Cover image for LaBelle cuisine : recipes to sing about
LaBelle cuisine : recipes to sing about
LaBelle, Patti.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Broadway Books, 1999.
Physical Description:
xxiv, 216 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Subject Term:
Format :


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Material Type
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TX715 .L127 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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"From the time I was a little girl, I knew there were two things in this world I was born to do: sing and cook. I've spent my life developing my voice and my recipes, and to tell you the truth, I'm hard pressed to say where I'm happiest--in concert or in the kitchen, making music or making meals."
For Patti, cooking is about love. Taught by the great Southern cooks in her family--her mother, father, and aunts Hattie Mae and Joshia Mae--Patti LaBelle has kept these family heirlooms close to her heart. But now, she invites you into her kitchen and serves up more than 100 of her favorite recipes, from treasured down-home favorites--Say-My-Name Smothered Chicken and Gravy, Fierce Fried Corn, and Aunt Hattie's Scrumptious Sweet Tater Bread--to good-enough-for-dinner-parties dishes--Shrimp Etouffee, Roast Leg of Lamb with Rosemary-Lemon Rub, and Aunt Mary's Philadelphia Buttercake.
Wherever Patti goes, so do her electric frying pans and bottles of hot sauce. After her raise-the-roof shows, she often goes back to her hotel room and whips up a meal for her band or celebrity visitors. When she's home--at holiday time and at family gatherings--or just after one of her sold-out concert tours, Patti likes nothing more than to head for her kitchen and cook her Geechee Geechee Ya Ya Gumbo, Pass-It-On Pot Roast, or Burnin' Babyback Ribs. And like her bestselling memoir, Don't Block the Blessings, her accompanying personal reminiscences will fill your heart just as her recipes will fill your stomach.
Patti LaBelle's LaBelle Cuisine has the recipes you'll want to cook, eat, and share with friends. Filled with the legendary diva's favorite dishes and step-by-step instructions on how to prepare them, LaBelle Cuisine makes you feel like Patti's in the kitchen with you, demonstrating the recipes and techniques that can turn anybody into a fabulous cook."

Author Notes

Patti LaBelle has garnered three Emmy nominations, ten Grammy nominations, and the 1992 Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal performance. Her award-winning autobiography, Don't Block the Blessings , was a New York Times bestseller. Throughout her career, "the high priestess of good vibrations," as the New York Times called her, has won admiration not only for her music but also for her tireless charity work and devotion to her fans. She lives with her husband in Philadelphia.

Laura B. Randolph is a journalist and lawyer. She coauthored Don't Block the Blessings , which won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work and was voted the Blackboard: African-American Bestseller List Book of the Year. She lives in Washington, D.C.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The southern chicken is a little less fried. The potatoes, lightly smothered. And the meatloaf, more poultry stuffed. Why all the incredible lightness of these more than 100 celebrity recipes? Because singer Patti LaBelle, author of the best-selling Don't Block the Blessings, is a diabetic, yet she lets nothing deter either her storytelling or her zest for food, offering traditional and eccentric dishes with a little less fat and calories--such as the turkey kielbasa frittata named Omelet Patti Cake and the salsa meatloaf. It'll be a toss-up, too, which one readers will prefer: tripping the light fantastic with names like Elton John, Mick Jagger, and Oprah, or sweating up a great-tasting storm over kitchen appliances. Expect a serious waiting list. (Reviewed March 15, 1999)0767903145Barbara Jacobs

Publisher's Weekly Review

"From the time I was a little girl," says LaBelle, "I knew there were two things in this world I was born to do: sing and cook." Admirers of LaBelle's Grammy-winning vocal style are sure to find her Southern dishes just as dynamic. Starting with such chapters as Sensational Salads, Soups, and Sandwiches, she cooks and talks her way through Meat, Poultry and Seafood entr‚es, Fabulous Fixin's and To-Die-For Desserts and Breads. Her famous jalape¤o-spiked Potato Salad, Pass-It-On Pot Roast, Screamin' Mean Greens and Wicked Peach Cobbler make colorful appearances, along with practical cooking tips and plenty of exuberant attitude. This is high-style down-home cooking, sophisticated, flavorful, mostly calorie-laden and generally irresistible; the fact that Patti has fixed her Luscious Liver and Onions and Over the Rainbow Macaroni and Cheese for the likes of Mick Jagger, Oprah and Elton John just adds to the fun. LaBelle (author of the bestselling autobiography Don't Block the Blessings) believes in cooking for pleasure and therapy: as she says, "Usually when people are stressed out they want a pill, but honey, give me a pot!" Readers will want one, too, by the end of this book, for LaBelle's enthusiasm is infectious. 