Posts Tagged 'mint'

Chocolate Mint Cupcakes for St. Patrick’s Day

I guess no news is good news when it comes to hip x-rays. Technically, the no news was that the x-ray looked normal, which means the bone and the hardware are fine. I spent a very painful half hour with my foam roller this evening and everything’s feeling a lot better.

So much better, in fact, that I’m going to attempt a VERY short, very easy run before work tomorrow (on the treadmill, so I can stop immediately if anything hurts). Fingers are crossed that it goes okay and I can still run that half marathon next weekend. Yep, not holding my breath.

Ellie has been showing off her new trick of sitting up, which she can do successfully most of the time (the rest of the time she folds in half with her face on her feet, which weirdly doesn’t seem to bother her. Strange kid.) Sophie helps her out.

But what’s better than playing with Sophie? Playing with Dad! The hour between 6:30 and 7:30, when he’s home and she’s still awake, is definitely her favorite hour of the day.

I was a little sad when I realized St. Patrick’s Day wasn’t falling on a school day, but that was not about to stop me from baking for my co-workers. These are just simple chocolate cupcakes frosted with a basic mint buttercream. I colored half of it green and left the other half white, and put them together in the piping bag to get a swirl.

By the way, if you still need St. Patrick’s Day recipes, I have some for you here!
(adapted from Annie’s Eats)

Grasshopper Brownie Bites

This is a new twist on a recipe I posted before. We normally make these as squares, but this year I wanted to try something new, so I baked the brownies in a mini cupcake pan, piped the mint frosting, and drizzled the chocolate over the top. My family may disown me, but I think I like this version even more than the original.
This was one of two desserts I made to take to Mike’s family Christmas in San Luis Obispo. The other was funfetti cookies.

We opened our Christmas presents before we left for SLO, and my aunt and uncle gave me the Momofuku Milk Bar Cookbook!

I want to try almost everything in the book, but the first recipe I attempted was the confetti cookies, which involved making cake crumbs.

These are definitely not instant gratification cookies, but they are totally worth the time investment. Christina Tosi is a GENIUS and I can’t wait to try more of her recipes.

We got up early this morning and were on the road by 6:15 for the drive from the Bay Area to San Luis Obispo. We didn’t hit any traffic, and Ellie did great in the car (until the last 20 minutes). We immediately went for a walk around town.

SOooo many memories from this place! I can’t believe I lived here for 7 years.

Mike was really excited to see a bear that blows bubbles. Apparently it was a big deal when he was little.

We only moved away less than 18 months ago, but a lot has changed. A lot of the buildings look different because of earthquake retrofits, and there are a bunch of new restaurants and other businesses.

It was a great afternoon with my two favorite people.

After our walk, I went to the track at Cal Poly and did 8 x 400, and was SUPER happy with my times. I ran the first one on 91 seconds and thought that there was no way I could do it 7 more times, but I ended up doing them all between 87 and 91! I am reeeeally hoping for a new 5K PR in 2012, and am prepared to work really hard for it!


Zucchini Salad with lemon and mint

So, I made it back from New Zealand…finally. The plane got struck by lightning and the customs line at LAX was ENDLESS, but I’m happy to be back to summer! (That’s not to say I didn’t love New Zealand…I did, and I highly recommend you go there). After so many fabulous (but rich) meals and desserts I decided it’s time to clean up my diet a LOT, and wanted to make the most of the zucchini surplus that seems to be happening everywhere right now.

I used one of my all time favorite kitchen gadgets to make thin strips of zucchini, but if you want to work on your knife skills, you could just cut them. Then I tossed the zucchini with salt, lemon juice, fresh mint, and chopped walnuts. Fresh, simple, and perfect as a side-dish with just about anything! I’m listing proportions for one zucchini, so you can easily multiply it based on how many you have or how many people you’re serving. This is one of those dishes that is best after sitting at room temperature for about 20 minutes, and of course I recommend tasting and adjusting the amount of salt, lemon, and mint to suit your preferences.


2 servings

1 medium zucchini, cut into long, thin ribbons
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
2 tbsp chopped walnuts

Toss the zucchini with salt and let stand 5 minutes. Drain off any liquid that accumulates in the bowl. Add the lemon juice and mint, and let stand for about 20 minutes. Taste and adjust lemon, mint, and salt, then top with walnuts to serve.

Tempeh Salad Rolls

I’ve blogged about rolls a lot like these before, but it was back when ten people read my blog (and most of them were in my family). These are an updated vegan version, without the noodles inside because I think they’re a lot better (not to mention easier to roll up) this way. The marinated tempeh provides a nice textural contrast to the vegetables in addition to some protein. I think the marinade would also work really well for chicken, if you’d rather put that in yours.

These are perfect for hot summer days because of how little cooking is involved, and they’re superbly light and refreshing. I love dipping them in either sweet chili sauce (look at Asian grocery stores) or hoisin sauce with some chopped peanuts stirred in. If you’re not going to eat them right away, through a damp tea towel over them so the wrappers don’t dry out.

(marinade adapted from Haiku Tofu)

1 package tempeh
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 chopped fresh Thai chili
2 cloves garlic, chopped
juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp vegetable oil

8-10 rice paper spring roll wrappers
1 small bunch green leaf or butter lettuce
1 cup fresh cilantro
1/2 cup fresh mint
2 carrots, julienned
1/2 cucumber, peeled and seeded, julienned

Sweet chili sauce or hoisin sauce with chopped peanuts, for dipping

To make the tempeh, combine the soy sauce, rice vinegar, lime juice, chili, and garlic in a medium saucepan. Cut the tempeh into thin strips and add to the soy sauce mixture. Add enough water to just cover, and bring to a boil. Cook for about 12 mintues, or until all the liquid has been absorbed, watching carefully so you don’t scorch the bottom of the pan.

