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North Country Kitchen, by Yvona Fast

Winter radishes at the winter market

There are three kinds of radishes at our winter farmers’ market at the Hotel Saranac: watermelon, Daikon and black. Winter radishes are much larger in size than their cousins that herald spring. These root crops are harvested in late fall and can be stored through the winter. Juniper ...

Winter is prime time for your favorite soups

The soup cauldron simmers, steams, shimmers warming soul, spirit, flesh. Winter is time for hot, steamy, flavorful soup. There are probably thousands of different soups, because you can make soup from almost anything. There are broth-based soups and chunky chowders, as well as vegetarian and ...

The winter market: Kohlrabi

This is the first year we've had a farmers market through the winter in Saranac Lake. I love it! I wondered what vegetables would be available through the winter. The market still has squash, Brussels sprouts, a variety of root veggies (like carrots, turnips, beets). There are also greens ...

After New Year’s, it’s time to eat healthy

It’s Jan. 2 and we have just entered a new year — and a new decade. The past decade brought technological innovations: smart phones, social media, electric vehicles, self-driving automobiles. It also opened our eyes to new challenges — the biggest being our planet's changing ...

Happy New Year, and good food too!

It’s that time of year again when one year turns into another. The passing of one year and the birth of a new one is cause for both revelry and reflection. It’s the time each year that we consider the past and plan ahead. Almost every culture shares a time of looking back and looking ...

Celebrate, it’s holiday time!

As the year draws to a close — it is holiday time! Solstice, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa … and then the New Year! How will you celebrate the holidays this year? What are your special holiday foods? This darkest time of year we celebrate with light. Solstice burns a Yule log. Hanukkah ...

Let’s go nuts for the holidays

It’s December. Wintertime evokes visions of sitting by a hearth cracking nuts, which are now at their peak of freshness, and widely available. Popular holiday songs mention “chestnuts roasting on an open fire” — a custom that few Americans know. But walnuts and almonds are our most ...

Usher in the holiday season with eggnog

Thick, creamy eggnog is the official drink that welcomes our winter holidays. It appears in stores shortly before Thanksgiving, and disappears right after New Year’s. The association with Christmas is relatively recent —probably dating to the 18th Century. The beverage originated as a ...

Pasta is great for leftovers

The guests have gone. The big day is over. You’re left with lots of food. Many say that leftovers are the best part of the holiday. But even if you love turkey sandwiches with cranberry sauce and gravy, they get boring after a while. It is fun to find creative ways to use what is left ...

A diverse Thanksgiving

On Thanksgiving Day Turkey, squash, potatoes, pie gobble, gobble, gulp. For food, fun, friends, family, Give thanks today, and always. Winter snuck in upon us - and we weren't completely prepared. Clothespins were frozen on the clothesline, the porch windows were open and the ...

Collard greens: kale’s first cousin

Kale has become our “it” green, gaining popularity over the last decade. Once relatively unknown outside the south, today restaurants make sure it is on the menu. Everyone loves kale chips. Kale has the buzz. But collard greens — kale’s first cousin — are still uncommon. Standard ...

Leeks: the subtle onion

The trees are bare and snowflakes are blowing in the wind. Winter is on the way. One of the few things left to be harvested before the ground freezes are leeks. These alliums add their distinctive, delicate flavor to all types of culinary delights — soups, stir-fries, salads, and egg ...

Pumpkins, sweets, spookiness and costumes

It’s that time of year. Autumn’s red turned first to gold and now, to gray. The earth goes to sleep for the long winter. It is the time we think of death, as trees shed leaves for their winter slumber, bears hibernate, and spring bulbs sleep in the ground preparing for spring’s ...

Fall is the sweetest time of year

Autumn is sweet. Think pumpkin. Think winter squash. Think apples. Think sweet potatoes. Think carrots and beets. Think Halloween. Yes, temperatures are cooling and leaves are falling. Crisp autumn days give way to stark bare trees, cold, wet, gray days and long, dark nights. The summer's ...

When life gives you green tomatoes and apples … BAKE!

So ... we had frost and ... we have lots of green tomatoes. And our apple trees keep dropping apples. Fall is here! The weather is cooler, so turning on the oven is a pleasure. It’s a great time for baking. These two fruits — yes, tomatoes are a fruit, not a vegetable — actually go ...

Apples and onions: a favorite early American treat

The air is chilly, the leaves are turning, the sun is shining, and skies are blue. Frost has visited and that "end of summer" feel is in the air. Apples are in the air too — on trees, on the ground, falling down all around. They're plentiful right now — at the market, at the orchard, in ...

Pickling your own cucumbers at home

Americans love pickles. According to Pickle Packers International, we each consume on average 106 pickles (about 9 pounds) per person per year. The word “pickle” was first used to indicate preservation of foods in brine. Later, it also came to include preservation in vinegar. While we ...

Fresh tomato pasta: a late summer delight

Garden tomatoes are at their peak right now - but in mid-September, frost threatens. Modern agriculture has given us the hard, tasteless, round, starchy orange thing available year-round at the supermarket - but locally grown, fresh tomatoes in season are totally different. Soft, juicy, tart, ...

September skillet suppers: sausage and veggies

The calendar may not say autumn quite yet, but the air is crisp, nights are cold and a few leaves are showing hints of red. We’re definitely heading into fall. It’s a busy time of harvest for those who have gardens. The season calls for cozy, comforting meals that are also fast, easy and ...

Autumn berries: Blackberries, chokeberries and elderberries

We usually equate berries with summer. And yes — strawberries come in June, blueberries in July, raspberries in August. But it’s September. Labor Day is past and school has begun. It’s time for blackberries, chokeberries and elderberries. Blackberries Blackberries are the best-known ...