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Pickled Fiddlehead Ferns

fiddlehead fern 4 It’s Spring! Spring is here! This week was all 70 and 80 degree weather, bright sun, flowers, and sneezes. I’m in heaven. I’m also in San Francisco, but that’s beside the point.

fiddlehead ferns 5

This week I hosted Book Club, which meant I fed a group of people that I haven’t cooked for before but who know I write this blog (not to mention the cookbook), which is a scenario that gives me panic attacks. What if they don’t like what I’m serving? What if it’s awful? What if I fail? My answer to these questions is to make something I know I do well, so I served up a grits bar and a Bloody Mary bar. And, despite my deepest insecurities, it was a hit.

fiddlehead fern

fiddlehead fern 3 To add a little pizzaz to the Bloody Marys I pickled a batch of fiddlehead ferns, a Spring delicacy on par with ramps and garlic shoots. As my friend Katie described them, they taste like a blend between okra and green beans, the perfect taste of this fleeting season. A season I am whole-heartedly enjoying.

fiddlehead ferns 2 Pickled Fiddlehead Ferns

1 cup fiddlehead ferns

1 cup apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp sea salt

1 tbsp green peppercorns

1 garlic clove, minced

Quick pickles:

Blanche the fiddlehead ferns and rinse in cold water. In a non-reactive saucepan, heat all ingredients to a low boil. Simmer 10-12 minutes. Transfer into a jar/covered dish and store, refrigerated, for up to two weeks.

Cupboard pickles:

ed note: These ratios make 1/2 pint of pickled ferns. Multiply ingredients as needed. 

Begin by sterilizing your jar and lid in a pot of hot water. Set aside. Leave the pot of water boiling.

In a non reactive sauce pan heat vinegar, water, and salt.

Blanche the fiddlehead ferns and rinse in cold water.  In your sterilized jar, combine ferns with remaining ingredient. Pour vinegar and salt into jar, wipe the rim down, place a clean lid on the jar, and screw band on tightly.  Process in your large pot (with rack) for 10 minutes.  Remove from water, give the band another squeeze, and allow to sit.  Once the jars have sealed (you’ll know if you can’t pop the lid up and down), set them in a cool, dark place for at least two weeks.  They will stay for up to a year.

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Lovely Internet 4.11.14

4.11.14

1. This looks delicious.

2. As someone who struggles (constantly) with work/life balance, this has a bit of an appeal.

3. Everything you don’t know about tipping.

4. I’m psyched we’ll be on West Coast time for this!

5. Honey Bread.

6. My incredibly talented friends Brit & Emily.

7. An argument for run-walking in distance races.

8. This woman is living on a whole different level.

9. Would it be crazy for me to buy plants while I’m in San Francisco? Do they let you put plants in your carryon?

10. Pantry items to splurge on.

For more tidbits from Elena the person, follow me on twitter (@elenabrent or @biscuitsandsuch), instagrampinterest or facebook. Follow along with MissElenaeous for thoughts on everything other than Southern food.

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Grilled Ham

ham 1

 

This morning my parents texted me to ask what our Easter plans were and my first and only thought was Easter? That’s next month. I have no idea. And then I realized that no, Easter is not next month. It is next week. And I had a panic attack. Where has the spring gone? Where have I been? What am I doing? It was an existential crisis type morning.

 

ham 2

 

I’ve been on the road, constantly, every weekend, bouncing from town to town and event to event. All for the best and all for people I love, but never the less I am road weary. And with no signs of stopping. This weekend we’re headed to San Francisco for a week, and then it will be May, a month full of weddings and trips and, before we know it, June. And Easter will come and go and since we’re taking a red eye home from California on Easter Eve I’ll probably sleep through most of it and I definitely won’t be eating ham or deviled eggs (I have a strong suspicion that this will be a takeout Indian type of Easter). But YOU will be home and YOU will be well rested and ready to celebrate, so therefore YOU should make a ham. This ham. Smoke it. It’ll be like no ham you’ve ever tasted, I promise. And I’ll just lay in bed and snuggle my dogs and pretend I’m at your house for Easter dinner. Unless, of course, you’re delivering.

 

ham 3

 

Grilled Ham

ed note: This recipe calls for a fresh, uncured ham. Adding wood chips to the grill gives the pork a smokey flavor, but because it is uncured the flavor is more in the style of a pork chop than traditional honey baked ham. 

10-15lb ham, uncured

brine:

1 cup kosher salt

1/4 cup red pepper flakes

1/4 cup chipotle powder

5 cloves garlic

glaze:

2 tbsp red pepper flakes

2 tbsp chipotle powder

1 tbsp garlic powder

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 stick butter

Hickory chips for the grill

The day before you’d like to cook and serve your ham, prepare your brine by combining all the ingredients in a large pot of water and submerging the ham completely. Cover and let sit, in a cool place, for 24 (or up to 48) hours.

The next day pat your ham down and place on a lined baking sheet. Mix together seasonings and rub evenly over ham. Cube butter and lay across ham. Heat your grill and place the ham over indirect, medium-low heat. Soak hickory chips in water and wrap in tin foil. Place on the grill next to ham. Cover and let cook, checking to baste occasionally.

Cook for 15-20 minutes per pound, or until the internal temperature meets 150F. Once finished remove from heat and let rest 45-60 minutes before slicing and serving.

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