Sunday, September 17, 2006


Sunday Afternoon Pizza Blogging

Like fresh pizza made from scratch? Like to go camping? The two things aren't incompatible at all. Observe: Get yourself some MSR cookware or similar lightweight aluminum cookware. Use what they call the "fry pan" part of the ensemble, and the lid designed to fit it. Looks suspiciously like a very small pizza pan, doesn't it? That's because it is, all nearly-eight-inches of it. Now, make up some pizza dough. (You can do this at the campsite, if you like. I prefer to do this, and some of the other steps, ahead of time at home. The finished product takes up less packing space than do the raw ingredients. Plus, you can freeze the dough into the desired portions and then use it along with ice and gel blocks to help chill the rest of the stuff in your cooler.) You can find pizza dough recipes online, but if you're too lazy to look, here's mine: 2.25 cups flour, 3/4 cup water, 1 heaping teaspoon active dry yeast, 2 teaspoons olive oil. Mix it all up, cover and let rise for a few minutes; then either divide into four portions and freeze or use immediately.) While your dough's rising, get some nice Italian sausage meat and brown it in a frying pan; throw in some garlic chunks, too, to soften them up prior to putting them on the pizza. (This is another step best done at home.) Grate up some mozzarella cheese, chop up a green onion stalk or even a small leek (green stems and all -- the green stalks give a nice color contrast), and chop up a fresh button mushroom. (Again, to save space and time, this can all be done at home and the chopped and grated bits stored in space-saving plastic baggies in the cooler.) When you're done with all the chopping and grating and such, you're ready to roll. Or pinch, in this case. Take one-fourth of the dough you've just made, roll it into a ball, then squish it flat. If it's too sticky to handle, add more flour. (Pack a small amount of flour with your gear, just in case.) You should now have a thick circular disc of dough. Your job is to now flatten it to the point where it fits neatly inside the pan. There should be just enough to cover the pan bottom and make a raised semi-deep-dish rim around the inside wall of the pan. Put a little olive oil in first; this facilitates both crust browning and easy removal. With the dough in the pan, take some tomato paste and spoon about two heaping tablespoons' worth onto the dough. (If the paste is a bit stiff to work with, smooth it out with a splash of the barbecue sauce of your choice. It'll make the paste more compliant, and give the resulting pizza sauce an extra zing.) Next, load up the cooked sausage and garlic. (Please, don't even think of using hamburger instead. It just won't work. Trust me.) Then dump on some cheese, then the other chopped goodies, then the rest of the cheese. Looks yummy already, doesn't it? Put on the heating element of your choice (most any camp stove will do), cover with the lid, and cook at medium heat for five minutes or until you can smell that it's done. The end result looks and tastes really good (assuming Blogger will cooperate):

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