We’re all foodies here, right?

So when I tell you that, upon discovering fiddlehead ferns at my local Whole Foods, I bought them. Went home.

And promptly took 44 pictures of them.

You won’t laugh, right?

Promise you won’t laugh.

Speaking of which. The New York times wrote an article about people like us recently.

(And by “us” I mean food bloggers. Not 23-year-old females who have cookbook collections that outnumber that of their shoes. Or people who own at least eight jars of peanut butter. Or have six jars of dried beans sitting on their windowsill. Next to the package of dried kaffir lime leaves. That they walked three miles to buy. Or any other demographic that I may or may not fall into.)

They called it First Camera, Then Fork.

Hmmm. Yeah. That sounds about right.
The article focuses mainly on bloggers whose contributions to our little community are more reminiscent of a food diary than anything else. You know the type. They take pictures of every meal. Every morsel. Every crumb. Religiously. (Or fanatically, as the Times argues. But we’ll get to that.)

And really. More power to them. If I took pictures of everything I ate. You would soon realize just how boring my life really is. And. Really. We can’t have that now, can we? No. I must absolutely keep up the illusion that I am the ringleader in this circus that I have created for you. Peanut gallery, bearded women, trapeze artists, and tightrope walkers abound! (Although. On the streets of New York. Any and all of these things may be encountered. So it’s all slightly more realistic than one might suppose. If I lived in, say, Iowa.)

Even so.

The blog content might be different. But the idea and our mentality is not.

Mentality. Now that’s an interesting word. Because it implies some kind of psychology behind this food blogging phenomenon.

In fact. The New York Times goes so far as to call it. Pathological. Obsessive. Compulsive.

And yes. Maybe that is, to some degree, true. I would venture to guess that we all inconvenience ourselves or our families to some degree in order to get, what we in the biz call “the money shot”. Some of us now cook dinner at lunchtime. Because all of the natural light that floods through our south-facing windows will be gone by the time 7pm rolls around.

We wake up early on Saturdays. To walk down to the Union Square Farmer’s Market so that we have even a modicum of a chance to snatch up some of those ramps before they have disappeared into the ether that is food-obsessed New York on a sunny Saturday morning in May.

But does all of this mean that we have some kind of modern day eating disorder? To be honest. I haven’t quite decided. On the one hand, you have to alter your life to some degree in order to accommodate any hobby. You have to make time to golf. Go out of your way to rescue 14th century stamps from collecting dust in a tiny antique store in a tiny town in Middle-Of-Nowhere, USA. Set aside an entire quarter of your room for all of the jars of peanut butter you’ve amassed.

But on the other. If not being able to do these things makes you anxious. Psychotic. Comatose. Then Houston. We may have a problem.

All food for thought. Something to think about while you sort through those 44 photos. Or in-between the hours of worry about what you should make for that blog event that requires you to concoct something out of ghost chili peppers, black sesame seeds, and green tomatoes.

Obsessive? Me? Not at all.
Michael Symon’s mac and cheese is one of the most decadent that you will ever encounter. It has you create a rosemary-infused goat cheese sauce that is just tart enough that it is not too rich but cloying enough that you won’t want to stop eating it. Possibly the only mac and cheese I’ve made that is impressive enough to serve to guests.

The original recipe called for shredded chicken, but I instead threw an oregano/lemon/garlic marinated pork tenderloin in the crockpot for 8 hours with 1/4 cup water and then shredded it. I also decided to amp it up with some steamed fiddleheads and arugula. After all. I’ve always got to have some green with my beige!

Mac and Cheese with Roasted Pork, Goat Cheese, Rosemary, and Fiddleheads
Serves 6, adapted from Live To Cook

1 lb dried pasta
4 cups almond milk (originally recipe calls for heavy cream…ummmm….yeah)
2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
8 oz fresh goat cheese
2 cups shredded roasted pork (or chicken)
1/2 pound fiddleheads

1. Bring a large pt of water to a boil. Add enough salt so that it tastes seasoned. While the water is coming to a boil, put the milk, rosemary, and 1/2 tsp salt in a large saucepan over high heat. Bring just to a simmer, then lower the heat to medium and simmer to reduce the mixture by half.

