We had a trip planned this weekend to visit Pete’s parents who live right outside of Elkin, North Carolina in a tiny town called State Road. We had several celebratory events planned for the weekend, Easter, Arlo’s 4th birthday, and my 39th birthday! How to fit this all in in a mere 48 hours?
One trip we can not avoid is visiting the Yadkin County General Store. The sweet little store is located in historic downtown Elkin and is a Pennsylvania Dutch bulk food store. We went there because I wanted some unique treats to put in the kids’ Easter baskets. They have wonderful old-fashioned bulk candies, fresh farm eggs, cheese, butter, and some meats along with an assortment of grains, special flours, anything an artisan chef could desire!
Of course, we found the treats we were looking for and I also picked up a block of pimento cheese and some farm fresh eggs. I was thinking I could make some southern biscuit egg sandwiches for Sunday morning after the Easter egg hunt.
Upon checking out, I noticed this beautiful wall art behind the register. I have seen this type of art outside on barns while driving through the countryside for years, but never knew what it was called. So I asked the store owner if they sold them at the store. Unfortunately, they did not, but by engaging the owner he told me a story of how the art became well know in the eastern United States and now throughout the world. The art called ‘hex signs’ and originated from settlers that originally came to Pennsylvania from the Rhine region in Germany. Families selected a hex sign based on color, design and its meaning. Some of the more popular symbols included: hearts for love, birds (called distelfinks) for luck and happiness, tulips for faith, and stars for good luck. You can read more about the history of hex signs here.
He went on to tell me about the artist (Jacob Zook) that had painted all the hex signs in his store. He then showed me the back room of the store and he had about 12 smaller ones hanging up on the wall. They were beautiful. He didn’t think Jacob Zook was still making the signs as he was doing this in the 1940’s. I snapped a few pictures and left the store. I looked up Jacob Zook online and you can find some of the hex signs on Etsy but they are considered vintage now, and the store owner was right, Jacob Zook, deceased, no longer makes them.
Jacob was an artisan in his time, communicating his heritage through art. The store owners create an experience for shoppers and it makes me very happy that stores like this still exist when it’s just as easy to run down to the local big box chain and get everything you need.
I used the pimento cheese and eggs to make everyone country breakfast sandwiches. The recipe is below. I experimented with a new biscuit recipe that I found on BeachBody.com, and was excited to try a new recipe for a healthier lighter biscuit.
Biscuit with Country Sausage and Pimento Cheese
- 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/3 cup fresh snipped chives
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 1/2 cup non-fat greek yogurt (I would use full-fat yogurt next time)
- 1 lb bulk country sausage (I used some that had extra sage)
- 6 farm fresh eggs
- 1/2 lb blocked pimento cheese or cheese of your choice
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Mix 1st 5 ingredients listed above together, pat out into a rectangle and then cut into 8 pieces. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet or lightly grease with butter or oil of choice. Bake at
400 degrees for 15-20 minutes. They should be starting to brown when they are ready.
While the biscuits are baking, form the sausage into 6 patties and cook in a cast iron skillet or another skillet of your choice and slice or shred the cheese. I attempted to use this cute little old fashioned cheese shredder my mother in law had in the cabinet, but it only had what seemed like 5 holes for shredding, so it would have taken me over an hour to shred enough for 6 biscuits! I ended up thinly slicing it instead. Once the sausage and biscuits are done, make the eggs to your liking. We all like them slightly runny so the yolk drips over the sausage, cheese, and biscuit. Are you drooling yet? The final step is cutting open a biscuit, placing a piece of sausage on it, topping it with an egg and the cheese, and serve immediately.
The biscuits were good, definitely a lighter biscuit, more scone like in texture. Everyone ate them and we all felt a little less guilty about the sausage, egg and pimento cheese that was on top!
We all went for a long country walk after, enjoyed the spring flowers, fresh country air, and the chance to stretch our legs.
Enjoy the season!