Sunday, August 15, 2010

Grilling Pizza with Friends

Hardcore home cooks and hosts have lots to be anxious about when planning large and involved outdoor events. Will it rain, will too few or too many people show up and will enough people want to get involved to help pull it off? Yesterday those anxieties were just a preparation exercise; because everything came together in that magical way we often dream of.

A few months back we hooked up with Boboli through to host a grilled pizza party on August 14th, 2010. We were excited to execute a party theme that was very different than anything we had done before; thus we set out to invite everyone we could and collect some attention getting pizza recipes to make.

All the recipes for the pizzas can be found in the photo journal below. Much thanks to Boboli and are an order; the gifts for our guests and party planning tools were great assets for our day. Boboli provided some tips on how to grill pizza (used for all of recipes) which we have summarized here:

• Use uneven heat in your grill by turning one burner off, circulating the heat is key
• Grill the crusts on both sides with a little olive oil before assembling pizzas
• Pre-cook all ingredients and use them at room temperature for the best results
• Watch the crusts so they don’t burn, lower heat works

( i rehydrated dried figs when no fresh figs could be found )

We kicked off our party with a pizza recipe submitted by Pam at the Sticks Forks Fingers blog, a frequent reader of ours. Her Brie & Fig pizza was extremely flavorful and the figs provide a distinct texture that got plenty of attention. Our friend Richard had a nice quote about this pizza, “it was like a sunburst of flavor.” he said with a smile. A twist for this pizza was offered when I couldn’t find a traditional block of Brie cheese and ended up with Crème de Brie. We warmed the cheese first and then spread it on the crust. Ed, Melanie and Margot assembled this pizza and though that would be a worthy trick to use in the future. Please visit Stick Forks Fingers and see what Pam is up to. Make sure and leave a nice comment about how she contributed to our incredible event.

( much thanks to Richard for helping on the grill )

Our second appetizer offering was a whole-wheat grilled Boboli, cut into wedges and served with a shrimp, feta and zucchini salad. The inspiration for the salad came from our friend Cyndi who brought stuffed zucchini (stuffed with a shrimp & feta salad) to a wine tasting of ours and went home with an empty platter and lots of feedback. The fresh cold salad on top of the Boboli wedges reminded us of bruschetta. The salad was a nice palate cleanser for guests to transition from snacks to dinner!

We knew from a survey of our guest list two days before that we could have 40 people or more and in response we made sure we had plenty of pizzas ready to make. With both unique and straightforward styles our guests were not disappointed:

* Two styles of Margherita pizza
* Bacon, Onion & Mushroom Alfredo
* Chicken, Pesto and Ricotta
* Pepperoni & Mozzarella
* BBQ Pork, Caramelized Onions with Jack cheese

Along with our invitation we asked guests to come ready to help us assemble and cook pizzas, something we thought would add even more flair to a day of grilling pizza. We couldn’t have expected the enthusiasm we experienced, with party goers jumping up to help and asking to have “their” pizza be next. Margot finished the day cooking a dessert pizza with two of our youngest guests, who will most likely be talking about the fun they had for some time. Our friends are the best and days like yesterday are great reminders of how much we have to be thankful for. Mellissa & Kennedy loved making the Chicken, Pesto & Ricotta pizza, a recipe Melissa submitted to us and said she orders from her local pizza place. The fresh garlic and basil pesto from our garden played nicely with the grilled chicken and creamy cheese.

Margot’s high school friend Melanie and her husband George have recently orbited into our lives and are owed considerable thanks for their help with setup, cooking and cleanup. Margot and I were afraid to try and force Melanie to stopping washing dishes. George agreed we were smart to step away! Melanie also brought the ingredients for the Bacon, Onion & Mushroom Alfredo pizza. The unique spin on this pizza was that all of the ingredients were grown, made and purchased locally. The smell of the homemade garlic sauce used to grill the crust filled the air as we prepared the pizza. This pizza was the favorite of many of our guests, a well deserved recognition.

( this pizza had the best aromas of all of them, the smoky bacon was a hit! )

( just look at it!!! )

( Margherita pizzas )

( chicken, pesto & ricotta )

My special project for the week was a BBQ pork pizza with caramelized onions and Monterey Jack cheese. I slow cooked country style pork ribs with whatever BBQ sauce we had, some orange juice and liquid smoke until they fell apart. I had enough pork to go edge to edge with it on the crust. The caramelized onions were placed on top of the cheese and create a nice crisp crunch on the top of each

( BBQ pizza never dissapoints! )

During our preparations Margot knew she wanted to make a dessert pizza with bananas, peanut butter and chocolate, something I also knew would be a ticket to success. We decided on Nutella in place of plain chocolate and thus the name “Double Nut Banana Chocolate” pizza was born. This pizza lasted about 3 minutes and I only got a bite of the piece Margot snuck off before guests dug in. What a great affirmation of a tasty idea! Margot enjoyed working with her assistant chefs Gracie and Amelia to make this pizza. They had so much fun taste testing all of the ingredients before using them!

( Margot and girls cooking up some dessert )

( it looks like a messy delight!!! )

We didn’t specifically pair our wines and cider with the pizzas allowing guests to experiment with different flavors themselves. Quite a bit of praise was offered for the 2010 Pacific Quartet, a wine that I believe is just coming into a sweet spot of drinkability. Our 2009 traditional dry-style cider was tasty on a warm sunny day, and especially a hit with the guys! Several guests paired the Margherita pizzas with our 2009 Pinot Grigio and found a good match. I have to thank John for his words of appreciation for our 2008 Cabernet Blend. I hadn’t opened a bottle of this in some time and found it to have developed even more since I last had it. After dessert I broke out bottles of 2009 Peach/Moscato, 2010 Jalapeno dessert, 2009 Vermont Dandelion and 2010 Pomegrante/Black Currant wines. This was a pretty eclectic selection of wines for a mini-tasting, but the feedback suggests that some of our more obscure and small batch wines are very interesting to our friends. I’ll have to keep at that then!

