Want to eat healthy while visiting Chicago? Stay with my sister Laura. Seriously. I’ll give you her number if you want. (No I won’t.) I stayed a few days with her after the Hancock race, and she made making good choices while traveling super easy. And her dog Conrad is a cutie!
What a fun week it’s been. My mom has been in town since Tuesday, and she’s leaving today. She’s on a little tour visiting most of her children – first my sister and her family in Colorado, then me, and next up to the bay area to see my brother and his family. (I have a sister in Chicago that didn’t make this itinerary, but they saw each other a few weeks ago).
The Los Angeles leg of her tour coincided with a wedding we were both invited to (my dad was invited as well, but he was unable to come out), so on Saturday, we got spiffied up to celebrate the nuptials of our friends Greg and Ali. I clean up good!
I’ve been a fan of “Jeopardy!” for as long as I can remember. I’ve even taken the test to be a contestant three times (but never passed it – it’s hard!). I learned the word “potpourri” from “Jeopardy!” I knew it as a word that means ‘a little of this and that’ (it’s the catch-all category on “Jeopardy!” that features
questions answers on anything and everything) long before I knew it was a collection of dried flowers, fruits, and twigs that grandmothers put in their bathrooms so they smell nice.
I got a bunch of topics to cover in this post, so welcome to Wednesday Potpourri! Let’s get started, shall we?
Yep, you heard me.
It’s what I had for lunch yesterday. Yep, I took pictures. Yep, I’m gonna share them. So sit back and relax, because this post is all about…
I like to bring home new things that I find in the produce aisle and experiment in my kitchen, and this post is about an unsuccessful experiment. They can’t all yield gold. Sometimes they yield… um… mud. Brackish swamp water? coal? Not quite sure how to finish that analogy.
We’ll get to my kitchen fiasco shortly. First: a few things to catch up on:
Giveaway. Have you entered my Edible Arrangements giveaway yet? Tsk tsk if you haven’t! I’m giving away $68 of fruit (!) to one lucky winner, and you can’t win if you don’t enter! Click here for the details.
Produce Haul. Yesterday morning, the only fruit in my kitchen was some frozen strawberries and half of a lemon, and my veggie supply was also running low. Whole Foods to the rescue! Here’s what I brought home from the store:
From left-to-right and down each column, we have: 4 navel oranges, pre-cut broccoli and cauliflower, a honeydew, a sweet onion, 2 kiwis, a head of celery, a red spring onion (more on this guy later), baby carrots, 2 zucchini, 3 red peppers, 1 cucumber, 4 Rainier apples, 1 package mushrooms, 4 red bartlett pears, 1 bag red grapes, 1 package baby heirloom tomatoes, 1 Anaheim pepper, 1 head napa cabbage, and pre-trimmed green beans.
Lots of healthy options is always a good thing!
Foot. It’s been about a week since I mysteriously injured my left foot, and I’m happy to announce that it’s felt wonderful for about 4 days now. Postponing my big 163-story stair climb challenge was the right thing to do (now I’m doing it on 5/5/12 – donate here!), because I’m going to take the time to make sure it’s all healed and I’m fully prepared instead of rushing into anything.
That said, after taking it easy for the past week, I’ve been jonesing for some StairMaster. Because I didn’t want to aggravate my injury if it wasn’t fully healed, I decided yesterday to give the StairMaster a try, but with some parameters: I wouldn’t go for over 10 minutes, and I wouldn’t exceed 60 steps per minute, which is my warm-up speed. I stuck to my rules, and after those 10 minutes, I was feeling the burn in my legs. I’m eager to get full-force back into my stair-climb training, but I know I gotta work my way up.
Ten minutes on the StairMaster was a good start. In those 10 minutes, I climbed 37 stories, which means it’s time to add a new building to my Skyscraper Collection!
Meet the AEGON Center, the tallest building in Kentucky. This Louisville skyscraper is 35 stories, and it’s the first building in my collection that is topped with a dome (it’s 80 feet high). You can’t see it that well in the picture, but out front of the AEGON Center is a statue of Alysheba, a well-known racehorse that won the Kentucky Derby in 1987. He’s also quite the stud: he fathered eleven other champion racehorses. I’d say Keep It Up to Alysheba, but he passed in 2009.
Now on to the main event!
FIDDLEHEAD FAIL. I was ecstatic last week when I saw, at the store, fiddlehead ferns. I don’t think I’ve seen them since I was in college, but I was a poor college kid back then, and much less inclined to spend money on food items I’ve never tried before.
I’m reminded of the poster for the 1993 movie “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” Maybe Jack Skellington is actually walking on a giant fiddlehead fern?
Fiddlehead ferns are quite literally curled up baby fern fronds. Once they grow bigger and unfurl, they’re no longer edible, so these are harvested out in the woods (they’re not farmed) for a few weeks each spring. Fiddlehead doesn’t refer to an actual species of fern, it refers to the shape of them, since they look like the top of a string instrument. Fiddlehead ferns can actually be any number of different fern species, and in the US, they’re mostly Bracken, Ostrich, or Cinnamon ferns, which grow throughout the northeast and northwest.
