Funding Friday: A Grab Bag

I went onto Kickstarter today to find, fund, and then feature a project on my regular Funding Friday post. I found so many great projects that I backed all of them and I have listed them below. Check them out, they are all great. And back a few of them too if you are so inclined.

Seadrift: Vietnamese Refugees, Texans, and the KKK
Black Flags Over Brooklyn 2019
Pizza, A Love Story – grab the final slice of the pie!
Netflix vs. the World – Feature-Length Documentary
Reach for the Rooftop


Comments (Archived):

  1. awaldstein

    I have had pizza on the mind so that one hit home for me.We have a nightclub/restauranteur in the family who just launched the first of a new group of pizza places here so will be testing it out this weekend.Pizza is the perfect food and for me, the best with PetNats!

  2. William Mougayar

    I liked the New Haven pizza story. We have been to New Haven at Sally and Frank Peppe. We met Frank’s son and spoke to him at length. The debate about which pizza is better is a never ending one.

  3. JimHirshfield

    I grew up in New Haven.College in NYC. When I got to NYC, everyone laughed when I told them New Haven pizza was way better than the slabs (that’s what my college buddies called them) of pizza in NYC.Pizza is religion in New Haven.Pepe’s, Sally’s, and Modern…the holy Trinity.Try DeLegna’s if you’re looking for the vegan experience.

    1. dgay07

      Thanks for the inside tip on DeLegna’s. My five year old son has a dairy allergy and wants pizza so bad like his brothers. Will have to make a trip over there while back in CT for the holidays.

      1. Richard

        Tons of options. Most use Dayia dairy Free cheese. Melts well and tastes good.

  4. Richard

    Dominos Pizza – for the average person, great pizza is like hiking, people say they like it, but rarely do it. That said it is difficult to understand why the rest of the US are so in different when it cones to pizza. Now only if we can get the youth more interested in investing in great companies that they spend their money on vs giving their money to the cryptocurrencies ponzi establishment! Bitcoinhttps://uploads.disq…

    1. JLM

      .What chart?Merry Christmas.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      1. Richard

        Dominos Pizza. Merry Christmas to you.

        1. JLM

          .I thought it might be. I rode that pony for a while.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  5. sigmaalgebra

