Chives are Our Choice!
The mild flavor of Chives makes it a wonderful versitile herb which as you will see can be used in many different situations whether it is in your garden or on your place. So now its time to High Five the Chive!
Since I grew up in a very cold zone 3a( can get as cold as -40c/f) we were severely limited in what kind of plants could be grown. The growing season is short and fast, it can freeze into June and has beeen known to do the same in late August too. Fortunately many good vegtables can be grown as they many have quick seasons being annuals. Salads are supreme! Once we conquered vegtables next we wanted to do herbs. This was more of a challenge. The first one my mother was given was Chives( Allium schoenoprasum) which has survived and thrived admirably there, producing year after year and happily seeding so we had to give it’s offspring away.
Allium schoenoprasum have been with us a long time as they naturally grow over a wide area of the Northern hemisphere. They are found wild in not only Europe and Asia as well as North America, which makes them the only Allium species which is known in the new and old world. Chives were known to be used by Gypsies in fortune telling( don’t ask me how)! They early on where known to ward off disease and it was common to see dried bunches hanging in the house for this purpose. Medicinally Chives where used as far back as the Roman era to relieve sunburn and sore throat pain. It was believed that eating Chives would increase blood pressure and increase urination. Farmers also knew that Alliums repelled bugs and other pests and would plant Chives along the edges of their crops to protect their main harvests.
Since we all know and have experienced with Onions(Alliums) we know something about Chives, They taste oniony. They can be a tasty addition to many culinary concoctions, the same can be said for in a garden. Chives are one of the more well behaved members for working with in designing. They can be Incorporated in many places and look perfectly at home. They can be used formally or informally and look like they belong. They have long been used in vegetables and herb gardens, but also can be used as an informal, low edging which is soft in the spring and becomes more colorful when in bloom.
All parts of Allium schoenoprasum are edible with the leaves cut finely to add to flavor soups, salads, sauces and other things. the flowers are added to salads more for the color. the bulbs are generally not harvested now as there are better members for culinary use such as Shallots. Other members of the onion family are very similar with thin grassy leaves and slightly differing flavor. I especially like the local Nodding Onions(Allium cernuum) which have been harvested for centuries by the native peoples of this area which makes an attractive addition to my garden. Another small attracive Onion for your garden would be the white flowering Garlic Chives(Allium tuberosum) which has flat leaves which are slightly ‘garlicy’.
Growing Chives and other smaller onions is easy. they need full sun and well drained fertile soil. they do not like drought conditions are will become susceptible to disease if this happens. remember to clean all the debris of the dead leaves in the fall to keep them free of any problems. As they are a bulb it is best to remove the flower buds if you are growing them for repeated harvest throughout the year. they also seed seed very freely if not deadheaded after blooming. Large clumps can be divided in the spring or fall to increase their vigour.
More About Chives:
Growing Chives the easy way: http://www.garden.ie/howtogrow.aspx?id=1047
A little about the history and the family of Alliums: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chives
Until We Meet Again Next Month Happy Eating…. and Happy Gardening!
From Kim: Our Choice is Chives!
Chives is one of those ingredients I use a lot in cooking and oftentimes I use in conjunction with green onions. I love its mild flavor while yet still giving me that onion taste I want without being overbearing. There’s so many uses for this herb, mostly you’d see it as a garnish to a loaded baked potato or pasta dish but I wanted to do more with it for this post – and show chives as a topping but also cooked within the dishes. Now for a few facts about chives:
They are part of Alliaceae (onion family). Chives’ constituents equal those of the close relatives, onions and garlic. The following volatile components have been identified: dipropyl disulfide, methyl pentyl disulfide, pentanethiol, pentyl-hydrodisulfid and cis/trans-3,5-diethyl-1,2,4-trithiolane. Chives contain significant amounts of the vitamins A and C.
One of the ways I use chives also is in stir frying. Because most of the time I use fresh chives, I don’t want them to cook too long and burn so stir frying which takes such a short time is perfect for this long stem onion and so now let me introduce you to my menu, first up:
For Breakfast – Scrambled Eggs & Chives
Easy dish in the morning to make and remember that breakfast really is the important meal of the day – this is not a heavy meal in the mornings either. It’s not good to eat anything that weighs you down when you still have eight or more hours to go before dinner.
