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Herbs

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Comment by Pat Merewether Z5 MI on May 4, 2009 at 5:59pm
Oh Yum! That chocolate pound cake sounds like heaven!
Comment by Lindsay Wegert Zone 7a VA on May 4, 2009 at 5:08pm
Hi Tracey!
Here are some ideas and recipes.

Chocolate Mint Recipes

Add a few chocolate mint leaves to you coffee grounds for a special chocolate peppermint coffee. Add a tablespoon of dried chocolate mint herb to your brownie mix, cake and ice cream recipes.

We use it chopped up with fresh ripe strawberries but it makes a great tea too.

Chocolate mint tastes like a "Thin mint" cookie or a chocolate peppermint patty.

To harvest Mint, trim the branches anywhere and cut off up to third, chop the leaves or use them whole. You can also use the whole leaves crushed to steep into teas. Mints can be dried but are best used fresh.
To use mint in cooking, chop the leaves finely and use it in salad dressings or with lamb. Many middle eastern chopped salads call for mint as well as several Thai recipes. Chocolate mint can be added to coffee, teas, chopped fruit, in custards or in ice cream.
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Chocolate Mint Syrup
Chocolate mint denotes both the flavor and the mint variety used in this recipe for homemade chocolate mint syrup. If you don't have access to chocolate mint, you can use regular mint instead.
Try this syrup in milk or to flavor coffee, as a dessert sauce for cake or ice cream, or over fresh fruit.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Ingredients:
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup cold water
3/4 cup sugar
30 chocolate mint leaves, rinsed, patted dry, and torn into pieces (You may substitute plain mint).
Preparation:
In a small saucepan, combine the cocoa powder and cold water, and whisk together until smooth.
Add the sugar and torn mint leaves and place the saucepan over medium heat.
Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly to melt the sugar. As soon as the syrup begins to boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes, until it begins to thicken and turn glossy.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
When the syrup has cooled to near room temperature, strain it through a fine mesh sieve into a clean jar. Cover and store in the refrigerator. Enjoy!

Chocolate Mint Pound Cake
Fresh chocolate mint makes an unusual addition to this lovely, versatile pound cake. Try the cake for dessert with fresh berries and whipped cream, or dip cubes in chocolate fondue. Snack on a slice with tea, or toast a piece for breakfast and serve with butter and jam.
Makes 1 loaf. Serves 8 to 10.
Tip: If you use a dark loaf pan, remember to lower the oven temperature by 25° to prevent burning.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hours,
Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 6-ounce container plain regular or low-fat yogurt
2 tablespoons milk or soy milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
Preparation:
Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease and lightly flour a 9" x 5" x 3" loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper, if desired.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar on medium speed with a stand mixer or handheld electric mixer. (You can also use a manual rotary mixer.) When the butter mixture is light and fluffy, add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.
Add the yogurt, milk and vanilla extract, and beat until smooth. Turn the mixer speed to low, and slowly add the flour. Beat just until smooth. Fold in the mint. The batter will be thick.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula if necessary. Place the pan on the center rack of the preheated oven. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until the top of the cake is golden brown and a pick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Transfer the cake in its pan to a cooling rack, and allow to cool for 30 minutes. Remove the cake from the pan return the cake to the rack until it has cooled completely.
Cake may be wrapped in foil and stored at room temperature for one week, or in the freezer for two months.
Comment by Pat Merewether Z5 MI on May 4, 2009 at 3:47pm
Beth, I was wondering if you were an artist when I saw your avatar - I am too! Love your work - the colored pencil drawing of the horse is gorgeous! My stuff is on zazzle.com http://www.zazzle.com/patsarts


Well, back to gardening. lol. My tarragon and garlic chives and a bit of oregano came back. I can never get parsley to come back - but my friend does and she doesn't live far from me. She has a brick house that faces south, and I think that gives her a bit more warmth to her herb garden.
Comment by Beth M Z6/Pa on May 4, 2009 at 2:38pm
I have herbs on either side of a walkway. My oregano is coming up like mad already. Some of my parsley made it through the winter, some didn't. I have a sage plant that I put in two years ago that came back but the other varieties did not. Creeping thyme came back but others didn't. I have a HUGE rosemary bush in a different area that I would love to shape this year..any suggestions?
Beth
http://www.bethmstudios.com
Comment by Pat Merewether Z5 MI on May 3, 2009 at 8:38pm
Karen, Tarragon has always come back as a perennial for me. I love basil, garlic chives (perennial), purple basil,oregano, lemon balm, parsley and chamomile. Mint is great, but it can totally take over your herb garden.

I make tea from fresh parsley,lemon balm and chamomile flowers - it's very soothing and yummy with honey.
Comment by Karen Henderson z5/Ohio on May 3, 2009 at 7:55pm
I have decided to turn one of my gardens into all herbs. I all ready have some oregano and sage and plan to plant some chives. What are some suggestions for zone 5? I live a half a mile from a wonderful herb farm but when I go to look I am totally overwhelmed. I liked the sound of the chocolate mint but am not sure if I have ever seen it around here. What would be everyone's favorites?
Comment by Lindsay Wegert Zone 7a VA on May 2, 2009 at 5:39pm
Oh no! It's too late. I have 5 pesky grands!
Comment by Connie Kupke Z8 TX on May 2, 2009 at 4:01pm
Hey Lindsay, I have tried the chocolate mint and it does smell exactly like chocolate mint candy. So much so that my granddaughter would break off a piece every time she went out into the garden, smell of it, and munch on it. Pretty soon she stripped it clean. Watch out for pesty grandchildren! :-)
Comment by Lindsay Wegert Zone 7a VA on May 1, 2009 at 4:48pm
Hi Janice!

I got mine EARLY in the season at Lowes for $34 each. They sold out really quick.
I found one online for $59 at this link: http://www.ourcrazydeals.com/four-4-tier-mini-portable-greenhouse.html
Hope this helps.
Lindsay
Comment by Janice Mercieri on May 1, 2009 at 8:28am
Lindsay - I love those shelving units. Are they expensive? They would fit my application perfectly. google, google, google. Janice (Zone4)
 

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