outdoor cooking

Homemade Zucchini Tomato Basil Pizza on the Grill!

homemade zucchini tomato basil pizza on the grill

Delicious, fresh grilled zucchini tomato and basil pizza! 

Summer is still here and there are still so many goodies from the garden to enjoy including the fast growing zucchini, tomatoes and fresh basil. Grilling the pizza means that you don't have to get your kitchen hot by turning on the oven and the pizza bakes quickly on the grill while you enjoy a few moments outside. 

In my family, Friday night always meant pizza night and it was never takeout or delivery, it was always homemade, from scratch. There were toppings that we all loved and certain ones, like pepperoncini that my Dad especially loved to add a spicy kick to pizza! 

This particular pizza came about a few days ago when I was trying to use up lots of ingredients we had from both my parent's garden and ours. I wanted to make a simple, healthy dinner that also felt special, and this fit the bill! 

This pizza is adapted from a magazine article I clipped a while back and I have adapted it to make 2 medium size (about 12") pizzas. You may make one zucchini tomato pizza with the topping recipe below and top your other pizza with other ingredients as you wish. 

This recipe requires planning ahead as the dough needs to rise for about 18 hours. 

Usually what I do is start the dough before I go to sleep, then get it ready to use about 30 minutes before dinner time. 

Below I share the dough recipe, sauce and topping recipe as well: 

    Freshly risen pizza dough ready to roll! 

 

Freshly risen pizza dough ready to roll! 

 

Pizza Dough: 

3 3/4 cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoons sea salt

1/4 teaspoon instant dry yeast

1 1/2 cups water

1. In a medium bowl (the night before baking your pizza), place the flour, salt and yeast. Use a wire whisk to combine the ingredients. 

2. Use a wooden spoon to stir while slowly adding the water. Stir until well mixed. 

3. With your hands, mix dough gently to combine it into a rough ball. 

4. Move the dough to a clean bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow dough to rise at room temperature. Let it rise until dinner time. (It needs a total of about 18 hours of rise time) 

5. After the rising time is passed, divide the dough roughly in half. 

6. Roll out each half into a medium sized dough circle, about 12 inches in diameter. 

Proceed by brushing on sauce, adding the toppings and cheese with the recipes below: 

 

Pizza Sauce: 

One 8oz can of tomato sauce

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 leaves fresh basil, torn into small pieces

salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. 

Place the tomato sauce, garlic and basil into a small saucepan and heat to a simmer over medium heat. Once the mixture is at a slow simmer, turn down the heat to low. Let the mixture simmer for about 5-7 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. 

    Freshly broiled veggies! 

 

Freshly broiled veggies! 

 

Zucchini, Tomato and Basil Topping: 

About 1 cup zucchini, sliced into circles, then into quarters

1/2 cup grape tomatoes, cut in half

Olive oil

Sea salt

Fresh ground pepper

5-6 basil leaves, torn into small pieces

1/4-1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Heat your oven to broil. On a rimmed baking sheet, place the zucchini and tomatoes. Drizzle olive oil over them and sprinkle salt and pepper to taste. 

Broil the veggies for 4-5 minutes, until slightly charred on top, remove from oven. 

Continue to top your pizza as follows, and follow the instructions below to grill your pizza. 

 

Topping the Pizza: 

1. Sprinkle a bit of cornmeal on a rimmed metal baking sheet. Place a pizza dough round on the baking sheet. 

2. Spoon on a generous portion of the pizza sauce to taste on your pizza round. Use a pastry brush to make sure you cover the whole surface, leaving about a half inch all of the way around without sauce. 

3. Sprinkle your broiled veggies on top. 

4. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese on top. 

5. Sprinkle the top of the pizza with the torn fresh basil leaves. 

 

Prepping Your Grill & Grilling

I currently use a gas grill for most of my grilling.

1. You want to heat both burners on your gas grill to medium high.

2. Place a large, square pizza stone on the grill grates to heat up. 

3. Heat your grill for about 15 minutes. 

4. Place the pan with your pizza on it on top of the pizza stone on the grill. 

5. The pizza takes 7-10 minutes to cook on the grill. Be sure to check it after 5 minutes. Check underneath to make sure the pizza is cooked on the bottom. 

6. When the pizza is done it will bubble up, become golden brown, the cheese will be melted and the underside will be properly cooked. 

Enjoy your grilled pizza this summer! 

My best to you always!

Trista

 

 

Al Pastor Tacos & Camping Tips

A delicious Al Pastor Taco enjoyed al fresco at a beautiful campsite! 

A delicious Al Pastor Taco enjoyed al fresco at a beautiful campsite! 

 I love the outdoors and I feel so lucky that I grew up with a yearly camping trip tradition in my family. This trip has evolved throughout the years, and now we have great systems in place to make sure that we have a great camp-out and enjoy some delicious food and festivities as well.

 This week I took my son camping with a large group of my extended family. Last year we started the tradition of me taking my son camping for 3 nights & 4 days with my parents, aunt and uncle, brother and sister in law and my cousin. For an afternoon we were also joined by some family friends. 

