Category Archives: biscuitsandsuch news

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!

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!

The American Cookbook

the american cookbook

At the end of May I got the strangest email. Reminiscent of the first email I got from Marian at Southern Living, it said something along the lines of “will you take a phone call about a book project.” It was from DK, a UK based publishing company (that is part of Penguin Random House), and I almost didn’t answer it. I get a lot of PR emails and I ignore most of them, but for one reason or the other this one struck a chord. So I set up a call and before I knew it I was agreeing to help with a cookbook project. A cookbook project where at the end of the day my name would be on the cover. And a cookbook project with an incredibly short deadline.

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american cookbook 5

The sequence of events was as such– my co-author, Caroline, who has published many books with DK and is generally amazing, pitched the idea of doing an American cookbook. DK sells to an international audience and as a Brit living in North Carolina (just down the street from my Aunt Lori and Uncle Kevin, actually) the idea of a cookbook full of classic and modern American recipes made sense to Caroline and to the folks at DK. The only hangup was that they wanted an American author to be involved, which put Caroline in a hard place. That’s where I come in. I was asked to come in and co-author the book, to work with Caroline to create a cookbook that was authentic and fun and that explored the regional intricacies of the American food culture. It’s a tall order.

american cookbook 2

The original timeline that I was given was 90 recipes (the book has 160 total) in 9 weeks. I thought it would be tight, but doable. Later that got condensed to 90 recipes in just over 4 weeks. Which was a little bit insane. I spent most of the summer waking up at the crack of dawn, writing recipes all morning, going to work, writing recipes during downtime at school, coming home, cooking and photographing and writing more recipes. And then responding to comments from Caroline and the publisher and recipe testers. And some nights I stayed up so late that I probably should have pulled an all nighter but I’m a preschool teacher and 4 year olds really loose their appeal when you’re working on no sleep. So I wrote and I cooked and I wrote and I cooked and sometimes I cried (like everytime I was converting recipes into the metric system for the first 30 recipes), but the whole time I was remembering that eventually I would look back and I would only remember how amazing it was. Which is very true and happened the day after I sent in the last recipe.

american cookbook 1

american cookbook 7

With the timeline being the way it was we had so much more food than we could ever eat. I gave food to friends, I gave food to people who needed it, I threw parties (including a Thanksgiving in June party that was a great success). We ate and cooked and ate and cooked until I was pretty sure I never wanted to eat or cook ever again. Some things were foods I love and make often (like shrimp & grits), but others were foods I’d never even tried before (like cioppino). I made cakes for a solid week straight. I fought tooth and nails to convince the recipe testers that brunswick stew really does need to cook for a few days. It was exhilarating and frustrating and incredible.

american cookbook 6

The book is called, as you may have guessed by the title of this post, The American Cookbook. It features about 160 recipes, 30 of which are classic recipes from across the United States. The remaining 130 recipes (approximately) are twists, fun adaptations of old favorites. In addition to the 90 recipes I contributed I took some photos, which are woven in with photos shot in the publisher’s studio. It’s due out on February 17, but it’s available now through pre-order on Amazon. The UK edition (hence all the converting) is also available on Amazon. When it comes out I’ll be throwing B&S into a frenzy of cookbook giveaways, recipe challenges, and recipes from the book, but for now I just wanted to share a peek at what I was working on this summer and what’s in the larder.

american cookbook 3