How to Make Chive Butter and Oil

I adore my herb garden. I spend a considerable amount of time nurturing the 3- by 11-foot planter bed that sits just outside the kitchen windows. My morning ritual of picking off bugs and dead leaves, running my hands through the oregano and rosemary to release their fragrant aroma, and yes, talking to the plants does not get old. In fact, I find it relaxing, and so does my dog Trixie.

I harvested plenty of herbs for for tea and cooking at the end of summer. Along the way, I learned a valuable lesson to not uproot a perfectly happy pineapple sage—or any plant for that matter—when it is hotter than hell; I dug up and turned the salvia because it looked crooked. Within minutes it wilted and stayed that way for two weeks, I was devastated. The saying, "leave well enough alone" rings so true. By the third week, it made a come back.

It is the last week in October and my herb garden is bustling with lavender, nastorium, mint, calendula, parsley, lime basil, Christmas basil, Italian basil, oregano, rosemary, sage, pineapple sage, Vietnamese coriander and the subject of this post, chives. My friend Kim Dyla who lives in Southold, N.Y. with her husband Bill on their edible 1/2 acre landscape, inspired me to make flavored vinegars from basil. Kim grows over 150 varieties of plants on her property and makes everything by scratch. The story I wrote about the Dyla's for Edible East End's Fall 2014 Issue can be read here; you may be inspired too.

Besides the infused vinegar made from Christmas and lime basil, I made chive butter (I tried my hand at making homemade butter that is fairly easy to do) and oil. Chives add a nice grassy allium flavor to any dish. Chive butter is great on steak, clams, potatoes, corn on the cob, and fish. Chive oil is a perfect match for pizza, salads, soup, eggs, and bruschetta. Chives are an underused herb, in my opinion, so turn it into something luxurious and silky to spread and pour on everything.

Recipe: Chive Butter

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 cup of chopped fresh chives
chivebutter_lluciano.jpg

Directions

  1. Pour the cream into the bowl of a stand mixer. With the whisk attachment, process for 10 minutes, or until the butter separates. 
  2. Strain off the liquid (buttermilk) into a small bowl.

    note: you can refrigerate the buttermilk for future use.

     
  3. Add the chopped chives to the bowl and use the paddle attachment to mix in.

    note: if you do not want to make butter you can use 4 sticks of unsalted butter. At room temperature mash and add the chives.
     
  4. Spread the butter on plastic wrap and roll the butter into a cylinder inside the plastic wrap. Use a piece of string to tie off the ends.
  5. Keep in refrigerator or freeze for later use.

 

 

Recipe: Chive Oil

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of fresh chives
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add the chives and blanch for 10 seconds. Drain and transfer to paper towels to remove as much of the water as possible.
  2. Roughly chop the chives and transfer to a food processor or blender. With the machine running, add the oil and salt and process until smooth.
  3. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate overnight. Strain through a fine mesh strainer, pressing against the solids with the back of a spoon to extract as much oil as possible.
  4. Transfer to a jar or squeeze bottle and refrigerate until needed.
  5. Bring to room temperature before using.

 

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Fall is my favorite time of year. And what comes with the autumn season? The second harvest. Now is the time, that winter squash of all shapes and sizes are piled high for weekend warriors to snatch up at roadside stands, farms and farmers markets. The squash are so precariously piled that children should be wearing helmets when passing by. Kids are naturally drawn to the pumpkin for making spooky  jack-o'-lanterns; thankfully, they are scattered within the fields for the little guys to wrap their arms around.

I adore butternut squash for its deep-orange fleshy sweet and buttery pulp; even more so than the beloved pumpkin for making pie. When mashed, this steals the show as a side and when made into a gnocchi, your friends and family will be oohing and aahing for days.

Equally delicious, is a luscious roasted butternut squash soup with a dab of crème fraîche, a drizzle of pumpkin oil and a sprinkle of the pulp seeds that are toasted. This soup is an easy meal to whip-up during a hectic work week. If you do not have an immersion blender, get one as soon as possible. This will be in your top three go to kitchen gadgets. I promise you.

