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Heartland (The Cookbook) by Judith Fertig
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Since this is going to be my first cookbook review I wanted to take a minute and explain how I am going about this. I have been reviewing nonfiction books on my reading blog for a few months. I figured it would be fun as well as a challenge for me to also start reviewing cookbooks. So how will I be grading these cookbooks? I am still ironing out the details but here is my current plan of action.

1. Ratings. I will be dividing the ratings in two. I will rate on both presentation(pictures layout etc.) and recipes(ease of use explanations etc.). I will then give an over all rating. I don’t think you can give a cookbook review with out cooking a few of the recipes.

2. If the cookbook has not been released I will not be sharing any of the recipes. Once its been released and I have a recipe I really liked I might post a recipe. If a cookbook has been released I might post a recipe or parts of it.

3. All reviews will be my own options good or bad. I will take into account if a cookbook is out of my cooking abilities or if the recipes are not ones my family normally eats etc.

4. After I review a couple cookbooks I will be putting together a rating system with a more detailed explanation for my ratings.

Heartland the Cookbook by Judith Fertig

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Goodreads Summery:

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.

The first thing I noticed when I started looking through this cookbook was the pictures page after page of beautiful Midwest farmland and farms with food mixed in. It made me home sick! As I looked through this cookbook I got excited to try some of the recipes. The first recipes to catch my eyes where in the bread section(Chapter 3 pg 65). There was a recipe for no knead bread dough and then there are 4 different recipes you can make with this dough. I love to bake bread and have wanted to try some no knead recipes so I gave it a try. The name of the recipe is No-Knead Clover Honey Dough pg 80.

In order to review this cookbook I followed the recipe no tweaks so that I could fairly review. The first thing I noticed about this recipe was there was way to much salt in this dough 2 tablespoons! When I make my bread I use 1 1/2 tsp. Also it used a cup of honey! I know it’s a honey bread but it seemed like a lot. I will say it was very easy to whip together I used a wooden spoon and has it all mixed in about 5 minutes. It then needs to rise for about 2 hours. The recipe says to let it rise at room temperature but I know from experience at my house I have to use my heating pad or nothing rises. After 2hrs here is the dough.

IMG_9963-1

Then I covered it and put it in the fridge. It can remain in the fridge for up to 3 days which is nice. The first recipe I tried with the dough was a strudel. It sounded yummy and pretty easy… Well it flopped. It made 2 loafs and I was able to salvage about 3/4th of one. It was tasty and I am not sure what went wrong with it. I followed the recipe. I believe I did not cook it long enough but had I cooked it much longer the bread itself would have burnt. Like I said what I did manage to safe went over pretty well at my Thursday morning Bible Study.

I really wanted to give this dough a chance to I made it again though this time I did add a lot less salt. I then tried the roll recipe with half the dough and I made a round loaf of bread with the other half of the dough. In the end I really just did not like this recipe. I felt like it had little flavor and the texture was so fluffy my kids where calling it cake. It was also frustrating because I had questions as I was making some of the different recipes but the directions are very short and no added pictures for explanation.

So I moved on to a side dish. There are lots of great looking recipes in this book and I was determined to find one that would work out for me! I settled on Loaded Baked Potato Salad pg 142.

IMG_9976-1

This one is a keeper!! Both me and my husband enjoyed it. The recipe is a big one meant for serving 8-12 but it is easily halved. It was relatively quick to put together and can be served warm or cold. A great recipe for those get togethers or picnics!

Presentation Rating

This book was fun to look through. Lots of great pictures of the heartland and yummy foods. It reminded me of looking through a country woman’s magazine. Looking at all the pictures made me want to be there.

Recipes

I admit to being disappointed in the bread dough recipe. All the recipes looked so yummy but they just did not turn out well for me. The potato salad recipe was great though! My biggest complaint is lack of pictures of the recipes themselves and I wished the directions had been more in depth. This cookbook is not for a beginner.

Over all Rating

Over all I enjoyed reviewing this cookbook. The pictures where breath taking and the recipes have lots of potential. There are some great summer recipes that I hope to try. As a cook I could have used more recipe pictures and better step by step directions. If you are looking for a cookbook that takes you to the heartland and offers recipes to make your own butter or lard as well as other great recipes then check this cookbook out when its released April 26st 2011!

DISCLOSURE: I was provided a free copy of this ebook from the publisher through NetGalley to review it. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.

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