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Wake and bake

By now, all seven of you longtime readers know that DPaul is quite the dab hand at pizza. It's become a go-to item for semi-spontaneous meals, whether by ourselves or with others. The dough recipe makes four rounds, which can…

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Pizza quattro stagioni

The pizza parade continues unabated chez Hedonia. For those of you who do not have your own personal pizzaiolo in the house, I highly recommend it. Lately I've been asking forcing DPaul to make pizza quattro stagioni, "four seasons" pizza.…

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White pizza

White Pizza ©DPaul Brown

Recently, Sara Rosso posted her series on 101 American Foods, and Kalyn opened the discussion further, asking us all to ponder on what foods we consider to be American. A quick Twitter straw poll netted many of the most immediately identifiable American edibles — apple pie, burgers, Thanksgiving turkey — but she closes with a note that, “being from Utah, Kalyn would have to add fry sauce to Sara’s list!”

Truly, all food is American food, since America is inclusive of populations from every corner of the globe. But if you want to get down to what is uniquely American, you need to talk about regional foods. After all, what would New England be without clam chowder or lobster rolls? New Orleans brought us jambalaya, gumbo, and the muffuletta, among other delectably rich fare. And tomes have been written on barbecue alone.

Yet, where I come from in upstate New York, there are precious few things I can think of that distinguish it from anyplace else. Buffalo has its wings, Syracuse has salt potatoes, but Schenectady has no culinary claim to fame. So that got me thinking: What did I used to eat back home that I can’t get here?

Meanwhile, DPaul, the yeast whisperer, has been on a pizza kick. Our preferred neighborhood pizza joint went out of business recently, and so he has thrown himself into the pursuit of perfecting pizza in the home. To up his game, he got a copy of Peter Reinhart’s American Pie: My Search for the Perfect Pizza, which is half travelogue and half cookbook. Within the book, Reinhart outlines recipes for a myriad of kinds of pizza, from the classic Napoletana to Romana to Chicago and, of course, the fluffy Americana that most of us here in the USA know and love. Truly, a quintessentially American food.

It was then that I remembered that we used to get a white pizza in Schenectady, typically topped with broccoli. Here, at last, was something I could never recall finding anywhere else, something utterly unique to my hometown. Some cursory research online (and in Reinhart’s book) turned up recipes for “New York-style white pizza” that had some kind of b├ęchamel-like or cream-based sauce on it, but that’s not how I remembered it. So I reached out to my friend Kristen back home to ask her what kind of sauce is on our version. “Silly boy,” she replied, “white pizza doesn’t have any sauce!” It’s just ricotta, garlic (fresh or powdered; I prefer fresh), mozzarella and broccoli — though some people opt for no broccoli. I am not one of them.

For all its simplicity, it has a wonderful balance of richness and lightness and is surprisingly delicious. Enjoy a taste of my corner of America!

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Perfect pizzas

Like pizza? Come check out our more recent pizza posts: White pizza and pizza quattro stagioni.In honor of the opening of the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, we hosted a few friends for an Italian evening of wine and pizza.…

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