28 October 2011

Ree Drummond's Beef Noodles Salad

I imagine Ree Drummond has infused a bit of controversy into the 50 Woman list discussion. She seems to raise the dander of as many folk as Rachael Ray ... perhaps because she is as much a media upstart as RR. Ree has marketed her lifestyle with as much savvy as Martha Stewart, in my opinion. She likes where she's at on her 'ranch' in the heartland, has a raft of kids, a handsome husband who ranches, a 'state of the art kitchen and convention center' guest house on the property, and boundless imagination for spinning her romantic take on her courtship with Marlboro Man, her family life, her home-schooling ideas, her food adventures. It all comes out in a folksy stream of consciousness on her food blog - The Pioneer Woman. She also takes damn fine photos of eveything from beaten eggs to the family dog, vistas on the ranch to Marlboro Man's backside. It all works to entice a lot of people to her site, to her cookbook signings, to her occasional blogging events/parties, and to her Food Network cooking show.

" ... it's all about cows and butter." - Ree Drummond

So ... who IS Ree Drummond? She's a native of Oklahoma who ran from the heartland as soon as she got out of high school. She lived in LA for several years and then, on a trip home, ran into a young man in a bar ... the rest is family history. The food blog came about after marrying, having four children, making a slow adjustment to rural ranch life, and making some time at a computer to send photos to her mother. What started as a family connection, slowly evolved into a 'step-by-step' approach to cooking the family dinners mixed with humorous anecdotes about her previous urban life in LA and her adjustment to ranch life in Oklahoma. Her photography became one of the key elements of the blog's step-by-step look. As her viewership rose, she began making The Pioneer Woman a 'destination site'. The tabs began to appear ... homeschooling links, the romantic backstory in installments, a recipe connection tab called Tasty Kitchen. Posts updated readers on her other projects too ... a cook book, a children's book about the adorable Basset hound, a book recounting the romance ... and more.

Whatever she's doing, she's doing it right. Her viewership continues to rise and the blog has become a website requiring a team of people to help with graphic design, website security, homeschooling information, et cetera. She has garnered major bloggie awards for the last three years ...it's obviously about more than cows and butter these days. To boot, she's published three books, thus far and sold the movie rights to her story to SONY Pictures ... phew! She is one busy cowgirl!

Going into Ree's recipe archive is like falling down a rabbit (or should I say prairie dog? ) hole.  She loves her beef and she loves her noodles and since I am currently on an Asian kick, I am making her Beef Noodle Salad this week in tribute to her ranching lifestyle and her previous West Coast urban adventure. So, here goes! Ree serves this salad cool, but it cold and raw here today, so I'm serving it warm with steamed broccoli on the side ... you do just what you want with it!

Beef Noodle Salad


1 sirloin steak - about 1 lb
Kosher salt and black pepper to sprinkle
olive oil to drizzle on the steak
¾ c. soy sauce
3 tbsp. sesame oil
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
2 tsp. hot chili oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. ginger root, minced
2 tbsp. packed light brown sugar
8 ounce bag of chinese noodles (or angel hair pasta)
½ c. green onion, thinly sliced coins, whites and greens
½ c. chopped fresh cilantro

Making the Dish:

1. Heat a grill pan over high heat until it is smoking. Meanwhile, sprinkle both sides of the steak with Kosher salt and black pepper and drizzle a bit of olive oil over both sides too.

2. Sear the steak for 4 - 5 minutes on each side.

3. Remove from the heat and place the steak on a platter, loosely cover, and set aside until it's cool enough to handle.

4. In a deep bowl combine the soy sauce, sesame, olive, and chili oils, rice wine vinegar, garlic, ginger, and brown sugar and stir to dissolve the brown sugar.

5. When you can handle the steak, slide it into a zip-lock bag with 3 tbsp. of the spicy sauce, zip it up and lay it aside to marinate.

6. Bring a big deep pasta pot of salted water to a boil and cook the noodles for 4 minutes, drain and place them in a deep mixing bowl. While the noodles cook, heat a lipped platter in the oven.

7. Pour the spicy sauce over the noodles and toss to distribute, turn in the onions and cilantro and turn them onto the warm platter. Return the platter to the oven to keep the noodles warm.

8. Slice the steak on the diagonal across the grain into thin slices ( about ⅓ inch thick). Lay the steak slices over top of the noodles and drizzle the juices from the zip-lock bagover the slices to keep them moist. Garnish with a bit more cilantro and serve.

Serves: 2 - 4

This post is part of a group of posts honoring the 50 Woman Game Changers in today's food culture. To see other bloggers' tributes to # 21 on Gourmet Live's List of Game Changers - Ree Drummond, link to One Perfect Bite. Mary has organized us and provided links to everyone's posts. This is a monumental project, as our numbers keep growing as we work our way toward #50 on the list. Come on and check out the other folks' work and consider joining us


  1. Thanks, Susan, you've introduced me to a dish that we would love in our house, but is outside my normal range of recipes. I've never even bought Asian noodles, outside of those little ramen packs.
    It was fun to read your insights on Ree.

  2. Well, she is definitely a force! It's great to see so many different opinions and takes on her. I definitely like the sound of this noodle salad warm, too. I can almost taste it...it looks so savory.

  3. I really enjoyed your post and your take on Ree Drummond and her success. You've also chosen a great recipe to share with us. It sounds delicious. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  4. You would not believe this, but this is exactly what I was planning to make for supper; Wow Susan! Thanks.

  5. I love Ree and found this post really interesting!! Thanks.

  6. Loved your post. You hit the nail right on the head!
    And good recipe choice as well. Your photo is very tempting. I confess my dish was the first Pioneer Woman recipe I've ever made.

  7. I agree with Barbara that you really pick a winning recipe. I've been making one very similar to this for years and it's always a favorite with family and friends.

  8. There are haters out there but Ree Drummond has made her life into a blog, cookbooks, an amazing career, a Food Network show and even possibly a movie. I'd say she has done pretty well

  9. There is no doubt that America loves Ree! I think she has that every woman quality that people can relate to.. Kind of like Racheal Ray.. I believe Mario Batali said it best when he said she is in no way a trained culinary chef, but then again that is just the reason why people are drawn towards her.

  10. The sauce on this noodle salad sounds really good. I actually met Ree at a conference last year, and she was really down to earth and friendly. I think that's why people relate to her so easily.

  11. Wonderful review of Ree. Love it that you did not fall all over her. She is one special lady though. We should all have three books and a movie under our belts.

  12. This looks so delicious! Lovely photos! I will have to give it a try!

  13. You picked a great dish Susan. My family is all meat and potatoes! Thanks for sharing.

  14. I'm off to take a gander at her web-site. This dish does look yummy. I wish I could eat beef everyday, its my favorite meat. We usually have beef once a week.

  15. Hi Susan, that dish looks delicious, and I know my hubby would enjoy it! I love serving beef on a salad! Thanks for sharing a great recipe!

    Hmm, I wonder if Pioneer Woman is laughing all the way to the bank . . .

  16. @Mary - I'm sure she's 'aw-shucks'ing it allllll the way!

  17. I do love Asian food - thanks for sharing :)

  18. Not a fan of Ree at all, but I must admit this looks darn good!


Anonymous comments will not be accepted. Please be aware that due to spamming concerns, I must be able to track back. Use your Google account ID to comment.