I would like a reset on this afternoon.
Here is how I was feeling around 5:30 today while I waited in the pouring rain for Nicky’s bus. Which was 30 minutes late. Again.
Thank GOD today happened to be both National Linguine Day (easy dinner) AND National Creme de Menthe Day (BOOZE!!!!!!)
I stopped at the liquor store over my lunch break and picked up a bottle of Creme de Menthe, and immediately felt 90 years old. The cashier at the local liquor barrel seemed very confused as to why I was buying Creme de Menthe – did I need any rum? No. Did I want a 6-pack? No, just point me to the minty liquor sir.
Kevin Belton, whose PBS cooking show I watch religiously on Saturday mornings, has explained the “Holy Trinity” of New Orleans cooking to me as onion, celery and green bell pepper. In our house, the “Holy Trinity” refers to basil, garlic and onion and when I’m running late: packaged spice versions of these!
This, combined with ingredients I already had in the house – tomatoes, ground beef, linguine noodles – led to a perfectly adequate celebration of National Linguine Day!
On to the good stuff: Creme de Menthe!
Until recently, I didn’t realize that Creme de Menthe had alcohol in it – I thought it was just fancy mint extract. I grew up eating ‘Grasshopper Cake’ that my mom made which consisted of chocolate cake and a frosting made with Creme de Menthe. I always witnessed her pull the Creme de Menthe from the baking cabinet, never the liquor cabinet, so I grew up assuming it was strictly a baking ingredient.
Insert Ryans mom and her desire to give me a ‘digestive’ drink occasionally after dinner. I can vividly recall being handed a LARGE glass of bright green liquid that tasted minty as hell after Thanksgiving dinner at Ryan’s parent’s house. It was supposed to settle my stomach after a heavy meal. Or make it worse, I’m not really sure. Turns out, it contained Creme de Menthe and will get you drunk if you drink it all. I now knew that Creme de Menthe was a whole lot more than just fancy mint flavoring.
I played around with the idea of making Creme de Menthe brownies or cake in honor of my moms traditional cake, but then the whole bus situation happened and I needed to honor the day a little differently. Taking a cue from Ryan’s mom, I made after dinner drinks that looked terrifying….
They turned out to be the exact same shade of green as my eyes. It was really unsettling. I looked up some recipes for Grasshoppers and other Creme de Menthe drinks and decided that I would make a variation of them all. I combined non-dairy coffee ice cream, Creme de Menthe and a little coconut milk in a blender and came up with this:
Aside from the coffee beans floating in it, it’s very reminiscent of that very first Creme de Menthe drink I was served in the Hays living room. I assumed it would taste just as minty and possibly more delicious due to the addition of the coffee ice cream.
Look at that smile, so full of hope and joy.
It went down hill fast. It was minty. It was chunky. It burned a little on the way down. My stomach didn’t feel settled at all. But I no longer cared about the school bus incident!
*fun fact: Because he is a good man, Ryan ran to the wine shop in the midst of all this and picked up my favorite wine. Not the box kind, the $9.99 kind. We fancy.