Posts Tagged ‘Italian Pizza’

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!


Ramp Salsa Pizza with Spring Watercress and Applesauce!


I love ramps sometimes more than people. Encounters with both can be pungent, stinging and fleetingly aggressive but unfortunately, its against the law to put humans on a pizza.

“What’s a ramp?” The well dressed man asked as he pointed at the long pizza al metro I was selling at the Athens Farmers Market last Saturday.

 This monster had 40 diagnally placed ramps atop crumbled Parmigiano Reggiano and sharp Sicilian Caciocavallo. I had also placed some fat Amish asparagus at intervals along the pizza also topped with four large islands of ramp salsa, Stanislaus Valorosso tomatoes and local Shagbark popcorn coated with Gruyere cheese. It was huge,gorgeous, greeny green.

“It’s a wild leek.” I explained loudly to counter the irritatingly tappity, tap, tap of the cold rain against the roof of my tent.

“What’s a leek.”

“A large version of a green onion.”

“So lemme get this straight, you gotta pile of large, wild onions on a pizza?”

“Yep.” I shivered as the 47 degree breeze made my damp clothes harden.

“Hmmm, I don’t know if I should take a chance on a slice of tha…whooaa now, is that popcorn?”

“Yea, it adds a wonderful textural counterpoint and its blanketed in Gruyere cheese…”

“Kinda freakish if you asked me. What’s that green stuff under the counterpoint popcorn?”

“Ramp salsa.”

“Pretty redundant, don’t you think?” He said as he popped another free bread sample in his pie hole.

“Redundancy is a state of mind sir.” I explained horribly. 

“Not when you’re dealing with stinky onions, gotta sample of that pizza?”

“No, I’m sor…” I said as the side of his mouth went up and he shook his head from side to side just before he turned to leave.

“Onion pizzas usually suck.” He mumbled as he walked away.

I looked at the pizza and smiled. It was my only friend around here.

Unlike that conversation, ramps are more predictable and much less annoying.  They sneak in quickly in the cold of spring, wave thier floppy flags under the shade of the forest and spread thier wonderous oniony stench into the wind, then they are gone.

Here’s a great ramp pizza and thanks to Shews orchard, I have some great wild watercress that grows near thier spring and some of thier fab applesauce. I will pair these ingredients with just picked asparagus, gruyere, lemon and some Prosciutto di Parma cooked till nice and crispy. This pizza, while not the one described above was devoured by me and my Jake…hence the smiles.

For the Pizza:

One seven ounce dough ball from the easy dough recipe on this blog.

Ramp salsa recipe (below)

Prosciutto di Parma crisps recipe (below)

3 ounces of Gruyere cheese

2 tablespoons of apple sauce

One small bunch of fresh watercress

 For the Ramp Salsa Preparation:

9 whole ramps, washed

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Juice from half a lemon

2 teaspoons salt or more to taste 

One stalk of spring garlic (please do not use bulb garlic if you cannot find, just use one tablespoon less oil.)

5 or 6 fresh asparagus spears

1.5 tablespoons honey


Cut the roots off of the ramps. Put all ramps and oil  in a blender or bucket with an immersion blender and blend on high until liquidy. Add the juice from the lemon half and salt.


Cut the root off of the green garlic then in long matchsticks. Cut the length of each matchstick once then twice. Turn the long ribbons and cut crossways producing a small dice. Add garlic to the ramp pesto liquid.


  Cut asparagus three quarters up the stalk from bottom. Cut down the stalk without the bud in half then turn the cut stalk and cut across to produce a small dice. Add chopped asparagus and 1.5 tablespoons of honey. Taste and add extra salt or honey to taste. This should be a fairly chunky salsa so you can always add more asparagus if needed.

For the Prosciutto di Parma Crisps Preparation:

1.5 to 2 ounces Prociutto di Parma

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 quarter cup white wine or Appalacian deglazer- (water)

reserved asparagus tips


Cut the prosciutto in strips and in a bowl, add extra virgin olive oil (add more if you have very lean prosciutto.) Place in a pan under medium heat and saute’ for 5 to 10 minutes. Turn heat down and toss frequently because the meat will stiffen and crisp up very fast. (Needless to say, do not walk away from this process.)


When the prociutto is crisp, pull from the pan on a paper towel. Keeping the medium-high heat on, add one quarter cup of white wine or water to deglaze the pan. As the liquid bubbles, scrape the pan unhinging all the gnarly bits. Add the asparagus tips to cook in this wonderful flavor bath for only three minutes. Cut each spear legnthwise and reserve with the prosciutto. Keep the liquid reducing until you have only 2-3 tablespoons. This will be brushed on the pizza crust as a

For the Pizza:

Pre-heat oven to 495. Using the easy dough recipe in this blog, take one dough ball and bang out into a round disc. Place on a pizza screen or some parchment.


Brush the reduced Prosciutto di Parma sauce directly onto the dough and then the gruyere. Add the asparagus spears in a sunburst pattern then the ramp salsa. Place in oven for 12 minutes or until done. In a seperate bowl toss the watercress in the applesauce and place on the cooked pie. Sprinkle the crispy Prosciutto di Parma on top and enjoy like mad!