fiddlehead definition

fid·dle·head [ fídd'l hèd ] (plural fid·dle·heads) noun
Definition: edible fern shoot: the coiled frond of a young fern, often cooked and eaten as a delicacy

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Oh my darlin, oh my darlin...

This box of sunshine is sitting on my counter full of nectarous possibilities. Shall I make something sweet, something savory or enjoy them after peeling away nature's wrapper? If apples are the fruit mascot of winter and watermelon the mascot of summer, then clementines are certainly my talisman of winter. Packed with about the same high amount of vitamin c as a navel orange but remarkably more flavor, clementines are a delicious snack choice. First one out of the box eaten as nature had intended. But what to do with the peel? Zest!

Wait, before I get to zesty stuff I need to share a creative clementine concoction from my favorite mixologist, Jeff Jackson, who is now GM at Rosebud. An homage to Jackson's love of plaid, the Tartan is a checky mixture that softly channels the sweetness and zing of clementines. As this tall beautiful glass is set before you, you will be enchanted by the citrusy aromas that are heightened by its ingredients. The Tartan begins with clementine infused vodka (he likes that they are sweet but retain acidity in the vodka). Jackson is adept at transforming a neutral tasting liquor like vodka into an intense infusion that lends itself to his creations. Add to clementine infused vodka a cranberry shrub. Shrub, you ask?

shrub: a shrub is a drink concentrate/liqueur/cordial

made with fresh fruit vinegars and sugars.

Many are based around berries. Shrubs recipes

date back to colonial times and are similar to grog.

Here the tartan gets tarty. Jackson's last component is prosecco, whose bubbles lighten the heaviness of the sugary shrub and he mentioned something about the mineral quality (have I mentioned his discerning palate?) while I was thinking "yum." If you were lucky enough to spend an evening or afternoon at the bar chatting, eating and drinking with Jeff, you know how good this tastes. And luckily for us he will be starting Drink with Jeff again soon. I have had some wonderful adventures with wine and cheese on the patio with this outgoing oenophile. Check it out. I guarantee you will learn something.

Chicken with Clementine shallot sauce

Here is what I did:

  • salt, peppered and allspiced (just a tad) a few chicken breasts

  • sauteed both sides in olive oil

  • set aside and cover with foil to keep breasts warm.

  • deglaze pan with 1/2 or so of white wine (dry, oakey, stale, leftover from last night)

  • add chicken broth (about 1/2 cup?), finely chopped shallots, 1/2 the juice from the clementine and zest

  • boil and reduce. Whisk in thyme, a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, remaining clementine juice and any needed spice.

  • cut chicken into slices, place and spoon sauce.

Easy and scrumptious! Now what to do with the leftover peel?

Here is what The Lilliputian Baking Company does with clementine peel. They candy it and sell it in cute lil jars at The Irwin Street Market.

You could either eat these sweet treats as is or dip in dark chocolate. Extra pieces would make an excellent garnish for the following recipe I found on

Chocolate Tart (photo from

For crust
Vegetable oil for greasing pan
5 ounces wheatmeal biscuits such as Carr's whole-wheat crackers, finely ground (1 1/3 cups)
2 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For filling
2 large egg yolks
1 1/3 cups heavy cream
10 1/2 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), finely chopped

Special equipment: a 9- or 10-inch fluted round tart pan (1 inch deep) with a removable bottom; an instant-read thermometer

Make crust:
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly oil tart pan.

Stir together biscuit crumbs, sugar, and butter in a bowl, then press crumb mixture evenly onto bottom of tart pan. Bake crust 10 minutes, then cool completely in pan on a rack.

Make filling:
Lightly beat yolks in a small bowl. Bring cream to a simmer in a 2-quart heavy saucepan and remove from heat. Add about one third of hot cream to yolks in a slow stream, whisking constantly, then pour yolk mixture into remaining cream, whisking.

Cook custard over moderately low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until it is thick enough to coat back of spoon and registers 170°F on thermometer, 1 to 2 minutes (do not let boil). Remove from heat and add chopped chocolate, whisking until smooth.

Pour filling evenly over crust and chill tart, uncovered, until firm, at least 2 hours. Remove side of pan and serve tart chilled or at cool room temperature.

Monday, January 24, 2011


"There is not a sprig of grass that shoots uninteresting to me."
— Thomas Jefferson

Unpretentious but upscale is what comes to mind when I think of Sprig and to me that is the best of both worlds when dining. This new local restaurant comes to us via owner Daniel Morrison and executive chef Robert Elliott both alums of the James Beard winning restaurant Watershed. Juxtaposition is a delightful theme that carries on throughout your experience at Sprig. The decor is chic yet rustic; very leather and lace but in this case Stevie would be singing barnwood and polished steel. The atmosphere is cool and hip but at the same time friendly and warm. It is sophisticated but takes the time to thank farmers on a chalkboard above the bar: Moore Farms & Friends, The Turnip Truck, Crystal Organics, Springer Mountain, Dillwood farms, Eden Farms, White Oak Pastures, and Sweetgrass Dairy to name a few.

