North Country Kitchen, by Yvona Fast

A cup of amaranth
(Photo provided — Yvona Fast)

Amaranth: Strength of the Aztecs

Most American cooks are not familiar with amaranth. Centuries ago, this ancient Mexican grain was a staple in the diets of Aztecs and Mayans, who used it to make tortillas before the cultivation of corn. Amaranth has been cultivated in Central America for over 5,000 years. Amaranth ...

Shepard’s Pie
(Photo provided — Yvona Fast)

On a cold January day …

Shepherd’s pie is a comfort classic great for winter. It makes great use of frozen veggies at a time of year when these are a staple. It is also a great way to use up leftovers: meat, potatoes and veggies from past meals can combine for a delicious, easy, one-dish meal. Add a salad and fresh ...

Frittata
(Photo provided — Yvona Fast)

Hearty winter breakfasts

Chilly mornings are part of winter. So fill up and warm up with hot, hearty breakfasts that stick to your ribs. Almost a quarter of American adults - 55 million - skip breakfast. The most common reason is lack of time. Kids have to get to school, parents have to go to work, everyone’s ...

Barley Vegetable Soup
(Photo provided)

In 2017, learn to eat sustainably

"Food is our common ground.” — James Andrew Beard  (May 5, 1903 to January 21, 1985) quintessential American cook Sustainable. We hear it everywhere: sustainable lifestyles, agriculture, economics, cars, food. The word invokes a vague sense of environmental virtue – but what does it ...

Potato pepper kugel
(Photo provided)

Celebrate with a festive Christmas kugel

We celebrate this darkest time of year with lights. Christmas lights adorn trees and homes. Menorah candles brighten up Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights. The Hanukkah feast celebrates God’s protection, kindness and blessing. Christmas celebrates the coming of the Messiah, sent by a loving God ...

Cinnamon apple cranberry cake 
(Photo provided — Yvona Fast)

Spice up the holidays with cinnamon

It’s December. The ground and the forest are all coated with white. Decorations are sprouting up all over town. Craft sales abound and include lots of sweet treats. It’s the season to indulge. And ’tis the season to bake. ’Tis time to dig out aprons and seek out grandma’s old ...

brussels-sprouts-12a

Brussels sprouts are trendy

Thanksgiving has passed. The ground is covered with a blanket of crusty snow. Local farmers’ markets have moved indoors. Late November’s chilly weather is peak season for Brussels sprouts, which will disappear from area farmers’ markets in a month or so. These small green balls ...

yvona

Rootin’ for Thanksgiving

The trees are bare. The fields are empty. We spend more time indoors, and turn on the long-neglected oven to fill our home with warmth. The cool gray of autumn brings a bounty of fresh fall flavors.  Aromas of fragrant roasting turkey, earthy potatoes, casseroles, and ...

Turnips: Another delicious autumn root

Turnips have been cultivated in the Middle East for more than 4,000 years, and were a common staple in the Greek and Roman worlds. Like carrots, potatoes, beets, parsnips, celeriac, onions and potatoes, they were dug in late fall and stored in root cellars for winter use before refrigeration. ...