Welcome March!

Welcome March!

There's an old saying of March, "in like a lion, out like a lamb".  Hopefully that will hold true in 2017.  Here in the Midwest we were hit with some potent storms, including heavy rain, thunder, lightening, hail, and even a few devastating tornadoes overnight and into the first day of March, a volatile beginning to the month.  March is always a roller coaster ride, weather-wise, and this March is no exception so far.  It will be no surprise to experience a snow storm before month's end, but hopefully March's exit will be gentle as a lamb!

The official arrival of Spring is not far off, as is Lent, St. Patrick's Day, and March Madness (nickname for the college basketball tournament, for my non-sports fans out there).  Back when my children were growing up, baby goats were born, and twice-a-day milking got underway again in March.  Cheese, butter, and ice cream fabrication quickly followed.  Spring fever hits hard about now, and the itch to plant things is strong among gardeners and farmers, and some brave bulbs and perennials now brave the cold to bloom. Hens that languished during the short days of winter now start laying eggs like crazy, and who isn't inspired to get into the kitchen by a few dozen beautiful eggs? The roller coaster ride does have its ups!

I know you will be inspired to get into the kitchen to try out the recipes this month.  From Corned Beef & Cabbage Shepherd's Pie (served with a side of Sauteed Green Beans with Garlic & Almonds), to Lent-friendly Greek Tuna Pasta Salad and Favorite Salmon Cakes, there are dishes for every taste!  Celebrate the arrival of spring with a sunny breakfast that includes Fresh Berries with Spirited Greek Yogurt and Toasted Pistachio and Honey Muffins.  For those chilly days there's nothing like a bowl of Chicken Potpie Soup, or maybe a hot Reuben Sandwich for lunch.  And for dessert, Almost-Homemade Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Curd Frosting; I promise you will feel the sunshine, even if it's grey outside.

Be sure to check out the video about naked lemons; you may new learn some new prep tricks.  Later this month, the Member's Farm Journal Recipe will be published, too.  Other ideas and inspiration will be shared as it happens, so stay tuned! 

Finally, there is a Feast of Eden Cooks at Home! private Facebook page.  If you are a member and haven't been added to the group, please let me know!  I know all of my members aren't on FB, but if you are and haven't received an invite, say so!  This is a great way to stay in touch, a little less cumbersome than the website, so please take advantage of this new feature.

I am looking forward to all that this spring holds, and pray that all of you will enjoy this time when new life and new beginnings are evident everywhere.  It's never too late for a new beginning!  (If you ever question that, feel free to email me.)  Here's to an awesome March!

Blessings,

Chef Lisa Signature 2.jpg
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Fresh Berries with Spirited Greek Yogurt

Fresh Berries with Spirited Greek Yogurt

Fresh Berries with Spirited Greek Yogurt

Fresh berries at breakfast or brunch is a treat anytime!  But layer the same berries with this sweet, creamy, and slightly spirited sauce and you have a dish fit for company. (Make it without the liqueur for children, of course!)  Served in individual glasses, or in a large bowl on a brunch buffet, this lovely concoction makes a lovely centerpiece.  You can treat it casually as well, assembling it in disposable plastic cups with lids to take on a hike. Sprinkle it with some granola for added crunch, if you like.  This is a most versatile recipe!  Serves 6

2 cups plain Greek yogurt

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons Kahlua (or other coffee liqueur), or espresso

1 tablespoon Grand Marnier (or other orange liqueur), or orange juice concentrate

4 cups assorted fresh berries (such as blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, and quartered strawberries. Reserve a few pretty berries for garnish.)

Fresh mint sprigs (optional)

Whisk together the yogurt, brown sugar, Kahlua or espresso, and orange liqueur or orange juice concentrate.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow the flavor to marry, or make it the night before.

Place 1/2 of the berries in the serving dish(es) and top with half of the yogurt mixture.  Repeat.  Garnish with reserved berries and/or mint sprigs.

Serve immediately.

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Toasted Pistachio and Honey Muffins

Toasted Pistachio & Honey Muffins

Toasted Pistachio & Honey Muffins

These whole-grain muffins are one of my favorites.  The batter has considerably less sugar than the average muffin, but the slight honey glaze on top makes it perfectly sweet!  Pistachios add crunch, protein, healthy fat, and some "yum".  Perfect for breakfast, brunch, or for an afternoon coffee or tea break.

