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Beer Sangria


This past weekend, in true Elena fashion, we celebrated my 26th birthday starting on the 4th. Growing up we would celebrate for months, traveling around from family vacation to family vacation. The latest I’ve ever started gearing up was Independence Day, the day when I tell myself the fireworks are really for me.

Our July 4th was wonderful. Sol Food was here (I’ll talk more about their visit in a post next week), and we were welcomed into the homes of four close friends. First we headed down to Catonsville, a neighborhood in Baltimore County that feels like small town America- especially on Independence Day, where our friends Jen and Bill live with their amazing and precocious daughter Finley. The parade in Catonsville is one of my favorites with floats including Baltimore’s best waitress (Miss Peggy) and marching bands galore. In the afternoon we headed to Overlea to watch the fireworks (and my favorite Will Smith movie) with our friends Jamie, Cheryl, Chris and (another) Jen. It was wonderful and when my head hit the mattress many dehydrated hours later I slept like a rock. Day drinking is taxing.

The next few days were full of being with my brother and the rest of Sol Food, eating a lot of ice cream, and trying to stay cool during the insane heat wave (my birthday has been record heat for the past three years). Then, on Saturday, we hosted a cookout for 45 or so friends, family, and new friends. It was amazing. Good friends came from far away (Julia came from Durham!), and we ate, drank, laughed, and gobbled down vodka soaked peaches. It was one of the best birthdays I’ve ever had.

One thing I wanted when we decided to have this party was a signature cocktail. A few weeks ago I had a beer sangria at our favorite Bmore restaurant, Ale Wife. It was so delicious I knew we had to immediately try it at home. A combination of vodka infused peaches and a white beer, it was the perfect refreshing cocktail for a record heat day.

On Sunday we had a bloody-Mary fueled Durham-tastic brunch with Julia and two other DSA alums, Mattie and David. From the heartfelt cards and birthday toasts to the treat of watching friends from across our lifetimes bond over the littlest things (like an intensely long game of Cards Against Humanity) it was a magical birthday. Thanks, guys. You rock.

Beer Sangria
Inspired by Alewife Baltimore

Handle of vodka
5 peaches, ripe
White beer (such as Allagash White)

At least 24 hours before your party combine sliced peaches and vodka. When you’re ready to serve mix 1 oz vodka and 6-8 oz beer. Enjoy!

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Grilled Potato Chips

I’ve frequently used this space on the internet to soapbox about things that are mostly unimportant to everyone else, the most prevalent of which is the difference between a cookout and barbeque (a cookout is when you cook foods like hotdogs, hamburgers, grilled chicken outdoors. Barbeque is a noun). It’s been my mission over the past so many years in Maryland to stop people calling making hotdogs a “barbeque.” It’s just not. It’s a cookout.

The moral of the story, of course, is that tomorrow is my birthday and I’m having a cookout. A real life, hamburgers and sausages on the grill, cookout. With beer sangria and friends and family and hot July weather and sprinklers on and fun. I’m so excited, I can’t wait to grill everything from potato chips to atomic sausage. Happy July!

Grilled Potato Chips

3-6 yukon gold potatoes

Olive oil

Salt & Pepper

Slice your potatoes into 1/4″ chips. Brush olive oil on both sides and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Grill 2-3 minutes on each side, so crispy but not overcooked. Enjoy!

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Cherry Mountain Pie

This time of year, late June and early July, has always been punctuated by the smell of a mountain pie baking in the oven. Growing up my grandmother always made one for my birthday, and I’ve continued the tradition. Served hot with ice cream, this dessert and its sweet fruit has long been a summer favorite.

Last weekend a friend of ours, another North Carolinian living in Baltimore, invited us over for a full on pig roast. I couldn’t have been more excited, I haven’t been to a good pig pickin’ since a Rosemond family reunion a few years ago. I thought long and hard about what to bring (cooking for an unknown audience makes me nervous) before settling on my favorite summer dessert paired with my favorite fruit of the moment. Saturday afternoon I sat down with a bowl of cherries and before I knew it I was pulling this beautiful pie* out of the oven.

I used the rest of the honeysuckle butter we made a few weeks ago, which was the perfect addition to the sweetness of the cherries. I also used greek yogurt and a little water instead of milk, which added a tartness to the crust. The whole thing was delicious, a tasty compliment to a hell of a smoked pig.

*I recognize that this is much closer to a cake or a cobbler than a traditional pie, but Mountain Pie it has always been called and therefore pie it shall always be.

Cherry Mountain Pie

1 cup flour

1 cup sugar*

1/2 cup greek yogurt

1/2 cup water

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 stick butter

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

2 cups pitted cherries

Heat oven to 350.

In your dish, melt the butter.

While the butter is melting, mix together to flour, sugar, yogurt, water, vanilla extract, baking powder, and salt.

When the butter is melted, pour the flour mixture into it.  DO NOT MIX.  Add the fruit on top.  DO NOT MIX.

Bake for 40 minutes to 1 hour, or until golden brown.  Serve with ice cream.

Serves 6


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