Recipe: Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

butternutsquashsoup_lluciano_3.jpg

Ingredients

  • 1 medium butternut squash, 2lbs or 7-8 cups
  • 1 medium rutabaga, 1 cup
  • 4 cups of chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh ginger, grated
  • 3 tablespoons of crème fraîche
  • 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon of cracked pepper
  • Drizzle of olive oil

Garnish

  • Drizzle of crème fraîche
  • Drizzle of pumpkin oil
  • Toasted butternut seeds

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°
  2. Peel, deseed and cut the butternut and rutabaga into small chunks. The cut the onion in quarters. Place on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of salt.
  3. Bake for 1 hour or until fork tender.

    Note: You can boil the above in the broth and skip the roasting to save time. The roasting imparts a deeper flavor.
     
  4. Place stock in a large soup pot. Begin to simmer 15 minutes before squash mixture is done roasting.
  5. Place the squash, rutabaga, ginger and onion in the simmering stock. Add the crème fraîche, butter and salt.
  6. Take an immersion blender and blend until smooth. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg and cracked pepper.
  7. Simmer for an additional 5 minutes.

    Note: If you do not have an immersion blender place the roasted squash mixture and ginger into a food processor and blitz until completely smooth. Then add to the stock.

    Roasted Seeds
     
  8. Preheat oven to 275°.
  9. After removing the seeds from the squash, rinse with water, and remove any strings and bits of squash. Pat dry, and place on baking sheet lined with parchment or aluminum foil.
  10. Sprinkle with sea salt and bake for 15 minutes, or until seeds start to pop.

    Note: If you have a double oven you can toast the seeds while you roast the squash or while soup is simmering.

    Garnish

    Drizzle with crème fraîche, pumpkin oil and a sprinkle of the toasted butternut seeds.

Gluten-Free Heirloom Tomato Focaccia

My gluten-intelligence has been on the rise since my first ever gluten-free strawberry shortcake. What started as testing recipes for friends who are gluten intolerant has now become my personal quest. I do not have Celiac disease, but have determined my sinus issues are linked to a gluten sensitivity. The flour our ancestors ate is not the same modern grain we are consuming today, sad but true. Nowadays, the best way to get wholesome flour is to buy a countertop grain mill, source organic heritage wheat, and mill it yourself, just like my friend Kim Dyla in Southold, NY. She grows and makes everything by scratch, a true inspiration. Here is a small video of her grain mill. This is on my kitchen gadget bucket list.

My herb garden is bustling in this first week of fall, and the end of summer heirloom tomatoes are still flowing from Stephanie Gaylor of Invincible Summer Farms. This week, I turned her tomatoes into a sauce, dehydrated as a condiment, whizzed up some gazpacho, and even created an heirloom tomato focaccia. There are still tomatoes to be had, however, it will soon be over. I tried my hand at making a gluten-free focaccia. This recipe is based on Aran Goyoaga's focaccia, featured in her book: Small Plates and Sweet Treats. If you have not turned all your tomatoes into a sauce, consider making this gluten-free focaccia, you will not miss the gluten.

Recipe: Heirloom Tomato Focaccia

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of potato starch
  • 1 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/2 cup of millet flour
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • ¾ cup of warm water
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of ground chia seeds
  • 3 tablespoons of boiling water
  • 2 teaspoons of sea salt
  • 2 teaspoon of ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 1 egg
  • 2.5 cups of small heirloom tomatoes (or any other small variety) cut in half
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • Pinch of chunky sea salt

Garnish

  • Fresh oregano
heirloom tomatoes.jpg

Directions

  1. In a small bowl whisk the yeast, warm water and sugar. Let sit for 10 minutes until it gets foamy.
  2. In a small bowl whisk the chai seeds and 3 tablespoons of boiling water. Stir and set-aside the paste like mixture.
  3. In a bowl for a stand mixer combine the potato starch, sorghum flour, millet flour, sea salt, pepper, egg, olive oil, yeast mixture, chia paste and honey.

    note: it is best to measure the olive oil first before the honey as the oil helps the honey to completely spill out.
     
  4. Mix for 1 minute with the paddle attachment. Pour the mixture into an
    8 x 11 baking pan or dish that is well oiled. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit until the dough has double in size, about an hour.
     
  5. Preheat the oven to 375° .
     
  6. Once dough is ready gently place the tomato halves into the dough. Drizzle olive oil over the top and a pinch or two of chunky sea salt.


Bake for 40 minutes, until golden brown. Garnish with oregano.