Check Out Green Mill’s “Pizza for Good” Campaign in St. Paul

from the Green Mill website - click for more information.

from the Green Mill website – click for more information.

With $1 of every large pizza purchase going to Finnegan’s Fund—working to support people affected by hunger—Green Mill Restaurant and Bar is doing good in their community.

We dig this joint because a) they’re working through pizza to give something back, and b) using it as a reminder to eat fresh.

Check out the restaurant’s program here, and more about Finnegan’s Fund, here. – WP

Make fresh. buy local. raise money. #GoodRising

‘Embrace Evan’ with a T-shirt Purchase

The "Embrace Evan" t-shirt

The “Embrace Evan” t-shirt

Penny Frulla, whose mother-in-law Lulu Frulla is profiled in Chapter One: “Lulu Lives” of Pizza for Good, has launched a fund-raising drive for a family teen-aged friend who was recently diagnosed with a scary form of cancer. From the fund-raising page:

Our friend, 13-year-old Evan Kollias, was recently diagnosed with Mixed Cellularity Hodgkin Lymphoma. This illness has placed an emotional and financial burden on him and his family. Our goal is to make life easier for them. Help us reach our goal of selling 100 shirts to help offset some of the costly medical and personal expenses associated with battling this type of cancer. EMBRACE EVAN!!!

Penny came to me with the concept of raising money for Evan through t-shirt sales but was unsure how to move on it. I suggested a kickstarter site, and BAM—they’ve raised nearly $2,000 so far. Please consider buying a t-shirt and supporting a great cause and he fights his illness; I scored mine a few minutes ago. WTG, Pen!

Only Child II: Gorgeous Gougères

Best way to sum up this post? It’s a sequel to the book chapter about a movie based on a blog inspired by a master chef. Easy, right? Let me explain…

“Instinct” is a thread that runs throughout Pizza for Good, as you’ll find out after buying and reading. My instinct antennae went up when I was visiting my parents recently; my father, credited in the acknowledgements as teaching me my first lesson in chopping garlic, was making Julia Child’s Gougères—a light, fluffy cousin to the croissant. After sampling the concoction, I noticed ample space inside the mildly flavorful pastry for filling.

2014-03-11 15.46.54

“The sky’s the limit,” I thought to myself.

And WHAMMO, a new Pizza for Good recipe was born.

Chapter 9 of PFG is entitled “Only Child,” and uses a French-twist on the standard chicken piccata for the base of the pizza. The chapter recounts how Richard Blais, Top Chef champion and now-prolific Atlanta restaurateur, sees Child as a hero to chefs everywhere. “She is simply a legend, and all of us who now get to carry out our dreams, cooking on television, stand on her shoulders.”

My father feels the same way, as do I. When it came time for filling, I gravitated to a soft cheese that would hold up inside the Gougères, so I went with part-skim ricotta. I kept it simple after that: just diced green onion, salt and pepper, and a dash of onion powder for flavor.

The best recipe I found for Gougères is actually from Mitch in the Kitchen, who, as it turns out, had the same thought I did in stuffing the insides with cheese or some other filling. Follow his recipe to the letter (I’ve included some photo-tips below), with the following advice:

– depending on your oven, you might want to swap out the baking sheets to ensure even baking.
– I found the Gougères very sturdy at the end of baking, so what I suggest is filling them after the main-baking cycle but before the 10-minute resting period.
– use wax paper to make sure they don’t stick to the pan, but just make sure to peel them back gingerly when removing them.
– serve them right out of the oven because they’ll be warm and ready to go, but heads up: I served them up to my tennis team hours after getting out of the oven and they were still good. They had a different consistency (always serve them hot or warm), but still passable. In other words, I think they’d keep in the fridge for a few days and you can warm them back up—but I wouldn’t go any longer than that.

Here’s the recipe I used for my filling. Feel free to augment with things like diced sausage, or even pepperoni or any other meat if you want to un-vegetarian the dish.

