By Joy Johnson, Master Gardener
A few years ago, my husband and I moved into our home in late October. We didn’t have much time to explore the yard and gardens before snow covered everything; but on the sunny south side of the house I noticed a large clump of flowers. They had leaves that looked like thick grass and beautiful white ball-shaped flower heads. I snipped off a bouquet, noticing they smelled a little like onions. The white flower heads were peppered with black dots. After a day in the warm house in a vase, those black dots were all over my table. It turns out they were seeds. I didn’t think much about it, they were a fun fall flower.
The following spring after all signs of snow had melted, I saw a clump of ‘grass’ coming up right next to the front walk. Hmm, I thought, these leaves look a lot like those flowers I brought into the house late last fall. I’ll let them grow; they were pretty.
Walking around to the south side of the house, I easily spotted a large clump of the same ‘grass’ that I had snipped the flowers from last fall and numerous bright green ‘grass’ shoots around the area. I picked some of the leaves. They smelled like onions and a little like the chives I had brought with from our former house. The leaves didn’t look anything like the chives I had transplanted; those get small, fluffy, round purple flowers each summer. I was stumped.
Little did I know that I lived just down the street from a Dakota County Master Gardener! She stopped by to welcome me to the neighborhood and we got to chatting about gardens (as master gardeners are prone to do). She saw the ‘grass’ and said, “Oh, I see you have garlic chives. You might want to reign those in, they will take over.” Then she let me know that the neighbor at the end of the block makes the best potato salad and that garlic chives are the key ingredient. Later on that summer I met this neighbor at a neighborhood picnic, tasted her famed potato salad and, I agree, it is one of the best. It is also one of the easiest recipes I’ve ever made and a real crowd pleaser. The recipe is shared below.
I do have to tell you though; the master gardener was correct. Those garlic chives are vigorous and invasive. I have dug up the plants and moved them across the yard (on more than one occasion). They not only grow in the new location; they still persist years later in the original location even though I pull them out every year, and they are still spreading. Thankfully, I have delightful neighbor children who are always looking for a snack. I have given them free picking rights to all the garlic chives. And I make the potato salad often. I have ‘regular’ chives also. They are much better behaved and stay neatly in their designated space.
Garlic Chive Potato Salad
Gently toss together the following ingredients. Keep refrigerated.
- 6 large potatoes – boil, then remove skins after cooling and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 3 eggs – cover with cold water in a small saucepan, heat to boiling, boil 4 minutes, remove from heat, rinse in cold water until cool to touch, peal, slice
- 2/3 cup Hellman’s Mayonnaise – you can use more or less to your taste depending on how dry your potatoes are
- 1 small jar pimientos – drained
- 1 cup Garlic Chives – pick, rinse and finely chop
- ¼ tsp White pepper
Green Onion Chive Pancakes
These are a Chinese vegan pancake. They remind me a bit of the Swedish potato pancakes my grandmother used to make.
Ingredients for the pancakes:
- 2 cups white flour
- 1 cup green onion finely chopped
- ½ cup fresh chives, garlic or regular
- 3 Tbsp avocado oil
- ¼ cup cold water
- ½ cup hot boiling water
- ½ tsp salt
- 1Tbsp avocado oil for cooking
To make the sauce combine:
- 1Tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1Tbsp soy sauce
- 1Tbsp sesame oil
- In a medium size bowl, add flour, create a well in the middle and pour in the hot water and wait 10 minutes.
- Then pour in the cold water and oil. Mix and when dough has formed create a ball.
- Let it rest for 5 min. until soft and smooth looking. Cover it with a clean warm towel and let it rest for 20 more minutes.
- Divide the dough into 4 equal sized balls.
- Roll each out into a pancake.
- Brush oil over top, season with salt and add enough green onions and chives to the top of each one, leaving a border around the edge.
- Roll each pancake up in to a cylinder, closing the ends to keep the chives from escaping.
- Then roll each cylinder into a cinnamon bun shape.
- Then gently flatten the bun with your hand.
- Roll out into a pancake again. The diameter should be about 6-8 inches.
- In a non-stick frying pan, add remaining oil and fry pancakes on each side until golden brown.
Serve with the sauce.