To kick off the countdown in sweetness, eat cake for the wait.
Layered Carrot Cake
Pineapple and freshly grated carrot sing of spring
sweetness. Nothing is sacrificed in this lightened-up cream cheese frosting;
it’s just as decadentas you always
Makes 16 servingsHands-on 30 minutesTotal 2
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp.granulated sugar
3 tsp. baking soda
11⁄2 tsp. ground cinnamon
11⁄2 tsp. table salt
crushed pineapple in juice, drained
1⁄3 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
3 large egg whites
11⁄2 Tbsp. vanilla extract
41⁄2 cups grated carrots
Vegetable cooking spray
1 (8-oz.) package 1⁄3-less-fat cream cheese
1⁄4 cup butter, softened
2 tsp. vanilla extract
6 cups powdered sugar
2 to 4 tsp. fat-free milk (optional)
1. Prepare Batter: Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine first5 ingredients in a large bowl; make a well in
center of mixture. Whisk together pineapple and next 4 ingredients; add
pineapple mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until dry ingredientsare moistened. Fold in carrots. Pour batter
into 2 greased(with cooking spray) and
floured (8-inch) round cake pans.
2. Bake at 350°F for 22 to 25 minutes or until a wooden pick
inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on a wire rack 10 minutes.
Remove from pans to a wire rack; cool completely (about 1 hour).
3. Prepare Frosting: Beat first 3 ingredients at medium
speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar to
butter mixture; beat at low speed just until blended. (Do not overbeat.) If
desired, beat in up to 4 teaspoons milk to desired consistency. Place 1 cake
layer on a serving plate; spread with 2⁄3 cup frosting, and top with remaining
cake layer. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake.
Each year on January 27, I re-post my tribute to my grandmother Tom. She will be missed as long as I'm living.
It was on this day, 13 years ago, that our family lost my beloved grandmother Tom. I’ve never written about that day. In fact, I don’t know that I’ve spoken of it with more than a handful of people. There are three days in my life that each and every detail live on so vividly in my mind and this is one of them. I was with her on the exact moment she no longer was on this Earth. It is equally as precious as the minutes when my children were born.
Tom was healthy her entire life, much more so than any other person I’ve known. She cooked daily until she was 100, never had a problem with arthritis, and often wore Nike running shoes the last few years of her life. Only weeks before her death, she was confined to a hospital bed, but still, uttered not one single complaint. Just like always, she never missed a moment to say, “I love you,” or to hold our hands.
I have always felt that Tom and I were connected on an even deeper level than that of a grandchild and grandparent. Our pure love of the kitchen bound us like nothing else could. It was her cast iron skillet filled with fried chicken that first taught me how comfort and love could be tasted and shared without saying a word.
For years, we cooked together, ate together, and talked for countless hours about recipes, cookbooks, and our loves of fat back, Coke in bottles, and Nathalie Dupree. One of her finest days was when Mama brought her to cook with Nathalie and me in the very kitchen she’d seen on television so many times. Simply by sharing a stove, she taught me how imperative the act of cooking can be to a state of real happiness. Being blessed with the gift of sharing the moment when her soul went Home seemed natural and was the ultimate last chapter in our long story together.
My parents and I were with her all day, talking of everything we could think to say. We tried to fill the empty air with subjects that would keep all of our minds off the fact that her death was eminent. We talked about food, work, family, friends, and memories of days gone by. The nurses kept coming in and out, checking Tom’s pulse and blood pressure, which of course reminded us of why we were all there.
A family friend, Jane Knowles, came in to visit Tom one last time. She held Tom’s hand, stroked her hair, and sang Holy Ground with a voice that was nothing short of an angel’s. It was during this magnificent song that Tom left us and went on to meet the Lord she so dearly loved. It’s as if she waited for Jane and her hymn to say goodbye to all of us. Recalling these few minutes of witnessing my Tom drift away leaves me short on words and overflowing with tears.
In memory of Tom and her life so very well lived, I share her fried chicken recipe that has brought me comfort hundreds of times. It is with her skillet that I cook on and never forget.
Tom’s Fried Chicken
1 (3.5 pound) whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces
1/4 cup salt
1 1/2 cups vegetable shortening
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
Place the chicken in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup salt and cover with cold water. Soak the chicken for 45 minutes.
Remove the chicken from the salt water and drain on paper towels.
Heat the shortening in an 8-inch cast iron skillet or a large deep skillet to about 360 degrees.
