Winter Vegetables as Comfort Food
It’s the first full week of January, and a cold one that makes one crave warm comfort food. Despite the plummeting temperatures, Saratoga Farmers’ Market’s vendors still have a wide array of fresh, locally grown vegetables, which can be cooked into tempting yet healthy dishes.
Some vegetables, like potatoes and carrots, were harvested before the ground froze, and are now kept in carefully monitored root cellars, where temperature and humidity are precisely controlled. Other vegetables, like kale and spinach, are still growing during the winter in “high tunnels,” where technology allows the farmers to regulate a host of factors so that crops can thrive even in our northern climate. Another alternative is hydroponic cultivation, which means that even in January, in upstate New York, we can enjoy tomatoes, cucumbers and fresh herbs.
With the New Year bringing intentions of better health and wellness to many households, the market’s farms can provide the ingredients you need to stick with your resolutions. You can increase the vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber, and make something tasty, warming, and delicious as well!
Leek, Potato, and Celeriac Puree
Serve this puree as a creamy side dish or as a bed on which to serve fish, poultry, or meat.
*Ingredients can be purchased at the market
3 cups leeks*, chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cups celeriac*, trimmed and diced
2 cups white potato*, peeled and diced
1.5 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 tsp sea salt or kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Garnish: chopped basil*
Trim the leeks, cut lengthwise, and wash any grit from between the green layers. Slice leeks thinly and place into pot with olive oil. Saute over medium high heat for 8-11 minutes, until leeks soften.
While leeks cook, cut away outside layer of celeriac to reveal creamy white interior, and cut inside flesh into chunks. Peel and chunk the potatoes.
Add celeriac and potatoes to pot and add broth. Add salt and several grinds of fresh black pepper. Bring to a boil and then simmer until vegetables are soft when poked with a fork. Put the cooked mixture carefully into a food processor and blend until smooth.