Saturday, July 2, 2011

4th of July Weekend Eats III

At the South Pas farmers market on Thursday, when I wandered off to see if I could buy some cotton candy for Elizabeth, my friend Carla bought me a present - a jar of sweet jalapeno spread that we had sampled a few minutes earlier. It is excellent: sweet like a jam but with the unmistakable, slow heat of a jalapeno on the back end.

As an afternoon snack at my parents' house I topped some crostini with goat cheese and the spread. My mom put a piece of basil underneath because she thought it would give the picture a nice contrast, which, I suppose, it does.

For dinner I made three pizzas.

The first had goat cheese and fresh chives from the garden.

To this slice I added a few spoons of the sweet jalapeno spread, which improved it remarkably.

The second pizza was sausage, sauteed mushrooms, spinach and mozzarella. I only had a bite of this, but it was quite good. 

For my dad, from whom I have inherited my love of garlic, I made a pie of roasted garlic, fresh basil, and mozzarella. This was my favorite pizza of the evening.

It was a simple dinner, but it was a good one.


Clifford said...

justin, the pizzas look amazing. im extremely jealous. good shit man!

JustinM said...

Thanks man!

Banana Wonder said...

when do i get the pizza invite? Love your mom's basil touch too! Touché!

JustinM said...

You have a standing invitation, Anna. Let me know when you're around and I will grill up the pizza for you!

Jessica said...

Can you give a run down on how a novice might try their hand at grilled pizza? Temp, etc. basic tips, whatever.

JustinM said...

Sure thing. First you have to find a dough you like. Nothing is more disheartening to me when I go to someone's house when they're told me they are making pizza, only to find that they have a Boboli or other pre-cooked crust and are just throwing toppings on it.

I like Fresh & Easy's dough the best, but Trader Joe's is just fine, and if you have a pizza shop near you that you like, just ask if you can buy a ball of dough. It should be a couple bucks, tops.

I heat the pizza stone over direct medium heat for about an hour, although you can certainly get away with less time. (But it should be a minimum of 40 minutes, in my opinion.)

The first pizza is going to cook the quickest, so this is not the time for goat cheese or something else that needs time to melt - because the crust is going to cook quickly. The amount of time that it takes the dough to go from doughy and spongy to burnt and black is remarkably short with the first pizza. Sometimes less than 30 seconds.

The first pizza should be one that is basic and almost ready to go. I often just make the first one cheese.

After that first pie, the stone won't be quite as hot and the subsequent pizzas will take minutes longer to cook. These are the pizzas that usually turn out the best: the goat cheese pies melt, the veggies on a vegetarian pizza get reheated, etc.

After about 4 pizzas - sometimes longer, though - either you need to add more charcoal or, if you're using a gas grill, let the stone rest by itself for another 20 minutes to warm back up. If you keep trying to cook pizzas on a stone that has cooled down, they are never going to turn out right.

BTW, these tips are all based on the idea that you're using a regular backyard barbecue. If you have a giant wood-burning pizza oven like my buddy Tyler, you can cook pies all night long. Speaking of which, just a few minutes ago I got an invitation to another pizza party at his house. I won't say when it is, but let's just say it's a "Carmageddon Pizza Party."