North Country Kitchen, by Yvona Fast

Arugula in the garden
(Photo provided — Yvona Fast)

Arugula is a wonderful salad green

Arugula is popping up in our garden! This early spring green is a cool weather crop that grows best in late spring and early summer. Though not well known as lettuce or spinach, it is easy to grow and matures quickly. It is best sown early, since warm, dry summer weather will make the leaves ...

(Photo provided — Yvona Fast)

June is Dairy Month

The pastures are green with fresh grass. Cows have given birth to baby calves. Fresh milk is flowing abundantly. That could be why June is Dairy Month. But milk — along with milk products like cream, cheese, and butter — has acquired a bad reputation. Dairy products are shunned due ...

(Photo provided — Yvona Fast)

National Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Day is June 9

“I want another slice of rhubarb tart. I want another lovely slice. I’m not disparaging the blueberry pie But rhubarb tart is oh so very nice. A rhubarb what? A rhubarb tart! A whatbarb tart? A rhubarb tart! I want another slice of rhubarb tart!” — John Cleese No one ...

(Photo provided — Yvona Fast)

Spring into salads

It’s the season of spring green! The trees are budding, the grass is turning green, yellow daffodils and red tulips shine brightly even on cloudy days. Salads of fresh garden greens are a special treat this time of year. Spinach, arugula, lettuce, and beet greens sown early -- as soon as ...

Sorrel
(Photo provided — Yvona Fast)

Sorrel: Bright flavor of spring

Have you used sorrel? Most Americans are unfamiliar with this tart, hardy herb which is a staple of French cuisine. The early spring green is well known throughout Europe, where bunches of sorrel greens are sold at produce stands. It is often planted in gardens. It is prized in Belgium, and is ...

(Photo provided — Yvona Fast)

Asparagus: a spring treat

Earlier in the season, stores were full of pencil-thin asparagus spears. Now, thick stalks of asparagus are popping up in our garden. Fresh asparagus is a delectable spring treat. If, like my friend Theresa, you’ve only had the canned variety, there is no comparison. The crisp, tender ...

Various vinegars at are on display at a farmers market.
(Photo provided — Yvona Fast)

Make food pop with a splash of vinegar

A splash of vinegar brightens up salads, sauces, even fruit desserts. It is a key ingredient in vinaigrettes. In addition to salad dressings and marinades, pickles, chutneys, salsas and tomato bruschetta all benefit from its tartness. Condiments like mayonnaise, mustards, ketchup and barbecue ...

Two-grain, two-bean salad (Photo provided — Yvona Fast)

Sorghum: The grain you may not have heard of

You may not know what it is, but sorghum, drizzled on buttermilk biscuits, is as popular in the South as maple syrup is in the Northeast. Milled sorghum flour is rapidly becoming a go-to for gluten-free baking. As a grain, sorghum can be a delicious part of salads, soups or breakfast ...

Corn and Cucumber Salad
(Photo provided — Yvona Fast)

Summer corn, winter corn

It is spring — at least according to the calendar. The time of year we start looking forward to summer and all its culinary delights ... like sweet corn on the cob. Fresh, sweet corn captures the rays of golden sunshine, turning them into sugar. Eaten straight off the cob, it is one of ...

(Photo provided — Yvona Fast)

Traditional fare for St. Patrick’s Day

There are people who would think it isn’t St. Patrick’s Day without corned beef and cabbage. However, this dish originated not in Ireland, but in New York. Certainly, the Irish have celebrated Saint Patty’s Day for thousands of years - but in Ireland it’s a religious feast day, much ...

Basil Veggie Chicken
(Photo provided)

Healthy meals for hectic days

The second week of February is a hectic time around here. It’s Carnival time! So what’s to eat? The carnival includes many food events where you can dine in style: there’s the annual mixer, the dinner theater, and a variety of meals sponsored by groups like the figure skating club, ...

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 ...

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. ...