Posts Tagged ‘shews orchard’

Hug a Root


With the warm weather officially here, I’ve decided to do a great springtime favorite of mine.

This pizza is filled with all the alpha dogs of the vegetable world; I started by using some great purple kohlrabi, crunchy parsnips and salsify combined with the wonderful oniony springtime ramps topped with some great wild watercress picked near a spring at Shews Orchard along with some Integration acres chevre that I both used straight-up and in a sauce made with ramps, lemon and reduced chicken stock. All this is atop a pizza crust made with Shagbark Milling Company spelt crust.

Lets get started! This is all you’ll need.

2 medium parsnips

2 medium salsify roots

Juice of one half lemon

1 1/4 cup chicken stock

1 medium kohlrabi

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 and a half cups fresh chevre goat cheese

One handfull fresh spring ramps

Half handfull of fresh spring watercress

Preheat oven to 485 with an upturned heavty cookie sheet or pizza stone on the middle deck. Using the easy dough recipe for dough (and use spelt flour instead of bakers flour,) cut one, nine ounce dough ball and reserve for forming later.


Peel both the parsnips and salsify on a cutting board. You will have to place the salsify in water with the juice of one-half lemon to stop browning of the salsify flesh. (This lemon water will be used later). Cut the roots into coins.


Place the roots in a pan filled with heated one and a quarter cups chicken stock and cook for 8 to 12 minutes until just al dente. Strain the roots of the broth and reserve the broth.


Cut the kohlrabi at both ends. Remember that the “woody” side of a purple kohlrabi is on the bottom, (side where the stems are shooting away from), so cut this end thick. Turn the kohlrabi and cut through the skin with a knife with a downward mothion following the natural curve of the vegetable. (Like carving the skin off an orange.) Cut the kohlrabi into thin discs.


Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a pan under medium heat and place the kohlrabi in the pan with a pinch of salt and saute for 7 minutes or unitl browned on both sides. Place on a paper towel for topping.


Clean the ramps by cutting the root ends off and pulling down the purple collar near the bottom. Slice the ramp from the white end up into small pieces. The large leaf ends will go on top of the pizza and the small root ends in the sauce.


Pour the chicken broth into a pan and reduce until the broth is almost gone, (3 tablespoons or less). Reduce the heat and place half of the chevre and one tablespoon of the lemon-water in the pan and stir with a whisk. Add the chopped ramps and turn the heat off. The sauce will thicken. That’s okay.


Form the pizza into a disc and place on parchment. Top with the kohlrabi, then the parsnips and salsify followed by the rest of the non-sauced chevre.


Place the ramps on the pizza and into the oven for 10 to 12 minutes, always keeping an eye on the bottom crust. With spelt, you cannot tell sometimes from the cornicione, (crust). When out of the oven,  place the watercress on top of the pizza, then dollop the sauce atop the pizza and enjoy the fruits of spring!





Take one seven-ounce dough ball from the Easy Dough Recipe on this blog.

Local Pancetta, Rouqefort and Chardo-Paw Pizza

When was the last time you ate an entree, sandwich, pizza, soup, salad or bread that can be traced to the people and places you know? Last week?  The week before that? Never perhaps? Our modern world, with all our mega-mart grocers, has made it very hard to complete the cycle of local consumption. We’ve thrown out familiarity and support for our local farmers in our great quest for easy pickins’ with waxy tomatoes picked by slave labor packaged in deceptive red netting and “All Natural” pork from pigs that haven’t stepped more than three paces their whole lives. Most folks don’t really see a problem with this “from afar” food chain of giant trucks rolling into town all day and night; after all, if you haven’t tasted a real, unsprayed grape or local heirloom pork your whole life, you just wouldn’t know.

Because I sell breads at the Athens Farmers Market, I constantly have “Oh my god!” moments when I bite into some of the best produce and meats in this country. Years ago, I bit into an apple grown by Shews Orchard and blurted, “That’s like no other apple I’ve ever tasted!” This was because I was used to buying produce from my the large grocery store. I just didn’t know. Now I do and constantly try to integrate local, organic ingredients in my pizzas on this blog.


This pizza rocks on so many of those levels because all of the toppings are produced, grown or foraged by people I know. The motivation for curing the pancetta fresca (pork belly, a.k.a. fresh side) on this pizza came from the fabulous new book “Salumi” by a writer and chef I greatly admire: Michael Ruhlman (left) along with chef Brian Polcyn.


The cheese is a wonderful Rouqefort made at Integration Acres by Michelle Gorman and Chris Chmiel (check out last blog entry.)


The pancetta fresca (fresh pork belly, or “fresh side” they call it here) is from Rich Blazer and Harmony Hollow Farms.


The chardonnay grapes were given to me from Neal Dix of Shade Winery in Shade, Ohio and the arugula was growing in a pot in my backyard near a small and very gnarly cherry pepper.


The paw paws were…a pain in the keester! Check out my almost-unsuccessful paw-paw forage where I was only able to get three.

This is going to be a great pie! The local goat rouqefort is not as salty as the stuff from France so its a perfect match with the salty pancetta. The sweet paw-paw-chardonnay jam is a fantastic counterpoint to the piquant and savory cheese and pancetta. The nuanced spice from the pepper is a great suprise and the arugula is a refreshing and crunchy end to every bite!

Using the Easy Dough Recipe on this blog, make yourself a seven ounce dough ball and reserve in the refrigerator for the next day.

For the pancetta quick cure: Variation of recipe from “Salumi” (Ruhlman, Polcyn)

One large baton (8-12 ounces) of pork belly. This is cut across the belly and is usually sold at Farmers Markets in inch-wide strips for making lardon.

1/4 cup sea salt

20 turns of a pepper mill


Place the pancetta baton in a bag and toss with the salt and pepper. Place in the refrigerator for 20 to 24 hours until stiff.


After the salt has absorbed and the baton is stiff, rinse well with cold water and dry with paper towels. Slice in half (to fit the pan) and sear on high for 10 to 12 minutes until the outer edges brown nicely. Reserve for the pizza topping.

For the paw-paw-chardonnay jam: (be ready to get your hands messy with this!)


Break the paw-paws apart with your hand and let the loose pulp fall into the bowl. The amount of seeds will vary with various paw-paws so take each seed between your thumb and other fingers and roll hard to get the pulp off of the seed. Discard the seeds. Draw you finger against the inner wall of the skin to peel away what pulp you can.


Place 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice (or quarter of a lemon) into the pulp and mix. Take the chardonnay grapes and squish (is that a word?) with your hand. If you are a traditionalist, you can do this with your stinky feet. Place the seeds and skins aside.


Strain the juice and pour into a hot pan. Reduce by half.


Cool the grape juice in the fridge then add to the paw-paw pulp. Refrigerate until topping.

For the Pizza:

1 pancetta baton

bowl of paw-paw, chardonnay grape jam

half of a hot cherry pepper

5 to 8 ounces of roquefort cheese

Handful of arugula


 Preheat the oven to 475 degrees and place a pizza stone or upturned and heavy cookie sheet on the middle deck. Chop up the hot pepper and use as much as you can handle. Slice the pancetta on the bias.


Form the pizza dough ball into a disc, place on a pizza screen and top with the cheese, pancetta and diced pepper.


Place in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes until nice, brown and crispy.


 And enjoy like crazy.