August Edition

That's me, at 10, so excited to have shared Showmanship Honors with the young man next to me (his name now escapes me)!  I LOVED showing cattle! (My outfit looks pretty current, doesn't it?! LOL)

That's me, at 10, so excited to have shared Showmanship Honors with the young man next to me (his name now escapes me)!  I LOVED showing cattle! (My outfit looks pretty current, doesn't it?! LOL)

August is here!  This month is memory-filled for me, as it was probably the busiest month of the year as I was growing up.  The gardens were overflowing with produce, we usually had chickens to butcher and freeze,  all of our 4-H projects were due for the Cass County 4-H Fair, and once all of that was over it was time to get ready to go back to school!  It was definitely my favorite time of year; I adored showing my steers and making food to be judged at the fair, socializing with friends from all over the county, then getting back to school and all that entailed.  (Not so much butchering chicken, though!)  Of course, all of this was framed with lots of family time and, of course, the food that resulted from the abundance in the gardens, as well as baking experiments leading up to the fair that yielded more goodies than even our large family really needed! 

Little did I know that one day all of those things would be the foundation for creating so many recipes and this magazine!  I will always be grateful that I grew up on a farm and all of the life lessons that it provided. Those, along with my relationship with God, are the compass that now keep me (somewhat) sane in this world that grows crazier by the day.  So sharing my memories (and recipes) transcends just writing and producing a digital magazine; it is the opportunity to recall many of my life experiences and attempt to convey to all of you the joy and satisfaction that creating good food evokes. Cooking for people is so much more than just making delicious food; it is truly an act of love and generosity.  And this month I'm sharing many tasty recipes to help you do just that!

Check out all of the recipes below, and please, please share Feast of Eden Cooks at Home! with family and friends that appreciate good food.  I can't wait to see your comments for this months recipes!

Until next month, be blessed, and.........

I'll see you all later, hungry!

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Farm Journal's Fresh-Pack Dill Pickles

Fresh-Pack Dills

Working on the September Farm Journal recipe has brought back a flood of memories!  Memories of hot summer days spent with my mother sterilizing jars, lids and rings for canning.  Memories of all kinds of pickles and relishes; sweet and dill pickles, "dilly" green beans, watermelon pickles, beets, relishes, and a plethora of jams and jellies that were carefully canned every summer and then "put up" for the winter months in the "fruit room" in the basement.  (A great place to duck into when summer's heat weighed heavy on little girls who didn't tolerate it well; that fruit room was always cool and smelled like earth.)

It was work, but we usually managed to have some fun, and the satisfaction of gazing at row upon row of beautiful canned goods made it very gratifying indeed!  Opening those jars and enjoying the contents during winter was a reminder that the cold would not last forever; summer would most assuredly return. Those seasonal rhythms always reminds me of God's promise in Genesis 8:22; "While the earth remains, seed time and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease."  It is reassuring to know without a doubt that some things will remain the same in this ever-changing world!

So the recipe I am sharing this time is for Fresh-Pack Dill Pickles!  Pretty classic, and pretty simple if this is your first stab at canning.  We all need dill pickles in the refrigerator, just ask my husband!  And I must share the comment that accompanies this recipe, it is priceless.  It is a peek into farm life for those who didn't grow up around farm folks.

"Some farm people believe food for picnics, church suppers and community feasts is not complete without plenty of cool, crunchy dill pickles.  And some farmers hold that there's nothing they'd rather sit down to on a blowy, autumn day, when they come cold and hungry to dinner, than a deep brown pot roast or stew with a big bowl of dill pickles nearby."

I don't recall dill pickles being the standard side dish at our table, but you can see that pickles are a big deal to farm families.  I hope you enjoy reading and hopefully making this recipe.  It has been a journey down memory lane for me! 
*I made pint containers of pickles, rather than quarts, you will notice in the picture.  One recipe would make about 18 pints.  I halved the recipe.

17-18 pounds (3-5") cucumbers

1 1/2 cups salt

2 gallons water

6 cups vinegar

3/4 cup salt

1/4 cup sugar

9 cups water

2 Tablespoons whole pickling spices

Dill heads, fresh or dried (3 per quart jar)

Whole mustard seeds

Wash cucumbers; cover with brine mad by adding 1 1/2 c. salt to 2 gals. water.  Let stand overnight.  Drain.