Sprinkle the chicken with 1 teaspoon salt and pepper. Coat each piece completely with flour, shake off the excess and gently place the chicken in the hot shortening. Fry 10 to 12 minutes per side or until golden brown, about 25 minutes total. Fry chicken in batches to prevent the skillet from becoming crowded.
Check the temperature of the oil occasionally. If the oil is too hot, the chicken will be too brown on the outside but not fully cooked through.
Drain fried chicken on a cooling rack placed over a rimmed baking sheet.
Copyright 2012 Rebecca Lang Cooks, LLC. All rights reserved. Visit www.rebeccalangcooks.com for more information.
This recipe tastes
like a hybrid of a wedding cookie and a melt-away mint. The
crumbs give a burst of refreshing sweetness with each bite.
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1⁄2 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp. peppermint extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1⁄2 tsp. salt
10 hard peppermint candies, crushed
1⁄2 cup powdered sugar
1. Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until
creamy; gradually add 1⁄2 cup sifted powdered sugar and peppermint extract, beating
well. Add flour and salt, beating until blended. Cover and chill dough
2. Preheat oven to 350°. Place crushed peppermints in a bowl.
Place 1⁄2 cup
powdered sugar in a second bowl. Shape dough into 20 (11⁄4-inch) balls; place 1 inch apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets.
3. Bake at 350° for 18 minutes or until bottoms are golden
(tops will be pale). Immediately roll each cookie in crushed peppermints and then
in powdered sugar. Generously sprinkle peppermints on top of each
cookie, mounding slightly. (Peppermints will stick to cookies as they cool.)
Cool completely on wire racks (about 30 minutes).
Makes: 20 cookies
Hands-on Time: 20 min. Total Time: 1 hr., 40 min.
Recipe from Southern Living Around the Southern Table by Rebecca Lang. Copyright 2012 Oxmoor House
I'm thrilled to be hitting the road to Celebrate the Season with Southern Living at Dillard's stores across the South. Our schedule is below and we'd love to see you! If you can't make it to one of our live events, go by a Dillard's when you have time to wander and take in the new Southern Living shop inside the store. From tableware, cookware, housewares - it's really like stepping into the pages. Scroll down for just a fraction of what you'll find in the shop. Take a long sheet of paper to start a Christmas list for yourself!
Supposedly the first ruler of Brazil
often requested this peasant fried chicken dish, frango á passarinho, instead of the royal dishes he was usually
offered. Walk into a bar in Brazil for happy hour and the menu will likely
include a version of frango á passarinho,
still popular today.
It is time-consuming to cut a whole
chicken into 20 pieces without a cleaver. If you don’t have one, heavy-duty
kitchen shears will do the job as well. The cuts can be random but some will be
straight through the bones. Just make sure the pieces are all about the same
Serves 4 to 6
6 cloves garlic
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup chopped white onion
2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley,
plus more for garnish
1/4 cup white wine
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 chicken (about 3 pounds, 8 ounces), cut
into 16 to 20 pieces
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons baking powder
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
Vegetable oil, for frying
To make the marinade, place the garlic in
the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade and pulse until
minced. Add the lemon juice, onion, parsley, wine, olive oil, salt, and pepper
and process until finely chopped. Transfer the marinade to a large mixing bowl,
add the chicken pieces, and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour,
oregano, and baking powder. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and leave
it in the marinade. Add the flour mixture and stir to coat the chicken evenly.
Discard any marinade remaining in the bowl.
In a large heavy skillet, heat 1/2 inch
of vegetable oil over medium heat to 365˚F. Set a wire rack over a rimmed
Working in batches, carefully place 6 to
8 pieces of chicken in the oil. Fry, turning often, for 8 minutes, or until
brown and juices run clear. Maintain a frying temperature of 340˚F to 350˚F.
Drain the chicken on the wire rack. Repeat with the remaining pieces.
After all the meat is fried, turn off the
heat. Line a plate with a paper towel. Place the sliced garlic in a metal
strainer and slowly lower into the hot oil to fry for 10 to 15 seconds or until
lightly browned. Quickly remove the strainer from the oil and drain garlic on
the prepared plate.
Serve the chicken sprinkled with garlic
and additional chopped parsley.
(c) 2015 Rebecca Lang Cooks, LLC
Recipe and photos from Fried Chicken (Ten Speed Press, May 2015) by Rebecca Lang. Photos by John Lee.