Joe and Angelina’s Hearth

October 17, 2009 at 5:22 pm 4 comments

Despite cold temperatures, it was warm and cozy at the Central Carolina Community College (CCCC) Green Trade Show in Pittsboro this fall Friday evening.  About 20 local green vendors showed off their approaches to green building, renewable energy, biofuels, landscaping, and farming, accompanied by live music, tasty snacks and intense conversation.

I wandered over to the campus farm, the hands-on project of CCCC’s innovative Sustainable Agriculture Program,  to check out the outdoor brick oven constructed by master stone mason Joe Kenlan and students during a class workshop.  I was pleased to find Joe stoking the wood fire and Angelina Koulizakis-Battiste, whipping up mini-pizzas for a gathering crowd. Angelina, who hails from Crete, runs an authentic Greek carry-out less than a mile away (Angelina’s Kitchen).  My stomach told me to stick around.

Angelina insists on using and promoting locally raised greens, vegetables, cheeses and meats in her inspired cuisine. She publicizes local farmers’ names at every opportunity — on her menu board and her website — and she sells local arts and crafts at her carry-out. She’s a one woman economic development machine.

Now she was casually reciting where each ingredient of her impromptu pizzas originated. The fresh dough came from Donna Bianco’s Our Neighborhood School and Pizzeria (where lessons include helping to run the restaurant).  The  first batch featured zucchinis freshly picked from the CCCC farm a few feet away and peppery chevre from Celebrity Dairy goat farm down the road in Silk Hope.

The next batch had feta cheese from Celebrity and a special pesto made from pineapple sage, garlic and cashews, from friends of Angelina who have an Alpaca ranch. Scrumptious.  

Angelina began explaining what made Greek food Greek. For example, her salad dressing has to be a perfect combination of olive oil and lemon juice (forget about balsamic).

As the sun went down, aromas beckoned and a crowd gathered around the hearth, we all began fantasizing about having regular communal bake-offs with this amazing brick oven.   We could have pizza nights, bread-baking sessions, and apple crumble fests. Angelina could teach us all how to cook authentic Greek fare. We’d pluck all of the food direct from the campus garden. Even in this down economy, we would be warm, well-fed and happy.

All we needed was a little Greek music, some wine, and, Angelina added with a deep laugh, “belly dancers.”  When do we start?

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Lesley  |  October 18, 2009 at 11:06 am

    Thanks for the account, Dee. I just wandered here after reading the Edible Earthscapes blog by Haruka and Jason Oatis. http://edibleearthscape.wordpress.com/
    We’re so lucky to live here in Chatham County with these incredibly talented artists of stone, soil, and food.

    Reply
    • 2. sustainablegrub  |  October 18, 2009 at 11:11 am

      Amen. We get fed in many ways here.

      Reply
  • 3. My New Year’s Resolutions « sustainable grub  |  December 27, 2009 at 10:18 pm

    […] 6) Fire up the outdoor pizza oven. Convince Angelina, Joe and friends to host a monthly locavore make-your-own Greek pizza night this summer at the wood-fired oven Joe built on the Central Carolina Community College campus.  I promise to help. Anybody know some good bellydancers? See Joe and Angelina’s Hearth. […]

    Reply
  • […] Kenlan and Greek food goddess Angelina Koulizakis (Angelina’s Kitchen) will be running the wood-fired pizza oven with fresh dough from My Neighborhood School and fresh ingredients from the garden. Bring a potluck […]

    Reply

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