Sunday, April 10, 2011

Coming out of hibernation

It seems that spring is here. The clouds are parting, the sun is struggling to shine through and there are plenty of April Showers. Inspired by a recipe for pickled ramps and asparagus, today we decided to make our way to the Ballard Farmer's Market in between rain showers.

Of course, when we got there, the first farmer we approached shook his head. Ramps won't be making an appearance for two more weeks. But the beauty of the farmer's market is this: just when you think you are going to leave empty handed, another opportunity presents itself.

Our opportunity presented itself in the form of Fiddlehead Ferns. A locally foraged plant, Fiddleheads are only available in early spring, and the next table we approached had baskets of them. In true farmer's market iron-chef fashion, I immediately began brainstorming what I could do with them, even though I've actually never cooked with them before.  Isn't that the essence of living locally? Finding something completely new and in-season, and creating interesting things out of it?

In this case, I decided to add half of the fiddleheads to my pickling creation. I bought some spring onions (probably a distant cousin of the ramp, anyhow) and some asparagus also. In the end, I had a pretty little project sitting in my fridge, which we will eat in a few days.


 (Asparagus and Spring Onions)
(My creation. White vinegar, white wine, thyme, mustard seed, crushed red pepper, sugar, salt, bay leaves and the greens, of course.)


  1. You'll have to explain to us desert dwellers: What exactly is a Fiddlehead? Flavor? Texture? They look very cool from a sculptural perspective. Would love to taste one!


  2. They are fairly new to me as well--and I have yet to cook my other portion that I bought today.

    From what I understand, they are the small head of a new fern, harvested before the frond unfurls. They are full of vitamins and minerals and even Omega 3!

    I'm excited to cook them in a stir fry this week--I'll report back!

  3. Those look awesome!!! I can't wait to hear how they turn out... :)

  4. Hi Dan and Amy! We found your blog while looking for people in Seattle who are going local. The tips on your site are great, and your pictures are beautiful, too. We're a start-up (based in Queen Anne) called earthbongo, a social networking site where people can share projects to make the world better, and we would love to connect with you and share your journey with our users.

    Hope to hear from you!

    Valerie Saturen!/earthbongo

  5. Hi Valerie! Nice to hear from you. I checked out cool! I love the idea of challenging people to put ideas into actions. I've been remiss in blogging--thank you for the reminder to update, update, update! I'll send you an email as well with my information--would love to collaborate.