This has to be one of the best weeks of my life. I got to see my food writer hero Michael Pollan give his Sun Food Agenda speech at Washington State University on Wednesday for free! It’s only the second time he’s given it, and the talk was incredible and surprisingly well balanced. Pollan excels at storytelling, combining multiple complex situations and tying them together into simple forms that we can take and use.
I wish I could have taken you to The Sun Food Agenda with me, but here's a small 15 minute clip to give you a taste.
Our farmers have gotten very good at producing food, but at a cost. In the 50s for every calorie of oil used, we produced two calories of food. Now, for every ten calories of oil spent, we get only one calorie of food. This can’t go on forever, but there are all kinds of things that can be done. Pollan stated the Farm Bill needs to be changed into a Food Bill. One that supports farmers growing all kinds of crops, not just soy and corn.
Pollan also gave examples of what's going right. There are a few organic high tech farmers doing remarkable things right now, and mentions Polyface Farms as one example. You won’t believe the incredible production they have without waste. Basically one animal’s manure is another’s lunch. It sounds terrible, but is fascinating.
I’ll keep this short, but if you ever get the chance to sit in on this talk, you must! Do whatever it takes to get there. It’s our food future, and we need to know what’s going on.
Now on to the pizza! Linda from Ciao Chow Linda inspires this pizza. Her version is the Italian original, mine is more of an American adaption from stuff I had in my refrigerator. This pizza is so good I wanted to eat it all by myself, but we had friends over. So I was nice and shared a little of it. A very little.
Mmmmm carby potatoey pizza.
A heads up, the potatoes must be soaked overnight before assembling the pizza. Please read all the instructions before beginning.
2 pounds Yukon Gold or Russet Potatoes, peeled and very thinly sliced
1 Tablespoon salt
1 recipe pizza dough, below
1 recipe garlic cream sauce, below
Extra virgin olive oil
About 2 to 3 cups shredded Italian Fontina
Fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped
Freshly grated or zested Parmesan Reggiano
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Place the potato slices in a bowl and cover with water. Stir in 1 Tablespoons of salt. Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight.
2. Make the pizza dough about an hour and a half in advance. Make the sauce as well and set aside.
3. When ready to assemble, place a pizza stone in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 500 degrees.
4. Divide the dough in half and roll out each piece pretty thin pieces about the size and shape of your pizza stone. Place the doughs on parchment paper cut to size.
5. Strain the water from the potatoes. Squeeze out as much water as possible or blot dry. Set aside.
6. Brush the dough with olive oil. Spoon on as much garlic cream sauce as desired. Then top with fontina, then potatoes, parmesan, and sprinkle with rosemary, coarse salt, and pepper.
7. Use a pizza peel or cookie sheet and slide under the parchment. Slide the parchment with the pizza into the oven. Bake one pizza at a time for anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Watch it carefully, it can turn from done to burnt in a minute.
8. Carefully remove the pizza and wait about 5 minutes before cutting. Meanwhile cook the other pizza and repeat.
1 cup warm (110 degrees F) water
1 (1/4-ounce) envelope active dry yeast
1 teaspoon honey
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour or bread flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1. In a stand mixer bowl add the water, yeast, and honey and let sit for 5 minutes until foamy. Add the flour, olive oil, and salt and mix with the dough hook until well kneaded.
2. Olive oil a large bowl. Remove the dough from the stand mixer and knead on a clean surface for two more minutes. Place the dough in the oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm place for at least an hour before using.
Notes: I use part whole wheat flour in my pizza dough sometimes, when doing this add a little extra water if needed until the dough is lightly tacky.
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 clove of garlic
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/8th teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/8th teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
1/4th cup Parmesan Reggiano
In a saucepan melt the butter and olive oil together over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds until fragrant. Turn the heat to medium low and add the rest of the ingredients, but add the cheese last so it doesn’t hit the hot pan and seize up. Stir constantly until it coats the back of a spoon. Turn off the heat and move the sauce to a bowl.
Sauce will thicken quite a bit as it cools.
Recipe & picture by Laura Flowers with total inspiration from Linda @ Ciao Chow Linda.