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Entries in pizza on the grill (3)


Birthday Pizza on the Grill for The Box

I make people pizza. It's what I do. If you have an oven, or better yet a grill, and some people, I'll come over and make pizza for you. Really. Sometimes my family even gets lucky, and I'll come over and make pizza for them.

Two weekends ago it was The Box's birthday. So I hurried home like a dutiful daughter for the celebrations (which also occurred in tandem with Aunt Emily's 99th birthday. Yes, 99.)

A party just isn't a party unless it's a pizza party. Therefore, I set to work over a hot grill making fresh pies for The Box, Marmo, John and even Toby.

This isn't going to be your usual exhaustive instructional on how to make pizza. This will be a handy list and basic how to on how to GRILL pizza. In order to successfully grill pizza, you need a few things:

1. A reckless disregard for eyebrow singe.

2. Quick hands.

3. An assistant (one who will preferably keep pouring you good wine).

4. Pizza dough. You can use our basic recipe here, or our whole wheat recipe here.

5. Mise en place. This is a French term meaning everything should be in its place. This means your toppings. Slice the cheese, put seasonings in bowls, have that olive oil bottle handy, along with a brush to apply it. Get the cutting board ready for the finished pie, etc. That grill gets HOT and you don't have much time to get everything in its place ON the pie, so everything should be in its place BEFOREHAND. This minimizes disaster.

6. Oven mitt and tongs are useful in hot situations (not always grill related).

7. Oil your dough beforehand (use aforementioned pastry brush). 

8. Stretch the dough out.

9. Place it on the grill. Close the lid. Bake for 2 minutes.

10. Flip the dough.

11. Put the toppings on. Close the lid. Bake for 2 minutes.

12. Remove the pizza. Eat.

13. Repeat.

14. Where is that assistant with the wine???

For The Box, I made two pizzas: Cherry Tomato, Salami, Goat Cheese and Arugula Pizza and Apple, Smoked Gouda, Onion Jam and Arugula Pizza. You can see how it all played out here:

Here are the finished results:


Sometimes, the grill gets a little crazy and the flipping and placing of the dough gets a little wonky:

Pizzas are not always round. And the irregular shapes are good for grabbing. This was not the result of too much wine. 

You may be wondering how to make onion jam. Check out Martha Stewart's super easy recipe. Mess around with it and see how it turns out for you. 

Everyone was very pleased with the results.

Except for John who looks moderately skeptical.

And just downright angry. It could've been the golf. Or the hair. Or perhaps he didn't like the wine. But you can't blame the pizza. Not if I'm making it, anyway.

Even Toby got some.

And see how happy he was?


Meatballs and Muffins, Muffins and Meatballs

Sometimes I can't decide what to eat - it's the age-old, "salty or sweet" question, which is often solved by either a literal or metaphorical (in terms of taste combinations) chocolate covered pretzel.

But a woman cannot live on chocolate pretzels alone. Trust me, I've tried. You need some more nutrients.

And, being Italian, what better thing to supplement chocolate covered pretzels with than meatballs? Yes - meatballs! Now, it being July 4th, you may be wracking your brains for various foodstuffs that you can throw on the grill. For me, I've always found that time awaiting the grill to be sufficiently heated a bit tedious.

Elana fires up the grill, back in the day.Myself and my guests might like munchies. Snackables. Whatever you wanna call it.

Enter MEATBALLS. These are mini bison meatballs with dill and fresh parsley. You can throw tiny toothpicks in them and serve them with a side of this yogurt dipping sauce.

Bison Meatballs
makes about 20 mini meatballs - for more, double the recipe! 

What You Need:
1/2 lb ground bison meat
4 small fingerling potatoes, boiled and peeled
4 scallions, chopped (white parts only!)
2 eggs
fresh dill - chopped (as much as you like)
fresh parsley - chopped (as much as you like)
pinch of red pepper flakes
salt and black pepper to taste
Olive oil

What To Do:
Remove the potato skins andbBoil the potatoes in a pot of water until they are very soft when pierced with a fork. Remove them from the water and set aside to cool.

Place the ground bison meat in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper, the crushed red pepper flakes, the dill and the scallions

Add the cooled potatoes, crushing them with your fingers as you add them to the meat.

Drop in the two eggs.

Now it's time to get dirty. Use your hands, people! That's why you've got 'em. Mix and mash all this wonderful gooey-ness together until it's holding.

Is it holding together? Good. Now, still using your hands, roll them into small balls and place them on a platter. Roll it all! You will be a master by the time this is over.

Heat up 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet.

Drop in your meatballs, one at a time. Turn them around occassionally so that they brown evenly on all sides. Bison meat can be pink on the inside, but you are the master of your meatballs. Do you like them rare? Medium? Well done? For rare, I like to cook about 2 minutes on each side. I know meatballs don't really have a "side" being round, but just make it up.

Now keep in mind, bison meat has a lower fat content than beef. That means is will cook FASTER (also good for parties as your guests are HUNGRY people, I know they are). Because of this, bison tastes best at rare and medium cooked levels. It can dry out when it's well done. If you really like your meatballs well done, lower the heat and cook them slowly for a longer period of time.

