TAPPING TRADITION: Trisha Yearwood offers inspired Southern recipes in book (2024)

By NEKESA MUMBI MOODY, AP Music Writer

In a culinary age when terms such as fried or stuffed can beconsidered taboo, Trisha Yearwood is giving Americans a throwbackto good old-fashioned Southern cooking.

And she's doing so without apologies.

The Grammy-winner knows she could have adapted her book,"Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen," to make the disheslighter — but then it wouldn't be the kind of food she remembersfrom her childhood in Monticello, Ga.

"We made a conscious decision when we decided to do this bookthat this cookbook was about the things that we grew up on," shesays. "This is a Southern cookbook and the things that we grew upon and our family traditions."

Which is why Yearwood offers recipes for fried chicken (soakedin saltwater overnight for added flavor), stuffed pork chops,mashed potatoes and a devilish chocolate cake.

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But the book isn't just heavy, rich foods. It also reflects howYearwood has adapted her cooking for her family of three girls —and superstar husband Garth Brooks — in Oklahoma, where theylive.

There's even input from Brooks in the form of a recipe or two:Yearwood jokingly calls him "Gartha Stewart."

When she's not touring or promoting a new record, Yearwood —best known for hits like "How Do I Live" and "XXX's and OOO's (AnAmerican Girl)" — says you'll find her in the kitchen, the mostused room in the Yearwood-Brooks household. It's Yearwood, and nota hired cook, who makes most of the family meals, and it's a taskshe happily takes on the majority of the week, despite her busyschedule.

"I guess it's the entertainer in me. I love to make somethingfor somebody else that they really enjoy," she says. "I really likefor people to enjoy the food."

Yearwood hopes that besides great food, people who read her booktake away from it the importance and ease of homemade cooking.

"It brings the family together," she says. "Even if you'recooking things that are not as low fat as other things, you'restill probably eating better if you cook it yourself than if you goout and eat."

Chicken salad with fruit

This unusual chicken salad is jammed with flavor. This recipe isa great way to use up leftover grilled chicken.

Start to finish: 20 minutes (pluschilling)

Servings: 12

1 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons orange juice

1 teaspoon salt

5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and cooled

3 cups cooked rice, cooled

1-1/2 cups green grapes, halved

13-ounce can pineapple bits in juice, drained

15-ounce can mandarin orange sections, drained

1 cup slivered almonds

Ground black pepper

In a large bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, oil, orange juiceand salt. Set aside.

Dice the chicken breasts, then add to the mayonnaise mixture.Add the rice, grapes, pineapple, orange sections and almonds.Gently mix until all ingredients are coated with the dressing.Season with pepper.

Cover, and refrigerate until chilled (overnight is best).

(Recipe from Trisha Yearwood's "Georgia Cooking in anOklahoma Kitchen," Clarkson Potter, 2008)

Pineapple upside-down cake

You may need to trim the pineapple rings to ensure they all fitevenly in the pan for this pineapple upside-down cake.

Start to finish: One hour (20 minutes active)

Servings: Four

3 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup light brown sugar

9 slices canned pineapple in juice, drained

5 maraschino cherries

1-1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup vegetable shortening

2/3 cup sugar

1 large egg

3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

2/3 cup milk

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the butter in an 8-by-8-inch pan and place in the oven tomelt. When the butter has melted, remove the pan from the oven. Tipthe pan to spread the butter evenly over the bottom of the pan.

Sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the butter. Arrange thepineapple rings over the butter, making three rows. Cut each cherryin half and place one half at the center of each pineapple ring,cut side up. Set aside.

Over a sheet of parchment paper, sift together the flour, bakingpowder and salt. Sift again. Set aside.

In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to cream the shorteningand sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg, and beat until fullycombined. Mix in the vanilla.

Starting and ending with the flour mixture, blend in the dryingredient and milk, alternating between the two. After eachaddition, stir only enough to combine.

Carefully pour the batter into the pineapple-lined pan. Bake for40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted at the center of the cakecomes out clean.

Run a knife around the edges of the pan, then place a servingplate upside down on top of the pan. Invert the cake onto theserving plate. Wait several minutes before removing the pan toallow the syrup to soak into the cake.

(Recipe from Trisha Yearwood's "Georgia Cooking in anOklahoma Kitchen," Clarkson Potter, 2008)

Sausage hors d'oeuvres

These easy, oddly addictive hors d'oeuvres from TrishaYearwood's cookbook, "Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen," canbe cooked, then frozen for later use. Yearwood prefers Jimmy Dean'ssage sausage.

Start to finish: 30 minutes

Makes 50 hors d'oeuvres

1 pound spicy pork sausage meat

10 ounces cheddar cheese, grated

3 cups baking mix, such as Bisquick

Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine thesausage, cheese and baking mix. Beat at low speed until blended.Season with salt and pepper.

Shape the mixture into 1-inch balls, and arrange them 1 inchapart on a dry baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, or until browned.Drain on paper towels, then serve hot or at room temperature.

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TAPPING TRADITION: Trisha Yearwood offers inspired Southern recipes in book (2024)
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