Simply Seasonal: Choose chives for growing in your garden, including in gourmet fare | VailDaily.com
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Simply Seasonal: Choose chives for growing in your garden, including in gourmet fare

Sue BarhamDaily CorrespondentVail, CO Colorado
Special to the Daily
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Novice or expert, Rocky Mountain gardeners love to plant herbs. Easy to grow, all herbs need is soil that drains well, along with plenty of sun and water. They sprout up quickly, ready to snip and bring into the kitchen. The fresh pungency breathes new life into your favorite dishes.Planning an herb garden? Don’t overlook chives. Delicate and pretty, chives grow from bulbs and can be planted in containers or directly in the ground. The plant grows in slender stalks and blooms into soft, spiky lilac spheres. They grow 6 to 10 inches tall and can be harvested often if you want to encourage spreading. Once they spread out, you can easily separate and transplant them. To harvest and use immediately, use scissors and snip about two inches from the ground so you don’t disturb the root or bruise the stalks. Plant some chives this spring, and the elegant perennial will grace you with its presence year after year.So versatile in cooking, chives are a relative of the onion, genus allium. Their mild, oniony flavor complements other herbs in just about any dish. “The traditional herb mixture known as fines herbes can be made by combining equal portions of chives, tarragon, chervil and parsley,” said Mike Mayer, Cima’s executive chef. “This is a classic seasoning for chicken, fish and egg dishes.”Though chives have high levels of vitamins A and C, you’re probably not going to eat enough of them to reap the nutritional value! Instead, use them in small quantities as a garnish or seasoning. Or follow folklore, which states that hanging bunches of chives to dry will drive away evil spirits.

1⁄4 cup fresh chives2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces1⁄2 cup sour cream1⁄2 cup milkPlace potatoes in a large pot with water, and bring to a boil. Cook potatoes for about 25 minutes until tender. Drain and mash potatoes. Once the potatoes are mashed, mix in milk and then sour cream, and finally stir in the chives. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serves 6-8.

1⁄3 cup fresh chives1⁄2 cup sour cream1⁄2 cup mayonnaise1 green onion1 clove of garlic1 teaspoon sugar1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauceChop chives, green onion and garlic. Blend together sour cream, mayonnaise, chives, green onion, garlic, sugar and Worcestershire sauce in a food processor or blender until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to use. Makes 11⁄4 cup.

10 eggs1⁄4 cup fresh herbs (choose a combination -cilantro, basil, chives, dill, parsley)1⁄4 cup feta cheese, crumbled1 cup mashed potatoes1 small zucchini, sliced1 tomato, slicedOlive oilCoat the bottom and sides of a 9-inch, oven-proof skillet with olive oil. Preheat broiler. Press mashies into bottom of skillet (about 1⁄4 inch deep), and place on stove. Cook over medium heat until it just starts to sizzle. In a bowl, whisk the eggs and add herbs and cheese. Mix well. Pour eggs, herb and cheese mixture on top of potatoes in skillet. Cook for about 5 minutes on the stove until eggs are starting to set. Place zucchini and tomatoes gently and decoratively on top of eggs. Move the skillet to the oven, about 6 inches from the broiler, and cook until browned on top (about 10 minutes or until eggs are cooked through). Slice into wedges, and serve with mixed-greens salad. Serves 4-6.Sue Barham is the director of sales and marketing at Cima, in The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa in Avon. The newest restaurant concept from chef Richard Sandoval, Cima is a contemporary Latin kitchen, featuring bold, vibrant flavors with Latino roots, created with fresh ingredients and global cooking techniques. Visit http://www.richardsandoval.com/cima.


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