Posts Tagged ‘neil cherry’

People, Places and Pizzas

Here are 50 some-odd photos I took while doing this blog.  Some good, some great, just little snippets of time, space and life in my little neck of the woods.

I chose these pictures because they best capture the people, foods and places that have brought me and others memories, along with great pizza and bread. I hope you like them.

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Organic farmer Rich Tomsu with his German Hardy Garlic. Shade, Ohio, July 2009.

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Schiacciata Margherita.  Athens, Ohio, July 2009.

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Ripe paw paws ready for picking, Integration Acres. Albany Ohio, August 2009.

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My sons with forest-fresh blonde morels.  Athens Ohio, April 2009.

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Matt Starline, Starline Organics, nurturing his baby leeks.

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Concord grapes, Cherry Orchards. October, 2009.

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Asiago Fougasse, Farmer’s Market. Athens, Ohio, May 2009.

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Chris Schmiel, Integration Acres, with raw goats’ milk. Albany, Ohio, July, 2009.

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Fresh picked tomatillos, Cowdery Farms. Longbottom Ohio, August 2009.

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Large Turkish Pide with spinach, ricotta, Parmesan, tomato and cheddar. Athens, Ohio. January, 2009.

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Matt Starline, Starline Organics, with early summer organic purple kohlrabi. Stewart, Ohio, June 2009.

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Varieties of Turkish Pide. Athens, Ohio, June 2009.

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Larry and Kim Cowdery, Cowdery Farms. Longbottom, Ohio, July, 2009.

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Schicciata Con L’uva with grapes from Cherry Orchards. Athens, Ohio, September 2009.

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The Goon stretching schiacciata dough. Athens Ohio, July 2009.

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Just-picked wild chantrelles. Athens, Ohio, August 2009.

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Goats size up the Goonish-looking  interloper. Albany Ohio, May 2009.

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Guanciale and fig pizza. Athens, Ohio, October 2009.

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French fingerling and Peruvian purple potatoes ready for roasting. Athens, Ohio, June, 2009.

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Peppers from Cowdery Farms. Longbottom, Ohio, August 2009.

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Blonde morels in the forest, undisclosed location. Ohio, April, 2009

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Early Tomatoes, Cowdery Farms. Longbottom Ohio, June 2009.

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Whole wheat couronnes with cherry and walnuts. Athens Ohio, May 2009.

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Bosc pears from Neil Cherry Orchards. Ohio, September, 2009.

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Geoff Roche and a channel catfish, Lake Snowden fish farm. Hocking College, Albany, Ohio, 2009.

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Green kohlrabi from Starline Organics. Athens, June, 2009.

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Neil Cherry of Cherry Orchards, picking the last of the 2009 peach crop.

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Assorted schiacciata, Athens Farmers’ Market. February, 2009.

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Giant Malaysian Blue Prawn. Athens, Ohio, September, 2009.

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Matt and Angie Starline, Starline Organics. Athens Farmers’ Market, August, 2009.

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Joe Hirshberger harvesting spelt the Amish way. Chesterhill, Ohio, July, 2009.

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Last of the great tomatoes, made into pizzas. Athens, Ohio, September, 2009.

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Washing greens at Rich Organic Gardens. Shade, Ohio, July, 2009.

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Milking goats at Integration Acres. Albany, Ohio, June, 2009.

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Pattypan squash at Cowdery Farms. Longbottom, Ohio, July, 2009.

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Dog, Cowdery Farms. Longbottom Ohio,  July, 2009.

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Farmers at the Athens’ Farmers Market. Athens, Ohio,  June, 2009.

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Toro pepper and Gruyere pizza. Athens, Ohio, August, 2009.

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The garlic flower that Rich missed, Rich Organic Farms. Shade Ohio, 2009.

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Larry Cowdery showing how big his tomato plants are. Longbottom, Ohio, 2009.

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Vibrant Bangna Cauda, braised hearts of romaine. Athens, Ohio, July 2009.

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Broken obelisk to a long-forgotten farmer, Starline Organic Farm.  Stewart, Ohio, June, 2009.

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Kohlrabi and potato pizza. Athens, Ohio, July, 2009.

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Matt Starline and his monsterous sheepdog tend to a lamb. Stewart, Ohio, July, 2009.

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Fresh vegetable and local goat cheese schiacciata. Athens, Ohio, May, 2009.

