Wash and drain a clear, 1-quart bottle that has a cork stopper or screw-on cap. Wash 1 quart of chive blossoms and spread on paper towels to dry until no moisture clings to the petals.

Stuff the chive blossoms into the bottle. With a funnel, fill the bottle with about 1 quart of white wine vinegar. It is not necessary to heat the vinegar. Replace the stopper or cap. Let stand at room temperature for several weeks, until the vinegar is pink and it tastes like chives. Use directly from the bottle, straining out the blossoms as you use the vinegar. Makes 1 quart.

Combine 1 1/2 cups fresh chives, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces, and 1 cup of canola or safflower oil in a saucepan. Heat until hot but not bubbling. Remove from the heat and cool slightly.

Pour the mixture into a food processor or blender and process for 10 seconds. Pour into a very clean jar. Cool, cover and refrigerate for a day or two.

Line a funnel with a paper coffee filter. Brush the filter with 1 teaspoon of the same kind of oil. Pour in the chive oil and let it drip through the filter into another clean jar or bottle. Cover or cork tightly. Store in the refrigerator. Makes about 1 cup.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Saute 1/2 cup of minced onion and 2 cloves of minced garlic for 1 minute. Add 1/2 cup minced red bell pepper and saute 1 minute longer. Remove from the heat and set aside.

In a mixer bowl, beat two 8-ounce packages of softened cream cheese until fluffy. Beat in 3 eggs, one at a time, until well combined. Beat in 2 tablespoons of milk, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese and 1/4 cup of shredded Jarlsberg or Swiss cheese, scraping down the sides of the bowl.

Add the onion-pepper mixture, 1/2 cup of chopped fresh chives, a dash of Tabasco sauce and 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce. Beat to combine. Add 2 ounces diced, cold-smoked salmon (lox) and beat just until incorporated.

Lightly oil the bottom and sides of an 8-inch springform pan. Pour the batter into the pan. Bake in a preheated, 350-degree oven for 45 minutes, or until the cheesecake is firm along the sides but slightly wiggly in the middle. Remove from the oven and cool.

Cover and chill the cheesecake for several hours or overnight. Run a sharp knife around the sides of pan, then remove the sides. Cut into wedges and eat with a fork as an appetizer, or surround the cheesecake with crackers and serve as a spread.


The author Papia

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