Tag Archives: chives

Grilled Corn with Herb Butter

Get Yer Char On

I have a wacky allergy to corn silk, but it doesn’t keep me from tucking into corn on the cob in the summertime. We always had ears of sweet, white corn boiled to perfection and perked up by sugar, salt and creamy butter. But a while back, when I was introduced to the joys of grilling corn instead of boiling it, I was an instant convert.  No need to steam up the house and the added loveliness of smoky char with the sweet corn goodness.  It was brilliant through and through.

On days that I’m not thinking ahead to grilling corn for the evening, I have my trick of getting around the usual 30 minutes of soaking in salt water and another 25 minutes grilling the corn.  I’ve got into the habit of microwaving the corn in the husk to pre-steam it before grilling, cutting the entire cooking time down to a meager 20 minutes tops.  You top the whole thing off with a delicious compound butter made of fresh basil, chives and parsley.  It’s one of those tricks for the arsenal when a bland barbecue chicken breast or ho hum hot dog is in your grilling future.  This life is too short to be bored with boiled corn.


Grilled Corn with Herb Butter

6 ears of corn
1 stick of butter
3/4 tsp. of salt
1/8 tsp. of paprika
1/4 tsp. of black pepper
1/3 c. of basil leaves
1/8 c. of chopped chives
1/4 c. of parsley leaves

Begin by making your herb butter.  Put the salt, paprika, black pepper, basil and parsley in the food processor.  Chop finely and then add the butter and chives.  Blend to combine and then scrape out of the food processor with a spatula.  Chill.

Carefully pull back the husks, leaving the ends still attached.  Remove the silk and discard.  Put the husks back over the corn.  Place a wet paper towel in the microwave and top with two ears of corn.  Microwave for 2 minutes, turn over, and cook for another two minutes.  Set aside.  Repeat with the other ears of corn.

Heat your grill on high and place the ears of corn on top.  Grill for about 6-7 minutes per side, or until the husks char and the corn gets some gorgeous grill marks.  Let cool for a moment and then pull back the husks.  Slather the ears of corn with the herb butter and serve.

Pasta with Camembert, Asparagus and Peas

You should be ashamed of yourself.  I saw you eyeing the pasta on that Olive Garden commercial with hungry eyes.  You know it’s not delicious.  You know it wasn’t actually created in a Tuscan cooking school with Michelin star winning chefs.  Most importantly, you know you can’t trust any place that thinks variety in ingredients is a simple choice between chicken in cream sauce or sausage in tomato cream sauce.  For shame, OG, for shame! Continue reading Pasta with Camembert, Asparagus and Peas

Truffled Potato Soup with Chives

Just as I take true joy in debunking the myth that real men don’t eat quiche, the same goes for soup.  A dish of champions, soup can be hearty and nourishing, but also light and luxe, all at the same time.  I love this soup because it’s the proverbial king of the aforementioned paradox – earthy potatoes are simmered with a homey stock, but then whipped to a smooth majesty of a soup.  The top is kissed with truffle oil – again, another fabulous palette paradox – the earthiness of the truffle essence is delivered via the clarity of the oil.  It’s all glorious, grand and a reminder that we shouldn’t waste a single second dining on anything less than awesome.

Truffled Potato Soup with Chives © Spice or Die

This soup, given that it is thick and hearty, is an excellent base for braised short ribs as well.  I first tried this soup in this manner at the Southern France-focused restaurant, Marseille, as a special plate to cut through the winter chill of the city.  You can still eat it as they served it – a soup with a few shreds of the glorious meat on top.  Or you can give in to your carnivorous proclivities and treat the soup like a pomme puree or elegant sauce to accompany the beef.  I guarantee that either which way you decide to go, you’ll have a rib-sticking meal for even the manliest of men.

Truffled Potato Soup with Chives

1 ham bone
2 stalks of celery
1 onion chopped
2 bay leaves
12 c. of water
4 tbs. of butter
3 tbs. of flour

7 c. of stock (from recipe above)
3 lbs. of yukon gold potatoes
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp. of white pepper
pinch of nutmeg
1 c. of cream
small bunch of chives
truffle oil

Begin by adding your ham bone, stalks of celery (tops and all), chopped onion, bay leaves and water to a large pot. Bring to a rolling boil and then lower heat to medium-high. Allow to cook away until the ham has completely fallen off the bone and the stock has reduced to about 7 cups of liquid – about 2 – 2 1/2 hours. Strain stock and discard all of the solids. Taste for salt and pepper and season accordingly. Set stock aside.

In a large pot, melt butter over low heat. Whisk in flour and cook roux for about a minute. Slowly whisk in strained stock so as to prevent lumps. Bring pot of liquid to a simmer.

While stock is simmering away, peel your potatoes and chop into cubes. Add your potatoes to the stock and bring it to a rolling boil. Add the white pepper and nutmeg. Cook until potatoes are incredibly tender when pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes. For a chunky soup, mash the potatoes with a potato masher. For a smooth soup, puree with a hand mixer or in a blender. If you use the blender, make sure to do so in batches and always put a kitchen towel over the lid. This’ll keep you from splattering hot soup all over yourself, which is never ever a good thing.

