Monday, March 30, 2015

Apple Tart from GARDENING THE AMANA WAY, by Lawrence L. Rettig

Have some apples to use up? Try this delicious apple tart from Gardening the Amana Wayby Lawrence L. Rettig.

Apple Tart

2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2/3 cup butter
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups peeled, sliced apples
1/3 cup apricot or peach jam, mixed with 1/4 cup sugar
Extra milk and sugar

Combine flour, sugar, and baking powder and cut in butter until crumbly. In another bowl, mix egg with milk and vanilla. Add to flour mixture and mix well. Knead gently on lightly floured surface until smooth. Cover and chill one-third of dough. Pat remainder on bottom and up sides of a 9- or 10-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Arrange apples over pastry. Top with jam/sugar mixture. Roll remaining dough into ten-inch circle and cut into strips. Arrange lattice-style over apples and tuck in edges. Brush with milk and sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 375 degrees for forty-five to fifty minutes.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Badam Burfi (Sweet Almond Confection)—from BITING THROUGH THE SKIN, by Nina Mukerjee Furstenau

Looking for a snack? Try this recipe from Biting through the Skin: An Indian Kitchen in America's Heartland, by Nina Mukerjee Furstenau.

Badam Burfi (Sweet Almond Confection)

Makes 20 pieces

1 cup almonds, finely ground
1/3 cup whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 tablespoons butter

Grease a 6 x 6-inch shallow pan with butter. In a medium-sized saucepan, blend the ground almonds with the milk. Add the sugar and stir vigorously for 2 minutes. Place on the stove and cook and stir the almond mixture over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add the 2 tablespoons butter and continue to stir constantly until the mixture thickens and starts to leave the sides of the pan (about 6 minutes). Add the cardamom powder and remove pan from heat. Stir the mixture vigorously with a spoon for 3 minutes until it has the consistency of bread batter.Pour about 1/4 inch of the almond mixture into the prepared greased pan. Smooth the surface with the back of a spoon. Let cool for about 20 minutes. Cut into diamond shapes. Cool completely and store pieces in an airtight container, where they will last 1 week, or 2 months if refrigerated.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Events with Dan Gable and Scott Schulte, authors of A WRESTLING LIFE

Come see Dan Gable and Scott Schulte, authors of A Wrestling Life, at the following events:

Dan Gable signing A Wrestling Life in Waterloo
When: March 25, 7:00pm
Where: Barnes & Noble
Join our Facebook event!

Dan Gable signing A Wrestling Life in Davenport
When: March 27, 7:00pm
Where: Barnes & Noble
Join our Facebook event!

Dan Gable signing A Wrestling Life in Coralville
When: March 28, 7:00pm
Where: Barnes & Noble
Join our Facebook event!

Dan Gable signing A Wrestling Life in Vinton
When: March 30, 2:00pm
Where: Vinton-Shellsburg High School
Join our Facebook event!

Dan Gable signing A Wrestling Life in Cedar Rapids
When: March 31, 7:00pm
Where: Barnes & Noble
Join our Facebook event!

Dan Gable signing A Wrestling Life in Sioux City
When: April 9, 6:30-8:00pm
Where: Barnes & Noble
Join our Facebook event!

Hope to see you at one of our events!

Monday, March 23, 2015

"Two Up, Two Down"—excerpt from OTHERS HAD IT WORSE

The first I can remember as a kid was living in this log cabin 4 rooms 2 up 2 down. The floors had holes in it. You could of throwed a cat through them. And upstairs where I slept with Barbara and Reva when it snowed on the bed we shook the snow off the covers when we got up. But luck was with us. We kids never seemed to be very sick.

Others Had It Worse: Sour Dock, Moonshine, and Hard Times in Davis County, Iowa, by Vetra Melrose Padget Covert and Chris D. Baker

Friday, March 20, 2015

Hot off the Press: MOTHS IN YOUR POCKET

The University of Iowa Press is proud to announce the release of Moths in Your Pocket: A Guide to the Saturn and Sphinx Moths of the Upper Midwest, by Jim Durbin, Frank Olsen, and Tom Jantscher.

