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Olive Oil-Infused Vodka

The kitchen staple is used for sautéing, frying, drizzling, dipping, and baking, so why not add a bit of that sultry flavor to a cocktail? It’ll add a ton of smooth flavor and cut through the “bite” of the alcohol. Many recipes for olive oil cocktails ask you to incorporate a healthy dose of it into the drink through emulsification, making for viscous results. With this olive oil-infused vodka, there’s no need. You’re whisking olive oil and vodka over very low heat, freezing the mixture until the oil solidifies, and skimming it off. The olive oil subtly lingers in flavor but not consistency. Bottoms up.

Lime-Olive Oil Custard

This quick and easy custard reminds us of the filling in a key lime pie. It’s pleasantly tart with just enough sweetness. Watch the ingredients come together quickly in a blender. If you have a high power blender like a Vitamix that heats up and cooks soups, you can make the entire custard from start to finish in your blender (it’ll cook the eggs and thicken them the same way the heat from the stove does). If not, transfer the mixture to a double boiler and whisk it over simmering water until it thickens. We like serving the custard in cute little glasses and garnishing with some extra lime zest.

6 Creative Ways to Use Lemongrass

With an unmistakable citrus-floral flavor, this woody ingredient—often found in Thai curries and Vietnamese dishes—may confuse the heck out of many home cooks. But it can play a regular role in soups, sauces, and cocktails if you stick with these easy ideas. 

Shrimp Lemongrass Skewers

Here’s a simple way to cook tender, flavorful shrimp. The lemongrass stalks simultaneously skewer the shrimp together so they broil evenly, and infuse them with fresh lemony flavor. You can make the spicy, citrusy marinade ahead of time and let the shrimp marinate for up to 2 hours before cooking. You want the lemongrass stalks to be as thin as possible for easier skewering, so try to buy thin lemongrass stalks, if possible, or simply peel off layers until they’re thin enough to poke through the shrimp. Don’t love shrimp? Use any firm white fish you like, such as swordfish, scallops, or grouper.

Lemongrass Tartar Sauce

This mayo-based sauce is full of salty, savory mix-ins like capers, dill pickle relish, whole grain mustard, and champagne vinegar. In other words, there’s mega flavor in there. Chopped lemongrass and chopped dill add an edge of freshness. If you don’t have champagne vinegar white wine vinegar makes a fine substitute. Make sure to chop the lemongrass quite finely because it can be fibrous. The tartar sauce keeps for up to 2 days in the refrigerator in an airtight container. We love it served with seared salmon and a side of thinly sliced cucumbers—although it pairs spectacularly with any type of fish.

Lemongrass Paloma

The Paloma is like the margarita’s classy older sister. You can tell they’re related (they’re both tequila-based), but the Paloma has grapefruit juice in addition to lime juice, plus club soda for sparkle. This version is sweetened with a lemongrass simple syrup. Make it by boiling light agave nectar and a bruised piece of lemongrass. Use the bottom, less woody piece of the lemongrass talk, and bruise it with the back of a chef’s knife. The syrup will keep for up to a month in the refrigerator in an airtight container. You can also make the entire drink ahead of time and stir the seltzer in just before serving.

Lemongrass-Ginger Fruit Salad

Plain fruit salad packed with tons of firm honeydew melon and a few precious grapes isn’t everyone’s favorite. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Trust us. Consider the fruit, dressing, and garnish you’re using. Tropical fruit like kiwi and pineapple pair especially well with a lemony ginger dressing. A bit of ripe cantaloupe will stretch your dish so it can feed a crowd. You can make the salad up to a day ahead of time and garnish with fresh mint right before serving. We’d love this dish paired with grilled meat and veggies at dinner, or a bowl of oatmeal at breakfast.

Lemongrass Beet Crostini

Avocado toast is all well and good, but this open-faced delight is just as in-your-face-delicious and photogenic—with an added dose of sophistication. Make the beets ahead of time (they’ll last a couple days in an airtight container in the refrigerator) and you’ll have all of the components on hand to quickly whip up a little snack. We love using a halved baguette for the base, but any type of sturdy bread will do just as well. Fresh floral lemongrass is the perfect companion to earthy beets, while goat cheese adds tangy creaminess, and a pinch of sea salt balances every bite.

Lemongrass Coconut Curry

For a flavorful soup, this recipe is super speedy: it comes together in about 20 minutes total. A creamy coconut milk and chicken broth base is cut with green curry paste and fragrant chopped lemongrass. You’re actually enjoying lemongrass two ways because it’s an ingredient in curry paste as well. Right when all of the flavors have melded together, you add a handful of thin rice noodles. They cook instantly in the simmering broth and add satisfying substance. Fresh chile and opal basil add a final layer of flavor before serving (but regular Genovese basil works if that’s what you can find).

Kamut-Banana-Walnut Muffins

They’re nutty and earthy, and not too sweet. Banana flavor hits you first, and then you appreciate the crunchy topping made from chopped dried banana chips and walnuts. A lot of the unusually rich flavor comes from the kamut flour, made from ground up kamut wheat, an ancient relative of modern day wheat which has a buttery, rich flavor. It’s a whole grain that’s a great source of fiber. Find it in the baking aisle next to other specialty flours (Bob’s Red Mill makes one that we love). The recipe is pretty straightforward; coating the inside of the muffin liners with cooking spray keeps the batter from sticking.