Blog - biscuits and such
southern food blog
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Baked Apple Crisps

Tomorrow is the anniversary of our first kiss, many moons ago.  I know that once you get married other anniversaries are supposed to melt away, but I figure- why not just celebrate more?  We always celebrate the same way– by going to Dougherty’s, the pub where we decided on a whim to gamble our years-long friendship.  Thankfully it was a successful gamble.  At Dougherty’s we’ll get burgers and fries, people watch and maybe even try to figure out what made that night so unusual.  Who knows.  I just remember being surprised.

Afterwards we’ll come home and I’ll pop two of these in the oven– individual apple crisps.  They’re each a perfect one serving, one apple baked with cinnamon, brown sugar, and butter.  Sweet, but not too sweet.  Filling, but not too heavy.  A special dessert to celebrate a special day.

Baked Apple Crisps, For Two

2 medium size red apples

2 tbsp butter

1/2 cup dry oats

3 tbsp brown sugar

1 tbsp flour

1 tsp cinnamon

Peel and slice apples.  Combine 1 tbsp butter, 1 tbsp sugar, and apples in a pan.  Cook over low heat until they soften slightly.  Divide into two small serving dishes and turn your oven to 350.  In your pan, melt the rest of your butter.  Pour over oats, remaining sugar, flour, and cinnamon.  Toss.  Divide the topping evenly over the two dishes.  Bake for 35 minutes.

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Cheese Straws & Resolutions

Midway through the holiday madness I was contacted by a fellow North Carolinian who was wondering if I would be interested in reviewing some cheese straws.  Not just any cheese straws, but his family’s 100 year old recipe that his mother and uncle just started selling in small, artisan batches.  Now, I’m picky about product reviews because I hate the idea of disappointing someone or, worse, making you all feel disillusioned by what goes on here at B&S.  But cheese straws? From a sweet brother and sister combo in Concord, NC? How could I resist?!?

These bad boys arrived on our doorstep just before we headed on our whirlwind Christmas vacation.  I snagged a few for the road and then spent the next week thinking about them.  They are perfect, everything a cheese straw should be.  Spicy, soft but not too soft, cheesy, salty, amazing.  As we were setting up for Dan’s party last weekend Charlotte (a Tennessean and lover of all things cheese straw) and I spent a fair amount of time savoring these, trying to taste for different spices, carefully considering how we felt about them.  Our conclusion? Delicious.  Everything a cheese straw should be.  We strongly suggest that you visit Ritchie Hill’s site and see for yourself.

In other news, it’s a new year, which means it’s time for goals and planning and thinking into the future.  I know the past few weeks around here have been heavy on the reflections and musings side of things (and light on the recipes and eating side of things), but forgive me as I take one more stab at it (I’ll be back tomorrow with more of the edibles).  My B&S related goals for this year are as follows:

– Continue expanding our recipe collection

– To actually make some instructional movies like I keep promising

– To take more process shots now that I have a fancy new flash

– To add to our set and prop collection

– To create images that inspire and to push myself to stay creative

– To write a post dedicated solely to the photography on this site

– To eat more pie

That’s not such a huge list, and hopefully it’ll be something that is constantly morphing throughout the year.  I’m hoping that 2012 is a year of big growth for me, in the kitchen, in the garden, as a photographer… I have high hopes.  That being said, I’m interested in hearing the sorts of things you would like to see around here.  More pie? Less musing? All the cheese? Let me know.  Let’s make 2012  a great year, together.  Okay, that’s enough cheese.

*Ritchie Hill didn’t pay me to say nice things about them.  In fact, all they did was send me a box of cheese straws (complimentary).  And I ate them.  And they were delicious.

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Red Velvet Cake


Today is Dan’s 27th birthday. Happy Dan’s birthday, internet!  I may have mentioned here, once or a thousand times, that birthdays are very important to me.  They’re not so important to Dan, but over the years I’ve been trying to nudge him in the celebrate-wildly-have-lots-of-fun direction.  It’s a slow process.



This year, by far, has been my most successful. To frame the story you should know that I am horrible at secrets and surprises.  Take for instance Dan’s 25th birthday, where I planned a whole surprise weekend, blind folded him, and drove around in circles to throw him off only to discover when we arrived that he had already figured out everything that we were doing.  It was a great weekend, but a major surprise letdown.



