Massive Success! Second ‘Pizza for Good’ in Bethel raises $1K for DAWS

We joined The Browns last weekend for a Pizza for Good party to raise money for DAWS—a local animal-welfare society. Our co-hosts Amy Platt & Tracy Brod helped greatly with behind-the-scenes work, and Will was assisted in the kitchen by incomparable sous chefs Chris, Ethan & Spencer Brown.

 

[BETHEL, CONN.] — Our sophomore Pizza for Good effort here in Bethel, Conn., was a fantastic success. Thanks to all who came out, donated and volunteered! This time around we were raising money (aka “Chowfunding“) for Danbury Animal Welfare Society—after all was said in done we made right around $1K for the group’s effort to care for area animals. Exact fund-raising total to follow shortly.

Meantime, we featured a number of great pizzas ripped right from the pages of PFG, including:

  • Pimento & Sissy: scratch-made pimento cheese
  • <head tilt> Bless Your Heart: peaches & prosciutto
  • Pi: cherry glaze, bacon & apple
  • Popeye & Olive Oil: sautéed spinach, lemon

I found a bottle of Soy Vey Hoisin marinade and made an asian-fusion chicken pizza out of it—very yum. Some of the tastier pies come from using up supplies from the fridge!

I was especially proud of a pizza I made on the side. It’s called “Prretty for Ze Prrom,” and it’s an homage to a night out that Rachel and I had before her prom. Dressed in formal wear, we went to our normal diner hangout on 79th and Broadway and ordered grilled cheese with bacon. The waitress came over and said “you look so prrrrety for ze prrrrom!” And that nickname stuck.

“Prrety for Ze Prrom”—an improvised pizza based on a visit to a NYC diner.

So to honor Rachel’s birthday, I made the pizza version of a grilled cheese with bacon. Par-bake your pizza dough and make sure to brush the outside of the top with either butter or egg wash (for crisping) and sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper. BOOM! We got ourselves a tasty grilled-cheese-bacon in the form a pizza.

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I heard lots of “oohing” and “ahhing” over the pies so it sounded like the hungry masses were psyched once again. My great thanks, as always, go out to the entire Brown family—Chris, Rachel, Ethan, Spencer & Waldo—for hosting! These parties give their host homes a beating so it’s always much appreciated.

Watch the quick recap video here, and if you haven’t scored your copy of PFG yet, please do. More to follow! 🔵

 


 

Will Pollocksideways is an Atlanta-based freelance multimedia journalist focusing on pop-culture, politics, journalism & media, retail, real estate, travel, politics, and human interest. 

He is the author of two books (Pizza for Good & Leaving Triscuit), with more on the way. Sign up for the mailing list, follow on TwitterFacebook and Instagram—and check out the book links below.

Make sure to comment often—cranky loves company. As a wholly independent news source, CrankyYank depends on your subscriptions, shares, comments and likes. If you’re enjoying CY, please consider telling a friend.

Support independent authors, writers, artists, journalists, reporters and professionals. Buy a book, leave a review, start a discussion. Thank a reporter if you like a story you see or read. Our success as a nation depends on your engagement and involvement at every level.

I’ve largely set aside my book promotion on Twitter to focus on crimes committed by the Trump administration. There are many other bloggers, pundits and journalists doing the same; make sure to support them at every turn. 

 

 

 

‘Pizza for Good’ in Bethel—Round Two!

 

We’re gathering today in Bethel for our 2nd Pizza for Good event—this time we’ll be raising funds for Danbury Animal Welfare Society (DAWS). For more than 40 years DAWS has been working in the community to enhance the lives of troubled animals and fostering the wellbeing of dogs and cats. DAWS launched in 1974 as small operation of improving the lives of animals at the Danbury pound to opening its own clinic and providing education to the surrounding area.

Our hosts are once again Rachel, Chris, Ethan & Spencer Brown. And best of all: today is Rachel’s birthday! So we’ll be celebrating her as we raise money for DAWS. Thank you SO much to all of our PFG in Bethel volunteers, too, who’ve pitched in big time to make sure the event is a big success.

Big thanks also go out to Perry Anastasakis & Famous Pizza for returning as our Doughnators. We have 30 rounds of scratch-made pizza dough thanks to them!

Please consider supporting DAWS and make sure to score your copy of Pizza for Good—as an enhanced eBook and in print! We’ll post event pics and recipes here later. ❏

Best-ever Donations for San Diego Humane Society (RECAP)

dsc_0039We took PFG on the road again—and it paid off big time!

Our 2nd Annual Pizza for Good Party in support of San Diego Humane Society was a huge hit—great attendance and a record haul of nearly $1,500.

