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a year in review, 2013

Dear 2013, I hate to see you go, but I love to watch you leave. Xoxo, Elena

It’s hard to express what 2013 was for me, personally. It was definitely not the easiest of years and some parts of it have left me so heartsick that I’m having a difficult time seeing it in a positive light. On the other hand, it was one of our best years ever. Confusing, I know. Here’s the breakdown:

personally, i:

– spent our first full year as north carolinians together with dan, a dream come true

– celebrated four years of marriage

– celebrated kaylee’s first birthday

– adopted a second (perfect!) puppy, river

– explored our new city

– have been overwhelmed and delighted with the friends we’ve made in wilmington

– celebrated my sister’s fantastic wedding in new orleans

– ran two marathons and a 21 mile trail race

– traveled all over the country for work and new opportunities

– wrote my first cookbook

– began working on my second cookbook

– continued posting on misselenaeous, a site that has been a fantastic outlet for me

– built a bountiful garden space in our front yard

– did a lot of diving and a lot of searching on the bottom of the ocean for megalodon teeth

– dedicated myself to regular yoga practice, something that has made me a more well rounded person

– built our first piece of furniture

– started to learn to play the banjo on the canjo that dan built for me

– watched dan’s enthusiasm for homebrew grow (much to my appreciation)

– enjoyed my first full year as a montessori preschool teacher

– put our guest room to work and hosted many, many, loved ones

– walked around the streets of charleston with my best friend wearing matching tshirts featuring an obscure gilmore girls quote

– cheered dan on as he ran not one but two 5ks in one week

– connected with amazing bloggers and writers from all over this state, the south, and the world

– said goodbye to two people who were very, very dear to me.

this blog has:

– celebrated five years of recipes, photographs, and food

– survived me writing my first cookbook

–  introduced  new series and partnerships with great success

– been nominated for prestigious awards, featured in exciting places

– cooked more than we ever thought possible

– talked to people far and wide about the history and heritage of southern cooking

– introduced a beautiful new banner thanks to our friend emily of em dash paper co

– juggled two twitter accounts in a dubious attempt to separate personal and professional (@elenabrent vs @biscuitsandsuch)

– preached the gospel of cast iron, full fats, and real foods

– dabbled in charcuterie (with hopes of much more to come)

– fully appreciated our new deep fryer

– connected with you all and had amazing conversations about food, family, life, and love

2013 in Review from elena rosemond-hoerr on Vimeo.

(music in the video by the incredible alabama shakes)

thank you, so much, for reading this blog, for making this space a beautiful and positive one. this would all be for naught without the support of the amazing people who read and share and love b&s. thank you thank you thank you, and cheers to a happy 2014!

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Best of 2013

2013 was a wild year. Personally and professionally, it was a roller coaster. I’m thankful for so many things about this past year, but I won’t be sad to see it leave tomorrow. Nevertheless, here are some of my favorite recipes from this past year:

honey pie 1 Best Pie
Honey Pie

brussels sprouts 1

Best Use of Bacon
Brussels Sprouts with Bacon Jam

salt packed fish 2

Most Impressive to Serve Guests
Salt Crusted Snapper
satsuma cobbler 1 Favorite Cocktail
Satsuma Cobbler

charbroiled oysters 2

Best Seafood
Charbroiled Oysters

new hanover

Best Series
Tasting North Carolina

bone broth 3

Most Nourishing
Bone Broth

Brunswick Stew 1

Best Stew (and also Recipe I Was Most Excited About Creating That Nobody Else Cared About But My Dad)
Stovetop Brunswick Stew 

blackened fish 4 Most Popular Main Dish
Blackened Red Drum

grilled peaches 7

Most Popular Dessert (and Best Road Trip for a Recipe)
Grilled Peaches with Ice Cream and Caramel Sauce

apple hand pies 4

Best Use of Biscuit Dough
Sweet Tango Hand Pies

the american cookbook

Most Exciting Project (and also The Project That Took Years Off My Life But I Happily Gave Them)
The American Cookbook

chipotle wings 3

Best Imitation of Our Favorite Restaurant Food
Honey Chipotle Wings

beignets 6

Best Pastry (and also Best Recipe That Also Marks a Major Family Event)
Beignets

blueberry cake 1

Dan’s Favorite Cake
Blueberry Lemon Cake

brisket 4

Best Meat Dish
Southern Grilled Brisket

Thanks for coming along with us, here’s to 2014!

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Vinegar Pie

vinegar pie 2

 

This season has made me realize how truly, incredibly, overwhelmingly blessed I am. It’s been a hard few months, full of happiness and good fortune and time with family but also loss and heartache. It’s always a balance, but every once in a while something amazing happens that reminds you that you are loved.

 

vinegar pie 5

 

As silly as it sounds, that something this month has been the results of this crazy whirlwind contest- the Colombo Marsala Recipe Contest. Going into it I was hopeful but didn’t have any expectations of winning. I did my best to create a recipe that I was proud of, I encouraged my friends, family, and readers to vote (and tried to walk the line between enthusiastic and obnoxious), and I crossed my fingers. And while I was sitting there hoping, something magical happened. I watched  people I love sharing the link, over and over, encouraging their friends and family to vote. My aunt texting the extended family once a day to remind them. People I hadn’t seen or spoken to in months or even years rallying for me. My sister in Dublin asking people who came into her boutique to vote. My dad asking people at the bar with us for their vote. It was inspiring. It was humbling. I am so grateful.

 

vinegar pie 3

Voting ends tonight and I’m up by a fair margin. For that, I owe you all a debt of gratitude. The winner will be announced on the 20th and it will be determined by the number of votes, the quality of the recipe, and the merits of the blog post. Whether or not we go to Italy, I am so grateful for what this contest has taught me. These past two weeks have shown me the type of love and small acts of kindness that this holiday season is supposed to be all about; it’s a small and silly thing to vote for someone in a recipe contest but it has meant the world to me. Please know that I am so thankful, that you all have made my world a better place.

 

vinegar pie 4

 

Consider this pie, a traditional vinegar chess pie, my thanks. It’s a sweet and simple pie that is warm and filling. The perfect balance to hot chocolate and peppermint and the decadence of the Christmas dessert table. And, with the help of a heart shaped cookie cutter, the perfect way to add a little love to your plate.

 

vinegar pie 1

 

Vinegar Pie

pie dough

2 1/4 cups flour

2 tbsp sugar

1 tsp salt

1/4 cup vegetable shortening

1 1/2 sticks butter

Ice cold water

chess

5 eggs

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1 tsp vanilla

2 tbsp flour

1 tsp ginger

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp cardamom

1/2 cup butter, melted

 

Begin by making your pie dough.  Mix together dry ingredients.  Using your hands, work in the shortening.  Cube the butter and cut that in, until the dough has the consistency of cornmeal. Add ice water, as needed, until the dough clings. Wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

To make the chess combine your dry ingredients.  Using an electric mixer, beat them together.  Add the eggs, one at a time.  Add the butter, melted.  Add in vanilla and vinegar.

Heat your oven to 325. Roll out your pie dough and press into pie dish.  Pour filling into the dish.  Bake for 45 minutes or until the pie is brown and mostly set. Let cool. Serve at room temperature.

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