1/4 stick butter
Pepper to taste
chives (rough chop)
Warm pan, add butter. Beat eggs in a separate bowl and add chives. Add eggs to pan. Scramble and pepper to taste. Best to eat right after you fix them.
So, now that we’ve taken care of breakfast, it’s time to go on to lunch and so how about:
Carmelized Onions Mushroom & Chives Quiche
Isn’t this a pretty dish? Love it! This could also be a side dish for dinner too or served at a dinner party. I think it’s elegant looking enough but the primary thing is that it tastes good and the recipe is quite simple:
2 tbsp. minced shallots or white of green onions
3 tbsp. butter
1/2 lb. sliced mushrooms
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. flour
2 tbsp. chicken stock
1 c. heavy cream
9″ pastry shell
1/4 c. shredded Swiss cheese
Saute shallots in butter until tender. Add mushrooms, cook until tender. Stir in salt, lemon juice, flour, and stock; simmer 5 minutes or until liquid has evaporated; cool.
Beat eggs and cream until mixed. Stir in mushroom mixture. Pour into shell and sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until set. Garnish with chives.
Notice with this dish, I’m combining three onions – shallots, green onions, and chives. They’re all a mild flavor – shallots having sort of a sweet aroma to them and so they complement each other well. I love vidalias and use them the most as far as onions go and I have mixed them with chives too, to me they balance each other out.
And so now I need to get on with supper right? So don’t want to disappoint…I have two choices for you so without further ado First Choice:
Capellini Shrimp Chives Served with Sour Cream Chives Biscuits
Oh boy now seafood and chives, I’m really in my element now!!!!!
1/2 lb. raw med. shrimp, cleaned, peeled & deveined
1 tbsp. EVOO
1 med. vidalia onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
4 heirloom tomatoes, sliced
1/4 tsp. pepper
Dash of cayenne
1 tsp. dried basil
Salt to taste
1/4 c. minced fresh chives
1/2 c. pitted, chopped black olives
Grated Parmesan cheese
12 oz. capellini or long pasta
Heat oil in large skillet; add onion, garlic and shrimp; saute until shrimp turns pink. Remove shrimp and set aside. Add tomatoes, pepper, cayenne, basil and salt to the onion mixture. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered for 5 minutes. Add shrimp, parsley and olives to mixture. Serve over noodles with chives.
I even like to use chives for the presentation to make the whole meal come together pretty on the plate. It just adds a special touch that the eyes feast on first and I love to play with my food.
2 c. Bisquick
1 c. dairy sour cream
3/4 c. plain yogurt
1 tbsp. dried snipped chives
Mix all ingredients until dough forms, beat 30 seconds. Turn onto surface, dusted with baking mix, gently roll in baking mix to coat. Shape into ball. Knead 0 times. Roll 1/2 inch thick. Cut with 2 inch cutter dipped in baking mix. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet until golden brown, 8-10 minutes, in preheated 450 degree oven. So good!!!!!
Here’s my second choice and to me it is a sophisticated looking dish, colorful and all!
Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes and Chives
Isn’t this a lovely way to use chives? I think so, the cherry tomatoes add such dimension with its color but flavor too! Who says everyday ingredients together have to look boring?
One last thing…
Suppose you’re hosting a party and you need a good appetizer for it? I know that when I host a party, which is rare, I clam up beforehand and I look for something simple to serve to sort break the ice but also to help me calm down a bit. So I have a really good idea to serve up:
Smoked Trout Served on Crackers with Cream Cheese and Chives
10 ounces smoked trout fillet, skin and bones removed
Crackers (your favorite brand)
Cut smoked trout and to fit on top of the crackers. Spread each cracker with cream cheese, top with the trout and sprinkle chives on top. Makes a pretty appetizer!
This simple appetizer you can’t go wrong with and I think that when you make anything look nice on the plate, your guests will think you’re a gourmet chef but you don’t have to be to serve really beautiful looking and great tasting dishes! Remember that if you’re not big on cooking. You don’t have to be afraid to experiment – it doesn’t have a set formula the way baking does.
And with that said, this concludes my take on chives for this month! Hope you try any one of these and let us know what you think. Visit Jen’s page will give you detailed information on chives along with some beautiful photos!
Until next month…from The Garden Palette!