    Recently got started on making pizza again.Prior EffortAgain? Last time bought boxes of frozen dough balls from Sam’s Club, the same that Sam’s uses for the hot retail pizza in their stores. Got my oven up to about 600 F and …Eventually didn’t much like the dough balls due (1) to having to thaw them out , (2) not thrilled with the flavor or texture of the result, (3) didn’t get a crisp bottom surface, and (4) heating the oven to 600 F took time, risked the oven, and heated the house.DiGiorno OfferingAbout two weeks ago at a convenience store, found a single serving frozen pizza from DiGiorno and tried a few. Just need about 4 minutes in the microwave. For the bottom crust, they have a cute idea: The inside surface of their cardboard box has a very shiny surface, and one is supposed to fold the box to make that surface face upward and place the pizza on it for the heating. So, apparently the microwaves come from above, mostly pass through the pizza, reflect off the shiny surface, and, boom, make the bottom surface crisp.Try Pizza Again, Single ServingOkay, maybe I should think and try again for homemade pizza, small, good for a lunch or dinner. Hmm, how to do that?I’ve tried this and that and now have some results I like more than the little frozen DiGiorno example.And my results are already better than I expected.What I DidPreview:In the pizza, once it’s ready to eat, the star of the show is just the bread part: (1) The dough puffs a LOT. (2) The flavor, maybe from a lot of action from the yeast, is good. (3) The bottom has a nice, crisp crust, brown and not black.The Pizza Sauce:For the red sauce, I followed a suggestion on the Internet: Start with a can of crushed tomatoes, 28 ounces, and a can of tomato paste, 6 ounces.In a pot of about 2 quarts, heat some crushed garlic in some olive oil. How much garlic to use seems to vary by a factor of over 10 depending on the variety of the garlic, how old it is, how much cook it. and how much like garlic.Put heat on low. Add the crushed tomatoes and the tomato paste, mix. Add herbs, the usual suspects, dried parsley, oregano, basil. Since the dried herbs have a tough time yielding overpowering flavors, how much to add, from a pinch to 2-3 tablespoons, is indefinite. Add salt and pepper, again, “to taste”. Mix.Cover and heat to sterilize, say, to 180 F. To do this, mix occasionally so that the bottom of the mixture does not burn while the top is still well below 180 F. Done with the sauce.Note: An even simpler sauce, basically just some version of crushed tomatoes, is also a candidate.The Dough:For the dough, use just the usual four — flour, water, yeast, and salt.For the flour, I have been drawing from a 25 pound bag of all purpose flour, Bakers and Chefs, at Sam’s Club, from ConAgra Mills.I mix the dough in a 5 quart stainless steel bowl. Steps:(1) Measure out 700 ml of water, heat it to 110 F, add it to the bowl.(2) Add a package of dry yeast, about 8 grams, to the bowl and mix. There are suggestions that don’t need as much as 8 grams.(3) Add 1 1/2 T of table salt. Mix.(4) Right away before the salt kills the yeast, in thirds, add and mix a total of 1 Kg of flour.Mixing and Kneading the Dough:Mix with fingers, a cooking spoon, or a dough hook on a mixer to a fairly uniform ball. Place about 1/2 cup of flour on a pastry board and spread the flour to roughly a circle roughly a foot in diameter. Place the dough on the flour, top with a coating of more flour, about 1/4 cup, and knead until the dough “springs back when touched” which by hand takes about 10 minutes.There are lots of Internet videos on kneading dough — the videos do not closely agree which indicates that the exact kneading technique is not critical.The kneading is to develop the strength of the gluten to make a better bread dough. The result is not a lot of crumbs like in a muffin but elastic and, when baked, with strength like in, well, a pizza.There’s a LOT of experience to be gained in kneading. My experience so far indicates that some kneading is needed but too much can make the dough so strong and elastic that it will strongly resist spreading to the shape of a pizza.Letting the Dough Rise:Form the dough into a ball and place it back into the mixing bowl. There are suggestions to use a clean mixing bowl with a thin coating of olive oil to keep the dough from sticking to the bowl. I just use the mixing bowl I used to mix the dough, as it is from the mixing and without cleaning. Some of the dough will stick to the bowl but is easy enough to separate.Cover the bowl and let rise at room temperature, even in a cool room, until the dough doubles or so in volume. Really just want the yeast to grow and put a lot of CO2 bubbles in the dough.The time for the rising to double volume can vary from maybe as little as 2 hours to 24 hours.Divide the Dough:Then I place the risen dough on the pastry board, with a thin coating of flour, and with more flour on the outside of the dough as necessary to keep it from being too sticky, form it into a long log the length of a diagonal of the pastry board. Then I take a chef’s knife and cut the log into 8 pieces as equal in weight as I can; the long log makes this dividing into 8 equal pieces more accurate.I lightly flour the cut surfaces of the 8 pieces and then place each into its own small covered bowl. Currently for the bowls I’m using some 24 ounce plastic bowls, with snap on covers, from ZipLoc.To keep the dough in the bowls from rising too much, store it in the refrigerator. Note that as the yeast grows and emits CO2, the pressure inside a bowl can be high enough to make the cover pop loose and let in air that can dry the top of the dough. So, check to make sure the lids are still on tightly.Forming the Pizza:For a pizza, I take a stamped steel saute pan, with a very long handle, from a restaurant supply house. The flat part of the bottom is a circle about 8″ in diameter. The bottom of the pan is well seasoned.This pan is the key to how I cook the pizza. In particular, I use no oven or microwave. How well this pan works is a good surprise.So, I start a small burner on my electric stove at medium power, 5 on the scale of 1 – 10 or so.Off heat, I place one of the 8 pieces of dough on the center of the pan and with fingers spread the dough to a circle 6 – 7 inches in diameter. I get a rim where the dough is thicker.It is nice that the moist dough sticks to the bottom of the pan, thus, easing forming the dough into a circle for a pizza.I add about 2 tablespoons of the pizza sauce (relatively a lot — could use less) on the flat part of the dough but not on the rim.For the cheese, I use part-skim Mozzarella shredded into little pieces and bought in a bag from Sam’s Club. I keep the cheese frozen. Having the cheese frozen makes it easier to handle and scatter the little pieces over the top of the pizza sauce. If the cheese thaws out, then it can become goo difficult to work with. So, I scatter about 1 ounce of the frozen cheese pieces over the pizza sauce.For some extra flavor, I add about 3 slices of (Hormel, 2 pound bags of slices) pepperoni.Cooking the Pizza:Then I place a cover, actually from a Farberware Classic frying pan, on the saute pan and over the pizza.Then 14 minutes on the burner is the cooking.ResultsThe bottom of the dough cooks to a nice crust and has the pizza then loose on the bottom of the pan and easy to remove leaving the pan as clean as it was (don’t want to let cheese or sauce get on the pan and hurt the seasoned, non-stick surface).The lid over the pan makes a simple oven for cooking the pizza also from the top.The dough rises beautifully.Altogether the effort is good on flavor, preparation time, clean up time, nutrition, and cost.Food CaloriesFor one pizza, the dough, 1/8th of the 1 Kg of flour, has about 455 food calories (C). The calories can increase to about 550 if use a lot of flour handling the dough. So, ballpark, the dough is 500 C. The calories in the tomato sauce are so low as to be nearly for free. The cheese is about 72 C per ounce. Three thin slices of pepperoni are maybe less than 50 C. So, get a good, fast lunch or dinner for about 625 C.SurprisesTo me, there are some nice surprises: (1) In the final pizza, the dough looks, smells, feels, and tastes surprisingly good. Likely in part are just getting some of the old great aroma of home baked bread. (2) The little trick with the steel saute pan with the lid makes a good, little oven and gives a nice crust, as commonly coveted, on the bottom of the pizza. “Look, Ma, nice crust and no pizza stone and no 600 F oven!” Indeed, to cut the pizza with a chef’s knife, the crust is so crisp have to press down surprisingly hard on the knife. (3) It is surprising how little sauce and cheese are needed. As the cheese melts it can surprisingly easily cover the top of the pizza with a nearly uniform blanket of melted cheese. (4) With these proportions, i.e., 1/8th of the dough in a pizza 6 – 7 inches in diameter, the dough in the pizza is not really thin and rises a lot. The rising can be so much that the sauce and melted cheese can run off onto the pan. (5) All that puffy, fragrant dough in the final pizza is really good. (6) All that white flour gives something of a sugar high — that is, get a lot of fast energy from the 625 or so C.So, far, this little effort has yielded a nice addition to my list of daily food candidates.Due to additional variables, your results will likely vary. So, some practice in your own kitchen will be needed.

  6. Brady McKenna

    Interesting, Sound machine really resonates with me. I had to back it. Would love to listen.