If you’ve blended your soup, return it to the pot. Stir in the cream and taste for salt and pepper one last time. Snip half of the chives into the soup and stir.  Ladle out the soup and top with additional snipped chives and a drizzle of truffle oil – white or black depending on what you can get your hands on.

Note

I call for yukon golds in this recipe, but plain old russets will do the trick as well.  For a real treat, try an heirloom potato – Marx Foods sells them in all colors and textures, many of which would be so very well-suited for this recipe.  Num num!

Pan-Fried Pork and Chive Dumplings (Jiao Zi)

The pork and chive dumplings you get in Chinatown here in NYC usually involve the thin skinned wrappers and garlic chives, a flat, milder flavored variety.  Because these can be hard to come by, I’ve modified this recipe to use a small amount of regular chives, some cilantro and a couple bunches of scallions. I use a traditional jiao zi wrapper made out of a cold water dough, making these heartier and more robust that the usual pork and chive dumplings.

Jiao Zi © Spice or Die

For something a little lighter, use thinner pre-made dumpling wrappers (found in Asian Supermarkets) and cook like traditional potstickers. Basically, you steam the dumplings in a covered skillet with 1/4 to a 1/2 c. of water and a few drops of oil until the water evaporates and the bottoms crisp up.  Hence the name “potstickers” – I know, sometimes the world just makes a whole lot of sense, doesn’t it?  For a great potsticker recipe from start to finish, check out my good friend Chef Tim Ma’s Pan Fried Pork and Chive Potstickers.

The best part of this recipe, and all homemade dumplings, is that the quality is much higher than what you’ll find at restaurants and dumpling joints.  You control exactly what is added to the little delicacies, and you still end up keeping the price down.  Fresh ingredients at a low price is a hard thing to come by these days, so definitely celebrate a little when you tuck into a plate of these bad boys.

Pan-Fried Pork and Chive Jiao Zi

4 c. of flour
1 1/4 c. of ice water
1/2 tsp. of salt

3/4 lbs. of ground pork
2-3 raw shrimp, minced (optional)
1/4 c. of water
1/2 in. of ginger, minced
1 tsp. of cornstarch
2 tbs. of soy sauce
2 tsp. of sherry
2 tsp. of sesame oil
1/2 tsp. of salt
4 tsp. of sugar
3 bunches of scallions, finely chopped
1 small bunch of cilantro (10-15 stems with leaves), minced
1 small bunch of chives (the plastic pack from the store is fine)

Start by making the dough for the wrappers.  Add the four cups of flour to a bowl along with the salt.  Slowly stream in water, stirring as you go and making sure not to put any actual ice cubes in the mixture.  Add only enough water to get the dough to hold together – if it gets too sticky, add a bit more flour.  Knead dough until silky and elastic (about 5-8 minutes) and then wrap with plastic and let chill in the fridge.

Mix all ingredients (except for scallions, cilantro, chives and water) until smooth and a little stringy, making sure to stir all in the same direction.  Next, stream your water into the mixture in small amounts, stirring in between each addition.  Lastly, add the scallions, cilantro and chives and stir again.  Set aside.

Break out your dough and pinch a chunk off the size of a clementine.  Run the dough through a pasta roller or roll out by hand to about 1/4 in. thick.  Cut out 3-4 in. circles using a cookie cutter or the mouth of a large cup (I use one of my hubby’s beer steins).  Place a heaping teaspoon of filling onto the wrapper and pleat the edges to close.  Set aside on a floured cookie sheet.  Continue to fill the dumplings until you run out of filling or dough – whichever comes first.

Fill a large pot with water and set to boil.  When the water is ready, plunk in about 8-12 dumplings and watch the water go from a boil to a simmer.  Let the water come back to a boil and then pour in a rough cup and a half of cold water.  Let the water come to a boil again and then add cold water a second time.  Let the pot come to a boil one last time and then remove dumplings from the water with a slotted spoon.  Repeat until you’ve cooked all of the dumplings that you could possibly eat in one sitting.

Serve with Sweet Soy Dipping Sauce.

Note

For a different taste, pick up the thin, round pre-made dumpling wrappers from your local asian market.  You can even use the wonton wrappers found in the deli aisle of the regular grocery store, and cut the squares into rounds with a ring mold.  Fill your dumplings and set aside on a floured cookie sheet.  Add 3-4 tbs. of cooking oil to a skillet and turn on high.  As the pan warms up, place the dumplings, seam side up, in the pan one next to another.  When the pan is super hot and the oil starts to sizzle (a few minutes), add about 1/2 c. of water to your pan.  Immediately cover to trap the whaft of steam that arises when you add the water to the hot pan.  Cook until the water has evaporated and the bottoms of the dumplings crisp up.