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Sunday Sausage

chorizo 7 One of the many things I love about Dan is that he is a learner. He’s always on the hunt for a new hobby, a new skill, a new tool to add to his belt. It’s a personality trait that comes in handy in his line of work, but it’s also something that comes in handy at home. Quite a bit, actually. His years dabbling in construction make home improvement projects a breeze. Homebrewing has been a delicious venture and his most recent charcuterie kick is proving boundless in its benefits. Homemade bacon? Yes please! Chorizo? Do you even have to ask?! He’s planning on starting to smoke cheeses and it’s making me wonder- can I marry him again?

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chorizo 2 Last month when Rachael and Alex were visiting he picked up a pork shoulder and tried his hand at Michael Ruhlman’s Mexican chorizo recipe. It was fantastic. I mean, everyone loves chorizo (how could you not) but this was all the more wonderful and delicious because we’d made it. Or, Dan and Alex made it and Rachael and I ate queso and encouraged them. We’re very supportive.

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Have y’all dabbled in charcuterie? I was so inspired by Mrs. Wheelbarrow during Charcutepalooza but we were too limited with our space to participate. Now that we have a big kitchen and a mudroom for curing and fermenting, we’re diving in feet first. Duck confit here we come!

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Chorizo
Michael Rulhman’s Charcuterie

5 lbs boneless pork shoulder

3 tbsp kosher salt

2 tbsp ancho chili powder

1 tbsp paprika

1 tbsp cayenne pepper

1 tbsp garlic, minced

1 tsp fresh ground pepper

1 tbsp fresh oregano

1 tsp ground cumin

3 tbsp tequila, chilled

3 tbsp red wine vinegar, chilled

Cube your pork. Toss in spice mix. Chill until ready to grind. Run through meat grinder (we used the sausage making attachment for our Kitchen Aid) using the small die. Set on ice to chill. Add tequila and vinegar and mix until well incorporated with the paddle attachment.

Traditionally chorizo is served loose but because we were eager to use our stuffer we went a bit further and put it into casings. Using the sausage stuffer attachments and casings we picked up from the butcher Dan stuffed and portioned the chorizo into a four (ish) foot length. We then threw it on the grill in its entirety and served it up with hot sauce on fresh baguettes. It was heaven.

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Buttermilk Skillet Pancakes

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Pancakes are, you could say, my culinary Achilles heel. They always turn out awful. Too undercooked, burnt, too gooey, too chewy, not fluffy enough, whatever. I hate making pancakes. I’ve yet to find a recipe that gave me the perfect results I want so usually when I crave pancakes it means we’re going out. Why eat mediocre pancakes at home when the world is full of diners?

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However, thanks to the power of suggestion and certain websites, I learned about skillet pancakes, also known as “Dutch babies” or “German pancakes.” Essentially these are pancakes that you cook in a skillet and slice like pizza. No muss pancakes AND another recipe to add to my ode to skillet collection, PLUS a good way to use up the rest of my buttermilk? Sold! I searched around a bit and finally settled on this recipe and I have to say, these were fantastic. Not only were they delicious (topped with strawberries and honey hallelujah Spring is here), they heated up in the toaster oven for days to come, making breakfast (my least favorite weekday meal to worry about) a piece of (pan)cake.

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We’re off today for New Orleans for Lauren’s wedding. We’ll be gone for 8 days (ah!) and I’m a mess of frantic, excited, anxious, and thrilled. Happy almost wedding, Lauren & Bradley!

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Buttermilk Skillet Pancakes

4 tbsp butter

3 eggs

1 cup buttermilk

1 tsp vanilla

2 tbsp sugar

Pinch of salt

Dash of powdered ginger

3/4 cup whole wheat flour (I used rye)

Preheat oven to 425.

Whisk together eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, sugar, salt, and ginger. Stir in flour. Melt butter in a skillet on the stovetop. Pour batter into the hot skillet and transfer to the oven. Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

 

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Buttermilk Pie

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Strictly speaking, siblings are one of life’s greatest joys. Fifteen years ago I was spinning a completely different tale, but these days I have nothing but appreciation and gratitude for my brothers and sisters. A few weeks ago when I went up to Chapel Hill for the Our State Magazine launch I had some free time and had the opportunity to enjoy an hours-long coffee date with Reid, just the two of us. For years my time with my family has been centered around big trips South or events- graduations, reunions, weddings, holidays. I’ve rarely had the opportunity to pop in for dinner or grab a bite to eat with any of my siblings which also meant that that we spent moments together catching up on the big stuff. This coffee date we were able to talk about everything else. Work and life and goals and dreams and love and family and everything in between. Over a slice of buttermilk pie and a cardamom latte I got to listen to Reid talk candidly about his life and I couldn’t help but to feel so proud of him. He’s accomplished so much and it’s such good work. I am full of admiration for what he’s been able to do by staying focused and committed to his passions and his beliefs. He’s a great man, that Reid Rosemond.

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I’ve spent the past month craving buttermilk pie (Scratch makes a mean buttermilk pie), so yesterday I picked up a bottle of local buttermilk and in the small space of time in the late afternoon I whipped up this pie for a friend’s party. Making and photographing this pie, with the glorious light in the kitchen and an oven that cooks evenly and buttermilk so thick and glorious it should be sipped from a glass on a mountaintop in the Alps made me so glad to be in this new space, in this town, in this state, back home. And somehow this simple post about a delicious pie has become a reflection on gratitude, which is fine. I’m incredibly grateful for my family, for old friends that are now so close, and for the new friends that are welcoming us into the fold and seem to like us and laugh at our stories and share their stories and make us feel home here.

buttermilk pie 4 Next week we’re heading to New Orleans for Lauren’s wedding. First we’ll pick up the minivan then we’ll get Reid in Durham and then Ryan and his girlfriend Erin in Charlotte and then an 11 hour car ride later we’ll be there waiting for Genevieve and Naoise and our parents and cousins and aunts and uncles and, of course, Lauren and Bradley. And while the week of celebrating and the wedding is going to be amazing and wonderful and so much fun I think one of the things I’m most looking forward to is that drive, that chunk of hours spent in a rental car with my family, catching up and talking about the small things. The important things.

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buttermilk pie 6 Buttermilk Pie

crust:

1 1/4 cups flour

1/2 cup sugar

Pinch of salt

Pinch of ginger

Pinch of cinnamon

1/4 cup shortening

1 stick butter

1/2 cup cold water

filling:

1 cup buttermilk

3/4 cups butter

1 1/2 cups sugar

3 eggs

3 tbsp flour

1 tsp vanilla

Pinch of salt

Stir together dry ingredients for flour. Work in shortening. Cube butter and work it in with your hands until the texture of the dough is like coarse cornmeal. Stir in water, a little at a time, until a ball forms. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.

Melt butter. Mix together butter, sugar, and vanilla. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add flour and salt. Slowly mix in buttermilk.

Roll the dough out and press into a pie dish. Heat the oven to 400 and pour the filling into the crust. Bake at 400 for 10 minutes and then drop to 350 for an additional 50 minutes. Pie should be golden brown. Let rest for 2 hours or until center has firmed.

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