them in recipes like raita or tzatziki because their bulbous shape yields a bit more flesh than green cucumbers once they are seeded.

c. swanksalot, http://www.flickr.com/photos/swanksalot/. Licensed for reuse under Creative Commons.

The schawarma portion of Arpeggio Grill’s lunch plate was more difficult to make at home than the pita or tzatziki, since the dish must be cooked on a rotissierie– not standard issue for any apartment kitchen I’ve ever seen! Since actual schawarma was out of the question, I turned to traditional fried meatballs called “keftedes” to recreate the Mediterranean flavors I was craving. I used ground venison hunted by my dad for the keftedes, along with eggs from Ringger farms and herbs from Pure Luck and My Father’s Farm. If you don’t have access to deer from a hunter, ground venison is available in Austin at Whole Foods or you can substitute a mixture of ground lamb and pork.

Although cooking three Mediterranean dishes from scratch was more time consuming than calling for take-out, I’m glad I put in the effort. I bought myself a big chunk of room in my crisper drawer, and I can rest easy tonight knowing that home cooked leftovers mean my lunch for tomorrow is already prepared!

Venison Keftedes (yields about 30, golf ball-sized meatballs)
3 slices bread
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons minced fresh basil
3 tablespoons minced fresh mint
1 tablespoon dried oregano (3 tablespoons if using fresh)
1 pound ground venison, can subtitute pork, turkey or beef
1/2 cup millk
2 eggs, beaten
Canola oil, for frying
All-purpose flour, for frying

In a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, combine the first six ingredients. Process for 3-4 minutes, until mixture is uniform and all the herbs are distributed evenly through the bread crumbs. In a large bowl, mix together the bread crumb mixture, ground meat, milk and beaten eggs. Shape the meat into meat balls and cook by frying or baking, instructions below.

Frying method: Heat an inch or two of oil in a deep skillet until it reaches 375 degrees, or a bit of the meat mixture sizzles in the hot oil. Line a plate with a few paper towels. Dredge the meatballs generously in all-purpose flour and cook them a few at a time in the hot oil until they are firm and deep brown, turning often. Scoop them out with a slotted spoon and set them on the towel-lined plate to drain.

Baking method: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place rolled meatballs on a broiler pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, until they are no longer pink in the center. Serve keftedes with tzatziki and warm pita bread.

Tzatziki (yields 2 cups)
1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and shredded
7 ounces Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon white vinegar (use lemon juice if you have that on hand. I didn’t)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon minced fresh basil
1 tablespoon minced fresh mint
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Mix the shredded cucumber and greek yogurt together in a small bowl, then transfer the mixture to a paper towel-lined strainer. Set the strainer over the bowl and let the mixture drain for an hour. Discard the liquid.

In a food processor, combine yogurt mixture with remaining ingredients. Process for a few minutes until tzatziki is creamy and well combined. Chill for at least an hour before serving.

Peach-Mint Fizz


We got our first batch of summer peaches this week, and I wanted to eat them without cooking the crap out of them. A nice, summery drink fit the bill. This recipe is more of a guide than anything, so feel free to play with the ingredient ratio till you get the drink tasting just right. The basic elements are fresh peach puree, mint syrup, and sparkling water, but f you are so inclined, add rum to make it a peach mojito.

Peach-Mint Fizz

4 peaches
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
Sparkling water

Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Cut an X in the bottom of each peach and dunk them in the water for 45 seconds. Remove and plop into a bowl of ice water for a minute, just long enough so that you can pick them up. Slip the skins off the peaches, and core and slice them. Place in a blender and puree for a couple of minutes, until completely smooth.

Combine sugar, water, and mint in a small saucepan. Heat until sugar dissolves, and set aside to cool. When syrup has cooled, strain it into a glass jar.

Add ice about halfway up a large glass. Fill glass 3/4 of the way with sparkling water, then add several tablespoons of peach puree and about a tablespoon of mint syrup. Stir to combine and adjust ingredients if you want.

– Stephanie

Local Box Meal Plan: April 11-15

Are you excited about the mint plant you’re getting this week? It’ll do great planted in a flower bed or garden, but be warned that it can be invasive. A good solution is to plant it in a large pot.

Sugar Snap Peas – Animal Farm
Red Chard – Acadian Family Farm
Baby Summer Squash – Fruitful Farm
Spinach – Tecolote Farm
Heirloom Green Garlic – Green Gate Farms
Mint Plant – My Father’s Farm
Escarole – Tecolote Farm
Mango – G&S Groves
Kale – Texas Natural
Oranges – G&S Groves

Orange-mango chicken – Juice your oranges to make the tasty sauce for this chicken.

Ribollita – This soup is a favorite of mine, not only because it’s good but because it’s versatile. Use your kale and chard here, and toss in diced summer squash to replace the carrots. I’m leaving out the olives, but if you’re an olive lover I’m sure they’ll be great in this recipe.

Sauteed snap peas and green garlic – A simple side dish.

Sausage, escarole, and white bean ragout – Use a mix of escarole and spinach (the spinach balances out the escarole’s somewhat bitter flavor), and use veggie sausage for a vegetarian version.