1 cup whole-wheat flour

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup ground flax seed or flax seed meal

1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly-grated or ground nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon ground allspice

 1 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup paced brown sugar

3 Tablespoons vegetable oil

2 large eggs at room temperature

1/3 cup golden or regular raisins

3 Tablespoons finely chopped, toasted pistachio nuts

2 Tablespoons honey

Preheat the oven to 350-degrees.  Spray 12 regular muffin cups with non-stick spray until well coated.

Combine the first 7 ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk together well.  Make a "well", or hollow in the center of the ingredients.

In another bowl whisk together the buttermilk, brown sugar, vegetable oil and eggs together until very well combined.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix just until the dry ingredients are thoroughly moistened and there are no streaks of the flour mixture.  Stir in the raisins until evenly incorporated.  Use a scoop or spoon to evenly distribute the batter into the muffin cups.  Sprinkle 3/4 teaspoon chopped pistachios over each muffin.

Bake for about 15 minutes, or until muffins spring back when lightly pressed in the center.  Remove from the pans immediately, and allow them to cool on a wire rack.  Drizzle 1/2 teaspoon honey over each muffin.  Serve.

Store in a air-tight container, or freeze leftovers for later use.

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Chicken Pot Pie Soup

Chicken Pot Pie Soup

Chicken Pot Pie Soup

Comfort food in a bowl, that is exactly what this soup is.  It's loaded with good things, and though the ingredients aren't rich, the end result certainly tastes like it.  If you must avoid gluten, you can eliminate the flour, and reserve a half cup of the broth and make a slurry with 4 Tablespoons of cornstarch and whisk it in at the end with the lemon juice.  Bring it up to a boil for a minute to thicken.  The perfect side is a buttered Mile High Biscuit!

3 ounces (6 T.) butter

1 1/2 cups diced onion

1 1/2 cups diced celery

1 1/2 cups white mushrooms, quartered

3/4 cup diced carrots

1 Tablespoon minced garlic

2 1/2 cups unpeeled, diced red potatoes

1/4 cup + 2 T. flour

3 Tablespoons dry sherry

7 cups chicken stock

3 cups cooked, shredded chicken

3 Tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped

1 large whole bay leaf

salt and pepper, to taste

3/4 cup frozen sweet corn kernels

3/4 cup frozen sweet peas

3 Tablespoons finely chopped parsley

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

Melt the butter in a soup pot over medium high heat.  Sweat (cook until soft without browning) the onion, celery, mushrooms, carrots, and garlic until translucent.  Add the potatoes and cook for about 10 minutes longer. (Salt the vegetables and potatoes lightly.)  Add the flour and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Deglaze the pan with the sherry, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom, then stir in the broth, chicken, thyme, and bay leaves.  Bring up to a boil, the reduce the heat to a simmer and cook 15-20 minutes, until thickened.

Add the corn, peas, and lemon juice.  Taste and adjust the salt and pepper.

Makes about 3 quarts.

Add corn, peas, and lemon juice.

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Reuben Sandwich

Hot Reuben Sandwich

Hot Reuben Sandwich

A Reuben sandwich is in a class by itself.  Each component of this sandwich is unique and delicious in its own way, but there is synergy when they all come together!  Each ingredient's contribution is magnified in the finished product.  When my niece, Paige, was working at the cafe I asked her one day if she had ever tried a Reuben.  She sort of wrinkled her nose and told me she hadn't, she really didn't like the ingredients in the sandwich. I sort of insisted she try it, since we were selling lots of them. Oh my, did she change her tune! "That doesn't taste anything like I thought!" Another convert.  Try a Reuben once, and you'll never be the same.  Promise.

Equipment needed:  Panini Grill or Large Cast Iron Skillet

For each sandwich:

2 slices rye bread of your choice (marble was the standard at the cafe, but whatever is available or your favorite)

3 Tablespoons Thousand Island dressing (purchased or homemade)

2 slices Swiss cheese

4 ounces thinly-sliced or shaved Deli Corned Beef

1/2 cup sauerkraut (from the refrigerated section is best) squeezed dry

Soft butter

Preheat the panini grill to high, or heat an iron skillet over medium heat.

Lay out 2 slices of bread and spread each one with the Thousand Island dressingPlace one slice of cheese on each piece of bread.  Layer the corned beef onto one piece of the bread, keeping it all inside the edges of the bread (prevents it drying out during grilling).  Spread the sauerkraut over the meat and top with the second piece of bread with cheese.  Spread both sides of the sandwich with the softened butter.

Place the sandwich on the panini grill and cook until the bread is deeply browned and the cheese has melted in the center of the sandwich.  Alternately, grill the sandwich in the skillet, pressing down lightly, turning when the first side is a deep brown, and continue to cook until the other side is a deep brown and the cheese is melted completely through.