"Gorgeous" ingredients

Filling ingredients
– 1 15 oz. container of ricotta, part-skim
– gueyere or parmesan cheese, grated finely
– 1 head of green onions, washed and minced
– kosher salt, ground and cracked pepper, onion powder – all to taste

Filling directions
– as your pastries are baking, combine all ingredients in a stainless-steel bowl
– mix thoroughly with a spatula, and put in a pastry bag or a large Ziploc (the Ziploc doubles as a pastry bag quite well; just snip off the end of the corner and you’re ready to go), and cut a small opening in the corner
– after the baking process but before the 10-minute crisping period (see recipe), remove baking sheets and fill each pastry with filling
– replace baking sheet in the warm oven

keep the butter and the flour close together so they mix when the butter mixture is hot.

keep the butter and the flour close together so they mix when the butter mixture is hot.

this is what your mixture will look like just prior to spooning.

this is what your mixture will look like just prior to spooning.

peel them back gingerly

peel them back gingerly

cut a corner to act as a pastry bag - if you don't have one

cut a corner to act as a pastry bag – if you don’t have one

fill those gaps with whatever filling you choose

fill those gaps with whatever filling you choose

make sure the dog approves

make sure the dog approves

(Still) Your Move, Chick-fil-A

"Closed on Sundays," right out of the oven

“Closed on Sundays,” right out of the oven

Early on, in advance of Pizza for Good’s release date last year, I wrote a post, “Your Move, Chick-fil-A,” that talked about the pizza I created called “Closed on Sundays.”

That pie, which calls for a honey-mustard base with diced Chick-fil-A chicken strips and mozzarella cheese, became the break-out hit of the annual New Year’s Eve gathering. The post details how the company and its leadership became embroiled in controversy when tax records revealed CFA gave to many anti-LGBT groups—including many back-and-forth statements about where the company landed in the debate.

Here’s an excerpt from Chapter 6, “Closed on Sundays”:

“I have personally struggled with how to handle offering this pizza. A private company should be able to craft its own motto, mission and raison d’etre, true; but I also don’t like the optics of outward discrimination, particularly when it comes to multinational companies conducting themselves that have, even at prior times, overtly excluded average people or consumers.”

The most recent turn in the saga is Dan Cathy’s recent interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, in which he pledges never to weigh in on the subject again:

“Consumers want to do business with brands that they can interface with, that they can relate with,” Cathy told the newspaper. “And it’s probably very wise from our standpoint to make sure that we present our brand in a compelling way that the consumer can relate to.”

We agree. But there’s a further way you can engage with the LGBT community: by showing small levels of support here and there, as outlined in my earlier post. So, my offer to the company—to donate to our cause much in the same way the support folks on the other end of the ideological spectrum—still stands. Donate a few boxes of chicken breasts to the New Year’s Eve gathering, show good faith, and I’ll make a BFD about it.

Until then, I’ll slave over a hot stove and make them at home. Buy the book to learn the process!

Make fresh. buy local. raise money. #GoodRising

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with an Irish… Pizza?

a wedge of delicious Cashel Blue cheese, offered at specialty shops and some Whole Foods locations

a wedge of delicious Cashel Blue cheese, offered at specialty shops and some Whole Foods locations

Truth be told, I’m not a huge fan of blue cheese—it’s far to funky for my taste. The one exception, though, is Cashel Blue, crafted right in the historic town of Cashel, Ireland. The finish is so smooth and bright that it goes beautifully with apples or crumbled in a salad.

When traveling with a group through the country, we visited the factory and got to meet the company’s owner—as I reported in the pages of Pizza for Good:

“As research for the book, we had a tour of the Cashel Blue factory in Fethard, County Tipperary, and we learned that the iconic maker of blue cheese is led by the family’s second generation, Sarah and Sergio Furno. The milk used to craft Cashel Blue comes from the company’s herd of pedigreed Friesan cattle.”


So why not celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by making an Irish pizza? When writing PFG, I was explaining the “Cashel Rock” recipe chapter to a friend of mine. “Irish pizza?” he remarked, incredulously. “There’s no such thing.”

“Exactly,” I replied.

The pizza is decidedly low-tech, incorporating a sauce I had while over there, and two cheeses: the aforementioned Cashel Blue and any cheddar with marbled stout. But you have to buy the book to get the full recipe! As a bonus, you’ll get some snazzy photography and a Irish history lesson from author, Ireland scholar and professor Dr. Debbie van Tuyll.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day and make it a great week. Coming this week: “Only Child II: Gorgeous Gougères,” complete with video intro and full recipe.

Enjoy! – WP

Make fresh. buy local. raise money. #GoodRising

Cauliflower Crust? Yes, it’s totally a thing.

Cauliflower Crust? Yes, it’s totally a thing.

“I honestly can’t remember when or where I first saw the idea for pizza made with a cauliflower crust (probably Pinterest), but I know that it has been done many times before. I used this blog post from DAMY Health as a guide and came up with a variation of the recipe. I was a little skeptical about using cauliflower to make a pizza crust, but trust me when I say that it’s pretty amazing. You can taste the cauliflower flavor (which I like) but it still tastes just like pizza – cheesy and delicious. The edges of the crust even get a little crunchy like regular pizza does.” (with a big h/t to Jerry Schadel)