Monday, September 3, 2007

The Great Mint Event - Part 1

No matter how much I love technology, I have to admit that every now and then it lets me down. The other day I was met with the challenge of finding mint in Lafayette. Being that I am a grad student, almost by definition I live in a cheap apartment. Sadly, my cheap apartment, though I actually do like it, doesnt have a place to grow herbs. Thwarted by the farmers market, I had to make my way to the nearest Supertarget which is generally the best friend I have in this town. The particular piece of technology that I am currently unsatisfied with is the "living herbs." Come on, you've seen them!

You would think that a system that keeps herbs fresh would be welcomed. On the contrary, the mint I purchased wasnt even far enough along in its development to have flavor, let alone chop. The leaves were all less than the size of a dime so I figured since they were in the "living" container I would keep them on my counter where at least it gets a little bit of light and wait a few days for the leaves to grow up a bit. It was a great idea until I noticed that after only a day on my counter the entire plant had gone from "living" to 100% dead. After cursing my way to Marsh, another local grocery store, I ended up finding satisfactory mint and celebrated with several recipes.

Thai Mint Pork with Coconut Rice

1 lb of ground pork
2 T. of brown sugar
2 T. of fish sauce
1/4 cup mint
1 can bamboo shoots
4 scallions

1 cup of white rice
1 cup of lite coconut milk

In a rice cooker combine the coconut milk with the rice and add the appropriate amount of water (likely 1/2 cup)

Coat the pan with oil and saute the onions until translucent. Add the sugar and fish sauce. Stir to combine and add the pork. Once the pork is almost cooked through, add the bamboo. When meat is completely cooked turn off the heat and toss in the mint. Serve on top of the rice.

By making the rice with the coconut milk creates a exotic flavor in a food that is normally without surprises. It also makes the rice significantly more filling. I normally eat about two servings and this time I could barely finish one and a half due to the richness. Combining the flavors of coconut and mint make for a wonderful fresh and creamy experience.

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