Friday, 07 February 2014 11:39

Mid-Winter Treats from Saratoga Farmers’ Market

By Staff Report | Home & Garden
SARATOGA SPRINGS— February brings special occasions, holidays and vacations for many people: Valentine’s Day, Presidents’ Day and school vacation week. Why not make plans for a special meal with friends and family? The Saratoga Farmers’ Market has a wide selection, including fresh ingredients if you like to cook, or ready-to-eat food if you want to minimize your time in the kitchen but still dine on delicious, locally produced specialties. With more than three-dozen vendors at the Saturday winter market each week, one finds everything from pickles to peanut butter to pork, from cookies to cucumbers to cod. This weekend at the market, Mary Pratt of Elihu Farm will have fresh racks of lamb. “This is not hard for the home cook to prepare, despite it being a dish that restaurants often serve,” notes Pratt. “The American Lamb Board (www.americanlamb.com) has a terrific collection of recipes and other educational materials.” Pratt explains, “Rack of lamb is more than a summertime grilling treat. In serving rack of lamb, restaurants usually go through a time-consuming ‘Frenching’ process, to trim the meat off the top part of the bone. It’s all about presentation, but you lose a lot of good meat. For those who like to nibble on the bones, I suggest they skip Frenching. It’s a matter of individual preference.” “This weekend, we’ll have a bunch of fresh racks available. While some experts recommend two racks for four people, depending on size, I’d say one rack could serve four people, with two chops per person. If someone prefers a larger portion, then count on two servings per rack, for a rack that’s around two pounds,” notes Pratt. Pratt and her husband, Bob, maintain a busy schedule on their farm during lambing season. “We have at least 45 ewes that are due, and two have already had twins,” Pratt commented. Nearby to Pratt’s first-floor location at the market are many other vendors of vegetables, fruit, dairy, and other types of meat, including free-range chicken, pastured pork and grass-fed beef. All farms and vendors are happy to offer presentation and recipe tips. Upstairs on the market’s second floor, baked goods and prepared foods provide ample selections to round out a meal. For example, this weekend Marcie Place, owner of The Chocolate Spoon, will offer Raspberry Linzer Cookies (the layer cookie with jam in the middle, often with a pretty cut-out in the top layer, revealing the filling). “I make these with raspberry jam from Kokinda Farm, another vendor at the market,” notes Place. “I also use market eggs, carrots, apples, herbs and spices in my cookies.” “I like to help my customers find new flavor combinations they enjoy, such as Lavender Vanilla Shortbreads dipped in white chocolate,” Place comments. “This weekend I’ll be sampling Mini Hazelnut Hearts. And of course, I’ll have lots of chocolate favorites, like the Ultimate Double Chocolate Cookies with Walnuts and Caramel-Filled Mexican Chocolate Cookies. These are all pre-packaged so they’ll stay fresh, whether you want them for a lunchbox in the middle of the week, or for Valentine’s Day.”
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