In addition to the many individual donations, we had a ton of support from the local community to make this record haul happen.

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Dang Brother Pizza dough—excellent!

Dang Brother Pizza was our “dough-nation” sponsor. I’ve worked with a ton of dough over roughly 15 years as a pizza chef, and theirs was some of the best I’ve ever used. We paid exactly $0.00 for the base element of our creative pies, which helped us spend more money on toppings. Thanks guys!

Catalina Offshore Products donated use of a mobile Italia Mobile Pizza Oven by Camp Chef, not to mention supplying us with a Hawaiian fish called Opah. The fish formed the basis of our first-ever “San Diego Fish Taco,” and unusual and yummy pie that got rave reviews. Great thanks to Tommy Gomes (see below) for his support.

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Important to be clear about our mission: supporting the great work of the San Diego Humane Society—in business since 1880. They work to reduce euthanasia of otherwise healthy animals, and by July 2015 reduced the number down to zero. (read the full history here)

Related: footage of the Dang Brother pizza-truck construction
and a tour of Catalina Offshore

 

 

MAKE SURE to patronize these businesses, because they’ve shown their support for our effort and, indirectly, SDHS. So, book a Dang Brother event or go online and get some amazing, sushi-grade fish and have it delivered from Catalina. With a name like that how could you go wrong?

With many, many thanks to all attendees, sponsors and volunteers—and of course our hosts, Wayne, Ed—Triscuit and I are looking forward to doing it all again in 2017! Mark your calendars now. ❏

 

Your 2016 #PizzaAtHome Winner: Greg Davis!

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We may have no trophies, award ceremony or Chris Rock hosting, but Greg Davis has won a free copy of Pizza for Good in print!

Both are very tasty options and we saved at least one hungry Super Bowl viewer from the clutches of Domino’s.

We’ll do it all again next year!

#PizzaAtHome , #SuperBowl50 , @willpollock ,#yummy , Fontina Mushroom pizza!

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#PizzaAtHome, #SuperBowl50, @willpollock , #yummy, Hamburger, Feta and onion homemade pizza!

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#PizzaAtHome: 7 Awesome Tips for Ditching Takeout for Super Bowl 50 [UPDATED]

[post updated: Saturday 6 February 2016]

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“Georgia Peach” from our 2014 Pizza for Good event in San Diego

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Posted by: Will Pollock [this post has updates]

Yes, that headline is click bait… simmer down! I want to save you from Domino’s.

Pizza for Good tells the story of how I turned my annual pizza party into a fund-raising movement. You can buy it for the recipes, the mission, or both.

That’s all awesome, right? For this week leading up to Super Bowl 50, we’re setting PFG’s core mission aside to help you make pizza for the Football Masses without feeding the Corporate Pizza Machine. The top three pizza companies make more than $25 billion annually, so they’ll be fine if just this once you “seize the pie” and DIY.

Plus, making it at home is super fun.

Rather than do seven different posts, I’m going to add everything at this link so you can check back. Each day leading up to the Super Bowl, I’ll post new tips and tricks that will unchain you from the priz of For-profit Pizza. I’m both a pizza cook and a football fan, so you’re in good hands.

Each day before Super Bowl 50, I’ll post new tips and tricks that will unchain you from the prison of for-profit Pizza.

If you decide to go for it and make your own, please post your recipes to the Pizza for Good Facebook page, and we’ll vote on them. The winner of the contest will win a free, printed copy of PFG.

Put down the phone. Warm up the oven. Put your apron on. Let’s get to work!

Quick Links:

#pizza

If you don’t believe me, let Rocco DiSpirito explain the benefits of cooking at home:

 


 

TIP ONE: The Dough Warriors

posted on: Monday 1 Feb. 2016

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photo credit: Lorikay Photography (2012)

As outlined within the pages of Pizza for Good, you have myriad options when it comes to dough. Let’s go through them step-by-step, starting from easy to hard—along with upsides and downsides for each.