( I'm smiling because I was having a lot of fun! )

We couldn’t have hoped for a better party and are so thankful to have been able to spend such good times with our friends. All of the recipes can be found below and leave comments with questions about anything you see.



Disclaimer: We did receive $50 in coupons for Boboli product as hosts for a Boboli Beat BBQ Boredom party.
 Recipes and Party Photos

Brie and Fig Appetizer Pizza

One Boboli crust
4 oz. wedge Brie
6 fresh figs, sliced
1/4 c. walnuts, toasted and chopped
3-4 Tablespoons honey
Fresh black pepper

Thinly slice brie, and arrange atop the Boboli crust. Scatter fresh figs and walnuts over the cheese. Grill over medium coals until the cheese is soft and melty. Drizzle with honey and give it a good sprinkling of cracked black pepper before cutting into thin wedges.

Margherita with Mozzarella
1 Boboli Crust
Handful of fresh basil
½ sliced tomato
½ of a 4 oz mozzarella ball sliced
1/3 jar of pasta sauce

Margherita with Grated Parmesan
1 Boboli Crust
Handful of fresh basil
½ sliced tomato
3 oz grated parmesan
1/3 jar of pasta sauce

1 Boboli Crust
15 slices of pepperoni
6 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
1/3 jar of pasta sauce

Grilled Chicken, Pesto & Ricotta
1 Boboli Crust
1 split chicken breast, marinated in Italian salad dressing, grilled and cut small
½ cup fresh garlic and basil pesto
6 oz ricotta cheese
2 oz shredded mozzarella

BBQ Pork & Caramelized Onions
1 Boboli Crust
2 meaty country pork ribs, slow cooked in regular
BBQ sauce, orange juice and liquid smoke
4 oz shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 large onion, slide and caramelized
3 oz of BBQ sauce

Prosciutto, Bacon, Onion, Mushroom & Peppers with Alfredo Sauce

Homemade Alfredo Sauce
Caramelized Red Onions
White Button Mushrooms
Homemade Garlic Infused Olive Oil
Fresh smoked bacon
Sweet peppers from the garden

Double Nut Banana Chocolate Pizza

1 Original Boboli Crust
3 large ripe bananas
3 oz peanut butter
3 oz Nutella
½ oz honey (spread on crust after pre-cooking)
Spray whipped cream


JodieMo said...

It looks like a blast! And the pizza looks good too!

Lisa {Authentic Suburban Gourmet } said...

What a GREAT party! Love all of the pizza combinations. Nice job!!

Julie said...

Had a wonderful time at your BBQ. Great pizzas, great wine (even the lemonade was delish), great company, and boy, you've posted some fabulous photos of the event ;) Thanks for all of it!

Torviewtoronto said...

looks like fun


Looks like fun times and GREAT food!

Anonymous said...

Very Interesting!
Thank You!

Lori Lynn said...

Love the photos of all the picnicers. The pizzas look great, love the variety, especially the dessert pizza. Sounds like you all had a marvelous time!

Emily Malloy said...

1. I adore grilled pizza.
2. I adore all of these recipes.

Pam Frank said...

Apologies for being so so SOOO late in thanking you, Jason and Margot, for choosing and featuring my concept at this great part. My tardiness is due to the fact that we had a son married here this weekend... when you were partying, we were as well.. for three whole days, ending with a post-wedding send-off brunch yesterday morning in our garden for 30 people.

This looks like so much fun. And for a second, the photo of your friend Richard looked a bit like George Clooney and I was going to have to be very upset that you didn't invite me to come watch George make pizza. {sigh} ...but I digress.

Thanks again. I'd love to know more about the cider that I think you poured for this event as well, am I right? Looking so much forward to the day we can meet face to face. Looking forward to sharing an Oregon Pinot Noir tasting from our cellar with you both.

With appreciation and best regards,
Pam @ Sticks Forks Fingers

Foy Update - Garden Cook Write Repeat said...

Wish I lived closer so I could meet a fellow food blogger. As it is your pictures are making my mouth water. We make pizza once and week and with how hot it has been perhaps we should try grilling it. A 425 degree oven is just ludicrous on a hot day with no air.

Mother Rimmy said...

Fun party! I love that everyone seemed to be involved. I've never grilled pizza before. This is definitely a must try!

Winelady Cooks said...

Great company and delicious pizza varieties was everything you needed for a great party.

Thanks for sharing with us all the details. Great Job!


danasfoodforthought said...

Oh yum! I love pizza on the grill, and especially love sharing a fun meal with friends!

Jason Phelps said...

Thank you so much to everyone who has stopped by to take a look. This was one of the best parties we have ever had and the feedback from the guests this week has been overwhelming.

We had never grilled pizza before we hosted this party (and planned for it) and I (Jason) have to tell you I was missing something in my chef toolkit for sure. Try it, enjoy it and share it with friends!

Margot & Jason

Magic of Spice said...

Looks like a fantastic time...and the pizzas look great.

Kate said...

Looks like a great time! Hope you can try the caesar pizza sometime. I'm going to have to try Pam's fig and brie pizza. That one sounds amazing!!! Kate