2. Set up a steamer to steam the fiddleheads. Do NOT eat raw – they may be poisonous. Steam to desired consistency.

3. Add the goat cheese and pork to the cream and bring the mixture back to a simmer. Continue cooking until it coats the back of a spoon, about 30 minutes.

4. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente. Drain the pasta from the water and add it to the sauce. Toss the pasta to combine it with the sauce. In a bowl, spread a layer of arugula, a layer of pasta and top with some fiddleheads. Enjoy.

This is my submission to Symon Sundays, hosted by Ashlee over at A Year In The Kitchen. And also my submission to Presto Pasta Nights being hosted by Chaya of The Comfy Cook.
And, of course. Happy Mother’s Day to all of you moms out there! And to mine! Love you muchly!

You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at https://joanne-eatswellwithothers.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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83 Responses to Mac and Cheese with Roasted Pork, Goat Cheese, Rosemary, and Fiddleheads – Symon Sundays

  1. Wonderful well-written and interesting post. I can only speak for myself when I say that my blog is mostly about the food. I do not own an expensive camera, and the lighting in my condo sucks. Last night’s photo from my Opera Cake is a perfect example, the photo is terrible and doesn’t do the dish justice, but really who cares.

    I love sharing my kitchen knowledge with other like minded individuals and learning from them.

    Like this post.

    Magnificent dish, I hope you clean up all them contests.

    Have a lovely Sunday


  2. Kelsey says:

    i wont laugh cuz the other day i totally realized i took almost 60 pics of my cinnamon buns.. i mean how many angles do those have right? …..lol…..

    im so AFRAID of fiddlehead ferns..is that crazy? they remind me of some twisted horror film i saw as a kid.. not sure which.. maybe little house of horrors and the big venus flytrap. what do they taste like? i’d imagine broccoli stems…?


  3. girlichef says:

    I don’t have a clue what you’re talking about 8/. Ha! Love it…it rings so true 🙂 I would have been posing those fiddleheads like there was no tomorrow 😉 Gorgeous!

  4. Pam says:

    You are a great ringleader and this dish sounds amazingly delicious! Just wish I were as good at photographing as you are!

  5. I love Michael Symon, and goat cheese and pasta is a great combination so I’m sure this was awesome. And hell yeah on the pork instead of the chicken!!
    I read the Times article the other day. It made me slightly uncomfortable. Maybe I am pathological.

  6. 44 photos are not a lot to me. Sometimes I can take up to 100 photos! LOL! Maybe I’m addicted to photography. Can’t find fiddleheads over here. They look so beautiful and you had shot them at all the perfect angles. Simply gorgeous!

  7. Pathological. Obsessive. Compulsive. That could be said of any hobby. I prefer to think of it as escapism. Cooking is accessible. It’s something we do every day so it’s easy for it to get hum drum. No harm in exploring the aesthetics to keep things interesting.

  8. PJ says:

    ooooh.. those fiddelheads look so interesting, no wonder you spend 44 photos on them! i would have done too 🙂

    i had read that article earlier and i was on the same line as you are.. pursuing any hobby takes patience and some amount of compulsion, assuming if you are serious in it.. photographers follow a good picture with everything they have got.. and same here, we follow the good food with all the fancy cameras and fork ofcourse!

  9. I read that article too and followed the links to all those pic blogs galore!!
    And Javiers site too, only pics!!
    I got 100+ to sort jus now, of a single tart,LOL.

    I love ur creativity!
    Wish id eat meats as u do, i could only to chicken and beef and seafood and in pork only sausage and u wouldn wanna know the reason coz at times i skip these too!!!
    Yet i would gorge on this ,i love Mac and cheese and did try NL’s tweaked recipe ,but well u know d story of the bookmarks, this one goes too, but in the HI5,ie immdte attn!
    Wish could find those ferns now!!

