one can only consume so many mojitos


Montana can grow some mean mint. I love mint–love the way it looks and smells, the way it thoughtfully fills in around all of the other bush-like plants in my low-water garden. It is also a natural mosquito repellent. Not to be confused with mojitos, because it attracts those.

I went to an Indian dinner party and was charged with making a vegetarian dish. I made two and was happy to use up about four cups of mint from my garden.

Both recipes turned out fabulous and were a perfect accompaniment to the lamb curry, pea and carrot salad, eggplant dahls and cucumber salad the other ladies prepared. It is funny how potlucks always work out with good friends and how they are a total disaster with acquaintances. With pals, everyone makes their best dish and brings plenty of it but throw a potluck for folks you don’t know so well and dinner ends up being chips and salsa and crusty bread with cheese. Maybe a depressing raw veggie tray and/or a flat of assorted cookies from Costco.

Anyway, our meal rocked although there was one major disaster: In my enthusiastic pulsing of the mint date sauce, I broke the giraffe lady sculpture I bought for Andy for father’s day. Bummer.


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mint and date dipping sauce (chef: Padma Lakshmi)



  • 2 cups mint leaves
  • 3 pitted Medjool dates, finely chopped
  • 1 serrano chile, seeded and chopped
  • 3 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • Salt
In a blender, combine the mint leaves, dates, serrano chile, lemon juice and water and puree until smooth. Transfer the dipping sauce to a bowl and season with salt. Serve at room temperature.

I served with poppadoms that night and have since used the leftovers in rice and on sandwiches and it is fab.

chickpea salad with yogurt and herbs (chef: Jerry Traunfeld)



  • Two 15-ounce cans chickpeas—rinsed, drained and patted dry
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 3/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 3/4 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup chopped mint
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Pour the chickpeas into a large bowl. In a small skillet, heat the peanut oil until shimmering. Add the mustard seeds, partially cover the skillet and cook over moderately high heat until the mustard seeds stop popping, about 1 minute. Add the cumin and fennel seeds and the crushed red pepper and cook until the mixture is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour the hot oil and spices over the chickpeas. Stir in the yogurt, lemon juice, sliced scallions, chopped cilantro and mint and salt. Serve at room temperature.


9 Responses to one can only consume so many mojitos

  1. Katie says:


  2. Sage says:

    So the mint doesn’t take over everything? I wondered if I had to keep it corraled… Do you have spearmint or peppermint or? My mom dries mint and then crumbles it into tea bags and we have the most lovely tea all winter. Another great way to use up a bunch of mint. Can’t wait to try the recipes…. so yummy. Thanks!

  3. TRB Holt says:

    I love mint too; reading this post brought back fond childhood memories of walking little meandering creeks, around Missoula, fishing with my mother……before we could fish she would search for wild mint. Seems like she always found it, then she would pull some up, wet it in the creek and lay in the bottom of our creels providing a sweet soft bed for the Brookies we anticipated catching for lunch. Just a little walk down memory lane…..I miss my mom.

    xoxo, mom

    PS. Mint = key ingredient in the world famous Minneapolis Bootleg as well!

  4. Lois Lane says:

    we have padma’s latest cookbook but i’m too afraid to try anything as i’ve been relatively unsuccessful in culinary ventures as of late. I’ll give you y most recent example: I was all proud of myself b/c we had all this extra hamburger meat left over from our BBQ. And I remembered to thaw it the night before so I could make a big pot of chili to eat this week. And I remembered to go to the store and get all the ingredients. And I actually made the chili and remembered to bring it for lunch on Monday. And then, halfway into the bowl, I realized something was not right.
    I was eating chili with no beans which is basically like eating spaghetti sauce with no noodles.
    And then I remembered putting the beans away in the cupboard and actually thinking to myself: wow. why did i buy so many cans of beans.
    so i tell you all of this to say, sorry about your giraffe. it could have been worse. XO

  5. Lois Lane says:

    wait, no. that’s not why i told you that. i told you that because we have a ton of mint too, and until i read your post, i had no idea what to do with it. so we will try your recipe. dates are delicious. yeah you. yeah padma. yeah top chef.

  6. cjs says:

    I was quite hungover at kelle’s wedding shower. barely made it through the fabulous festivities…

    all because of multiple mojitos.

  7. Katie, yes! yum.

    Ma, I love that memory! What a lovely idea.

    Sage, I don’t have nay clue what kind of mint I have but I pull the pehjezus out of it every year….it will indeed take over but in a slow and controllable way.

    Linz, your comments made me laugh audibly. Am I the only person who can’t do the “LOL” thingy?

    cjs, mojitos are deadly that way….I have had similar experiences.

  8. Lisa Hensley says:

    I had no clue mint would work in a ‘low water’ enviroment. Thought it needed lots of water. Does it come back every year? I just bought spearmint, peppermint and orange mint. And I’m inspired by your photo to plant it near my lavender plants. Thanks for the tip!

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