– Stephanie

Chicken and Pepper Stir-Fry with Mint

This is a good weeknight stir-fry, and some chopped mint and toasted almonds add a nice twist. The original recipe calls for pork, which is good (I’ve made this with pork before), but I had some ground chicken so I used that instead, and it turned out great. You can skip the step where you toast the almonds if you need to save time, but they really do taste better that way.

Chicken and Pepper Stir-Fry with Mint

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Stir Fry:
1 lb ground chicken
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons finely chopped ginger
1 tablespoon hot chile paste (like Sriracha)
5 tablespoons teriyaki sauce
6 small bell peppers, cut into strips
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup blanched slivered almonds
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

In a large ziploc bag, mix together rice wine vinegar, garlic, brown sugar, olive oil, and salt and pepper. Add chicken, cover, and marinate for at least 1/2 hour and up to 8 hours.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Toast almonds in hot, dry skillet until golden brown and fragrant, about five minutes. Stir often and keep your eye on them because they burn easily. Remove almonds to a plate.

Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in marinated chicken, ginger, and chile paste. Mix in teriyaki sauce, and increase heat to high. Cook, stirring constantly, until chicken is white. Stir in peppers, and continue to stir fry until most of the liquid has evaporated and chicken is cooked. Top with toasted almond slivers and fresh mint. Serve over cooked brown rice or quinoa.

Chew on this [recipe: braised brisket with parsley, mint, and thyme)

I’m going to admit to y’all that I did not know you did anything with a brisket besides smoke it until I moved to Austin in 1999. I also didn’t know you could buy one that weighed less than 7 lbs. Where I grew up, brisket = bbq, and that was that.

It took me a long time to come around, but I started coming across recipes for braised or roasted brisket more and more, and finally, this weekend, I bit the bullet and tried it. And you  know what? It was still tender and juicy and delicious, albeit with an unusual herb rub giving it quite a different flavor than the smoked brisket I’m used to. I’m recommending a few changes from the original recipe, such as cooking it directly in the roasting pan instead of on a rack (I think it’ll be even juicier this way) and throwing in some mushrooms and carrots that can cook in the juices, like a pot roast. Also, I’m adding crockpot directions for weeknight cooking.

Don’t be afraid of the mint — it’s very subtle. I love the generous amount of herbs used here, because a) they are tasty, and b) I often have a hard time using up all the herbs we get before they go bad, and this is a good way to do so.

Braised Brisket with Parsley, Mint, and Thyme (from Whole Foods)

1 (4-pound) beef brisket, trimmed
Salt and pepper to taste
3/4 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh thyme
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
6 cloves garlic
1 cup roughly chopped yellow onion
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 cup diced carrots

Preheat oven to 350°F and spray a roasting pan with cooking spray. Season brisket all over with salt and pepper and then place in the roasting pan; roast for 1 hour. Meanwhile, put parsley, mint, thyme, vinegar, pepper flakes, garlic, onion, salt and pepper into a food processor and pulse to make a thick paste; set aside.

After 1 hour, remove brisket from oven; reduce oven temperature to 325°F. Carefully add broth to pan, spread herb paste over brisket, arrange mushrooms and carrots around brisket, cover pan with foil and continue roasting, basting every 45 minutes or so, until very tender, about 2.5-3 hours more.

Transfer brisket to a platter; set aside to let rest for 10 minutes. Skim off and discard any fat from liquid in pan. Trim brisket further, if desired, then thinly slice against the grain (here’s how to do that) and spoon pan sauce over the top.

Alternate crock pot directions

Reduce amount of chicken broth to 1 cup. Spray a crock pot with cooking spray or line with a crock pot liner.

Season brisket all over with salt and pepper and then place in the crock pot. Put parsley, mint, thyme, vinegar, pepper flakes, garlic, onion, salt and pepper into a food processor and pulse to make a thick paste; spread over brisket.

Add broth to crock pot, spread herb paste over brisket, and arrange mushrooms and carrots around brisket. Cover and cook on low for 10 hours.

Transfer brisket to a platter; set aside to let rest for 10 minutes. If you want to use the juices as gravy, put them in a saucepan and cook on medium-high heat about 10 minutes, until they reduce a bit and aren’t so watery. Skim off and discard any fat from liquid in pan. Trim brisket further, if desired, then thinly slice against the grain and spoon pan sauce over the top.

Local Box Meal Plan: April 20-23

I can tell we are deep into the seasonal transition when we get wintry fruit like oranges in the same box as tender spring vegetables like English peas. Good times. This week, our boxes will have:

So I’m making:

Caramelized beets with baby chard salad — This could be a good way to use up some of last week’s garlic, too.

Strawberry-mint soda — This will be a strawberry-mint mojito if you add rum. I know what I’m drinking Friday night.

Barley stew with peas, leeks, and fennel — The original recipe calls for farro, but that can be difficult to find, so I’m just subbing pearled barley, which cooks up similar to farro.

Beef daub Provencal — My absolute favorite beef stew recipe. The chilly mornings we’ve been having make me want to put a good stew in the crockpot before I leave for work. I’m going to add the mushrooms we’re getting this week to up the veggie content.

Winter orange salad — I’m using the mixed greens we’re getting in lieu of the romaine and red leaf lettuce in the original recipe.