Friday, July 30, 2021

My Pioneer Woman Adventure


Rhee Drummond is a trailblazer and creator of recipes, a television show, cookbooks and wares. I'm now the proud owner of the very pan the Pioneer Woman used on the set. Here's how that happened:

On a trip home to West Virginia from Colorado, we made a side trip to Pawhuska, Oklahoma to visit her Mercantile and Bakery. 

I'd read that the Drummond Ranch Lodge, where the Food Network segments are filmed, was open for tours certain weeks of the year. "Ask for tickets and directions at the Mercantile". We then followed the printed directions first 12 miles along the highway, then 7 miles more on gravel roads. The directions are sweet like the woman herself. "The sign was knocked over by a cow not long ago, so we're not sure it's there, but it's literally the first right you can take off the county road".

The Drummond Ranch is huge and we enjoyed the view. The 120,000 acre ranch is home to wild horses and grass-fed cows with calves.

When we arrived at the Lodge, the hostesses answered our questions along the self guided toured.

At the entree-way is the kitchen where the demos are filmed. In the back is a prep kitchen and a large room with props. The hostess told us "Ms. Rhee" has just cleaned out her props and set a table of ones she was giving away. "One item per family". That's how I got this pan.


The cookbook I bought at the Mercantile is "A Year of Holidays'. There are many selections of recipes for 12 holidays in the year. While the recipes are seasonal, many can be made at other times of the year.

I chose recipes from summer celebrations. Since the quantities are large, I decided to use it as an opportunity to do some canning for later. 

Here's my version of the Baked Bean recipe:

Baked Beans 

12 Servings (1/2 cup each)

Soak beans overnight in double the amount of water. Drain. Cook for 20 minutes in a countertop pressure cooker in double the amount of water. Release pressure and drain.
1 pound dry beans
Saute peppers and onions in saucepan over medium low heat for 10 minutes.
4 multicolored sweet peppers, seeded and diced
1 sweet onion, diced
Mix ketchup, vinegar and spices together. Combine with peppers and onions.
2/3 cup ketchup (without high fructose corn syrup)
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 cup brown sugar  
Stir into cooked beans.
Fill sanitized canning jars. Process at 10 pounds pressure for 10 minutes. After pressure reduces to 0, remove lid. Cool 5 minutes. Remove jars and cool.
The Mercantile in downtown is a destination in itself.
The entire second floor is a bakery where we shared a pastry and coffee. I was thrilled to view the kitchen through the glass windows. There the busy bakers, wearing jeans and gingham shirts, performed their magic with dough. 

Rhee Drummond's businesses are customer centered. The Mercantile was predominately merchandise from other companies. She employees folks from the community. What I loved the most was that she shares her success with others and certainly makes you feel at home.

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Constitutional Cooking Cuisine


I didn't have to harvest the corn. I wasn't milking the cow and churning butter. Nor was I fermenting apples. The tasks I'm good at-planning the menu, cooking and serving it were a success.  Seems the 1790s menu was very compatible to those served today.

Beef was a staple in both lower and middle class households. In the early 1700s, Irish and Scottish immigrants imported cattle. During the French and Indian War, farmers increased their number of cattle. When wool was required to make soldiers uniforms for the Revolutionary War, mutton slaughter was prohibited. 

Though the soldiers food intake was inadequate, farm families could enjoy beef, milk and butter on the dinner table. Crops included corn, root vegetables and legumes. Fresh bread was served at every meal.  There was plenty of alcohol. Compared to modern times, Americans consumed three times the amount. Imports were prohibited and hops for beer were scarce, yet hard cider, wine and whisky were plentiful.

The meal pattern was unique with most of the calories consumed at the mid-afternoon dinner. Breakfast was served early-usually at 7, with porridge and pancakes the norm. The large dinner was the middle meal. Supper was small-often one consisting of apples, raisins and port wine. 

Not unlike the many farm tasks, preparing and serving the food kept the staff working many long hours.

That's my Washington style meal above, with slow roasted beef, potatoes, carrots and Lima beans. While I had no hard cider and I forgot to add the jar of pickles, I'm particularly fond of my sourdough cornbread which contains both corn flour and whole corn. 

This skillet cornbread has sweet peppers, more corn, fresh ground whole wheat berries and whole corn flour, making a perfect flavor combination.  This recipe is made in a 7-inch iron skillet.

Sourdough Whole Grain Cornbread

(Serves 8)

Saute peppers in buttery spread in 7-inch iron skillet. Set aside.
2 mini sweet peppers, diced
1 tablespoon melted buttery spread

In a separate bowl, mix ground corn, flour, baking powder, salt and soda.
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoon ground corn
6 tablespoon whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

In a larger bowl, combine buttermilk, egg, honey, buttery spread and sourdough starter discard.
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoon buttery spread, melted
1/2 cup sourdough starter discard

Add corn and sauteed peppers to liquid ingredients, then stir in dry ingredients. Stir only until mixed.
1/2 cup corn off the cob, chopped in food processor
Sauteed peppers

Grease skillet with buttery spread. Pour batter into skillet. 
1 tablespoon melted buttery spread

Bake at 425 F for 25 minutes.  Cool in pan on wire rack.