About a week ago, as we were driving between our three Christmases, I had the idea to throw Dan a surprise birthday party.  I started texting people to see if they were available, furiously began planning my cover story and how I would get him out of the house, and made a menu in my head.  By the time we returned home from the holidays, everything was planned and the party was set in motion.



The problem with surprise parties is that there is an inherent layer of lies just to keep everything secret.  And because I am a very bad liar and Dan knows me very well, another layer of lies sprang into existence to explain the “I have a secret” face I kept making.  I wove a tangled webs of secrets and lies, and the more time went on the more confusing it became to keep it straight. Thankfully I only had to hold it together for a week.



The basis of my cover story was that my very good friend Brit and her fiance Aaron were coming up to visit so that Brit and I could work on wedding stuff and Aaron and Dan could have guy time.  The boys ended up brewing beer, and then going out to a bar with our friend Gordon so that Brit, Charlotte (another good friend from school), and I could set up.  The “super secret wedding stuff” story was the saving grace, as the idea that there were things we had to do that Aaron couldn’t see was plausible and easily bought.  Also, the plan to have friends over for dinner meant that I could make pizza dough and a cake without arousing suspicion.  The boys whisked Dan away and we got to work hanging streamers, blowing up balloons, and making banners.



By 6.30 I had baked seven specialty pizzas (we did 10 overall), the apartment was transformed into a birthday wonderland, the fridge had been tetrised with an insane amount of beer (thanks, friends!), and we were all packed into the living room.  I was sort of convinced that Dan had figured out that the surprise was coming, so I was bracing myself for the disappointment.  Was I ever wrong.  As you can see in the photos and video below, they walked into the apartment and Dan just sort of looked around, shocked, for a few minutes.  It was glorious.  I have never felt so sneaky.


photo by Rachel


Ultimately this party was such a huge success because we have a group of amazing friends from school, work, water ballet, and life in Baltimore that came together to celebrate Dan.  And that was such a great feeling.  I couldn’t be more thankful for the help and secret keeping that went into this party.  Thankful, and sure that I won’t be doing this again for another decade or two.



Yesterday (Birthday Day 2) we went out, got breakfast sandwiches, spent our Christmas gift certificates, curled on the couch and watched Twin Peaks, and generally relaxed. Tonight we’re getting all gussied up and going to a favorite restaurant, Woodberry Kitchen.  This year has been one of the best Dan’s birthdays yet! Happy Birthday to my sweet husband!


A small aside- this past week Dan and I decided to make a rather large business investment, we bought a new camera.  My wonderful, dedicated, steadfast Nikon D40 has been on its last legs for a while, and it was time for an upgrade.  We purchased a Canon 60D, plus a Canon 430 EXII Speedlite flash.  I’m still learning my way around both but so far they’re amazing and I’m SO excited for this next stage in my photographic life.  That, plus the Diana+ with an instant back, is the reason for the gratuitous photos in this post.  Thanks for putting up with me!


Dan’s Birthday Surprise! from elena rosemond-hoerr on Vimeo.

Red Velvet Cake


2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tbsp cocoa powder

1 3/4 cups sugar

1 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups vegetable oil

1 cup buttermilk, room temperature

2 large eggs, room temperature

3 tbsp red food coloring

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp white vinegar

cream cheese frosting:

16 oz cream cheese, room temperature

4 cups powdered sugar

2 sticks salted butter, room temperature

1 tsp vanilla extract

Sift together dry ingredients.  In a stand mixer or large bowl, mix together wet ingredients.  Beat until combined with paddle attachment.  Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients.

Preheat oven to 350.  Oil and lightly powder three 9 1/2″ round cake pans. Pour cake batter evenly between three cake pans.  Bake for 30 minutes or until cooked all the way through, rotating halfway. Transfer to racks and let cool completely.

To make the frosting, combine all ingredients in a mixer.  Beat slowly to incorporate and then on high until fluffy, approximately 4-6 minutes.

Lay the first layer on the cake stand/plate, top side down. Spread a good layer of icing in between.  Add the second layer, also top side down. Spread more icing. Finish with the third layer, top side up. Ice the top and sides.

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