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Take your seat at 'Magnolia Table' ‘Magnolia Table’

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If you’ve ever watched the HGTV show “Fixer Upper,” you’ve probably seen Joanna Gaines, her husband, Chip, and their children in the kitchen.

The family makes an effort to eat together, and they share this tradition with their viewers. Now Joanna Gaines is sharing some of the family’s favorite recipes in a new cookbook, “Magnolia Table: A Collection of Recipes for Gathering.”

I have loved reading this beautiful, hardbound book — both the recipes and the stories.

Joanna tells about some of her family’s favorite food traditions as well as her evolution from a newlywed with little experience in the kitchen to her current stage — comfortable making such dishes as creamed corn spoon bread, beef stew with jalapeño corn bread and buttermilk blueberry puff. In fact, the Gaines family has opened a restaurant featuring some of the recipes in the book. The restaurant is also called Magnolia Table.

Don’t skip the introduction to the book. And don’t flip through the short narrative at the beginning of each chapter, from breakfast and side dishes to dinner and desserts. You’ll learn about Chip’s passion for breakfast, which is a big production at the Gaines household, and how much Joanna enjoys the routine of making dinner for her husband and children.

With each recipe is a story. Some are short and some are long, including the details of how much trial and error was involved with Joanna creating JoJo’s biscuits. It’s the first recipe in the book.

Some of her little stories make you want to cook right away, including her description of her favorite banana bread and how she often has it waiting for her kids when they get home from school. I made her banana nut bread right after reading the recipe and loved it! I had never made banana nut bread in a square pan, but I did so because that’s how Joanna makes it.

I made her baked bruschetta with tomato, basil and fontina because the photo made my mouth water, and I wanted to try bruschetta made with cheese. Good move on my part. We loved it!

And I made her brownie pie because how can you go wrong with brownies in a pie! It was delicious as well.

I still have a ways to go to make everything I want to try in this book. Sheet pan nachos are on my list. So are green beans amandine, autumn butternut squash soup and sausage and hash brown casserole. 

I checked out this book from the library first but decided to buy my own copy. I’m glad I did because I have a lot of cooking and experimenting left to do!

Baked Bruschetta with Tomato, Basil and Fontina

I made this delicious recipe one night after work. First my husband and I sampled it (and loved it), then I took

some to my co-workers. They loved it too! We highly recommend.

1 loaf French bread, cut on the

diagonal into 1-inch-thick slices

1/2 pound (2 sticks) salted butter,

melted*

2 cups diced (1/2-inch) colorful vineripened

tomatoes

1 cup white balsamic vinegar*

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

3 garlic cloves, minced

8 ounces Fontina cheese, grated

(about 2 cups)

1/2 cup basil chiffonade, for garnish

1 tablespoon flake sea salt, for

garnish

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Spread the bread slices on a baking sheet and brush both sides of each slice with melted butter. Toast in the oven until

lightly browned, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, olive oil and garlic.

Pull the toasts out the oven (leave the oven on) and use a fork or slotted spoon to divide the tomato mixture among the

toasts, making sure to drain the liquid from the topping before putting it on the bread. Top each with a generous portion

of Fontina.

Return to the oven and bake until the cheese melts, 8 to 10 minutes.

Garnish with the basil and flaky salt and serve.

“Magnolia Table”

Notes: I make the bruschetta with no butter and skipped the flaked sea salt as well. I never found white balsamic vinegar,

so I used the dark balsamic vinegar I have always used. I chose cherry tomatoes. I recommend putting the tomato

topping in a colander to drain it before adding to the toast. I did use Fontina cheese and really liked it, but you could

substitute another cheese — mozzarella perhaps. This is an excellent recipe for the summer!

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