Industrial Harvest


What happened to the flour, part 10: personal use by sarah kavage

Hey, so maybe it’s time for me to tell y’all what I did with my flour…

Presented below, in no particular order, are the occasions of how I personally used the flour to nourish others in the spirit of the project.  I baked for a number of other events related to the Industrial Harvest itself, but these activities are more personal in nature.

For Thanksgiving 2010, I made two batches of dinner rolls and one pear-honey-walnut pie for two different Thanksgiving dinners in Seattle.  The rolls were a recipe my mom sent me, and turned out PERFECTLY for the first dinner, which was held on the official Thanksgiving day at our place with a few friends.  We try to do up a proper feast, usually vegetarian or vegan, every year and as the photo shows, we had a lot to be thankful for this year.  Rolls are in the “wicker chicken” breadbasket, center top; pie is to the right of the rolls.  You may also spy stuffing, two varieties of white potatoes and one of sweet potatoes, succotash with great-grandma’s heirloom red limas, brussel sprouts, cranberry sauce, a squash-pecan pie and two breastlike tofu turkey mounds in a sea of roasted root veggies:

The Thanksgiving table

The Thanksgiving table

Thanksgiving dinner rolls

Thanksgiving dinner rolls

The dinner rolls were the exception to an otherwise vegan dinner.  I made another batch for a larger Thanksgiving celebration a week later but cooked them in the host’s oven and they turned out underdone (still totally edible and appreciated).

The pear honey walnut pie made at least three appearances over the summer and fall, most recently at Thanksgiving.  It turned out to be the perfect pie for late summer, as pears are in season and you can always substitute apples or asian pears.  Here’s one example (from the illustration on the top crust, this one probably has apples or asian pears in it):

one of many pear-honey-walnut pies

one of the pear-honey-walnut pies

Our Chicago household (myself included) was partial to breakfasting on this pie – there’s barely any sugar in it, and the walnuts add enough protein to get you through the morning.

I made a lot of biscuits.  I probably make biscuits more than any other baked good, and in Chicago that meant several batches for the housemates and myself, some vegan, some with lard, some with buttermilk depending on all our various dietary quirks.  Back in Seattle, I made biscuits for a couple of different visitors, and a couple of batches for myself and my husband.  Sadly, there are no pictures of the biscuits.

And then there was the pizza.  I got tons of practice making pizza last summer – grilled, wood-oven fired, stovetop, plain old oven baked, I did it all.  My favorite episode involved bringing a bunch of excess dough and homemade pizza sauce (made with fresh midwest tomatoes from my housemate’s garden plot!) home to a little family reunion in Ohio, the first we’ve had in years.  Mom was happy to be absolved from some cooking duties, and the huge batch of pizza that resulted fed everyone at the reunion with slices to spare.

Another epic pizza making session took place on another homecoming – the day of I returned from Chicago to Seattle, which also happened to be my birthday.  We’d invited a bunch of friends over to make pizza as a welcome home / birthday celebration and I pretty much rolled off the train and started rolling dough.  The hilarity in the kitchen that ensued was well worth it…there’s some goofy documentation of the evening here.

I did try bread baking a couple of times, with reasonable success.  These loaves were made for our Chicago household on a verrrry hot July day, right after the flour was finished milling.  They’re not the prettiest, but they were tasty.

The lumpen loaves

The lumpen loaves

And lastly, there’s this decorative bread medallion.  It was inspired by a Bread Bakers’ Guild of America newsletter article on artistic breadbaking, which included a recipe.  Compared to the lovely, highly refined decorative breads produced by the pros, my effort was pretty crude.  Nor did it technically nourish anyone, but as one of the few actual art pieces produced as part of Industrial Harvest, I was somehow happy with it and felt it deserved a place in this list.  It was one of three made for the show at Roots & Culture.  You can see the others here (one fell apart shortly after the opening).

wheat penny bread medallion

wheat penny bread medallion



What Happened to the Flour, Part 9: Meat Pies by sarah kavage

Back to the flour stories!  Recently I received the second of two notes which pertained to the making of meat pies on special occasions.  Despite the fact that I’m a vegetarian – or maybe because of it – these stories were worthy of particular admiration.  The first, received on Christmas day, really needs no further explanation as to why:

From: M
To: sarah
Date: Sat, December 25, 2010 11:38:02 AM
Subject: Venison Pot Pie
Sarah,
This Wisconsin Road Kill Venison (collected and butchered by M) Pot Pie was topped with Sour Dough Pastry Biscuits by you and me and enjoyed by many in Chicago.
Thank you so much for your time and effort on the Industrial Harvest project in Chicago.
Your legacy lives on.
M

roadkill pot pie, up close & personal

roadkill pot pie, up close & personal

On second thought, I should note that the road kill in question was butchered by my Chicago housemate while I was living with him this summer.  No, I did not witness the butchering, that was done in Wisconsin on a weekend trip.  But still, I lived with bloody deer parts in a freezer for a good part of the summer, and so feel a special attachment to it – and some serious respect for my housemate.  I think this was his first road kill butchering.