15-city author tour. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Here are two celebrity cookbooks by celebrities, not celebrity chefs. Singer Labelle loves food and cooking; she even takes her pots and pans with her when she's on tour so that she can whip up a meal in her hotel room after a show. Here are recipes for what she likes best, many of them family favorites handed down from her grandmother, mother, and others: Pass-It-On Pot Roast, Aunt Verdelle's Savory Red Rice, Fierce Fried Corn, Baby Henry's Bread Pudding. Childhood memories, anecdotes about life on the road, and touching recollections about her family are interspersed throughout the book. LaBelle's memoir, Don't Block the Blessings (Riverhead, 1996), was a huge best seller, and her cookbook is sure to be popular. Lakshmi is a supermodel who was born in India, grew up in the United States, and travels frequently to exoticÄand less-exoticÄlocales for her job. Here she sets down about five dozen recipes for the food she likes to cook and eat, organized by country (or continent) of origin: Spain, France, Italy, India, Asia, and Morocco. Most are standards, and the text, while well written, would seem to be of little interest to anyone other than supermodel groupies. Not a necessary purchase. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Introduction From the time I was a little girl, I knew there were two things in this world I was born to do: sing and cook. I've spent my life developing my voice and my recipes and, to tell you the truth, I'm hard pressed to say where I'm happiest--in concert or in the kitchen; making music or making meals. Whether cooking or singing, I feel at ease, at peace, at one with the world. While reminiscing for this book, I realized why cooking has always been such a labor of love for me. Because it's as much about friendship and fellowship as it is about food. Because, behind the whole process--the shopping, the planning, the preparing, the serving--cooking is really about love. Cooking is a way to show it, share it, serve it. Cooking is as much about nourishment for the soul as it is the stomach. Especially the kind of cooking I grew up on. We're talking Southern, country cooking. Authentic, down-home, Southern country cooking is a generation-to-generation pass-it-down gift, and I have so many people in my family to thank for mine: my grandmothers, my mother, my father, my aunts Hattie Mae and Joshia Mae. I don't mean to brag, but the people in my family have always been some cooking folks. And that's no idle boast. I know people think I'm kidding when I tell them I take my pans out on tour with me, but I am as serious as a heart attack. Not only do I take them with me, they're the first thing I pack. If you open my suitcase, you'll find three or four pans right beside my designer gowns. They're like my American Express card--I don't leave home without them. If I have a really strong craving for something, or if I don't have the ingredients I want, I'll go grocery shopping after a show. Sometimes, if the show runs long and I don't want to go back to the hotel and change my clothes, I will go grocery shopping in my gown. It drives my bodyguard crazy. "Relax," I always tell him. "Nobody is going to bother me in the vegetable aisle." People have the funniest reactions when they see me in the grocery store. Some stare, some scream, some run up and down the aisles. A lot of people just don't believe it's me. "Patti, that's not really you, is it?" I've been asked more times than I can count. Once, I gave a mini concert in the seasoning aisle. Some of my die-hard fans, fans from way back in the sixties, spotted me searching for some sea salt. The next thing I knew, they were telling me about all the shows they'd come to over the years. We're talking dozens. They remembered concerts I had forgotten. "You all have been to almost as many shows as I have," I told them. Of course, that they would come to see me all those times just touched my heart. So, when they asked me if I would please sing a little something, what could I do? My bodyguard didn't speak to me the whole way home. I have so many more stories--and recipes--to share and they're all in this book. Some stories--like the flying biscuits--are hard to believe. Some stories--like the kindness of Laura Nyro--are hard to forget. But the recipes that go with them are all precious to me. And now they're my gift to you. Say-My-Name Smothered Chicken and Gravy There is only one person I know who can pluck a chicken as clean and as fast as my Grandmother Ellen. Chubby Checker. Before he became a famous recording star, Chubby worked at Henry Colt's, the poultry