By MICHELLE GREEN
November 16, 2009 12:00 PM

The Pioneer Woman Cooks

by Ree Drummond

An urbanite who mastered down-home faves like Chicken-Fried Steak after she met a cattleman 10 years ago, Drummond invites fans into her world with irresistible recipes and photos like the ones on her hit blog, ThePioneerWoman.com. Here’s a mom of four who can turn out a Perfect Pot Roast and make feasts for girlfriends that start with sangria and finish with crème brûlée. It’s sweet and seductive: You’ll want to plunge right in.

COMFORT MEATBALLS

Meatballs

1½ lbs. ground beef

¾ c. quick oats

1 c. milk

3 tbsp finely minced onion

1½ tsp salt

black pepper

4 tbsp canola oil

½ c. flour

Sauce

1 c. ketchup

2 tbsp sugar

3 tbsp distilled white vinegar

2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

4-6 tbsp minced onion

dash of Tabasco

In a bowl, combine ground beef and oats. Add milk, onion, salt and pepper; stir to combine. Roll mixture into tablespoon-size balls, refrigerate 30-45 mins. Preheat oven to 350º. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Dredge meatballs in flour and brown in batches until light brown. Place into baking dish. Stir together sauce ingredients and drizzle on meatballs. Bake about 45 mins. or until bubbly and hot.

Ad Hoc at Home

by Thomas Keller

Spectacular is the word for Keller’s latest; the acclaimed founder of Bouchon and the French Laundry triumphs with luscious recipes that amateur cooks can ace. Don’t miss it.

The Pleasures of Cooking for One

by Judith Jones

Jones draws upon years as an editor for Julia Child and others to celebrate a “sensual and mindful” approach to the underrated art of cooking for yourself. Recipes include European-style soothers–moussaka, risotto. A savvy book larded with good advice.

Bubby’s Brunch Cookbook

by Ron Silver

Brunch is a homey extravaganza in the hands of Silver, chef at downtown Manhattan’s landmark café and celeb hangout Bubby’s: blueberry johnnycakes, Cajun omelets, orange chocolate chip muffins. Skip the weekend wait for a table and whip these up in your own kitchen.

Baking

by James Peterson

With meticulously photographed demos, Baking is perfect for advanced beginners who need visuals. Even if you don’t attempt the Bûche de Noël, it’s fun to watch a master at work.

Jamie’s Food Revolution

by Jamie Oliver

Oliver marches beginners into the kitchen and teaches them to take pride in perfecting both standbys (roast chicken) and company fare (paella). Focusing on healthy cuisine that won’t break the bank, he adds power to his message by making it personal–challenging readers to learn a few recipes and then pass them on. Choices including chicken fajitas, Best Ever French Beans, homemade granola and Asian-style steamed salmon make his culinary revolution pretty tempting.

The Lee Bros. Simple Fresh Southern

by Matt Lee and Ted Lee

Working with fresh ingredients, the brothers update southern-style cuisine and have lots of fun along the way. Gems include mint julep panna cotta. Yum.

SKILLET GREEN BEANS WITH ORANGE

1 large navel orange

2 tsp canola oil

1 lb. green beans, ends trimmed

¾ tsp kosher salt

1 tbsp white wine vinegar, champagne vinegar or rice vinegar

2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

Freshly ground black pepper

1. Grate zest of orange. Segment orange, keep with juice in a bowl.

2. In large skillet or sauté pan, heat oil over high heat so it coats bottom evenly. When oil smokes, add beans and sprinkle with ½ tsp. salt. Cook, stirring every 1½ to 2 mins., until half blistered and blackened, about 8 mins. Transfer to serving platter. Lift orange segments from juice and scatter them over beans. Sprinkle with ¼ tsp zest.

3. Add vinegar, olive oil and remaining salt to juice, whisk. Pour dressing over beans. Toss and season with salt, pepper and remaining zest.

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