Fiddleheads are good sources of potassium, fiber, antioxidants, and Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. On the flip side, there is evidence that they may contain trace amounts of carcinogenics, so I wouldn’t make them a staple of your diet.
I thoroughly washed and dried my ferns, and washed them again for good measure. I decided to make a big stir-fry, so I chopped up a bunch of other veggies:
That’s cauliflower, baby eggplant, brussel sprouts, and yellow zucchini. I also added in a second new-to-me vegetable: a red spring onion. I saw these at the store a few minutes after finding the fiddleheads, and one immediately ended up in my cart. They’re pretty.
Even though I hadn’t bought one before, I was familiar with them – I think because I saw them on the Food Network or something. Basically, you cut off the dark green tops, and use the rest in any way you would use scallions. I chopped it into matchsticks (and was a little bummed it was only red on the outermost layer).
The fiddleheads went into the skillet (which I had coated with non-stick spray) first – I had read that they needed a good long 12-15 minutes to cook. Soon, I added the rest of the veggies. For a sauce, I cracked open a bottle of cilantro and lime dressing that I had in my cupboard. I like both cilantro and lime, and had read that citrus goes well with fiddleheads, so it seemed like a good fit. Plus, it’s oil-free, fat-free, and is only 5 calories a tablespoon – so I added about a quarter-cup.
For protein, I chopped up two veggie burger patties and added them in to the skillet. It was a lot of food – good for two meals, at least.
Fifteen minutes after the fiddleheads first hit the heat, I had a finished meal.
Looks tasty, right?
It tasted gross.
The fiddleheads were bitter little buggers – they had the bite and the texture of asparagus, but bitter. The dressing I used as sauce was extraordinarily acidic and sour (it has listed among the ingredients lime juice, lemon juice, and vinegar – so that’s why). Bitter + Sour = not very good.
I’m curious if any of you have had experience with fiddlehead ferns, and if so, what worked for you? Any tips or tricks?
I’m not one to give up after a single attempt (although given the fiddleheads’ short harvesting season, I may not get another attempt until next spring). I’ve already looked at a bunch of fiddlehead recipes, a lot of which call for steaming or boiling them, so maybe I’ll try one of those next time.
Even though this attempt wasn’t nearly as successful as previous ones, I’m proud that I give new things a whirl, and look forward to my next produce aisle find!
Keep it up, David!
It’s been a while since I’ve done a RediSetGo post. This was pointed out to me recently, when my buddy Ryan said, in a Facebook comment, that “we’re due for a What’s in the RediSetGo post. Just sayin’.”
I hear you loud and clear, Ryan!
This is only the second What’s in the RediSetGo post of 2012 (click here to see Part Twenty-One, which I posted in Mid-Janaury), but historically speaking, I’ve done a helluva lot of these posts, and you can see all of them on the My Favorite Posts page. In fact, I suggest you click through and check a couple of them out… you’ll need to brush up, because these posts are games, after all, and I wouldn’t want you to be rusty. And, if you’ve only started reading this blog recently, then definitely check out the archives at the above link, so you can learn how the game is played.
Eh, who am I kidding? The game is easy enough. You’ll pick it up quickly. And you’ll pick it upright now, because it’s time to play!
What’s in the RediSetGo?
I probably should have started this post by mentioning, for the sake of any newcomers, that the RediSetGo is my favorite informercial product out there (hence this being my twenty-second blog post about it). It bakes and cooks and roasts and broils, and, generally speaking, it’s easy to use and easy to clean. I’ve had my issues with the RediSetGo, but it still comes in handy for quick meals, and that’s exactly what I used it for the other day.
My dinner had four ingredients:
Ingredient #1: Halibut Steak. I picked these up at Whole Foods a while ago, and they were just sitting there, in my freezer:
The day before, I had tossed one of the steaks into the fridge to defrost. Easy peasy. So the halibut steak went into one side of the RediSetGo, and I covered it with…
Ingredient #2: Dill. A very liberal amount of dried dill, to be precise.
Ingredient #3: Green Beans. Or, if you’re feeling fancy and international, you can call them Haricot Vert, which is French for… Anyone? Anyone?Green beans. I bought them washed and trimmed and neatly packaged:
I piled up the other half of the RediSetGo with the green beans, and then poured on a couple tablespoons of…
Ingredient #4: Apricot Dijon Tarragon Sauce. I first cracked this open for a delicious lunch a few weeks ago, and I really liked it, so I thought it would be a good addition to the beans. And it’s fat-free and only 15 calories per tablespoon!
Ten minutes of RediSetGo magic, and my dinner was ready! The fish was flaky and delicious, the beans were tender, and the sauce had thinned and coated all of them.
Keep it up, David!