Sunday, December 30, 2012

Winter greens

We grow food in our small greenhouse. Most years we just start seeds in the spring, but this fall I brought in parsley and rosemary, friends gave us a celery plant and a pot of New Zealand spinach, and Dave started a row of lettuce. Our greenhouse is just a wide spot in the stairs to the basement with only a tiny space for plants, so we can’t produce all our winter veggies or even many of the greens we need, but after a month, our lettuce is 2” high and filling out. It’s time to plant the next crop of greens and we’ll include arugula and perhaps kale. Next fall I’ll transplant some peppermint to a pot so we’ll have fresh mint for chimichurri sauce and for peppermint liquor during the winter.

After the amazing desserts of the holiday season, Dave and I have vowed to eat fewer cookies, cakes and pies, but still enjoy a bit of sweetness in the evening. Peppermint liquor on a small scoop of vanilla ice cream makes a delicious, delicately flavored light green sundae, especially in the depths of winter.

Peppermint Liquor
2 cups fresh mint leaves
2 cups vodka
2 cups water
1 cup sugar
5 drops green food coloring
Wash and dry mint leaves. Crush leaves and combine with vodka in a quart jar. Mix well and store covered in a cool, dark place for one month. Stir weekly.
To make a syrup, bring water to a boil. Stir in sugar and stir until sugar has dissolved. Cool.
Strain the mint leaves from the vodka and then stir in the sugar syrup. Add green food coloring. Store in decorative bottles. Serve on vanilla or chocolate ice cream for a delicious sundae.

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