North Country Kitchen, by Yvona Fast

Cucumbers or zucchini?

Mid-August is the time of year when our garden produces an over-abundance of zucchini and cucumbers. In fact, these plants are so prolific that Aug. 8 has been dubbed Sneak Some Zucchini onto Your Neighbors’ Porch Day. Dave Barry writes, “The trouble is, you cannot grow just one ...

What is new at the market?

Have you been to our farmer’s market this summer? It has now been two months since the market started at the beginning of June. Several new vendors have joined the old times. On Saturday mornings, I enjoy visiting the market, meeting friends, and talking to farmers at our village ...

Summer is for berries

Summertime is berry time! Celebrate summer with sweet, sun-ripened, delicious, juicy berries straight from the vine. Strawberries are past — except for ever-bearing varieties. Right now we’re picking raspberries, blueberries, red and black currants, huckleberries. Soon, blackberries will ...

Summer is time for fresh

Driving around the North Country, I saw signs like this (at top left): And this (bottom left): We stopped at a roadside stand and bought tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini and a head of cabbage. Our garden tomatoes are still green, but we have lots of lettuce and peas! Whether you grow it ...

Summer skillet suppers: Radishes, chicken and dill

Radishes are common fare in Europe and Asia, but many Americans avoid their spicy flavor. Most are only familiar with radishes as a garnish. Some add them to salads. But few have eaten them cooked. Cooking softens the crisp, crunchy texture of raw radishes, and mellows their flavor. When ...

Weeds are good food: Lamb’s quarters

Our garden is overgrown with lamb’s quarters (chenopodium album) – also called pigweed, goosefoot, fat hen or corn salad. In warmer climates, this non-woody branching plant can grow up to 5 feet – but we weed ours from the vegetable garden when they’re much smaller. Lamb’s quarters ...

Parsnips for dessert?

Long before potatoes made their journey from the New World to the old, parsnips were Europe’s ‘go-to’ veggie. At a time when the process for refining sugar from cane and beets was still unknown and honey was an expensive luxury, parsnips were often on the dessert menu. Sweet, starchy and ...

Welcome, dandelions and chives

Spring has been long in coming. I have heard the call of the loon, but most of our lakes are still ice covered. April 29 brought 6 inches of heavy, wet snow. But last week, our crocuses blossomed, and green shoots were poking up through brown leaves on the forest floor. In the garden, ...

Mushrooms: More than pizza

What grows in dark, damp caves, has no leaves, roots, flowers or seeds, and is in season all year long? Mushrooms. Although considered a vegetable by most, mushrooms are actually fungi. More than 3,000 varieties can be found growing wild throughout the world. Of these, morels — which ...

Beyond egg salad: Make way for spring

Spring has sprung. Rain is slowly melting the snow. Soon, flowers will bloom. Passover and Easter have come and gone. We’ve joined with friends and family to share food and fellowship, celebrate the miracles of Exodus and Resurrection, and the new life of spring. Then all the guests go ...

Spring into souffles

The sun shines warm and the sounds of melting snow are everywhere. Spring is not quite here, but the snow is melting fast, and the days are becoming noticeably longer. Longer days mean more light, which means that hens lay more eggs. In addition, they contain ample amounts of vitamins A, D, ...

Flu season is here

February is the peak of flu season, which began in October and lasts until May. This year, the flu has been especially severe and widespread. The flu has killed 85 adults and 20 children, and death tolls keep rising. Alabama declared a state of emergency due to flu. There are shortages of ...

Winter is citrus season

Although our February days are getting longer, they’re still short and chilly. The ground is covered with a blanket of ice and snow. The skies gray and cloudy. It seems fresh produce is out of season. Yet winter is the time for fragrant, juicy, vibrant citrus — at their peak from November ...

Winter salads

Ah, summer. It is gone – but it will come again, bringing fresh greens and sun-ripened, garden fresh, juicy tomatoes ... I shun store-bought tomatoes that have traveled in refrigerated trucks across the continent. They don’t even come close in flavor to our summer garden gems. Fresh ...

Warm up with soup

Baby, it’s cold outside! When you’re chilled to the bone, there’s nothing like a bowl of hot soup. The thermometer shows negative digits. Winds howl and blow. Soup simmers on the stove, filling the house with comforting scents. It creates steam, adding humidity and warmth to dry ...

New Year’s Resolutions for 2018

Did you make New Year’s Resolutions in 2018? Was one of your New Year’s Resolutions to stay on a budget? Or to stay in shape? Or have healthier eating habits? Did you make a resolution to lose weight? According to data from the University of Scranton, about 45 percent of Americans make ...

New Year luck

The passing of one year and the birth of a new one is cause for revelry and reflection. The traditions that accompany this rite of passage depend on our culture, ethnicity, religion and economic stature. How we choose to celebrate and commemorate is very individual. Whether you participate ...

There’s still time to make gifts from your kitchen

Are you tired of the shopping frenzy? How about making gifts instead of buying them! There is still time to make gifts. Most people have way too much stuff. Homemade treats and handcrafted gifts are appreciated far more than store-bought trinkets made across the ocean which just sit and ...

Breaking tradition: Alternatives to green bean casserole

It’s that time of year again: time to plan the Thanksgiving menu. It is easy to fall into habits of customary sides to serve with turkey, like corn pudding or green bean casserole. But why not change up the boring, expected fare and try something new and different? Simple, vibrant veggie ...

Apples and cinnamon: a wonderful pair

Days are short. Nights are long and chilly. Leaves are falling. Geese are flying. It’s time for apples! And the spice you need to season all those apples you pick at a local orchard is cinnamon! Once prized and rare, today cinnamon is one of the more common spices. Native to India, the ...