I have tried the restaurant many times. I have been there during the week, on a crowded weekend night, for lunch, with one friend, with 10 friends and with a foursome. I have had tables in the front, back and even the bar. I haven't had a dish I didn't like and I had excellent, welcoming service each time. On each visit my table was visited either by Mr. Morrison or Chef Elliott, a treat.

The chef-driven menu is built upon scratch regional cuisine that is staunchly local, seasonal and simple. appetizer favorites of mine include the steamed mussels with Sweetwater Sch'wheat beer, tomato, basil, orange & shallot sopping sauce, the fried pickles with beer cheese sauce, the local cheese plate and the crusty cornbread shmeared avocado butter. Standout entrees are the Venison with rosemary-lemon risotto and the pan seared chicken breast with ham bread pudding. Chicken, you ask? This chicken is perfection. It had me wondering if Thomas Keller was in the kitchen. It arrived at the table piping hot, tender, juicy, salt and peppered with crispy skin and pan juices. It was gorgeous, delicious and I knew the chicken was from Springer Mountain and the tasso from a local Berkshire hog. Spreading the local love feels good and tastes even better!

Come for the food and stick around for the drinks. Morrison's attention to the drink menu stands out. There are creative, seasonal cocktails, many craft beers and a delightful wine list that does not exist at any of the restaurants nearby.

No detail was spared in the creation of Sprig. I can't wait to see the Spring menu when local farms give us there best goods. Think fiddleheads will make it to the menu?


These Jelloware cups are amazing on so many levels. They are edible, compostable, vegan, colorful, tasty and neat-o. Throwing them in the grass after a party would only nurture growing plants because they are made from agar agar (a gelatin derived from algae). For me the greatest thing about these new jello cups is that they will satisfy the urge I always get when drinking from thin stemware- to bite it. The more delicate the glass, the more I want to take my teeth to it. Weird, I know but now I have an easy solution in Jelloware. The Way We See The World, a New York-based design consultancy developed this idea with incredible flavors like lemon-basil, ginger-mint, and rosemary-beet. Act now to kick start this idea by going to The Way We See The World. Click on the kick start link to add to the dreamers' goal of $10,000.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Meyer lemons

Friends of mine just received their first shipment of Meyer lemons from and they are thrilled!. Meyer lemons are a cross between a lemon and a Mandarin orange. They have an edible peel and a much sweeter, less acidic flavor. Wish I could have tasted this menu item from Hugh Acheson's New years dinner at Five and Ten:

seared scallops with meyer lemon, radish, mache, fennel and fennel pollen
Vouvray, Clos le Vigneau, Loire, France, 2008

yum and yum!

I am going to order from the Lemon Ladies and as soon as they arrive I am making these sunny cupcakes.

This recipe comes from
Meyer Lemon and Ricotta Cupcakes with White Chocolate Buttercream Frosting makes 12

2 cups all purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups sugar
2 egg whites lightly beaten
½ cup part-skim ricotta
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1 Meyer lemon, zested and juiced

3 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 Tablespoons heavy cream
4 ounces Scharffen Berger white chocolate, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 ounce Scharffen Berger white chocolate, shaved

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. In a mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
3. In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer beat together the sugar and egg until light and
fluffy, about 3 minutes.
4. With the motor or speed on medium-low add the ricotta, melted butter and buttermilk
to the sugar mixture.
5. Begin adding the flour mixture to the sugar mixture in thirds, scraping the bowl down
after each addition until fully incorporated.
6. Gently fold in the lemon extract, zest and juice. Stir.
7. Line each cup with paper liners and fill each about 2/3 of the way with batter.
8. Place cupcakes in the oven and bake for about 20-25 minutes or until light golden
brown and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cupcake.
9. For the frosting, place the sugar and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and begin
beating on low speed until just combined. About 2 minutes.
10. Add the cream and turn the speed to medium-high and continue beating the mixture,
until smooth.
11. Reduce the speed to medium and slowly drizzle in the melted chocolate.
12. Fold in the vanilla until fully incorporated.
13. Once the cupcakes have cooled, place the frosting into a piping bag with a star tip and
pipe a small amount of frosting onto each cupcake.
14. Top each cupcake with a sprinkle of white chocolate shavings and serve

Friday, January 14, 2011

Exploring. Discovering.

I haven't written much on here in a while (my moleskin is full, however). I have been off experiencing and exploring. I have met wonderful people, attended incredible fetes and tasted unforgettable meals. I have actually been living a life imagined and it feels good. Today after being snowed in for almost a week during snowpocolypse 2011 in Atlanta, all I care to do is seek our a good taco and a gaggle of friends. Perhaps I will take a photo.