Sundays Made For Chicken Wings, Wafting Tunes and Other Family Things

Sundays Made For Chicken Wings, Wafting Tunes and Other Family Things

Jujube owner Charlie Deal, wife Chrissy and 10-year-old Benji enjoy slow-paced meals centered around seasonal ingredients and time together.

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2016_0729charliedeal128_smallOn any given Sunday afternoon, you’ll find Chrissy and Charlie Deal in the kitchen listening to music as they chop up cucumbers and peppers for a quick cheese plate. Benji Pearson, Chrissy’s son and Charlie’s stepson, can be found during those sunny afternoons in and out of the kitchen, too: half the time playing, half the time helping out. “Benji will crush some cucumbers and raw peppers,” Charlie says. He loves his veggies, but “could eat about 20 of his mom’s biscuits drizzled with honey if we let him.” As a family, all are big fans of pizza and chicken, and Chrissy, as a “great cook with southern roots” in Charlie’s words, is a master at southern cuisine.

"The pa amp is just thick slices of good bread, fried in olive oil, then rubbed with garlic and a cut tomato. Season with coarse salt. It’s so freaking delicious.”
“The pa amp is just thick slices of good bread, fried in olive oil, then rubbed with garlic and a cut tomato. Season with coarse salt. It’s so freaking delicious.”
One afternoon, the menu was homemade pickled cherry peppers stuffed with goat cheese, pa amb tomato bread, elote (Mexican corn), chicken wings and a homemade Caesar salad. “It’s a nice combination of things that are generally kid-friendly without being breaded chicken strips and string cheese,” says Charlie. For the meal’s less kid-friendly options, Charlie and Chrissy enjoyed whiskey sours and a bottle of blanc de noirs. “She basically turned me on to bourbon,” Charlie says of Chrissy. “Sure, I’d had it plenty of times, but she really got me into it and expanded my horizons, as I have done for her with wine.”

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Charlie’s Caesar Salad

Ingredients

2 large garlic cloves
8 anchovy filets
2 egg yolks
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
Dash of red wine vinegar
Juice of 1-2 lemons, divided
11⁄2 cups olive oil
Salt to taste
Good bread for croutons
2 small heads of romaine lettuce
Parmesan cheese

Chop the garlic and anchovy. Whisk together the yolks, mustard, vinegar and juice of one lemon. Add anchovy and garlic. Then, while constantly whisking, drizzle oil in: slowly at first, then you can go a little faster once you’ve established an emulsion. Add salt and more lemon juice to taste.*

For the croutons, cut some good bread into cubes, toss them with olive oil, salt and pepper and bake them until golden brown at 350 F, or you can fry thick slices of bread in olive oil on both sides, season them (even rub some raw garlic on them when they’re hot and crispy), then cut them up.

Cut the romaine as you like, toss with dressing, croutons and finely grated Parmesan cheese.

* “Remember, Caesar dressing should be very assertive. Romaine is a watery lettuce, which is why strong, thick dressings work so well with it. Your dressing should taste too salty, too garlicky and too fishy when you taste it alone, because the water content in the lettuce will cut it. If it tastes just right alone, the salad will taste bland. I like to include the mustard because I like the taste, and it’s a bit of a cheat because it makes it easier to get a nice emulsion, which, of course, is crucial,” reminds Charlie.

"I’m always telling [Benji] that, while it might seem cool to be really picky when you’re 10,” Charlie says, “it won’t be too long before the opposite is true."
“I’m always telling [Benji] that, while it might seem cool to be really picky when you’re 10,” Charlie says, “it won’t be too long before the opposite is true.”
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Assistant Editor Laura Zolman Kirk is a Kentuckian turned Chapel Hillian and totally in love with this special slice of North Carolina.