By Emily Meagher
The Saratoga Farmers’ Market’s prepared food vendors offer a diverse range of cuisines: choose from Eastern European, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Indian, or Caribbean foods. We asked our international group of vendors the traditional foods they, the chefs, actually make and eat with their families during this time of year.
At Slavonian European Cafe, husband and wife duo Aladin (originally from Egypt) and Nataliya (from Ukraine) primarily bring offerings to the market that reflect her homeland, with a sprinkling of Egyptian and Italian-inspired (after the couple’s long residency in Milan) dishes. Although Aladin’s family doesn’t traditionally celebrate Christmas, it’s a big holiday for the Ukrainian Nataliya, who fondly points out their stuffed cabbage as a must-have holiday dish. Pick up some ready-made ones at their stand, or to give it your own spin, find cabbage and ground beef at our farm vendors and add your preferred seasonings.
Euro Delicacies, the market’s longtime Mediterranean food vendor, brings meals to the market that reflect the Hrelja family’s Croatian upbringing. Their classic dishes like moussaka, grape leaves, burek, and baklava are usually part of their holiday spread. Lamb shanks are also a traditional festive dish for the Croatians, which you can find at Elihu Farm.
For Sabreen Samman, owner of Petra Pocket Pies, her childhood holidays in Jordan would start with traditional holiday cookies: shortbread cookies filled with dates, walnuts, or pistachios. For the main meal, the family would gather over Mansaf, a lamb dish cooked in a yogurt sauce and served with rice or bulgur – considered the national dish of Jordan – or Msakhan, made of roasted chicken with onions, sumac, allspice, saffron, and fried pine nuts served over taboon flatbread. Find lamb, yogurt, chicken, and onions at our farm vendors and try creating these Jordanian dishes for yourself.
Daily Fresh owners Sneha and Sathya hail from Chennai in India and have brought their curries and dosas to the market for the past three years. Sathya fondly thinks of sweets, including rum-soaked fruit cake and Indian chocolates, as a major part of their families’ holiday gatherings.
Vashti and Leon from Vashti’s Kitchen Delights enjoy a big glass of sorrel, a spiced hibiscus drink that is usually topped off with some rum to round out their Caribbean holiday meal. The couple quarrels about whose recipe is best, as Leon’s Jamaican family makes it with a ginger kick, and Vashti’s Trinidadian roots stick to the warmer spices like cinnamon and cloves. Other favorite drinks include fresh ginger beer and ponche-a-creme, a creamy, rich Trinidadian blend similar to eggnog. Fresh pigeon peas are an important part of the main holiday meal, and a rum-soaked fruit cake (or “black cake”) is a favorite at the end.
If you want to incorporate some new dishes in your Christmas and New Year’s lineup, try some of the items above to get you an internationally flavored meal. There are two more markets for you to stock up on ingredients, including Saturday the 18th from 9:30am-1:30pm and Wednesday the 22nd from 1:30pm-5:30pm, both at the Wilton Mall food court.
This week’s recipe: Stuffing