Some of our friends have a garden in their backyard (this is very impressive as we know few people with houses and even less with gardens) and are growing some herbs and veggies for the summer season. This weekend, I benefited from the mint plant in their backyard. Amanda came over this weekend to lay out by the pool with me (our perk for living in an apartment complex) with the mint, some mango rum, and club soda…and Saturday afternoon Mojitos were born.
I didn’t even think I liked rum (maybe because we’ve always bought the cheap stuff) but Amanda brought some Mango rum from St. Croix that was very, very good. So good, in fact, that we made them again tonight! Note to Amanda: according to how the grocery store values Mint…you have at least $100 of it if your garden
16 mint leaves
4 T. sugar
16 oz club soda
3 oz. Cruzian Mango Rum
Chop mint leaves and divide between two glasses.
Put 2 T. sugar in each glass. If you have a muddler –now is your chance to show it off, if not–a wooden spoon works just fine: crush the mint and sugar together in the bottom of the glass, you are trying to release the mint flavors from the leaves and mix them with the sugar.
Cut lime in half, squeeze each half into a glass and drop the lime into the glass.
Fill glass 3/4 full with ice (this will keep all og the mint from immediately floating.
Add 8oz club soda and 1.5oz rum to each glass.
Stir. Insert straw. Enjoy.
(To complement the mojitos) we had this Tamale cornbread casserole.
This casserole really does not resemble tamales at all, but it is very good, easy, healthy and quite cheap-all things we like. I am not crazy about corn tortillas, but this recipe gets the corn feature of tamales into the dish with cornbread, which I love. The sweet flavour of the cornbread complements the spicy chile powder and the bite of the green chiles. I used pepper jack cheese in the recipe for an extra kick, but you could use cheddar for a sharper taste, or american for a more mild taste.
Tamale Cornbread Casserole
3/4 pounds lean ground beef
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, seeds and stem removed, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons chile powder (more or less to taste)
2 teaspoons cumin (more or less to taste)
1 (28 ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, drained (Muir Glen makes the best ones around, but I can’t always find them at all grocery stores. Down south, HEB and Randall’s usually have them)
1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained,
1 (16 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 (2.25 ounce) can sliced ripe olives
3/4 cup grated pepper jack cheese (about 3 ounces)
1-pound of Jiffy cornbread mix prepared with 1/3 c. milk and 1 egg as directed.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Heat ground beef in a large skillet on medium high. Add the onion and bell pepper. Add salt, chile powder, and cumin. Cook, stirring occasionally, until beef has browned. Remove from heat. Drain excess fat if necessary (if you are using lean beef, there shouldn’t be excess).
Mix in fire-roasted tomatoes, chiles, corn and olives
Grease an 8×8 pan and spoon in filling.
Top with shredded cheese.
Spread prepared cornbread as top layer over cheese.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the top is browned.