It’s Wednesday already, and you know what that means. Hop Day with Izzy! Don’t you wish you were sprawled out like this bunny?!! During the mini-heat wave last week, Izzy was stretched out a lot, probably trying to keep cool in our un-air-conditioned apartment. She was cool, and I got some fantastic photos; win win.
Luke thinks we should dress her up somehow for Easter. How does one make their bunny festive for such an occasion? I mean, she’s already a bunny. When I googled “dress up rabbit for Easter” I mostly got images of cats and dogs with bunny ears on. Maybe she’s already as dressed up as she can be.
With April just around the corner, I decided to go in a very green direction with the last of my chives. Not feeling another chive-y dinner, I decided to go with something that would preserve that chive flavor for later.
Oh pesto. So vibrant and tasty on just about everything, and so versatile. This version features chives and parsley and is currently being stored in my freezer in mini tupperwares for a rainy day.
On a side note, my dear friend KA is coming to visit today!!! I’m so excited to share my kitchen with her and cook up some memories.
Chive Parsley Pesto
Adapted from Swallowing the Seasons
Makes about 1 cup
4 cups chives, minced
1 cup parsley, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup Parmesan, grated
Salt and pepper to taste
Put all ingredients in a food processor and process until all ingredients are finely chopped and well incorporated, pausing once or twice to scrape the sides of the bowl and test for desired consistency. Add a drizzle or two more olive oil if it is too thick for you. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. Store in the fridge, or transfer to Tupperware for freezing. You can also freeze pesto in an ice cube tray, then transfer to a ziploc or tupperware once it is fully frozen.
Yesterday was quite the whirlwind of adventure and excitement, as we like the occasional Saturday to be. It started off with Luke and me at a jewelry store looking at wedding rings. A local store was having a HUGE sale, and there was free food. Bonus.
It was a mob scene. I’ve never seen so many young couples in one place. I guess living in the suburbs right after college will do that to you. Anyway, I am happy to report that we have secured our wedding rings!
When we got home, we had the pleasure of entertaining two very good friends of mine. I made pulled pork. We love pulled pork. After dinner, we went out for drinks. I don’t actually drink, so I was more there for the company…and watching drunk people.
Nothing better after a long, hard night of drunk people watching like pancakes. Especially if that after time is Sunday morning. Sunday morning and pancakes are made for each other. Since I still had chives, I added some to half the batter, but you really can’t taste them in the finished product. They were still very tasty, like more portable cornbread.
Adapted from Heat Oven to 350
Makes about 15 pancakes
1 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup milk
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
Heat a large skillet over medium heat and spray with non-stick cooking spray or grease with oil or butter.
In a large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking soda and salt.
In a medium bowl, beat the egg, then whisk in the milk and vegetable oil. Add to the flour mixture and mix until just combined.
Drop a heaping 1/4 cup onto the skillet and cook until the edges are set and the bottom is golden brown. Turn and cook the other side until golden. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve with your favorite toppings!
You can bet that the instant those chives jumped into my basket, the first thing I thought about were dumplings. When I was in Taiwan, there was a great dumpling place down the road from where I lived. They offered interesting flavors, like curry or kimchi stuffed dumplings.
And of course, they had the classic pork and chive dumpling. You could have them fried or steamed, and you ordered them off of a ticket that let you write a number next to each kind of dumpling you wanted. And to top it all off, they cost like 10 cents a dumpling.
Oh how I miss Taiwanese foooood! But luckily I can make my own dumplings at home, after having mastered dumpling folding and crimping lessons from my roommate’s mom in Taiwan.
These dumplings are perfect in their simplicity and downright scrumptious. You could easily use ground beef or chicken if pork isn’t your thing. Serve with soy sauce swirled with sesame oil.
Pork & Chive Dumplings
Adapted from Saveur
Makes 4-6 servings (about 40 dumplings)
1 lb. ground lean pork
2 Tbsp sesame oil
1 ½ cup garlic chives or scallions, finely chopped
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp salt
1⁄2 tsp grated ginger
1⁄2 tsp black pepper
40 dumpling wrappers (available at your local Asian market)
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and sprinkle with flour; set aside. Put sesame oil, pork, garlic chives, cornstarch, salt, ginger, and pepper, into a medium bowl and stir vigorously with a rubber spatula to combine.
Fill a small bowl with water. Working with one wrapper at a time, put a tablespoon of pork filling onto a wrapper. Wet your pointer finger in the small bowl and run it around the edge of the dumpling wrapper. This will make the edges stick together.
Fold the wrapper in half, packing down the filling, and form pleats by folding the edges of the wrapper into itself. It’s hard to explain the process in words, you might want to look up a tutorial on youtube if you’ve never made dumplings before.
Transfer each dumpling to reserved baking sheet. At this point, you can freeze the dumplings; freeze them on the baking sheet and then transfer them to a Ziploc bag once completely frozen.
To cook: Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a large skillet with high sides. Once the oil is hot, add as many dumplings as you want (or as many as can fit) in the skillet, making sure the filling side is down. Once the bottoms become brown and crispy add one cup water and cover the skillet. Cook until the water mostly evaporates and the dumpling skins are translucent, about 5-8 mins. Remove from pan and serve with your favorite dipping sauces.
And the chive train keeps on chugging, pulling into the snack station.
Cheese and chives. It’s like the savory version of peanut butter and jelly. Except I don’t think I’d want a chive and cheese sandwich. Unless it was a grilled cheese sandwich made with the herb pull apart bread. OH MAN, dinner tonight, done.
Or maybe I’ll melt a hot mess of cheese all over these crackers. That’d be about the same thing.
I’ve made homemade crackers once before, and was not all that satisfied. I was trying to make crispy cheese crackers, but they never crisped, and were too thick.
