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southern food blog
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Southern Living

For months I have had this post in my drafts folder titled From Scabies to Southern Living.  It’s misleading because I never had scabies.  I did, however, have shingles.  And when I told my bff Megan that Southern Living had contacted me about a feature she exclaimed “Look at you going from scabies to Southern Living!”  She said it in the same tone she uses when she notes that my fashion sense has evolved from frequently wearing a skirt spotted in chlorine stains to not embarrassing her everyday with my wardrobe.  And I thought, that is the perfect title.*

When Marian Cooper Cairns first emailed me over a year ago it was a vague email along the lines of “love your blog, do you read Southern Living?”  I thought it was a scam.  I mean, everyone I can think of in the South reads Southern Living, it’s huge.  What could she possible want with me?  We emailed back and forth and Marian said she’d be interested in pitching a small story about the blog.  I was skeptical, but excited. That was January.  By Easter, when we went home to approve my sister’s boyfriend visit with family, Marian and some coworkers had tried my caramel fried green tomatoes and asked how I felt about her idea of doing a mother’s day picnic.  I talked to my mom and we decided we didn’t think it could be more perfect. Picnics have always been an important part of our family tradition, it was a great fit for us.  That spring Marian got the green light and I got to recipe developing. We decided on Fried Chicken Bites, Roasted Corn Salsa, Raspberry, Mint, & Mozzarella SkewersLime Fizz, and Strawberry Rhubarb Hand Pies.  Marian took the recipes back to her team to test them, tweaked them to their needs, and the ball was officially rolling!  We talked about location and finally settled on the beautiful Cylburn Arboretum in Baltimore.  After much coordination and planning my mom, Megan, Marian, photographer Jennifer Davick, and stylist Allison Banks arrived in Baltimore in early August.

The day they arrived Allison came to my apartment to pick out what we would wear for the shoot, a task that involved 1) lots of cleaning and 2) piling my entire wardrobe onto the bed.  Even though she came right after lunchtime (they went to Baltimore’s Cross Street Market for a lake trout sandwich) and assured us she wasn’t hungry, my mom still made a cheese plate.  A cheese plate she brought with her from North Carolina.  My mother traveled 6 hours in a car with a cheese plate. Does that explain everything about me that you need to know?  Probably.

Photo on right by the wonderful Beth.

After Allison styled us the team was sweet enough to take us to a nice dinner where we laughed and drank and talked about all the wonderful things about the South.  Then, on a particularly rainy Friday, we met at the arboretum.   As we drove to the arboretum I crossed my fingers and toes hoping that the humidity wouldn’t make my hair frizzy and that the weather would hold, a wish that mostly came true.  When we arrived they had been there for hours setting the scene and photographing the food (that they made- I had to do nothing but show up and smile), and despite the fact that it had been raining on and off they had made beautiful photographs and had the sweetest picnic set up.  As they photographed us we stood and sat, poured and laughed, carried pies and baskets, shook out blankets and tried not to be awkward.  It was amazing and completely surreal.

Since then it’s been a waiting game.  Every once in a while we would get an update from Marian, letting us know that people were loving it or that it looked like it could be however many pages.  The past two weeks have been the hardest, waiting for it to show up in my mailbox.  Dan and I have been talking about what this would mean for months.  When friends finally started getting it in their mailboxes on Thursday I thought I would die from anticipation.  Finally, Friday, at a Target in Laurel, Maryland, I squealed with my friend Beth in the magazine aisle and promptly took home all three copies in stock.  The feature is everything I could have hoped for.  The pictures are gorgeous, the food looks perfect, and I’m 90% certain my mom and I are laughing about a “your mom” joke in the first image.  Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity Marian!

Find the Southern Living versions of our recipes hereLime FizzLime Simple SyrupSpring SalsaFried Chicken BitesFruit, Cheese, and Herb Skewers;Strawberry-Rhubarb Handpies.  See the online slideshow here.

*I should note that the reason I didn’t title this post “From Scabies to Southern Living” is because it appalled my mother.  But the fact that it appalled my mother is the reason I mentioned it.  It’s all about balance in these mother-daughter relationships.

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Deviled Eggs

This weekend was my cousin Mary Catherine’s bridal shower.  Mary was my bridesmaid, is a dear friend, and a favorite family member.  She’s one of the many things I love about my big, crazy, blended family.  It has been wonderful getting to know her fiance, Sean (who we love), and Dan and I couldn’t be happier for them.

