Spring Firsts: Farmer’s Markets and Fiddleheads

This weekend I had the opportunity to do a couple of fun spring activities for the first time this year.  It’s hard to believe that it’s still spring, with all the warm weather we’ve been having, but my visit to the market made that very clear.

Pittsfield Common sign

Pittsfield Farmers Market on the Common 2015

I started my weekend with a trip to the Downtown Pittsfield Farmers Market.  I wrote about the market last year, but I was especially excited to check it out in it’s new location – the market has moved from its previous home in a parking lot across the street to the beautiful Pittsfield Common.  The atmosphere is so much more spacious, upbeat and welcoming.  I could definitely see myself enjoying a picnic after shopping later this summer.

There were about 20 vendors at the market on Saturday, but the available produce made it very clear that we’re still early in the growing season.  As far as I could tell, there was arugula and micro-greens, but no real lettuce or other greens.  Everything looked great, but I wasn’t able to purchase the whole week’s worth of produce I’d been craving (I am dying for our CSA shares to resume).

Cricket Creek booth at the Pittsfield Farmers Market

Square Roots Farm sign at the Pittsfield Farmers MarketPlants for sale at the Pittsfield Farmers Market

Pittsfield Rye at the Pittsfield Farmers Market

Nevertheless, I didn’t leave empty handed.  I was thrilled to discover a vendor with asparagus, fiddlehead ferns and rhubarb. Can you get a selection more “springy” than that?  Brian talked me down to just two of the three and I left the market happy with asparagus and fiddleheads.

spring produce at the Pittsfield Farmers Market

I’d never made fiddleheads before, but Brian and I ordered them at Hops and Vines a couple weeks ago and they were amazing.  I started off by reading and following the guidelines on this page from UMaine, which my mother shared with me last year because she knows I’m the type of person who would cook fiddleheads. My fiddleheads weren’t nearly as impressive at the ones at Hops and Vines – mine ended up pretty soft – but they were good.  I’d make them again, if I’m lucky enough to stumble upon them at the market.

Simple Spring Fiddleheads

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 2 side dish servings

Simple Spring Fiddleheads

Ingredients

  • 1 pint fresh fiddleheads, scales removed and rinsed clean*
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons (total) olive oil and/or butter
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • salt, to taste
  • *More info on prepping fiddleheads here

Instructions

  1. Fiddleheads have been connected to foodborne illnesses and must be pre-cooked before preparing them for eating. To do so, bring a small pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, add the fiddleheads and cook for 15 minutes at a rolling boil.
  2. After the fiddleheads are done boiling, drain them using a colander.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil/butter in a medium sized skillet at medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant.
  4. Add the fiddleheads and toss them in the hot oil/butter and garlic mixture. Add the lemon juice and salt. Toss to distribute the flavors evenly and serve.
  5. Enjoy!

Greens, Swiss Cheese & Mushroom Quiche

It seems like it happened almost overnight, though I’m sure that’s not the case in reality.  After a long, long winter, spring (and summer?) is here.  The flowers in my front garden are out of control, I’m loving the weather, the ice cream shops are open and my students are so ready to be done with school.

This change in the weather makes me happier and more energetic, but it also makes me want to eat only “summer” foods.  We’re still a couple weeks away from resuming CSA pick ups, but I want to eat nothing but salads and fruit and other light foods.  As a result, I made this quiche last week.  It was pretty great, and so I share it with you.  Also, as an aside, apparently my husband “loves” mushrooms now.  I’m not sure when or how that happened.

Greens, Swiss Cheese & Mushroom Quiche

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 6-8 servings

Greens, Swiss Cheese & Mushroom Quiche

Ingredients

    For the crust
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon shortening
  • 3 to 5 tablespoons cold water
  • For the filling
  • 1 cup diced mushrooms (I used baby portabellas)
  • 2 cups greens (I used kale and spinach)
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
  • olive oil

Instructions

  1. Make the crust: Combine the flours and salt in a small bowl. Cut in the shortening with a pastry blender, knives or your fingers until the dough pieces are the size of small peas. Add the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and stir until a ball of dough forms. I usually do the final mixing with my fingers
  2. Roll the dough into a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for 45 minutes
  3. Prepare your filling ingredients In a medium skillet, cook your mushrooms in a tablespoon of olive oil until soft. Add the greens and cook until wilted. Set aside.
  4. Assemble your quiche: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Remove the dough from the fridge and use a rolling pin to roll it into a disc that will fit in your pie plate, about 11 inches. Press the crust into the pie plate.
  5. Crack the eggs into a medium bowl and use a fork to beat them lightly. Add the cooled mushroom and greens mixture and the shredded cheese. Stir to combine.
  6. Pour the filling into the quiche crust and bake at 425 uncovered for 40 minutes. If the crust is browning too quickly, you may cover it with foil. When the filling is set, remove from the oven and let sit for 5-10 minutes.
  7. Serve and enjoy!

Cinco de Twosday?

So, it’s Twosday, but it’s also Cinco de Mayo, so we’re going with 5 items per list today!

Reasons I haven’t been posting lately
1.  It’s the end of my second to last semester of grad school
2.  It’s also teacher evaluation time
3.  I’m working my full time and my summer job at the same time
4.  If the sun is out, I want to be out too
5.  Honestly, I’m not sure, but my afternoons and evenings have been way too full

Other, more fun, things I’ve been doing with my time
1. Playing Mice and Mystics with Brian
2. Running my first 5k of the season
3. Enjoying 70 degree+ weather and sunshine with lots of walks
4. Seeing Avengers: The Age of Ultron in theaters
5. Attending my sister’s baby shower!

Things, along with blogging, that I’ve done an excellent job of procrastinating
1. Putting away clean clothes
2. Trying new recipes
3. Finalizing summer plans
4. Cleaning the bathroom
5. Replying to emails

Things currently in my “to read” pile
1. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (I’m about halfway through this and it’s so good!)
2. The Martian by Andy Weir
3. Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God’s Work by Timothy Keller
4. Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking (I received this for Christmas, but I still haven’t made use of it and I need to read through all the introductory material.
5. So many blog posts.  It’s funny, I used to refuse to go to bed with unread items in my Reader (and I read a lot more blogs then!), but now I go days without getting the chance to read.  I’m mostly okay with that, but I’d like to do a little more blog reading.

Foods on my “to make” list
1. ice cream
2. granola
3. crackers
4. hummus
5. new cocktails

Warm weather thoughts I have had this week
1. I think it’s getting to be time to make ice cream
2. Maybe this summer I’ll sew a skirt
3. Yay for planting herbs!
4. I want another pair of Crocs , because I wear these all the time
5. Less than a month until CSA pick ups resume!

Things everyone seems to be talking about lately
1. Moving
2. Having babies
3. Standardized testing
4. Food labeling
5. The magic of tidying up

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