Then yesterday on the Industrial Harvest facebook page, Mike Sula from the Chicago Reader posted his story of the mince (meat) pies that he and Sheila Sachs made for the memorial to writer Cliff Doerksen, who passed away in December.  Cliff won the James Beard award for his 2009 Chicago Reader story on the history of mince pie in America.  The award was well deserved; Cliff’s tale is a great ride through an odd bit of US culinary history which probably would have otherwise been completely forgotten (Mike’s note sent me off on multiple internet tangents, and not knowing anything about Cliff or mince pie previously,  they were welcome and entertaining diversions).  Mike and Sheila’s sweet tribute – seven mince pies, with crusts made with Industrial Harvest flour, fed 200 people at the memorial.  It was an honor to play even a small part in that.  Thanks to Mike and Sheila for including me and creating such a thoughtful send-off to Cliff.



What happened to the flour, Part 8: grandma’s cooking by sarah kavage

There is something about being a grandmother – once you have fed a couple of generations, you are generally considered to be the font of knowledge in culinary matters.  This email from L made me think of my own grandma, also named Sarah. She was a generous, compassionate person who worked as a supervising nurse at the local hospital back before it was common for women to have jobs outside the home.  She could also play cards, tend a garden, sew a little girl a pink princess dress and COOK, all with an inordinate amount of style.  What I remember best is the homemade pasta – beef ravioli, and on Thanksgiving, egg noodles served with “just a little” butter.  Her spirit has been with me throughout this project.

Whatever the dish, there is something special about a grandma’s cooking that is tough to replicate, as L attests to here.  Not being grandmas, we can only speculate about what that is.  Maybe it’s decades of practice, thrown into sharper relief by a culture obsessed with instant results.  I also suspect there’s some secret magic at work, unknown to us ordinary citizens.

From: L
To: sarah
Sent: Wed, January 5, 2011 5:30:40 PM
Subject: flour project
Hi Sarah,
This has been a long time coming, but better late than never, I hope! Here’s my description and photos of what I baked with the flour.

A summer memory: I baked my baba’s famous pie. She’s always made apple or cherry pies, but since harvest season was upon us, I made an apple and a pear pie with fruit I bought at the farmers market. I shared the apple pie with my community garden at our weekly workday. The pear I served at a barbecue I hosted with my old neighbors gathered in the backyard. (Yes, we heated the pie on the grill!)

pies a la baba

pies a la baba

the finished pie (and at least one finished beer)

the finished pie (and at least one finished beer)

My baba’s baked goods have been a family tradition since before I was even born. That side of the family lives about 600 miles from where I grew up, so it was a special thing to have her nowhere-else-to-be-found pastries once or twice a year. She’s 88 now and still baking the same sweets I remember from my childhood. I think her baking is even more special to me now, and I haven’t found a pie that tastes better than the kind she bakes from scratch.

I knew I wanted to share my baba’s pie recipe as soon as I read about the Industrial Harvest project. My crust turned out inferior to hers, probably because she’s been baking for decades and bakes by intuition –  she just adds a little of whatever ingredient is needed if the texture isn’t right – but I’ll keep attempting to maintain the baking tradition. Coincidentally, the day I got my flour was also her birthday.

On Thu, Jan 6, 2011 at 2:26 PM, sarah wrote:
L,
that’s a really beautiful story. I have so many fond memories of my Grandma in the kitchen (and the garden) too, and am still trying to live up to her culinary legacy.  I would love to share this on the project blog. Is that OK?
Happy new year!
s

From: L
To: sarah
Date: Fri, January 7, 2011 10:59:52 AM
Subject: Re: flour project
Thank you! That would be great to have the story posted on the blog. Yes, my baba was also an avid gardener in her more energetic days (that’s another trait I inherited from her). There really is something to a grandma’s baking – I think one actually has to be a grandma in order to achieve that level of skill with combining ingredients. There’s a real comfort in those foods.

