By Himanee Gupta-Carlson
Colder nights create excuses to make meals that warm the soul. If you’re looking for ideas, check out some of the cookbooks that farmers and volunteers with the Saratoga Farmers’ Market use. These books offer instructions and ideas for bringing out the finest flavors of our local foods and insights into the lives of those who grow and create these foods year-round:
For basics, start with The Joy of Cooking, which has been on volunteer Alexandra Morgan’s bookshelf since she received it as a graduation gift in 1993. Darina Allen’s Forgotten Skills of Cooking, which Leah Hennessy of Moxie Ridge Farm & Creamery describes as “what I’m all about,” similarly is more about the simplicity of such processes as dressing game, curing pork, making butter.
For meat, Christophe Robert of Longlesson Farm swears by two books. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s The River Cottage Meat Book has recipes for the beef and pork cuts he sells at the market “that are spot on.” Fergus Henderson’s The Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating is Robert’s “book that lets me dream.” Its recipes are more challenging, but Robert says, they speak to an ethics of raising animals and eating meat in a way that uses the whole animal with love and care.
Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking remains market volunteer Chris Toole’s favorite cookbook in her collection of 100-plus for such recipes as daube de boeuf (a beef stew marinated in red wine), because the ingredients “almost all are available right here, at the market.”
Making the most of maple is Slate Valley Farm’s Gina Willis’s passion. She is writing her own cookbook, based on recipes from her grandmother and great-grandmother for using the maple products made at her family’s farm. She often turns to chef Martin Picard’s Au Pied de Cochoon Sugar Shack for inspiration.
And when in doubt the Internet offers quick answers. Mark Bocain of Freddy’s Rockin’ Hummus appreciates Rachael Ray’s cooking site for meal ideas “that fall somewhere between simple and elaborate.” Volunteer Jim Gupta-Carlson types his ingredients on hand into a search box. Scrolling through the results often determines what he makes for dinner on a given night.
The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays at the Lincoln Baths Building in the Saratoga Spa State Park. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.