October 6, 2010

Grill Set? Check. Parka? Check.

I have a love/hate relationship with my kitchen. Sometimes the hours I spend in that brightly-lit sweatshop produce works of art, like Chocolate Trifle, which may or may not have had something to do with the 50 pounds I gained during my pregnancy. Unfortunately, more often than not, my kitchen escapades take the form of recipes gone horribly wrong. Remember the time I almost made friends with our local fire chief? Or the time I impaled my foot while chopping peppers? Or the Christmas cookie disaster of 2009? Apparently, people won't eat minty cookies if they resemble charcoal briquettes. Shame.

Hoping to put my cooking woes in the past, I found a recipe for grilled pizza on A Farm Girl's Dabbles. Quite frankly, Brenda's pictures made me so hungry that I resolved then and there to try my hand at baking pizza from scratch. Without setting fire to my kitchen.

Keeping the cookie catastrophe in mind and the fire extinguisher close at hand, I set out to make the dough. I gathered all the ingredients and kneaded them together. I lovingly covered my hunk of dough with a piece of plastic wrap and subsequently wiled away an hour, enjoying the silence of naptime.

After the hour was up, I came back to the bowl, fully expecting to see nice, fluffy dough. This is the sight that greeted my eyes.

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Behold, a hunk of dough. And although it looks suspiciously like something you might see in one of the babe's diapers, please believe me when I say it is flour. And oil. And a few other things not comprised of poo.

If you take a moment to look at the gorgeous pictures that accompany Brenda's recipe, you will see that my hunk of dough looks absolutely nothing like her photographs. I was convinced I had done something wrong. Was it the flour? The yeast? Do I admit to the Internet that I'm no good at kneading?

Being the resourceful cook that I am, I did the only thing that made sense after consuming three rounds of Diet Pepsi; I added more yeast. Sure that it would do the trick, I punched a hole in my apparently unleavened bread and worked another package of yeast into the dough.

It did not rise. Ten points for the dough. Minus ten points for the cook.

By this time, I had become suspicious of my whole wheat flour, sitting there on my counter looking just a little too innocent. The recipe called for all purpose flour and my all purpose whole wheat flour looked a bit smug as it sat there in the safety of its plastic jar.

I considered dumping the flour into the garbage purely for the sense of satisfaction, but by that time the hubs had arrived home from work and I was juggling my inability to cook with a baby that was hellbent on eating my kitchen drapes. Passing the babe off to Jonathan, I quickly gathered up our pizza toppings and the three of us trekked outside to the grill where we cooked our dinner.

Recipe difficulties not withstanding, it didn't turn out half bad. In fact, the end result was so delicious that the hubs has requested that it be added to our regular menu. Despite my history with the kitchen, I agreed. And then quietly reminded the hubs that we live in a climate that resembles a glacier for 11 months of the year.

I can't wait to see him grilling in his parka.

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Grilled Pizza

1 cup warm water
3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
3 cups all purpose white flour
2 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
toppings of your choice (pesto, mozarella, tomatoes, peppers, etc.)

To make the dough, stir together water, oil, sugar, and salt until the sugar has dissolved. Mix flour and yeast in a large bowl and create a well in the center. Slowly stir while adding fluid liquid mixture.

Knead dough for approximately ten minutes on a surface with a small amount of flour. Add flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking. Bring dough into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl. Coat the dough with oil and cover. Allow the dough to sit for about an hour to rise.

Punch the dough down and knead briefly. Bring dough back into a ball and allow to rise for about forty-five minutes until fluffy.

Prepare toppings and light the grill to a low/med heat. Flatten dough into round disks no larger than 8" in diameter. Lightly brush one side of the disks with oil and place on the grill to cook. Once browned, brush the opposite side with oil and flip. Place ingredients on the pizza and cook thoroughly. Consume. Enjoy.


Recipe reprinted with permission. My thanks to Brenda and A Farm Girl's Dabbles.

7 comments:

  1. Okay, the baby poo dough made me gigglesnort! I'm not a pizza officianado or anything, but I do make my own whole wheat crust quite frequently and from my own dough disasters it looks to me like you had a problem with the yeast. I've never tried a method where you mix the yeast and flour together and then add the water. All of the bread recipes I've tried start with warm water and yeast sitting for 5 minutes or so to allow it to bloom before adding it to the dry ingredients. Maybe try that next time? And check to make sure your yeast isn't expired. I'm glad it turned out tasty despite the rising problem!

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  2. I talked to Brenda after making the recipe and that was her opinion too- maybe I'd had an issue with the yeast. It wasn't expired but maybe it was just a bad batch? I'll be interested to see if it rises next time!

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  3. Man, I hate working with yeast. Either the water was too hot or it was not hot enough probably. Hope it goes well for you next time!

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  4. Ohhh, this made me laugh! Great story! This really is the only recipe I've seen where the yeast is mixed with the flour first, but it has always worked. So why fix what's not broke, right?! You could try using a kitchen thermometer next time, too, to get a better feel for the right warmth of the water. It should be warmed to about 110 degrees. I've just gotten used to that "warm baby bottle" temp I need to look for. I'm glad to hear you & your hubs are up for trying it again! It's one of my family's favorites.

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  5. OUt of interest, did this give you bad tummy ache? Just with all that 'unrisen' yeast you would think it might have bloated you all a little? Good story- about the same as my recent bread experiments!!

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  6. No stomach aches, but it was pretty filling!

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  7. Hahaha, good on you for persevering with the dough! Those pizzas look amaaazing. And I'm sure tasted much better than the kitchen drapes. x

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