Happy new year to you, too. I’m so glad that I was a part of this project!
L



What happened to the flour, part 3: blogroll by sarah kavage

Today’s snippets all come from the so-called blogosphere.  I have been amazed at the profusion of cooking / eating / food-related blogs that exist,  and tracked down quite a few posts that detail baking adventures with Industrial Harvest flour.  Bonus:  food bloggers, if I may generalize so crudely, appear to be quite dedicated.  They take lots of pictures.  They provide lots of loving background detail and backstories.  They also often include recipes!

Some of these have made it to the Industrial Harvest facebook page already, so excuse the repeats if you’ve seen them already.  But let that be a reminder to you:  if you’re on facebook, said page is a great way to let me know what you’ve done with the flour.  Another option:  post photos to our still-underutilized flickr group!

Moving right along:  this blogger made whole wheat biscotti using Alice Waters’ recipe

ECO, a cooperative household in Pilsen, runs a CSA and a co-op.  They did all kinds of stuff with the flour and took wheat berries to plant a cover crop on their rooftop garden.

Last year around this time, I was wrapping up a residency at InCUBATE, which may have been the tipping point at which this project became a reality.  InCUBATE (and I, as resident) shared their Congress Theater storefront with the Chicago Underground Library, and that was how I met Thuy.  Thuy is a pretty serious baker, and turned me on to the magic of pure wheat gluten (if you’ve never tried it, it is a miracle cure for too-dense, heavy bread).  So I knew Thuy would do something awesome with the flour and was thrilled to re-connect with her this fall.  Her beautifully written post is not to be missed.

The Cuentos Foundation had a fundraiser / bake sale in October to raise money for Oaxaca mudslide victims at Danny’s, a classic Chicago watering hole.

My buddies Gina and Jerry in Seattle have been all wrapped up with opening what will surely be a super-delicious, authentic and unpretentious Italian restaurant.  But they still took the time to adopt 50 pounds of flour and bake a huge batch of bread for the local food bank…in their backyard brick oven that they built themselves.

And then there’s this.  Your mouth will water looking at these pictures (click “next post” all the way at the bottom of the page for the finished product).



What happened to the flour, Part 2 by sarah kavage

Continuing the report-back from the flour giveaways, here’s three more.  There is no real theme for them other than they pleased me:  one because it had to do with beer, one because of the connection to my Washington state home, and one because it’s just super sweet.  Actually, they are all super sweet and in different ways exemplify the sharing I hoped would come out of this process.  Hopefully it’s not too annoying to read these email threads; I like presenting the reports the way they actually came to me (I have made minor edits to correct for typos and such).

The first is from N. who bravely took home several pounds of wheat berries to use to make a wheat beer.  She is, so far, the only person who committed to using the wheat in the brewing process, although I haven’t heard a final report from her on how the beer turned out.  I recently started brewing up my very first batch of homebrew so finally understand how it all works.  The flour N. took ended up feeding the annual Brew Not Bombs fundraiser in Chicago this past September:

From: N –
To: sarah
Date: Thu, September 30, 2010 9:19:26 PM
Subject: Re: industrial harvest update & upcoming events

Hey Sarah
So….You gave me flour and whole wheat berries. I haven’t yet used the berries but I plan to roast them and then make beer. With the flour, I made a huge batch of caraway almond biscuits for Brew Not Bombs and they were devoured by ravenous anarchists and beer lovers. My friend also used some of the flour to bake loaves of sourdough bread which was also DELICIOUS and served to kids at Brew Not Bombs to allow the beer drinking to continue late into the night.

Thanks so much…I also put little notes out at Brew Not Bombs about how the wheat came from Industrial Harvest.  I’ll keep you updated about the beer.
-N.

Next up, these notes from a couple who brought the flour on a trip to Washington state and shared it with their host:

From: E
To: sarah
Date: Tue, October 5, 2010 9:56:18 AM
Subject: Industrial harvest flour!

Hi, Sarah! This is E. My girlfriend contacted you earlier. We received some of your flour from Edible Alchemy in Chicago and used it to make this handsome apple pie while couch-surfing with T. in Walla Walla, WA.
Thanks so much for the flour and the fun!

