North Country Kitchen, by Yvona Fast

(Photo provided — Yvona Fast)

Cucumbers and tomatoes make wonderful summer salads

Summer is in full swing. Tomatoes and cucumbers are abundant and delectable. Lovely garden tomatoes and fresh-picked tender cucumbers are some of the best things summer has to offer. Before the 1950s when we started trucking vegetables around the country in refrigerated trucks, tomatoes, ...

(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’ ...

Currant, Peach and Blueberry Crisp 
(Photo provided — Yvona Fast)

Currants: The lesser known superberry

With twice as many antioxidants as blueberries, double the potassium of bananas, and four times the vitamin C of oranges, currants are a mighty but relatively unknown fruit. With summer in full swing, the red and black berries are appearing at farmers’ markets. It is time to get to know these ...

Radish bunches at farmers market 
(Photo provided — Yvona Fast)

Yes, you can eat radish tops!

Don’t waste the greens and throw them in the compost. They’re fantastic sauteed with onion and a touch of garlic, or with sausage, or bacon. They’re great steamed or stirred into skillets, soups, stews. Fold them into eggs for omelets, quiches, frittatas. You can use them in the same ...

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-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 ...

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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. ...