So I tried again. Still not as crispy as I hoped, but better. I’m guessing it’s because I baked them on a pizza stone. Love that thing.
They smelled fabulous in the oven, and tasted great too. The whole wheat flour gave them a subtle nuttiness that complimented the chives really well. These were great when I needed a break from snacking on cold pancakes.
Parmesan Chive Crackers
Adapted from Playing House Blog
Makes about 20-30 crackers
½ cup all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
½ cup whole wheat flour (you can use all all-purpose)
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
about 1/4 c. water, plus more as needed
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan
8 chives, chopped
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Make sure to place your pizza stone in the oven before preheating if using.
Place the flour, salt, and butter together in a large bowl or in the container of a food processor. Blend with a fork or pulse, until the flour and butter are combined. Add about 1/4 cup of water and blend, then continue to add water a little at a time until the mixture holds together but is not sticky.
Add in parmesan and chives at this point and give a final stir or pulse.
Roll out on a lightly floured surface until 1/4 in. thick, or even less. Score lightly with a sharp knife so you can break them into nice squares or rectangles later on. Bake on a lightly floured baking sheet, or on a pizza stone, until lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Cool on a rack, break apart and serve warm or room temperature, and store extras in an airtight container.
I thought it might be fun to get Izzy a spinning hay dispenser to keep her occupied, since she’s the sole house bunny. It was not so fun vacuuming up this mess. Izzy liked the dispenser though, and moved it around her pen. I have since removed it because of the mess it makes.
Oh well. Experimentation is part of life I suppose. It’s how we find new things to enjoy. Or, we use things we already enjoy and turn them into something new.
Which is how chives, mushrooms and pasta became a meal. And quite a delicious meal at that.
The chive sauce is almost like a pesto, making this pasta very fresh and springy-tasting. Even though it seems like we’ve skipped spring and moved right on into summer.
Whatever. I made this while it was still cold out, and enjoyed it immensely. Also, it’s incredibly quick to throw together if you need a dinner idea and have chives on hand.
Fettuccine with Chive Sauce and Mushrooms
Adapted from 20 Something Cupcakes
Makes 3-4 servings
Salt and pepper to taste
1 pound cremini mushrooms, wiped clean
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup roughly snipped fresh chives
1 pound fettuccine (or any other pasta)
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta. Toss the mushrooms in a bowl with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and generous pinches of salt and pepper. Spread the mushrooms in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast, turning once, until tender and browned, about 10 minutes. When cool enough to handle, cut the mushrooms into quarters.
In a food processor or blender, combine the remaining 1/2 cup olive oil, the chives, and generous pinches of salt and pepper. Process until pureéd.
Cook the pasta until al dente. Drain, reserving 2 tablespoons of the cooking water if you plan to serve the pasta hot. In a large serving bowl, toss the pasta with the mushrooms and chive oil. If serving immediately, toss with 1 to 2 tablespoons of the reserved cooking water. Otherwise, let the pasta cool to room temperature. Don’t forget to top with grated parmesan or romano cheese!
You may notice a pattern emerging over my next few posts, a pattern that centers on a key ingredient: garlic chives. I didn’t intend to buy them at the Asian market, but they looked so fresh and green, much more robust than regular chives. I sweat they jumped into my basket of their own free will.
Plus they were only $2/lb. Come on. This is the same market that sells 13 limes for $2. God I love that place. But an excess of lime is easy to manage. Zest ‘em, juice ‘em and freeze for later use.
Chives on the other hand would not stand up to such treatment. I had to work on a vegetable’s schedule, which meant finding some excellent chive recipes pronto.
This was the first one that caught my eye. It’s like an accordion of garlic bread that’s jacked up on cheese and herbs. Basically an amazing and stunning side dish that is really fun to eat (not as hard to make as it seems).
Did I happen to mention it’s delicious too? Plus, its flavors are customizable. Don’t like chives? Try basil or rosemary. You can also use different kinds of cheeses. I used smoked gouda and parmesan since they’re what I had on hand. Whichever way you pull it, this bread is sure to please.
Herb & Cheese Pull Apart Bread
Adapted from Pink Parsley
Makes one 9X5” loaf pan
For the bread:
2 cups bread flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup warm water
1 packet active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
3 Tbsp sugar
3/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp butter, melted
For the filling:
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup fresh herbs (any combination that suits you, I used chives & scallions)
1 cup cheese (your choice)
4 Tbsp butter, melted
salt and pepper to taste
In a large bowl, combine the water, sugar, and yeast and let sit for 5-10 mins, until the yeast is foamy. Add the first 2 cups of flour, and mix until combined. Add the third cup of flour, a few tablespoons at a time, mixing until the dough forms. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 6-9 minutes, until soft and pliable. Form into a smooth ball and transfer to a lightly oiled bowl. Allow to rise 1-2 hours, until doubled in size.
Punch down the dough and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Allow to rest for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, chop the herbs and garlic, melt the butter, and grate the cheese.
Roll the dough out into a 12×20 inch rectangle. Brush with 2 tablespoons of the melted butter, then sprinkle the dough with the garlic, herbs, and cheese. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
Cut the dough into 6 equally sized strips using a pizza cutter or knife. Stack the strips on top of each other and cut into 6 equally-sized squares.
Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan, and stack the squares on top of each other in the pan. If you lose some of the filling as you stack, just sprinkle it on top once the dough has been stacked. Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons of melted butter over the top.
Cover with a clean kitchen towel and allow to rise for 40 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the bread for 35-45 minutes, or until the top is golden-brown and the inside is cooked through. If the top browns too quickly, cover the bread with foil.
Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 20 minutes. Run a knife around the edges and invert onto a serving platter to serve.