Lemongrass Chicken & A “Wish it was Summer” Cocktail

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Chicken thighs marinated in coconut milk, ginger and lemongrass.

I almost titled this “Mother Nature is a bitch” but I didn’t want to get on her bad side.

See, I’m a summer person; I tend to daydream about sunshine from October all way until June. So it’s no surprise that last week my mind was on white sandy beaches when Portland got buried under 7 inches of snow.

Within the first hour of “Snowmageddon,” most of Portland was in a panic. People left work in droves, restaurants closed and the roads were flooded with cars as everyone tried to make it home before the worst of the storm hit.

I, on the other hand, was simply mad.

Sure snow can be pretty, but come on — I got through all of December and January marveling at how mild the weather was only to let my guard down in February. It was just cruel, and the cruelness continued for three days, ending with a stint of freezing rain that coated the streets in a layer of ice.

And even as the days finally warmed up and the snow began to melt, I continued to give in to thoughts of tropical beaches, palm trees and fancy umbrella drinks. It was not a good mental path to go down when the city you live in is covered in dirty slush.

But it did inspire me to use some tropical ingredients in my dinner — bringing a small ray of sunshine into my life. This coconut, lemongrass and ginger chicken is a recipe from the Bon Appetit Food Lovers Cleanse — one I tried out back in January and liked so much I made again. I paired it with a gin cocktail (the Rubies & Thorns, also from the FLC 2014) simply because snow makes me want to drink.

The chicken is incredibly easy to make and with a tweak or two will end up on my menu rotation for sure. First tweak: I’m not huge on boneless skinless thighs, the texture is just a bit stringy to me. After trying this recipe twice, I’ve decided future versions will need to be made with either a bone-in skin-on thigh or just a breast, if I’m trying for a lower calorie meal.

I also think it needed a few squeezes of lime to brighten things up.

Besides that I think this dish is a winner. The lemongrass and ginger, mixed with a dash of turmeric, add plenty of spark and even just a few hours in the marinade was enough to impart good flavor into the meat.

The cocktail is also simple — and beautiful in its simplicity. Though it only calls for a half of an ounce of gin, it tasted just as good even better with a full shot poured in. The thyme simple syrup adds the depth it needs to be special.

Together this dinner certainly worked at cheering me up!

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Marinated chicken thighs

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Rubies & Thorns (Blood orange juice, lemon thyme simple and a touch of gin)