Saturday, June 11, 2011

Chive Blossom Vinegar


It took years for me to finally get a chive plant to bear blossoms. I'm not sure why I had such a difficult time, but my best guess (along with a bit of investigation) is that chives don't bloom until their second year. At least mine didn't. I had planted year after year in various locations and many times didn't even get basic chives. I was told often that they grew "anywhere, like weeds", without having proof of that at all.

Last year I grew chives in a container, but only the chives themselves grew. I put them to bed with the rest of the garden in the fall and this spring, sure enough, they grew with blossoms attached. Finally! My reasoning for attempting to grow them all these years was solely for the blossoms to make chive blossom vinegar with.

I was a happy camper this year.

So, here is a photo or two of the blossoms, the vinegar making, and a final usage in chive blossom mayo. Click on the photos to view them larger.

The method is as simple as it looks: Harvest the chives with blossoms intact. Rinse well and trim blossoms from stems. Set chives aside for another use. Toss blossoms into a glass jar with a non-metal lid. Add vinegar to cover, lid tightly and set in a cool, dark place for 2 weeks. Strain blossoms and keep vinegar in the dark to prevent the color from fading.

Vinegar on the first day, one day later and two weeks later. The strained and finished product on the bottom.

Homemade mayo is far easier than you think. I always make mine by hand, but feel free to search the web for blender and processor recipes - there a re quite a few out there.

Here is 1 egg yolk, 1 Tablespoon of chive blossom vinegar, a pinch of white pepper and salt to taste. Blend well and pour 1 cup of oil into the egg mixture in a VERY thin and slow stream while whisking continuously until mayonnaise forms. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if necessary. Keep covered tightly in the refrigerator and use within 1 week.

Friday, June 10, 2011

I Still Make Dinner

Everything from the grill: flank steak with crema (Mexican sour cream, because sometimes the usual just doesn't cut it), cliantro and lime. Corn in the husk, zucchini, green onions and shrimp. Dessert? Double-berry milkshakes.

I haven't been absent from here on purpose, and it hasn't been for anything bad, just busyness on my part. Back in March I started another job working nights. That's all well and good, and the original purpose was to work at night so I would still have my days open for children and food blogging. My life seems to be so very different from others in many respects, but usually it's the glitch-factor with me. The Murphy's Law sort of bent that's usually only reserved for cursed Irishmen.

I don't only work 40 hours a week, my weeks are more often than not 63 to 75 hours in length. That's a whole lot of time NOT for myself. Getting home in the morning is odd, sometimes several of the kids are awake and or gone from the house to school already and I miss the standard goodbyes before their school day more than I thought I would. Everyone is home from school now, though and it's a bit easier to come back to the house and find them sleeping instead of gone.

I actually like my job quite a bit. It's not without moments that make a person want to run the other way (I work at a group home for two mentally and physically disabled women), but there are rewards you don't get elsewhere. It's a bit like mothering, in that respect, much of the reward is not monetary or tangible, but things like silent hugs or silly sideways smiles go pretty far for me.

I do cook, of course; all seven kids are still roosting at the nest and need to be fed the same several times a day as always, but I find now that the time it takes to set up a photo or write a paragraph or two are lost in the sheer run-around that is my day. I miss doing what I love - cooking and photographing and especially writing. I can write a full first chapter of a book in my head at night when I'm just about to drift off. I just can't seem to find the time to get it to paper or computer screen.

So, without a recipe attached or a lengthy and menu-worthy description, I thought I'd share tonight's dinner; as-is without any fluff. See? I'm still cooking - they're still eating.