    • Buy at the store. Many major grocery outfits sell dough right off the shelf. And a lot of it is actually quite decent: Trader Joe’s, some Whole Foods locations, Publix and others. You may have to ask someone in the bakery department for help finding it, because dough rounds are easy to miss. (Upsides: easy, affordable, fast. Downsides: more preservatives, less fresh.)
    • Buy from a pizzeria or Italian restaurant. In years past for our charity events, we’ve been able to get dough-nations from places like Baraonda in Atlanta and Famous Pizza in Bethel, Conn. But that was when we were focused on fundraising, not feeding the masses. Still, your favorite joint will sell you dough from their kitchen and you’ll get fast, authentic dough for your peeps. (Upsides: easy, fresh. Downsides: can end up being a bit more expensive.)
    • Make at home. I spent a number of years slaving away on house-made pizza dough for my party—before we had it donated. If you have a bread machine, you’re already four steps ahead of the game. If not, follow this recipe from The Kitchn for thin-crust pizza dough.
    • Go gluten-free. Some joints’ GF dough tastes like a warmed-over sponge. Fret not: I developed an original, delicious method for gluten-free dough (buy the book either digitally or in print to grab it); Red Mill has a great recipe as well. Ordering GF from a pizzeria is usually not a winning choice, but you can click to the Minimalist Baker for a great option, too. (Upsides: healthy, you control ingredients. Downsides: more time-intensive, taste/consistency not for everyone.)

You just got your awesome cheat sheet for dough. Show some love and go buy Pizza for Good! Support indie authors and artists whenever you can.

Tomorrow we’ll look at Tips Two & Three: Toppings & Buying Smart. Make sure to tune in!

 


 

TIPS TWO & THREE: Toppings & Creativity (Bonus Recipe!)

posted on: Tuesday 2 Feb. 2016

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pictured: “The Vampire Diaries,” a Pizza for Good exclusive

When it comes to toppings, in short: think outside the (pizza) box.

Pizza for Good‘s unofficial subtitle is “Instinct in the Round” because your options to create awesome pizza is limitless. In other words, you can service a homemade pepperoni pizza and call it a day—even in that down-the-middle choice, you can innovate greatly with your own flourishes:

  • homemade pizza sauce
  • high-end pepperoni that you slice thin yourself
  • make ricotta at home and dollop it on your pie
  • sprinkle on some sauteed, chopped garlic
  • finish your pie with mozzarella and sharp cheddar for an extra bite

Any and all of those little tweaks would turn an average pie that Domino’s might serve into a custom creation that will WOW your Super Bowl guests.

The book blog offers one free recipe called “Pesto Perfect,” which includes my secret way to make basil pesto. Take it, change it, make it yours.

Within the pages of Pizza for Good, I take Chick-fil-A ingredients and turn it into a pizza; there’s a sweet-and-savory pie with a cherry glaze called “Pi”; and an a French twist to Chicken Piccata that makes for an awesome bite. As pictured above, I turned whole garlic cloves and make it in to a pizza that would ward off any of the angriest vampires. (All these recipes are in the book, including many others, along with their backstories.)

As a bonus to you—and to give you another trick in your arsenal—I’m posting a second recipe, entitled “Lextstacy.” Courtesy of musician, artist and great friend Alexis Vear, she even recorded an exclusive performance of her song of the same name.

"Lexstacy" white pizza, as seen in PFG.

“Lexstacy” white pizza, as seen in PFG.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 1 16-ounce container mascarpone cheese
  • 1 16-ounce container ricotta cheese
  • 1 8-ounce wedge Parmesan cheese
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 medium jalapeño pepper
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella, plus more to taste
  • 1 9-inch pizza dough round (see Needing Dough? Make It Easy on Yourself for more information)
  1. In a large saucepan, combine the mascarpone, ricotta, Parmesan, and garlic. Cook on medium heat, and remember to kick your personal instinct into high gear, because the mixture ought to be to your liking. I recommend adding an equal balance of the ingredients and then adding more of what you prefer. When satisfied with the taste and consistency, continue cooking over medium heat, stirring regularly, until the mixture is bubbling, between 5 and 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, slice the jalapeño to your preference.
  3. Remove the cheese mixture from the heat and, using a ladle, spread it directly onto the dough. Add a light covering of shredded mozzarella, then top with the jalapeños. Bake until bubbling and serve immediately (see Dough-nated for baking instructions).
Cooks’ Notes: To me, Lex’s dish is perfect as is, but she recommends adding 3/4 pound of baked and diced balsamic-glazed chicken. That part is up to you!

Creativity ain’t just for artists

Perhaps pizza is too predictable for your party… or you’re in the mood to try something new? Either way, I got you covered. Here are two ideas that are bound to be caught in the end zone for a touchdown.

Gorgeous Gougères (Only Child II): an homage to Julia Child”
Gougères are traditionally a French pastry, but I turned it into a pizza-ish bite. Have a look, and follow the recipe I posted about two years ago. The filling for your gougères is, just like a pie, up to you!

