We’re very fond of our herb garden. A few years ago, we built a step stand on the back deck, and this holds enough aromatic greenery to pinch for the kitchen all summer long. Having herbs so close to hand means that it’s easy to get inspiration for a food or drink recipe. Herb pots are easy to set up, don’t require any digging, and can be positioned wherever you have a sunny spot. A few years ago, in our garden-less apartment in Brooklyn, we’d sneak herb pots out onto the fire escape in defiance of the landlady. When Emily lived in an industrial loft building, the roof was always the sunniest location and where herbs thrived. The pride of our raised bed garden is always late-summer tomatoes, but there’s a hero of the herb garden that brings us delight from early summer onwards. To paraphrase T S Eliot, we can measure out our summer in basil leaves.
Growing up in New York City, you learn a few very useful things. One, never get into the empty carriage of an otherwise packed train. Two, don’t even try to find a yellow cab between 4:30 and 5:30pm. And three, the very best food is usually the cheapest. For example, back in the day, you could get a roast pork bun from Hop Shing for less than $1. A big bowl of curried vegetables with roti from Punjabi Grocery & Deli went for a whopping $4. And at Pio Pio, a quarter of a golden-skinned Pollo a la Brasa, with aji verde sauce and a few maduro (sweet fried plantains), was about $7 (I’m sure it’s more now, but probably not much).
But the one bad thing about living in a cute Hudson Valley town is there are no funky little Peruvian chicken joints nearby (although we hope soon to get over to Machu Picchu, a Peruvian restaurant over the river in Newburgh). So when we get a craving for these flavors, the only thing left to do is make our own version.
This gorgeous cocktail combines homemade hibiscus syrup with lime, vodka (or gin), and a few slices of jalapeño and mint. Poured over ice, it’s just what you want on a hot summer day.
I’ve mentioned before that for someone who has lived her entire life on land, I’m extremely concerned about getting scurvy. The fact that my preventative measures always happen to be delicious, tart cocktails is purely just coincidence. Odd that.
Because I’m also concerned about you, dear reader, I’m writing you a prescription* for drink at least two of these cocktails a week, all summer long. You’re welcome.
*I’m not a doctor and you probably (definitely) shouldn’t listen to me.
These coconut key lime cupcakes titillate your tastebuds with light, tropical flavors and look pretty dang party, too.
It’s hard for me to believe but it’s true; today is the 3-year anniversary of Nerds with Knives. I know we act immature, but we are, in fact, toddler-aged. *Throws a cupcake at your head and licks frosting off the floor*
Who would have thought that a blog whose scintillating early posts had titles like “My Kettle” and “In Case You’re Wondering If You Can Boil A Pre-Sliced Ham In Coca Cola. Answer; You Can’t,” would make it 3 whole years. We’re as shocked as you are but somehow we’ve managed to keep this sputtering, mildly out-of-control train on the tracks. Yeah, us!
But really all thanks go to you, our readers, who we love and adore. If it wasn’t for your positive feedback, I’m sure we would have given up ages ago and would most likely have picked up some other, less respectable hobby. Like knitting. Or taxidermy.