Spring’s First Harvest

Chives, All Dressed Up

We might not be able to depend on the calendar to tell us when it will actually feel like spring, but the season will not be stopped by some late-lingering cold. The nights are still below freezing here. Days top-out in the 40’s. Nice, if there’s sunshine and no wind. Miserable to be out in if either is lacking.

Still, the season pushes forward. The robins are pairing-off in their dramatic airborne mating displays. The Spring Peepers call at dusk. The wild roses have teeny, tiny leaves. Over at Simmons’ Farm, the hens are laying again, and the barn is bursting with baby goats.

Chives by the front step

And the chives are ready for cutting.

All this extra sunshine (Sunrise at 6:21, sunset at 7:14 today) puts me in the mood for lighter Springtime foods…but there’s not much around right now, unless I want asparagus from Mexico.

I really don’t.

So, what we do have are eggs, fresh goat cheese (babies mean milk!) and chives…

Baked Custard

How about a custard? Light and tasty for breakfast or lunch, especially paired with a little green salad or a slice of smoked salmon on toast.

Yes, I have to make one without the Green Stuff for you-know-who…

Goat Cheese and Chive Custards

4 large eggs

2 1/2 cups milk

3 ounces fresh goat cheese, at room temperature

A bunch of fresh chives, chopped fine

salt and pepper, to taste

Start by putting a kettle full of water on to boil, and pre-heating your oven to 350F.

Gather up your equipment: 5 half-pint canning jars (or ramekins) and a deep-sided pan to hold them and the water for the water-bath (I use my square brownie pan)

Beat the eggs and milk together until thoroughly combined, all lovely and lemon-yellow. Mix in a bit of salt and pepper, too.

Add the very soft goat cheese and combine. (I did this with a mixer. Not sure how well it would work by hand.)

Divide evenly among the jars/ramekins. If you want to Go Fancy and unmold them for serving, you should butter them first. Stir a tablespoon of chives into each jar. If anyone figures out how to keep them from floating, let me know, ok?

Put the full jars into the pan, and the pan onto a baking sheet to make it easier to handle. Pour boiling water from the kettle into the pan til it comes halfway up the jars.

Bake at 350 for about 50 minutes, until the tops puff and crack a little.

Serve warm, at room-temp, or cold from the fridge.


Enjoy a little taste of Spring.




20 thoughts on “Spring’s First Harvest

  1. Your custards sound so good…I sure they were delicious with the fresh cut chives. My husband was in Rhode Island yesterday and was amazed at all the green grass…saying how different from here in New Hampshire. We still have large patches of snow but I’m also thrilled to see brown patches of grass.

    • URI’s hort department developed a very specific grass seed decade or so ago that stays (kinda’) green all winter, even under the snow cover. I think everyone has it in their yards now.
      I hope this current warm-up is dealing with the last of your snow!

  2. Your chives are so abundant and healthy and wish I had a bunch of those to cook with. I will save you easy and delicious recipe for a day when I can find some fresh chives. We have garlic chives here but you know those are much firmer in texture…

  3. Yummy – you got me outdoors searching for my chives…. nothing to be seen yet. 😦 Funny – we had asparagus from Mexico in our supermarket today too! Only a month and we’ll be eating the local stuff. 😉

  4. We had 2 days of rain, sun today so everything should green up quickly. The wysteria is blooming, which makes the front yard look cheerful.

  5. Ooh! This sounds really good! I know what you mean about being ready to eat spring food. I’m so done with kale and sweet potatoes! My chives are just barely up so it will probably be another week or two before I can harvest any. Can’t wait for peas and asparagus!

  6. Cathy is having asparagus from Mexico…how amazing our world markets are. Food from around the globe just for us. I try to be very local all the time. Of course you understand why. Thanks for the recipe…I love to try new stuff. My chives will be awhile yet, but when I have them I will be ready!


    • Isn’t it though? And not in a good way…
      I can get local (greenhouse/coldframe) greens from a friend, but other than that, it’s all starchy winter stuff right now…and I’m sick to death of it.
      Couple of sunny days, and those chives will be shooting up!

  7. Oooo… that sounds and looks so good! I’m going to have to remember to plant chives at the new place. I finally heard the spring peepers last night. Maybe spring will get here after all. 🙂

  8. I was working in the garden this afternoon and everything is still brown but a couple of the roses have tiny buds starting to appear. I realize i’m grasping at straws, Marie, but, at this point, I’ll take any possible sign that Spring is coming.
    I never consider custards as savory – I curse my sheltered life! I’m going to have to try these, though when I’ve company or visit Zia. The last thing I need do is to enjoy 4 custards within a 24 hour period — and I’d be lucky if they last that long. I know a good thing when I see one.

    • If it was warm enough to work outside in Chicago, it won’t be long now…
      I’m going to see if I can cut this down to a smaller batch – even without the Green Stuff, it didn’t go over well with Angel. If she didn’t like this one, I don’t see any hope for the Bleu Cheese version I’m thinking about…

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