Posts Tagged ‘farmers market’

Curried Loki and Chicken of the Woods Mushroom Pizza

Sometimes, pizzas just happen. Certain factors gel together in the cosmos to throw great foods into my lap just begging to be rendered into a great pizza. Case in point: a freaky, tie-dye-poisonous-looking-wood-growing-dense-alien-like mushroom that is called “Chicken of the woods” and a lame-green-bulbous-gourd-watermelon-wannabe called “Loki.” (…was I channeling Tyler Perry?)

Last week a good friend of mine foraged some wonderful Sulpher Shelf Mushrooms, also called “Chicken of the Woods.” This wild and bright fungus was new to me. I had tasted another bracket fungus that grew on trees- the “Hen of the woods” (or Maitake) before but this was much different. I was in for a suprise. After a quick saute I said, “Wow, this tastes like chicken,” then made a stupid joke about the Donner party and a plan was hatched to make a great pizza out of it.

That same day at the Athens Farmers Market, my good friend Larry Cowdery of Cowdery farms handed me what looked like a bottle goard saying it was called Loki, in Hindu. That was karma ingredient number two and it seemed the recipe for this pizza was being made for me. And what better ingredient to bind the two…CURRY!

Loki, or Lauki, is a Calabash squash and called by many names like doodhi or bottle squash. Pale green and prized for it’s firm nutty and delicate flavor, Loki is perfectly suited for curries. Unlike other squash, it has a firmer and crisper texture.

I’ve decided to do what I call “A Preppie Pizza” wherein all the labor goes into the prep and then just gets dumped (a culinary term) on the dough. Added to the Loki sauté will be some pattypan squash, garlic, tomato and some excellent curry powder. I had some Paneer cheese hanging around so I will add the mushrooms to these and make a great pie.

Recipe:

Preheat the oven to 495 degrees and insert a pizza stone or heavy upturned cookie sheet on the middle shelf.

One seven-ounce dough ball from the Easy Dough Recipe

Two cloves of garlic

Three tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

One quarter of a large loki squash

One half of a pattypan squash

One Amish paste tomato (or Roma tomato equivalent)

Two tablespoons of good curry powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

10 ounces of trimmed Chicken of the Woods Mushroom

five to six ounces of paneer cheese

Cilantro for garnish

  

Peel the loki squash, cut in half then down the tube. Using a spoon, scrape the seeds out then cut the meat in thin slices.

 

Cut the ends off of the pattypan then slice in half. Cut into thin strips. Reserve.

 

Cut the tomato in half lengthwise then into thin strips. Reserve.

 

Smash the garlic cloves and roughly chop. Reser…you know what to do.

  

Heat the olive oil over a medium-high flame and add the garlic. Let that saute for three minutes, add the loki, pattypan, salt and curry. Saute for four minutes keeping in mind that this cooking is just to meld the flavors together add the tomato and cook for another minute. These will cook again on the pizza.

  

The Chicken of the Woods mushroom is very thick so to facilitate a quick saute, slice horizontally in thin slices (or medallions). Add another tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil to the same curried pan and turn to medium high. Wait for the oil to heat (two minutes) then saute the Chicken of the Woods mushroom for five to six minutes. This type of mushroom will not wilt much no matter how long you saute it so watch carefully for searing or browning at the edges. When this occurs, remove mushroom from the heat.

   

Form the pizza dough into a disc. Place the curried vegetables, the paneer, then the mushroom. Bake in the oven for twelve to fifteen minutes. NOTE: The paneer will not melt much so do not ruin your crust by waiting for it to do so.

Take out of the oven and garnish with cilantro and dig in! This pizza is an awesome vegetarian option to any table!

 

 

Here are the ingredients above.

So Much Baking, So Little Time!

I sincerely hope you forgive me for not blogging so much lately. My usual computer is down and I’ve been baking like crazy. I decided to turn you on to some baking that I’ve been doing. I could never do this alone and thank Chef Patty Nally for keeping me on track during this weekly, freaky baking frenzy which produces some wacked-out (but delicious) breads like our “Anchovy Heaven.” filled with Peruvian anchovies, roasted leeks, Moroccan oil-cured olives, almonds and garlic. Its adorned with some sugarloaf raddichio from Rik Vest at Vest Berries and I slit it like a Mafia snitch and stuffed it with an raddichio-achovy-roasted garlic slaw macerated with lemon juice and added Kalamatas, Valorosso tomato and more garlic. Yum!

                     

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been baking massive amounts of Asiago fougasse and sea salt and herb fougasse.

