“For I remember it is Easter morn, and life and love and peace are all newborn.” -Alice Freeman Palmer

As long as gardens continue to grow and bloom, then hope does indeed spring eternal. No matter how harshly nature behaves, or how miserable the storms of life that must be weathered, the re-emergence of new growth in spring slowly helps restore battered spirits and souls.

Bright green, slender shoots of chives have begun to pop up in my garden and are beckoning to be snipped into some sensational spring dish. Simple to plant by seed and utterly easy to maintain, chives are a harbinger of spring that lend vivacious versatility in the kitchen. Chives will grow well in almost any type of garden soil, adapting to either full sun or partial shade. A member of the lily family, chives are part of a large genus of over 500 species of perennials that contain bulbs or underground stems.

Known for their strong scent and distinct flavor, chives, along with garlic, onions, scallions and leeks are known as allium herbs. Their sprightly flavor makes them a natural flavor enhancer to dips, soups, stews, salad dressings, and sauces. Minced chives mixed with organic butter makes a lovely spread for hearty bread. Or combine roasted red peppers, garlic, chives, lemon juice and zest with equal portions of goat cheese and cream cheese for an excellent and easy spring party hors d’oeuvre. Roasted vegetables and baked potatoes love a bit of spark from chives. Cottage cheese mixed with chives adds a pleasing bit of -punch to a super simple snack.

Chives provide valuable vitamin and mineral content. Vitamins K, A, and C are found in chives, as well as calcium, an important mineral. Chives also contain small amounts of magnesium, phosphorous, potassium and sodium. Antibacterial and antiviral,flavonoid rich chives also supply anticlotting and decongestant aid to the body.

Make hope and joy, and natural garden ingredients part of preparing your delicious life.

Chive Dip
1 eight ounce container sour cream (low-fat ok)
½ cup finely minced chives
1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 Tablespoon lemon zest
1 clove minced garlic
Freshly ground black pepper -to taste
Pinch of sea salt
Dash of cayenne pepper

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Let sit for at least an hour, and as long as overnight, so flavors can meld. Taste and reseason with more black pepper and salt if desired. Transfer to a pretty dish and serve with steamed or raw asparagus spears, red, yellow and purple pepper strips, sugar snap peas, baby carrots, purple cauliflower florets
or any other veggies of your choice.

Lemon Chive Vinaigrette

4 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Sea salt
1 Tablespoon sugar
6 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3-4 Tablespoons finely chopped chives
Freshly ground black pepper

Put lemon juice, a pinch of salt and the sugar into a clean glass jar. Shake until sugar and salt are dissolved. Add the oil, chives and a good grinding of black pepper and shake again until well mixed. Will dress 6-8 green salads, or mix with boiled new potatoes, while still warm.

For more on Robin Glowa, HHC, AADP, “The Conscious Cook” go to www.theconsciouscook.net