  10. Mary says:

    Wonderful post, fabulous recipe. When they can be found, fiddleheads are wonderful, as much for their appearance as their taste. I love goat cheese and have a recipe of my own that’s made with goat’s milk as well as the cheese, so you know I’m in for the Symon’s recipe. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings…Mary

  11. Radhika says:

    44 Pictures, wow! Great recipe, I love that you used almond milk instead of heavy cream! And those fiddle heads look fun!

  12. Julie says:

    hmmm i’m glad you posted the link to this article! i’ve got to head over and read it. but fine if i’m obsessed with taking pictures of food whatever haha i figure there’s a lot worse things to be addicted to.

  13. yummy! i love those fiddleheads…I read that article a week back… Funny and apt read!

  14. Lea Ann says:

    This is a fabulous post. Obsessive? Compulsive? Not me, I only took 34 photos of my first poached egg last night and then took an hour deciding which photo was most impressive. I’ve never had a fiddlehead nor seen one to buy. You can bet if I do see any, they’ll be snatched up and immediately photographed. This mac and cheese sounds A-mazing! Gotta give it a try.

  15. Katerina says:

    When I make something and then try to take a picture of it, my family waits with the forks up and ready. Sometimes I think they will come and take the dish by force, before I get the chance to photograph it. And they always complain about me taking the picture and thus, taking so long to serve it. This mac and cheese looks very unique and healthy.

  16. fiddleheads? hmmm what again? hahaha but it’s my first time to see them…
    i would take 44 shots too and i can’t blame you.. i would get it on a plate probably let it stand on a vase, i don’t know, they just look picture worthy to me.

  17. Jennifer says:

    first, you are a woman after my own heart… I ADORE goat cheese, rosemary and fiddleheads!!!!! with roast pork and mac n cheese… heaven! saving this!!! 🙂 thank you!

    Interesting article. I have to say that even if someone paid me to take pictures of all of my meals I dont think I would… talk about time consuming and a little over the top! LOL it would feel perhaps more a chore than relaxing time to eat!

  18. I’ve never had a fiddlehead. I’ve never even SEEN a fiddlehead. But I’ll eat anything with goat cheese. And macaroni. So.. I’m pretty much inviting myself over for dinner.

  19. When I first got fiddleheads last year, I sure did the same thing – took about a hundred pictures of them 🙂 The mac & cheese with them looks and sounds delicious and I also love your addition of roasted pork!

  20. Oh fiddleheads, how I love thee! I wish I ate meat, because I’d be all over this. I’m sure it’d be wonderful without it, though I know Eric would be very disappointed by the omission.

    So glad you included fiddleheads. I think I’m going to stop by Whole Foods this week and pick up some more.

  21. Azita says:

    I read that article but doesn’t pursuing any passion require time, patience,persistence and some compulsiveness? Love those fiddleheads. Great recipe and beautiful pictures!

  22. I was hoping your would have information on gathering wild fiddle heads. I don’t have a local Whole Foods, but I do have a local woods!

  23. oh wow impressive mac and cheese you have inspired me to get some

  24. Kerstin says:

    Mac & cheese with goat cheese sounds like a winner to me! I actually haven’t cooked with fiddleheads yet but would love to try them.

  25. Looks very intersting, never seen this one anywhere else but would love to try this one…

  26. tigerfish says:

    I am waiting to try fiddlehead ferns…never had them before.

  27. Debinhawaii says:

    Fun post. A little obsession is good for the soul. 😉 The mac & cheese looks delicious–love how you have worked the greens in. We got some fiddleheads in at the WF, but they did not look this good so I didn’t buy any (It’s a tough boat ride over here!)

  28. Cynthia says:

    The fiddleheads look so beautiful in this dish! I love all the pictures you took of it…even if you may be obsessed 😉

  29. Joanne,,looks soo nice well presented dear..i never saw the recipe n tasted it dear..sure will try it soon.

  30. knk says:

    what kind of food is this looks nice but , different i never saw this
    looks great

  31. Meena says:

    i havent yet reached the obsessive, compulsive stage…but i can see myself getting there…gr8 mac n cheese!

  32. sra says:

    Ooh, I thought of some exotic sea plants when I saw those, how unusual! It even looks alive, in a way.

