Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Pioneer Woman will help you cook

"Pioneer Woman" Ree Drummond's award-winning Web site is a favorite of mine. I enjoy reading about what's cooking in her kitchen and going on in her cattle-ranching family.

Now I'm smitten with Drummond's new glossy, hardback cookbook, "The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl." I'm not the only one who likes the book; it's been on the New York Times bestseller list for a number of weeks.

Drummond's Web site, www.thepioneerwoman.com, is popular for many reasons, including the spectacular photographs she shares on her site. It's the step-by-step photographs of her recipes that draw so many people to her site. She gives cooking instructions in an easy-to-follow, conversational tone and shows you the recipe steps in photos.

"The Pioneer Woman Cooks" includes a number of favorite recipes from Drummond's site as well as many photos. I've made three recipes from the book already.

My family really enjoyed Comfort Meatballs. The beefy, filling entree is very much like meatloaf and is delicious served with egg noodles and a green salad. Drummond serves hers with mashed potatoes, also in the book. Drummond's photos illustrate the process of forming the meatballs, browning them and covering them in a wonderful, tangy sauce. (I think I made a little extra sauce when I made the recipe several weeks back!)

Drummond's tip to refrigerate the meatballs for 30 to 45 minutes before dredging and cooking really paid off. The meatballs held together beautifully while they browned.

We also really enjoyed Marlboro Man's Favorite Sandwich. Marlboro Man is Drummond's blog name for her husband. His favorite sandwich is made from cube steak cut into strips. The meat is seasoned with several ingredients including salt, pepper, onion and Worcestershire sauce and served on deli rolls. The sandwich is very satisfying and was a good bargain because I got the beef on sale.

There are a number of recipes in the book that I intend to try, including an easy pizza crust; Cowboy Calzone, which uses the pizza crust recipe; cinnamon rolls; Perfect Pie Crust, which sounds like a recipe I might could actually make work; and Patsy's Blackberry Cobbler.

In addition to the recipes, Drummond includes many photographs and anecdotes about her husband and children and their life on the family's Oklahoma ranch.

I used the Wilson County Library's copy of the book for this story, but I'm putting the book on my birthday list!

Comfort Meatballs
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 3/4 cup quick oats
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons very finely minced onion
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • Plenty of ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons distilled white vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons minced onion
  • Dash of Tabasco (I didn’t use this)
In a bowl, combine the ground beef and oats. Pour in the milk, then add the diced onion and salt. Add the black pepper, then stir to combine.
Roll the mixture into tablespoon-size balls and refrigerate them for 30 to 45 minutes to firm.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Heat the canola oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
Dredge the chilled meatballs in the flour. Brown the meatballs in batches until light brown. As they brown, place them in a rectangular baking dish.
Stir together the sauce ingredients and drizzle the sauce evenly on the meatballs.
Bake for about 45 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

“The Pioneer Woman Cooks”

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