Combine vinegar, 3/4 c. salt, sugar, 9 c. water and pickling spices, tied loosely in clean, thin white cloth.  Heat to boiling.

Pack cucumbers into hot quart jars.  Add 3 dill heads and 2 tsp. mustard seeds to each jar.  Pour boiling vinegar mixture, spice bag removed, over cucumbers to within 1/2 " of jar tops.

Adjust lids.  Process in boiling water bath (212-degrees F.) 20 minutes.

Remove jars from canner and complete seals unless closures are self-sealing type.  Makes 7 quarts.

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Summer Peach & Almond Cake

Summer Peach & Almond Cake

Here's an end-of-summer peach cake recipe you won't want to live without!

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Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies are crisp outside and chewy inside, with a deep chocolate flavor.  They aren't fancy or hard to make; just a good staple cookie recipe to have in your back pocket.  I use a one-ounce (#30) scoop to ensure all of the cookies are exactly the same size, and bake only what I need. The rest I freeze on a sheet pan (covered with plastic wrap) until they are solid, then store in a freezer bag until I need them.  They needn't be thawed, just extend the baking time by a few minutes.  It is a good thing to have cookie dough ready to bake in the freezer!!

12 ounces Butter, at room temperature
1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Brown Sugar
2 Extra-large Eggs
2 Teaspoons Vanilla
2 Cups Flour
2 Cups Oatmeal
4 Tablespoons Cocoa
1 1/2 Teaspoons Soda and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
12 Ounces Chocolate Chips
1 Cup Chopped Nuts of your choice (pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, etc.-optional)

Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.

Place butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating until well blended.  Beat in the vanilla.

Whisk together the flour, oatmeal, cocoa powder, soda and kosher salt until well-blended.  Stir in the chocolate chips and nuts.

With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients, about 1/4 at a time, being sure each addition is well mixed in before adding more.  Mix just until there are no streaks of dry ingredients in the batter.

Line baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat.  Use a #30 (1-ounce) scoop to shape the cookies, space them about 1 1/2 inches apart, or about 8 per pan. (If you want really big cookies, use a #20 scoop and only put 4 on the baking sheet. Use a #10 scoop for petite cookies.)

Bake just until the outer edge looks firm, but the center is still slightly soft, 10-13 minutes, rotating the pans half-way through if needed to ensure even baking.

Let the cookies sit on the pan for about 2 minutes (they will complete baking on the hot pan), then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Makes about 4 dozen.

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Best Guacamole

Best Guacamole

Mmmmmm! This guacamole is so fresh-tasting and definitely has personality.  You can tweak it to suit your personal taste!

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Zucchini "Fries"

Zucchini "Fries"

Use summer's bounty of zucchini to create a healthy "fry" to go with burgers!

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Healthy Veggie Slaw

This is my favorite slaw!  It is full of healthy ingredients, and the dressing is simple and the addition of garlic takes it to a new level of delicious.  If you only have green cabbage on hand, by all means go ahead a use it instead of the combination of the red & green cabbage and kale.  This salad is addictive and complements so many other dishes, especially fried foods, sandwiches, and stews.  I like to have this in my refrigerator at all times!

2 cups each, red and green cabbage

2 cups dinosaur Kale, cut into julienne strips

1 medium English cucumber, cut into thin half-moon slices

1/2 small red onion, cut into very thin half-round slices

1 medium red or green pepper cut into thin strips

1 large carrot, peeled and coarsely shredded

1 large clove of garlic, peeled and minced very fine

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon coarsely-ground black pepper

2 Tablespoons + 2 teaspoons honey

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

3 Tablespoons vegetable or olive oil

1 Tablespoon chopped fresh dill

Combine first 7 ingredients in a large bowl (cabbages through carrot).

Place remaining ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together well (garlic through dill).  

Add the dressing to the vegetable in the bowl and stir well.  Cover and refrigerator for at least an hour, preferably 2-3 hours.  Serve.

