Sunday, September 5, 2010

Savoring Sunday- Mint Détente.

When the LA County Fair comes to town- soaring temperatures are Mother Nature's ritual.

107.2° .That was where the misery index rocketed to when Miss Lauren poked her head over the garden gate to question if it wasn't a little hot for me to be precariously clinging to the hillside- clippers in hand.

You know you are a garden addict when the temperature is that horrid and you are still puttering about in the garden.  To test my resolve must be why the angels on high send certain company.  Thorns to staple extremities and tear clothing before "its time". Venomous spiders. Snakes. Actually,  there is a time when I am happy to see a snake. When a rat runs by.

2010 hasn't been too bad a year for rodents. Probably the combination of big cats and coyotes. Those roaming bad boys also keep down the skunk population.  Something I am more concerned about since that baby perfumer took a stroll  under the chair I was sitting in at a friend's house.

This is also the time of year the garden tells me that it doesn't mind I have never bought mint. All you have to do with that herb is think of it- and voila! It is the unchallenged divining rod to the best parts of the garden, where she quickly populates across, daring gardeners to get the upper hand.

Warning. Whatever your ritual with mint- do not put mint in the composter or she can become as one of those monster movie menaces where all the little pieces become multiple clones to battle for control of the earth.

Better to engage in Détente. Consider mint as the green refresher. I confess skepticism reading Nigella Lawson's romantic remembrances of  a simple omelets from long ago wanderings in Greece, where slivers of leaves were used to generously season a simple omelet filled with Chevre cheese.

That first bite was an aha moment, where the eyelids close involuntarily. Mint is not just for sweet surrenders. It is quiet accompaniment to the slight tang of the goat cheese. A couple slices of Canadian Bacon-  An English Crumpet with Irish butter and Marmalade of Seville oranges and you have my rendition of  country cooking.

We may be identified by our country of origin. Spoken language can keep us apart. But good food in a convivial atmosphere brings us together.

Wildlife images by Gene Sasse. For the duration of the LA County Fair, you can look for him at the Millard Sheets Gallery. Even when Gene isn't there- it is an exhibit worth exploring.


  1. Lydia,

    Sorry but I had to close my eyes and scroll until that snake disappeared on the blog! OMG! I just hate those things and couldn't even bear to have it showing! Well, you know about our history with those things! Yikes!

    Very nice otherwise. Hey girl, don't work out in that heat! You could get heat stroke!

    Hugs and stay cool!
    XOXO Trisha

  2. Morning Trish! Can't blame you on the rattlesnake. I do remember one especially bad year for you- printing out a recipe - putting it on your front porch- ringing the bell and running... only your mom caught me- if looks could kill- I would have been gone that morning.

    Not more than a couple hours outside today. I have a window to finish.

  3. Lovely. Thanks for the head's up re mint in the compost pile. Never thought of that. It's the one thing I can grow without thinking about it. LOL At least it has class and uses, unlike other plant life that takes over with no redeeming value.

    As for a favorite use of mine for mint....
    4 fresh mint sprigs
    2 1/2 oz bourbon whiskey
    1 tsp powdered sugar
    2 tsp water

    Muddle mint leaves, powdered sugar, and water in a collins glass. Fill the glass with shaved or crushed ice and add bourbon. Top with more ice and garnish with a mint sprig. Serve with a straw.
    Voilá ... Mint Julep!

  4. Sue- Thank you for sharing the recipe. I can't remember the last time I had bourbon in the house- think that is about to change!

  5. Lydia,

    How wonderful that Gene is exhibiting in the Millard Sheets Gallery at the LA Co. Fair. I've been visiting those exhibits at Fairtime since I was in college. A wonderous place for Ca artists in multi-mediums. The descriptions of your gardening experiences made me smile, since I've been seeing the end result of thorn problems on you arms for years after rose pruning time and beyond. Ouch!

    Enjoyed the post. E.

  6. My Lordy...107 degrees??? HELP! You are a true Gardener Lydia, no matter the weather you are tending natures great beauty.

    Mint is one of those leaves that I have to admit I am not particularly fond of. A little teeny tiny bit goes a long way for me....In fact, too long a way, most of the time. It doesn't seem to be something that can be used sparingly because it is so very strong. Mint with eggs? Mmmmm, I don't think! Well, not for me, anyway.

    LOVE that snake! He sure is a big fat one, isn't he?

  7. OOLTH- I understand the mint thing. I didn't expect it to work- but the tangy salty cheese- it was a delightful revelation.


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