                             

Staring at hundreds of pounds of proofing dough tends to elicit a sigh of dread in me but once that dough starts to proof, it evolves from a gooey mass of nothing to a work of art capable of endless possibilities of culinary pleasure.

                

I mixed this pre-fermented, 32 ounce blob with roasted garlic, rosemary, Kalamata’s and Morrocan olives.  I Retarded the growth for 50 hours, re-kneaded it, formed and proofed for another four hours then baked it.

     

Can you imagine the smell of these beautiful couronnes as they cool down? This is as close to a perfect bread as they come.

               

Simply finding the room to proof these ciabatta and our infamous “Flintstone Wheels” is an art form in itself.

                  

The adolescent stages for this wonderful naturally leavened monster are an indication of what it’s gonna grow up to be…

                                 …and luckily for one of my customers, this guy never wanted to grow up to be a fireman.

                           

Chef Nally has become an expert at the art of Pide, (Pi-DAY.) This is the style of the ancient Turkish boatlike bread. This large version is like spinach dip in bread with ricotta, parmesan, red onion and topped with Athens Own aged cheddar and tomato.

           

She’s also the creator if this wonderful Stilton-pear pizza that we top with fresh arugula and balsamic glaze. (I just drooled) So, if you know her, she now wants to called “Patty McStilton” (you must use an English accent…)

                                                             

One of the most daring bread adventures I’ve cooked up in the last weeks was the Chicago hot-dog bread. It was…aaa…cool like a nice breeze coming in from Gary Indiana. I made the bread with sport peppers, Genoa Salami, bella rosa tomato, whole grain mustard, (yes, kneading was like world war one,) and a generous dose of celery seeds and dill pickles. I eggwashed it after proofing and created a bunlike trough all the time thinking of late nights at the Weiners Circle on Clark Street in Chi-Town. Then I cut hot dog like bread sticks off and wrapped them in salami served with a few more sport peppers.

 

Some other great stuff we’ve offered included an Asian to-go box with sesame tahini na’an and kombu-pressed local vegetables, curried kimchi, dashi pickles and miso-pressed tofu. This included a miso-tahini-cilantro sauce with a little thai chili.

   

Other specialties that we have a consistant market for are the arugula fougasse (left) Hey what else could I do with 47 pounds of arugula that the Amish just drop off…) We make it  with roasted garlic and tomato. On the right is a shared tray of Italian sausage ladder bread and leek-a-choke fougasse.

         

The Italian sausage laddar bread is delightful to smell after the oven because of the onions, green peppers and poppy combination. A newer style fougasse was just introduced after I got hold of some great Szechuan peppercorns and added mango, fresh basil and three types of pork- Prosciutto di Parma, Lardo and local King Family Farms bacon. Man, this was zesty, sweet and utterly fun to eat so we called it “Szecuan Pork Paradise.”

          

One of our most popular couronnes is the local spelt couronne with cherries and walnuts. Thanks to Shagbark Milling Company, we are able to still get local spelt for our breads and pizza crust.

        

Every week, we never know what crazy combo will come from our baking frenzy like the “Purple People Eater,” (Left.) It is another Turkish-style pide with Peruvian Purple Potatoes, salt-roasted beets and braised raddichio with Maytag blue cheese, walnuts and cheddar. On the right, Chef Nally made a wonderful local vegetable schiacciata with broccoli, kale, chard, zucchini and tomato with Fontina and Mozzarella.

                 

And finally, our always-popular summer schiacciata with fresh basil, fresh mozzarella and early summer grape tomatoes on a dough that endured a 90-hour extended fermentation that exposed as much flavor and crunch as possible.

 

At least now you can accept my apologies for not blogging since you now know I wasn’t drunk in some alley or jacked up on a 3 week binge of Mortal Combat.

Or if you really wanna get red hot, check out this video. in order of appearance is mushroom pizza, Corsican basil bread, Potato disc, curry ladder bread, kombu pressed veg in Asian box, leek a choke, stilton with pear and spinach, Schiacciata, Sicilian pizza, garlic pudding stuffed fougasse, Turkish pide with spinach, olive-rosemary-garlic couronne, spelt couronne, Italian sausage bread ladder bread, cilantro and chorizo fougasse with blueberries, super mushroom disc and the super-red hot Beelzebub Pizza and the Asiago fougasse finally the goon with his Scooby Dooo shirt.

I hope you keep checking on the goon or sign up for my RSS feed for more entries from a real pizza guy.

Vive la…Pizza!    God save the Goon!