market near our house where my mother did her Saturday-morning grocery shopping. Of course, he wasn't Chubby Checker back then. Dick Clark's wife had yet to change his name because she thought he was a cute version of Fats Domino. ("Fats" became "Chubby" and "Domino" turned into "Checker.") When I met Chubby Checker, he was Ernest Evans, the cutest, pudgiest, fastest chicken-plucker in Philly. He was also a big part of the reason I loved grocery shopping with my mother, who was also called Chubby. Before Ernest went in the back of the store to clean and pluck your chicken, he would entertain you with jokes and songs and impersonations. "I don't have time for that today," Chubby would tell Ernest when he would go on a little too long. "I'm making smothered chicken for dinner tonight, and I have to get home and get it started." "No problem Mrs. Holte," Ernest would say and disappear in the back with our dinner. We could barely get over to the produce section before Ernest was back with the cleanest chicken I've ever seen. Next to Grandmother Ellen's, of course. To this day, making smothered chicken takes me back to those Saturday-morning shopping sprees with Chubby and Chubby. Hungry yet? Makes 4 servings One 3 1/2-pound chicken, rinsed and cut into 8 pieces 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste 1 cup all-purpose flour 1/2 cup vegetable oil 2 medium onions, chopped 2 medium celery ribs, chopped 1 garlic clove, minced 3 cups chicken broth Season the chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Place the flour in a large bowl. Roll the chicken in the flour to coat, shaking off excess flour. Transfer 3 tablespoons of the flour to a medium bowl and set aside. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook, turning halfway during cooking, until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside. Pour off all but 3 tablespoons of the oil from the skillet. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the onions, celery, and garlic and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the reserved flour and stir well. Gradually stir in the broth and bring to a simmer. Return the chicken to the skillet. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through and shows no sign of pink when pierced at the bone, about 35 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a deep platter and cover with foil to keep warm. Bring the sauce to a boil over high heat and cook, stirring often, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Season the gravy with salt and pepper and pour over the chicken. Serve hot. Aunt Hattie's Scrumptious Sweet Tater Bread Like so many of my special recipes, my Aunt Hattie Mae gave me this one. It has only been in recent years that I've gotten into baking and, so much of what I know about it I learned from Aunt Hattie and Aunt Josh. Aunt Hattie and Aunt Josh are some cooking Sisters themselves. In Georgia, the ancestral home of my father's family, their culinary skill is legendary. For years, Aunt Hattie and Aunt Josh cooked in private homes for wealthy White families. More than a few folks stopped speaking to each other after one family visited another for dinner and an awestruck diner tried to hire Auntie Hattie or Aunt Josh away. Aunt Josh even cooked President Eisenhower his first soul food meal. He'd spent the night with the family she was working for and, the next morning, Aunt Josh rose with the sun and cooked him a soul food banquet: hogshead bacon, sausage scrapple, grits and redeye gravy, sweet potato waffles, and, of course, Grandmother Tempie's flying biscuits. Aunt Josh says President Eisenhower mopped his plate clean. Can't you just see the look on the face of the White House chef when Ike got back to Washington and asked him to whip up some grits and gravy!!? Aunt Josh and Aunt Hattie are both fabulous cooks, and as much as I relish their food, the stories they have told me over the years about our family are what I love most. When you put Aunt Hattie's Scrumptious Sweet Tater Bread in the oven, invite a very old or very young relative to join you in the kitchen. While it's baking, listen to or pass on your own family's very special legends and lore. You'll be glad you did. Makes 8 servings 2 medium orange-fleshed sweet potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds) 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, at room temperature 1 cup sugar 2 large eggs, at room temperature 1/2 cup evaporated milk 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract Grated zest of 1/2 lemon or 1/8 teaspoon lemon extract 2 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/4 teaspoon salt Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan, tapping out the excess flour. Bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the sweet potatoes and cook until tender, about 25 minutes. Drain, and rinse under cold water until easy to handle. Peel the sweet potatoes, place in a medium bowl, and mash well. Measure 1 cup mashed sweet potatoes, saving the remaining sweet potatoes for another purpose. In a large bowl, using a handheld electric mixer on high speed, beat the butter and sugar until combined, about 1 minute. One at a time, beat in the eggs. Beat in the sweet potatoes, evaporated milk, vanilla, and lemon zest. