Monday, October 26, 2009

Pizza, Pizza!

There are few things in life better than great friends and fabulous food; in fact, as I try to come up with some, they all have to do with food. This past weekend the husband and I spent the night over on the other side of the Bay with our friends Scott and Elizabeth. The night began with debauchery, as all fabulous nights do, at the Redneck Riviera party in downtown Fairhope. There is a reason those photographs will not grace the pages of this blog: to protect the guilty in their redneck-iest getups. We drank beer and wine, and ate BBQ, in mullet wigs, cowboy boots, flannel shirts, and NASCAR t's.  It was a grand old time. After we determined the barbeque was just a snack, we ventured to an exquisite sushi restaurant, Master Joe's, and gorged on a variety of amazing rolls and gyoza. If I didn't love Fairhope before, I certainly did then.

After returning home to S&E's lovely house on the Bay, we continued our party on their pier while watching shooting stars and enjoying the cool fall weather. When we awoke the next morning, hazy from our fun the night before, nothing sounded better than grilling pizza.

There are a million reasons to make homemade pizza, including knowing it will be a thousand times better than anything you can carry out of a store. Grilling pizza is just turning it up a thousand more notches. True pizza, of the Napoli ilk, is thin and crisp, charred on the bottom and bubbled on top. It is covered in fresh, high quality ingredients like artichoke hearts, wild mushrooms, and folds of prosciutto, or mild italian sausage, pepperoni, roasted red peppers, and onions.

Pizza sauce

1 28-ounce can San Marzano whole tomatoes
16 leaves fresh basil
2 cloves garlic
2 tsp tomato paste
salt and pepper to taste

Puree all ingredients in a food processor.
Pizza Dough

3/4 cup warm water
1 envelope active dry yeast
1/4 cup whole wheat flour

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

Combine the water, sugar and yeast in a cup and let proof for 5 minutes. We used a KitchenAid mixer, so in the mixing bowl, combine the flour and the salt. Add the yeast mixture and, using dough hook, mix until a soft dough forms. Knead on speed 2 for 2 minutes, adding more flour if necessary to form a smooth dough. Place in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover, let rise in warm place until doubled in bulk (about 1 hour). Punch dough down. Divide in half and roll each half out with a rolling pin. Grill one side until the dough is bubbling and browned, then flip, top with sauce and desired goodies, and grill until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbling.

The Oinker

3/4 cup mini pepperoni
1 roasted* red pepper, chopped
2 mild sausage link, grilled and sliced
1/2 cup pineapple chunks, cut into small pieces
4 slices onion, roasted with peppers
4 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced
1/2 cup shredded fontina cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella

*We roasted the red pepper and onions on a baking sheet at 450 degrees until the pepper was charred. Then we placed it in a bag and steamed it until the skin fell off.
Adulterated Veggie

1 can artichoke hearts
1 roasted yellow pepper, chopped
2 slices proscuitto, sliced into thin strips
1 8-ounce package of assorted wild mushrooms, sauteed in olive oil
4 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced
1/2 cup shredded fontina
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella

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