From: F
To: sarah
Date: Tue, September 28, 2010 10:46:55 AM
Subject: Wheat tracking

Hi Sarah,
I think your wheat project is wonderful. I hope everyone who gets word of your project appreciates the nourishment as much as I do. My lover, E. and I got about 3 lbs of flour from your wheat from ECO and took it with us on our summer vacation which began in mid August and lasted for three weeks. During our trip, we visited Walla Walla, Washington for the first time. Also for the first time, we couch-surfed with a collage student there, T. It was a new experience for us and to show our appreciation to our host, we used a bunch of your flour to make a beautiful apple pie which we all shared. It was delicious. Thanks!
peace
– F.

to thine own self be true

Walla Walla apple pie

Walla Walla apple pie

And lastly, I talked to this woman at the Hull House and she, her father and her son were all dedicated bakers.  She was very excited to have three generations of her family participating in this project, and later forwarded me this sweet email from her father (note the awesome review of the flour’s performance!):

From: R –
To: sarah
Date: Mon, August 30, 2010 7:50:46 AM
Subject: Fwd: Pizza

Dear Sarah,
I saw your talk at the Lill Street Art Center and got some flour from you. I gave it to my dad, who is a retired chef, and has more time to bake than I do. He absolutely loved it. Thanks so much!
– R.
———- Forwarded message ———-
Date: Sat, Aug 28, 2010 at 8:23 PM
Subject: Pizza
To: R-
Dear Daughter:
I thank you for giving me the experience of working with the best flour I’ve worked in my chef life for the last 12 years.
The natural gluten and the freshness of the flour gave me a perfect dough. I’m sorry you are not here to enjoy this wonderful Marguerite pizza.
Love,
Dad



What happened to the flour, part 1 by sarah kavage
December 21, 2010, 11:04 pm
Filed under: baking, project updates, where the flour went

Just the other day, Rob reminded me that I have yet to do much reporting back on the responses received from the Industrial Harvest flour recipients.  He told me (quite emphatically), “you need to get on it before people forget completely.”  Spoken like the archivist he is.  He’s so right, of course, and so should be properly credited with giving me the kick in the ass I needed.

So, without further ado, here’s a selection.  I’m going to try to make this a daily thing for the next few days, just to catch up and to get everybody in the holiday spirit of sharing and giving and stuff.  These first few emails are from the folks at WormFarm Institute in Wisconsin, a rural art and agriculture center.  They took several hundred pounds of flour when I came into town as part of the “Women In Grains” show this summer (and they may still be using it!).

From: K –
To: sarah@gogoweb.com;
Date: Tue, August 24, 2010 7:38:30 AM
Cc:
Subject: industrial harvest

hi Sarah,
Here are a couple of pictures of what we have been making with your flour back in the barn. We have been enjoying it immensely, and every time we make something new I am determined to remember to photograph it, but have only been successful these two times. But, we have made peach cobbler, apple crisp, bread (constantly), biscuits, english muffins, pancakes, pies, Pete made pasta from scratch, which I think he documented, I will get those images from him. Just wanted to let you know it has been nourishing us, and others on the farm.  I’ll send more pictures as I remember.
K –

English Muffins at Worm Farm

English Muffins at Worm Farm

totally pro-looking Worm Farm Bread

totally pro-looking Worm Farm Bread

From: K –
To: sarah kavage
Sent: Sat, August 28, 2010 10:29:25 AM
Subject: kolache

Hi Sarah,
Julia, our newest artist in residence made these kolaches for a communal dinner — filled with a date almond filling!

K –

Kolache at wormfarm

Kolache at wormfarm

On 9/1/10, sarah kavage wrote:

K –
thanks for sending this & the other reports on the flour! I’m so glad you all are able to use it – and the results look delicious.  My husband is Czech, and their kolaches are larger flat round 1-tier cakes with fruit mixed into the cake batter. This must be the Polish version?  Date
almond  filling – yum.

s
________________________________

From: K –
To: sarah kavage
Date: Wed, September 1, 2010 3:05:03 PM
Cc:
Subject: Re: kolache

Sarah,
Julia, one of our residents, who made it is actually half-czech. She said that two of her great grandmothers made two different kinds of
kolaches … so I guess there are multiple kinds. It was delicious! Just dropped off flour at the food pantry today.

