by Judith Fertig
Contact: Tammie Barker
Although much of the nation has recently embraced 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: The Cookbook 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, Farmhouse Butter, Clover Honey Challah, 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 Appétit, 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.
Churning cream into butter—and, very often, selling it for extra money—was once the province of farm wives. Now, it’s an easy way to get the best butter you’ve ever tasted to go with homemade or artisan breads. Here it is in two styles: sweet cream that is just that and the slightly tangier salted cultured butter.
Makes about 1-1/2 cups
Sweet Cream Butter
2 cups heavy cream
Line a sieve with a single layer of cheesecloth and place the sieve over a bowl. Pour the cream into the work bowl of a food processor and process for about 5 minutes. The cream will go, in stages, from liquid to whipped cream to thick whipped cream to a solid mass of butter that separates from the milky liquid or whey.
Transfer the butter to the cheesecloth-lined sieve and press the butter with a wooden spoon to release more of the whey. When the butter does not release any more whey, scoop the butter from the sieve and cover in plastic wrap. Use right away, keep covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 month, or freeze indefinitely.
Salted Cultured Butter
2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons sour cream
1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
In a medium bowl, whisk the cream and sour cream together. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 4 to 24 hours. Refrigerate for 2 hours.
Make the butter as above, and then scoop the butter from the sieve into a bowl. Mix the salt into the butter with a fork. Use right away, keep covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 month, or freeze indefinitely.
Bakeshop Butter Cookies
This is our family’s favorite cookie—tender, irresistible, and rich with Heartland butter. It’s so beloved by everyone, in fact, that even my childhood dog Jiggs had a thing for them. (He infamously snarfed a batch of these, leaving nothing but incriminating dog drool on the plate.) This versatile dough can be tinted and then pressed into any shape the occasion demands—flowers, Christmas trees, hearts, swirls; or roll it into a log and then in a bed of colored or chocolate sprinkles or poppy seeds, and finally cut it into rounds to bake. Add a little dot of confectioners’ sugar icing, if you like. Store in airtight containers for up to 2 weeks.
Makes about 36 cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon almond or vanilla extract
Food coloring (if desired)
2-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 300°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
In a medium bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter, sugar, vanilla, and food coloring together until light and fluffy. Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Beat the flour mixture, ½ cup at a time, into the butter mixture until you have a smooth, thick dough.
Divide the dough in half. Place one-half in a cookie press. Press the cookies out onto a prepared baking sheet, about 1 inch apart. Repeat with the other half of the dough.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until slightly golden but not brown. Let cool on wire racks.
These recipes may be reproduced with the following credit:
Recipe from HEARTLAND: The Cookbook by Judith Fertig (Andrews McMeel, Spring 2011, $35.00/hardcover)