Country legend Trisha Yearwood has summer recipes on lock -- and now the cookbook author, entertainer and TV host is sharing some of her favorite seasonal dishes, from cold soups to quick pickles.
Yearwood's cookbook, "Trisha's Kitchen: Easy Comfort Food for Friends and Family," hones in on recipes that evoke "love, laughter, and comfort."
"Food is what brings us all together and is one of the most powerful ways to remember the past and those we love," she told "Good Morning America." "My family has been passing down comfort foods for generations, so it just feels natural for me to do the same."
When it comes to summer, she said fresh, cold, seasonal dishes come to mind first.
"I love cold soups like grilled yellow gazpacho, fresh summer salads with in-season, home grown vegetables, chunky avocado pineapple salsa, and watermelon ... one of my favorite foods," she said.
As for her ideal summer dinner party, Yearwood said it's all about keeping it "casual."
"A summer dinner party means wear your comfies, bring your swimsuit, and bring a side dish or drink to go with whatever we're grilling," she said. "My favorite parties are the ones that happen organically with just a 'Hey, wanna come over?' text."
The singer also shared her top grilling tips for fellow home cooks.
"For me, the best tips come long before anything hits the grill. A good overnight steak marinade -- I like honey -- helps tenderize and flavor the meat," she explained. "Also, people are nervous about letting beef or chicken sit out for too long, but it's best to take whatever you're grilling out of the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before grilling to let it come up to room temperature. That way you'll get even cooking throughout."
Check out two of Yearwood's recipes, below.
Grilled Yellow Gazpacho
This cold soup is made with raw, blended vegetables -- in this case yellow tomatoes -- that make for a beautiful bowl packed with flavor.
Serves 4 to 6
2 1/4 pounds ripe yellow tomatoes
1 large yellow pepper, halved
1 small garlic clove, peeled
1 small shallot, halved
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 English cucumber, peeled and halved
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1/2 cup torn fresh basil leaves
Heat a grill to medium-high or heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Grill the tomatoes and half the bell pepper, turning occasionally, until lightly charred on all sides, about 5 minutes.
Transfer to a blender and add the garlic, shallot, vinegar, salt, black pepper, and half the cucumber. Puree until very smooth. With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil and blend until combined.
Strain through a medium-mesh sieve into a bowl. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours or up to overnight.
Finely chop the remaining bell pepper and cucumber and keep refrigerated.
To serve: Season cold soup with salt and pepper, ladle into bowls and top with diced cucumber and bell pepper, basil, and a drizzle of olive oil.
Grilled Tomato and Zucchini Salad with Goat Cheese Croutons
Yearwood grew up on a farm and recalled her favorite garden bounty came when zucchini and tomato season overlapped.
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon dry ranch dressing mix
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 ounces goat cheese, cold from the fridge
3 beefsteak tomatoes, cut into half-inch-thick slices
3 small to medium green and yellow zucchini, cut at an angle into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 bunch green onions, trimmed
1 lemon, halved
1 cup store-bought candied pecans
Preheat a grill to 400 F.
Beat the egg in a small bowl. In a second bowl, toss the panko, ranch mix, and 1 teaspoon of the olive oil. Cut the goat cheese into 10 pieces and roll each into a ball. Dip the goat cheese in the egg, letting any excess drip off, and then in the panko mix, pressing it into the cheese to adhere and reshaping them into discs.
Pull a 24-inch-long sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil and then fold it in half lengthwise. Open it up, brush the foil with a little olive oil, and line up the breaded goat cheese discs on one side, then pinch the edges of the foil closed and cut a small slit on the side to vent steam. Slide the packet onto a corner of the grill and cook with the lid of the grill open for 15 to 17 minutes, flipping the foil pack gently halfway through.
Meanwhile, put the tomatoes and zucchini in a large bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, as well as the thyme, salt, and pepper. Place on the grill alongside the foil packet and grill until all the vegetables have grill marks and are a bit charred, 2 to 3 minutes per side.
After you get the tomatoes and zucchini on the grill, immediately add the green onions to the bowl, coating them in the remaining oil and seasoning, then get them on the grill alongside the other veggies and grill for 4 to 5 minutes.
Transfer the grilled tomatoes and zucchini to a serving platter and add a generous squeeze of lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil.
Transfer the green onions to a cutting board and chop into 1-inch-long sticks, both greens and whites, and sprinkle them onto the salad.
Once the goat cheese is baked, slide the packet onto a cutting board and carefully tear open the top. Garnish the salad with the goat cheese croutons, top with the candied pecans, and serve.
Reprinted with permission from "TRISHA'S KITCHEN: Easy Comfort Food for Friends and Family" Copyright © 2021 by Trisha Yearwood with Beth Yearwood Bernard. Photography © 2021 by Ben Fink. Reproduced by permission of Mariner Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.