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Farm Journal Cookbook Overnight Crunch Coffee Cake

Overnight Crunch Coffee Cake

Overnight Crunch Coffee Cake

The tattered, well-used original recipe

The tattered, well-used original recipe

Farm Journal's Country Fair Cookbook (circa 1975) is the source of this recipe.  You can see by the tattered and spattered cookbook page that is was beloved!  The cookbook was a gift from my mother (between us we have most the cookbooks published by Farm Journal Magazine!), and this was one of the first recipes I tried.  It has been passed to nearly all of my children, and my oldest son Matt called to get the recipe right after his wife and newborn son came home from the hospital.  He wasn't a baker, but he made this for Lainie and it turned out perfectly!  This coffee cake appears at any breakfast or brunch family gathering.  It is easy to make and I am convinced you will love it, too!

Coffee Cake:

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup butter (10.7 ounces) at room temperature (original recipe calls for margarine)

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup firmly-packed brown sugar

2 eggs

 1 cup buttermilk


1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans- I use pecans)

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg

Grease a 13 X 9-inch pan well with butter.  Line the bottom with parchment paper, and then grease the paper well.

Place all of the dry ingredients in a bow and whisk together until well combined.

Cream together butter and sugars in a mixer until light and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes.

With mixer on low speed, add 1/3 of the flour mixture, followed by 1/2 of the buttermilk. Repeat until all of the dry and wet ingredients have been added.  Mix just until there are no streaks of flour or milk and the batter and everything is well combined.  Do not over-mix.

Scrape the batter into the prepared baking dish and smooth evenly.

Combine all of the topping ingredients well and sprinkle evenly over the cake in the pan.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.

In the morning, preheat the oven to 350-degrees.  Bake for 45 minutes, rotating pan half-way through, or until done.  Let it cool for 15-20 minutes before cutting. Cut into squares and serve warm.

Serves 12-16

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Fresh Peach Pie

Nothing can compare to a ripe, juicy, sweet peach in August, unless it has been transformed into this pie!  The peaches in the pie retain their fresh flavor, and are surrounded by a peachy glaze while resting in a crisp, golden pie shell.  It is perfection topped off with a dollop of whipped cream; summer desserts don't get much better than this! (Note: this pie should be made the day you plan to serve it, as the juicy peaches will eventually add liquid to the filling.  I suggest it be made early in the day and served for dinner!) Click on the pic for a how-to video!

4 cups peeled, pitted and sliced peaches, about 1/2-inch thick

2 cups mashed peaches (see video above)

(See Video above for a great method of peeling peaches!)

1 cup white sugar

1/2 cup water

Big pinch of kosher salt

4 Tablespoons cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg

1 Tablespoon butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 9-inch baked pie shell (See recipe for Basic Pie Crust & How to Blind Bake a Pie Shell)

Combine peaches, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a rolling boil.  Mix cornstarch and water until smooth.  Slowly stir into peach mixture and cook until very clear and thick.  Remove from heat and add butter and vanilla and stir in well.

Put a small amount in the bottom of the pie shell and spread evenly.  Add a layer of peaches, then continue layering, ending with the filling. Smooth the pie and "jiggle" it a bit to help the filling flow around the peach slices. 

Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until well-chilled and the filling is set.  Slice and serve with whipped cream (the recipe for Whipped Cream That Won't Fall Flat! is perfect for this!)



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Buttery Salted Caramel Bars

Buttery Salted Caramel Bars

Okay, so these cookies were also referred to as "crack" and "heroin" (seriously) cookies by our customers.  They are so good, and definitely addictive.  The original recipe called for purchased caramel candies (50 of them-who wants to unwrap all of those?), so I use homemade caramel, which is definitely better!  Make these just once; I doubt it will be the last time!

1 pound salted butter, at room temperature

1 cup white sugar

1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar

2 tablespoons vanilla

4 cups all-purpose flour

12 ounces Caramel Candy

1/3 cup heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 Tablespoon coarse sea salt

Preheat the oven to 325-degrees.

Spray a 13X9-inch baking pan with non-stick spray.  Line with parchment paper (one piece running each direction with at least 2-inch overhangs on each end to enable lifting the bars out of the pan).  Spray the parchment with non-stick spray, as well.

In the bowl of a stand mixer combine butter and sugars until well-blended.  Add the vanilla and beat until smooth.  Add the flour in two additions on low speed until a smooth soft dough forms.