  33. Barbara says:

    Well maybe. Just a teeny bit obsessed with photos. More with food.
    I think fiddlehead ferns are sooooo adorable, that I think taking 44 pictures is ART. (Bet you didn’t think of that angle!)
    Mac and cheese with a goat cheese sauce? Lead me to it!

  34. Look at the fiddlehead… it is just screaming to be shot. Those twirls the curve the color the texture.. I mean come on??? Doesn’t every poor mook every once and a while look at a sunset or a mountain and say, gee I wish I could draw it or paint it or shoot it. Finding spirit stirring beauty is a gift… go for it! Is that really more psychotic than sitting in front of a television 6 hours a day like a zombie. Reality check, please!

  35. I think I enjoyed your writing more than the New York Times! Never had fiddleheads, are they bitter? They look so interesting, anybody who is artistically-inclined would want to take photos of them!
    That mac n cheese sounds like it could be on the menu of a starred restaurant.

  36. Raina says:

    Amazing looking dish. It sounds like mac and cheese taken to the next level. Never tried fiddleheads but have to try. LOL..44 pictures. I can’t help laughing because you are right we all do it to get that great shot which, unfortunately, I usually never achieve. Like you said, though, many people spend hours on end with other hobbies so why not food. I have to admit I am getting a little obsessed though. No one can eat dinner until I get a good picture of the plate.

  37. Caronae says:

    I read that NYT article and agree completely with your thoughts. There is totally a difference between a hobby and an obsession! Duh. I have never seen goat cheese in mac and cheese OR anything cooked with fiddlehead ferns. What do they taste like? It sounds pretty spectacular before. BTW I made your mushroom mac and cheese once it was beyond divine. You could serve that to any guest, including me 🙂

  38. teresa says:

    i’m speechless, this is such a cool dish! i love the fiddleheads, i have yet to try them.

    i need to get that article for my hubs so he can understand me better!

  39. Duchess says:

    Well now, you KNOW I’m luvin’ the fiddleheads!!!!

  40. Amy says:

    I’m laughing…but it’s with you, not at you. Seriously, is that piece of chicken really going to look better on a square plate, instead of a round plate. Lordy. But we eat with our eyes, right? So, we continue to obsess. And that money shot, is oh so satisfying.

    I think the number of cookbooks and shoes are tied for me. THAT’S scary.

    Great post, Joanne.

  41. Hannah says:

    Does this dish just scream “spring!” or what? Looks so simple, fresh, and tasty, I’d love to try it with vegan cheese….

  42. Kim says:

    I just read the NY times article and I must confess that I probably have a problem. I begin to get crabby if I can’t check my computer, catch up on my favorite blogs and check out what’s going on.
    I was excited to see that you cooked with the fiddleheads. I have never seen them, but would love to cook with them. (I would definitely take way too many picture of them too!)
    You and Natashya are seriously making me crave this wonderful and decadent pasta! It looks beyond delicious!

  43. Every time I see fiddleheads I laugh. Their so neat looking and remind me of something out of Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas movie. I love how you used them here – this looks totally decadent and delish.

  44. Pam says:

    Us food bloggers are an interesting breed aren’t we? I’ve never had fiddleheads but I want to try them, mostly so I can photograph them ;-). Your mac & cheese looks pretty and tasty.

  45. Mo Diva says:

    the dish is gorgeous!
    question, what do fiddelheads taste like? Im curious becuase they are gorgeous to look at… but cant bring myself to purchase on looks alone.

  46. Toni says:

    It’s kind of weird… to read about something weird…that one partakes in. It’s kind of voyeuristic actually. Voyeurism goes well with morning coffee.

  47. MaryMoh says:

    You took 44 pictures of the fern??? Now I’m laughing…haha 😀 You must have liked t so much. I love this type of ferns. We used to stir fry them with garlic and they are very delicious. We planted at our backyard and they just grew and spread very fast. We could have it whenever we want. I wish I can get them here!

  48. I love this post. I identify like 103%. At least the habit of walking all over the place in search of some obscure ingredient counterbalances the seven billion taste tests I do per recipe. Also this might become my dinner tonight, so thanks!

