Chive talkin’

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The dressing can be made on top of the salad before tossing.
Photos by Keri White

Despite decades of cooking, I have never used chives in my recipes.

There’s no particular reason — I just have always used onions, scallions or leeks when I’ve reached for members of the allium family.


Chives are grass-like strands found in the herbs section of the market; they deliver a mild onion flavor and are wonderful snipped and used raw as a garnish or topping, or chopped and cooked in foods to add a slight hint of onion.

I ended up with a pack of chives in my fridge — possibly bought by my husband for one of his Sunday creations, or possibly by me in a distracted moment. Never one to waste ingredients, I set to work discovering ways to use these flavorful strands.

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Chives add the green flecks of color to these cheese biscuits.

Chive Cheddar Biscuits

Makes 8, but can recipe be doubled or tripled


This recipe produces a relatively small batch. I prefer biscuits fresh from the oven, so I avoid leftovers when possible. We had these one weeknight with soup and salad, and they took center stage. My carb-avoiding daughter ate three, and even my vegetable-eschewing son ate one, despite the flecks of green in them.

Ingredients
4 tablespoons butter, cut in pieces
1⅓ cups all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
Scant ¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup buttermilk
⅓ cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon chopped chives, or more to taste

Directions
Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the butter, flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and baking soda into a bowl. Beat on low until the mixture becomes crumbly.

Add the buttermilk, mix again, then add the cheese and chives. The mixture should remain crumbly and not totally uniform.

Using spoons or your hands, shape the biscuits into rounds on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Each biscuit should contain about ⅓ cup dough.

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes until the biscuits are crisp on the outside and beginning to brown. Serve warm.

Salmon Cucumber Canapes
Makes about 12, depending on the size of the cucumber

These pretty little bites were the result of both the surplus chives and leftover lox that remained from a bagel breakfast served to weekend guests on Sunday morning.

Ingredients
1 cucumber, peeled and sliced into rounds. These should be thin, but sturdy enough to hold the cream cheese without drooping.
2 ounces cream cheese
2 ounces lox, cut in 1-inch pieces
Handful of chives

Directions

Spread the cucumber slices with cream cheese and top with a piece of lox.

Hold a few strands of chives over each canapé, and snip them with kitchen scissors.

Serve immediately, or chill until ready to serve. These are best eaten within an hour or two of assembly.

Navy Bean Soup

Makes about a gallon

This lighter version of a hearty bean soup is ideal as spring approaches; it’s still plenty robust, but less meat and more vegetables help bid adieu to winter. The smoked turkey hock gives it plenty of flavor, and you can certainly add more smoked turkey, if you wish. And if you prefer a vegan soup, just omit the turkey hock; the vegetables can stand on their own.

Ingredients
1 pound navy beans
4 carrots, sliced
4 stalks celery, sliced
2 onions, sliced
1 smoked turkey hock
½ bunch dill, chopped
1 handful chives, snipped
Water
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Soak the beans overnight in cold water; rinse and drain. If you don’t have time to soak them overnight, you can quick-soak the beans by covering them with boiling water, and soaking for an hour. Drain, rinse and proceed with the recipe.

Place the soaked beans in a large pot with all the ingredients. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer for 2-3 hours until the beans are tender.

Check for seasoning. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove the turkey hock, if using, and serve.

This makes a large batch, so plan to feed a crowd or freeze a few containers.

Vegetable Salad with Chopped Chives

Serves 4

This salad showcases a variety of flavors, colors and textures. I generally gravitate toward salads that blend greens, fruit, nuts and cheese, but this combo has me focusing on the vegetable side of things, which is lower in calories and very healthy.

The super-simple dressing can be made right on top of the salad before tossing, so there is a minimum of fuss involved. And the family loves it.

Ingredients
For the salad
1 10-ounce package baby greens
½ red bell pepper, chopped
1 carrot, sliced
½ cucumber, peeled and sliced
1 avocado, cut in cubes and spritzed with lemon juice
4 chives
Crumbled goat, feta or razor-thin sliced Parmesan cheese; croutons or homemade toasted bread crumbs, if desired

For dressing
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions

Place the greens in a salad bowl and add the pepper, carrot, cucumber and avocado.

Hold the chives over the salad and snip with kitchen scissors. Add the cheese and croutons/bread crumbs, if using.

Sprinkle the salad with salt, pepper, garlic powder, vinegar and oil and toss thoroughly. Serve immediately.

Keri White is a Philadelphia food writer.

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