Monday, August 9, 2010

Summer Entertaining Made Easy

How was your weekend? We had a great one. Busy, but fun. On Saturday night we had some friends over to BBQ and swim and for the menu I chose one of my favorite summer entertaining recipes (if you can call it that)....make your own pizzas on the grill! They are easy and fun and the main work can be done ahead, perfect when you're expecting a houseful of guests. So here's how you to do it...

First start with the pizza crust. Want to make your own? It's actually pretty simple. Check out a great recipe here. The recipe calls for bread flour, but I've used all purpose flour many a time and it turns out just fine. In a time crunch like I was on Saturday? Buy it!! So many places sell great pizza dough now. I got mine from Trader Joes. Whole Foods has great dough too and your local pizza shop likely will sell dough as well, just have to ask!

First heat the grill to medium/high and roll out the dough into individual pizza sizes. As you can see from the photo below, mine are no where near perfect. And in fact, I like it when they are odd shaped. Round is boring and you can get that from your local Dominos :) Once they are rolled out I put a little olive oil on one side and put that side down on the grill. There's no trick to it, using two hands just lift up the dough on one side and place it on the grill. It'll likely stretch a bit but not to worry, you're not going for round anyway, remember? Let it cook for 3-4 minutes. The dough will start to puff up a bit and it will start to hold it's shape. Then just flip it over and let it cook another few minutes. You're not trying to cook it completely, you just want it cooked enough so that it holds it's shape to hold all the yummy toppings.

And now for those yummy toppings...I like to have one big platter and just fill it with all sorts of goodies. On Saturday I chose to put out pepperoni, mushrooms, kalamata olives, prosciutto, goat cheese, tomatoes, carmelized onions and basil. But do whatever sounds good to you!

Then I just put out a pitcher of tomato sauce and a bowl of mozzarella cheese. Make a big salad (or have a friend bring one like I did!), and voila...dinner preparations are done.

Let your guests pick a crust and pile it high with whatever ingredients they choose. Set your grill to medium low and when you're ready just put the pizzas back on. Shut the grill top and let them cook until the cheese is bubbly and the crust is done. Be careful not to have the grill too high...I did that once and the bottom was BLACK. Completely black. Yucko. Better to set it a little on the low side and let them cook longer, trust me!

In the chatting, swimming, chasing kids around evening that we had on Saturday night I didn't remember to take pictures of our pizzas before or after they hit the grill. Ooops!! But I did remember to take a picture of the remaining slices. Not much left. Everyone loved their pizzas and kids ate them too. And I didn't have to do a whole lot during the evening, just enjoy my guests and create my perfect pizza! Can't get much better then that.

Hope you all had a lovely weekend. Don't forget to enter our giveaway!! Winner will be announced this Friday. Good luck!!

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