Friday I drove down to Durham, and after a pit stop to wish my little brother Reid a happy 22nd birthday, I headed to my Aunt Diane’s house to start the weekend festivities.  Maddie and Mary’s sister (and maid of honor) Elizabeth did the planning and all of the heavy lifting, but I was able to pull my weight a little with this deviled egg recipe.  The spread was incredible, the decorations were perfectly over the top, and the 425-picture slideshow of Mary was just ridiculous enough.

The shower was full of laughter, (happy) tears, silly games, and complete love of Mary.  There was dancing and eating well into the afternoon (even during a tornado) and at seven, we moved on to part two: the bachelorette party.  With Mary in a veil, sash, bride trucker hat, and feather boa we headed to Franklin Street in Chapel Hill.

Mary with her sister, Elizabeth, and their mother, Diane

Generally speaking I kind of suck at going out bachelorette parties.  I’m awesome and totally into it until about… 11.30 wherein my body realizes that it should be in bed.  And instead I’m in a bar where the music is (usually) too loud and even the people watching has gotten old.  Sort of like time lapse grumpy.  But this weekend there was one thing that kept me laughing- Mary.  She made it impossible not to have fun, from booing the zillion other bachelorettes* to dancing along to Supa Tight.  It was her day and she made it amazing.  I can’t wait for her big day next month!

Mary & Sean, practicing for the big day

*If you’re one of the many bachelorettes we booed on Franklin Street Saturday night, I apologize.  It wasn’t us speaking, it was the drinks with dirty names.  You looked great in your tiara and we wish you a lifetime of happiness with your groom!

Mary & Sean engaged in one of the stranger shower games we’ve played

See more photos of Mary’s shower here.

Deviled Eggs

12-14 eggs

1/2 cup mayonaisse

2 tbsp dijon mustard

1 tsp paprika, plus extra for topping

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

Dash of hot sauce

Hard boil the eggs.  Run them under cold water and then peel.  Slice the eggs in half and remove the yolks.  Mix into the yolks all the remaining ingredients.  Adjust the mayonnaise as necessary until the filling is creamy.  Scoop a little filling back into each egg white.  Sprinkle with paprika and chill.

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Lori’s Sesame Pasta Salad

Long time blog readers will remember my Aunt Lori.  She won the first (and only) recipe contest we held for Biscuits and Such’s first blogoversary.  Full disclosure: it was a blind judging (and I was not a judge).  Her coca-cola cake wowed everyone.  Aunt Lori is the wife of my father’s only brother, my Uncle Kevin, and the mother of my two hilarious cousins, Charlie and Anna.  The “other Rosemonds” (as they are commonly referred to in our house) are some of the closest family members we have.  Aunt Lori and Uncle Kevin have always been there, listening, supporting, and loving us.  They’re the best kind of family to have.

This recipe is from the 1986 Durham Junior League’s cookbook Even More Special.  And I have to say, for a recipe as old as I am, it was completely spot on.  I’m not always a fan of pasta salads that are heavily mayo-based, they can often feel too heavy and inappropriate for spring and summer outings.  This, in comparison, was perfect.  It was light, refreshing, flavorful, and completely packed with fresh vegetables.  I love a pasta dish that can feel healthy and heavenly at the same time.  I will be adding this one to my picnic repertoire, you can count on that.

Anna cannon-balling it at the Rosemond family Reunion, 2009

Charlie, Anna, & Petey

From Left: Aunt Lori, my mom, Cathy, and Aunt Jill

Dance Festival Favorite Pasta Salad
Adapted from the 1986 Durham Junior League Cookbook Even More Special

1 pound fusili or twisted pasta, cooked

4 tbsp fiery toasted sesame oil

4 chicken breasts

1/8 cup sesame seeds

1/4 cup canola oil

1/4 cup sesame oil

1/3 cup rice wine vinegar

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1 bunch green onions, sliced

1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

1 cup sprouts

1/2 red onion, diced

6 cups fresh spinach, roughly chopped

Cook your chicken in 2 tbsp fiery sesame oil.  Chop and set aside.

Toast sesame seeds in 1 tbsp fiery sesame oil.  Set aside.

Boil your pasta in salted water with 1 tbsp fiery sesame oil.  Drain and rinse with cold water.

Toss chicken, pasta, and sesame seeds in canola oil, sesame oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper.  Chill for 6 hours.

Prepare and stir in the vegetables before serving.


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