Imagine being in a foreign country and not for friendly reasons. You’re there because you stepped up and joined the services. The services…Army, Air Force, Marines, Navy, Coast Guard, the services…to serve. Many people have served this country, they sacrificed me time, family time, friends time and sometimes sacrificed everything, never able to return home again.
Serving and sacrificing for our country, the big, beautiful and diverse United States of America, is what this country was founded on. We didn’t get to be the greatest country in the world without the sacrifices of many people, especially the men and women of the armed forces.
The people who sacrificed for this country come from every aspect of life, rich, middle class, poor, famous, white, black, Hispanic, Asian, Native American and so on. It’s so easy to go on in our daily lives and forget what these people have done for us and how their patriotism is an example to us all.
I’d like to take a moment and introduce you to Army Private First Class Charles George, a Native American who honored his people and country with his life.
Pfc. George entered the Army service on 18 March 1954. Pfc. George, a member of Company C, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and outstanding courage above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy on the night of 30 November 1952. He was a member of a raiding party committed to engage the enemy and capture a prisoner for interrogation. Forging up the rugged slope of the key terrain feature, the group was subjected to intense mortar and machine gun fire and suffered several casualties. Throughout the advance, he fought valiantly and, upon reaching the crest of the hill, leaped into the trenches and closed with the enemy in hand-to-hand combat. When friendly troops were ordered to move back upon completion of the assignment, he and 2 comrades remained to cover the withdrawal. While in the process of leaving the trenches a hostile soldier hurled a grenade into their midst. Pfc. George shouted a warning to 1 comrade, pushed the other soldier out of danger, and, with full knowledge of the consequences, unhesitatingly threw himself upon the grenade, absorbing the full blast of the explosion. Although seriously wounded in this display of valor, he refrained from any outcry which would divulge the position of his companions. The 2 soldiers evacuated him to the forward aid station and shortly thereafter he succumbed to his wound. Pfc. George’s indomitable courage, consummate devotion to duty, and willing self-sacrifice reflect the highest credit upon himself and uphold the finest traditions of the military service. [Source]
Memorial Day marks another occasion, the Holiday Recipe Club. This holiday we had to choose from were watermelon, beer and pork. I could have easily made a whole meal from that line up…ribs, watermelon salad, beer bread, etc. But I just seem to have a problem, ahem the rebel in me does, going all traditional. Instead I’m going all American via pizza. Pork pizza…smoked hog jowl pizza to be exact. Whoa, bet you didn’t see that coming?
My family loves pork, it’s probably our most favorite meat…certainly it shows up a lot on dinner plates. Mostly it’s because sausages and bacon come from the wonderful little piggy. Speaking of which I just stocked my freezer with a 1/2 organic oinker…pigfest!!!
Back to the hog jowl. It was impulse buy, I saw it there…smoked pig jowl. Hmmm, pig jowl, interesting and wait, it’s cheap! I couldn’t believe that this smoked hog jowl was cheap, why? Because the only hog jowl I’ve ever had is guanciale and it wasn’t cheap, especially since it was a special order item. Guanciale is an Italian style meat very similar to pancetta. As guanciale is to pancetta, smoked hog jowl is to bacon, it’s even referred to as jowl bacon.
Although I am not a baker, I have been getting in touch with my baking bone. One of the things that I have been working on is a great, yes I mean great sourdough pizza crust. A crust that would brown (unlike the first batch of sourdough bread I made), it had to be crispy and puffy, that classic hand tossed texture and taste. Plus it had to quick, as in I don’t want to start my pizza dough the night before (yay for sourdough, it has great flavor), and I didn’t even want to wait for a rise and punch and rise and shape. Truth is, I’m a poor planner, and a product of the I want it now generation.
All of this is leading to the amazing sourdough crust pizza topped with mozzarella, smoked hog jowl (make sure you remove the skin), tomatoes and caramelized onions. I use Karen Cooks sourdough starter, you can get the recipe here, and if you’d like another sourdough recipe, my last HRC post was Chorizo and Cheddar Sourdough bread.
- 1 cup sourdough starter - unfed striaght from the refrigerator
- 1/2 cup hot tap water
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup semolina flour (or all purpose flour)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 package quick rise yeast
- 1/2 cup pizza sauce
- 4 ounces shredded mozzarella
- 1 onion, sliced and carmelized
- 4 cloves garlic, sliced and sauteed
- 2 ounces smoked hog jowl, diced and cooked
- 2 roma tomatoes, sliced
- dried oregano
- Measure 1 cup sourdough starter in a mixer bowl, add hot water, flours, salt and yeast. With a dough hook attachment on a stand mixer, mix dough for 3 to 5 minutes or until dough forms a nice elastic ball. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and let rise until double, about 30 minutes.
- Place pizza stone in cold oven and preheat oven to 450F. Slightly punch down dough and divide into half. On a lightly floured surface roll dough out, let dough rest for 15 minutes. Sprinkle pizza peel or parchment paper with cornmeal, place dough on cornmeal and lightly brush with olive oil. Top with sauce, cheese, onions, garlic, diced hog jowl and tomatoes, sprinkle with oregano.
- Place pizza on hot pizza stone in middle of oven and bake 15 to 17 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cheese is bubbly.
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