K –

From: wormfarm
To: sarah kavage
Date: Thu, September 2, 2010 7:16:36 PM
Cc:
Subject: Fw: Amish Bread

Hi Sarah,
Below an attached is information and an image for Industrial Harvest. Kenneth Yoder’s family made 50 loaves of bread for one of the local food pantries. This is the second delivery.   Another sack will make pastries for a Catholic Rural Life conference I’ve gotten involved with (there’s a local food component). I’ll try to get some pix from that.

One of our CSA shareholders (3# bags) works at the Boys & Girls Club and showed kids how to make healthy cookies.  She said she would send you a note.
Great piece,
J –

—– Original Message —–
From: M –
To: wormfarm
Sent: Thursday, September 02, 2010 5:10 PM
Subject: Amish Bread

This is for J – I took this photo Wednesday morning of the Food Pantry officers with the 24 loaves of bread that the Amish made and donated to the Food Pantry.  They are from left to right:  JF, PN, MD and GJ.

We went out to the Amish farm on Tuesday late afternoon to pick it up.  Hope this is helpful.
Sincerely, M –

Amish-baked bread for the Reedsburg Food Pantry

Amish-baked bread for the Reedsburg Food Pantry

If you are were a recipient of flour, consider this inspiration and a reminder to send me pictures and emails of what you did with it.  You can also post to the Industrial Harvest Facebook page OR to the flickr group.  Thanks to the many folks who have already sent me their reports!  They make my day every time.



Ernie’s Apple Cake by sarah kavage

An addendum to yesterday’s post on Edgewater / Care For Real.  Ernie Constantino, who hooked me up with Care For Real, Tom Robb and Mary Ann Smith, was introduced to me at least in part due to his excellence at pie baking.  He lives in Edgewater, so he and his partner stopped by one chilly Saturday morning and took home 40 pounds of whole wheat pastry flour. Ernie has since become one of my most dedicated test bakers, sending me detailed reports on flour performance and recipes.  Here’s Ernie’s recipe for apple cake.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Ernie Constantino’s Apple Cake

Ernie’s report:  “the cake was well-received in spite of my feeling it was way too sweet! … so if you forward this recipe, please give them my notes that the sugar could be reduced by at least 1/2 cup (btw, I used Turbinado/Raw sugar) and also the amount of batter was too much for a standard bundt tube pan …. also it was very moist which is good taste-wise but it crumbled easily esp. with the amount of apples called for in middle of cake … nutrition-wise, I think with the unpeeled hand-picked apples and WWPF*, canola oil, OJ, walnuts and eggs, it’s a winner!”
*whole wheat pastry flour.  Ernie is not the first person to use this acronym, though I’ve avoided it.

This recipe is un-adjusted to reflect Ernie’s notes above.  You can decide about the sugar yourself.

instruction ingredients
Chop and combine 6 apples 

1 Tbl cinnamon

5 Tbl sugar

Mix in large bowl 2 ¾ cups whole wheat flour 

1 Tbl baking powder

1 tsp salt

Whisk and mix with above 1 cup vegetable oil 

¼ cup orange juice

2 cups sugar

2 ½ tsp vanilla

1 cup chopped nuts

Add 4 eggs

Pour half of batter into greased tube pan. Spread half of apple mixture on batter. Pour remaining batter then remaining apples on top.

Bake in 350 degree oven for 90 minutes.



Fraternite Notre Dame by sarah kavage

On Monday, I went to visit the Sisters at Fraternite Notre Dame, a convent in the Austin neighborhood on Chicago’s far west side.   FND was one of the first flour recipients – back in early July, they took a ton of all-purpose flour to use for their food pantry and kitchen.  Not only do they run a soup kitchen, they fund the soup kitchen by selling French pastries – tarts, croissants – at farmers’ markets around Chicago (The pastries turn up in the soup kitchen too).  I’d been wanting to see their operation all summer and finally, during my last week in Chicago, we were able to arrange a visit.

Having worked with nuns in the past, I am never quite sure what to think of them.  Put mildly, they’re a throwback to another time, and these nuns, not only nuns but French, seem especially out of place.  I hold pretty negative opinions about the Catholic church, but did want to acknowledge the strong commitment to service that these women have.  And all of this made me even more curious to check out what went on in their kitchen.

