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Fine, you can keep dreaming, but trust me, after learning this recipe, you’ll want your grill accessible at all times.
It all started about a year ago. We went to a pizza making class in DC. The first 30 minutes were pretty much a science lesson and included drawing molecules on a white board to illustrate the chemistry of yeast, which was right up my nerdy, engineering alley. Jon was sleeping.
Finally, it was time to create our own pie. I woke him up so he could chop the garlic. We were instructed to make our own dough and bring it over to the grill for cooking. I was skeptical. I stood at my station envisioning dough oozing through the grilling grates. A hot mess.
And then, to my surprise, before I could even make it over to the grill, Jon was there, giving his own lesson. “Just toss it on and wait. After a few minutes, you can flip it,” he said to a few fellow skeptics. Pizza class had turned into the Jon Grilling Show. I stood back wondering how Bobby Flay had inhabited my husband’s body. Who are you? I thought. And if you knew how to do this, why have we never had this for dinner? His talent was outed…and so began our obsession with grilled pizza.
This dough recipe is very basic and can be easily adapted to give many variations. I’ve added a bit of ground pepper to this batch, as this pizza is a little different. And by different I mean totally not pizza as we know it. This is a BBQ chicken pizza. A mildly peppery, perfectly charred crust is topped with smokey BBQ sauce, chicken, red onion, cilantro and pepper jack cheese.
This recipe comes with a warning though. Once you have this, you’ll never want to order out again. I know what you’re thinking, it’s December, not the month you typically think of for cranking up the grill. This pizza is worth battling the elements for a few minutes to reap the reward. A slice of warm, crisp, homemade pizza and a glass of red wine will warm you up in no time. And I’ve taken it easy on you for your first winter grilling adventure – this dough takes about 6 minutes on the grill. I don’t think frost bite sets in for at least thirty, so you’re clear.
Crust recipe from “How to Cook Everything”
For the crust:
1 teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 chicken breast
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup BBQ sauce
Grated pepper jack cheese (1/2-1 cup, or to taste)
Crushed red pepper (to taste)
For the Crust:
- Combine the yeast, pepper, flour and 2 teaspoons of kosher salt in the bowl of a food processor. Turn the machine on. Add 1 cup of water through the top opening. Process for about 30 seconds. Add the last 1/4 cup of water a little at a time until the mixture forms a ball and is slightly sticky to the touch.
- Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead by hand for a few seconds to form a smooth, round dough ball. Grease a bowl, at least double the size of the dough, with olive oil and place the dough in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and allow the dough to double in size (this should take 1-2 hours). You can cut it short if you need to. This is pretty fool proof, so just go with it.
- While your dough is rising, cook the chicken. In a saute pan, add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the whole chicken breast. Allow the chicken breast to cook for about 15 minutes, then add the onions. When the chicken is cooked completely, slice into thin strips and set aside with the onions until your crust is ready for topping.
- When the dough is ready, divide it into as many pieces as you’d like. I split mine in half. Place each piece on a floured surface and roll out into somewhat of a circle. Any shape will do if a circle just isn’t happening. Slide the dough onto an edgeless cookie sheet. Don’t have one? You do! Just flip a regular cookie sheet over.
- Light the grill and let it heat up to its max temperature with the lid shut. When hot, pick up your dough with two hands and lay it on the grill. Trust me. Leave it alone and in about one minute it should start to bubble. Using tongs, move the crust around a little to keep it from burning. Flip it with the tongs when you feel like the first side is grilled enough for your liking (anywhere from 2-4 minutes). Do the same on the second side for about another 2 minutes. Slide it back onto the cookie sheet. Shut the grill but do not turn it off.
- Come into the warmth of your home and add your toppings. I layer sauce, cheese, chicken and onions then sprinkle with herbs and spices. Slide it back on the grill and shut the lid cooking it just enough to melt the cheese (another minute or two). If your crust is already charred to your liking, you can turn off the grill at this point and just use the remaining heat (with lid down) to melt the cheese.
- Let cool a little. It’s easier to cut once it cools. Enjoy with a nice, bold glass of red wine!
- Don’t have a food processor? Make it by hand in a bowl, mixing 1.5 cups of flour with all the other ingredients and kneading in the remaining flour until smooth. Should be about 10 minutes of kneading.
- If you really don’t feel like a charred crust is worth facing the blustery cold, I respectfully disagree, but go ahead and skip step 5 and slap this crust on a cookie sheet or pizza stone and bake at 425 degrees for 10-15 minutes and then continue with step 6 above.
- I used 1 cup white whole wheat flour and 2 cups all purpose flour. Try any combination and let me know how it goes.
- The options for toppings and crust modifications are endless. Add in some fresh herbs or garlic to the crust. Top with tomato sauce, basil and fresh mozzarella. Let me know what creative combinations you come up with.
- I really have no idea how long it takes for frost-bite to set in. Don’t take any medical advice from me. Just grill the dough and get inside!