After a relaxing weekend getaway to the cabin and North Shore, where we took in outstanding music (Pushing Chain and Alison Scott) and explored Grand Marais’ Fisherman’s Picnic festival; getting a really great massage after returning home; and a spate of ideal summer weather, I’m in a particularly good mood. Life is more than good, it’s grand!
The wild flowers along Lake Superior’s North Shore are in full, vibrant bloom and stunning! I took lots of photos near the cabin—wild roses, lupine, daisies, chive flowers, and several other varieties that were oh so pretty, but I have no idea what they were.
Especially excited about the chive flowers, we cut a ton of chives to bring home and included the flowers to use as a garnish. Their vivid lavender hue adds a splash of color to any dish, plus, they’re edible, imparting a pleasant mild onion flavor. Use as a garnish, in a compound butter, an omelet filling, or in gnocchi, this is a versatile flower.
There was no way I’d use the amount of chives we brought home simply by adding them to scrambled eggs, or chopping them over a salad, and the idea of using them in a pesto came to me as I woke up from a nap (I’m not the only one who has recipe ideas come to them in their sleep, am I?). Pesto would be nice way to use a good portion of that “ton” of chives and freezes well. Not really feeling like pasta to go with that pesto, I decided to use some pretty little red potatoes from the farmers market and opted to roast them with a little extra-firm tofu, serve it all over a bed of organic quinoa, and, of course, garnish with chive flowers.
The pesto recipe is adapted from James Beard Award-winner Lynne Rossetto Kasper’s The Splendid Table. In the past, any pesto I’ve made has been in the food processor, but this recipe was unique because of the chopping involved. As mentioned in previous posts, I find chopping, dicing, mincing—really all kitchen knife work—very therapeutic and relaxing, so this intrigued me and sounded delicious (although, if you don’t have the time or inclination for the chopping, this would be equally delicious all whirred up in a food processor)! Enjoy!
Chive Pesto with Roasted New Potatoes & Tofu over Quinoa
1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
2 large garlic cloves
1 tightly-packed cup of coarsely chopped chives
3 tightly-packed tablespoons fresh basil
1/4 medium white onion
1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Roasted potatoes and tofu:
1 ½ pounds small red new potatoes, washed and halved
6 oz. extra firm tofu, cubed
1 ½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
Salt & pepper to taste
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 ¾ cup water
Chive flowers, if available, for garnish (optional)
Pile the kosher salt on a chopping board. Crush garlic into it with the side of a large knife. Chop fine. Chop in the chives, basil, and the onion until very finely minced. Then coarsely chop in the almonds. Blend with 2 tablespoons oil right on the board, seasoning to taste with salt & pepper.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Place halved new potatoes in a medium bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and salt & pepper. Place potatoes, cut side down, on a rimmed baking pan and roast for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, toss tofu cubes with ½ tablespoon olive oil and salt & pepper. After the potatoes have roasted for 10 minutes, rotate the pan and add the tofu to one section of the pan, in an even layer. Roast potatoes and tofu for another 15 minutes or so, until potatoes are pierced easily with a knife. Remove to a serving bowl and toss with the chive pesto (you may not use all of it—gauge it depending on your preference).
While the potatoes and tofu roast, rinse 1 cup of quinoa in a mesh sieve. In a medium saucepan, combine quinoa with 1 ¾ cups water and a generous pinch of salt. Cover and heat to boiling, then reduce heat to low and cook about 15 minutes or until water is absorbed. Fluff quinoa with a fork.
To serve, place a couple scoops of quinoa on each plate and top with potato-tofu-pesto mixture. Garnish with chive flowers, if you have them. Serves 4-6.