Locals test recipes for new book
LaGRANGE — Nearly two years after a group of area Diverse Power employees and customers started testing about 400 recipes, their meticulous preparations served up something new.
To commemorate its 80th anniversary by promoting tourism in the area it serves, Diverse Power, the electric cooperative headquartered in LaGrange, recently introduced its new tourism cookbook, “Diverse Power Place and Plate: Culture and Cooking in West Georgia.”
The 320-page, full color, hardbound book was written by LaGrange resident Jackie Kennedy and features recipes submitted by Diverse Power members. Of the more than 400 recipes considered for publication, 307 were chosen for inclusion.
That process of whittling down the submissions took 14 people who volunteered to prepare, taste and evaluate the submitted recipes for inclusion.
One of the testers was Tina Yearta of LaGrange, who also contributed recipes for a lemon layer cake and broccoli salad with apples. She started testing in September 2014.
“I enjoyed it,” Yearta said. “I had fun.”
Yearta said she tested a couple of recipes each week, “but I love to be in the kitchen,” she added.
“I would take some recipes to my parents and neighbors for second opinions,” she said. “I wanted to make sure it was not just me” liking or not liking a recipe.
Asked how many she tested, Yearta wasn’t sure.
“A bunch,” she said with a laugh.
Kennedy estimated Yearta tested about 40 recipes. Kennedy tested 60 to 70 recipes herself.
The test phase opened Yearta up to some tastes she didn’t previously enjoy, like cabbage. She also found a recipe for sausage balls that she has since added to her rotation.
Kennedy said some of the recipes seemed off-putting at first, but turned out to be new favorites.
“There was a recipe for swamp soup, and I thought, ‘bleh,’ but it was delicious,” she said.
Along with dishes ranging from honey pancakes to crispy crusted red snapper, the book features history and top attractions of the 14 counties in which Diverse Power delivers electricity. It covers Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Providence Grand Canyon in Lumpkin, the ancient Kolomoki Mounds in Blakely and the Biblical History Center in LaGrange.
Also, several restaurants in each county are spotlighted, putting additional emphasis on the good Southern cooking of west Georgia and east Alabama.
Retailing at $34.95, “Place and Plate” is available at various tourist attractions and restaurants featured in the book.
In Troup County, the book is available in Hogansville at Roger’s Bar-B-Que; in LaGrange at Biblical History Center, Highland Marina, Hills & Dales Estate, Legacy Museum and Troup County Farm Bureau; and in West Point at River’s Bend Winery and Vineyard.
The book also is available at Callaway Gardens and FDR State Park in Pine Mountain, Heard County Chamber of Commerce in Franklin, the Little White House in Warm Springs and Fitzgerald Fruit Farms in Woodbury.
Here are two recipes contributed to “Place and Plate” by Troup County resident Tina Yearta:
Lemon Layer Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
What you’ll need:
• 2 cups all-purpose flour.
• 1 teaspoon baking powder.
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda.
• 1 teaspoon salt.
• 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar.
• 1 cup unsalted butter, softened and divided.
• 3 eggs.
• Zest of 3 lemons, divided.
• 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, divided.
• 1 cup buttermilk.
• 8 ounces cream cheese, softened.
• 4 cups powdered sugar.
Grease and flour two 8-inch round cake pans lined with wax paper. In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, soda and salt, stirring with a whisk. In a separate bowl, beat granulated sugar and 1/2 cup butter until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time. Beat in zest of two lemons and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Beat in flour mixture and buttermilk in three additions, alternating between the two and beginning with and ending with flour.
Pour batter into prepared pans; sharply tap pans on counter to remove air bubbles. Bake at 350 degree for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pans and continue cooling on wire rack.
To make frosting, in a large mixing bowl, beat together cream cheese and 1/2 cup butter for 3 minutes on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in zest of one lemon and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Beat in powdered sugar 1 cup at a time; continue beating on medium speed for about 5 minutes until thick and fluffy. Frost cake when completely cooled.
For extra frosting, double the recipe.
Broccoli Salad with Apples
What you’ll need:
• 2 heads broccoli.
• 2 crisp Red Delicious apples.
• 1 Granny Smith apple.
• 1 cup mayonnaise.
• 3/4 cup granulated sugar.
• 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar.
• Dash of salt.
• 1/2 cup golden raisins.
• 1/2 cup dried cranberries.
Wash and drain broccoli. Wash and core apples. Cut apples and broccoli in bite-size pieces, discarding broccoli stems. In a separate bowl, combine mayonnaise, sugar, vinegar and salt to make sauce. Mix broccoli, apples, raisins and cranberries with sauce.
To keep the apples from turning color, prepare the sauce first and put apples in the sauce as you cut them