Tag Archive for fiddleheads

Fiddlehead Ravioli

Fiddlehead season in Maine has come, and pretty much gone. With our first collection this year we decided to try something different. With some home made pasta, ricotta cheese from Crooked Face Creamery, and fresh fiddleheads, we spent an afternoon making homemade fiddlehead ravioli.

For the pasta we used a really basic recipe found in one of our many cookbooks that we have tucked away. When I say basic, I mean four ingredients:

  • 2 1/3 cups flour
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 tsp. olive oil

This is a great started base that you can add any type of seasoning too, along with making it out of any flour. We used wheat flour and an Italian seasoning mix that I keep made up in the cabinet – it’s a lot quicker than pulling out all the individual spices. The longest part of it all was rolling out the pasta to cut up for the ravioli. We’ve definitely decided that we’re going to keep our eyes out for a cheap, used pasta machine. As great as homemade pasta is, we don’t really have the time (and I don’t have the upper body strength) to do all that rolling in one afternoon!

The grand thing about homemade pasta is that it only takes a few minutes to cook. After two hours of manual labor it was great to see the pot brimming with a good deal of pasta.

Unfortunately last year’s tomato harvest was a bust due to hornworms and blight. Instead of homemade sauce we’ve been making due with Newman’s Own, a great sauce selection from a wonderful company. With left over filling and sauce to top off the pasta, it looked like a culinary master piece.

It was delicious! Everything came out wonderful…but with one draw back. Apparently some people have issues dealing with digesting raw and undercooked fiddleheads. The patriarch of this household seems to be one of those. Given how horrible Joe felt after eating the ravioli with the uncooked fiddleheads in the filling, we decided the next night to chop it all up, mix it with the sauce, and cook it off as a pasta bake. The result? No illness and a delicious pasta bake that we would never had been able to afford in a restaurant. All in all, everything worked out great and we ended up with a total of six meals out of one afternoon of work.

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(Originally published: May 9, 2012.)

‘Tis the season

Things have geared up full force for spring.

Saturday we went fiddlehead picking. In the course of a week, the fiddleheads have poked their lazy heads out of the sandy stream banks and bolted. They’ve gone by. Normally the picking season is just gearing up for the second week of May. This year, it’s done and over with all ready. We didn’t even get a quarter of what we picked last year. Tonight we’ll cook off the few pounds we have, enjoy some for dinner, and freeze the rest of the cooked ones to be added by the handful to pasta and other dishes. We still have four frozen servings from last year, so we’ll have some throughout the summer, just no Yule time fiddleheads from the freezer this year.

The next thing on the list for foraging and trying is a tie between Japanese knotweed and dandelion greens. I know, what type of homesteaders are we that we haven’t tried either yet? Insane! ;-) Both are things that I think I’ll be trying solo as neither Hubster of Little Mister seem too enthused about the idea. Regardless as to whether I get to try the greens or not, I need to start harvesting dandelion root as I’m almost out. At least I have more of a plan this year, so it should go a lot smoother than in the past.

Saturday we were also able to sell our original, and now unused, chicken coop, which gave us the funds to purchase our first blueberry bushes. I’m hoping to get them in the ground this weekend at the latest. I’ll be doing a more in-depth post on those later, but needless to say, we’re all excited! They’ll be going in down amongst the rhubarb and will really help pull that piece of the yard together.

Sunday saw us outside practically all day. Hubster, bless his heart, was devoured by black flies in the morning while beginning the tilling on the gardens. The large garden that we added last year as been extended a bit and we mergered two older gardens together and expanded those as well. We also tilled a 6×10 plot for Little Mister to have as his own first garden. He and I will be working on the fencing for that this weekend, most likely. He’s super excited about it. Now if I could get him to understand the blueberry plants aren’t for his garden….

Given the crazy season, updates on here might still be a bit more sporadic than what I would like, but I’ll try to share and re-link past posts from our excursions and adventures in order to keep things more entertaining.

