Do you know what? I have a totally awesome sister! When I arrived at her place for dinner last night, she had a surprise for me...a copy of Ree Drummond's book The Pioneer Woman Cooks.
You may not remember, but a little while ago I was waxing lyrical about Ree Drummond's blog, especially the step-by-step recipes that she posts. Read about it here.
And you know how imitation is the sincerest form of flattery? Well here is where I posted one of my favourite recipes, inspired by the style of Ree's recipes on her blog.
So it's safe to say that I was excited and happy to receive the surprise present. And now I have a fantastic idea for a little project for me once I'm finished with all my assignments for uni. I'm going to cook a wonderful 'Pioneer Woman' feast for the next time my sis and her family come to my place for dinner!
I've been browsing through the book, and I want to try and stick with a theme. I'm no expert on American cuisine, my knowledge has mainly been gathered from reading books set in various U.S. cities. So I have a very stereotyped view of what dishes belong to different areas.
Say New Orleans, and I think Cajun and catfish. Say 'the South', and I think fried chicken, iced tea and grits (even though I don't even know what grits are!). So as I look through the book, I'm trying to pick dishes that seem to say the same thing to me. But I could be totally wrong, and pick things that real Americans would never put together!
So far, here are the recipes that are catching my eye:
PW's Potato Skins (they have bacon, cheese and sour cream, and Ree suggests that I may have to field a few marriage proposals when I serve them).
Buttermilk Biscuits (like grits, these are something that we just don't have in Australia - except that what we call biscuits is what Americans call cookies).
Macaroni and Cheese (yes, we have this in Australia, but I have a feeling that it wouldn't have become such an iconic dish if it wasn't a bit different when done by a home cook).
Cornbread (we don't have this in Australia either, and it just sounds so quintessentially American to me).
Chicken-fried Steak (this just screams 'the South' to me - I imagine Sookie Stackhouse eating it).
Fried Chicken (ditto the above).
Cheese Grits (With great excitement, I checked the recipe so I could finally find out what grits are. Imagine my frustration when I note that the main ingredient is...grits! I think it's similar to polenta???)
Now this is just a small selection of the savoury dishes in Ree's gorgeous cookbook. What do you think of my choices?
As for sweets, I'm thinking either Mocha Brownies (brownies seem quintessentially American to me) or Red Velvet Cake (because I'm always hearing about it, but I've never eaten it).
So what do you think? Have you cooked or eaten any of these dishes, or ones like them? What dishes make you think of America, or of specific cities or areas of the U.S?
I'd love your feedback and ideas, and if anyone wants to send me recipes, then go for it!
I promise that I'll post pictures when I cook anything from the book, or any other recipes that you send me.
I can't wait to get started! Just a couple more weeks of writing fancy academic papers for my M Ed., and then the 'Pioneer Woman' extravaganza can begin.