Monday, June 2, 2014


Last week, we decided to have no plans on Sunday, to work in the yard in the morning, to be lazy in the afternoon, and to grill pizza for dinner. Mission accomplished!

In the morning, we got some much needed work done in the yard and in the garden. New rosemary to replace the ones that the winter killed, much pruning and weed pulling, and cucumbers and squash planted in the garden. And much admiring of the clematis which are now in full bloom.

6-7" Wine Colored Clematis Blooms in the Early Morning Sun

These Clematis Blooms are Small but Beautifully Shaped
Ann made a batch of dough on Saturday morning and let it sit overnight. In the afternoon, I started working it into small balls for pizzas.

Ready for Their Final Rise
Once the heat of the day got going (and truth be told, our neighbor's kid got the lawnmower cranking) we reluctantly headed indoors from sitting around the patio, post gardening. We've just started watching The Sopranos, so we put on an episode of that, in which Uncle Junior tries to whack Tony, and then Ann wanted to see The Godfather, which she had never seen before. All this indolence is thirsty work so we opened this lovely bottle of Ponzi Pinot, a gift from dear customers Gerry and Mary Elizabeth Greenwood who have just returned from Oregon and for whom we cooked a tasting on Saturday night.

Being one of the original wineries in the Valley, Ponzi is not unknown to me and although I have tasted many bottles over the years, 2011 is a new vintage for me. And I was excited to try it because 2011 has proven to be my all time favorite Oregon vintage, the cool weather attenuating the fruit and amplifying the acidity, right in the sweet spot of my palate. Ann said, "This is a fabulous wine." Smelling of dark cherries and leather, it reminded me so of Burgundy, my original wine love. Gerry and Mary Elizabeth, my most sincere thanks for your kindness and generosity.

Awesome! Tasted Blind, it Could be Burgundy
With my wine, I do love some cheese on a lazy Sunday and how fortuitous it was that Suzanne from Shepherd's Whey Creamery messaged me to let me know that she had some Valençay cheeses on the "ripe side that are screaming your name." She knows that I love my cheeses ripe, ripe, ripe. And so I got three of them at the market on Saturday that were beyond the sell-by date. The damned government and its sell-by dates. What the hell do they know about good cheese?

Phenomenal Valençay-Style Cheeses from Shepherd's Whey Creamery
Towards 8pm as the sun was getting low in the sky, we headed outside again and I started up the pizza factory, having already prepped the toppings: roasted red peppers marinated in olive oil, garlic, and basil; smoked sausage; fennel confit; sliced grape tomatoes; fresh mozzarella, and grated pecorino romano.

Pizza Toppings Ready to Go

How Good Does This Look?

She's a Happy Girl!
Grilling pizza is unlike baking it in the oven. It turns out to be a wholly different procedure as I found out some years ago when invited to grill pizza at the farmers market, something I do each summer now. You want fairly moderate heat, unlike when baking pizza when you want it as hot as you can get it. My grill has four burners, two on the left side of the grill and two on the right. I only light one side of the grill and I only have the flame about 2/3 of the way up.

Spray the hot side grill bars really well (and do this for each pie) with pan spray before putting a stretched dough on the hot side of the grill. Close the lid and leave it closed for a minute. Open and rotate the dough with a spatula (it should be firm enough by now to move easily). I rotate the dough because I have yet to see a home grill without hot spots and I want to distribute the heat a little more evenly. Another 45 seconds to a minute should do it.

Once the bottom-side is cooked, flip it over and drizzle the cooked side (now the top) with a little olive oil and sprinkle it with salt. Then apply your toppings and close the grill. A minute with the lid closed should cook the bottom. Move the pizza to the cold side of the grill for a couple of minutes to finish cooking the toppings while you make the next pie. Enjoy!

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