I’ve been waiting by the mailbox for days, weeks now to get a review copy of Ree Drummond’s latest cookbook and it finally came: “The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food From My Frontier.” I love her first installment. It’s also no secret that I also love her blog. I can’t tell you how many recipes of hers I’ve made: cinnamon rolls, rib eye steak with blue cheese sauce, prime rib, mashed potatoes, chocolate sheet cake, you get the idea. I’ve never been disappointed. Not once. Well, there is that pig cake. It was OK, but nothing I need again. Most of the Pioneer Woman recipes I’ve made have become part of my family cookbook that I’ll eventually will pass on to my children.
If you’re following the latest season of “The Pioneer Woman” on Food Network you’ll be pleased that many of the recipes are included in her new cookbook. As with the first cookbook, she includes step-by-step instructions with photographs. My only complaint is that, after following her blog for so long with the wonderful 630 pixel wide images, the photos in the cookbook seem too small. It’s worthy to also note that many of the recipes in the book are already available on her blog. Drummond doesn’t hide this fact as she states on her site when describing her new cookbook,
“The recipes in this cookbook are a mix of old classics that I’ve retested, revamped, and rephotographed, recent favorites that are not to be missed, and brand new recipes I’ve never shared before.”
There are, however, several new and wonderful dishes that I can’t wait to try. I have to admit that The Pioneer Woman is teaching me how to cook. Her step-by-step instructions on easy meals makes it perfect for people like me who never really learned the art of cooking.
How I Learned To Make and Can Strawberry Jam
A few weeks ago my family went strawberry picking and bought $56 worth of berries. That’s a lot of berries folks. What to do with them all? I decided that I wanted to try my hand at making and canning some jam, but didn’t know how to do it. I bought a canning kit from Amazon and then we went strawberry picking.
Wouldn’t you know it, the very next episode of The Pioneer Woman’s show was the one where she is showing her homeschooling group how to make strawberry jam. Perfect timing! This recipe also appears in a canning section of “The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food From My Frontier.”
We sliced the berries and smashed them to pieces with a potato masher. Great fun and somewhat of a workout. Next we cooked them in a regular pot on the stove and added sugar and pectin. Wait for this to boil and then it’s ready to put into the jars.
This is the canning pot that I used.
It came as a kit and had all the necessary pieces to do a canning project: the pot, tongs to grab hot jars, jar opener, magnetic stick to pick up the hot lids and a spout to put the jam into the jar. I bought the jars separately at, surprisingly, ACE Hardware. I tried Walmart, but they are a seasonal item there and not available when I went.
Here are the completed jam jars. I am so proud of these little guys. We made about 19 jars from this one recipe. It was a great lesson for the kids and became a fun family activity.
After we made the jam, I found this recipe (also from her show) for strawberry bars. This is one of my all time favorite Pioneer Woman recipes. Seriously, you need to run out to get the ingredients to make this today. It’s that good.
If you won’t be making your own strawberry jam for this recipe you can use store bought. I’ve made it with both. You can also use different flavors depending on what you feel like. Try it, you’ll love it.
This weekend I’m diving into the cookbook. First up, orange-marmelade rolls. If they are just as good as her cinnamon rolls, I’ll be a rock star with all my friends.