By Pattie Garrett
I am a retired nutritionist who writes a food blog, My Saratoga Kitchen Table, featuring regional foods. I get my inspiration on Saturdays: I discover new foods, what’s in season, and learn how to prepare unfamiliar items. I’m not afraid to ask a silly question, such as “Just what is this? and What do I do with it?” I know the answers will open up new adventures.
Vegetables need to be photographed for the blog. Some are more photogenic than others. They call out, “Look at me. I’m gorgeous. Take my picture.” But others, like celeriac, need a little love, too. They need a recipe to reveal their inner beauty and I am happy to comply.
Recipes should be doable, not too challenging and allow the vegetable’s flavor to be the star. I focus on recipes that are nutritious (most of the time) and include a little nutritional information. I don’t write the recipes for the blog, there are so many good ones out there. I search out the gems and give them a try. My Taste Tester is Tommy, also known as The Husband. If a dish can pass his review, it is a winner. Tommy holds reflectors, and offers unsolicited advice. I think I wrote that in our wedding vows or at least that is what I told him.
I love visiting farmers on their farms, listening to their philosophies on farming, how they got to be farmers, and why local food is important. Farmers are proud and have a strong sense of responsibility for providing nutritious safe food for all of us. They care that food from their farm is grown using sustainable, environmentally sound practices. That alone makes them my heroes.
Next time you visit the market, try something new: honey, cheese, maple syrup, wine, or another ingredient. Pick up a piece of handmade pottery for your recipe and flowers for the table. Enjoy the adventure as much as I do.
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If spending your day inside, bring out the coloring book and make Farm Stand Vegetable Soup. This hearty soup is perfect for a lazy day and ingredients are found at the Farmers’ Market.
FARM STAND VEGETABLE SOUP
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
*Ingredients available at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market
• 8 sprigs of fresh parsley plus 3 Tablespoons chopped *
• 4 sprigs of fresh thyme *
• 1 bay leaf
• 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
• 1½ pounds leeks, white and light green parts, sliced ½ inch thick and washed thoroughly *
• 2 carrots, peeled and cut into ½ inch pieces *
• 2 celery rib, cut into ¼ inch pieces
• ⅓ cup dry white wine *
• 6 cups water
• 4 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth (may be made with market products *)
• ½ cup pearl barley
• 1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed *
• 1½ pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into ½ inch pieces *
• 1 turnip, peeled and cut into ¾ inch pieces *
• 1½ cups chopped green cabbage
• 1 cup frozen peas
• 1 teaspoon lemon juice *
• Salt and pepper
1. Using kitchen twine, tie together parsley sprigs, thyme, and bay leaf.
2. Melt butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add leeks, carrots, celery, and wine. Cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid has evaporated and celery is softened, about 10 minutes.
3. Add water, broth, barley, herb bundle, and garlic. Increase heat to high and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered for 25 minutes.
4. Add potatoes, turnips and cabbage. Return to simmer and cook until barley, potatoes, turnip and cabbage are tender, 18 to 20 minutes.
5. Remove pan from heat and remove herb bundle. Stir in peas, lemon juice, and chopped parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve and top with Lemon-Thyme Butter.
Lemon Thyme Butter:
Combine in bowl: 6 Tablespoons unsalted softened butter, 1 Tablespoon minced fresh thyme, ¾ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest plus ¼ teaspoon juice. Optional: Add crispy bacon or seasoned croutons
Fat: 4 g
Saturated fat: 2 g
Carbohydrates: 39 g
Sodium: 85 mg
Fiber: 4 g
Protein: 7 g
Cholesterol: 8 mg