  49. that is so funny about the fiddle heads! very cute….love your recipe 🙂 of course you can’t go wrong with mac and cheese!

  50. elra says:

    I used to eat a lot of fiddlehead when I was growing up. Glad to know that starting to carry this at the nearby grocery store. Your dish look delish!

  51. Andreas says:

    Never heard of fiddleheads.
    But that’s the up-side of a compulsive hobby. It’s educational. 😉

    Can you also eat the fiddleheads when they have grown further, like barba di fratte?

  52. Juliana says:

    I never had fiddleheads…very interesting! You sure have a very fancy mac n cheese…looks fabulous…and the pictures came great…therefore it was worth taking so many pictures 😉

  53. Martha says:

    Wonderful and delicious I’m sure! I’ve never had the fiddleheads, really want to try them!

    I think I have “the problem” – I haven’t had hardly any time for blogging lately, made lots of boring food through April while I was doing the dollar a day challenge and now I am feeling quite anxious about the whole food blogging stuff – and I probably won’t see the light at the end of the tunnel until July with the way things have been going, maybe not even then ::pout::

  54. Gulmohar says:

    Interesting veggie…used to play with some kind of fern as a kid,and your pics reminded me a lot..lol…never had them as food, though

  55. Faith says:

    I’m with you 100% on the 44 pictures thing. I try not to obsess, but picture-taking (as it relates to food) is so addictive!

    This is a gorgeous dish. I’ve been intrigued by fiddlehead ferns for a while. I’d love to use them in this delicious meal!

  56. Oh Joanne, you’re lovely. 🙂 I love that you took so many pictures of the fiddleheads!! The name alone is so enchanting, and then there’s their shape. I think they’re gorgeous, truly artistic objects. I’m glad foodie stuff makes you happy because then you share it with us and that makes US happy. Lotsa happy people just cuz you took pictures of fiddleheads. Not a bad life, I think. 🙂

  57. I love the look of ferns when they’re fiddling 😉 They’re as graceful as swans to me.

    That mac & cheese sounds fabulous!

  58. Jessie says:

    *points at Joanne* Ha ha HA hahahahaha HAAAA!!

    Oh wait, you said DON’T laugh at you. Ma bad. Seriously though, we have a lot of similarities. I have at least twice as many cookbooks as shoes, and there is currently a bag of kaffir lime leaves in my pantry. That I bought in Colorado. Beat you! (Just kidding, of course 😉 ).

    Very nice pictures of the fiddleheads in your decadent dish. I’m very impressed that you cooked with them!

  59. Rosemary and goat cheese sound like a great addition to pasta.

  60. Claudia says:

    You are such a good writer, don’t know when you have time for school (and Med school at that!) In good company with the gourmet mac and cheese though, both Ruhlman and the Zen guy just posted versions. Comfort food must be in the air. Is it finals?

  61. never had a fiddle head. and i second claudia, you are an awesome writer! you are awesome!

    yep you are on my blogroll of COURSE!

    and yeah, totally rocks that seth is an awesome friend ..and not a lame ass boyfriend of my friend!

  62. Nicole, RD says:

    Goat cheese mac? Holy moly…I’ve died and gone to blog recipe heaven! And fiddleheads…I’ve never seen the things before, but they’re darling!!

  63. comfycook says:

    Now, I know what a fiddlehead looks like. How do you manage to be so creative?

    That mac and cheese sounds fabulous.

  64. I’ve seen fiddleheads floating around, but I haven’t ventured out to find them. (Maybe having two toddlers that I’m tied to 13 hours a day has something to do with it.) Thanks for another great idea to use them!

    I’m not afraid to admit I share your demographic, though. Except I’ll be 30 this year…so does that put me in the next age category? Yikes!

  65. theUngourmet says:

    Fiddleheads. I’ve forgotten about fiddleheads. I wanted to try these last year but never got around to it.

    The part about posting dinner at lunch time for better lighting made me laugh! Boy, I have so done this!

    The mac and cheese looks out of this world!

  66. sophia says:

    Obsessive? So what? At least we know what we are passionate about. Imagine life without passion! Plus, taking pics of our food? SO cool. So there!

