Heartland: The Cookbook
By Judith Fertig
Hardcover, 304 pages
Andrews McMeel Publishing
List Price: $35
How you gonna keep 'em down on the farm after they've been to the Twin Cities and sipped Cosmopolitans, Sex in the City style? Maybe by serving a batch of these drinks, whose secret ingredient is a rosy syrup made from rhubarb, long a reliable staple of the farm wife's garden. Who knew that old-fashioned pie plant could be so hip? My thanks to daughter Sarah for creating this recipe. The Cosmopolitan is thought to have been created by Neal Murray at the Cork & Cleaver steakhouse in 1975 Minneapolis, from whence it traveled to the fern bars of San Francisco and on to bigger fame after that. For a wonderful color contrast in the garnish, choose a stalk of rhubarb with a greenish cast.
3/4 cup vodka
1 cup Rosy Rhubarb Syrup (recipe follows)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1 teaspoon orange extract
Thin slices of lime for lime twists, for garnish
Combine the vodka, syrup, lime juice and orange extract in a medium pitcher or cocktail shaker. Add ice and stir well. Strain or pour into 4 vintage jelly glasses. Garnish each drink with a lime twist.
Rosy Rhubarb Syrup
Rhubarb, also known by the old-fashioned term "pie plant," was an established garden plant in the Heartland by the mid-19th century. One of the favorite heirloom varieties is Queen Victoria, which is the only variety you can grow reliably from seed. The only problem with perennial rhubarb is that sometimes you have too much of a good thing and it ends up being more woody than tender. That's when you make this recipe. Rhubarb syrup is a pretty pink color, tart yet sweet, and is delicious over pancakes, French toast or fresh fruit, or in lemonade or a Farm Girl Cosmo. You can also make Rosy Margaritas with 1 cup Rosy Rhubarb Syrup, 1/2 cup tequila, the juice of 1 lime, and all the ice you want.
Makes about 3 cups
4 cups chopped fresh or thawed frozen rhubarb
1 cup water
2 cups sugar
Juice of 2 lemons
Place the rhubarb and 1 cup water in a saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook the rhubarb until tender and pulpy, about 10 minutes.
Strain out the rhubarb pulp, reserving the juice. Measure the juice and add enough water to equal 2 cups. Return the liquid to the saucepan over medium-high heat and stir in the sugar. Bring to a boil and cook until the sugar dissolves, about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the lemon juice, and let cool. Strain again, then pour into clean glass jars with lids or bottles. Refrigerate for up to 1 month.
From Heartland: The Cookbook by Judith Fertig. Copyright 2011 Judith Fertig. Reprinted by permission of Andrews McMeel Publishing.