As gardens begin to grow, one of the first perennial herbs to appear are chives. Chives are quite resilient and are particularly easy to grow both in garden beds or in pots. They can stand a bit of shade, tolerate drought, and grow well in any type of garden soil. For first time gardeners, this is an excellent plant that will yield a reliable source of flavorful nutrition.
Chives belong to the lily family and are part of a large genus of over 500 species of perennials that contain bulbs or underground stems. Known for their strong scent and distinct flavor, chives, along with garlic, onions, scallions and leeks are known as allium herbs. Allium species have been cultivated around the world for centuries and are valued both medicinally ad for their fabulous flavor.
If you grow your own chives, you can continually cut them back so the crop will continue into early fall. If you let happen to let them go you will get lovely purple-pink globe shaped chive flowers that make a beautiful garnish as well as a bright addition to spring or summer salads.
Chives are best when used fresh. Rinse and dry them well, then snip with scissors or cut with a very sharp knife. Snipped chives can be placed in freezer bags and frozen for later use, but will not maintain the texture of fresh shoots.
This is an herb that will elevate so many dishes, including soups, stews, salads, sauces, marinades, dressings, and dips. Adding a few tablespoons of chopped chives to cottage cheese will add a pleasing punch to a super simple snack. Make an easy supper of baked potatoes or sweet potatoes topped with Greek yogurt and chives. Mixing chives into cream cheese, along with lemon zest, and a grinding of black pepper will make an excellent spread for sandwiches or crackers. Omelets prepared with chives, parsley, and dill are a nice choice for any meal.
Chives contain valuable vitamin and mineral content. Vitamins K, A, and C are found in chives, as well as calcium, an important mineral. Chives also contain small amounts of magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and sodium. Purported to be anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiviral, eating more chives may boost your immune system and assist in maintaining superior levels of health.
If you buy your own chives at the grocery store, look for a bright green color with no sign of yellowing or wilting. Chives will keep in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator for several days. Before using, rinse and dry well and trim the ends before using.
Enjoy this light and bright spring herb.
“Work With What You Got!”
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Summer is here and why pay top dollar going out when you can make delicious hot dogs at home? Here is a guide to the different ways Americans make their frankfurters around the country. I had the Sonoran style hot dogs while I was in Tucson in February and absolutely loved them.
New York Style
Served with brown or German mustard and sauerkraut or onions cooked in tomato paste.
Served on a poppy seed bun with mustard, pickle relish, sport peppers, onions, tomatoes, dill pickles and celery salt. Pepperoncini can be substituted for sport peppers.
Kansas City Style
Served on a sesame seed bun with brown or German mustard, sauerkraut and Swiss cheese.
Atlanta “Dragged Through The Garden” Style
Serve topped with coleslaw.
Detroit “Coney” Style
Served with chili, onions, mustard and cheddar cheese.
Served with cream cheese and grilled onions.
Phoenix/Tucson “Sonoran” Style
Served as a bacon-wrapped hot dog with pinto beans, onions, tomatoes, mustard, mayo, jalapeno peppers and cheese.
Austin “Tex-Mex” Style
Served with queso, guacamole and crushed tortilla chips.
San Francisco “Wine Country” Style
Served with red wine caramelized onions and goat cheese.
Miami “Cuban” Style
Served with mustard, pickles and Swiss cheese.
Forget that horrible box stuff and make your own delicious Mac & Cheese. Here is a different spin on the usual cheddar cheese macaroni & cheese dish. Using the brie, cream cheese and mascarpone makes it nice and creamy. I used macaroni pasta here, but you can use pasta shells or farfalle pasta.
2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
12 Ounces of Farfelle or Macaroni Pasta or Shells
7 Ounces Brie (Rind Removed) Cut Into Chunks
5 Ounces Cream Cheese Softened & Cubed
3 Large Eggs Lightly Beaten
1 Cup Mascarpone Cheese
1 Cup Grated Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese
3/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper
1/4 Teaspoon Finely Grated Nutmeg
Heat your oven to 375º F. Butter a 2 quart gratin dish. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Cook pasta to al dente and then drain well. DO NOT rinse the pasta. Transfer the hot pasta to a large bowl and toss immediately with Brie and cream cheese until melted and smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, mascarpone and Parmigiano. Stir the egg mixture into pasta. Season with the kosher salt, pepper and nutmeg. Place the pasta into the prepared baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve immediately. Serves 6
To enjoy cakes at their best, follow these tips:
*Allow cakes with butter type frosting to stand for about an hour before slicing.
This allows the frosting to set.
*For cakes that are filled or frosted with whipped cream make sure to assemble
Them no more than 2 hours before serving. This will prevent them from
*To cut your cakes use a thin bladed knife cut pieces. Run the knife under hot
Water and make sure to wipe the knife dry before cutting the first piece
And in between subsequent cuts.
*For storing cakes most cakes can be covered and stored at room temperature
For 2 to 3 days. It is good to have a cake cover, but if you don’t have
A cake cover then just invert a large bowl over your cake. If you directly
Cover the cake with plastic wrap then it will for sure make a mess of the
*For those cakes that have a filling or a frosting that contains eggs, whipped
Cream or cream cheese it is best to store your cake covered in the fridge.
*If you want to freeze your cake then you should put your cooled and unfrosted
Cake layers on a baking sheet. Freeze them until they are nice and firm.
After the layers are frozen then transfer them to large freezer bags or wrap
Them and seal them in freezer wrap. They will keep in the freezer for up to
4 months. Thaw them before frosting.
*If you are serving your cake directly from the pan then cover them and freeze
Them in the pan. Make sure to thaw them before frosting them.