North Country Kitchen, by Yvona Fast

Passover lamb, Easter lamb

Spring has sprung! The weather is turned warm and snow is vanishing rapidly. Crocuses are blooming in front of the library. Soon, other spring flowers will join them, adding color to gardens and woodlands. Spring is a time of new beginnings. New life sprouts from the earth. Through the ages, ...

Turmeric: India’s golden spice

I’ve been hearing a lot about turmeric. There are many reports singing the praises of this yellow spice. Claims say that it’s good for many things that ail us. It’s an anti-inflammatory, and can relieve pain as effectively as ibuprofen. It helps curb excessive immune responses ...

The incredible edible egg

Spring has arrived, bringing more daylight to the North Country. Gone are the short, dark days of winter. That means that chickens - especially those chicken not raised on indoor chicken farms where they see no daylight - are laying more eggs. Eggs are plentiful, inexpensive, and play a major ...

It’s maple season!

“The gift of the sugar maple trees is from a benevolent Providence.” — Benjamin Rush, in a letter to Thomas Jefferson. --- It’s the end of March — and Maple Season is upon us! Below-freezing nights and above-freezing days are needed for sap to flow up and down the maple ...

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with Irish oatmeal cookies

This Sunday, March 17th is St. Patrick’s Day! And Monday, March 18 is National Oatmeal Cookie Day! In Ireland — and throughout the British Isles — oats have provided sustenance for common folk for thousands of years. Long before the potato traveled across the Atlantic, oats are what ...

Happy Valentine’s Day!

It’s time for ... sweet chocolate indulgence! On Valentine’s Day, we all love chocolate! Whether you’re cooking at home or going out on a special date, a kid in school or an office employee, chocolate will probably be part of your day. Yes, Valentines is a romantic holiday for lovers. ...

Barley soup

In winter, we crave comfort food. Hearty, aromatic, nourishing barley soup, loaded with vibrant root vegetables, fits the bill. Most Americans are familiar with beef barley soup. But barley soup can be made with chicken, mushrooms, beans, lentils, or peas, so it can easily be a vegan dish. ...

It’s January — and it’s time for the market!

Yes, our farmers’ market is still going strong every Saturday morning at the Hotel Saranac! In past years, the market closed at the end of December, but this year is different. True, there are not as many farmers as in the summer. But there’s still plenty to buy! Juniper Hill sells root ...

Begin the year on a sweet note … with honey!

“When the leaves are off the trees and the honey from the bees sweetens up your morning cup of tea. You watch its steam arise like the fog into the skies. Grab your hat and coat and walk with me ...” — Dan Bergren, “Mountain Air” --- Pure, unadulterated honey is a real treat. ...

Autumn roots make quick, easy stir-fry suppers

The Thanksgiving holiday has come and gone. November is waning. This year, our garden is deep under a layer of frost and snow. Before the cold came, we dug up our root crops and stored them in a box filled with sand, in a cool place in our garage that does not freeze. In our makeshift root ...

Shepherd’s pie makes good use of Thanksgiving leftovers

The big feast is over. And you’re left with tons of food: lots of turkey, bowls of mashed potatoes and gravy, vegetables. The perfect Black Friday meal to make with these ingredients is Shepherd’s Pie. Leftover turkey, day-old mashed potatoes and gravy combine with veggies to make an easy, ...

Potatoes for your Thanksgiving table

In one form or another, potatoes are found on almost every Thanksgiving table. That may be because they’re a delightfully earthy, savory comfort food. They’re definitely an ideal side dish for the holiday turkey. You’ll need about a half-pound of potatoes per person; that’s about ...

What’s your favorite squash?

Thanksgiving will be here before you know it — and bright orange winter squash is both a holiday and a seasonal tradition. Sweet or savory, mashed or roasted, bright orange winter squash makes a delicious side dish for turkey. Squash and pumpkin (a type of squash) were probably served at the ...

Autumn braises combine greens, roots for easy skillet suppers

Autumn is time for roots. These subterranean delights are rough, dirty, gnarled and knotty on the outside, but hold a wealth of flavor, color, and rich nutrients on the inside. Potatoes and carrots come to mind when one says roots, but there is a myriad of others in hues varying from white to ...

What is left in the garden? Lots!

Fall is here, leaves are blowing off the trees, and Whiteface Mountain had a dusting of snow. Tender crops — tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, summer squash and zucchini — have been harvested. Summer sweet corn is brown. But gardens and farmstands still have lots to offer. Fall is vibrant ...

Early fall tomato salads

With a longer season and hotter summer, the tomato harvest was truly stupendous this year. Farm fresh tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers are still abundant – but will be gone soon. They are the ingredients of awesome summer salads made without lettuce or other greens. Horiatiki, or ...

Basil: The flavor of Italy and other places

It’s September — and cold weather is on its way. We’ve already had a mild frost, and though the next few days promise to be warmer, autumn is on its way. Before the frost hit, I hurried to the garden to harvest the basil. We think of basil as an Italian herb – and without doubt ...

Weeknight cabbage skillet suppers

“The time has come,” the Walrus said, “To talk of many things: Of shoes — and ships — and sealing-wax. Of cabbages — and kings --. And why the sea is boiling hot — And whether pigs have wings.” — (Lewis Carroll in “The Walrus and the ...

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 ...