This welcome addition to Iowa's popular series of laminated guides—the twenty-seventh in the series—illustrates fifty-one species commonly found in the Upper Midwest states of Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

The Saturniid, or Giant Silk moths, are well named. Their large size—up to 6.5 inches for the cecropia moth—and the soft silk browns, greens, and oranges of their wings are unforgettable when they appear at a lighted window at night. Equally well named are the Sphinx or Hawk moths, important pollinators that hover like hummingbirds when nectar-feeding at dusk and even in daylight. The caterpillars of both families can be just as distinctive as the adults, as anyone who has ever come upon a tobacco or a tomato hornworm can attest.

For each species the authors have included common and scientific names, wingspan, and time of flight for the adults at this final stage in their life cycle. Striking photographs of the adult moths and of their larval stages make this guide as beautiful as it is useful.

For all naturalists captivated by the clear window eyespots of a Swallow-tailed Luna moth, the dark eyespots and bright yellow "pupils" of an Io moth, or the extendable proboscis of a White-lined Sphinx moth flitting from one moss rose to another, the photographs and descriptions in Moths in Your Pocket will be an invaluable reference.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

"Roy Vaughn"—excerpt from OTHERS HAD IT WORSE

I remember I would go over to Roy Vaughn's and get baby Pidgeons to bring home and put them on top of the hen house in boxes and dig fish worms for them. Some I had to hold their mouths open while I would feed them but they were pets. I could holler for them and they would fly down on my Shoulder or head. Some drunk said he would give me a dollar for one. I took the dollar but before I caught the bird I give the dollar back. I could not sell my Pidgeon.

Others Had It Worse: Sour Dock, Moonshine, and Hard Times in Davis County, Iowa, by Vetra Melrose Padget Covert and Chris D. Baker

Monday, March 16, 2015

Books on Food Production—Call for Proposals

Iowa is one of the leading producers of corn, soybeans, and hogs in the United States—indeed, in the world. It also has a lively local food scene, with everything from organic farms and long-lived food coops to farmers’ markets and farm-to-school programs. Building on the state’s long history as an agricultural powerhouse, the University of Iowa Press publishes books focused on the production and distribution of food—how we grow or catch what we eat and how that harvest makes it into the marketplace.

And we’re always looking for good new projects in this field. If you’re writing on these topics, please consider the University of Iowa Press as a publisher. You can find more information about what kind of projects we are interested in and proposal guidelines on our website.


Monday, March 9, 2015

A WRESTLING LIFE, by Dan Gable with Scott Schulte

The University of Iowa Press is proud to announce that A Wrestling Life, by Dan Gable with Scott Schulte, is now available.

"Dan Gable has been called 'Sports Figure of the Century' by Sports Illustrated. If you've never heard of him (or even if you have), you're in for a treat. A Wrestling Life details Gable's most profound triumphs and disappointing losses, both on the mat and off. He's been a primary inspiration to be since I was 15, and this book will show you why. In a modern world of political correctness and glad handing, the art of the fight is highly undervalued. Allow Dan to show you another way."—Tim Ferriss, author, The 4-Hour Body

"A Wrestling Life shows readers not only how Dan Gable cultivated the 'Iowa Way' to becoming a world-class athlete, but how he became the man behind the athlete. Through his unwavering commitment to teamwork and using the hardships in his life to fuel his uparalleled work ethic, he has truly earned his place as the godfather of Iowa sports."—Nate Kaeding, former Iowa Hawkeye and NFL football player

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


"Art Quilts of the Midwest explores the essence of present-day and historic midwestern life in art quilts. Whether you hail from California, Quebec, or Australia, Linzee Kull McCray's thoughtful writing reveals how regional landscapes, culture, and history influence artists everywhere."—Bill Kerr, Modern Quilt Studio
"Linzee Kull McCray has the knack of getting to the heart of artists' work—piecing together their motivations and inspirations into stories as unique and colorful as the quilts themselves."—Janine Vangool, editor, UPPERCASE
Get more information here.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Iowa and the Midwest Experience series—Call for Proposals

Any history buffs out there? Our Iowa and the Midwest Experience series aims to publish innovative books on the social, cultural, economic, political, and geographical issues that have shaped the history of Iowa and other midwestern states. In addition to presenting current research and suggesting future directions for scholars, the series aims to make midwestern history more accessible to the general public.

From Necessary Courage: Iowa’s Underground Railroad in the Struggle against Slavery, by Lowell J. Soike (winner of the 2014 Shambaugh Prize in Iowa History) to the forthcoming Archaeological Guide to Iowa, to books on the Fairfield-based Transcendental Meditation movement and photos of the Iowa State Fair in 2013, we’ve got something for everyone who cares about Iowa’s past, present, and future.

