Sunday, February 14, 2010

Review: The Pioneer Woman Cooks

Summary: My name is Ree.

Some folks know me as The Pioneer Woman.

After years of living in Los Angeles, I made a pit stop in my hometown in Oklahoma on the way to a new, exciting life in Chicago. It was during my stay at home that I met Marlboro Man, a mysterious cowboy with steely blue eyes and a muscular, work-honed body. A strict vegetarian, I fell hard and fast, and before I knew it we were married and living on his ranch in the middle of nowhere, taking care of animals, and managing a brood of four young children. I had no idea how I'd wound up there, but I knew it was exactly where I belonged.

The Pioneer Woman Cooks is a homespun collection of photography, rural stories, and scrumptious recipes that have defined my experience in the country. I share many of the delicious cowboy-tested recipes I've learned to make during my years as an accidental ranch wife—including Rib-Eye Steak with Whiskey Cream Sauce, Lasagna, Fried Chicken, Patsy's Blackberry Cobbler, and Cinnamon Rolls—not to mention several "cowgirl-friendly" dishes, such as Sherried Tomato Soup, Olive Cheese Bread, and Crème Brûlée. I show my recipes in full color, step-by-step detail, so it's as easy as pie to follow along.

You'll also find colorful images of rural life: cows, horses, country kids, and plenty of chaps-wearing cowboys.

I hope you get a kick out of this book of mine. I hope it makes you smile. I hope the recipes bring you recognition, accolades, and marriage proposals. And I hope it encourages even the most harried urban cook to slow down, relish the joys of family, nature, and great food, and enjoy life. -- William Morrow

I have THE PIONEER WOMAN COOKS by Ree Drummond everywhere! Quite a few bloggers have raved about it, plus it's a New York Times Bestselling cookbook. Considering my love of cookbooks, I knew I had to get my hands on this one. So, I got in the wait list at the library and it took awhile, but I finally received it. I can see what all the fuss is about!

This cookbook is absolutely beautiful. To be honest, I think I enjoyed looking at the photographs and reading about her family and life more than I enjoyed the recipes. Not to say that the recipes didn't look delicious, but there really weren't a whole lot of things in there that my family would eat. The style of recipes was exactly what you'd expect -- family favorites. It's just that I rarely cook down-home (and high-fat) foods! Having said that, I can see how loads of moms would just love these relatively-easy recipes.

There were wonderful recipes for macaroni and cheese, lasagna, chicken pot pie, barbecue, etc. I will admit that my mouth was watering as I read this cookbook and saw all of the gorgeous pictures of the recipes. Of course, I was drawn to the dessert section -- no shock there! The desserts were heavenly and pretty easy to whip up.

I did decide to make Patsy's Blackberry Cobbler because it was so easy and I had all of the ingredients on hand. Plus, I thought the recipe looked different from what I knew traditional cobbler to look like. The recipe took me about five minutes to throw together and I only needed butter, sugar, flour, and blackberries (I used frozen.) You can see the entire recipe with pictures on The Pioneer Woman Cooks website.

I ended up using frozen blackberries -- the recipe calls for any berries, fresh or frozen. And, I admit to using skim milk in the recipe. I figured with an entire stick of butter, using a little fat-free milk wouldn't hurt! Here's what my cobbler looked like:

I thought it was delicious although it definitely wasn't like the cobbler I grew up on. I have been trying to find a word to define the "cake" part of the cobbler, and I still don't have a good one. I guess you could say that it was dense and almost custardy! Whatever you call it, it was a delicious fruit dessert! I think it would also be fantastic with blueberries or raspberries too.

One appeal that this recipe had for me (besides the ease of preparation) is that I think I can modify it to work for my son with his food allergies. He absolutely adores blackberries! Since there aren't any eggs in this recipe, it makes it a little bit easier to adapt. I am going to substitute his dairy-free margarine for the butter and I can use rice milk (or soy milk) for the milk. I can't imagine that it wouldn't work!

I highly recommend taking a peek at THE PIONEER WOMAN COOKS. It's a gorgeous cookbook with incredible photographs and yummy recipes!

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Sandy Nawrot said...

I know, I have heard so many good things about this lady. It is hard not to be drawn to her, just by her story! I mean, she meets a Marlboro Man on a stop-through, and ends up staying and living on a ranch? How cool is that? The only thing I would have difficulty with is the fact that these recipes sound fattening, and as you know, I am trying my very hardest to eat healthy. Was it you who recently reviewed Cook YOurself Thin Faster? Anyway, I just got that from the library. I don't want to gain back everything I've lost!

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I too have heard so much about this one. I love cobbler too. For some reason, it never occurred to me to check it out from the library, as Sandy mentioned, but now, I might have to see if our library carries it.

Melanie said...

I haven't seen the cookbook yet - we just got our copy in at the library. But I've cooked some of her recipes on her website, and they are delishious - and I don't always use all the butter that she calls for.

Dana said...

I've been wanting to read this since it came out, but I'm still waiting for my library copy to come in. Can't wait to get my hands on it!

Mary (Bookfan) said...

A friend gave the cookbook to me (nice friend!). It's great. I plan to buy more for my friends. I also subscribe to her blog - this is one talented (and very funny) woman! I'm going to try this recipe - it looks delicious. Nice review.

bermudaonion said...

I love this cookbook too. That recipe looks fantastic and I love that it's so easy to "throw" together. I'll have to give it a try.

Nicole (Linus's Blanket) said...

Yum. I lone cobblers and I really love her website. I have been meaning to get my hands on this book but I have to wait a few months until BLOB is over.

Beth F said...

That is actually a clafouti! I make it three or four times in the summer with whatever fruit is fresh. The amount of butter prevents it from being an everyday treat.

I totally agree with you that I will not likely make much out of this book because we eat lower fat and less down-home.

But for the occasional induldgence, this is a good book to turn to.

Jill said...

I got this cookbook for Christmas, and you're's gorgeous. I love the photographs, and I bookmarked several of the recipes.

Amused said...

This cookbook really intrigues me and your post now sparks my interest even more! I really want to check it out! That cobbler looked really yummy too!

Celticlady's Reviews said...

Thanks for this post, looks so good I printed the recipe and I am going to try it!! Thanks.
Happy Valentines Day!!

Michele said...

I got this cookbook back in November for my birthday and I LOVE it. Course, I love Ree too and read her blog(s) religiously. She is so funny. And these are such YUMMY recipes and very easy to follow. I highly recommend everyone get one.

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

Oh wow- a great sounding book and I seriously must go get something to eat now. Beautiful book!

Mystica said...

My daughter who lives in Australia follows this lady's receipes to the letter and everything she cooks turns out very well. My daughter is a rotten cook and this has given her such a lot of confidence because now she can actually cook!!!

S. Krishna said...

I've been following the Pioneer Woman's recipes for awhile and just got this cookbook. I can't wait to try it!