Monday, August 31, 2009

Southern Fried Chicken - Musings

Last Monday was my baby boy's last free day before he started 6th grade. He decided that he wanted to go for a picnic. We decided to have our picnic at Piney Run Park. It is a beautiful location with a nice lake and picnic tables. My thought was to have southern fried chicken and sides. I already told you about my problems with potato salad so I planned to buy the side dishes but make my own southern fried chicken. Everyone knows who the Queen of Southern Fried Food is -- Paula Deen, of course. That's why I used Paula's recipe for SFC. The recipe was taken from but is attributed to Paula. I didn't use the hot sauce because I was pretty sure D wouldn't like it. Also, I don't like messing with chicken on the bone so naturally I decided to make southern fried chicken strips ala Paula Deen. My tastebuds were so ready for 'em!

I got going early Monday morning. I poured a combination of safflower and canola oil in a deep pan about half full. I didn't want to put too much oil in the pot for fear of it -- HOT OIL! I am not comfortable with hot oil (i.e. grease). It isn't my favorite medium. I don't own a fry baby or deep fryer. I'm afraid that if I did own one I might start frying all kinds of things that really shouldn't be fried. But, let's face it, I'm not a southern gal. I'm Italian. I don't know squat about deep frying stuff in hot oil. It is scary. Shortly after I got the oil nice and hot, I heard the unmistakable beeping of our smoke alarm as the house started to fill up with smoke! Yes, that's right. Smoke. I never really thought, "hmmm, maybe I should put on the fan over the stove so I don't smoke up the house." That just never entered my mind until I heard the smoke alarm blaring. My darling husband starts opening windows and doors and fanning the smoke around. Then D walks by and says, "hey, mom that chicken looks overcooked." Yes, at age 10 he is a fried chicken expert. No, really. I mean he doesn't like anything that is brown. When I make grilled cheese sandwiches, hot dogs on the grill or anything that could potentially get dark brown he freaks. So, I instantly pulled those chicken strips out of the hot oil. I dutifully placed them on layers of paper towels and breathed a sigh of relief that they were done.... or so I thought!

Once we got to our picnic table on the edge of the lake, we pulled out all yummy looking food. Then I took a fork and knife and cut open one of the pieces of chicken. It was RAW! Yikes. Yes, raw!! I was so upset, depressed, sad, scared, offended, embarrassed! You name it. Luckily it was just me, my hubby and my baby boy. Then and there my boy says, "Mom, at least the lemonade is good." He was trying to be sweet but it missed its mark.

Try this recipe and make sure you cook the chicken long enough. My friend, S happened to make Southern Fried Chicken last week and hers turned out overcooked. You just can't win....

Southern Fried Chicken
by Paula Deen

House Seasoning:

1 cup salt
1/4 cup black pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder

Southern Fried Chicken:

4 eggs
1/3 cup water
1 cup hot red pepper sauce
2 cups self-rising flour
1 teaspoon pepper

House Seasoning
2 1/2-pound chicken, cut into pieces
Oil, for frying, preferably peanut oil

To make the House Seasoning, mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

In a medium size bowl, beat the eggs with the water. Add enough hot sauce so the egg mixture is bright orange. In another bowl, combine the flour and pepper. Season the chicken with the House Seasoning. Dip the seasoned chicken in the egg, and then coat well in the flour mixture.
Heat the oil to 350 degrees F in a deep pot. Do not fill the pot more than 1/2 full with oil.
Fry the chicken in the oil until brown and crisp.

Dark meat takes longer than white meat. It should take dark meat about 13 to 14 minutes, white meat around 8 to 10 minutes.

Good luck!

The Creative Cook

Friday, August 28, 2009

CAKE WEEK - Hummingbird Cake

I love the name of this cake. It sounds so interesting. I have no idea where the name comes from. The best guess is that the cake is so named because it comes close to the sweetness of the nectar that hummingbirds love to feed on. I have been looking at this recipe since the beginning of summer. It definitely seems like a summer cookout type of cake. I haven't tried making it yet. With my recent track record, I'm a little nervous to try it. Maybe next summer! I did do some reading on the Internet about how this cake came into being. The recipe was published in the February 1978 issue of Southern Living Magazine and afterwards it gained widespread popularity. I also learned that the recipe was submitted by a Mrs. L. H. Wiggins of Greensboro North Carolina. It consists of two or three layers of cake full of chopped pecans, crushed pineapple, and mashed bananas that are filled and frosted with a delicious cream cheese icing. Someone out there needs to try making this cake and report back to me!



· 3 cups all-purpose flour
· 2 cups granulated sugar
· 1/2 teaspoon salt
· 2 teaspoons baking soda
· 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
· 3 eggs, beaten
· 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
· 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
· 1 can (8oz) crushed pineapple, well drained
· 1 cup chopped pecans
· 2 cups chopped firm ripe banana

Cream Cheese Frosting:

· 16 ounces cream cheese, softened
· 1 cup butter, room temperature
· 2 pounds confectioners' sugar
· 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
· 1/2 to 1 cup chopped pecans


Preheat oven to 350°. Sift flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and cinnamon together into mixing bowl several times. Add eggs and salad oil to the dry ingredients. Stir with a wooden spoon until ingredients are moistened. Stir in vanilla, pineapple and 1 cup pecans. Stir in the bananas. Spoon the batter into 3 well-greased and floured 9-inch round cake pans. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes,or until a wooden pick or cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn onto cooling rack. Cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting: Combine cream cheese and butter; cream until smooth. Add powdered sugar, beating with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Stir in vanilla.

Frost the tops of all 3 layers, stack and then frost sides. Sprinkle top evenly with the 1/2 to 1 cup chopped pecans.

The Creative Cook