By Himanee Gupta-Carlson
Every year, the family of Saratoga Farmers’ Market assistant director Kristin Cleveland initiates Thanksgiving with the “great squash drop.” As Cleveland tells it, someone gets a giant squash from the farmers’ market and someone else drops it on the ground so that it breaks into pieces. Family members pick up the pieces, wash them off, and scoop out the pulp and seeds.
The pieces are then cut into bite-sized chunks, drizzled with some olive oil, salt and pepper, and roasted in a 400-degree oven until soft.
The tradition pays homage to the family’s favorite squash, the blue Hubbard. This squash is large, blue-hued and knobby on the outside. Inside, it is lushly orange and after roasting tastes like a sensual cross between a pumpkin and sweet potato.
The Hubbard, like many other squashes and late fall vegetables at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market, is all about having fun. Family and cooking and eating fun. These vegetables invite you to slow down and savor the flavorful diversity of what our farmers grow. In doing so, you become a part of our region’s agricultural heritage that stretches back centuries.
Fall vegetables are vital to our holiday palates, even as the centerpieces of our meals are often meats such as turkeys and ducks, and pork, beef, and goat roasts, all of which also are becoming available in mid-November through early winter. Vegetables enhance our meats, and offer a flavorful and healthful edge.
And, of course, they’re pretty. Imagine the blue Hubbard next to a startlingly bright green set of celery sticks, red carrots, purple potatoes, and a handful of Brussels sprouts balls. Add a head of radicchio, a bulb of garlic, some striped Chioggia beets, and perhaps a bunch of leafy kale. Your holiday meals will draw accolades for their beauty and bounty.
Look for these and other seasonal offerings on the main and upstairs floors of the Lincoln Baths Building, Saturdays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., as the Saratoga Farmers’ Market moves indoors for the winter, and use the accompanying recipes to guide you in your cooking.
Kale Salad Topped with Microgreens
(Pepitas are toasted pumpkin seeds. You can also use toasted squash seeds. Try using one of market vendor’s Momma’s Secret Salad Dressings in place of the dressing below. If raw kale doesn’t appeal to you, steam it in water for 2-3 minutes and drain before mixing in the other vegetables.)
Author: Faring Well
1 bunch of kale*, stems removed and chopped
3 carrots*, grated
1 bunch of radishes*, tops and bottoms removed and thinly sliced
1 bunch of microgreens*
¼ cup of pepitas or toasted squash seeds*
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup tahini
1¼ cup water
1 green garlic*, minced
¼ teaspoon cayenne
- Toss kale, carrots and radishes together.
- Top salad with microgreens and pepitas.
- Blend dressing ingredients together and serve with salad.
Calories: 206 Fat: 9 g Saturated fat: 1 g Carbohydrates: 26 g Sugar: 6 g, added sugar 0 g Sodium: 196 mg Fiber: 8 g Protein: 10 g Cholesterol: 0 mg
Roasted Beets with Onion and Arugula
(The leafy greens that accompany beets might not be available at this time of year. Try adding some chard, or omit the greens entirely. Also, try substituting seasonal herbs such as rosemary or a few fresh celery leaves for the dill and mint.)
Adapted from a recipe by Jamie Oliver
5 Tablespoons olive oil
4 red onions*
4 garlic cloves*
½ cup white wine*
a few sprigs of fresh dill*
a few sprigs of fresh mint*
a few sprigs of fresh flat leave parsley*
2 bags of arugula*
3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
4 Tablespoons olive oil
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees
- Trim beet bulbs and rub them with a little olive oil. Wrap in aluminum foil and place on sheet pan. Roast in oven for about 45 minutes or until a knife slips easily into the beets. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
- Peel and chop the onions into wedges, peel and mince the garlic. Pick and chop the herbs.
- In a bowl, toss the onion wedges in 2 Tablespoons of olive oil. Place on sheet pan and roast for 30 minutes or until soft. Remove and set aside to cool.
- When the beets are cool enough to handle, rub off the skins and cut into wedges or slices. Set aside.
- Blanch the beet stalks and leaves in a pan of boiling water for 2 minutes, Drain well and add to ice water for a minute.
- Heat the remaining Tablespoon of oil in a pan over high heat, add the beet stalks and garlic and fry for a few minutes until the garlic is golden. Turn down the heat to medium, pour in the wine and cook for 10 minutes. Add the beet leaves and cook until wilted.
- Vinaigrette: Whisk the vinegar into the mustard. Stir in olive oil. Set aside.
- In a large serving bowl, gently toss the beets, onion with stalk mixture, herbs and vinaigrette, Serve with arugula.
Option: top with goat cheese.*
Calories: 339 Fat: 20 g Saturated fat: 3 g Carbohydrates: 26 g Sugar: 21 gProtein: 6 g
Honey Roasted Parsnips and Carrots
(While your beets are roasting, prep the parsnips and carrots for this recipe, and put the baking sheet into the oven in the last 20 minutes.)
Adapted from a recipe by Aggie’s Kitchen
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons honey*
4 parsnips*, peeled, cut diagonally and then into strips
4 carrots*, peeled, cut diagonally and then into strips
salt and ground black pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine oil and honey in a large bowl. Add parsnips and carrots to bowl and gently toss until the vegetables are coated in oil and honey mixture.
- Place vegetables onto a large baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Bake for 15 minutes. Take baking sheet out and with a spatula carefully flip over vegetables. Bake for additional 5 minutes until vegetables are browned.
(This lovely purple and white veined lettuce-like vegetable has a bitter taste when eaten raw. Sauteeing it mellows the bitterness without destroying its crunch.)
Adapted from a recipe by Molly Watson, The Spruce Eats
1 head radicchio*
2 tablespoons oil
salt and pepper to taste
- Trim off and discard brown part of the stem end of the radicchio. Discard wilted outer leaves, as well.
- Cut radicchio head into quarters, then cut out and discard the core from each quarter, and cut the quarters into bite-size pieces.
- Heat a large frying pan or saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the oil. Swirl the to coat the bottom.
- Add the radicchio, sprinkle with salt, and stir to coat the leaves with the oil. Cook, stirring frequently until the radicchio is tender to the bite and starting to brown just a bit, about 8 minutes.
- Transfer the radicchio to a serving platter or individual plates. Sprinkle with more salt to taste, if you like. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.
Brussels Sprouts with Maple Syrup
Adapted from Cooking Light
1-1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1-1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme*
2 teaspoons caraway seeds
1 pound Brussels sprouts*, trimmed and halved
1 large onion*, thinly sliced
6 garlic cloves*, thinly sliced
1/4 cup maple syrup*
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper, to taste
- Heat 1½ Tablespoons butter, oil, thyme and caraway seeds in a large nonstick skillet over medium-low, swirling until butter melts. Cook 2 to 3 minutes or until butter starts to foam.
- Increase heat to medium-high. Add Brussels sprouts to pan, cook 6 to 7 minutes or until browned and crisp-tender. Remove from pan. Add onion and garlic to pan. Saute 6 minutes. Return Brussels sprouts to pan. Stir in maple syrup, vinegar, mustard, and salt. Cook for 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Sprinkle pepper.
Calories: 129 Fat: 4 g Saturated fat: 2 g Unsaturated fat: 2 g Carbohydrates: 21 gSodium: 203 mg Fiber: 4 g Protein: 3 g