North Country Kitchen, by Yvona Fast

(Photo provided — Yvona Fast)

Maple beverages

Maple season is here again. Maple weekends invite you to visit many of our local maple producers. This year, February’s warm spell meant that some producers started making syrup early. Sweet maple sugar is produced during photosynthesis the previous summer, and stored in the tree roots ...

(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 ...

Dill Pickle Soup
(Photo provided)

Dill pickle soup

Winter is soup season! On cold, dark nights, good soup is comfort food in a bowl. In these modern times, when folks want soup they just open a can and pour it into a pot on the stove. Even “homemade” soup is generally made with packaged broth. But not so long ago, soups were cooked, ...

Muffins can be a healthy treat

Aaah! Warm muffins from your oven. What a wonderful winter treat! On a blustery winter day, the oven warms your kitchen, and the ultimate in comfort foods — fresh, steaming muffins — warm the hearts of friends and family. I’ve never understood the benefit of a mix for muffins. For me, ...

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. ...