A Winter BBQ + Taking Time

It's been many moons since I've cooked a meal completely from scratch. Quite honestly I haven't really missed it, I've been riding the glorious wave of boxed mac and cheese, chicken nuggets, and roasted carrots (mind you, on those carrot days, I'm feeling extra sassy, and give myself a huge pat on the back.)  But last night as my girls were fast asleep I started prepping this meal, and I remembered how special that time really is. When it was just Octave and I in Wyoming, this is what we did. All day long. I was told it wasn't practical to keep up, and I agreed that everyone was probably right. I tend to dive head first into things and let them consume and inspire, until they no longer do. Then I move on, and find a new adventure, but regardless of all my creative endeavors, I feel most myself when I move slow and take my time. Time is the gateway to my heart, and while our culture doesn't find it necessary or practical, I will claim it as just that, at least for me. And the beautiful thing is, I get to choose how I am going to spend my days, and I miss those days.

I keep reminding myself settle in wherever i find myself, not just skim over it, and on to the next.  It's been so easy it's been to adopt the speed of my culture, without even realizing.  But still,  I find the most meaning in the slow and mundane. I've instilled this virtue in Octave, but have seemingly forgotten how to do it for myself. A few weeks ago, she looked at me buzzing around our apartment and said, "whoa mama, settle down, just sit down and relax, it's good for your heart." It made me chuckle and smile ear to ear, this girl doesn't miss a beat, and she is so quick to remind me of who I really am. She has always done this, even before she could speak. So I've had to re learn the art of taking my time. Some time, enough time, or all the time, whatever is needed. Time to connect with my husband. Time to patiently answer all of my girls thought provoking questions. Time to fold my clothes, rather than shove them in my drawers. Time for even just one good stretch before my morning cup of coffee. Time to tell good, detail driven stories at bedtime. Time to sing their favorite song, not once, or twice, but three times. Time for making homemade buns, and tangy bbq sauce, and my favorite pulled pork to date.

I'm realizing that not having enough time is just an illusion, because no matter how much more we get, it never feels like enough. And if there is not time for everything, because how could there be, I might as well be intentional. Being emotionally and physically available for my family, and tasting full flavors that have been marinated in love and time, is exactly how I want to spend mine. And If that's all I do, I want to do it really well.

Just a heads up, the buns and pork need to be started the night before. The bbq sauce can be made in advance too.

Recipe from the beautiful cookbook Date Night In...

Buns:

3 1/4 c. bread flour

2 tsp. salt

2 tsp. instant yeast

1 cup warm water

3 tbsp. whole milk

2 tbsp. honey

1 egg

2 tbsp. unsalted butter at room temp

Egg Wash-

1 egg

1 yolk

1 tsp. water

2 tbsp. sesame seeds (optional)

Place egg, honey, milk, water, in a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment. Whisk, and then add in the yeast. Whisk again. Pour in a few cups of the flour and salt. Mix on medium speed until it starts to come together. Add in the remainder of the flour. Knead for 5 minutes on medium speed. The dough should be soft and pliable but not sticky. It may stick to the very bottom, but should not stick to the sides of the bowl. If it does, add more flour a few tbsp. at a time. Place the dough in a lightly oiled large bowl with serran wrap on top. Place in the fridge and let it rise overnight. The next morning divide the dough into 8-10 balls. Tuck the sides of the dough into itself, creating a nice even ball of dough. Pat down a few times, until the the dough is even and smooth with no seams or lumps. (you may need to do this on a lightly floured surface.) Place each ball on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Give them enough space to double in size. Lightly spray or rub them in oil. I use olive oil. Cover with seran wrap, and a dish towel on top. Let the buns rise and double in size for 2 1/2hours. Preheat the oven to 400. Gently cover each bun in the egg wash. Sprinkle with sesame seeds if using. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until golden brown. Buns should sound hollow inside when tapped. Let the buns cool completely. This is super important for the texture of the buns.

Tangy BBQ Sauce:

1/2 c. ketchup

1/2 c. apple cider vinegar

1/2 c. dark brown sugar

2 tbsp. yellow mustard

3 tbsp. garlic, minced

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. ground pepper

1/4 tsp. cayenne or more to taste

Few drops of hickory liquid smoke

Whisk together all the ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer and then reduce to low for 10 minutes while whisking every few minutes. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

Pulled Pork:

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

2 tbsp. hot smoked paprika

1 tbsp. kosher salt

1 tbsp. dark brown sugar

2 tsp. cumin

3 tbsp. yellow mustard

2 1/2 lb boneless pork shoulder

1 c. water or chicken stock

Combine garlic, cayenne, paprika, cumin, salt, brown sugar, and yellow mustard in a small bowl and mix well. Rub this seasoning all over the pork shoulder and place in a dutch oven. Let it marinate overnight, or at least a few hours, in the fridge. The better the longer. The next morning, preheat the oven at 325. Pour 1 c. of water or chicken stock in the dutch oven, place lid on top and place in the oven for 4-5 hours. Check half way through and add a little more water or stock if necessary. (I didn't need to.) Pork should be soft and tender and easy to shred. When you know it's done, remove from oven and let it rest for 10 minutes. Using two forks, pull apart the pork until it is finely shredded. Mix in2/3 c. of the bbq sauce.

Tart Apple + Radicchio Slaw:

1/2 granny smith apple, julienned

1 c. thinly sliced radicchio

1c. chopped cilantro

1 scallion, thinly sliced (green parts too)

2 tbsp. sour cream

1 tbsp. mayonnaise

1 tsp. apple cider vinegar

1/2 tbsp. lemon juice

Fresh ground pepper

Combine apples, radicchio, cilantro and scallion in a medium bowl and set aside. Combine sour cream, mayo, and spices in a small bowl and whisk together. Pour over slaw ingredients and mix well.

ASSEMBLE YOUR SANDWICH: 

Slice and toast buns. Scoop about 2/3 c. pulled pork and 1/3 c. slaw on top. Pour over a generous amount Bbq sauce. Finish with the top bun. Enjoy.