Also, use tongs to rotate your meatballs...a fork will pierce them and then all the tasty juices will run away. Which is sad, especially when you've done so much work. Also, it's best to let the little guys rest for a few minutes before you throw 'em in your meatball hole. They like to settle, they've been through a lot in that skillet.

Now, I know I mentioned chocolate covered pretzels before, but instead I made muffins. You know that guests that ate all your meatballs? Well, they probably drank all your beer too. And they might be sleeping in your bathtub - watch out when you go in there in the morning! 

To be a nice host, you may want to offer them something in the morning. Something...healthy. With antioxidants. Heaven knows they need 'em.

Enter Goji Berry Oatmeal Muffins. They have lots of good grains, and Goji berries for antioxidant quality. If your guests choose to slather them with butter, just turn a blind eye. The bathtub is not the most comfortable place to sleep, after all. Here is the recipe:

Makes about 12 muffins

What You Need:
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup rolled oats (the real stuff, if you can)
1/2 all-purpose flour (you can also use millet flour if you want to be healthier. I find it has a nice sweet taste)
1/3 cup dried Goji berries, soaked in hot water to rehydrate
1/2 cup salted pistachios
1 tablespoon ground flax seeds (optional, but they're really good for you) 
3/4 cup soy milk (you can also use regular milk)
1 egg and 1 egg white
4 tablespoons of butter - at room temperature
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt 
Drizzle of honey - to equal about 1/8 of a cup

What To Do:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a muffin tin, or those fancy silicone muffin cups (I have them and I love them).

Soak the dried Goji berries in hot water for about 10 minutes.

While the berries are soaking, pull out your food processor, and throw in all your flours and the oats and the flaz seeds if you're using them. Give it a pulse or two to combine.

Add in the baking powder, baking soda and salt and pulse again.

Add the butter, one tablespoon at a time, until it is incorporated into the dry ingredients. The mixture should resemble a coarse meal, holding together in very small balls.

Now it's time to add the wet ingredients. Pour in the milk (soy or regular), the eggs and the honey. Blend until well combined. 

Drain your goji berries and add them, along with the pistachios to the batter. Blend just a tiny bit. You don't want to mash up the pistachios too much, it's nice to get a good CRUNCH in there.

If your batter is a little thick, you can add more milk.

Fill the muffin cups 3/4 of the way to the top. You can sprinkle the tops with a few oats for decoration. It does look nice that way...

Bake for about 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Now wait for the bathtub sleepers to surface...

And if you're still looking for things to throw on the grill, may we suggest PIZZA? We just can't help ourselves.

Just a few of our options...


Cleaver Envy

Let's talk about cooking implements for a moment, shall we? Now, I know the above image looks a touch menacing. It is, after all, a cleaver. A very LARGE cleaver.

And did I mention that it is sharp? Very sharp.

Now, there are any number of things (menacing and non) that you could use this large, sharp cleaver to accomplish. For example:

Giving John a hair cut (it's getting long, and Aunt Emily is starting to call him "AC/DC" again).

Aerating the walls of your apartment.

Putting pleats in pants and skirts.

Vegetable tennis! (you need a pair and a willing partner)

Chopping things.

I would like to focus on the last item: chopping.

I was recently at Iaciofano HQ. Hoboken was evacuating first floor apartments (that's me) for Hurricane Irene, and since the town generally floods when someone spits in the street, I thought it wise to retreat to the bucolic 'burbs for a little Marmo and The Box time. With pizza, of course.

And so, with the power being out, we had nothing to do but fire up the grill and cook our pizza outside. In the storm. We are warriors, people. Food warriors with nothing but stupidity standing in the way of us and complete disaster.

Remember this?:

Well, we put it to good use as we threw raw pizza dough on the grill with reckless abandon. And tongs! But I'm not here to talk about tongs. It's the cleaver I'm after. After we cooked up these pies, I innocently asked if we had a pizza cutter. I was met with the following responses:

1. A look of disdain, because of course Iaciofano HQ has 3421 pizza cutters.

2. "Yes, but the cleaver works better!" (this from Marmo)

And she was correct. With one fell SWOOP, personal sized, fire-grilled pizza are cleaved in two...and then fours. It was magic. Just one CHOP! I rather enjoyed the chopping part, as you might be able to tell.

We made a variety of pizzas, here is one we have posted before: The Gruyere and Caramelized Onion (recipe here):

A few pizza grilling tips:

1. Make your dough according to this recipe.

2. Stretch out your dough onto a floured or oiled tray.

3. Brush both sides of the dough with olive oil.

4. Carefully place the stretched out dough onto a grill (heated to at least 500 degrees). You can use tongs if your dough folds over on itself while you are trying to plop it onto the grill.

5. Close the lid and cook for about a minute, but keep an eye on it, as you don't want it to burn.

6. Using the tongs, flip the dough over and quickly apply your toppings. It helps if you have your toppings ready to go and sitting in little prep bowls alongside the grill.

7. Drizzle with olive oil.

8. Close the lid and cook for a few minutes, checking in occasionally. Keep in mind the lifting the lid of the grill causes heat to escape, so try not to peek too often.

9. Slide your cooked pizza onto a tray using tongs.

10. Slice with a large, sharp cleaver and serve!

* Special thanks to Jameson Fink for the title of this post.