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Friday, July 16, 2010

Pizza on the Grill

There is nothing I enjoy more than cooking! Searching through cookbooks always gives me ideas. The only recipes I won't alter are those for baking! Baking is not one of my strong points and I have had many disasters in the kitchen to justify that statement! I could write a book on cooking disasters (ummm... cooking disaster blog?)! Along with baking, comes the use of yeast. There is no better aroma than a cake or pastry that is made with yeast. I consider myself a real trooper and will once again try to bake something, ANYTHING, successfully with yeast. I just don't "get it". Breads too tough, not light enough, and the list goes on and on.....

With that being said, I bet you are wondering why I called the title of the post, "Pizza on the Grill". The simple reason is that I cheated and used store purchased pizza dough! My local grocery store sells a freshly made pizza dough that is fragrant with the scent of yeast, light as a feather, and turns out the perfect pizza.

I purchased a pizza stone for the grill, yet after reading the enclosed paperwork, realized it is for a gas grill. Since I don't have a gas grill, I was somewhat timid about taking the risk and perhaps cracking the stone by using it over charcoal. So, I have a nice stone to use for oven baking, or until I purchase a gas grill. It's huge and will hold tons of cookies I'm sure! I decided to "wing it" and give it my best shot with out a stone.

I decided that I had better put the coals on one side of the grill just in case the dough started cooking too quickly, which it did. I was able to take it off direct heat to watch that it didn't burn.

You have to have everything at the ready when making a pizza on the grill. I didn't, but managed just fine, zipping from the deck to the kitchen, to the utter amusement of my dog who looked at me like I was crazy! The pizza toppings are not as evenly spread out as I would usually do them, but nonetheless it worked.

I used a baking grid with tiny square openings to cook the dough. I certainly didn't want my first attempt to fall through the grates of my grill! It would have been humorous to share, but I didn't want to chance it. I oiled the baking grid with olive oil and placed it over ash white coals to heat. After it was hot, I gently placed the "pre-patted" rolled, free form pizza dough on top. In no time at all I was moving the baking grid to the cooler part of my grill. The bottom of the crust was ever so gently charred with grill marks. I flipped the dough over with the pizza pan size spatula that came with the stone and cooked the other side. Being that my grill is not that big, a bit of the bottom of the crust was ever so gently "blackened" (so I didn't eat that piece).

After the crust was "baked", I quickly added tomato sauce, olives, onions, tomatoes, and mushrooms (which I had roasted in the oven), spices and cheese. I covered the grill and let it heat enough to melt the cheese. I removed it to a large wooden cutting board, cut it with a pizza cutter, and ate!! Hearing the crunch of the pizza cutter going through the dough, was just the dinner bell I needed signaling that dinner was ready!

For one large size pizza, I used the following:

1 large vidalia onion, very thinly sliced
1 large tomato (I'm fortunate that I have a farmer's market stand 5 minutes from my house for home grown tomatoes), sliced
8 oz sliced mushrooms
salt and pepper

Put the above ingredients on a foil lined baking pan, drizzle with olive oil until all are coated evenly, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and broil until the tomatoes start to brown, and the onions are tender. Toss occasionally to make sure all sides are cooked.

I also added sliced black olives, oregano, basil, and fresh parsley. The only ingredient missing was my favorite artichoke. I'll be sure and roast those next time. ....and there will be a next time!! My sons will never want a store purchased pizza again!

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Ingredients I must have in my kitchen (It's a long list, but I try and have these items on hand)

  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Cheese
  • Cumin
  • Curry
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Fresh Bread
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Fresh Fruit
  • Fresh Garlic
  • Fresh Parsley
  • Greek Oregano
  • Kalamata Olives
  • Lemon ( At least 3 or 4 ALWAYS)
  • Peppers (Wax, Jalapeno, banana)
  • Red Wine Vinegar
  • Regular Olive Oil
  • Rice
  • Salad Ingredients
  • Sea Salt
  • Spanish Olives
  • White Balsamic Vinegar