Pizza Cousins at Different Drummers Kitchen

This past Saturday night, my cousin, Bobby, and I taught an epic pizza experience at Different Drummers Kitchen in Albany. We’ve had the ball in motion planning it since the summer, but it was officially announced about 2 months ago. Within a week or two of the release of the schedule, the class had sold out to capacity (25), and the night before the class, there was a waitlist of 8.

Bobby and derryX during prep night
Bobby and derryX during prep night

We knew this was a special event, so we made it a whole weekend thing. Bobby and I met at Different Drummers Kitchen one night early to get everything that we could in place to make the 150 minute class as seamless as possible. Number one, we had to make sure we had enough pizza dough to feed 25 people. Twenty cups of flour and completely hijacking the refrigerator in the place later, we were good to go.

Bobby rolling dough
Bobby rolling dough
Dough for the Pizza Class
Dough for the Pizza Class

The main thing I brought to the table besides some simple homemade toppings was my own spin on a classic Italian sausage, something I learned to make working with my father for years in his salumeria. By necessity (the jerk at the supermarket was going to grind the pork with a fine die), I butchered a pork shoulder and used the equipment to grind it appropriately on my own.

derryX butchering pork shoulder
derryX butchering pork shoulder
Ground pork for sausage
Ground pork for sausage
Spices and meat for fresh sausage
Spices and meat for fresh sausage

After we enjoyed some samples of Nespresso beverages, we sat down for a relaxing dinner and a drink at TGI Fridays.

Pizza Cousins!
Pizza Cousins!

We arrived about an hour before our class was to begin on Saturday to get everything going. Once the people started trickling in, we really took it in to high gear and rocked out a memorable lesson and an incredible meal.

The main take-home message we wanted to convey was that with some very basic equipment and simple ingredients that you can find in any supermarket (and let me tell you, finding the ingredients in the Price Chopper by Crossgates was really a stretch, but we did it), anyone can do what we did.

Before the class started, a number of the guests asked us where they could sample our food outside of the evening, and we had them wait to hear the unfortunate story that neither of us officially work in the food business any more.

Bobby and Jerry working side-by-side
Bobby and Jerry working side-by-side

The class flew by, and within the 150 minutes, we made homemade sausage, balsamic fig jam, sauteed mushrooms, white clam sauce, basic tomato sauce, and Bobby cranked 24 pizzas out of two ovens that are probably smaller than what you have at home. Everyone got to try a piece of all five pizzas just after removal from the ovens.

The pizzas we made were

  • Pizza Margherita (tomato, basil, fresh mozzarella)
  • Pizza Marinara (tomato, fresh garlic, oregano, and parmigianno)
  • “California-style” Pizza (baked with fig jam, finished with fresh arugula, proscuitto, and shaved parmigianno)
  • “Clams casino” Pizza (white clam sauce, mozzarella, bacon, bread crumbs, finished with fresh parsley)
  • “Calabrese-style” Pizza (ricotta, parmigianno, mozzarella, sauteed mushrooms, homemade sausage)
Pizza Margherita before baking
Pizza Margherita before baking
Pizza Marinara
Pizza Marinara
California-style pizza
California-style pizza
Clams Casino Pizza
Clams Casino Pizza
Calabrese-style pizza
Calabrese-style pizza

Some guests were even live-instagramming the night!

We were even able to share some of the stories of the fun memories Bobby and I have, like the story about me running over his leg with an automobile back in 1983.

We had a hell of a time teaching the class, and we know the guests had an amazing time. I took a few minutes after the class to look at the feedback forms, and all were perfect ratings except one; I’d say that’s the mark of success and inspiration. That and at least half of the guests walked out of the store having purchased a pizza stone, pizza peel, and circular cutter.

Every feedback form had comments like this
Every feedback form had comments like this

Here are all of the pictures from the two nights (click to enlarge).


Advertisement

6 thoughts on “Pizza Cousins at Different Drummers Kitchen

  • Dave S

    Great post and great pictures! Calabrese-style particularly. Nice seeing the process before the food porn. Now, you shouldn’t have said the small die meat grinder guy was a jerk. Dope maybe… It surprises me that everything isn’t totally prepackaged these days. What ingredients, other than coarsely ground pork, did you have trouble finding at PC? Arugula? Fig Jam? Just curious.


    • derryX

      I was kind of deliberate with my words there. He was rude in his demeanor when he explained that they only have a fine die for their grinder. Had I not noticed it in his hand as he set up the grinder, I wouldn’t have noticed until it was too late. And I was specific that I was looking for a course grind or medium grind.

      We didn’t find great quality figs to make the fig jam. I made due using bagged dried mission figs, but other area markets have nicer dried Italian and even California figs.

      The other item that we admittedly were being picky about was canned tomatoes. All they had were “Italian style” or “San Marzano style” but no true imported San Marzano tomatoes. Other local markets do sell these, but in the interest of time and convenience, we just subbed the best quality they offered.


  • Dave S

    My apologies, you do have the jerk vs dope situation well in hand. I saw the Tuttorosso can and didn’t think that tomatoes were that critical. Nothing against Tuttorosso, by the way, great value. I will have to check out the local fig supplies. Sorry to nitpick a good post.


    • derryX

      Not nitpicking at all! Thanks for the questions.

      Tuttorosso is usually good enough, but the real San Marzanos are superior. We were being needlessly picky, though. Only 2 of the 5 pies needed red sauce. Haha!



Advertisement

Leave a Reply