First Look: Joanna Gaines’ New ‘Magnolia Table’ Cookbook
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Fixer Upper fans, the wait to renovate your cooking routine is over: Magnolia Table: A Collection of Recipes For Gatherings ($30) by Joanna Gaines comes out on April 24. It’s filled with many classic Southern dishes, including desserts, casseroles, and more comfort foods. “Choosing the recipes was pretty easy — a lot of them are my own tried and true recipes, while others were inspired by family, friends, and our restaurant here in Waco, Texas,” Gaines explains in a Q&A with HarperCollins.
Beginner cooks, rest assured, the recipes are not overly complicated, and that’s exactly the point. Gaines hopes you spend less time stressing in the kitchen and more time socializing over something delicious, like the homemade biscuits from her Magnolia Table restaurant. “Whether you’re looking to add a few new dishes to your collection of recipes or you’re just starting to try your hand in the kitchen, my hope is that there’s something within these pages that empowers you to gather your loved ones for a home cooked meal,” Gaines, who’s pregnant with her fifth child with husband Chip Gaines, says.
More than connecting with family and friends, Gaines credits the process of cooking to keeping her fulfilled. “I think the concept of working with my hands and really seeing something through to completion has always kept me grounded,” she says. “There is a sense of reward that comes from working with your hands — whether it’s in your home, garden, or kitchen — and when life feels busy, something about messing with soil or a bowl of flour reminds me that these daily tasks are actually gifts.”
If you want a little taster of what to expect, check out three recipes from the new cookbook below: a beef bulgogi, grilled salmon with Meyer lemon, and the best for last… Jo’s Instagram-famous chocolate chip cookies.
Mom’s Bulgogi With Cucumber Kimchi Salad
Mom’s bulgogi is more of an American-Korean hybrid, much sweeter than traditional bulgogi, and she serves it on a bed of white rice. Mom has us over once a month and this is what she always makes. It’s my kids’ very favorite food in the world, so I knew I had to include it in this book. Getting the recipe on paper was a bit of a challenge. My mom had no idea what the measurements were or how to describe what she does, because, as she said, she just does it. (Writing this book made me realize just how alike we are in this way.) But eventually, we figured it out, and I’m so glad we did because now I’ve captured the blueprint to what will always be a beloved meal for my kids.
Note: My mom usually has the butcher slice the beef for this dish when she buys it. If you live near a Korean market, they often sell packages of sliced rib-eye or top sirloin; sometimes they’re even marked specifically for bulgogi. If you buy big pieces to cut yourself, freeze the meat for about 30 minutes before cutting so that it’s easier to slice thinly and cut against the grain.
*Tip: Gochugaru, or Korean red pepper, is commonly used in kimchi. It adds precisely the right amount of heat and unique flavor to the cucumber salad. Authentic Korean brands are readily available at Asian grocery stores or online, and the McCormick spice company packages it as well.
- 3 cups packed light brown sugar
- 1 1/2 cups soy sauce
- 5 tablespoons sparkling dessert wine, such as Banfi Rosa Regale, or sparkling grape juice
- 3 tablespoons sesame oil
- 2 green onions (light and dark green parts), chopped, plus 1/4 cup sliced for serving
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 4 to 5 pounds beef tenderloin, rib-eye, top sirloin, or sirloin steak, thinly sliced (see Note)
Cucumber Kimchi Salad:
- 2 English cucumbers, peeled if desired, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 2 green onions (light and dark green parts), thinly sliced on the diagonal
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 to 2 teaspoons gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes)*
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon kosher salt, to taste
- Steamed white rice
- 1 to 2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onion (light and dark green parts) as needed, for garnish
- 3 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted, for garnish
1. Marinate the bulgogi: In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, soy sauce, wine, sesame oil, green onions, garlic, and pepper until well combined. Add the beef and coat it completely in marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 4 to 5 hours.
2. To make the cucumber kimchi salad: In a medium bowl, combine the cucumbers, green onions, garlic, gochugaru, sugar, vinegar, sesame oil, and salt to taste and stir gently. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
3. Prepare a hot grill. If the pieces of beef are so small that they may fall through the grates, use a grilling skillet or place a sheet of foil on the grill.