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, gradually beat the flour mixture into the sweet potato mixture, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Spread evenly in the prepared pan. Bake until the top springs back when lightly pressed and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour, 15 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack. Invert onto the wire rack, turn right side up, and cool completely. Best-Ever Banana Bread : Substitute 1 cup mashed ripe bananas for the mashed sweet potatoes. Reduce baking time to 1 hour. Excerpted from LaBelle Cuisine: Recipes to Sing About by Patti LaBelle All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Introductionp. xiii
Sensational Salads, Soups, and Sandwichesp. 1
Sunday Salad with Versatile Vinaigrettep. 2
Naomi's Creamy Coleslawp. 4
Patti's Potato Saladp. 6
Company's-Coming Chicken Saladp. 10
Classic Crabmeat Salad in Tomato Cupsp. 12
Geechee Geechee Ya Ya Gumbop. 13
Budd's Back-to-Life Soupp. 16
Smoky Corn and Turkey Chowderp. 18
Jackie's Fried Egg Sandwichp. 19
The Great Grilled Cheese Sandwichp. 23
Simple, Simply Delicious Smoked Turkey Sandwichp. 24
Magnificent Meat Dishesp. 27
Child, That's Good Cheap Pot Roast!p. 28
Pass-It-On Pot Roastp. 30
Luscious Liver and Onionsp. 33
Salsa Meat Loafp. 36
Righteous Roast Porkp. 37
Polynesian Roast Pork with Fruit Saucep. 38
Hellacious Ham with Brown-Sugar Glazep. 40
Smothered Pork Chops with Mushroomsp. 42
Burnin' Babyback Ribsp. 44
Aunt Verdelle's Savory Red Rice with Sausagep. 46
Delectable Italian Sausage and Peppersp. 48
Roast Leg of Lamb with Rosemary-Lemon Rubp. 50
Perfect Poultryp. 53
Best-Ever Barbecue Chicken with Bodacious Barbecue Saucep. 54
Sumptuous and Simple Southern Fried Chickenp. 56
Succulent Roast Chickenp. 59
Say-My-Name Smothered Chicken and Gravyp. 62
Old-Fashioned Chicken and Dumplingsp. 64
Chicken Brunswick Stewp. 68
Zuri's Favorite Buffalo Wings with Blue Cheese Dipp. 69
Baked Turkey Wings with Onion Saucep. 72
Too-Good-to-Be-Turkey Chilip. 73
Cornish Hens with Shallot Cream Gravyp. 76
The-Spirit's-in-It Spaghetti with Meaty Tomato Saucep. 78
Lasagna LaBellep. 80
Omelet Patti Cakep. 82
Scrumptious Seafoodp. 83
Perfect Pan-Fried Fish Filletsp. 84
Grilled Caribbean Fish Steaksp. 86
Quick Linguine with Clam Saucep. 88
Make-You-Wanna-Holler Maryland Crab Cakesp. 89
Have-to-Have-'Em Hard-Shell Crabsp. 92
Butterflied Lobster Tails with Herbs and Garlic Butterp. 96
So-o-o Good Salmon Casserolep. 98
Salmon Croquettes Deluxep. 100
Savory Salmon Steaksp. 102
Sardines Sublimep. 103
Butterflied Shrimp with Double Dipsp. 106
Clear-Out-Your-Sinuses Super-Spicy Steamed Shrimpp. 108
Shrimp Etouffeep. 109
Slammin' Shrimp Creolep. 110
Jammin' Jambalayap. 112
Serious Shrimp Fried Ricep. 114
Roasted Red Snapper with Oyster and Mushroom Stuffingp. 115
Simply Spectacular Seafood Pastap. 118
Fabulous Fixin'sp. 121
Awesome Asparagusp. 122
Sauteed Broccoli Raabp. 123
Cabbage, Carrot, and Potato Skilletp. 124
Fierce Fried Cornp. 125
Corn Casserolep. 126
Screamin' Mean Greensp. 127
Unforgettable Fried Eggplantp. 128
Mouthwatering Mushroomsp. 130
Okra, Corn, and Tomato Stewp. 131
Home-Fried Potatoesp. 132
Better-Than-Mom's Mashed Potatoesp. 134
Perfectly Steamed Ricep. 135
Armstead's Curried Rice and Beansp. 136
Spectacular Spinachp. 138
String Beans a La Bellap. 139
Sumptuous String Beansp. 142
Sauteed Summer Squash with Basilp. 143
Chubby's Candied Sweet Potatoesp. 144
Mashed Sweet Potatoesp. 146
Quick 'n' Easy Baked Beansp. 147
Black-Eyed Peas with Smoked Turkey Wingsp. 148
Red Beans and Ricep. 149
Don't-Block-the-Blessing Dressingp. 152
Over-the-Rainbow Macaroni and Cheesep. 154
To-Die-For Desserts and Breadsp. 159
Aunt Mary's Philadelphia Buttercakep. 160
Heavenly Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frostingp. 166
Chocolate Cake with Mocha Madness Frostingp. 168
Pineapple Upside-Down Cakep. 170
Anna's Irresistible Pound Cakep. 172
Scandalously Rich Rum Cakep. 174
Cinnamon and Pecan Coffee Cakep. 176
Aunt Hattie's Scrumptious Sweet Tater Breadp. 178
Pecan Butterscotch Blondie Barsp. 182
Peanut Butter Cookiesp. 183
Basic Piecrustp. 184
Decadent and Delicious Pecan Piep. 185
Amazing Apple-Butterscotch Piep. 186
Banana and Toasted Almond Cream Piep. 188
Citrus Meringue Piep. 190
Wicked Peach Cobblerp. 192
Norma's Black-Bottom Sweet Potato Piep. 194
Aunt Joshia Mae's Blackberry Doobiep. 196
Baby Henry's Bread Puddingp. 198
Really Good Rice Puddingp. 200
Grandmother Tempie's Flying Biscuitsp. 201
Sweet Potato 'n' Spice Wafflesp. 202
Beyond-Good Bacon and Buttermilk Corn Breadp. 204
Sunday Supper Rollsp. 206
Down-Home Hush Puppiesp. 208
Indexp. 209