Press half of the dough evenly into the pan to form a bottom crust.  (Place the remaining dough in the refrigerator to chill while baking the crust.)  Bake the crust until light golden brown and firm, about 20 minutes.  Let cool for 15 minutes.  

While the crust is cooling and the remaining dough is chilling, prepare the caramel:  Place the caramel pieces in a microwave-proof bowl.  Add the cream and vanilla, and microwave on high for 1 minute.  Remove from the microwave and stir until smooth.  If the caramel is not completely melted, microwave on high in 30-second increments, stirring after each addition until smooth.

Pour the caramel mixture evenly over the crust.  Sprinkle the sea salt evenly over the caramel.  Take the chilled dough from the refrigerator and crumble it evenly over the caramel.  Return to the oven and bake until the caramel is bubbling in the center and the top is firm and it is a light golden brown, about 25-30 minutes.

Cool completely before lifting from the pan and cutting into 48 bars. 

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Chicken Paillards (Cutlets)

Chicken Paillard with Plum Salsa

Chicken Paillard with Plum Salsa

The French term for what Americans call a cutlet is "paillard". Pounding the meat (chicken or otherwise) into an even thickness means that it will cook evenly with no dry over-cooked or pink under-cooked areas. The pounding has the added benefit of tenderizing the protein.  This is a "must have" skill for creating all kinds of dishes!  Click on the video to learn how to do it!

4 medium chicken breasts halve, about 6 ounces each

Salt and pepper

Place each chicken breast into a 1/2 gallon freezer bag.  Using a meat mallet, rolling pin, or cast iron skillet, pound the chicken breasts until they are an even and about 1/2-inch thick.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Grill or pan-cook breasts until they reach 160-degrees (check with an instant -read thermometer.)  Let the paillards rest for 5 minutes before serving.

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Beef Taco Filling

Beef Taco Filling is the star in this Beef Taco Salad

Beef Taco Filling is the star in this Beef Taco Salad

This recipe is great for tacos, taco salad, and all things Mexican that you could dream up!  I make the whole recipe, use what I need, then freeze the rest so a quick and easy meal is always just moments away!  Kids love this, too.

2 pounds ground beef, chuck or lean, your choice

3 cups finely chopped onion

6 cloves of garlic, minced

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and membranes removed, leave intact for more heat

1 Tablespoon chili powder

1 Tablespoon ground cumin

1 Tablespoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground chipotle powder

1 can (28-ounces) crushed tomatoes

Kosher salt

Brown ground beef just until it is no longer pink.  Drain most of fat, leave some for cooking in onion and garlic.  Cook the onion, garlic and beef until the beef is very brown and the onions and garlic are translucent and beginning to brown.  Add the spices and cook for a minute or so, or until very fragrant.  Add the tomatoes and bring to a simmer.  Simmer liquid is reduced, 15-20 minutes.  Season with salt to taste.

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Beef Taco Salad

Beef Taco Salad

Beef Taco Salad

This salad was offered as a special at the cafe and rarely failed to sell out!  It is no wonder, as the crisp Romaine topped with so many flavorful ingredients and finished with a tasty, bright dressing is satisfying on so many levels. I have listed the ingredients below; compose this salad in whatever way makes you happy!

Crisp, clean Romaine lettuce, cut into bite-sized pieces

Beef Taco Filling

Ripe tomatoes, cherry or chopped large

Shredded cheese (Mexican blend, Cheddar and Jack works here)

Avocado, cut into bite-sized pieces and sprinkled with lime juice

Scallions, thinly-sliced

Salsa of your choice

Sour Cream

Fresh Cilantro

Tortilla chips, broken into bite-sized pieces or use large ones around the edge of the bowl

Honey-Lime Dressing

Lime wedges, on the side

Fill bowl with lettuce, add a layer of all of the other ingredients in the quantity of each that you prefer.  Serve the dressing on the side.  Enjoy!

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Honey-Lime Dressing

Honey-Lime Dressing

Honey-Lime Dressing

I created this dressing specifically for our Beef Taco Salad.  The bright citrus acidity is the perfect complement to the beef and avocado in the salad.  This dressing works well in many different dishes, so get ready to fiesta!!