And we’re always looking for more! If you’re writing about Iowa history and culture, please consider the University of Iowa Press as a publisher. You can find more information about what kind of projects we are interested in and proposal guidelines on our website.


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Bur Oak Books—Call for Proposals

Readers of this blog know that we’re in love with the natural beauty and diversity of the Midwest, and we’re devoted to its human history as well. Many of the books, recipes, and photographs we feature here come from our Bur Oaks Books series and our Bur Oak Guides.

And we’re always looking for new book projects on the natural and cultural history of Iowa and the upper Midwest. If you’ve got a manuscript in the works in this area, please consider the University of Iowa Press as a publisher. You can find more information about what kind of projects we are interested in and proposal guidelines on our website.


Monday, January 12, 2015

Museums and Events in Iowa

Wondering what to do on these chilly winter days? A bookstore is always our favorite home away from home, but museums are a great choice, too.

If you’re here in eastern Iowa where we are, check out the African American Museum of Iowa in Cedar Rapids. Its current exhibit is “Behind the Beat,” on the history of African American music, and it also features a permanent exhibit on the history of the state’s African American population. Its mission is to be the leading statewide resource on African American history and preserve the history of African Americans in Iowa.

African American Museum of Iowa
Location: 55 12th Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids, IA
Hours: 10:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M., Monday through Saturday

If you’re on the western side of the state, Sioux City offers two great places to spend a few hours and learn something about Iowa history: the Sioux City Public Museum and the Sergeant Floyd River Museum & Welcome Center. The Public Museum is downtown and features hands-on and interactive exhibits. Located on a dry-docked steamboat, the Sergeant Floyd offers Missouri River history.

Sioux City Public Museum
Location: 607 4th St., Sioux City, IA
Hours: 10:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. Tuesday through Saturday, 1:00 P.M.-5:00 P.M. Sunday

Sergeant Floyd River Museum
Location: 1000 Larsen Park Rd, Sioux City, IA

Hours: 10:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. daily (except major holidays)

Friday, January 9, 2015

Interview with Tom Rosburg, pt. 2

This spring we’re releasing the second edition of Sylvan T. Runkel and Dean M. Roosa’s Wildflowers and Other Plants of Iowa Wetlands. Botanist Tom Rosburg provided all new photographs for the second edition, as well as some additional text. Here, he talks with Bur Oak Books series editor Holly Carver about how he became a plant photographer.

Holly: What has changed in the outdoor world since your first days of photographing these areas? What’s better, what’s worse?
Tom: One thing is that there are more public areas to go to and look for nature subjects. And at least some of them are still pretty good examples of Iowa’s native landscape. In part this is due to the increased emphasis on restoration work. So access to areas is surely better. On the down side—I see increasing problems with non-native, troublesome plant species that threaten the integrity of natural areas. Unfortunately, in some cases this problem is exacerbated by poorly designed and/or executed restoration work. 

Holly: What advice would you give to younger nature photographers? What are the particular challenges of being a botanical photographer?
Tom: I teach nature photography at Drake University and Lakeside Lab, so there is a lot I could say. In short, I stress three components that make an image aesthetic: 1) understand your equipment and how it works, what to use when, correct exposure is critical; 2) understand the role of content in an image, especially elements of design and light quality; and 3) understand the key features of composition, for example, depth of field, perspective, and viewpoint.

Plants are very accessible, but photographing them can be challenging due to bad light and wind. There are several ways of dealing with these problems with the use of accessory equipment. Or quite often, getting out in the field early in the day can make the difference. There is a lot of truth to the saying “the early photographer gets the image.”

Holly: What are your favorite natural areas in Iowa and the Midwest? What areas do you return to constantly, and what’s your favorite newly visited area?
Tom: The state preserves are generally my favorite areas because they offer the best examples of our native ecosystems. These are the places that provide the best opportunities for plants and landscapes. On a larger scale, both the Loess Hills and Paleozoic Plateau landforms offer exceptional opportunities for nature photography.

Areas close to home are the places I return to repeatedly—Ledges State Park and Doolittle Prairie State Preserve are good examples. A newly visited area that has a lot of promise is Whiterock Conservancy in Guthrie County.