My mom gave my dad "Grilled Pizza and Piadinas" by Craig Priebe and Dianne Jacob for Father's Day. You see, my dad loves his grill, and he's pretty handy with it too. A book about making pizza on the grill is right up his alley. However, my parents are busy people. Nearly a month had passed since Father's Day and not one pizza found its way onto the grill on the patio. And then, after the 4th of July, I went home to visit. "Oh, good you're here!" my mom smiled as I walked through the door and she slipped the cookbook into my hands, practically before I put down my suitcase. "We'd like to make pizzas on the grill on Thursday night." She knows I'm a sucker for a new recipe or cooking experience. "All you need to do is make a grocery list..." Uh huh. And cook dinner on Thursday. Not that I mind. Honestly, after about 3 days away from my kitchen I start to experience withdrawal. Cooking is such a habit for me that when I don't cook regularly, I start to feel out of sorts. Is that weird? Maybe. Anyway, back to the grilled pizza. The book that my mom purchased was excellent. I started reading it. Lots of useful information on how to grill a pizza and some wonderful recipes. I was pretty excited when Thursday evening rolled around.
My mom hurried into the kitchen loaded with groceries. I was finishing up the dessert, and glad to see her because she'd taken the cookbook with her to the grocery. I needed to make the dough and get it rising. I asked her for the book. "Just a second," she replied. Only it wasn't a second. She couldn't find that cookbook anywhere. Not mixed in with the groceries, not in the car, not anywhere in the house. Last seen: the pharmacy counter at the grocery store. After a few calls to the grocery and pharmacy, it wasn't turning up. This was probably not the very best time to point out to my mom that I never take my cookbooks to the grocery, but rather make a detailed list of ingredients. I got a "look" that I distinctly remember from my "snotty teenager" years. My youngest sister set out for the store on the way over to look for herself and I started searching the web for pizza dough recipes. The dough was finally rising by the time that both of my sisters, their husbands, kids, and my dad rolled into the driveway. This is where chaos usually ensues. With 5 grandchildren 4 years old and under (4-1/2, 3 1/2, 2, 18 months, and 1 year) you can imagine that it gets a little crazy at my parent's house when we're all together. Tonight was no exception. In an hour's time one child wandered into the cornfield (scary for a minute but he was quickly retrieved), black coffee spilled on my mom's new rug, and another kiddo (mine) got her feet caught in a mole trap. That was super scary, but once she was freed and calmed down, she just needed a little ice on her feet and was running and jumping across the lawn with her cousins in minutes. With all of this going on, dinner was running a little (or a lot) behind. I was just trying to get a few pictures before we devoured the pizzas. I certainly missed a step or two along the way.
While I was waiting for the cookbook to arrive, which by the way, vanished into thin air, I prepared the toppings. I made up a tray of toppings that catered more to the gourmet tastes in our family. Let's see if I can remember everything that is on there. That's caramelized onions, artichokes, sundried tomatoes, chopped basil, fresh mozzarella, cilantro or Italian parsley (can't remember), roasted hot red peppers, and garlic.
And I put out toppings for those who prefer the traditional. Ground Italian sausage, pepperoni, bacon, olives, mushrooms, and regular pizza sauce.
Toppings prepared, I started rolling out the dough. This recipe made 6- 10 in. crusts. I planned to brush them with plain old olive oil, but we'd actually mixed olive oil with dipping spices for the bread to curb our hunger and it was right next to me on the counter. Inspiration hit. I brushed with the seasoned olive oil and it gave the pizza a flavor boost. On a few of the crusts, I actually remembered to sprinkle some cornmeal too. The crusts went onto the grill by themselves first. I'm trying to remember for how long. Maybe 8 minutes per side? The recipe that I found didn't specify. The book did, but as I have pointed out...the book was a lost cause.
Here is my dad's pride and joy (aside from all of us, of course). It's a smoker grill, which gave the pizza a nice, subtle smoky taste.
Most of us built our own pizza to taste. Here's the first one ready for the grill. I think this has sundried tomatoes, basil, garlic, fresh mozzarella, and maybe asiago or parmesan. It was yummy!
Back onto the grill to cook the toppings. You can put the pizza directly on the grate. My dad was dead set on using the pizza stone. I started to disagree, but then I figured, his grill, his call. And really, I don't think it made any difference one way or the other.
Dinner is served...finally. This was some good pizza! My dad still claims it's the best pizza he's ever tasted.
Here are close ups of the pizzas my family created.
Grilled Pizza Crust recipe slightly adapted from www.chow.com
2 cups warm water (110°F to 115°F)
1 (1/4-ounce) packet active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for oiling the bowl
Place water in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a hook attachment, sprinkle yeast on top, and let rest until mixture is bubbling, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, place flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Oil a second large bowl and set aside.
When yeast mixture is ready, add flour mixture and olive oil and mix on low until flour is moistened and dough starts to come together, about 1 minute. Increase speed to medium low and mix until dough starts to get smooth, about 1 minute. Increase speed to medium and mix until dough is smooth and stretches 3 to 4 inches without breaking, about 6 to 10 minutes more.
Transfer dough to the oiled bowl, cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap, and set in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour. (The dough can also be covered and placed in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.)
Once dough has risen, punch down, shape, and grill as desired.