The Heartland of America, the Midwest, is still the agricultural core of our country, its “pastoral face,” where amber grain waves and the deer and a few antelope still play. Many Midwesterners are only a generation or two removed from the family farm, and their deep roots are reflected in the food they love and share. Heartland: The Cookbook, Judith Fertig’s culinary ode to the Midwestern kitchen, celebrates its farm-to-table traditions, grounded in the bounty of the land and laced with the ethnic accents and pioneering spirit of the settlers. With its beautiful full-color photos of vistas and vittles, the collection also serves as a visual ode to the heart and soul of middle America. The recipes run the gastronomic gamut, from Winterberry Breakfast Pudding, Haymaker’s Hash and Prairie Panzanella to Sunflower Cookie Brittle and Shaker-inspired Ohio Lemon Tart. Judith has made sure that prep techniques and cooking methods are streamlined for our time-challenged lives—Farmhouse Butter is “churned” in a Cuisinart, Rosy Rhubarb Syrup will keep, unsealed (and without canning hassles) in the fridge for a year and No-Knead Clover Honey Dough turns itself into coffee cake, yeast rolls and challah.
Italians are locavores by nature; the idea of eating seasonally and locally seems to be part of their genetic makeup. So it’s natural that seasonal vegetables are at the very heart of la cucina Italiana and find their way into homecooked dishes in many ways. Vegetables from an Italian Garden, a new collection of more than 350 easy-to-follow recipes, gathered by the famed Silver Spoon Kitchen and arranged by season, is an elegant tribute to a glorious array of vegetables that speak Italian. From stems to shoots to leafy greens and roots, Italians find fascinating, flavorsome ways to use veggies in antipasti, primi piatti (risottos, pastas, soups), in entrées, salads and a few desserts. As we move into the most bountiful weeks of summer, when the tomatoes are luscious, the corn perfect and the zucchini overwhelming, it can be fun, even necessary, to try something new: icy Spicy Tomato Granita; Tomato, Mozzarella and Basil Flan; Corn and Radicchio Salad; Linguine with Zucchini, Almond and Mint Pesto. And you’ll find equally intriguing ways to savor veggies in fall, winter and spring.
COOKBOOK OF THE MONTH
Chocolate, vanilla and strawberry, move over—there’s a flavor makeover in the works. Jeni Britton Bauer, owner of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, has revolutionized the texture and taste of our favorite frozen confection and now shares her expertise in Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home. To replicate Jeni’s fabulous flavors, you’ll need an ice cream machine, you’ll need to read her overview and recipes thoroughly—and then you’ll need a modicum of self-control to keep from becoming a hopeless but happy ice-creamaholic. Her flavors are bold and different, and her innovative combinations open new worlds and invite you to dream up a few of your own. Start with a summery stunner like Sweet Corn & Black Raspberry, go on to Jeni’s signature Salty Caramel for fall, warm up winter with a cayenne-spiced chocolate creation and, when spring reappears, salute it with a scoop of Roasted Strawberry & Buttermilk. Sensational, inspirational ice cream!