Please don’t eat the daisies, mint is so much tastier

With gas and food prices soaring, I began looking around the yard for something I might be able to eat, just in case the trucks stop running. Almost everything in my garden is poisonous – at least until the tomatoes and peppers begin to ripen.

But I have one plant that is mature and going wild. It also smells heavenly. It’s the common herb, mint. Heretofore, I have totally ignored it, except for plucking a few leaves to doll up a glass of tea. I’m not sure about the value of the herb nutritionally speaking, but I’ve got lots of it and who knows, one day soon we may all begin eating our hostas and boiling our crabgrass for food!

I was wondering – it looks just like basil – why not make a mint pesto? So I went on line to check out what Sara Moulton, my mentor and executive chef at Gourmet Magazine, might have to say about that.

She highly recommends a mint pesto for serving with lamb, pastas, and shrimp. So I gave it a try, fearful that it would make my pasta taste like toothpaste. But it was quite good. The jalapeno gave it just the kick it needed to save it from tasting “dessert like.” You might want to give it at try just in case somewhere down the line, there’s nothing in the grocery stores but beer and cigarettes. I’m sure those will always be available.

1/2 cup pine nuts or walnuts, toasted
3 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tablespoons (packed) feta cheese
2 tablespoons (packed) Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped jalapeño
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups (packed) fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Combine first 7 ingredients in processor. Using on/off turns, process until mixture is smooth. Add mint leaves and lemon juice; process until smooth, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl. Gradually add oil and process until mint pesto is smooth and creamy. (Can be made 1 day ahead; cover and refrigerate.)

Makes about 1 cup.

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