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I had only recently become a fan of the tv show “Fixer Upper” when the stars of the series, Chip and Joanna Gaines, announced that they would be filming their last season. I wasn’t quite ready to be done with the Gaines’, so I was happy to see Magnolia Table: A Collection of Recipes for Gathering come out in print. Joanna calls it a “collection of recipes for gathering” and indeed it has a little bit of everything for everybody.
The book itself is a hefty 328 pages done up with white lettering on black binding. The cover photo is a shot of Joanna snapping beans at a rustic wooden table arranged with garden produce. The interior pages feature full page color photos and recipes. The book starts with an introduction, followed by pantry and tools, then seven different chapters of recipes. The final pages include acknowledgements, a universal conversion chart and an index.
The recipes themselves tend to lean to the southern side (as would be expected from a Texas resident), with chilis, beans, pecans and grits being featured. There are some interesting additions from Jo’s side of the family that I’m eager to try my hand at, such as Syrian Donuts and Mom’s Bulgogi.
Recipes I’ve Tried
Each recipe that I have tried has been worth making and easy to prepare. The best one that I’ve tried so far is the Chocolate Chip Cookies. They turned out to be thick and chunky, with lots of chocolate chips to sweeten them up. In fact, it’s one of the best recipes I’ve come across for this type of cookie.
Aunt Opal’s Banana Pudding was the next recipe I made – can you tell I have a sweet tooth?! It’s got cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk so really, it doesn’t need anything else to qualify as delicious. But add in some whipped cream, pudding, bananas and vanilla wafers and you’ve got a hit.
I loved Joanna’s take on Chicken and Dumplings, which really simplified the process by using rotisserie chicken and refrigerated biscuit dough (which I admit I had to wait to buy on a trip to the city as my local little store doesn’t carry it). Regardless of the short cut ingredients it was a winner on a cold winter evening.
The latest recipe I baked was Orange Scones. They were crispy and citrusy fresh with a sweet maple-orange glaze. They were so good that when I offered a scone to my mother in law during an afternoon visit, she immediately asked for the recipe!