  67. Ruth Daniels says:

    As usual, great post. My family and friends are so trained, they automatically stand away from the table until I’m done with the photography. Once, I was making an Indian feast and actually took photos earlier, so I didn’t realize they were standing until I brought the last dish to the table!

    Kaffir lime leaves…check! Jars of nut butter..only 3 and 2 aren’t even peanuts. Fiddleheads…check and check! Thanks for sharing with Presto Pasta Nights.

  68. Shannon says:

    goat cheese mac n cheese? why yes, that might just be perfect 🙂 still haven’t tried fiddleheads… they intimidate me!

  69. Lori says:

    Fiddleheads are just the coolest looking things. I just have to watch enviously as food bloggers use them in recipes. I’ve never seen them around here. I just bought some goat cheese last night though so maybe I’ll make this sans fiddleheads.

    I know what you mean about photographing everything you eat. Snore city here too. I come up with some weird leftover combos for meals that are not pretty and most people may not even find appetizing. Ha, ha!

  70. polwig says:

    I just told my husband few days ago that we need a bigger pantry between the different flours and oils there is not enough room for anything else.

  71. This looks wonderful –the presentation, food quality, colors. Thanks for the ideas.

  72. Danielle says:

    I haven’t ventured into the world of fiddleheads yet. they remind me of something from a sci-fi flick…getting ready to uncurl and grow as they reach for my ankles LOL. Beautiful as they are. Someday I’ll get past that and give them a try. Presuming I ever see one in person. 🙂

  73. Chris says:

    Well, some of us may be psychotic, but it’s not because we take pictures of our food….it’s our other aberrant behaviors;)

    Hit the fresh markets Saturday and no fiddleheads were to be found but I did score some wonderful other treats.

    Great post J!

  74. Karen says:

    I can relate. I wonder just how many food blogs are out there. Can you imagine the total number of pictures taken by bloggers every day? I can hardly look at those fiddlehead ferns… they just remind me of a cocoon with something buggy all twisted inside waiting to come out. I’m demented, I know.

  75. msmeanie says:

    Nice to know I’m not alone in my food-photographing craze. I wake up early and spend at least an hour photographing food that I made the night before (yes, I know you’re supposed to photograph the food right after it’s made, but I ALWAYS cook at night). People think I’m nuts. Sometimes I do too. This Mac&Cheese looks awesome. I have yet to try fiddleheads, but I’m so curious!

  76. Love the colours in your mac and cheese. I went and picked some ramps and fiddleheads a few weeks ago in Yonkers, and they’re a fun springtime treat I look forward to every year:-)

  77. There are fiddleheads everywhere. They pop up on the blogsphere no matter where you turn. They add such great color to a dish.

  78. sra says:

    Actually, I now realise what I was thinking about them all along, I couldn’t really put it well in my previous comment – these fiddlehead things look like they belong in Harry Potter’s herbology (or herbalogy?) class!

  79. Tracey says:

    So funny – I literally just went to Whole Foods 2 days ago and almost walked out with a bunch of fiddleheads! I wish I had now so I could try this dish 🙂 It sounds phenomenal!

  80. This was a great read; very interesting, indeed, and I’m excited to read the NYT piece as well.

    I just recently found out what fiddleheads are and I can’t wait to give them a try!

  81. dessert girl says:

    Those fiddleheads are awesome! I’ve never seen those before. And, of course, you can’t go wrong with mac and cheese. Have you been to the mac and cheese restaurant in ny?

  82. Lovely Fiddleheads, I have never had them which is terribly sad.

    I think that the people opposite my flat are food bloggers too as they are always taking photos in their kitchen.

  83. poprawa says:

    I remember eating fiddleheads on a gr.11 research trip for the sciences. My bio teacher left and came back with a whole bunch of them and boiled them up in a beaker on a hotplate.
    With no seasoning or sauce, they tasted like grass to me. Maybe it was my apprehension towards eating a fern?
    I donno.
    Either way, once I reached university level biology I was one of the only students to have eaten one, so that was pretty cool.

    Next fiddlehead season I’ll have to snag a bunch and make this for some friends!

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