North Country Kitchen, by Yvona Fast

(Photo provided — Yvona Fast)

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 ...

Quinoa and Chard Skillet 
(Photo provided — Yvona Fast)

Pair fresh autumn greens with grains for quick, hearty skillets

It’s November. Tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, zucchini are long gone. But our garden is full of glorious fall greens. We still have spinach, arugula and lettuce for salads, and lots of cooking greens: kale, collards, Swiss chard, beet greens, bok choy, turnip greens, and all types of cabbage. ...

Cinnamon apple muffins 
(Photo provided — Yvona Fast)

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 ...

A wagon full of pumpkins
(Photo provided — Yvona Fast)

Pumpkin Day comes on Oct. 26

Yes, Halloween is on its way ... do you have your jack-o-lantern pumpkin yet? But first, Oct. 26 is ... National Pumpkin Day! The bright orange fruit is a common sight in autumn. The iconic symbol of Halloween is common in fall-themed children’s books. With a natural sweetness most love, ...

Oriental Cabbage, apple and chicken salad
(Photo provided — Yvona Fast)

Oriental cabbage and apples make delicious autumn meals

The calendar says its autumn — a time when apples and cabbages are at their peak. In addition to the common, round cabbage heads there are many Oriental varieties: tubular heads of Napa and non-heading choy. They’re gaining popularity and becoming widely available at farmers’ markets ...

Harvest Frittata
(Photo provided — Yvona Fast)

Celebrate our Adirondack harvest season

Labor Day is past. School has begun. Leaves are starting to turn. Apples are dropping from trees. We had our first frost the first day of September. If you have a garden, hopefully you covered your basil, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and zucchini. This is the time of year that farmers' ...

(Photo provided — Yvona Fast)

Easy, fast zucchini skillets

It’s the middle of summer, and zucchini are everywhere. These summer squash plants are so fruitful that by early August, even our North Country gardens are overflowing with an abundant crop. In fact, Chase’s Calendar of Events lists August 8 as Sneak Some Zucchini onto Your Neighbors’ ...

Fruit plate 
(Photo provided — Yvona Fast)

Fruitful summer desserts

Summer is here — and among the bountiful produce are fresh summer fruits. The earliest of these are strawberries, followed by cherries, peaches and raspberries. Blueberries will come soon; a bit later, melons and many plum varieties. Fall will bring grapes, blackberries, apples and ...

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)

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 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 ...


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. ...