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Walnut Creek Magazine

A Farmers Market Inspired Holiday Feast

Dec 14, 2022 04:57PM ● By Pam Kessler

How many sides are too many? It’s not the holidays unless there’s more food than you know what to do with. Here are some of our favorite vendors at the Walnut Creek Farmers Market for holiday essentials, plus tips and recipes from local chefs to turn your bounty into a beautiful feast.


Comfort Food For Everyone. Whether you're roasting carrots, beets, or turnips, glazing shallots in cider and bourbon, or getting your green bean casserole on, you'll find all the ingredients on your list at Royal Greens Farm. The third generation family farm from Hollister shows up every Sunday year-round with super fresh produce. 

Delicious Treasures. From Yukon gold and russets for your mashed potatoes and latkes, to every color of carrot and variety of squash imaginable, Ledesma Family Farm is another place to shop for exceptional produce. 

Spread It On. Perk up your turkey and brisket with pepper jelly or plop a dollop of apricot jam on a cheese crostini, Barbara Kobsar's Cottage Kitchen has been pumping out small-batch seasonal products for over 30 years.  

Dip in. Start the party with something tasty and simple, like fresh pita chips, garlicky olives, and artichoke dip from Hummus Heaven.

Design Your Own Stuffing From sourdough to focaccia, East Bay Bakery delivers dense and fluffy breads for a show-stopping stuffing. Add interesting ingredients to make it your own. Mix and match, you can’t go wrong with pecans from Brentwood's Rose Lane Farm, iberco pork sausage from Encina Farms, and apples from Sebastopol's Devoto Gardens & Orchards.

Show Your Gratitude To The Host. Bring a bottle of wine from Dancing Crow Vineyards or a big bouquet from Ruvalcaba Flowers.




Root vegetables such as beets, rutabaga, carrots, onions, parsnips
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 
Sea salt

Directions: Rinse vegetables. Cut into 2 inch "jungle cut" chunks. Place into a glass-baking dish, drizzle with olive oil, and sea salt. (Do not crowd vegetables or they will steam. Work in batches if necessary.) Pop in oven for about 40-45 minutes at 375/400 degrees. Veggies are done when tender and you can pierce a chunk easily with a fork. 


(Serves 6-8)

2 to 2 ½ pounds Brussels sprouts, split in half and blanched
½ cup dates, pitted and chopped
1½ cups pancetta, diced ¼ inch
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
1 Fresno chili, seeded and minced
2 cups chicken stock
Banyuls wine vinegar
½ bunch tarragon, 1 tablespoon minced and the rest stemmed
½ bunch parsley, 1 tablespoon minced and the rest stemmed
2½ ounces Aleppo pepper
To blanch Brussels sprouts: bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Once boiling,  submerge halved sprouts in water for about 60 seconds, until bright green. Strain and plunge sprouts in ice water. Let drain overnight or for several hours in the refrigerator (this helps them brown better).

In a cast iron pan over medium-high heat, cook pancetta until crispy. Remove from pan, set aside. Add oil and sprouts to hot pan. Cook until caramelized, set aside. Add Fresno chilies and dates to pan, mash with fork. Add chicken stock and simmer. As stock reduces, add vinegar, minced herbs, Aleppo pepper sprouts, and pancetta. Season with salt. Garnish with herb leaves.



(Serves 8)

1 medium squash, peeled and seeded
2 yellow onions, sliced thin
3 – 4 cups cream
2 teaspoons fresh sage
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
¾ cup fresh parmesan cheese, grated
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1 ½ cups fresh bread crumbs
1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
1/3 cup melted butter

Directions: Mix bread crumbs, parsley and melted butter, set aside. Slice squash into 1/8 inch thick slices. In a bowl, mix squash, cheese, sage, thyme, onions. Season with salt and pepper. 
Put squash mixture in a casserole pan. Add cream by pouring in around the edges, so as not to wash off seasonings from squash slices. Cream should come just to the top of the squash. Sprinkle bread crumb mixture on top. Cover with foil. Cook at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes. Remove foil and brown top for 10 to 15 minutes. Serve and enjoy!


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