We are getting ready to meet my son, daughter-in-law and the littles for a weekend of camping.
Tent camping to be specific.
According to my oldest KidAdult I have been whimping out over the years as our camping escapades involved some 25ft. of metal that housed pretty much the contents of my entire house plus air conditioning.
He said when he was small we roughed it. In a tent. That statement makes me laugh. He sounds like an old man. Like, When I was boy we didn't have no RV... we did it the hard way, in a tent, barefoot. And we had to walk 100 miles in a thunderstorm to get to pitch it. And we had to hunt our food... LOL.
Anyway. The Best Husband In The World reluctantly agreed with me and we agreed with KidAdult #1 to meet him and the girls and camp. The old way.
So we're off to the great outdoors. I am in charge of Saturday night dinner.
Actually I love to cook outdoors. Food always tastes so good cooked over charcoal or an open camp fire, especially after a day spent swimming and sailing on the lake.
So all this planning and talking and prepping and packing reminded me of something my dad used to make on a summer's evening. He always made this for a snack, not a meal and it was always a delicious surprise when my mom would call us in from catching fireflies or playing flashlight tag with a gaggle of neighborhood kids.
We'd come roaring up the stoop all barefoot and dirty, just as the streetlights came on and the smell of Summer Pizza would hit us full in our happy faces.
I've updated this a little bit - but the taste still takes me back to the warm summer nights of my youth.
1 pizza shell (store bought, pizzeria bought or home made*)
2-3 fresh tomatoes, sliced
10-12 slices fresh mozzarella
2 tablespoons fresh ricotta cheese (optional)
10-12 fresh bay leaves
drizzle of olive oil
Optional: mushrooms and artichoke hearts (quartered) tuck these under the cheese (hey, my tastes have matured!)
Preheat grill to medium low.
Drizzle one side of pizza dough with olive oil and using your hand, smear it all around. Place this side down on the grill. Close cover and grill 3-5 minutes until JUST done on one side.
Place dough ungrilled side down on floured board. On grilled side place sliced fresh tomatoes, top with bay leaves, then mozzarella, drop fresh ricotta randomly by teaspoon full on top.
Carefully slide dough back onto grill. Grill until dough is puffed and cheese is melted.
Serve with Kool-Aid and we're back in the 60's.
*Your neighborhood pizzeria is usually happy to sell you a pizza dough. It will cost you about $2.00 to $3.00 and will always be expertly made. But if you're ambitious, try this:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 package active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (105-115 degrees F) this is important - use your meat thermometer to test temp. Too hot - kills the yeast, too cold - won't grow.
1 tablespoon olive oil
Combine the flour and salt and set aside. Dissolve yeast in the warm water, let sit for 5 minutes. Add the oil. Stir in the flour / salt mixture. Turn out on lightly floured baord and knead until smooth and elastic.
Lightly grease a medium bowl and place the dough in the bowl. cover and let rise in a warm place until double in bulk (about an hour)
When the dough has doubled, punch down and turn out on floured surface. Let rest for 10 minutes, then "toss" if you're good or roll out to a round.
If you make this right after dinner it will be raised enough just when the fireflies come out and the street lights come on.