Friday, March 18, 2011

Review: Heartland: The Cookbook

  • Author:  Judith Fertig
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing (April 12, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1449400574
  • ISBN-13: 978-1449400576

Product Description

Although much of the nation is only beginning to embrace the farm-to-table movement, residents of the Midwest have been living off the bounty of the land since the pioneer days. Judith Fertig's Heartland melds contemporary cooking with an authentic and appreciative approach to the land, presenting 150 recipes for farm-bounty fare with a modern twist. With a focus on ethnic food traditions as well as seasonal and local flavors of artisan producers, heirloom ingredients, and heritage meats, Heartland embraces the spirit and flavors of the modern farmhouse. Inside, offerings such as Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Blackberry Syrup, No-Knead Caraway Rye Bread, and Brew Pub Planked Cheeses comingle with recipes such as Wild Rice Soup with Flyover Duck Confit, Heartland Daube with White Cheddar Polenta, and Italian Fig Cookies.In addition to the mouthwatering recipes and time-proven wisdom, Heartland includes an ample mix of humorous storytelling, literary and cooking references, and lush full-color landscape and food photography that showcases the heart of American cooking from the nation's heartland.

About the Author

Judith Fertig is a food lifestyle writer and cookbook author. She has written for Bon Appetit, Food ∧ Wine, Saveur, Vegetarian Times, and the New York Times. Her previous books include Prairie Home Cooking and Prairie Home Breads, as well as six BBQ titles she coauthored with Karen Adler. She resides in Overland Park, Kansas.

Root Beer Funnel Cakes


At Lb. Brewing Company/Gella's Diner in Hayes, Kansas, my eye was drawn to a root beer funnel cake on their menu. How fun! When I got home, I began to experiment with the recipe and found that the best flavor combination is bottled root beer in the batter and root beer extract in the glaze. This is not a recipe to serve a crowd at home--despite the funnel cake's popularity at county fairs--as you can only fry one at a time. You can find root beer extract at cake decorating shops. Yields 4 medium funnel cakes

For the funnel cakes
Vegetable oil, for frying
1-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
2 Tbs. granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 cup root beer
For the glaze
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, plus more for dusting
1/4 tsp. root beer extract
1 Tbs. half-and-half or whole milk
Fresh berries of your choice, for garnish

Make the funnel cakes:
In a large, deep skillet, pour in enough vegetable oil to reach 1 inch. Heat to 375°F over medium-high heat.
Meanwhile, mix the flour, salt, baking soda, cream of tartar, and sugar in a large bowl. Whisk the egg and root beer together in a cup, then whisk this mixture into the dry ingredients until smooth.
When the oil has reached the correct temperature, hold your finger over the bottom of a large kitchen funnel with a 1/2-inch diameter spout and pour ¾ cup batter into the funnel. Hold the funnel over the center of the skillet, remove your finger, and with a circular motion starting from a center point, let the batter create either a tight or freeform spiral in the hot oil. Fry until the funnel cake is light brown on one side, then carefully flip with a pancake turner and fry on the other side until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Let the oil come back to the correct temperature and repeat the process with the remaining batter.
Glaze the funnel cakes Whisk the confectioners' sugar, root beer extract, and half-and-half together in a small bowl. Drizzle over each funnel cake, then dust with more confectioners' sugar and garnish with fresh berries.

Reproduced from:

My Review:

Beautiful cookbook that goes on sale in April.  Wonderful down home country cooking recipes.  Magnificent photos grace the pages.  Great innovative and original recipes such as Badlands Bison Chili.  Lots of recipes featuring Wisconsin cheese and fresh lake fish.   Just love Chapter 6: Blue Plate Specials with recipes such as Smoke-Roasted Pork Shoulder with Sooey Sauce!  Lots of interesting tidbits such Heartland Beef Cattle Breeds.  There is a listing of old fashioned root beer sources.  At the end of the book there is a reference list with websites of the different resource sources.  Very handy!

Great cookbook to add to your Cookbook Collection!!

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