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Ingredients for “Gorgeous Gougéres”

The finished product:

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the finished product, complete with filling and topped with green onion

Your second out-of-the-pizza-box possibility is “New York Delhi,” my version of naan pizza. Follow this recipe to the letter, and have a look at the video I created with my bestie (and co-collaborator on PFG in Bethel) Rachel “Mama Ditchie” Brown:

Check out these other ideas: Pizza Poppers on The Kitchn | Pizza Waffles on Will it Waffle?
Pizza Cones from Pillsbury | Stuffed Pizza Pretzels on What2Cook

You’re all caught up! Take these ideas for toppings and creativity and be wild and free with your choices for Sunday.

Tomorrow, Tip Four: Shopping Smart.


 

TIP FOUR: Shop Smart

posted on: Wednesday 3 Feb. 2016

 

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pizza dough availability varies by Whole Foods locations—as does a pleasant shopping experience.

JokeBlogger-5rrlLet me make one thing perfectly clear: I have a love-hate relationship with Food Hole. Mostly hate.

However, Whole Foods can—if you squint carefully and avoid the $22 artisan dog biscuits—offer some good deals on fresh stuff that can help you make your Super Bowl soiree sing. WF’s in-house brandis often on-par with standard grocery store prices. With that in mind, here are a few quick things to keep in mind when shopping for Sunday:

  • Splurge in strategic places. You’ll be using a shit-ton of mozzarella. Given that, you could buy that in bulk (see the Farmer’s Market bullet), save some scratch and apply that to a higher-quality meat selection. Also, organic pizza sauce is not very much more, and you can brag to your guests how hippie-fabulous you are by serving pizza with organic sauce. From a can, sure, but I’ll be the first to tell you: Muir Glen organic pizza sauce kicks ass.725342283019_2048x2048
  • Store brands are your friend. As mentioned, some store brands are actually quite good. Food Hole’s 365 EVOO, for example, is a decent and inexpensive way to stock up on olive oil. (But don’t forget the ongoing olive oil scandal plaguing the industry right now; odds are the oil in your pantry comes from an old well in Texas. Do your research and choose wisely.) Publix has GreenWise and Kroger has SimpleTruth—the latter having a bit of a scandal of its own to deal with. Read labels and weigh the cost against what sort of pizza and flavor profile you’re going for.
  • Farmer’s Markets love you. There are many dedicated search engines ready to point you toward your closest CSA (community-supported agriculture), Farmer’s Market and other dirt-to-table evangelists. These locations offer fresh, local alternatives to mass-produced foods that most Americans are used to by now. Whenever I throw my NYE Gourmet Pizza Extravaganza, I shop at Dekalb Farmers Market because the prices are great, selection is wide and stuff is fresh. I highly recommend you do the bulk of your shopping at a location like that and fill in with a mainstream grocery story.
  • Call to compare. Finally, be creative on how you source your dough. Call a local pizzeria or Italian restaurant and see what the cost would be for 10 dough rounds vs. what you’d pay for store bought. The prices may surprise you. If you dare to be on hold for a bit, call ahead to markets if you’re unsure if a location has a specific item. That’ll save you from searching and driving too much.

In summary: be discerning, query all food labels and pinch your pennies where you can. This party doesn’t have to break the bank.

 

Coming tomorrow, Tips Five & Six: Backstories & Titles

 


 

TIP FIVE & SIX: Backstories & Titles

posted on: Thursday 4 Feb. 2016

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high school bestie Rachel Brown and I laughed for hours after creating this hilarious and tasty pizza.

Every good movie character has a backstory, and every good film has a strong title (with the exception of The Shawshank Redemption).

In my certifiable mind, the same goes for the pizzas I create. And if I ever own a restaurant, you better believe I’ll slap all of them on a menu in like two seconds.

When you’re creating your pizza menu (for the Super Bowl or any other time), what stories do you want to tell? Is there someone you want to honor, or perhaps a chef you love?

Just like with toppings, the possibilities are limitless. I created one of my most favorite pizzas, and the title actually came before the backstory. Let me explain.

The pizza is a sweet-and-savory concoction that confounds the taster—in a good way. It has limitless complexity, as does its title, “Pi.” When I was writing Pizza for Good, this chapter came up and I had to figure out what to say. Then I remember that Rachel Brown’s son, Ethan, is a math whiz and an expert on both Pi and mental-math calculations. He’s even used it for charitable purposes in the past.

So, with a bit of dot-connecting, PFG offers Chapter 3: Pi, starring Ethan Brown. The only way I’ll share that proprietary recipe is in the book, so go and buy it now. The header image of this post is us making that very same pie in Bethel, Conn.

Next: Your Final Tip—Shhh… it’s a secret.