And so comes spring…

A lot has changed in the past two months since I have had time to update here. Personally, I’m suffering the set back of having to extend my Master’s work yet again, but this will be the last time, thankfully! The time that I’ve had to devote to my writing, the mental prep and planning for planting season, and the physical exertion of growing another farm hand has left me with very few chances to get onto the blog. I’m stealing a few minutes to update everyone about what we have going on and what’s changed.

We decided to rehome our white crested Polish rooster, Jovi. No sooner did we than his immune system apparently shut down on him. He passed away only after a week of living in his new home. It killed me to hear that he had moved on. I just hope that depression and being away from us did not exacerbate his health issues. His new owner did say he didn’t seem to be in pain when he passed. It’s hard, though. You can say as often as you want that you won’t get attached to the live stock – the breathing beings that provide you with food – but it’s hard not to.

Our only rooster now, Gimp the Rhode Island Red, has been dealing with some health issues of his own. At a later date I will do an entry on both of the specific ones he went through and how we treated each, as it’s very important information that I feel many chicken owners, including myself, tend to over look. Needless to say, he’s lost half a toe and two toe nails due to frost bite issues and is allergic to hay.

We’re also looking to rehome a few of our hens who just aren’t fitting into the flock as well as we would like. they are great layers and barely a year old, so I can’t see just sending them to freezer camp. We have a few people interested, we just have to decide when we need them gone by.

It’s also chick season around here. We bought 6 Black Australorps pullets from Aubuchon’s since we couldn’t get the from the hatchery. While there, I entered for their Chick Days drawing, which ws a chick starter kit. For once in my life, I won something! Not only did we get a tote with all the fixings (water font, 2 feeders, heat lamp and bulb, treat stick, and themometer), but it came with six free chicks (one mystery chick and then I chose the rest), a bale if shavings, and a 25 lb of feed!

We now have the 6 Black Australorps, 5 Jersey Giants, and one mystery chick (most likely a Brown Leghorn or Welsummer roo) in one brooder box. The other brooder box has 10 Buff Rock roos, 2 Buff Rock pullets, 2 Blue Andalusian Pullets, 2 Silver Laced Wyandotte pullets, and a mystery bird, which I’m pretty sure is a Cochin. Our basement is very lively right now!

We also have expansion plans for the gardens and will possibly be adding in blueberry bushes this year as well. Oh, and let’s not forget fiddlehead season is in a few weeks! Let’s hope this waddling mama doesn’t fall into the Sandy Brook when fiddlehead picking!

Early Fiddleheads

IMG_2362

IMG_2362Fiddlehead season normally doesn’t hit until around Mother’s Day. That’s when the rush starts to get to the woods and pick what you can before there delicious little ostrich ferns are grown. It’s also the rush to beat people that foolishly pick and sell them instead of stocking their own larder with these delicacies.

Last week my friend in Vermont posted that she snagged five pounds on her hunting trip. It was the only game to be had that day, but five pounds of fiddleheads is nothing to balk at. I started getting itchy. If they were up in Vermont they were certainly up here in Maine.

Sure enough, when Hubster and I got out into the woods this past Saturday, the fiddleheads were up and mostly gone by. Come this Wednesday they will all be 1 to 3 foot tall ferns looking beautiful and nothing like the 9 meals worth of small, rolled up bites of heaven in my freezer. (That doesn’t include the two meals worth we cooked up last night.)

First Spring Freshet

So our little family went fiddlehead picking this weekend. (It was a great work-out for the Ergo carrier, which up until now hadn’t really been used.) While it’s been an early season, there hasn’t been much up it seems. I think this might have more to do with a lack of spring flooding more than anything else. Maine had spent the last few weeks in a high risk fire warning. After today, I don’t think that will be a problem. The doozy of a storm that tracked through the area of Cold Antler Farm has hit here, leaving a flood advisory for our area.

Gee. I wonder why.

The far left of the backyard...

...the middle of the backyard...

...and the far right of the backyard.

Needless to say, I’m glad I didn’t let the chickens out. Knowing my luck they would have tried to follow the duck that went swimming across out lawn. The plus side to all this rain is that next weekend, when we go for our second round of fiddlehead picking, the crowns should be up more. Here’s to trying to beat the 15 pounds from last year!