A collection of seasonal recipes and stories

Archive for April, 2011

creamy scrambled eggs with chives

In the garden there are chives. I noticed them a few weeks ago on my way to the basement, tiny tendrils of green struggling to break through a tangled mass of weeds. I don’t deserve these chives. Last summer I planted nothing. I watched as weeds licked tentatively at the edges of the perennial bed and then swiftly claimed it as their own. I renovated my kitchen. I planned an August wedding. I neglected the garden and let the weeds go to seed. They grew so thick and consumed the garden so completely that I was stunned to see the chives emerge this spring, perennial though they are. “Oh my goodness, chives,” I whispered in wonder. I’m like this in the garden sometimes. You plant things; they grow. Despite the simple logic inherent in that process, I continue to be amazed and humbled by the divine beauty of it all.

And so, thusly bowled over by the presence of chives, I abandoned whatever task had sent me to the basement in the first place and knelt beside them on the newly-thawed ground to free the chives from their suffocating tangle of weeds. I yanked weeds from the cold, loamy soil until my fingers were nearly numb. I wrestled with tap roots and rhizomes and perniciously creeping root systems until the entire perennial bed was clear. I might have accidentally uprooted some asparagus. Also, I was wearing my pajamas at the time. If you had asked me even five years ago if I could envision a future in which I did yard work in my slippers, I would have laughed you right out of town. And yet there I was, dirt-streaked and be-flanneled in the gathering dusk. For the love of chives.

This morning I snipped a handful of chives and folded them into scrambled eggs. I’ve been eating scrambled eggs all my life — the quick and dirty kind, whisked into a frothy frenzy and scrambled in seconds over high heat. I like those eggs, but these are not those eggs. These eggs are soft and slow and creamy, stirred more than scrambled in a satisfyingly leisurely process that results in dense, luxurious curds. The chives impart a delicate onion flavor and herbaceous springy freshness to the richly creamy eggs, and the whole thing comes together in a perfectly lovely homage to the perennial nature of nature.

Creamy Scrambled Eggs with Chives
adapted from Jerry Traunfield’s The Herbfarm Cookbook and Darina Allen’s Forgotten Skills of Cooking
serves 1
printable recipe

3 eggs
1/8 tsp. table salt
pinch of white pepper
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. cream cheese, cut into small bits
2 Tbsp. chives, minced

Whisk together the eggs, salt, and pepper until just combined. Melt the butter over low heat in a medium saucepan (yes, saucepan). When the butter has melted, add the cream cheese to the pan and then stir in the eggs.

Cook the eggs over low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. It will appear that nothing is happening. Such is the nature of low and slow cooking.

After about 5 minutes, the eggs will begin to form small curds and the cream cheese will begin melting. Continue to cook over low heat, stirring frequently (maybe almost constantly depending on how hot the bottom of your pan is) to break up the curds and prevent any egg from sticking to the pan.

When the eggs are nearly cooked through but still runny, fold in the chives, reserving some for garnish. Continue cooking to desired doneness. Remove from heat and serve over toast. Sprinkle with reserved chives.

ginger syrup + what to do with it

It used to be that I only bought ginger ale to mix with bourbon. But inevitably I’d come home feeling bourbon-y on a Friday night and open the fridge to discover that Chris had drunk all the ginger ale. By itself. Leaving me to drink the bourbon by itself, which I assure you is not the kind of evening you want to be a part of. And since the ginger ale in question was the fancy all-natural kind and not the high fructose corn syrup-laden Canada Dry kind, keeping us in ginger ale got to be kind of expensive.


So a few months ago, when it finally dawned on me that ginger ale was made from ginger, I started making my own ginger syrup. It’s sweet and spicy and a tiny bit lemony, with a sharp, tangy freshness that’s made it a staple in our kitchen. Really, we love it. We use it as the foundation for homemade ginger ale, of course, but its warmth and sweet-spiciness meld beautifully with so many other flavors that we find ourselves adding a splash of ginger syrup to all sorts of things:  green tea, lemonade, rum, gin, bourbon — pretty much anything in a glass.

It’s dead simple, affordable and incredibly versatile, the little black dress of the beverage world. Dress it up with citrus and booze or keep it classic with club soda. Either way — and every way in between — you want this ginger syrup in your fridge.

Ginger Syrup (and what to do with it)
adapted from Gourmet
makes 1 quart
printable recipes

1 lb. ginger root, peeled and chopped
5 cups water
1½ cups sugar
¼ tsp. salt

1) Place ginger and water in large saucepan and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat. Simmer partially covered for 45 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and steep for 20 minutes.

2) Strain through sieve, pressing ginger with back of spoon to extract liquid. Return liquid to pot, add sugar and salt, and heat until dissolved.

3) Chill syrup until cold.

Homemade Ginger Ale
makes 1 8-oz. drink

1/3 cup ginger syrup
2/3 cup club soda
1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice

Fill a glass with ice, add ingredients and stir. Adjust proportions to taste.

Variation: add 1½ oz. bourbon for a bourbon and ginger.

Ginger Lemonade
makes 1 12-oz.drink

1/3 cup ginger syrup
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2/3 cup cold water

Fill a glass with ice, add ingredients and stir. Adjust proportions to taste.

Sparkling Ginger Lemonade
makes 1 12-oz. drink

1/3 cup ginger syrup
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2/3 cup club soda

Fill a glass with ice, add ingredients and stir. Adjust proportions to taste.

Gingered Green Tea

Stir about 1 Tbsp. ginger syrup into a cup of green tea. Serve hot or over ice.

Dark ‘n’ Stormy

2 oz. dark rum
2 oz. ginger syrup
2 oz. club soda
lime wedge

Fill a glass with ice, add first three ingredients and stir. Garnish with lime wedge.