Posts Tagged ‘pizza goon blog’

Brioche, Polenta Roulade’s and Chorizo Meatballs; Jan. 12th Baking


Even though this global warming is scary, it’s nice to get a warm Saturday to take hundreds of loaves of bread, pizza and gluten-variants from my pizzeria, Avalanche, to the Athens Farmers Market to sell to my neighbors. One of my favorite items to make is my banana brioche with Nutella and almond pudding with roasted almonds, (above.)


Once I knew that it was going to be a warm day, I kicked my preparation into overdrive. First was the chorizo meatballs made from 10 pounds of King Family Pork, which is local, free of chemicals and raised humanely. On tuesday, I mixed a batch of 70 percent pre-ferment made from natural yeast to 30 percent high-protein flour with a pinch of diatatic malt and salt to a 70 percent hydrated dough and it sat in cold fermentation for four days to achieve a great bread.


To this stellar fresh ground pork, I added smoked paprika, garlic, onion, cilantro, basil, pepper, salt, lemon zest, little gems of La Quercia lardo, some cut-up Caputo tipo “00” pizza cornicione, (crust) soaked in paprika and egg. (above left.) I then combined the crust with mozzarella and manchego cheese, toasted almonds, fresh spinach, Stanislaus Valorosso tomatoes and cilantro for a wonderful spanish pizza, (above right.)

I also had some ancho chilies from Patterson Organics here in Athens and whipped up a tikka masala sauce to roast with onions and those chilies. I used this mix on some great schiacciata topped with green beans and cheddar with cilantro made with some ciabatta dough with high hydration, (above.)


For the breads, along with the usual suspects like Italian sausage ladder bread and “Leek-a-choke,” with leeks, artichoke and parmesan, I made use of local spelt from Shagbark Seed and Mill for a Lebanese Barbari, (above left,) with ground coriander, sesame and sea-salt and some French style couronne with dried cherry and walnut, (above right.)


I also made use of several pounds of local parsnips, combining them with King Family bacon, roasted garlic, lemon zest for a knotted fougasse topped with fresh cumin seed and sea salt, (above left.) The other couronne and my personal favorite is packed with kalamata olives, rosemary and roasted garlic, (above right.)


Some other pizza variants are the Turkish-style pide, (Pi-DAY) with mozzarella, provolone, basil pesto, fresh spinach and cherry tomato, (above left.) I also made a really cool schiacciata with two types of swiss cheeses and pork to boot. On one half is imported pancetta, (Italian cured bacon,) and French Emmenthal and the other is Finlandia swiss and King family ham.

Now, if none of those float your boat, then get a load of this honkin’ hunk of flavor- My  mushroom pizza with porcini, portobello, shiitake, oyster and button mushrooms, Parmigiano-Reggiano, thyme, fontina, provolone and teleggio cheeses with a sprinkle of white truffle oil and some cherry tomatoes.

Okay, here is a quick video of most of my baked stuff before the rush. It lasted about two hours before selling out…then I took a nap.

Oops almost forgot this great roulade of Shagbark polenta with ricotta and mascarpone with Reggiano, cilantro and sun-dried tomato topped with Gruyere cheese. yum.

See ya next week!



My Pizza Story in Best Food Writing of 2012

Last Friday, while sitting in a crowded outdoor Parisian cafe’ before the Mondial de la Pizza, I recieved word that my story, “Truffle in Paradise,” was selected to appear in Holly Hughes’ “Best Food Writing 2012.”

“Truffle,” is a story about me and my three friends trying to find those wonderfully pungent dirt-mushrooms in Italy. Not the noble whites or the rough blacks, just the early spring truffle called “Bianchetti.” This truffle is grey, earthy and what some call “ugly” and “trash,” quite possibly a metaphor for the standing of the lonely pizza guy in the culinary universe, huh?

I had planned to shave this much-sought-after wonder on my pizza for the World Pizza Championships of 2008 but was not prepared for what happened next…well, lets just say, you gotta read this one!


The story first appeared in the spring edition of Gastronomica, the journal of food and culture published by Darra Goldstein and the University of California Press.

As you can tell, I am very glad that Darra and Holly took a chance to highlight a story about competitive pizza making in very tough environment that seperates the strong from the weak and strenghtens bonds between friends. Thanks also to my good friends Bruno di Fabio, Tony Gemignani and Justin Wadstein who appear in the book and my fabulous writing coach, Dianne Jacob. But most of all, the love of my life, Debra for putting up with all my insane pizza crapola.