My youngest turns 16 this week. To celebrate, the husband and I are taking him to a concert Wednesday night. We’ll spend several hours at Ravens Stadium rocking out with Volbeat, Avenged Sevenfold and Metallica.

I don’t want to say I’m dreading the evening (I get to spend a bunch of hours with my teenager), but …

Anyway. The last stadium concert I went to was David Bowie in the 1980s. I think it was his Let’s Dance tour. It was like stepping into a psychedelic kaleidoscope.

My friend, Janet, and I went to a Journey concert in Kansas City during that band’s heyday. She felt about Journey kind of like I feel about heavy metal (not her genre). But she put on a good face.

I will, too.

To prepare for our evening of metal music, I’m dousing myself in mint. It’s known for its calming properties. It soothes the stomach; it remedies headaches. We have an overgrown patch in the garden that I cut down and crammed in a vase. I’m throwing it into beverages, tossing it in salads and roasting it with all sorts of meats and vegetables.

Last night, I seeped it in milk, then made these custards:

They were cold, creamy and full of fresh, minty flavor. A soothing end to dinner.

I may make a batch to eat when we get home Wednesday.

Mint Custards

This is based on Dorie Greenspan’s lemon custard recipe in her book Baking. It’s the easiest custard I’ve ever made: No separating eggs; no stovetop stirring … just whisking, baking and chilling!

  • 2 1/4 cups milk (Greenspan calls for whole milk; I used 2 percent to lovely effect)
  • 1 handful of fresh, torn mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • Bittersweet chocolate for garnishing (optional)

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Place 6 ramekins in a casserole dish and coat them with nonstick spray. Set aside.

Bring a teakettle of water to a boil, then keep it hot.

Place the milk and mint leaves in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat. Cover and let steep for 30 minutes.

Whisk the sugar and eggs in a medium bowl.

Reheat the milk and mint until the milk is just simmering.

Strain 2 to 3 tablespoons of the hot milk into your egg and sugar mixture. Whisk well.

Continue straining the milk into the eggs and sugar a little at a time, whisking well after each addition. When all the milk is gone, whisk a bit more.

Slowly pour the custard into your prepared ramekins. Carefully pour the hot water from your teakettle into the casserole dish, until it comes halfway up the ramekins’ sides:

Place the casserole dish into your oven. Bake for 45 minutes.

Remove the casserole. Transfer the custards to a baking rack and bring to room temperature.

Place the ramekins on a plate. Cover with plastic and chill for at least 2 hours.

Serve cold, garnished with grated chocolate and a mint sprig if desired.

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