I arrived as the nuns were in the middle of serving up their daily lunch for the homeless and poor in the neighborhood.  Austin is a neighborhood with a long history – originally a (generally) working class white neighborhood that experienced a long, and especially infamous, transition into one that was (and still is) largely black.  I just began reading Amanda Seligman’s book Block by Block, which chronicles the history of racial transformation in Austin.  The author’s thesis is that systemic disinvestment in the neighborhood, lack of political influence, and neglect of the building stock go back long before the racial changes and white flight began.  The nuns (French, from a breakaway sect of the Catholic church) moved into this melieu about 10 years ago and see about 200 people a day come through their doors for lunch.  When I asked if they ever had to turn anyone away, Sister Marie replied “how can you say yes to one and no to another?”

In the kitchen at Fraternite Notre Dame

In the kitchen at Fraternite Notre Dame

FND, like most of the other agencies I’ve talked to and visited, have seen the number of people in their soup kitchen line grow and grow over the last few years.  The nuns start their day early in the morning with mass, then cooking in the soup kitchen, then serving and cleaning up (people line up for lunch starting at 10 am; lunch starts at 11 and goes till 1).  Once that’s done, they begin making pastries.  Sometimes they work till midnight, sometimes even later if there’s a market the next day,  because the pastries need to be fresh.  They  go through about 400 pounds of flour a week.

pastries to go

pastries to go

As part of my visit, Sister Marie brought me to an upstairs dining room where there was a table set with some juice and a platter of a dozen or so small pastries in white paper nests.  For me.  I was a little dumb-founded – charmed by the decidedly European-style over the top hospitality and the beautiful treats, foggy with a killer head cold, and feeling a little dash of guilt brought on by knowing that in the dining room just below me, people were eating what might be their only meal of the day.  It was a little uncomfortable to be treated like such an important visitor, but I do like pastries.  I did happen to be hungry.  And I didn’t want to be rude, so I wolfed down several  as I told the Sister more about the story of the flour and where it was all coming from and tried to emphasize that I’m not rich or anything.  Then the rest of the pastries were packed up in a little white box, and another white box appeared – this one with a whole, perfect berry tart – and was placed into my arms.  The nuns showed me politely to the door, and there I was, all sugared-up, back on the streets of Austin.



Flatbreads day at Kendall by sarah kavage

I was invited by Melina Kelson, who teaches the artisan breadbaking class at Kendall College Culinary Schoool, to spend this morning talking to her class and baking pizza / foccacia in the brick oven she built with 4 students last year.  Today was the last class day of an intense session, where students come to class for 10 days straight, 6 am – noon.  Finals are tomorrow, so today was sort of a fun day.  The dough was made with the Industrial Harvest all-purpose flour, which Melina was quite happy with.  She said it is perfectly aged and working beautifully.  Greenfield Mills does it again – !

The students started by weighing and apportioning the dough into 12-oz pieces.

The dough is then rolled into balls.  Melina had the students double-fisting – rolling up two balls of dough at a time, one in each hand.

After each students rolls up their dough balls, they label it with their initials…

…and it is covered and left to proof.  The many gaps between breadbaking tasks leave plenty of time for short lectures, so we’d talk in between. We spent an entire break talking about the specifics of my futures transaction – pretty impressive!  The students asked lots of great questions and made it easy and fun to talk about what I was doing.

Here, Melina (center) demonstrates rolling out pizza dough.  I’ve seen this done many different ways, and Melina started with a rolling pin and then began to stretch the dough with her knuckles.  Her tip:  stretch the edges, the middle will take care of itself.

The final demo pizza:  thinly sliced Yukon Gold potatoes (a waxy potato that will retain its crunch better then starchy varieties), carmelized onions, blue cheese.

We migrate out into the courtyard, where the oven has been heating up all morning, and Melina loads the pizza in the oven.  She cracks an egg on top right before it goes in.  The oven needs to be at least 450 degrees, preferably hotter.

The demo pizza cooks for under 5 minutes, is lovingly documented and then consumed.

The finished demo pizza.  It was incredibly delicious.

We also got to make our own pizzas, and the students shared their dough with me and showed me the ropes.  Hannah was on top of it enough to suggest that she take a picture of my pizza going in the oven.  Having worked in at least 3 pizza restaurants in my “career” in the restaurant industry, I had collected a number of tips over the years:  don’t use too much sauce or cheese, oregano goes in pizza sauce (not basil, that goes in pasta sauce), and brush the crust with olive oil.  There were so many toppings that it was tough to decide what to do, but I went with olives, mushroom, mozzarella and parmesan.

The finished pizza – a couple blackened blisters which could have meant a re-do at Two Boots, but overall was great.  All in all, a pretty good morning’s work – I took it home and we had lunch, with 2 pieces left for dinner.  Thanks so much to Melina and all the students for creating such a sharing, welcoming atmosphere – I really had a blast playing chef for a few hours.



