I have been a fan of the Pioneer Woman for several years. I think I started reading her blog in 2007. The first recipe that I tried was something called the Marlboro Man Sandwich. It consisted of cube steak, grilled onions, a Worcestershire based sauce and lots and lots of BUTTER. I was immediately hooked, and would check her site for new recipes, which are posted several times a week.
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Ree Drummond- Pioneer Woman’s real name- has come a long way. In addition to Recipes From An Accidental Country Girl, she has come out with a second cookbook, and her show on the Food Network has a third season starting in about a week.
The first thing that you need to know about this cookbook is that many of the recipes are posted on The Pioneer Woman website or on the Food Network website. This gives you the opportunity to try some of the actual recipes before committing to buying the book.
The second thing you need to know is that Ree’s recipes are not healthy at all. Ree and her family live on a ranch in Oklahoma. Her husband’s family owns one of the biggest ranches in the state, but her husband is a cowboy (hence the Marlboro Man nickname) and is out there working hard all day long. He and the other cowboys need a lot of calories. I live in the suburbs. Chasing children is hard work, but it’s the same as chasing cows. I don’t need the calories, and so I use these recipes in moderation.
The cookbook is organized by category: Starters, In The Morning, Dinner, Supper, and Sweets. The recipes are not listed in the table of contents, but the pages have a color-coded bottom, so it is easy to flip to the section that you need. With many illustrations on each page, it is easy to find what you’re looking for.
One of the really neat things that Ree does with her blog is to provide step-by-step photos as she shares each recipe. She has faithfully carried this over to her cookbook, but something gets lost in translation. Due to space constraints, the step-by-step photos are shrunk to slightly larger that thumbnail size, and you don’t really get the full effect.
Interspersed throughout the book, are photos of her family and little anecdotes about life on the farm. Ree has been criticized, and detractors say that her husband’s family is very wealthy, and this country girl persona is just an act. I maintain that regardless of the size of the ranch, the fact remains that Ree and her family live on a ranch- a very isolated ranch. Her kids do farm chores, and she’s got the pictures to prove it. In addition to cooking, Ree also enjoys photography, and some of her pictures are just absolutely gorgeous.
Some of my favorite recipes from this book are:
The Marlboro Man sandwich. I discussed this recipe at the beginning of my review. This is where my addiction to Pioneer Woman recipes began. This is a very delicious sandwich, but between the butter to brown the onions, more butter for cooking the meat, more butter for the sauce, and buttered rolls for the sandwiches, this is a special occasion sandwich.
Chicken Fried Steak. This is a steak that has been battered and fried like a chicken breast. It’s another special occasion food.
PW’s Creamy Mashed Potatoes. These potatoes are delicious and creamy. They are made with cream, butter, and cream cheese. Very decadent!
Burgundy Mushrooms. Pioneer Woman featured these on the Christmas special of her cooking show, and we made them for our own holiday dinner. These mushrooms are cooked in butter, wine, chicken bullion, and beef bullion for nine hours. I’m not kidding when I tell you that my husband and I loitered in the kitchen for the whole day dipping chunks of stuffing bread into the cooking liquid. I loathe mushrooms with the passion of a thousand fiery suns, but I ate up these mushrooms like there was no tomorrow. They are that tasty.
Chocolate Sheet Cake. This is a simple cake that is easy to make. You might think after reading the other recipes I’ve mentioned that the secret ingredient in this cake is bacon grease, but nope, just regular cake ingredients.
These are just a few of the recipes in this book. There really isn’t anything in this cookbook that I have made and not enjoyed, but there are definitely some recipes that just don’t appeal to me. On that note, there are several others that I think I’d like to try, after scrutinizing this cookbook for the review, like the Peach Crisp with Maple Cream Sauce and the Cheese Grits.
I would absolutely recommend Recipes from An Accidental Country Girl. If you don’t mind cooking with cream and real butter from time to time, the Pioneer Woman has many mouth-watering and decadent recipes, ranging from main courses to sandwiches, sauces, side dishes, and desserts.
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