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Best of 2014

It’s always funny to me to look back on the year and compare my expectations with the reality. In so many ways, both wonderful and terrible, this year was not what I expected. I’ve grown a lot, and I’m comfortable saying that I’ve come out on the other side a better person. And, looking back on what we cooked in 2014, it’s evident that despite whatever else was going on in our world we ate very well. So, without further ado, the Best of B&S: 2014 Edition!

stormy scuppernog 4

Best Cocktail

The Stormy Scuppernong

tarheel pie 2

Best Pie

Skillet Tar Heel Pie

fiddlehead ferns 2

Best Ways to Up Your Bloody Mary Game

Pickled Fiddlehead Ferns and Bone Broth Bloody Mary

smashed potatoes 3

Dan’s Favorite Recipe

Garlic Skillet Smashed Potatoes

sea salt 7

Best Food-Related Reason to Get Waist Deep in the Ocean

Ginger Sea Salt

mac and cheese 2

Best Comfort Food

Three Cheese Macaroni

blossoms 14

Most Wonderful Use of Pimento Cheese

Pimento Cheese Stuffed Squash Blossoms 

dolphin 10

Best Day at Sea

Blue Crab Stuffed Dolphin Fish

hull pie 4

Best Use of Muscadines

Muscadine Hull Pie

quail 8

Best Indignant Monologue Published by a Magazine

A big thanks to The Local Palate for giving me a platform to discuss what defines the “real South.”

beerbeque 8

Best Appliance Purchase 

Our smoker! Long live the beerbeque!

rum 2

Most Unexpected Use of Cayenne

Cayenne Cider Punch

bacon wrapped turkey 10

Most Amazing Trip

My visit to Southern Living!

sauerkraut & dumplins 2

Elena’s Favorite

Sauerkraut & Dumplings

pound cake 2

Best Family Recipe

Flossie’s Pound Cake

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Brown Sugar Smoked Ham

I woke up yesterday morning and the first thing I thought was “CHRISTMAS STARTS TODAY!” We drove up yesterday to Morehead City to join my sister Genevieve and her boyfriend Naoise home from Ireland, my sister Lauren and her husband Bradley home from New Orleans, my brother Ryan, and my parents. That begun two weeks of seeing a ton of friends and family and all the puppies, and I am so excited. I love this time of year!

ham 4

Before we headed out I stocked the car fully with provisions- namely a case of wine and a smoked ham. I know how Christmas goes, y’all. We smoked an uncured “green” ham packed with brown sugar and cayenne, which gives an end product somewhere between a pork tenderloin and a pork shoulder.  Today it’s on the menu along with freshly grilled local salt water oysters, boudain from New Orleans, and a North Carolina clam chowder. It’s a feast, Eastern NC style.

ham 3

This is a time where I always find myself reflecting and looking inward and right now I’m basking in the incredibly love of my family and feeling overwhelmingly thankful for the communities that have been there for me this year, both online and in person. I’m grateful that I have the opportunity to spend the last few weeks of 2014 with people that I love eating delicious food and enjoying each other’s company. Salud!

ham 2

This post is in partnership with the North Carolina Pork Council.

 

Brown Sugar Smoked Ham

 

12-15lb ham shank, uncured

3 cups brown sugar

2 tbsp cayenne pepper

2 tbsp sea salt

Smoker with hickory wood chips

Optional: Bourbon brine

 

Heat your smoker to 200F. Coat each side of your ham with brown sugar, salt, and pepper. Place on a tray, fat side up. Smoke for 3 hours, keeping the temperature steady and adding wood chips to your smoker as needed. After 3 hours, turn the ham and smoke an additional 2 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 165F. Allow the ham to rest 1 hour before serving.

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Lovely Internet 12.19.14

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1. Read this.

2. Sorry guys, Elf on the shelf IS creepy and I am worried about what it’s teaching the next generation of Americans.

3. I can’t imagine the pressure Sarah Koening has been feeling the past few weeks.

4. Art is a Business.

5. I love the Maccabeats. Forever.

6. A lifetime ago my sister-in-law Megan asked me to talk to her students about exhibition development. The exhibition I created to teach them the process was about narwhals.

7. #4 is directly applicable to 87% of dinner table conversations in our family.

8. Do you have a personal uniform? Mine is “I woke up 20 minutes before I need to be at work what can I easily put on so I still have time to make coffee?”

9. This is a good guide to dealing with my husband.

10. I’ll admit that Love Actually is a guilty pleasure of mine, but this article makes a fair point.

For more tidbits from Elena the person, follow me on twitter (@elenabrent or @biscuitsandsuch), instagrampinterest or facebook. Subscribe to my bloglovin’ feed to make sure you never miss a post. Follow along with MissElenaeous for thoughts on everything other than Southern food.

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