“Food Revolution Day is a global day of action for people to make a stand for good food and essential cooking skills. It’s a chance for people to come together within their homes, schools, workplaces and communities to cook and share their kitchen skills, food knowledge and resources. Food Revolution Day aims to raise awareness about the importance of good food and better food education for everyone by focusing on three simple actions – cook it, share it, live it.” (Source)
Seeing as these are many of our own values, we had to participate. We invited our close friends to participate in a made-from-scratch pizza party, with some bonus food demonstrations.
Step one: make pizza crusts from 30-year-old sourdough starter.
Then we needed to find topping combinations that would suit a variety of eating styles as well as showcase really good ingredients. We decided to try our hand at making some sausage, using organic pork shoulder and fat, some tasty herbs and spices, and adding Roche Winery Merlot. (Merlot is a “spice”, right?)
I also wanted to take advantage of the artichoke season, so we constructed a pizza that would feature artichoke hearts steamed with lemon, bay leaves and Herbes de Provence.
Of course you also have to have a fantastic sauce for the foundation of any great tomato-based pies. We were lucky enough to have a friend volunteer to make his renowned Three Tomato Sauce, made with heirloom tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, tomato paste, herbs and lots of love!
There is also the very important matter of the decision “to cheese or not to cheese”. We wanted to build both types of pizza to respect a variety of eating styles, as well as to honor our various pizzas’ flavor combinations.
Fresh mozzarella offers a textural creaminess, which complements stronger flavors such as the salty anchovy and the peppery arugula, allowing each ingredient to showcase its originality while creating a well-rounded slice of flavor.
Fontina Val d’Aosta has a slightly nutty flavor, which increases the longer it has aged, and is a good melting cheese, often used in fondues. We selected this semi-soft cheese for its ability to offer another layer of flavor while also being able to melt quickly in the oven.
The semi-hard aged provolone has a sharper flavor due to the goat-derived lipase enzyme used in its formation, which is an excellent contrast to sweeter toppings like roasted red pepper and caramelized onions.
Add 10 friends, and you get an evening full of pizza shenanigans and good conversations.
When all was said and done, we created six pizzas:
Sautéed mushrooms, leeks, olive oil and fontina
Roasted red pepper, artichoke, fresh mozzarella & Ted’s Three Tomato (Triple T) Sauce
Homemade sausage, roasted red pepper, caramelized onion, aged provolone & Triple T Sauce
Prosciutto di Parma, fresh mozzarella, arugula & Triple T Sauce
Anchovies, capers, fresh mozzarella & Triple T Sauce
Pesto, sautéed mushrooms, roasted garlic and fresh heirloom tomato slices
We concluded the evening with a couple culinary demonstrations on some appropriate pizza party drinks: kombucha and cola.
First, we showed how to make homemade kombucha, which is really quite simple. Once you have a kombucha mother, or SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast), it’s really just a matter of brewing some sweet tea, swapping out the fermented tea for the fresh tea, and placing it in in a dark, cool, breathable (but fruit fly proof!) environment until you’re ready to do it all again. During the fermentation process, the mother spawns a child, which appears as a separate layer on top of the mother. When you start a new batch, it is typical to keep the “child” as the new source of fermentation and discard (or give to friends!) the original mother.
Then we moved on to a homemade cola demonstration. Interestingly, cola is a spiced citrus soda. (Bet you didn’t see that one coming. We didn’t when we set out to start making our own sodas!) The recipe involves a lot of different spices, such as star anise, nutmeg, bitter orange and kola nut, steeped with the juice and zest of a lemon, an orange, and a lime. If you want to make it brown, just add some browning sauce, which is really just burned sugar, or caramel coloring. You could also try omitting the sugar from your steeped syrup and making your own caramel. (Recipe)
Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Day invites everyone to participate in some way, whether it means packing your lunch instead of eating out, touring a farm, sharing a home-cooked potluck with friends, families or neighbors, or learning a new culinary skill. The website makes it really easy to get involved, offering a central location where you can access resources including a map of events in your area, recipe ideas, printable information flyers, and even images to download to use on your blog and social media.
It’s not too early to think about getting involved for next year! There are loads of ideas on the Food Revolution Day website, and you’ve got plenty of time to concoct your own recipe for celebration.
Cook it. Share it. Live it.
Happy Food Revolution Day from the Knife & Fork Project!