Book Review - Savoring The Seasons of the Northern Heartland

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Savoring The Seasons of The Northern Heartland (200 Recipes Blending Bold, New Flavors With The Traditional Food Of The Upper Midwest) By Beth Dooley and Lucia Watson.

There is a disclaimer on this review. I LOVE regional cookbooks. They are my favorites. We lived for many years in Minnesota (our oldest son still lives there). I love the land and the people of Minnesota. So, with that in mind, I (being a very biased reviewer) LOVED this book. The book contains more than 200 seasonal recipes from the upper Midwest--Minnesota, Michigan, Iowa, and North Dakota. It includes delicious old-fashioned recipes that reflect the immigrant mix (Scandinavian, German, Eastern European, Scottish, and Welsh) of the upper Midwest, as well as charming old pictures, stories, and oral history from local residents. The recipes are a mix of old, hearty fare and updated, intriguing culinary creations that tell the story of the farmers and millers who settled this land and came to make it home. This book was published in 1994. After checking it out of our public library, I was able to find a copy on ebay.

Earlier this week we had a meal from this book. The recipes were simple, the food delicious. No better review than that!


The dry rub in this recipe is made with spices and salt that penetrate the meat with flavor. It's also delicious used to flavor larger cuts of beef, pork, and lamb.
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon freshly ground pepper
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 tablespoon dried thyme or 1/4 cup chopped fresh
2 teaspoons ground cloves
1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
4 thick premium loin pork chops (10 ounces each)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon each, butter and olive oil or just olive oil

In a coffee grinder, spice mill, or blender, process the bay leaves, pepper, garlic, thyme, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cardamom until completely blended. (The bay leaves will not be totally crushed.) Rub the chops with the olive oil, then rub the spice blend over all the chops. Cover and set aside for about 30 minutes to 1 hour at room temperature. Sear the chops in a butter/oil in a heavy skillet over high heat about 3 to 4 minutes per side, until they are golden brown. Place the chops on a cookie sheet and bake in a preheated 400 for about 30 minutes, or until the juices run clear.


3 strips bacon or 2 Tbsp butter or vegetable oil
1 small yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 medium head red cabbage, shredded (I used green)
½ c cider vinegar
2 tart apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
½ c apple cider
4 whole cloves
½ c sugar
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

In a large, deep skillet, fry bacon (or if using oil or butter, heat over medium heat). Leave drippings in the pan and drain the bacon on paper toweling. Crumble the bacon and set it aside for garnish. Saute the onion in the fat until limp and brown. Toss the shredded cabbage with the vinegar, then add this along with the remaining ingredients except salt and pepper, to the pot and simmer, uncovered until the cabbage is tender, about 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve garnished with bacon crumbles.


2 c unbleached all-purpose flour
1 c brown sugar, light or dark
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1-1/2 sticks butter
1 c lightly toasted, chopped walnuts
1 Tbsp grated fresh gingerroot
Juice of 1 lemon
Grated rind of 1 lemon
1-2 Tbsp cornstarch, depending on how juicy the fruit is
¾ - 1 c sugar, depending on how sweet the fruit is
4-6 c fresh chopped fresh fruit or berries (I used pears and blueberries)

In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon, then work in the butter and walnuts to make a course meal to be used as topping. In another bowl, mix together the ginger, lemon juice and rind, cornstarch, sugar, and fruit, Turn the fruit mixture into a 2-quart baking dish or a 9-inch-square baking pan or 6 to 8 individual ovenproof serving dishes, and cover with the topping mixture. Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for about 20 to 35 minutes, or until the topping is crisp and brown and the fruit is bubbly.