Monday, April 27, 2015

Freezing Mint/Mint Gremolata

In July 2012 I wrote about the abundance of Wild Mint I find near our home in Massachusetts.  Last October when we were in Colorado the garden was overflowing with mint which I knew the immenent frosts would kill.  Knowing we enjoy local lamb in the winter and mint would be a great accompaniment, I decided to try to freeze (in a controlled fashion) some of this mint.  I picked a huge bunch, removed the leaves from the stems, chopped the leaves, placed them in a container and then put the covered container in the freezer.  Actually, I froze several batches.

This mint has been delicious on lamb (gremolata recipe follows) and also in Fresh Green Pea Soup.  I'm really suprised how much I used this winter, and I haven't even tried this frozen mint in Wild Mint recipes.
GREMOLATA

Combine:

2 cloves garlic, finely minced
Zest from 1 lemon
2 T frozen chopped mint (or fresh mint in season!)
2 t olive oil (1 t if  using fresh mint)


This is an excellent garnish for lamb.

Pastuerized Eggs/Egg Whites

Going back to "old family recipes" is not without suprises. Several things I enjoyed growing up contained raw eggs.  Last week, in anticipation of making dinner for my Mom, I tried one of her favorite recipes, Snow Pudding. Warning, if an old family recipe does not have an accompanying photo, it may not be fully vetted.  I got as far as whipping the eggs when I realized something was wrong, was I  really going to feed my Mom raw eggs?  Granted while the chance of ingesting samonella from the raw eggs of conventional battery-caged chickens is quite high, the chance of ingesting samonella from the raw eggs of organic free range chickens is very low/negligible.  I really wasn't worried about the eggs I had just gotten from our neighbor. Even so, I decided to be ultra cautious especially since salmonella is particularly dangerous to the very young, very old and people with weakened immune systems.

Next question was do pastuerized egg whites whip well?  Harold McGee writes in On Food and Cooking, Three safer alternatives to fresh eggs are eggs pasteurized in the shell, liquid eggs and dried egg whites, all of which are available in supermarkets.....For most uses, these products do an adequate job of replacing fresh eggs, though there is usually some loss in foaming or emulsifying power and in stability to further heating; and heating and drying do alter the mild egg flavor."1  Comments on the internet suggest these products usually do whip well but take longer to do so and sometimes require the addition of cream of tatar.  A stand mixer whipped the liquid egg whites I had purchased to stiff peaks in 3-4 minutes and the egg whites held firm as I beat in the additional ingredients required for Snow Pudding. I did add 1/4 t cream of tartar for 2/3 c of egg whites (the equivalent of 4 eggs), but I'm not sure this was entirely necessary given the brand of eggs and type of mixer I used.

1. Page 83, 2004 edition.