Heat the oil in a wide skillet and add the tempeh in a single layer. Cook, flipping once, until golden on both sides. Remove from heat.

To assemble: Have all filling ingredients ready, and fill a shallow pan with warm water.

Submerge the rice paper in warm water until pliable, about 30 seconds. Shake off excess water, then place on a clean cutting board. Pile a little lettuce, cilantro, mint, carrots, cucumber, and tempeh in the center, fold in the sides, and roll up burrito-style. Slice in half and transfer to a plate.

Repeat with remaining wrappers and filling, and serve with dipping sauce.

Summer Orzo Salad

Mike and I may not be ready for kids yet, but we just brought 3 precious living things into our home: a Thai chili plant, a basil plant, and a mint plant. These three fabulous additions live in terra cotta pots on a ledge in front of our living room window, and I’m already madly in love with them. When you do cost benefit analysis of buying those little plastic containers of fresh herbs versus keeping pots of your own, there’s a clear winner (and it doesn’t come in plastic).

This fabulous recipe from Kelsey’s blog features both mint and basil, and it really is a perfect, light summer dinner. I loved the rich flavor that comes from cooking the orzo in broth instead of water, and now that we’re coming into tomato season, this is a great way to use those adorable little bite-sized tomatoes. I cut back on the oil in the dressing and only poured about half of it over the orzo, which I thought provided plenty of flavor. I also topped each serving with a dusting of crumbled feta. This recipe is definitely a keeper!

(adapted from Apple A Day)

4 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups orzo
1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups red and yellow teardrop tomatoes or grape tomatoes, halved
3/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
salt and freshly ground black pepper
a few tbsp crumbled feta

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsp honey
1 tsp salt
a few pinches freshly ground black pepper

Bring the broth to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the orzo and cook until tender, stirring frequently, about 9 minutes. Drain then transfer to a large bowl and cool completely.
Add the onion, beans, tomato, mint, and basil, toss well, and season with a pinch or two of salt and pepper.

Whisk the dressing ingredients and pour about half the dressing over the orzo, tossing well to combine. Serve with a little feta sprinkled over the top, and pass the remaining dressing at the table.

Fresh Garbanzo Salad

We may have opposite political leanings and a preference for totally different movies (I just can’t do sci fi), but I know I married the right guy. Not only will he wake up at 5 AM to go running with me, but he gets just as excited about ethnic grocery stores as I do. This weekend, he brought home nopales (which I’ve never cooked with before), epazote, tomatillos, mangoes and fresh garbanzos from a Mexican grocery store. He couldn’t stop raving about all the great stuff they had.

I had no idea what to do with fresh garbanzos, which come in a hairy, papery husk and look just like dried garbanzos, but green. Apparently, they can be steamed and eaten like edamame, or shelled and used in the same way that dried garbanzos are. They end up tasting like a bright, fresh version of the dried kind, almost like a cross between a cooked garbanzo and a fresh pea. I was inspired by a recipe in Food & Wine but changed a few things to make it fresher. I’m sure it would be good with canned garbanzos, but using fresh ones give it a completely alluring fresh, clean flavor (and they’re so pretty!)

I steamed the shelled beans before I sauteed them, but I’m not sure if it’s necessary, so next time I want to experiment with just sauteeing them raw. I know lots of people eat fresh garbanzos raw, so steaming definitely isn’t essential, but I wanted to make sure they were tender.

2 cups shelled fresh garbanzo beans
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 small mango, diced
1 serrano chile, minced (omit if you don’t like spicy food)
1/3 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint

If you want to steam the garbanzos, put them in a steamer basket over simmering water for about 3 minutes, or until slightly tender. Remove from the pot and set aside to drain and cool.

Heat the oil in a wide skillet over medium high heat. Add the cumin, fennel, and mustard seeds and saute for about 2 minutes, or until very fragrant and beginning to turn dark.

Add the garbanzos and cook, stirring, for about four minutes. Transfer to a heat-proof bowl, stir in a pinch of salt, and let cool to room temperature.

Add the mango, chile, onion, and mint and toss well.
Serve with wedges of fresh lime, to squeeze over the salad before eating. The salad can be chillled or eaten at room temperature.


I used to have a fairly major parsley aversion. Too much of it (which usually amounted to anything over about 1/4 tsp) would completely ruin a dish for me. I think it was mostly a mental hang-up though, because I’ve been known to polish off loads of tabouli in a single sitting, and what is tabouli absolutely full of? Parsley. So I’m working on being more accepting of it in dishes other than this one.

Tabouli is so healthy it’s almost ridiculous. Bulgur, a whole grain we all should love. Lemon juice, parsley, mint, green onions, and tomatoes – lots of vitamins, antioxidents, and other great stuff there (not to mention killer flavor). You can put some olive oil in yours for healthy fat but I actually prefer it without, because I think olive oil kind of gums up the texture. It comes together pretty quickly and is even better after sitting in the fridge overnight. It’s right up there with green papaya salad on my list of foods I must consume on a fairly regular basis, so I urge you to make some today!

(adapted from The New Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen)

1 cup bulgur
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
4 green onions (white and green parts), chopped
15 fresh mint leaves, chopped
1 cup chopped fresh parsley (I generally use curly parsley)
3 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced

Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan. As soon as it boils, remove it from the heat and stir in the bulgur. Let stand covered for 30 minutes.

Fluff the bulgur with a fork, then transfer to a bowl and stir in remaining ingredients. Chill 20-30 minutes before serving.


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