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The whole crew at Rich Organic Gardens. Shade, Ohio, July, 2009.

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Three morels in the hand is worth…. Forest in Ohio, 2009.

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Sweet italian peppers fire roasting on guaniciale. Athens, October, 2009.

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Will De Freis, Athens’ Farmers cultivar extrordinaire. Athens, June, 2009.

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From organic farmer to pizza guy. Shade, Ohio, July, 2009.

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Yea guys, it’s all fun and games until someone gets pooped on!

Bosc Pear, Prosciutto di Parma and Gorgonzola Pizza

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In The Odyssey, the Greek poet Homer calls pears a “gift of the gods.”

Thanks to Neil Cherry at Cherry Orchards, I’ve made one of my favorite pizzas with what is known as the “aristocrat of pears.” It’s the Bosc. I took this Northern European variety on a jouney south to Italy for a pairing of some righteous Gorgonzola and Prosciutto di Parma, arugula and a basamic glaze, adding a textural foil of salty cashews for fun. It’s a favorite pizza that incorporates the same agra dolce (Italian for sweet and sour) effect that works so well on many of my pizzas.

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The Buerre Bosc was named by the French, who have a penchant for naming pears first by their taste or outstanding characteristic, then the name or origin reference. (Kinda like “Goofy John.”) Buerre is a reference to the buttery taste of the Bosc.

The history of this fine pear is as muddled as all those gnarly European wars that occurred during the previous centuries. Even today, the claim to this pears’ introduction is argued as being in either Belgium or France. The name comes from the director of the Paris Botanical Gardens, Mr. Bosc, who is thought to have raised the pear from seed. Don’t tell that to residents of Appremont, France, though. They say it was initially grown there, and they call it the Buerre d’ Appremont. King Louis the XIV loved the Bosc so much he demanded they be planted endlessly around his extensive gardens.

I love the Bosc pear for the same reason I love Granny Smith apples: the flesh is firm and dense,  perfect for pizza. The taste is less likely to be overwhelmed by strong spices, meats or vinegars. Many chefs love the Bosc because of the tapered bottle-like top distinguishes it as a pear (and not an apple) and it lends itself perfectly for poaching. I also use the Bosc in a  Succar bi Tahin, sweet Beruit tahini rolls where the rolled-out dough is topped with honey-sweetened tahini. After I take it from the oven, I slit the middle of the bread and shove (yes, technical baking term) a vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon poached Bosc right into the slot.

The Bosc is called Kaiser or Kaiser Alexander in Italy, where use of the pear is extensive. Italy is one of the largest producers in the world, cultivating about 10 varieties, with most coming from the Emilia Romagna region. Campania, Veneto, Lazio, Sicily and Lombardy are close behind. Today, you can’t pick up any cookbook without seeing the combination of Gorgonzola, pear, and balsamic with arugula. Such a great combo is heavenly, to say the least. Let’s get cooking!

Use easy dough recipe to make two 7 ounce dough balls. Freeze one if you like.

1 large or 2 small Bosc pears

3 large slices of prociutto

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons crumbled Gorgonzola

5 cherry-sized fresh mozzarella balls (ciliegini) or 4 ounces of cubed fresh mozzarella

2 tablesoons cashews (roasted preferred but unroasted or roasted-salted are okay)

15 leaves of baby arugula

Balsamic glaze or balsamic vinegar for drizzling

Pre-heat the oven to 475 with an upside down, heavy duty cookie sheet (or half sheet pan is the pizza industry term) inside.

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Holding each pear over the mandoline, swipe it, producing slices a little less thick than a quarter.

Making the pizza

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Take your already pulled pizza round and place it on a parchment square. Brush extra virgin olive oil on the dough.

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Sprinkle Gorgonzola, mozzarella, then cashews on the pizza.

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Place the slices of pear (so Louis the XIV would be proud) in a clockwise motion, one slice over the other  one inch from the outer edge of the pizza. Continue going around, using the largest slices for the outside and smaller ones in the center.

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Put the pizza with parchment on the sheet pan in the oven . Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown.

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Pull from oven and tear each large slice of Prosciutto di Parma in half,. Place these slices on the pizza. You will see the fat melt, adding to the  flavor of this pie. Drizzle the balsamic vinegar over the pizza. (Do not add too much, as the flavor will dominate.)

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Place the arugula leaves over the prosciutto and serve immediately, keeping your thumb up in the air and a stupid smile pasted on your face.

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