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North Country Kitchen, by Yvona Fast

Make your own delicious gifts

Thanksgiving came and went with smaller-than-usual gatherings. Now it’s the season of Advent, when we get ready for Christmas. Most years, December is full of Christmas parties, concerts and cookie exchanges. We visit crowded shops and malls to buy gifts. On Christmas, families gather ...

A smaller Thanksgiving

The holiday’s coming! What shall we do? A really large turkey is too big for two! A chicken instead — or maybe, a hen. A poem, a blessing, some music, and then a feast for a king — or maybe, a queen — the smallest Thanksgiving that I’ve ever seen. -  2020 is the ...

Roasting autumn veggies

It’s mid-November. Gardens are mostly harvested. Farm stands and farmers markets have shut down for the season. Our Saranac Lake Park-It offers drive-through service for items ordered ahead. But there are still plenty of autumn vegetables to choose from. Most keep well, so if you stocked ...

Another late season green — escarole

The days are getting shorter. The trees stand tall, pointing their dark, bare branches at the leaden gray sky. Even the tamaracks are beginning to shed their showy golden needles. But autumn gardens still produce roots and winter greens. Among these is escarole, an Italian classic from ...

Daikon radish a late, healthy root popular in Japan

It’s November. Last week, someone asked me what to do with the white radishes her sister dug up from the garden and given to her. Radishes come in many sizes and colors. Americans are most familiar with the red-skinned European varieties. Of the many Asian varieties, the daikon is the ...

A pandemic Halloween

The end of October brings lots of pumpkins — and Pumpkin Day on Oct. 26. It also brings witches, ghosts and other scary creatures, and lots of sweet candy treats on Oct. 31, which is All Hallow’s Eve, or Halloween. This year there is a pandemic, and everything is different. Most people ...

Savoring autumn

The last ear of summer corn ... the last zucchini ... the last beautiful red pepper… the last summer cucumber ... the last tomato... Through modern transportation, we have these veggies year-round, shipped from farms in California. But they don’t taste the same. They’re not picked ...

’Tis the season for … winter squash

Winter squash is a favorite autumn treat — and one of the most popular is the acorn. Cucurbita pepo L. var. turbinata has a very hard, ridged shell with a pointed bottom — in the shape of a giant acorn. They’re fairly round — between 5 and 8 inches long and 4 or 5 inches across — ...

Summer squash is done; now it’s spaghetti squash season

It’s October. Summer squash has disappeared from farmers’ markets. But winter squashes — summer squash’s robust cousins — are just getting into their prime. One of the earliest to mature from the winter squash family is the spaghetti squash. When roasted, it forms strands (hence ...

Tomatillos can grow in northern gardens, too

Tomatillos (toe-mah-TEE-ohs) are the lesser known, tangy cousin of the tomato. These small fruits (a little bigger than a cherry tomato) enclosed in loose, papery, brown or green husks are to the tomato what the lime is to the orange. Though a warm-weather crop, they can grow in our ...

Save those green tomatoes from the frost, and enjoy them

The trees are turning; the winds are picking up; change is in the air. The autumn equinox is almost here, and fall is upon us. The past week brought not one but four nights below freezing. The tender harvest — tomatoes, cucumbers, summer squash, eggplant, beans — had to be gathered ...

Happy new year!

Have you made your new year’s resolutions yet? Too early, you say? True, the Western new year is still months away. But later this week, Rosh Hashanah marks the Jewish new year 5781, which begins at sundown on Friday, Sept. 18. The celebration and feasting concludes at sundown on ...

September salads — who needs lettuce?

September brings the waning days of summer. It also brings lots of veggies: plentiful tomatoes and peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, corn. These veggies make great salads. When most people picture salads, they think lettuce — or maybe spinach or kale. But summer vegetables like peppers, ...

Stuffed peppers: beyond chile rellenos

Chile rellenos translates to “stuffed peppers.” To make them, poblano peppers are first roasted, after which the skin is peeled. The peppers are stuffed with Oxaca cheese, coated with flour and egg, deep fried until golden brown, then covered with a rich salsa roja. This dish, common in ...

Peaches!

Aromatic, tender, juicy and sweet, fresh peaches are a summer treat. The fragrance and flavor of fruit harvested nearby are irresistible as the juice trickles down your chin. True, our peaches aren’t really local — because peaches don’t grow in the cool Adirondack climate or even in ...

Fresh beans are a summer delight

Whether bright green or waxy yellow, fresh beans are a midsummer treat - glorious proof that summer is truly in full swing. Easy to grow and quick to mature, fresh beans are not always green — they come in an array of colors, shapes, and sizes. There are yellow (wax), purple and maroon ...

Summer of 2020 gets the raspberries

It’s August. And it’s been the strangest summer I’ve ever lived through. We’re in the midst of a pandemic. Yes, things are slowly re-opening, but many activities are still canceled. For the rest, there is social distancing and mask-wearing, The farmers’ market is going strong, ...

Abundant zucchini

This time of year gardeners find themselves flooded with these smooth, thin-skinned, cylindrical dark green squashes — though new varieties come in many shades of green and yellow, and some are speckled or striped. They’re plentiful and cheap at farmers’ markets because they’re easy to ...

The Box

We’re still in the middle of the pandemic. Schools are closed. So are summer camps. Restaurants are beginning to re-open with limited capacity — but many people are still avoiding eating out. As a result of the COVID-19 statewide shutdown, farmers were dumping milk and produce because ...

Summer is time for ratatouille

This traditional Provencal dish is made with the season’s abundance of tomatoes, eggplant, and summer squash, along with onions, garlic, peppers and herbs. It is usually seasoned with Herbes de Provence, a mix of basil, thyme, savory and fennel, but other herbs can be used too. Other veggies ...