Sticky Lemongrass Chicken Thighs with Black Rice Salad

Chicken thighs nestled in black rice on a platter

After a long, hard Northeast winter, nothing makes me happier than looking out on the deck and seeing row upon row of fresh herbs, sitting up in their little pots all bright and perky, like, “what? I was always here.” No, Rosemary, you weren’t. And I know that for a fact because I paid a freaking fortune for a few measly sprigs in January since I just couldn’t bear to use the dry, desiccated jar of rosemary-scented dust that languishes on my spice rack through the winter. 

Even though spring is yet young, the herb garden still feels like a cornucopia. Chives! Mint! Cilantro!  Sure it’s still too cold for the basil, but don’t be greedy, it will be here soon. Anxious for a recipe that uses this green bounty, we decided on a Black Rice Salad which, along with crisp red cabbage, sweet golden raisins and crunchy peanuts, uses a full cup of fresh herbs. We went with cilantro and mint (because that’s what we have) but basil, when it’s fresh, would be fantastic too, especially spicy Thai basil if you’re growing it or can find it in the store. 

A platter of black rice sprinkled with herbs

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Lemongrass Collins

A lemongrass collins takes a little time, but you will end up with a delicious, refreshing cocktail that will also knock you on your arse.

Lemongrass CollinsThis unbelievably delicious Lemongrass Collins recipe comes from Barnum Cafe in Rome. Have Matt and I ever been to this darling-looking place? Um…no. But we know people.

Important people.

Our dear friends, Rickey and Barbara, went to Italy and, being the most fun people that ever lived, managed to convince the bartender from Barnum Cafe to give them the recipe. I then harassed them into giving it to me. And I am now giving it to you, the internet.

Quick aside: Matt and I recently spent the weekend with them, drinking these cocktails and watching a marathon of the first season of The Knick. For me, one of life’s greatest pleasures is spending time with people who make me laugh, cooking great food, drinking delicious drinks, and watching Clive Owen do creepy things to Bono’s daughter.

Lemongrass Collins

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Lemongrass and Lemon-Peel Infused Vodka

Lemongrass and Lemon-Peel Infused Vodka

Did you know that if you put tasty things into vodka (or gin) and let it steep for a while in a cool, dark place you wind up with vodka (or gin) that tastes like whatever delicious thing you put in it?

I can’t believe I’ve never done this before and, to be honest, I’m a little mad that you guys didn’t tell me about this sooner. Has everyone been drinking delicious infused cocktails for years and hiding it from me? I’m shocked and appalled and I demand you send me your favorite infusion combinations this instant so I can make them, photograph them and put them all over the internet.

Anyway, this one was inspired by our dear friend’s son who just twenty minutes ago was an adorable little baby and is now about to graduate from college. This handsome former-baby (Hi Jesse, don’t kill me!) is clearly an entrepreneur because he makes delicious lemongrass-infused vodka in his dorm room closet. 

[Leans on walker and adjusts ear-trumpet] Ha, kids these days! When I was in college, we thought it was très classy to remove the paper bag from the bottle of Jaegermeister before chugging it. So fancy!

Lemongrass and Lemon-Peel Infused Vodka
Peel the lemongrass until you reach the pale green, almost-white layers.

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