4. Grill the beef on both sides until medium-well, 3 to 5 minutes, flipping halfway through cooking. Don’t crowd the skillet or foil, so do this in batches if necessary. As you finish each batch, transfer it to a serving platter and continue with the remaining beef.
5. Serve the bulgogi on top of steamed rice. Garnish with green onion and toasted sesame seeds and spoon the cucumber kimchi salad alongside.
6. Store the leftover bulgogi and cucumber kimchi salad in separate covered containers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Grilled Salmon With Meyer Lemons & Creamy Cucumber Salad
My family really loves both meat and poultry, but I do serve them fish occasionally as a healthy alternative, and this is one of our favorites. This method is easy and foolproof and it brings out the savory sweetness of salmon. You can use regular lemons here, but if you can find Meyer lemons when they’re in season (usually from winter into early spring) it’s definitely worth it to pick up a few. Generally smaller and more deeply colored than regular lemons, Meyer lemons’ juice is more sweet than acidic, like a cross between a lemon and an orange. Even their zest is distinct — flowery more than citrusy — and they work so perfectly here.
- 4 (6-ounce) skin-on, wild-caught salmon fillets
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for grilling
- 1 tablespoon grated Meyer or regular lemon zest
- juice of 2 Meyer lemons (see head note) or regular lemons, plus 1 or 2 Meyer or regular lemons, sliced into 8 thin rounds
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
- 1 tablespoon pink or regular sea salt
Creamy Cucumber Salad:
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise, preferably Hellmann’s
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 tablespoon fresh Meyer or regular lemon juice, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh dill
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 English cucumbers, peeled in stripes, halved, and cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 1 tablespoon minced chives
1. To prepare the salmon: Brush the skin side of the salmon fillets with some olive oil. In a small bowl, combine the 1/2 cup olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, dill, and salt. Pour the mixture into a shallow dish and place the fillets skin side up in the dish. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
2. Meanwhile, prepare the creamy cucumber salad: In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, dill, salt, and pepper. Fold in the cucumber until completely coated. Taste and adjust the lemon juice or salt. Cover and refrigerate until needed, up to 2 hours.
3. Prepare a medium-hot grill. Lightly oil the grill grate.
4. Place the fillets skin side down on the grill and brush them with the marinade. Cover the grill and cook without flipping until the salmon flakes, 10 to 12 minutes. Brush the lemon slices on both sides with oil and grill until marks appear, 1 to 2 minutes per side.
5. Arrange the fish on individual plates or a serving platter. Place 1 or 2 grilled lemon slices on top of each fillet and dust with chives. Serve with the cucumber salad.
6. Store leftover salmon and cucumber salad in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
(Makes 40 cookies)
My dad has an intense sweet tooth, just like me. One afternoon when I was around 10 years old, Dad got a hankering and he enlisted me to help him make Toll House chocolate chip cookies. That was the first time he and I had ever baked together. Since then, whenever I make chocolate chip cookies, including the ones from this recipe, I think of him and that special afternoon we spent together in the kitchen. I developed this recipe over the years, after experimenting with a few classics and having them come out flat every time. I wanted something that was chunky, beautiful, and also delicious. In the end, one big change I made was to cut back on the butter. I do truly believe that butter makes everything better, and no one is more surprised than I am about how amazing these taste even though they’re made with less of the good stuff than most traditional chocolate chip cookies.
*Tip: Depending on what you’re in the mood for, you can add ½ cup more or less chocolate than what is called for.
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 heaping teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 cups packed light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips*
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl with a handheld electric mixer), beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the eggs and beat until blended. Add the vanilla and beat until blended.
- Turn the mixer off and add the flour mixture to the bowl. Mix on medium just until the flour is mixed in, then turn the mixer to high speed for a few seconds to pull the dough together; it will be chunky.
- Add the chocolate chips and beat on high for about 5 seconds to thoroughly and quickly mix in the chips.
- Drop by large spoonfuls on the lined baking sheet; don’t flatten them. Bake until lightly browned on top, 10 to 11 minutes. Cool on the pan on a rack for 1 minute, then transfer the cookies to the rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough.
- Store the cookies in a tightly covered container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
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(Recipes via Magnolia Table by Joanna Gaines. Photos via Amy Neunsinger. Copyright © 2018 by Joanna Gaines. Reprinted by permission of William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.)