1/2 cup freshly-squeezed lime juice

1/2 cup vegetable oil

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

4 Tablespoons honey

4 Tablespoons chopped cilantro

1 finely minced clove of garlic

1 Tablespoon finely chopped jalapeno, seeded and membrane removed

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Combine all in a blender and process until well combined and slightly thickened. will keep for 2-3 days refrigerated.

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Watermelon Gazpacho

Watermelon Gazpacho

Watermelon Gazpacho

This soup is my go-to hot weather food!  When it is too hot to do anything, this is what I crave and could live on.  Sweet watermelon, juicy cucumbers, red peppers, and fresh herbs combine to make a crisp, refreshing soup that cools as well as satisfies.  No cooking is required and it keeps for several days in the refrigerator. Keep this recipe on hand for the next heat wave!

8 cups seedless watermelon, diced

1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and finely diced

1 small red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced

1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped

1/4 cup Italian parsley, chopped

3 Tablespoons sherry vinegar

2 Tablespoons minced shallot

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste.

Combine all ingredients in a tall container.  Using an immersion blender, blend, leaving some chunks (do not puree, leave some texture).  If using a regular blender, blend half of the mixture, then combine with the remainder.

Chill well before serving.  Will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

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Corn, Tomato & Avocado Salad

This salad just tastes like summer!  It is bright and fresh, with the corn giving it crunch complemented by the creaminess of the avocado.  I love corn on the cob with a brush of sweet butter, but this has me even more excited about the season! Click on the picture above for the how-to video!  (Adapted from a recipe by Melissa Clark)

Kernels of corn cut from 3 freshly-pulled ears (use frozen extra-sweet corn when fresh isn't available, about 1 1/2-2 cups)

2 Tablespoons freshly-squeezed lime juice

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 teaspoon kosher salt (differs from the video, but it does need a whole teaspoon!)

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Big pinch of ground chipotle pepper (more if you like things spicier!)

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 large tomato, seeded and diced

2 ripe avocados, diced

2 scallions, halved and thinly sliced

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil and drop in the corn.  Cook about one minute, then drain.

In a large bowl, whisk together the lime juice, garlic, salt, black pepper, and chipotle pepper.  Whisk in the oil.

Add the corn, tomato, avocados, scallions, and cilantro and toss well to coat.  Serve.

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Summer Crab & Corn Quiche

Crab & Corn Quiche

Crab & Corn Quiche

This quiche is a celebration of all things summer!  Delectable flavors and a crisp crust make this quiche superlative!  Great with a cup of Watermelon Gazpacho or Chilled Cucumber Avocado Soup and a green salad. 

1/2 recipe Basic Pie Crustblind-baked in a deep 9-inch pie plate

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 shallot, minced

1 cup raw sweet corn kernels (about 2 ears)

1 tsp. Old Bay seasoning

1 cup half-and-half cream

2 Tablespoons flour

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup heavy cream

4 extra-large eggs

1/4 cup julienne fresh basil leaves

1 8-ounce container pasteurized crab meat

1 medium ripe tomato, seeded & cut into small dice4 ounces finely-shredded cheese


Preheat the oven o 425-degrees

Heat butter over medium heat in a large saucepan.  Add shallot and saute until softened.  Add the corn and saute for a minute.  Add Old Bay seasoning and cream.  Heat until it steams and just starts to form bubbles around the edge of the pan.  Remove from the heat.

Whisk together the flour and cream in a large bowl.  Add the mayonnaise and eggs and beat until well-combined.  With a ladle, add a small amount of the hot cream & corn mixture slowly to the egg mixture, whisking constantly.  Whisk in one more ladle of the hot mixture to the egg mixture.  Whisk the egg mixture into the saucepan with the hot cream & corn.  Add the basil, crab meat, and tomato,  and mix thoroughly. 

Place pie shell on a baking sheet.  Ladle the quiche mixture into the pie shell until it reaches the bottom of the crimped edge.  Sprinkle cheese over the top.  Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes.  Reduce heat to 375-degrees and bake for 25-35 minutes, or until a golden brown color and puffed up all over.

Remove from the oven and let stand for 15-20 minutes before serving.

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