Mary Moreau

Friday, June 3, 2011

Off-Label Use

In this post I will not be encouraging you to take prescription drugs for uses that have not been clinically tested. I am, however, going to propose an alternate use for a kitchen tool duo.

If you are like me and have a basic refrigerator without any bells and whistles, like crushed ice, but still would like on occasion to enjoy a drink poured over a tall glass filled with the stuff, then I have a solution for you.

Yes, yes, I know that you can put ice in a bag and wrap in a towel and go at it with a mallet, but I have a simple solution for you in the cases where you don’t want to go to all that hassle for one or two drinks (or ruin your last zip lock bag which you re-use and are mystified as to where they go). Take your mortar and pestle and pound a couple of ice cubes at a time while you slightly cover the top of the mortar with your other hand so that errant ice chips don’t fly at you. Crushed ice for non-alcoholic mint lemonade. Done.

I can’t believe I never thought of using my mortar and pestle for this before, but it works like a charm. If you do not have a mortar and pestle then you really should consider taking remedial action, even if for all the other normal uses like grinding spices and making spice pastes. Don’t bother, as I did for several years, with those dinky little ceramic versions where you are afraid to put any elbow grease lest you crack the mortar. You know, the kind that looks like it belonged to a druggist, circa 1903. Rather, get a hefty, somewhat deep, granite or marble one. You absolutely would be doing yourself a favour for the mere fact that a basil pesto lovingly made by hand in a mortar is so much more charming and delicious than something whirled in a food processor.

I finally got the upgrade to my stone mortar and pestle when it was given to me by my dear husband for my last birthday. It works so much better – exponentially so – than the little ceramic one. I do, however, keep the ceramic set around because it makes short work of crushing one or two cloves of garlic when used in combination with the granite pestle. That, and I like things that look like they belong in an apothecary.

Sparkling mint lemonade, non-alcoholic

  • Juice of two smallish lemons
  • A healthy sized sprig of mint
  • 2-3 drops of liquid stevia extract (or a spoonful of sugar if you don’t have to avoid it)
  • Crushed ice – see above
  • Sparkling water

  1. In a tall glass (collins glass) muddle the lemon juice, mint and stevia. (If you don't have a muddler you can improvise with the handle end of a wooden spoon or other similar kitchen a pestle)
  2. Fill the glass with the crushed ice leaving a bit of space at the top.
  3. Top it off with sparkling water and gently stir
  4. Enjoy the feeling of being revived!

Note: If you must, you could add some white rum or gin, but this really is a delightful drink on it’s own.

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