at home with
Classic American Recipes from
the Owner of Magnolia Bakery
John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Most of my life is spent cooking, baking, gardening, talking about
food and writing about food. I love food. I love creating new recipes.
I love when I open up the fridge to see a wide array of beautiful fresh
ingredients and can spend a lazy afternoon puttering around the
kitchen, putting together an elaborate, fun little feast just for the two of
us on a Sunday, or a simple dinner on the back porch for neighbors
on a summer evening. I’m very lucky to live with someone who is as
enthusiastic about eating as I am. When we have guests visiting, they
think it’s a bit crazy when over our ﬁrst cup of coffee we’ve already
created our menu for the entire day, complete with dessert.
I like to cook simple foods made with seasonal ingredients.
I’m just about as passionate about gardening as I am about cooking.
I have a cottage garden ﬁlled with roses and old-fashioned ﬂowers,
and we have a large organic kitchen garden where I grow all of our
vegetables. The greatest thing about having your own garden is
being able to run out barefoot and pick a few ears of corn or a hand-
ful of green beans.You can’t get any fresher than food grown in your
own backyard, and it really is amazing what a difference such fresh Although I love to spend time in the kitchen, I still try to keep
ingredients have in the outcome of your dishes. things simple and I avoid recipes that are fancy with unnecessary
It’s important to me to know where my food comes from. What I steps. Many cookbooks and food magazines are ﬁlled with long,
love about living in the country is that it gives me the opportunity to overwhelming recipes that look interesting at ﬁrst glance, but have
get to know and support the local farmers who are raising the animals too many ingredients and too many complicated instructions to
and growing the fruits and vegetables that end up on our kitchen make them realistic options for everyday meals. There aren’t enough
table. For about six months out of the year, the farmer’s market is a cookbooks that encourage the home cook to make dinner, any night
wonderful option for high quality, locally grown and raised foods. of the week.
I feel pretty strongly about cooking only with seasonal produce. Maybe it would be easier to get people back into the evening
Rather than feeling deprived, I ﬁnd it satisfying to eat foods only when ritual of sitting down together around the table if they had a nice
they’re at their peak seasonally, and then there’s the sweet anticipa- collection of simple recipes to cook from. It seems that people think
tion of enjoying them the next year. I actually appreciate it more that they don’t have the time, or perhaps they don’t realize how quickly
there’s only a few week period when I can bring home the perfect they can prepare a fresh, home-cooked meal. Whether you’re cook-
juicy nectarines or gorgeous ripe strawberries to make a pie, and ing for one or for ﬁve, it isn’t as difﬁcult as it might seem.
that there are bushels of tomatoes for summer salads and pasta There’s one great tip that has always worked for me. Whether
sauces for only a couple of months . . . and then in the winter, you entertaining friends or cooking a weeknight dinner for the family,
make stew. planning ahead makes all the difference. What I like to do is to spend
some time earlier in the day preparing for dinner so that I can come
in and cook quickly, but in a relaxed manner, in the evening. I chop
This book is a long time in the making. After writing two dessert and measure garlic, onion and other vegetables in advance, grate
books, I’m really happy to ﬁnally put together a collection that cheeses, prepare a salad dressing, and just generally organize my
includes not only desserts but a lot of my favorite savory food recipes ingredients and set them aside for later. For those of you who ﬁnd
that I’ve been copying down for friends and dinner guests for years. yourselves coming in from work at the end of the day feeling like
Many of the recipes in this book are things I learned to cook as a you’re too tired to cook, preparing before you leave in the morning
child and I’m still making today. But I’m also always experimenting makes it much easier to put together a healthy meal when you get
with new ideas and different combinations of ingredients. home.
(xiv) introduction introduction (xv)
And when I’m entertaining, I ﬁnd that if I prepare things in advance,
I can really enjoy the time I have with my guests, whether it’s a few
friends from town, or the whole family up for a barbecue. It’s less
stressful for me, and so it’s more fun for everyone.
