Mother’s Day at the Windsor Farmers’ Market

Like many seasonal markets the Windsor Farmers\’ Market, in Sonoma County, opened it’s season on Mothers Day. They promised  flowers, chocolate and hugs to help celebrate the day, but skies looked dark and ominous as two of my sisters and I drove north towards the market. Would it be a sunny celebration or a wash out? We arrived at the Town Green in Old Downtown Windsor and found parking plentiful and easy. The market set up around two sides of the Town Green, was under sunny skies and bustling with all kinds of folks. We made the rounds, as we like to do,  checking prices and seeing what was available. On the return rounds I decided I really wanted to try a small custard tart and a pumpkin tart from Flour Creations Bakery & Catering. They had many tempting goodies but these simple little beauties were what talked to me. We also tried some incredibly creamy, sweet samples of European Style Organic butter from McClelland\’s Diary. So fresh it reminded me of homemade butter I had tasted in my younger days. Another great marketer was Cackleberries & Hen Fruit Headquarters, AKA:Eggs. No samples here, but the eggs were just plucked from the nest box that morning.

We took a little break midway through our shopping to listen to some great music and enjoy a Mimosa,  which were being sold as part of the celebration festivities. They used Korbel Champagne and fresh squeezed orange juice, so even the Mimosa’s were made from local ingredients and of course, they were very good. After a few toasts to each other and to Mothers everywhere, we went to finish our shopping. The skies at this point were getting very dark, the wind came up and the rain started; first a gentle sprinkle, then a downpour. Having no umbrella, my cover became the Peters\’ Chocolates booth where I huddled and visited with the marketer and another couple and sampled luscious samples. My  sisters were  ahead  of me and took cover in a booth that sold fruits and vegetables. My guess is that their samples weren’t as tempting or as yummy as mine. The downpour didn’t seem to dampen any spirits, in fact I’ll bet quite a few folks met some new friends that day.

I bought some beautiful spring red onions and more Meyer lemons for my current Panna Cotta obsession. I’m zesting them, squeezing them and freezing the zest and juice in 1 cup batches for later use.

The market lived up to it’s promises. We each received a red rose, a tasty little bit of chocolate and a great morning at the market!

If you’re headed up to the Russian River wine area just out of  Healdsburg area on a Sunday, leave a little earlier and and stop by the Windsor Farmers’ Market to check it out and pick up some picnic goodies. You’ll find a beautiful selection of breads, cheese, fresh fruits and veggies. You can also get a nice cup of coffee and enjoy a breakfast burrito or a muffin while you listen to some really great music.

Windsor Farmers’ Market

Old Downtown Windsor – Town Green

Sundays – May – Nov      10 AM – 1PM

Meyer Lemon Panna Cotta – Light, Creamy and Perfectly Delicious!

Early Sunday morning my sister Judy and I headed for the downtown Sacramento Farmers’ Market. This morning’s market visit was to buy fruit and vegetables for the week and to also get some Meyer lemons for a recipe that we were going to make that morning.

I had recently found a recipe for Meyer Lemon Panna Cotta. It was included in a recent article by Marlena Spieler, a freelance writer for sfchronicle.com, called Former thief\’s new squeeze: Meyer Lemon Ladies.  Panna Cotta is an Italian dessert made with cream, milk, sugar, and gelatin and literally means “cooked cream”. It originated in the Northern Italian region of Piemonte. and is traditionally served with wild berries, caramel, chocolate sauce or fruit coulis. The only way I had previously tried it was topped with fresh mixed berries. Which I might add was very good. But, since Meyer lemons are currently in season I really wanted to try this version.

The recipe didn’t disappoint. It was easy to prepare. It was light, yet rich and creamy. Overall it was perfectly delicious. I have a feeling that this will be one of those recipes I use over and over again. I’ll definitely try it again, a little later in the season, topped off  with some fresh blueberries or strawberries.

Meyer Lemon Panna Cotta

Serves 6 – 8

1 envelope unflavored gelatin

1 cup + 2 tablespoons superfine sugar

1 cup whipping cream

1 cup Meyer lemon juice (4-6 Meyer lemons)

2 tablespoons finely grated Meyer lemon zest

1 cup nonfat Greek-style yogurt

Sprinkle gelatin over ½ cup cold water in a small bowl; let it soften for 5 minutes or until no dry spots remain.

Combine sugar and ½ cup of water in a saucepan; bring to a simmer and stir until sugar dissolves. Turn off the heat and add the gelatin mixture, stirring until gelatin dissolves. Add cream, lemon juice and lemon zest. Let cool slightly.

Put yogurt in a mixing bowl and whisk to loosen it up. Add the cream mixture, little by little, gently stirring after each addition to break up any lumps of yogurt before adding more cream. Do not over stir.

Pour mixture into a 5-cup bowl or mold. I used 7 individual ramekins. Tap the bowl on the counter to remove air bubbles. Cover and chill until set, 6 hours or overnight.

As you can see I finished mine off with Meyer lemon peel. I’m in love with this recipe hope you will be too.

Thank you’s go out to Marlena for sharing this jewel of a recipe, and to my sister Judy for actually making it while I was working on several vegetable dishes for a dinner we were going to later in the day.