As we get ready for the final countdown and cooking frenzy begins check out these tips that were featured in the Ventura County Star. These are some great farmers market tips for all of your favorite side dishes.
Cranberry sauce: Use red wine instead of water when cooking cranberries according to package directions. Then bump it up with the addition of figs, pears, apples or whatever strikes your fancy as the cranberry sauce comes to a boil. Boil until cranberries pop and sauce thickens.
Sweet potatoes: By now almost everyone knows that sweet potatoes are not yams, even if both words are used to refer to the same vegetable. Gone are the days of marshmallows and those slimy canned orange yams. Mash peeled, boiled sweet potatoes and add butter. Then go to town. I add maple syrup, orange juice and zest and toasted pecans.
Brussels sprouts: There are all kinds of recipes for shaved Brussels sprouts, sautéed until crispy or whatever. But sometimes old-fashioned Brussels sprouts boiled until fork tender and doused in a browned butter/lemon coating is all that’s needed.
Pomegranates and persimmons: How about a side salad with farmers market greens topped with sliced Fuyu persimmons (the crunchy kind that look like tiny pumpkins) and pomegranate seeds? There are a million suggestions on how to easily remove pomegranate seeds. I’ve tried them and none work. Cut through the fruit in quarters and peel back each portion popping the seeds off. This takes forever and is messy, but it works.
Spending the holiday in Southern California? Be sure to stop by these markets!
Find the markets
8:30 a.m.-noon, College of the Canyons (parking lot 5 via Rockwell Canyon Road off Valencia Boulevard), Santa Clarita (529-6266).
9 a.m. to 1 p.m., 300 E. Matilija St., Ojai (698-5555).
9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Harbor and Channel Islands boulevards (includes a fish market), Oxnard (818-591-8286).
10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Village Glen Plaza, between Agoura and Townsgate roads, Westlake Village (818-591-8286).
9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Pacific View mall parking lot facing Main Street, Ventura (529-6266).
9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Plaza Park at Fifth and C streets, Oxnard (247-0197).
CLOSED until Jan. 5, The Oaks shopping center, Thousand Oaks (529-6266).
3-7 p.m., Ventura Community Park, corner of Kimball and Telephone roads, Ventura (263-2907).
11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Regal Cinemas/Civic Center Plaza, 2750 Tapo Canyon Road, Simi Valley, (643-6458).
4:30-8:30 p.m., Simi Valley Town Center, 1555 Simi Town Center Way, Simi Valley, (310-663-2609).