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Category Archives: Chives

Celebrate the Green

St. Patrick’s day is all about the green: shamrocks, leprechauns, and a sea of people in green clothing and beads downing green beer. (And celebrating a win for Michigan State in the March Madness tournament last night–go Sparty!).  For me, today was also about the green thumb and Opening Day of gardening season. Our unusually warm weather here in Michigan for the past week or so has caused my yard to begin greening up.  Tufts of grass several inches long have appeared in the backyard, and the grass has sent invasive runners into my flower beds.  I spent a good couple of hours this afternoon out in the glorious sunshine weeding a few of the beds and turning the soil.  I was tempted to keep going, but since my city does not offer yard waste pick-up for another couple of weeks, I decided just to fill up one good-sized container with weeds, and wait on pulling out some of the bigger stuff, like last year’s broccoli.  I didn’t pull it up in the fall, because on occasion I have had broccoli produce through January.  Although we had an exceptionally mild winter this year, the broccoli decided enough was enough and stopped producing right after Thanksgiving.   I was thrilled to have freshly picked broccoli to put on a veggie tray for Thanksgiving dinner, though, giving it just a quick rinse under the faucet before packing it up to bring to my sister’s house.  Who knew that small green bugs exactly the color of broccoli are still around in November?  I sure didn’t.  My dad was the lucky one to figure it out while munching on the crudités.  Twice.

The broccoli is a bleached-out, twisted skeleton of its former self, but other future edibles are greening up in the garden already.  A fresh tangle of chives has emerged from beneath last year’s growth, and my pot of mint is covered in a fragrant carpet of tiny leaves.  The garlic is getting tall, and the raspberry canes are beginning to sprout leaves.   I took a few minutes to sow some early lettuce seeds and sugar snap peas, which I didn’t get a chance to do last spring because the weather was so lousy.  I’m hoping this warm weather continues, even if it means having to cut the lawn while it is still technically winter.

So, with some hard work done for the day, it’s time to shower up, don some green garb and beads, and head out to celebrate the rest of St. Patrick’s day.  Cheers!

Zucchini on the Grill

Grilled Zucchini with Feta and Chives

If we manage to rescue a zucchini from the garden when it is a manageable size, rather than letting it grow into an enormous monstrosity, one of our tried and true ways to prepare it is on the grill.  Or, rather, one of Bill’s ways to prepare it is on the grill.

I am not a griller.  Although I am a reformed gas-stove-a-phobe, my uneasy trust of flammable gases and liquids does not extend to barbecues.   I have no problem getting in touch with my primitive side and reigning over a big bonfire–as long as it’s not windy.  I just don’t like lighting things that could potentially explode.  Being first time owners of tiki torches this summer, I gladly let Bill handle the job of setting them ablaze for their backyard debut.  But alas, he wasn’t home last night when I had some girlfriends over, leaving me to face the duties of BBQ-ing, tiki torch lighting and campfire-building.  Chicken Shack kindly took care of the grilling for me, and the campfire gods cooperated and gave me a nice windless night.   As dusk approached, I warily eyed the flimsy torches, which appear to be made of dry kindling and paradoxically filled with flammable citronella fluid.  My desire to have mosquito-free air eventually outweighed my fear of a flash fire, so making sure that the hose was nearby, I managed to appear outwardly calm as I fired up each wick.   Success!

Although I have now conquered fire in two different backyard situations, I am content to let Bill continue on as the grillmaster.  He is good at it, and most importantly, he is not afraid of applying fire to an apparatus attached to a tank of gas.  Here are a couple of easy and fuss-free ways that he has cooked zucchini on the grill.  The Zucchini with Feta and Chives is a recipe I found in  this month’s issue of Women’s Day magazine, where it was shown paired with lemon chicken skewers.   We chose to serve it with burgers.  The Parmesan Zucchini is our go-to zucchini side, and we usually have it several times each summer.

ZUCCHINI WITH FETA AND CHIVES

Slice zucchini in half lengthwise and season with salt and pepper.  Brush with olive oil or spray with cooking spray.  Place pieces on grill for approximately 10 minutes, turning halfway through.  Cut into slices, squeeze some fresh lemon on top and sprinkle with feta cheese and chives.

PARMESAN ZUCCHINI

Slice zucchini into rounds.  Season with salt and pepper and place on a sheet of foil.  Add a bit of parmesan cheese and fresh minced garlic to taste, and drizzle with olive oil.  (Or,  use pats of butter instead of the olive oil, which is Bill’s preference).   Form foil into a packet and place on the grill.  Remove when your meat is done, and sprinkle with more parmesan cheese, if desired.