Sunday, May 22, 2011

Happy Birthday

Its my birthday, and I get to choose the menu.
Well, I do that a lot to start with, but this time around I am making a super duper selection. I decided that I want to have an all time favorite meal: fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn on the cob, wilted greens salad and of course, chocolate cake for dessert.

I have been a fan of the Pioneer Woman for years; in fact we follow each other on Twitter. She has some really great recipes that are scrumptious and easy.
I decided that I was going to make her buttermilk fried chicken for my birthday dinner

2 cut-up fryer chickens

1 quart plus 1/4 cup buttermilk

5 cups all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons seasoned salt (like Lawry’s)

2 teaspoons black pepper

2 teaspoons dried thyme

2 teaspoons paprika

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 cup milk

canola or vegetable oil for frying

1. In a large bowl (or 2 freezer bags) add the chicken with 1 quart buttermilk. Refrigerate overnight. When ready to fry, remove chicken from bowl and let sit on counter for 30 minutes to take chill off.

2. Preheat oven to 350F. Stir together the flour, seasoned salt, pepper, thyme, paprika and cayenne in a very large bowl. In a small bowl combine the 1/4 cup buttermilk and the milk. Pour the milk mixture into the flour and use a fork to mix until little lumps throughout.

3. Heat 1 1/2 inches of oil in a deep skillet or dutch oven over medium high heat to 365F. Working in batches, thoroughly coat each buttermilk-soaked chicken piece with the breading, pressing to adhere the breading. Add the chicken to the oil 3-4 pieces at a time. Cover pan and fry 5-7 minutes, checking to make sure chicken isn’t getting too brown. Turn, cover and cook additional 3-5 minutes more. Monitor temperature of oil to make sure chicken doesn’t burn. Keep in mind chicken will finish cooking in oven.

I found the recipe for the wilted greens salad in Taste of Home magazine about 10 years ago, and its been a staple ever since.
8 cups torn leaf lettuce or spinach

1/4 cup sliced green onions

Pepper to taste

3 bacon strips, diced

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 hard-cooked egg, chopped


In a large bowl, combine lettuce and onions in a large salad bowl. Sprinkle with pepper; set aside.

In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Stir the vinegar, lemon juice, sugar and salt in drippings. Pour over lettuce and toss gently until well coated. Top with hard-cooked egg. Serve immediately

To finish off the meal, chocolate cake and raspberries.
1/4 cup baking cocoa

1 cup water

1 cup canola oil

1/2 cup butter, cubed

2 cups self-rising flour

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup buttermilk

2 eggs

FROSTING (for the layer cake):

1/2 cup butter, cubed

1/4 cup baking cocoa

1/4 cup milk

4 to 4-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine cocoa and water until smooth; add the oil and butter. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1 minute. Remove from the heat.

In a large bowl, combine flour and sugar; gradually add cocoa mixture, beating until well combined. Beat in buttermilk and eggs.

Pour into a greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° for 28-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

Cut cake into four 7-1/2-in. x 5-in. rectangles. Wrap two of the rectangles separately in foil; refrigerate or freeze. Set the other two rectangles aside.

For frosting, in a small saucepan, combine the butter, cocoa and milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1 minute (the mixture will appear curdled).

Pour into a large bowl. Gradually add confectioners' sugar and vanilla; beat until frosting achieves desired spreading consistency. Spread frosting between layers and over the top and sides of cake. Unfrosted cakes may be frozen for up to 6 months. Yield: 1 two-layer cake (6-8 servings) plus 2 plain cake portions.

(also from Taste of Home magazine)

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