The sweltering heat of the LA fall is still bearing down on us (don’t believe me? Google it) and I just can’t be bothered to cook anything for dinner. I suppose I could order takeout but that would be like crying ‘uncle’ and I know that I’m tougher than that (given that we’re only a couple of days into this heatwave, but give me a couple more days and I’ll be crying like a little girl who dumped her ice cream cone). Although I think my girlfriend has it right in that she’s been drinking her dinners the past couple of nights.
Being that I need to feed ‘the belly’ it’s time to get smart and figure out how to cook dinner without adding more heat to the house. The great and wonderful grill! I usually leave this domain to Craig, the Grill Master, but since he’s not home and would probably grouse about having to make the grilled pizza, I’ll just take matters into my own hands.
You’ve actually got a couple of options when making grilled pizza. Option #1 is to make or buy your pizza dough. I opted out of that one all together by using store bought pita bread for my pizza base. Before you get all self righteous on me, hear me out. I was looking for flatbread (store didn’t have them – big surprise, since they never have anything I go there for when I need it) and grabbed the whole wheat pita breads. Plus, these are easier to find than flatbread and they come in different sizes. So if you wanted to make these up ahead of time for the kids, you could make snack size personal pizzas out of the little pitas. Option #2 is toppings. OK, so option #2 has sub-sets. But in the end, you can top the pizza with whatever you like.
The biggest issue when making grilled pizza is the temperature of the grill. You really want to keep it medium to low. It’s much better to have to wait a little longer for your pizza than to have a pizza briquet. Trust me on this one. I let a couple of mine get a lot crispier than I wanted because I wasn’t paying attention to the heat on my grill. I would like to say that minding the heat is easier on a gas grill than it would be on a charcoal grill, but in good conscience I really can’t. On both you’ll get hot and cold spots. You really need to pay attention when your making a grilled pizza. Take an extra Adderall or Xanax if you get easily scattered – this is dinner we’re talking about here. Use the grill lid to help circulate the heat over the top of your pizza’s and to help melt or crisp up the tops.
The toppings are completely up to you and your creative juices. Use the most flavorful toppings you can and those that need the least amount of cooking. This is not the time to throw raw sausage on your grilled pizza because you’re just not going to get the heat or time required to cook it all the way through. Raw vegetables and cheeses are fine, but any meats or seafood should already be cooked. I used balsamic caramelized onions, pesto, kicked up barbecue sauce, chicken, shrimp, tomatoes, ricotta cheese and goat cheese for our pizza selection. The key to the toppings is to have everything ready when you’re at the grill. You don’t have much time between plain bread and briquet, so you need to have all of your toppings ready and have a pretty solid idea of what you’re going to put on each pizza.
Grilled pizza is a great party food idea because everyone can make their own. It’s also a fun idea for a weeknight dinner. You’re not stuck with just one flavor, you can mix and match to your hearts content.
The dreaded blind date. Much like a grilled pizza, there’s a fine line between a good date and a charcoal briquet. I’m not going to talk about dating technique here, that’s not my bag. I am going to talk about people who insist on setting their friends up on blind dates.
Having been a victim, myself, of the dreaded blind date I feel I can talk with some authority on the subject (not like that has ever stopped me in the past). You really find out what your friends think of you when they set you up on one these though. Thirty minutes into my ‘date’ the guy proceeded to tell me that he spends more money on his hair weave than most guys spend when buying a car (this date took place when we were both in our 20’s). I thought he should have put his money where his mouth is (literally)and bought better veneers for his chiclet teeth so that he could have talked with his teeth instead of around those big floor tiles he called teeth.
So the next time you get the bright idea to say to your single friend “I have the perfect person for you” take a deep breath, count to 10 and mentally run through this check list before uttering those dreaded words.
- Are you already planning their wedding? Stop it! Then I hope you are also imagining yourself wearing a lime green polyester bridesmaid dress. It’s a date, not a marriage proposal.
- Just because I like music and he likes music does not make us a perfect match. Scissor Sisters and Kool and the Gang do not a love connection make.
- Are you planning a double date with us for next weekend? If you’re that lonely with your spouse that you need someone to tag along with you, get a dog.
- Is your life missing some excitement and you need an activity to fill up your time? Take a class, start watching internet porn…but don’t make me your pet project.
- Do you feel that my singledom is making my life unfulfilling and I need a mate to be fulfilled? Have you ever thought that I might be feeling my own pressure to find someone? I don’t need the added pressure that you’re putting on me to couple up with someone.
Bottom line is think before you try to play cupid. If you feel that strongly about two of your friends getting together why not just throw a party and invite both of them. Don’t say anything to either one of them about the other person. If they would be that good together, chances are they’ll meet at the party and find out for themselves. Then you become the bestest friend ever.
Makes 6 pizzas
- 1 Package Whole Wheat Pita Bread
- Olive Oil
On some of my pizza’s I used homemade pesto as my sauce and topped with shrimp (already cooked), tomatoes and ricotta cheese.
On some of the pizza’s I covered the bread with caramelized onions, sliced dates and goat cheese.
To make the balsamic caramelized onions thinly slice 2 large onions into rings. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to a pan and heat over medium high heat. Add onions and a large pinch of kosher salt. Cook for 3 – 4 minutes stirring occasionally. Turn heat down to low and continue to cook for 15-20 minutes longer. Keep stirring every few minutes to keep from burning. Pour in 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar (don’t use your good stuff here). Stir the mixture until there is no more liquid showing in the bottom of the pan (the vinegar will get thick and syrup like coating the onions). Remove from heat.
I used just tomatoes and olive oil on one of the pizzas.
Another pizza had a kicked up barbecue sauce with grilled pineapple and chicken toppings.
To make the kicked up barbecue sauce mix 1/3 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce with 2-3 tablespoons pineapple juice (use the juice from the canned pineapple rings that you grilled) and 1/4 teaspoon Sriracha sauce. Stir to combine all ingredients.
Heat the grill to roughly 400 degrees Farenheit.
Brush one side of the pita bread with olive oil and place the oiled side down on the grill.
Add toppings to pizza’s and turn heat down.
Keep an eye on the pizza and move them around depending on where the hot and cold spots on the grill are.
These should only take about 5-7 minutes to cook completely.
To melt the cheese thoroughly, turn off the grill and close the lid. The heat that remains will be enough to melt the cheese.
Have fun with this and try different toppings. You’re only limited by your imagination.