North Country Kitchen, by Yvona Fast

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 ...

Bean salads for your end-of-summer cookout

Though there are still three weeks of summer left, Labor Day marks the end of the summer season in our North Country. Schools and colleges begin classes, the weather cools down, tourists leave, and summer residents return home. Labor Day began in 1882 as a day for political organizing by ...

Fight the summer heat with a cool gazpacho

Warm, sticky, humid August weather is upon us. At the Farmers’ Market, tomatoes and peppers are at their peak. Cool, spicy gazpacho can help you fight summer’s scorching heat. Today, gazpacho as a tomato-based soup spiced with hot peppers from Spain’s Andalusia region. But it wasn’t ...

Celebrate the Fourth with … strawberry shortcake!

With a wet, rainy spring, summer’s taken it’s time to arrive. But now the days are warm, school’s out, and summer’s officially begun. Summer’s first fruit, local strawberries, are ripe for picking – a little later than usual but delicious! So why not celebrate the Fourth with a ...

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 ...