I like to make experiments in my little herb and vegetable garden (orto). I do not call myself a gardener, and manage not to get too disappointed when things don't happen according to expectations. On the other hand, I get very excited when things go well: I feel like I receive a gift I do not deserve.
Last year, I had a small bed built along one side of the house, and in it I planted, among other things, chives. The plant did well (I guess it liked its environment) and I harvested leaves from it for several months. It was a pleasant surprise when, a few days ago, I realized that I could start harvesting again. On this page you can read a few words of advice on growing perennial chives.
I decided to celebrate the event by using chives in a bread recipe from Artisan Breads Every Day by Peter Reinhart: Soft Cheese Bread, even though I knew I did not have as much as was called for in the ingredient list. I halved the quantities to get one loaf. I more than halved the sweetener using only a tablespoon of agave nectar. Among the options offered, I chose to use potato water and water as liquids, and olive oil as vegetable oil. I substituted some of the bread flour with white whole wheat flour and added extra water as instructed in the recipe. Finally, I opted for cubed cheese (formaggio) and kneaded it into the dough after the overnight rise. I prepared the dough an evening that I was very tired and did a couple of things not exactly as specified in the recipe. The following day, my schedule was hectic, but I managed to bake the bread and it was a life-savior on a day in which we had a lot going on and no time to sit down to a proper meal (pasto).
Not only did the chives come from my little herb garden, but the cheese came from my home production: Monterey Jack, aged for four months. The cheese worked very well in the bread. As the recipe anticipated, the small cubes of cheese become "little cheese bursts" once the bread is baked. I am planning to make cheese bread again, trying the other recipe in the book, Crusty Cheese Bread, this time making sure I have the required quantity of chives.
This is my contribution to edition #223 of Weekend Herb Blogging, an event started by Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen, now administered by Haalo of Cook (Almost) Anything At Least Once and hosted this week by Susan, The Well-Seasoned Cook.
Here is the roundup.
Click on the button to hear me pronounce the Italian words mentioned in the post:
or launch the erba cipollina audio file [mp3].