Monday, May 28, 2012

Sauteed Fiddlehead Ferns with Brussel Sprouts, Maryland Drivers, and an Intervention

This is a special guest post from the one and only Jessica!  Jess has a slight cooking and baking addiction, a resume that will stop traffic, and abandoned me for the East Coast this year.  Sigh.  I conned her into telling us about when she created a scene in a Farmers' Market over Fiddlehead Ferns.  Hmmm.  Who does that sound like?  No wonder we are friends!  

I need help…  I don’t  know if I can be helped…

I’m a foodie.  I’ve been a foodie ever since I can remember.  Growing up I would eat anything and everything; if it was put in front of me, I ate it.  In college, my budget was so strict that I taught myself how to cook and I learned that I love to cook.  However, my passion did not turn into obsession until I met Ms. Cooking is Alchemy (Ms. CiA is my nickname for her, tee hee.)  One day when I was complaining about how expensive fresh fruit and veggies are in the grocery she introduced me to Bountiful Baskets and hence an obsession was born.

In January 2012, on a whim, I moved to Maryland (who moves 2,500 miles away on a whim?  I do, that’s who).  January in Maryland is so grey, bland, and blah.  Not only was I missing my friends and family but I was missing Bountiful Baskets and Fresh & Easy.  In a fit of desperation, I searched for farmers' markets.  I thought that farmers' markets would not be open because it’s January, but I was wrong!  

That was when I was introduced to the 32nd Street Farmers Market in the Waverly neighborhood in Baltimore and all my sensibilities disappeared.  Every other Saturday I go South on I-95 to Baltimore (by the way, I have come to the conclusion that Marylanders really don’t know how to drive.  There is a major car accident on I-95 every week and when I say major, I mean *cars flipped over and on fire* major.  Every – Single - Week. But I digress, Ms. CiA and I tend to do that.  You should be in the same room with us when we are having a conversation…I don’t think a story’s ever been finished) and the 32nd Street Farmers' Market armed with cash, my reusable bags, a list, and my mantra “only buy what’s on the list.”  The list, the damn list never does its job; the damn list is never good enough.  As soon as I step within the border of the farmers' market, I turn into Head Monster Gatherer and I go crazy! Strawberries! Tomatoes! Grapes! Rhubarb! It’s all there and I can’t help myself.  I get into a zone that I can’t control and I have to visit every last booth!  Today I bought a bunch of celery. CELERY!  I don’t even like Celery and, to make matters worse, I don’t remember buying it!  IT’S NOT EVEN SOUP SEASON!  I told you, I need help

Fiddlehead Ferns.  See? Aren't these so cute?  Looks like something Fern Gully would eat!

With my cash dwindling, I remembered that I had to buy almonds.  As I stepped away from the main part of the farmers' market, I ran into a tiny booth specializing in fungi.  My curiosity snapped me out of my gatherer zone and I stood there and spoke with the woman about the different mushrooms she had.  That’s when my eye caught the box of Fiddlehead Ferns and excitedly remarked- ok yelled- “THOSE ARE FIDDLEHEAD FERNS!”  The woman laughed and small group gathered to see what I was so excited about.  Fiddlehead Ferns are very rare, found in the wild in Vermont, and have a very short season (3 weeks in May!)  Awhile ago, I was introduced to Fiddlehead Ferns on Pinterest and I repinned never really believing that I would ever come across Fiddlehead Ferns.  Since they look so intriguing, I couldn’t walk away without them, so I bought some ($5 for 1 oz!).  I naturally posted my excitement of finding Fiddlehead Ferns on Facebook (haha “finding Fiddlehead Ferns on Facebook” say that five times fast!) and Ms. CiA asked me to write a guest post.  So, here you go.  My first guest post ever! Since I only bought one ounce, I’ve decided to sauté them with the two handfuls of Brussel Sprouts I grabbed as well.

Don't turn your nose up!  Brussel Sprouts are good and good for you!

Sauteed Fiddle Ferns and Brussel Sprouts

(I don’t use measurements so these measurements are approximate and I do all my cooking by “instinct” so times are approximate as well)
1 oz Fiddle Ferns
2 handfuls of Brussel Sprouts
2 Garlic Cloves, minced (I love garlic so I add more)
1 small onion, chopped
Olive oil – about 2 circles around the pan
½ cup of water
Salt and Pepper
Half a lemon (use the other half for a brown sugar whisky sour!)

1.      First, you need to clean the Fiddlehead Ferns under warm water and snip off any black spots.  Be sure to handle them with care as they are a bit tender.  Clean the Brussel Sprouts and cut off the bottoms.
2.     Put the Fiddlehead Ferns and Brussel Sprouts with ½ cup water in a sautee pan fitted with a lid.  Cover and steam over medium heat until slightly soft.  Feel free to shake the pan every so often (not too hard, remember, the ferns are tender.)  Steam for about 5 minutes.
3.     Remove from sauté pan and drain sauté pan of the water.
4.     Put sauté pan back on the heat and add extra virgin olive oil.  Once the olive oil is hot (not smoking) add your garlic and onions (don’t forget to stand there and smell the blissful scent of garlic sautéing in olive oil.) 
5.     Once the garlic and onions are soft, add the Brussel Sprouts. Sauté Brussel Sprouts until you can pierce with a fork (I like my Brussel Sprouts super soft so I sautéed these for a good ten minutes, at least.)
6.     Add the Fiddlehead Ferns and stir with Brussel Sprouts.
7.     Once the Fiddlehead Ferns and Brussel Sprouts are done, squeeze in lemon juice from the half a lemon, take off heat and stir up.
8.     Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
9.     Serve and enjoy!

The Puerto Rican Papi, one of the pickiest eaters I know, said that they tasted like sautéed spinach and he actually liked them!  I enjoyed them as well, they are crispy and bright.  They are pretty filling with the Brussel Sprouts and I will definitely make them again next May!

Mmmmmm, yummy!

Jules here...  Thanks Jess!  Those look super good but frankly I think you should have delivered a sample to Arizona.  Oh well, next time.  

Side note:  If anyone makes anything fun or different or creates any scenes in any markets, we all want to hear about it!  Either leave a comment or email me at and I will get back to you!

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