Allow the sandwich to set for a minute or two before cutting in half.  Serve while hot.

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Greek Tuna Pasta Salad

Greek Tuna Pasta Salad

Greek Tuna Pasta Salad

This yummy salad was always popular, but especially during Lent.  Served on a bed of greens with a roll, it makes a great lunch.  It keeps several days in the refrigerator.  Serves 8

1 pound shell pasta, uncooked

3 cups broccoli florets

8 ounces canned tuna, drained and flaked

1 large red pepper, cut into thin strips (See Video)

1 large green pepper, cut into thin strips

1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, sliced

6 ounces of Feta cheese (I like Bulgarian), crumbled

1 Tablespoon dried oregano

3/4 cup Greek salad dressing with Feta cheese (purchased or homemade)

Cooke the pasta in salted water according to package directions, adding the broccoli during the final three minutes of cooking.  Drain, then rinse with cold water to cool quickly, and then drain thoroughly.  Spread out on a sheet pan and refrigerate until cold.

In a large bowl stir together the pasta and broccoli with the remaining ingredients.  Cover and refrigerate for an hour or two to allow the flavors to develop and chill.

Serve over a bed of mixed greens with additional Greek dressing on the side.

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Corned Beef & Cabbage Shepherd's Pie

Corned Beef & Cabbage Shepherd's Pie

Corned Beef & Cabbage Shepherd's Pie

This dish was served every year on St. Patrick's Day at the cafe, and it was by far one of the most popular specials we offered!  This original dish combines all of the foods of the holiday (including some Guiness!) into a delectable one-dish meal.  The perfect accompaniment is my Favorite Irish Soda Bread!  Try this dish, and may the luck o' the Irish be with ye!  Serves 6.

2 1/2 pounds of peeled potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice

2 pounds of green cabbage, roughly chopped

1 extra-large onion, sliced (about 3 cups)

2 Tablespoons vegetable oil

1 teaspoon caraway seeds

1 pint can of Guinness beer

3 Tablespoons flour

3/4 cup light cream

3/4 cup milk

4 Tablespoons unsalted butter

salt & pepper

1 1/2 pound diced deli corned beef, or diced cooked corned beef

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Spray a 9 X 13 X 3-inch baking dish with non-stick spray and set aside.  Preheat oven to 400-degrees.

Place the potatoes into a large pot and cover with cool water.  Add 2 Tablespoons salt and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a vigorous simmer and cook until the potatoes are very tender, about 20-25 minutes.  Drain, and put the cooked potatoes through a ricer or food mill into a bowl (if you haven't either tool, use a old-fashioned hand potato masher and mash until smooth.)  Season with salt, add the butter, and slowly mix in the milk and cream.  Potatoes should be fairly soft in texture, but not runny.  If the potatoes are soft before all the milk is added, omit the remaining milk.  Conversely, if they are really stiff, add more milk until the are soft.

While the potatoes cook, heat a 12-inch deep skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add the vegetable oil and when it just starts to shimmer add the onions and saute for a couple of minutes.  Add the cabbage (if using a skillet, do it in batches, allowing each addition to wilt down a bit before adding more) and cook and stir until it begins to soften.  Add the Guinness, a little at a time, it will create steam to hasten the cooking process.  Add the caraway seed and just a little salt and pepper.  (Reserve 1/2 cup of the Guinness.)  Cook until the cabbage and onions are softened (not mushy) and the Guinness has evaporated.  Place the flour in a small bowl and slowly whisk in the reserved Guinness until completely smooth.  Slowly whisk it into the cabbage & onion mixture, cook for a minute until thickened.

Place 1/2 of the cabbage mixture in the baking dish.  Spread the corned beef evenly over the cabbage, then top with the remaining cabbage.  Spread the mashed potatoes evenly over the top of the meat and cabbage.  Sprinkle with a bit of black pepper. 

Bake in the preheated oven for 35-45 minutes, until it boils all the way through and the potatoes have browned a bit.  Remove from the oven and allow to stand for about 15 minutes before serving.  Sprinkle with chopped parsley.

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Favorite Salmon Cakes

Favorite Salmon Cakes with a Side of Baked Mac & Cheese

Favorite Salmon Cakes with a Side of Baked Mac & Cheese

Canned salmon is not very exciting on its own, but the addition of these simple ingredients elevates it to entree level!  It's a great thing to whip up something yummy from basic pantry and 'fridge ingredients. Top it with a little Dijon, Lemon & Dill Sour Cream to make this "plain" dish special!  Serves 4(The recipe for the Baked Mac and Cheese pictured above is coming soon!)