 


TIP SEVEN: Two Bonus Tips

posted on: Saturday 6 Feb. 2016

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“Closed on Sundays,” right out of the oven

With all the tips I gave you this week, you’re ready to go forth and kick ass with gourmet pizza treats for your Super Bowl party. You’ve got dough ideas, strategies for good ingredients—and where to buy them—not to mention the ways you can really amp up the party with titles and backstories.

On that last point: still, to this day, “Closed on Sundays” is the most popular pizza I’ve ever offered. I once told folks “meh, I might not make it this year.” and a party-goer said, “if you do, I’ll have to kill you.”

PFG: Buy it for recipes… Use it to change the world

Pizza for Good has all the deets on how to make Chick-fil-A chicken breasts at home, and it’s actually quite good. But it is time-intensive… so, since it’s Saturday, you can go out and buy some (or any other chicken tenders for that matter), dice it up, add some honey mustard as the base, cover with cheese, and BOOM. you’ve got the best pizza in the history of man. Your guests will be blown away.

Second bonus point: I have a recipe for cauliflower-based dough that’s gluten-free. I haven’t made it myself, but as soon as I have a full-fledged kitchen back I’m going to. This recipe comes from my god-daughter Samantha “Sammie Flo” Clemmey. Here goes:

Tasty-Kitchen-Blog-Cauliflower-Crust-Pizza-10

photo credit: TastyKitchen.com (read more)

The Sammie CauliFLOwer Dough Bonanza

  • 2 cups of riced cauliflower (about 1 large head of cauliflower)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cups of mozzarella or Mexican blend cheese (for mixing)
  • 1.5 tsp oregano
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 to 2 cups mozzarella or Mexican blend cheese (for topping)
1. Preheat to 400°, prepare large baking sheet lined with parchment paper
2. Break apart raw cauliflower head into florets. Put florets in food processor and pulse until cauliflower resembles rice or couscous.
3. Place riced cauliflower in microwaveable container and cover with microwaveable Saran Wrap, leaving a corner folded for venting. Microwave for 10 minutes stirring halfway through. (This will cook the raw cauliflower)
4. Place the microwaved cauliflower in a large mixing bowl. Add the 2 eggs, 1 cup of cheese, 1.5 tsp of oregano, minced garlic, and salt and pepper. You may wish to add any other seasonings as well. Mix well. The mixture should resemble a textured-dough.
5. Put the mixture into the parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Mold into either a round shape for a pizza crust or a more rectangular shape for breadsticks. Be sure not to mold it too thick or too thin to assure even cooking.
6. Bake the crust (do not add any toppings yet) for about 25 minutes or until nice and golden. Once golden, take out and sprinkle cheese and other toppings and put back in the oven for 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
7. Slice and serve. If making breadsticks, serve with side of marinara.
Chef’s notes: I think you can probably substitute another finely grated cheese instead of Mexican blend if you like; if you have a microwave-safe lid, you can use that instead of plastic. Just make sure the container is OK for micro use and it can vent properly.

 

You guys are all caught up! Use the above plan for the Super Bowl, or any other event where you want pizza to knock your guests’ socks off. And remember to buy Pizza for Good—the recipes are killer even if you don’t use it to raise money. But you should do that, too. Because it works. ~ WP

 


"Pizza for Good" Cover
“Pizza for Good” is the ultimate guide to
raising money and building community using
America’s favorite food. 20+ recipes, stories,
tips, video and tricks all included!

Buy it for the recipes—use it to change the world.

 

 

 

 

 

[VIDEO] Amazing Showing in Bethel for SCOTTY Fund & ‘Pizza for Good’

So many folks to thank for helping pull together this video. In no particular order:

  • Rachel, Chris, Ethan & Spencer Brown
  • Kyle Bowman
  • Linda Anderson & SCOTTY Fund
  • Perry Anastasakis & Famous Pizza (#Doughnators)
  • Arno Hunter Myers
  • Our army of event volunteers in Bethel

Thanks for sharing this video with your network! I want to show everyone how successful this Chowfunding model can be.

Coming Soon: Full #PFGinBethel Wrap-up & Video

We’re going to be reporting great fund-raising numbers for SCOTTY Fund… and I sold 13+ copies of Pizza for Good in print over the weekend. GREAT thanks to all who bought the book and raved about the pizzas.

We’ll also have some fabulous video footage (TY, Ethan Brown!), new recipes and images from the weekend, too. Watch this space. – WP

Tossing a pie-to-be in Bethel

Tossing a pie-to-be in Bethel

 


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> Pizza for Good: Buy it for the recipes… Use it to change the world <