Monday, April 28, 2014

Cookbook preview and giveaway: Country Music's Greatest Eats

Tanner Latham, the former WFAE reporter who chronicles his travels around the South in the podcast "Authentic South," took some time off recently.

He had a good reason: The release of his book, written for Southern Living. "Country Music's Greatest Eats: Showstopping Recipes and Riffs from Country Music's Biggest Stars" (Oxmoor House, $24.95) features everyone from Scotty McCreery to Hank Williams Jr.

The recipes are a mix of down-home (and lots of desserts) and newer twists, including vegetarian dishes.

Photography is a real high point of the book, with terrific portraits and lovely pictures of the food.

One nit: The book is organized by the alphabet, using last names, rather than by the types of dishes. So you'll find Easton Corbin's recipe for his grandmother's Coconut Cake right after Katie Cook's Vegetarian Mexican Chili Dip. That's a little confusing, and makes it harder to figure out where to look if you're looking for all the salads, for instance.

On the other hand, this is today's country music, so there are lots of salad (tofu, too), and the book has an excellent spread of newer acts like Gloriana and the folks who've been around, like Hank Jr.

GIVEAWAY: I'll give away a copy of "Country Music's Greatest Eats." To enter; send an email with "Country Stars" in the subject line to Deadline: Wednesday, April 30, at 9 a.m.

And here's a recipe from the book:

Vegetarian Mexican Chili Dip

From Katie Cook in "Country Music's Greatest Eats," by Tanner Latham.

2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 (8.8-ounce) package ready-to-serve Spanish-style rice
3 (15-ounce) cans vegetarian chili with beans
1 (8-ounce) package shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped green onions
Tortilla chips

PREHEAT oven to 450 degrees. Spread softened cream cheese in the bottom of a lightly greased 13-by-9-inch glass baking dish.

PREPARE rice according to package directions; spoon evenly over cream cheese. Spoon chili over rice. Top with cheddar cheese. Bake at 450 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes, or until bubbly and cheese melts. Let stand 10 minutes. Top with tomatoes and green onions. Serve with tortilla chips.

YIELD:  12 to 14 servings.