For the salmon cakes:

1 can of salmon, best quality

1/4 cup very finely-minced sweet onion

1/4 cup very finely-minced celery

1 teaspoon lemon zest (about 1/2 lemon)

1 Tablespoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice

1/2 cup fine, soft bread crumbs

2 eggs, beaten

Vegetable oil for cooking

Dijon, Lemon & Dill Sour Cream Sauce:

1/3 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon lemon zest

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon dried dill weed, or 1 teaspoon finely minced fresh dill

Combine all, cover, and refrigerate before making the salmon cakes.

To make the salmon cakes:

Put the salmon in a bowl and pick through it, removing any pieces of bone or gristle. Saute the onion and celery in a bit of vegetable oil until it is soft and translucent and add it to the salmon.  Add the remaining ingredients and mix until thoroughly combined.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to several hours. to allow the flavors to blend.  Divide into 4 equal portions and shape into 1/2-inch thick patties.

Heat a non-stick 10-inch skillet over medium heat.  Add enough oil to lightly cover the bottom of the pan when it is swirled about.  When the oil begins to shimmer and a little smoke appears.  Add the salmon patties and cook until the bottom is thoroughly browned and the side begin to look cooked, about 10 minutes.  (Reduce the heat if the cakes brown to fast, increase the heat slightly if they aren't browning after a few minutes.  Use your best judgment!)  Turn the cakes and cook on the other side until very brown and the center feels firm when pressed with a finger or spatula. 

Remove to warm plates and serve immediately with sauce on the side.

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Sauteed Green Beans with Almonds and Garlic

1 Pound Frozen Green Beans, whole, thawed
1 Tablespoon Minced Garlic
1/4 cup Slivered Natural Almonds (raw, skins on)
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Butter
1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

Heat a 10-inch skillet over medium heat.  Add the olive oil and heat until it shimmers, then add the almonds and saute until they start to color.  Add the butter and garlic and stir until the butter melts and the garlic is fragrant.  Sprinkle with the salt, then add the beans and increase the heat a bit, stir and saute until the beans are heated through and very hot.

Serve immediately.

 

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Almost-Homemade Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Curd Frosting

Almost-Homemade Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Curd Frosting

I am a firm believer that "from-scratch" baking is best, but I developed this recipe using a white cake mix to save time; you'll never know the difference!  A diehard lemon fan, I wanted a cupcake that was tart and lemony, not overly sweet with an artificial flavor, and frosting that was creamy, bright, tart, and light.  I tried using left-over lemon curd in the frosting and it worked beautifully.  Fresh lemon zest and juice lend tartness and a true lemon flavor.  These cupcakes will bring a ray of sunshine into your kitchen!  Makes 18 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:

Place 18 cupcake liners in cupcake pans.  ( I used paper baking cups in the picture.)

Preheat the oven to 350-degrees.

1 box white cake mix

1/3 cup vegetable oil

3 whole eggs

1/2 cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice

3/4 cup water

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1/2 teaspoon pure lemon extract

Place all of the ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer and blend on low speed until no dry particles remain.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then increase speed to medium-high and beat for 2 minutes.  Scrape down the bowl and stir through the batter to make sure it is evenly mixed.

Using a #20 (1 5/8 ounce) scoop portion the batter evenly among the cupcake liners.

Bake, turning the pan half-way through, for 18-23 minutes, or until a tester or toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean.  Cool for a few minutes in the pan, then transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely. 

Use a piping bag and large plain or star tip to pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  Cupcakes may be frozen, then frosted after thawing.

For the Lemon Curd Frosting:

4 ounces butter, softened

4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

1/2 cup lemon curd (homemade or purchased)

1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1/4 teaspoon pure lemon extract

6 cups sifted confectioners sugar

pinch of salt

2-3 Tablespoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice

Combine the butter and cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix until well combined at medium speed.  Add the lemon curd and beat at high speed, scraping down the bowl several times.  Add 2 cups of confectioners sugar along with the pinch of salt and beat until completely smooth.  Add the remaining powdered sugar and mix on low until well incorporated; increase speed and beat until very smooth (it will be a bit stiff).  Reduce speed to low and add 1 Tablespoon of the lemon juice at a time until the desired consistency of the frosting is achieved.  Frost cupcakes.  Leftover frosting may be refrigerated or frozen for later use, just beat it well before using.

 

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Lemons Get Naked!

Make the most of the citrus you purchase!  Here are a few tips to help.  Click on the arrow to see the video!

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