Side Dish: Pioneer Woman cookbook a fun read

“The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays, 140 Step-By-Step Recipes for Simple, Scrumptious Celebrations.”

By Ree Drummond.

William Morrow, $29.95.

388-page hardcover.

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Whether your plans for Valentine’s Day include a romantic home-cooked dinner for two, a big breakfast with all the family or handing out sweet treats to friends, Ree Drummond’s latest book has some recipe ideas you’re sure to like.

On her website, thepioneerwoman.com, Drummond writes about cooking good food and family life on the rural Oklahoma ranch where she lives with her husband and four children. She also has a cooking show on Food Network and two other best-selling cookbooks. In her latest cookbook, she offers recipes for sharing good times with family and friends.

The family-friendly recipes, presented with step-by-step full-color photographs, are easy to follow and made with (mostly) simple, easy-to-find ingredients. They begin with New Year’s Day brunch and go through the year to a New Year’s Eve cocktail party. She also provides recipes for The Big Game, Easter, Cinco de Mayo, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Fourth of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving (both the feast and the leftovers) and Christmas. She includes cross references with each menu for borrowing recipes from other holidays to create your own spread.

Among the recipes are Eight-Layer Dip, Homemade Chocolate Truffles, Orange-Vanilla Fruit Salad, Dulce de Leche Brownies, Three-Meat Lasagna, Pecan Pie, Turkey Spring Rolls and Champagne Cocktails.

For a perfect Valentine’s Day dinner, Drummond suggests serving Cheddar-Bacon Wedge Salad with steak and garlic mashed potatoes.

End the meal with a favorite cake.

She notes that while this is a holiday cookbook, it also doubles an “everyday” cookbook. It’s also a fun read.

Cheramie Sonnier is The Advocate’s food editor. Her email address is csonnier@theadvocate.com. Cheddar-Bacon Wedge Salad

Makes 2 to 4 servings. Recipe is from “The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays, 140 Step-By-Step Recipes for Simple, Scrumptious Celebrations” by Ree Drummond (William Morrow, 2013).

41 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup buttermilk4s

41 garlic clove, pressed

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. black pepper

1⁄8 tsp. cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp. white vinegar

1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

4 slices thick-cut bacon, fried until slightly crisp

1 iceberg lettuce head

1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar or cheddar-Jack cheese

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1. In a large bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, buttermilk and garlic.

2. Add the salt, pepper, cayenne, vinegar and Worcestershire. Whisk until the mixture is totally smooth.

3. Chop up the bacon into pieces and whisk half into the dressing. Add more pepper if you like it to have more flecks.

4. Cut the iceberg in half right through the middle, then cut the halves into wedges.

5. Spoon a good amount of the dressing over each wedge so that it drips down the sides, then sprinkle on the cheese and the remaining bacon. Serve with steak and garlic mashed potatoes.

Variations: Add 14⁄ 3 cup crumbled blue cheese to the dressing for a nice tang. Or, use grated pepper Jack cheese instead of cheddar for a little kick. Or sprinkle 2 tablespoons finely diced red onion over the salad for added flavor.

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