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I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
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Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Fiddleheads

If you recall I wrote about finding inspiration for cooking in a recent Frugal Kitchens 101 post. We went grocery shopping for fresh fruits and vegetables Saturday morning as we were having company for dinner as well as entertaining that evening. The grocery store can be a great place to browse for cooking inspiration. Imagine my surprise at finding fiddleheads! As I put the little treasures into the cart I knew that dinner would be featuring fiddleheads.

fiddleheadsFiddleheads

Fiddleheads are a seasonal delicacy! They are tightly wound immature fonds (new growth) of the Ostrich fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris) found in the lowland forests from the Great Lakes to the Maritimes of Canada. They emerge around the first week of May. The most common way to find fiddleheads is to forage for them where they grow. In some areas they are harvested commercially. Like rhubarb are rarely found fresh in the grocery stores although some stores sell frozen fiddleheads. Like rhubarb a prudent gardener will grow a patch of Ostrich fern that serves as edible landscaping.

Fiddleheads are rich in Vitamins A and C. Their flavour mixes nicely with cheeses, tomatoes and Oriental cuisine. The flavour is very similar to asparagus but a bit nuttier. Use much the same as your would asparagus or broccoli flowerettes. Do not eat them raw as they will cause stomach upset in larger quantities. Fiddleheads should be lightly cooked either steamed or sautéed leaving them crispy. If there is more than 2 inches of stem left on the fiddlehead it can be removed while preparing. This step is optional for aesthetics. Any browning of the stem should be trimmed off. Any of the paper chaff that may be on the fiddlehead should be removed.

tomato saladTomato Salad

Salads do not always mean lettuce or greens. I made a lovely tomato salad inspired by the memories of a cooking show I saw on the Food Network. I don't recall the show or the main dish only the way they served tomato slices. I suspect it may have been from one Giada's Everyday Italian shows.

This tomato salad is really an easy presentation. Remember if at all possible pair tomatoes with extra virgin olive oil as the oil make the beneficial anti-oxidant lycopene available to your body.

Tomato Salad

1 - 2 large, meaty slicing tomatoes
extra virgin olive oil
fresh ground pepper
fresh ground sea salt
fresh grated Parmesan cheese
sprig of fresh parsley
leaf lettuce (optional)

Wash and slice the tomatoes about ¼ inch thick. Arrange the slices neatly on a serving plate or bed of leaf lettuce. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil over the slices. Sprinkle on pepper, salt and cheese. Garnish with fresh parsley.

pork loin chopsPork Loin Chops

We are really low on pork in our freezers but the freezers are too full to order our pig yet so I picked up pork loin chops for dinner. I wanted to keep the meal rather simple as there would be a lot of time spent in the kitchen that evening. The boneless pork loin chops were pan seared then baked in Diana Sauce at the same time the potatoes baked. The fiddleheads were delicious with just a little butter and sea salt.

Oven baked potatoes are always nice with their fluffy insides and slightly crisp skins. Potatoes have received a lot of negativity because of their starch content. However, potatoes are one of the healthier foods you can eat. They are a good source of Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, copper, potassium and manganese. The skins are rich in dietary fiber which is why I leave the skins on potatoes where possible.


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