Hot weather recipes by sarah kavage
July 5, 2010, 9:53 pm
Filed under: baking | Tags: , , , , , ,

Yet another thing I did not really think about when I planned this whole adventure was that I’d be taking on a project that involves a great deal of baking in the summertime.  We’ve had a few days of 90 degree heat already, and the mere thought of turning on a 450 degree oven on top of that makes me start sweating (well, we’re always sweating these days so nothing’s really different, and not that I’m complaining, but it still doesn’t really make for good cooking weather).  Then last week, as if he’d heard my plight through the psychic friends network, Industrial Harvest fan Mike Glodo sent along an email with a few recipes for stovetop breadmaking.   Three variations on non-yeasted, fast and easy flatbreads that require no oven time, just a hot griddle –  which I pass along to you now, pretty much verbatim:

PIZZA / PITA / NOT PAPADUM BUT GOOD

Base Dough

About 1 cup all-purpose flour

Add 1/2 t kosher/pickling salt (no iodine)

Olive oil 2t to 1T

Water about 1T

Flour close by for your hands (this gets sticky)

Put flour and salt into wide flat bowl.  Have big metal spoon handy.

Form a well in the middle.

Pour a little water and oil into the well.

Use spoon to gather in flour from outside well.

It clumps. Good. Mix it around a bit, add more water and oil, continue gathering until the dry ingredients are pretty much gone. Form into a ball, cover with plastic (I use a recycled tortilla wrapper, just rinse it off after use and it’s already food-grade). Stick it in the fridge for 20-30 mins (not essential, but improves texture)

Then:  Take about 1T of dough, drop it into some flour (de-stickys it) and roll it into a ball.  Roll out thin on a floured surface into ~4-5″ diameter disc.

PIZZA

For stove top pizza – plop into a moderately hot small cast iron (preferred) pan.  Make sure all ingredients (garlic/cheese/sausage/whatever) all ready to go before you drop the disc.  This moves fast.  Flip over and add ingredients (dried basil, diced garlic, olive oil, parm, ricotta, f’r instance).  Cover loosely with a pot lid to drive heat to surface (but you don’t want to steam it)

In the oven:  Add topping, put the pan in oven and git ‘er done. Takes about 8 mins in oven.
Bake at 500 degrees or so; put disc into a warm cast iron pan (as above) but don’t flip and add ingredients to the surface.


PITAS

The difference here is that with the same dough, you’re going to roll it out *thicker* and put it onto a much hotter pan. This seals the bottom of the bread, and drives steam (usually!) and starts to bubble up the top.  Once you see the top clearly start to separate in a couple of places, flip it.


NotPapadumButGood

Use the same dough, thin or thick or even thinner.  Once dough is rolled out into the disc, sprinkle on red pepper flakes or garlic or dried basil or caraway seeds or fennel seeds or coarse black pepper. Mix and match is cool. Roll into surface of the dough, flip, roll in some more.  These can be dry fried (remember, there’s some olive oil in the bread) or in a little butter or oil.

They are great with anything that looks like raita or tzadziki etc. Drain whole milk yoghurt, add some salt, cumin, lemon juice, mashed garlic, olive oil. Bash it about, let it rest in the fridge to tighten up. Great also for scooping up curried whatevers.

Main thing – the dough preparation takes maybe five minutes.  Stick it in the fridge, and the cooking goes pretty fast after rolling them out. You can also iterate proportions of cake (pastry) flour.  I jack up that in this same recipe to about 1/3 soft flour to 2/3 bread when I use almost the same recipe to make flour tortillas.  Soft flour makes ’em a little more foldable.

I haven’t tried these exact formulas yet, but the same night I received Mike’s missive I was making up some pita dough using this recipe expressly for the purpose of stovetop flatbread, with the whole wheat pastry flour.  We topped them with a fava bean / tomato / onion /olive oil mixture, pesto, some arugula and cheese here and there.  Once I got the skillet temperature worked out, they were absolutely delicious.  The pastry flour did make them deliciously soft and pliable and not too tough / chewy/grainy tasting, despite using 100% whole wheat flour.  With Mike’s recipe we could have saved ourselves a bunch of time by not worrying about the yeast or  rising the dough, so take his advice if you want to have more time for summer things and less time and fuss in the kitchen.  Enjoy!