I’ve organized the book into sections for starters, soups, lunches,
dinners, sides, vegetables, and, of course, desserts. The dinners have
been separated into two categories, weekday and weekend meals,
which are based on how complicated the recipe is, and how long its
preparation might take. These categories are just guides, though, and
quick dishes with a nice presentation could easily be made when
The recipes I’ve gathered here reﬂect the all-American sensibili-
ties of my bakery and my home. My style is the same whether I’m
making something sweet or savory—simple steps, fresh ingredients,
and classic combinations.
appetizers and salads
corn fritters with chile-lime mayonnaise chile-lime mayonnaise
makes 6 servings (1 dozen fritters) When I entertain I like to make something a little different that my makes about 1½ cups This recipe comes from my friend Dave Cole, who owns Dave’s Big Eddy
friends wouldn’t necessarily make for themselves at home. Corn fritters 1½ cups mayonnaise Diner, our favorite restaurant near my home in upstate New York. It can be
are a great appetizer to serve in the late summer when fresh corn is at 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice served with crab and crayﬁsh cakes (see page 000) as well as corn fritters
its best, but frozen corn works just ﬁne in this recipe as well. 1 tablespoon minced jalepeño chile (see previous recipe).
pepper (seeds and ribs removed)
2 teaspoons grated lime zest Place all the ingredients in a small bowl and stir together until well blended.
I cup all-purpose ﬂour In a medium-size bowl, combine the ﬂour, cornmeal, romano cheese,
I cup yellow cornmeal baking powder, salt, and chili powder.
⅓ cup ﬁnely grated Locatelli
Romano cheese In a small bowl, beat the whole egg and egg yolk with the buttermilk and
1½ teaspoon baking powder add to the dry ingredients, mixing until well combined. Stir in the corn and
I teaspoon salt scallions.
¼ teaspoon chili powder Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil and 1 H tablespoon of the butter in a large
1 large egg, at room temperature skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, spoon the batter
1 large egg yolk, at room (about 3 tablespoons for each fritter—an ice cream scoop works great for
making these) into the skillet to make 3-inch fritters. Cook until golden,
1½ cups buttermilk
3 to 4 minutes on each side, adding additional oil and butter as needed for
1½ cups fresh or frozen corn
kernels, blanched (see Note) each batch. Serve warm with the Chili-Lime Mayonnaise, garnishing with
¼ cup chopped scallions the corn kernels and lime wedges.
(green parts only)
To blanch fresh or frozen corn, bring a medium-size saucepan of cold
¼ cup olive oil
water to a boil. Add the corn and cook until crisp-tender, 2 to 3 minutes.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Remove from the heat, drain, and rinse under cold water.
1 recipe Chile-Lime Mayonnaise
About 1 cup fresh or frozen corn
kernels, blanched (see Note),
Lime wedges, for garnish
(2) AT HOME WITH MAGNOLIA starters: appetizers and salads (3)
cream of carrot soup
makes 8 to 10 starter servings There’s nothing like a big pot of homemade soup simmering on the
stove on a chilly afternoon. This rich soup is great served as an appetizer
when you’re entertaining. It can be made in advance and stored in the
refrigerator for up to two days.
4½ cups chicken stock Combine the chicken stock, carrots, onion, garlic, basil, salt, and pepper
1 pound carrots, cut into in a heavy large pot over high heat. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the
¼-inch slices heat and simmer gently, until the carrots are tender, about 10 minutes.
1½ cups coarsely chopped Remove from the heat and, working in batches (about 1 cup at a time),
transfer the soup to a blender, and puree until very smooth. Set aside.
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon dried basil In the same pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. When the butter
1½ teaspoons salt is completely melted and bubbling, add the ﬂour, whisking until well
½ teaspoon white pepper blended. Let the butter and ﬂour cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
Meanwhile, in a separate medium-size saucepan, scald the milk (heat until
6 tablespoons all-purpose ﬂour
just beginning to bubble on the sides of the pan). Add it to the butter and
3 cups whole milk
ﬂour mixture gradually, while stirring constantly. Continue stirring until the
mixture is smooth and thickened, about 5 minutes.
Return the carrot puree to the pot with the milk mixture and stir together
over medium heat until heated through.