I am not a master chef – in fact, I am probably not even considered a good one. Normally, I would have been intimidated by this recipe, but this blog is pushing me to be a little more creative. And I am so glad. This is not hard, there are just a number of steps involved.
I started with homemade whole wheat pizza dough. I must admit that the dough I used was not made by me, but was gifted to us by this pretty lady. I am so lucky that she is my husband’s niece – and she is becoming more and more like a sister to me. I have made homemade pizza dough before and it is definitely within my skill level. MB’s recipe for the whole wheat dough (which I will use from now on) is here: whole wheat pizza dough. You can make this ahead of time and store in the freezer. Ok, one other admission – we used home-made pesto which was also given to us by MB. Hopefully she will blog about that one soon.
For our pizzas, we used a recipe from “Pizza on the Grill” by Elizabeth Karmel and Bob Blumer (which my sweet mama gave to us) for Fire-Roasted Veggie Pizza. Here are the ingredients you need:
1 small red onion, cut into 4 slices
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided (I did not do this – I kept the olive oil handy and used (clean) hands to put the olive oil onto the veggies and pizza. I think I used well less than 6 tablespoons.)
2 large portobello mushrooms, stems removed and caps cut into 1/2 inch thick slices
3 Japanese eggplants, cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and quartered
1 cup pesto (I did not use a full cup – closer to 1/2 cup total, for 2 individual pizzas)
20 fire roasted cherry tomatoes
6 ounces aged goat cheese (chevre) or Brie, rind removed and cut into 1/4 inch thick slices (I used the chevre)
The first thing you need to do, two hours ahead of time, is make the fire roasted cherry tomatoes. For these, take a baking pan with an edge, line with tinfoil, and make a bed of salt. Cut the cherry tomatoes and toss in a little bit of olive oil. Lay the tomatoes, cut side down, onto the salt bed. Cook in a preheated oven at 275 degrees for about two hours, until shriveled and soft. I am not a huge fan of eating tomatoes straight, but these were delicious. Although not pretty, the pan looked like this:
While these were cooking, and about 30 minutes before we wanted to eat, I prepared the vegetables. Per the recipe, the onion slices were to be skewered like lollipops on bamboo skewers (which were soaked in water for 10 minutes prior to use). All veggies were “rubbed” with olive oil and seasoned with kosher salt.
We grilled the vegetables, placing them on a vegetable pan directly over the heat, about 4 minutes per side. We brought these inside and then put the rolled out pizza crusts (which had also been rubbed with oil – both sides) on the grill. We placed the crusts on the side of the grill without direct heat. Close the grill and let it cook for about three minutes (with no peeking) and then rotate the crusts about 180 degrees and cook another three minutes. Remove the crusts and put the grilled side up on the plate.
In the meantime, cut the bell pepper into slices, remove the skewers from the onions and separate the onions into rings.
When we brought the crusts in, I spread pesto on the grilled sides, placed the veggies (with the tomatoes), and then dotted the pizzas with the chevre. My husband added grilled chicken to his pizza.
The topped pizzas were placed back onto the grill, on the indirect heat, with the side down which has not yet been grilled. We closed the top of the grill and left the pizzas for about 4 minutes and then rotated them 180 degrees and cooked them for another 4 minutes.
The end product was light, fresh, healthy and delicious.