Celebrating family is what Chip and Joanna Gaines are all about. From their inspiring home transformations on Fixer Upper to their expanding family, the duo loves to enjoy life’s special moments. And now, thanks to the multi-talented Jo, you too can celebrate like the Gaines family with some down-home cooking recipes courtesy of her new cookbook, Magnolia Table: A Collection of Recipes for Gathering.
Filled with tons of mouthwatering recipes from hearty to healthy, the cookbook is a labor of love from Joanna. Recipes include family-favorites (biscuits, anyone?), dishes from their Waco-based restaurant by the same name, and special family-style meals meant to share.
This season, channel your inner Joanna Gaines with these three delectable recipes that will have your family asking for more. Plus, they make for pretty great entertaining ideas, so keep these in your back pocket for those summer barbecues coming up. Our stomachs are ready.
Grilled Salmon with Meyer Lemons and 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.”
PREP: 15 minutes, plus 1 hour marinating
COOK: about 15 minutes
Four 6-ounce skin-on wild-caught salmon fillets
½ 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
½ cup mayonnaise, preferably Hellmann’s
½ cup sour cream
1 tablespoon fresh Meyer or regular lemon juice, or to taste
1 teaspoon minced fresh dill
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 English cucumbers, peeled in stripes, halved, and cut into ¼-inch dice
1 tablespoon minced chives
To prepare the salmon:
Brush the skin side of the salmon fillets with some olive oil. In a small bowl, combine the ½ 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.
- 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.
- Prepare a medium-hot grill. Lightly oil the grill grate.
- 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.
- 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.
- Store leftover salmon and cucumber salad in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
“When summer is at its height and the peaches are so ripe that you can smell their sweet aroma just by walking by, it’s time for this bright salad—a fun twist on the traditional caprese salad of mozzarella,tomatoes, and basil. This version is really lovely, both from a flavor and visual standpoint, and it comes together in minutes. Just be sure to allow some time for everything to get nice and chilled. First things first: Seek out the best mozzarella you can for the salad. If there’s a market close to you that makes it fresh, that’s fantastic, but very good mozzarella can be found at your local grocery store. For salads, I like the type packed in water best.”
½ cup white balsamic vinegar
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 white peaches, chilled
2 yellow peaches, chilled
Two 4-ounce fresh mozzarella balls, preferably water-packed
10 fresh basil leaves, torn
1 teaspoon flaky salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
PREP: 10 minutes, plus chilling (for the dressing)
- In an 8-ounce screw-top jar, combine the vinegar and oil. Screw on the lid and shake well. Refrigerate until well chilled. The dressing can be made ahead and stored in the jar in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
- Remove the pits from the peaches and cut them into ½-inch-thick slices or wedges. Drain the mozzarella if necessary and pat it dry. Use a sharp knife to cut it into ¼-inch-thick slices.
- On a serving platter, decoratively arrange slices of the white peaches, yellow peaches, and mozzarella. Scatter the basil leaves on top, drizzle over the dressing, and sprinkle the flaky salt and pepper on top. Serve at once.
Makes 4 servings
Chocolate Chip Cookies
“My dad has an intense sweet tooth, just like me. One afternoon when I was around ten 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.”
PREP: 15 minutes
COOK: under 30 minutes
COOL: 1 hour
2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 heaping teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon sea salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1½ cups semisweet chocolate chips (see Tip)
- 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.
Makes about 40 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.
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