by Ree Drummond
William Morrow -- 2009
Buy It on Amazon
Ree Drummond started her popular blog, The Pioneer Woman, in 2006 to chronicle her life on an Oklahoma cattle ranch with her husband, whom she dubbed "Marlboro Man" and her four children. Her blog has garnered a cult following -- in part because of the lush, step by step photos she takes for her cooking section.
"The recipes I share on this site are tried and true -- I've made them over and over," she writes on the blog. "And I use only the simplest of ingredients, considering the country market near our home has never even thought about carrying yellowfin tuna, star anise or wasabi paste."
That philosophy of hearty, simple meals carries through in this, her first cookbook.
See what we tested and whether the book is worth buying after the jump.
Takeaway tips: Drummond offers kitchen tips along with cowboy know-how. For example, pineapple upside-down cake might be even better when baked in a skillet and a cowboy's leather chaps run the whole length of the leg; cowboy chinks stop at or below the knee.
Quality of pictures: Beautiful. Drummond takes her own photos in this cookbook. Not only does she offer in depth step by step instructions on how to prepare her recipes, she peppers the pages with closeups of her children, her animals and her Marlboro Man.
What we tested: Comfort Meatballs
Drummond warns readers that these beef meatballs "are more in the comfort food/meatloaf category." The recipe -- in her "Supper" section -- utilizes oatmeal and milk as the binding agents along with a healthy dose of minced onions. While assembly is easy, these meatballs do take time. At least 30 minutes to chill the meatballs is required before you dredge them in flour and brown in a skillet. Those lightly browned meatballs take a 45 minute steam in the oven under a blanket of sauce made from ketchup, minced onions, vinegar, Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce.
The taste was definitely comfort. And it serves 6 to 8, meaning plenty of leftovers.
Worth the investment: If you're a fan of no-fuss family-style meals and you like a good farm tale, "The Pioneer Woman Cooks" is for you.