Blondies are often too sweet for my taste, but the idea of adding subtly savory pine nuts to the dessert was too intriguing to pass up.
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This salad of white rice, raisins, pine nuts, and scallions from Rebecca Lang's Around the Southern Table may look a bit one-dimensional at first, but Lang's version is more than just a simple grain salad. The potent mixture of a lemon's zest and its juice whisked together with a touch of orange juice and a drizzle of sweet and tangy white balsamic soaks effortlessly into the hot rice, plumps the raisins, and tempers the bite of the scallions.
Rebecca Lang's Spicy Coleslaw in Around the Southern Table is not your typical styrofoam cup of mayonnaise with a side of cabbage. Yes, the salad contains a bit of mayo, but the dressing is punched up with a generous pour of buttermilk and intense bursts of horseradish, hot sauce, mustard, and jalapeños. Said dressing clings perfectly to each piece of chopped red and green cabbage, grated carrot, minced red onion, and sliced scallion.
A lowcountry boil is the southeastern coast's equivalent to a New England clambake. Take the fresh shellfish catch of the day, and dump it in a giant pot with some vegetables and sausage, and you're more than halfway to a giant feast for you and your friends. The boils I attended growing up were usually full of shrimp, potatoes, and corn, but there can be quite a bit of variance in the pot. In Rebecca Lang's Around the Southern Table, the lowcountry boil includes crawfish along with the requisite shrimp, but crab would be just as welcome.
To many cooks, gravy is a sauce best served over Thanksgiving turkey or maybe the occasional roast chicken. In the South, however, gravy is used to "smother" everything from fried chicken and pork chops to sweet Vidalia onions and the perennial favorite: buttery biscuits. In Around the Southern Table, Rebecca Lang takes this classic brunch dish and gives it a unique twist. Instead of building the gravy from sausage or coffee, she combines salty and rich bacon drippings with diced tomatoes and a slight pour of milk. The tomatoes serve to brighten the whole shebang, but the bacon drippings keep things from getting too virtuous. The biscuits? Lang's are ginormous "cat-heads," made with a dead-simple mixture of self-rising flour, bacon drippings, butter, and buttermilk.