Making pizza on the fire
Pizza is one of our favorite foods. What's not to love? Yummy veggies, crispy crust, warm sauce and ooey gooey melted cheese.I grew up in a town where there is no such thing as take-out. Don't even think about delivery! So we made our own pizza. Back when we didn't know any better, my mom would use those Chef Boyardee kits. Then she moved on to Robin Hood dried dough packets. I think she still uses them. When I moved out on my own, I moved to the big city (Bangor). I've got take-out and delivery now! Yet I felt unsatisfied with my pizza.
So, I started making it on my own again. I started off with Mom's way, but one day I stumbled on prepackaged dough balls (Portland Pie Company wheat dough is my absolute favorite) in my grocery store deli case. This dough was so much easier to work with and I was able to even master tossing dough (albeit, sloppily). Soon later, we invested in a pizza stone (thanks again to Alton Brown - he really doesn't lead us in the wrong direction) and we've never turned back.
Friday night is pizza night in our house. There's nothing as satisfying as a hot slice of pizza and a cold beer at the end of the week. Now that we live out of town, delivery is once again not an option. That is fine by me. When we're pressed for time, we will order take-out from one of the 3 gas stations that make pizza near us, but I still make our pizza 99% of the time.
T came home one day with the idea that we need to grill pizza. It was an extremely hot summer day so I was more than willing to attempt grilling. If it meant not turning on the oven and heating up the kitchen from 100 degrees to 110 degrees, why wouldn't I try it? I have yet to brave putting my dough directly on the grates (though I read in the Playboy Advisor a few months ago that you can). I just can't get the thought of failure out of my head - because failure means I need to clean dough from the grill grates. That doesn't sound like fun to me. So we use Boboli pizza crusts. Top as you normally would and then put it on your preheated grill. Be sure the flame directly underneath your pizza is turned off. The other burner[s] should be on low/med-low. I usually rotate the pizza quarter turns every 15 minutes (yes, that means it's on the grill for an hour).
On our first wedding anniversary, we stayed at my in-law's camp on the lake (the start of our annual Labor Day weekend trip). It was a pretty hot weekend so I wanted to avoid using the oven and I didn't have what I needed (Boboli crust) to grill pizza. So we decided to make it on the fire. Before the purchase of our pizza stone, I would use a cast iron frying pan to bake my pizza in (great for those of you that love deep dish pizza). My father-in-law has a huge one he uses to cook on the fire, so we pulled it out and gave it a whirl. Make sure your fire is burned down to coals (T gets to play in the fire all day to get a good batch of coals). We burned our crust that first year, but we have now perfected the art. It requires constant attention but it is well worth the trouble.
Now that I'm only working part-time, I am supposed to have more time in the kitchen (or so you would think). I'm no gourmet chef, that's for sure. But I really do try. I'm constantly on the look out for new recipes to try, healthier options for my family and ways to cut costs (I DO only work part-time, after all). So when T's cousin mentioned she makes her crust from scratch, we asked her for the recipe (I haven't received a yay or nay to my request to share the recipe yet, so I'm going to withhold it for the time being - not everyone checks e-mail hourly like fanatical Jodi).
I tried this recipe for the first time last night. It was a little too salty for our taste, but that is a super easy fix (cut back a bit on the salt next time - duh). Otherwise, we loved the flavor. I did find it really difficult to work with, though. I've long since left the days of spreading dough behind me but tossing was really not an option. It was too wet and doughy (less water and more flour?). I'm fairly certain I can adjust it for my needs (I'm needy and I know it).
And now that we're all craving pizza, I'm going to snag the last piece out of the fridge.