Posts Tagged ‘pizza goon pizza blog’

Kimchi-cured Pork Belly & Paw Paw Jam Pizza

Three weeks ago, the end of paw-paw season neared and the last fat and ripe paw-paws clung on for dear life to each jungle-leaved tree. At this time of year, they are hard to spot because of lush foliage and shadows so gathering can be a real squint-fest.

This is why my son and I, with some friends, headed for the deep woods and did what everyone around these parts tells you not to do.

“When Paw Paw Hunting, Never Shake The Tree.” 

Well, since we ignored this sage advice and shook every tree to be found, my kids came up with another life-lesson;  If you do shake a paw paw tree,  “NEVER LOOK UP WHILE SHAKING A PAW PAW TREE.”


While we were out in the wilds of Athens County, Ohio, I picked up some Harmony Hollow pork belly and had it marinating in Kimchi no moto, or concetrated kimchi sauce. Then I selected some smooth double-cream brie, bitter raddichio di Treviso and flat-leaf parsley, crunchy pistachios and some roasted ancho chili’s. Best of all, I met up with Neal Dix of Shade Winery and he just handed me a cluster of beautiful chardonnay grapes he just harvested. (Thanks Neal!)

Recipe: One seven ounce dough ball from the Easy Dough Recipe on this blog.

One eight to twelve ounce piece of pork belly.

Three tablespoons of sugar.

One tablespoon salt.

Five turns of a pepper mill

Three tablespoons of kimchi no moto (or kimchi powder.)

One tablespoon Tamari soy sauce.

One tablespoon red miso.


Place salt, sugar and cracked pepper into a bowl, add the kimchi no moto.


Add the soy sauce, miso and pork belly and marinate in the refrigerator for 12 hours. Saute in a medium hot pan until the outside is carmelized, (about 12 minutes.) 

For the other toppings:

Three ripe paw paws

One clump of grapes, (preferably local and organic.)

Eight ounces of double cream imported brie.

Seven to eight leaves of raddichio di Traviso sauteed with a tablespoon of olive oil for four mintes on high heat.

One medium ancho chili, roasted on a hot grill until charred, cooled then peeled and sliced into strips.

One half handful of pistacios smashed with the flat of a knife.

Half a handful of Italian flat-leaf parsley.




Take the grapes and smash in your had to render juice into the bowl. Disgard pulp and stems.


Strain the grape juice and reduce by half in a saute pan.


Pull the paw paw apart and gently take the pulp out of the paw paw. This will be messy, (get over it…har har) alot of pulp affixes to the seeds so you will have to squeeze and rub the seeds to get said pulp off. Add reduced grape juce to the paw paw.


Slice the pork belly on the bias into eighth of an inch batons. Slice the raddiccio into inch long pieces. Smash pistachios with the flat of a knife.


Form a disc of the dough and slice the brie and place on the dough. Add the raddichio then the roasted ancho strips.


Put the kimchi marinated pork on top and bake in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes.

Place the paw paw and grape jam on top of the pizza in spokes and garnish with parsley. Heaven awaits!  


Niall Bowen, Old Town Bakery, Key West

The most annoying aspect of living with me is that anywhere we vacation, I always seek out the most popular artisan pizzeria or bakery. While we were staying at Billy’s Blue Heaven in Key West Florida, I didn’t have to look far to find the best bakery, it’s on the corner of Eaton and Grinnell and it’s called Old Town Bakery.

In between hurrican Debbie, and a trip to the emergency room, we were lucky enough to get one of the last baguettes that my two ravenous baguette-end-eaters promptly gnarled before I had time to take a picture.

Niall Bown and his wonderful wife Elzbieta Krysztofiak run this rustic place whose doors never seem to stay still. In fact, customers line up all day to get a crack at some of the best baguettes, croissant and pastries in the nation. (I kid you not.)


That’s because Niall knows his Plugra…er his stuff (Plugra is a Europeon style butter and contains higher butterfat and less water than most butter and, because of expense, only used by consumate, dedicated bakers.)


Check out the fantastic crumb on this Baguette. No wonder everyone in Key West told me to eat breakfast and lunch here.

He didn’t admit it but his bakery is run the old school  way. It wasn’t just the fact that Niall and his wife greet all customers,  roast all the meats on premises, make the croissants and pastries by hand and mix the fabulous pesto’s, it’s reflected in the little things like the old scale that they use and the monster Hobart mixer that Niall rescued from the last big hurricane but most of all in the welcoming way they treat everyone,  even an invasive pizza goon with the 3rd degree sun burn.


The second best thing for me when meeting Niall was his Boston accent, (even though he never said “wicked.”) The first best was eating the croissants on the way back to Ohio. He graduated from Johnson and Wales and worked as a chef baker his whole life so Niall is a perfect fit for Key West.


Thank you Elzbieta and Niall for giving me a perfect reason to head back to Key West!

Here is a video of Chef Bowen talking about his time in the keys while he rolls some killer croissant.