Chives: Show-Off Herbal Canapés

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We call these Show-Off Herbal Canapés—fun to make and almost too beautiful to eat.

Serves 6 to 8 as appetizers
Cream cheese and chives are such a versatile combination! Here, it’s spread on bread squares, which you may then decorate with herbs and edible flowers to make into one-of-a-kind edible art.

  • 1 pound cream cheese
  • ½-¾ cup chopped fresh chives
  • 3-4 tablespoons water
  • 2 large loaves of dense sandwich or rustic-style bread, unsliced, or 2 packages melba toast
  • Edible flowers that have not been sprayed with pesticides: a good selection of ­dianthus, broccoli, nasturtium, pansy, viola, Johnny-jump-up, borage, runner bean, chive blossoms, sage flowers, and dill and fennel florets
  • Herb leaves: a good selection of parsley, mint, dill, basil, marjoram, oregano, thyme, and variegated sage leaves
  1. Place the cream cheese in a mixing bowl, add the chives and water, and mix with a fork until smooth. If the mixture is too thick, thin it with a little more water.
  2. Trim the crusts off the bread and cut in 1/3-inch slices. Cut these into squares or rectangles 21/2 to 31/2 inches across. Spread the cream cheese mixture on the bread–1 tablespoon per 21/2 inches square–and arrange the bread on cookie sheets. Cover the sheets lightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to decorate.
  3. Carefully wash the flowers and herbs and gently pat them dry on paper towels. Lay them out on damp paper towels and cover them with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  4. Decorate each square with a flower or two and some herb leaves. When a sheet is full, lightly cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving. The canapés may be made a few hours in ­advance; if prepared earlier, the garnishes will wilt.
  5. Place a paper doily on a decorative tray, arrange the decorated squares on it, and serve.

Rosalind Creasy is an herb gardener and landscape designer in Los Altos, California, and the author of many books. Her most recent is Herbs: A Country Garden Cookbook, written with Carole Saville.

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