If you ever want to get a feel for another American’s worldview, or to pick a fight with them, you can ask them two things: 1. What states are part of the Midwest?, or 2. What is your favorite style of pizza? I don’t mean pizza toppings–I mean New-York style, Chicago deep dish, California, etc. (If you’re all from the same area, you can fight about your favorite local pizza joints.)
In Cincinnati, of course, La Rosa’s, with its thick, sweet tomato sauce, is king (cue the angry comments about Mio’s), and Marion’s borderless grid-cut pizzas will always remind me of trips to see my family in Dayton. But the pizza that’s captured my heart is actually California-style pizza–a thinner crust, olive oil or pesto instead of tomato sauce, and fresh, local ingredients.
As you know, my partner is Californian and we both lived in Japan, home of the corn pizza, so when we make pizza at home, we don’t mess around. Anything and everything goes on our pizzas: okra, sweet corn, Walla Walla onions, fruit. We made this pizza when the grocery store ran out of figs at the end of summer, and since some of you have peach-harvesting seasons into autumn, you could still make it!
Since this is a California-style pizza, it seems appropriate to highlight ways to help those affected by the October fires in Santa Rosa and northern California, not too far from my partner’s hometown. Their family and friends are all okay, but all the headlines about “wine-country fires” might obfuscate who was affected the most: yes, obviously the tourists, including those who lost their lives or had to evacuate during vacations, but also the small-scale wine-markers, farmers, seasonal agricultural workers, off-the-grid folks, and those who live in the more remote regions of the affected counties. What’s also unusual about these fires is that they didn’t just burn the forests and the homes of those living near the woods, but destroyed a significant part of the city of Santa Rosa. Additionally, the wine and marijuana crops, in newly legal California, will be affected and may be ruined.
Here are some ways to give back to those communities:
General community funds:
- Community Foundation of Mendocino County: Disaster Fund Donation Page
- Community Foundation Sonoma County: Resilience Fund Donation Page
- Napa Valley Community Foundation: Fire Donation Page
Donations to the residents of two LGBT retirement communities that burned down can be made here.
From The Bay Area Reporter:
To aid LGBT wine country fire victims, Positive Images is collecting donations, which can be made to http://posimages.org/donate, or a check can be sent to Positive Images, 200 Montgomery Drive, Suite C, Santa Rosa, CA 95404 with #sonomacountyfires in the comment section online or memo section on the check.
Napa’s LGBTQ Connection, an LGBT youth organization, is open and providing a safe gathering space, food, water, free Wi-Fi, charging stations, child care, and other needs to the community. The organization is also gathering supplies and taking donations, said Ian Stanley, program director. The organization is currently in need of gift cards to major retailers for food, clothing, blankets, child care supplies, and facemasks to protect from the smoke. To donate, visit https://onthemove.thankyou4caring.org/donatetolgbtq or drop supplies off at 780 Lincoln Avenue, Napa, CA 94558.
San Francisco-based Rainbow World Fund is mobilizing to raise funds and [had] the Rainbow World Fund bus parked at Jane Warner Plaza in the Castro to gather supplies to take immediately to Napa and Sonoma [on] Thursday, said Executive Director Jeff Cotter. For more information, visit www.rainbowfund.org. To donate, visit https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/1210623.
If you’re a patron of a particular winery or business, see if they’re damaged, accepting donations, or fundraising for others on Eater.
Here’s a long list that I found via Protest Cakes that covers funding for undocumented individuals, a community college, local businesses, cannabis growers, animal shelters and more.
If you live in Mendocino County, you can petition for better broadband coverage. Cell signal is also not reliable: when I visited last year, I had cell signal in literally one spot in the middle of town; thanks, T-Mobile. I can’t imagine trying to get updates on evacuations.
And remember, the Salvation Army has a history of discrimination against queer and trans folks, so vet your faith-based organizations carefully.
Peach, Prosciutto, and Arugula Pizza
(If you’re vegetarian or vegan, skip the prosciutto.)
Pizza Dough from Smitten Kitchen
-3 cups (375 grams) all-purpose flour
-Slightly heaped 1/8, 1/4 or 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast (for Overnight, All-Day, or Part-Day Schedules respectively, see link)
-1.5 teaspoons sea or kosher salt
-1.25 cup water, plus an additional tablespoon or two if needed
Toppings (to divide between two pizzas)
-olive oil for painting on crust
-3 oz (85 g) prosciutto, torn into bite-sized pieces
-2 large ripe peaches (~300 g, 10.6 oz) sliced thinly
-2 cups by volume arugula, washed and torn into bite-sized pieces
-1 cup by volume basil, washed and torn into bite-sized pieces
-2 TBSP (30 mL) of balsamic reduction*
-1 large bowl (for dough)
-plastic wrap (for dough)
-2 cookie sheets
-saucepan (for balsamic reduction)
1. Make pizza dough according to directions. Spread onto 2 cookie sheets and paint with olive oil.
2. Preheat your oven to 500ºF (260ºC).
3. Divide ingredients evenly for each pizza. Add the prosciutto, then fan out the sliced peaches into a spiral design.
4. Bake for 15-17 minutes. Remove from oven and add basil and arugula, then place back in the oven for another 3 minutes, until the greens are wilted and the crust is lightly golden.
5. Finish with balsamic reduction. Serve hot.
*I used about 1 cup (240 mL) balsamic vinegar, added it to a sauce pan, and heated it to just boiling (~10 minutes, longer if you use more liquid), then reduced it to a simmer until it coated the back of a spoon. Then remove from heat and reserve. If you have extra, it’s great for caprese, salad dressing, strawberries, or vanilla ice cream. Here’s a video!