It all started several months ago with a fun breakfast meeting to plan out the meals, the annual camp August birthday party and a run-through of who would provide what meal/equipment. 

Usually each family/couple provides 1-2 meals. This year I made a lunch and a breakfast. For my lunch, featured here, I made al pastor tacos with fresh tortillas, a veggie assortment, chips and guacamole. We all pitched in to help with this meal. 

This delicious camp meal started out with prep work back in my home kitchen. First, I made the sauce and al pastor taco meat, placed it in a freezer bag and froze it until I placed it in our cooler for the trip up to the lake campsite. I brought masa mix, a tortilla press, a freezer bag, salt, carrots, peppers, olives, celery, avocados and limes to the campsite to prepare there. 

Al pastor taco meat heating up on the camp stove. 

Al pastor taco meat heating up on the camp stove. 

 

At the campsite, we heated up the meat in a pot on the camp stove. Meanwhile, my mom heated up a a frying pan on the other burner of the camp stove greased with bacon grease from that morning's breakfast. I mixed up the masa mix, pressed the tortillas and my mom cooked them. 

Fresh tortillas cooking on the camp stove. 

Fresh tortillas cooking on the camp stove. 

My cousin Helen cut up the veggies and some fresh pineapple to round out the meal while my sister in law Kim cleverly made the guacamole by placing pieces of avocado in a large gallon bag with lime and salt. She then pressed on the bag to smash it together. It was delicious! 

    Camp Guacamole

 

Camp Guacamole


My mom also came up with a clever way to keep the tortillas warm. She placed a plate above the heating taco meat with a towel over it and it kept the tortillas nice and hot for serving. 

Delicious fresh tortillas kept warm on the camp stove. 

We all sure enjoyed these tacos for a lovely camp lunch. 

    Fresh pineapple and an assortment of veggies & lime slices for the tacos. 

 

Fresh pineapple and an assortment of veggies & lime slices for the tacos. 


Here are some more camping tips for dining outdoors: 

  • It is handy to have a kitchen prep table where you can cut vegetables and fruit and also set up a dish washing station there. We also had towels, cutlery and other supplies stored there. 
  • Make sure to keep anything that is not in a sealed container locked in your car at all times. If you leave bags open, chipmunks and birds will surely help themselves. 
  • If  you have a large group of people eating at your picnic table, you may extend it by bringing a piece of plywood & attaching it with clamps as my uncle did. 
  • A large piece of oil cloth works very well for a camp table cover. 
    My uncle attaching a "leaf" to our picnic table so that more people could sit there. 

 

My uncle attaching a "leaf" to our picnic table so that more people could sit there. 

I hope that these tips help you for your next camping trip or picnic experience. 

Now, for the yummy taco recipe! 

Al Pastor Taco Meat: (This recipe serves 6-8 but I doubled it for our trip) 

10 large dried pasilla peppers- all seeds and stems removed (these are the most easily found dried peppers found in the Hispanic foods section at most grocery stores. Usually 2 bags of peppers will be plenty)

1 1/2 cups water

1 containers (about 2 cups) grape tomatoes

8 garlic cloves, peeled

4 bay leaves

salt, pepper

3/4 teaspoon sugar or honey

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

3 pounds pork shoulder, cut into 1/2" to 1" thick pieces

1-2 limes

You may serve this meat with tortillas, lime slices, salsa, guacamole, chopped fresh onion or cilantro if desired. 

1. Put the chiles (make sure seeds are taken out & stems are removed) into a large Dutch oven, toast them for 1-2 minutes. Add the water, grape tomatoes, garlic, bay leaves, 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper, sugar or honey. Bring this mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Cover, reduce the heat to low, stir occasionally for about 20 minutes. 

2. While the sauce is simmering, trim slices from the pork shoulder. It has a large piece of fat on it, but work to get as many pieces trimmed of fat as you can off of the shoulder as you can. 

3. Transfer the chile/tomato mixture into a blender and blend until smooth. Strain the chile mixture through a fine metal mesh strainer into a bowl. Press on the mixture with a spatula to get as much liquid out as possible. 

4. Return the sauce to the pot and add the meat. Stir the mixture to make sure the meat is thoroughly coated.  Partially cover the pot with a lid and cook for 90-105 minutes. Make sure to flip meat halfway through cooking. Save the sauce in the pot for coating the meat after it is grilled and chopped. 

5. Take the meat out of the pot with tongs. Next you are going to grill the meat slightly on both sides so it gets a slight char and a smoky flavor. You may grill the meat on a gas grill or a charcoal grill  over medium heat for 5-7 minutes on each side, or you may broil the meat in an oven for a few minutes until the meat is slightly charred.  After grilling, let the meat cool for a few minutes before chopping it. 

6. When the meat is slightly cooled, chop with a chef's knife on a cutting board into small bite-size pieces.

7. Put the chopped meat back into the pot and stir around in the sauce to coat. Add a bit of lime juice to the sauce. 

8. Now, you are ready to assemble and enjoy your tacos! 

I hope that you enjoy these tacos and your next camping adventure! 

If you enjoyed this post, pass it on to your favorite campers & taco enthusiasts!