The Recipe Club

Food & Friendship Blog

On the Road with The Recipe Club: Houston, Texas

Southern hospitality reigned at Amy’s MacDougall’s gracious home in Houston. We were greeted on the veranda of a house so grand and sweeping, Scarlett O’Hara would have swooned.

We’re definitely not in Brooklyn anymore…

We’re definitely not in Brooklyn anymore…

Soon each Recipe Club member arrived, offering up a taste of lip-smacking, full-flavored Southern cooking.

Meet the fabulous members of the Houston Recipe Club

Meet the fabulous members of the Houston Recipe Club

A word to the wise: Southern girls ain’t afraid of fat! And that’s why everything tasted so fantastic, from the buttery corn bread to the buttery cheese grits…from the creamed spinach to the cream cheese frosting on the carrot cake.

By the end of the night, we realized it was the rich stories that had truly fed our emotions and imaginations. Here are a few:

Amy Marvin shared a recipe called “One Up Ya’ Chicken Salad.” Hers is a classic story of jealousy and competition between friends. The rivalry dates back to college, when Amy’s best friend stole Amy’s boyfriend—and then became a member of the club Amy had tried to join.

But the real fighting was played out on a hot summer weekend, when Amy invited her friend to her summer house. Amy had prepared her family’s “famous” chicken salad, only to discover that her friend had “one-upped” her with a much better version—one that got the full attention of every man in the house. At that point, Amy conceded defeat in the chicken salad war.

Except the battle hadn’t actually ended: Amy took her friend’s recipe, enhanced it, and is now calling it her own! Which, when you think about it, makes Amy the “one-up-ya” winner!

One Up Ya’ Chicken Salad

Amy Marvin

  • 4 chicken breasts cooked and chopped small
  • 3 celery stalks chopped
  • 1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds
  • 3 oz. raisins (2 little boxes)
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped red seedless grapes
  • 3 tablespoons Major Grey’s Chutney (look for it in the Asian section)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 3/4 cup Hellman’s Mayonnaise
  • salt and pepper to taste

Make it the night before…better with age, just like us!!!!!

Amy MacDougall shared a memory of pretending to get sick at school so she could be picked up—and fed a bountiful lunch—by her beloved Aunt Vonne:

Amy’s Story – Supper at Aunt Vonne’s from Andrea Israel on Vimeo.

Amy MacDougall’s Aunt Vonne’s Carrot Cake

Amy MacDougall’s Aunt Vonne’s Carrot Cake

Aunt Vonne’s Carrot Cake

Amy MacDougall

For the cake:

  1. Sift together:
    • 2 cups plain flour
    • 2 tsp. each: baking soda, cinnamon, and baking powder
    • 2C sugar
    • Pinch of salt
  2. Mix above ingredients with 1 1/4 cup vegetable oil.
  3. Add 4 unbeaten eggs, 3 cups grated fresh carrots, 1/2 cup chopped prunes, and 1 cup chopped nuts (I prefer pecans) to the above and mix together well.
  4. Pour batter in 3 8-inch cake pans that have been greased and floured.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.

For the icing:

  1. Mix 1/2 stick salter butter, 8 oz. cream cheese, 2 tsp vanilla extract, and 16 oz. powdered sugar.
  2. Blend slowly, then turn mixer to high to fluff. It should be thick enough to ice cooked cake (if not, add more powdered sugar).
  3. Put in the fridge to set for a little while. Keep cool until an hour before serving.

Ashley Bryan told a magical tale about her grandfather fulfilling a little girl’s dreams:

Ashley’s Story – Grandfather’s Gum Tree from Andrea Israel on Vimeo.

And once you buy the book (add link to buy the book page), here’s a great Recipe Club Christmas gift idea from K Browning:

Kay’s Great Christmas Gift Idea from Andrea Israel on Vimeo.

As a parting gift, Ashley presented everyone with beautiful copies of the evening’s recipes, wrapped in ribbon and sealed with love:

Ashley’s Recipe Club party favors

Ashley’s Recipe Club party favors

Finally, Ashley conferred a great honor upon us…go Lone Star State! :

Lone Starlets!

Lone Starlets!

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