I am a homebody through and through. I would much rather stay in, with my things that I love and the people I care for, versus going out into a chaotic world. Don’t worry, I get cabin fever just like the rest of the world, and sometimes I feel this deep desire to go out. Do something, anything. Just go somewhere outside of the house. Generally for me venturing out revolves around food. It’s going to the market, and buying new ingredients, seeing old friends, or perhaps it’s going to the bookstore to find a new cookbook.
I’ve always been this way, a homebody. My guess is it’s from growing up on the farm in Tennessee. In Tennessee it was too far to go into town, and you would waste too much gasoline, so we just stayed in. Now that I am an adult and living in a big city, It’s so easy to go out. Everything is within walking distance. Our grocery store is two blocks away. Our neighborhood bar is just up the street. My job at the bakery is 3 blocks away. However, most days, I still want to be inside.
When I first moved up here, to Seattle, and really started noticing the variety and quality of the cuisine you could discover here, I went out all the time. I enjoyed going out, but it put a dent in my bank account. I was learning and discovering new foods, and could pick out flavors and techniques I had learned while working in nearby restaurants. Once I had worked in enough restaurants and my skills were honed enough. I got to the point that when I went to a restaurant and enjoyed a dish, I could recreate it at home. Since I love being at home, this was basically discovering I have a superpower. I can make bolognese, just like at my favorite Italian restaurant. Whole grilled fish like I find in Ballard. Make delicate desserts I would enjoy in upscale restaurants. In my opinion, just as well.
I feel I have been trained enough, and can have enough knowledge to recreate these dishes to the best of my ability. Of course, I don’t always succeed. I’ll go through all of the steps to recreate these dishes, but some just don’t work out. Perhaps it’s my at home equipment. I don’t have an industrial oven, my stovetops don’t get quite as hot as the gas burners at our favorite restaurants. However, everyday I try and try again. Knowing one day I will succeed, and I will get to be at home in my comfort zone doing so.
For this recipe, it was my attempt at recreating grilled pizza I get at a spot downtown, (which is always packed). I use a gas grill that I have on my rooftop, this would work the same with a charcoal grill. Just make sure you have hot spots, and a cool spot within the grill’s surface. For my pizza I did red sauce, whole milk (low moisture) mozzarella, prosciutto, roasted red peppers, and finished after bake with arugula. Feel free to add whatever toppings you’d like!
Makes 4 medium sized pizzas
- 1 Packet Active Dry Yeast (about 2 1/4 tsp)
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 4 1/2 cups of flour (I use King Arthurs, because of the extra protein)
- 1 1/2 cups warm water (about 100 degrees F.)
- 2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
- Mix the yeast and the warm water in a stand mixer bowl. Stirring out any clumps.
- With a dough hook attached, stir in, on low speed, olive oil, then flour, salt, and pepper.
- Form into a shaggy dough. Turn the speed up to medium, and continue to knead the dough for another 5 minutes, until a smooth ball is formed.
- On a floured work surface, cut the dough into 4 pieces. Making sure they are smooth and round. Tucking any seams underneath.
- Place them on a greased sheet pan to rise for 1.5 – 2 hours. Turning them over once to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap.
- When ready to use preheat your grill. Once preheated turn down one side, leaving the other on high heat.
- Set up your tray. Have all of your utensils, toppings, sauce, etc ready to go and by your side at the grill.
- Begin stretching the dough. Using your hands, gently pull at the dough. Turning and rotating to make into a circle (or oval, let’s be honest).Try adding a small ring around the side to use as sauce barrier. To do so turn the pizza dough like a steering wheel, pinching the edges. Once the dough is stretched enough. Using tongs, place the dough on the high heat side of the grill. Let the pizza cook for a few minutes until the bottom starts to cook.
- Move the pizza dough over to the indirect heat and add toppings.
- Continue to cook, moving between direct and indirect heat to cook the crust through. Close the grill to melt any cheese.
- Once everything is cooked and melted, remove the pizza, add any extra toppings (like arugula) that shouldn’t be grilled. Eat and enjoy!