Grilled Pizza: Thinking Outside The Bun

Summertime is all about grilling. And on the East End of Long Island, backyard grills are in full-flame. Farm-to-grill is my thing this time of year. Farmers markets are bustling with just picked heirloom vegetables and juicy fruits. The finest selections of artisanal award-winning cheeses from goats and cows are being sampled by the summering masses and same day organic eggs are being gobbled up by the dozen. Long Island variety mushrooms are showing off their spores and craft beer is being poured into growlers. I get giddy. So much so, that I have been thinking outside the bun.

I am addicted to grilled pizza. It sounds novel but it is truly elementary. Imagine a Neapolitan thin crust style pizza that is perfectly soft and crisp, lightly-charred, with a nice smoky flavor that cooks in a flash right on your grill. The hardest part to making grilled pizza is figuring out what to put on top. Meander through the Hayground, Westhampton, Montauk and the up-and-coming Hampton Bays farmers markets and I am sure you will be inspired too. 

I made my own pizza dough with Montauk Brewing Company’s Driftwood Ale, however, store bought pizza is easy enough, right? When the ingredients are as fresh as they are on the East End anything goes. This is about thinking outside the bun, so give homemade pizza beer dough a chance and get grilling.

This past week, I experimented with different types of toppings: 

Catapano Goat Cheese with Long Island potatoes, leeks and caramelized onions

Browder’ Birds eggs, Long Island asparagus with ricotta, prosciutto, Amagansett Sea Salt East Hampton Blend

Shinnecock clams with Sang Lee Farms garlic scapes that I made into pesto

longislandmushroom_grilledbeerpizza

Shiitake Mushrooms from Long Island Mushroom Company with homemade sausage, caramelized red onions, ricotta, farm eggs and homegrown oregano.

Grilled Pizza with Browder’s Birds Eggs, Sang Lee Farms Asparagus with Ricotta, Prosciutto and Amagansett Sea Salt East Hampton Blend.

Beer Pizza Dough

beer pizza dough

Ingredients

  • 1 can of room temperature Montauk Brewing Company Driftwood Ale Beer (or any favorite brew)
  • 4 cups of King Arthur flour
  • ¼ cup of olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons of sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons of honey
  • 1 packet of active dry yeast (or 3 tablespoons of your own sourdough starter)
Montauk Brewing Company


Directions

1. Combine the flour, yeast, (or starter) and salt in a stand mixer with the dough hook. Turn the machine on and add the oil.

2. Turn the stand mixer on low to medium and add the beer a little at a time. Mix until the mixture forms a ball and is slightly sticky to the touch. If it is still dry, add another tablespoon or two of the beer and process for a few seconds.

note: if the mixture is too sticky, add flour a tablespoon at a time.

3. Turn the dough onto a floured work surface and knead by hand for a few seconds to form a smooth, round dough ball. Put the dough in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap; let rise until the dough doubles in size, 1 to 4 hours.

4. When the dough is ready, divide into 3 pieces. Roll each piece into a ¼-inch pizza shape of your choice.

Note: you can freeze the pizza dough for later use.

Grilling the Pizza

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • ½ pound of asparagus
  • 5 pieces of prosciutto (more or less as you like)
  • 1 cup of ricotta cheese, whipped 
  • 1/2 cup of grated piave or grana padano cheese.
  • Amagansett Sea Salt, East Hampton Blend
  • Olive Oil
  • Cracked Black Pepper

Equipment

  • Grill
  • Brush for oil
  • Metal spatula
  • Metal tongs 

Directions

Note: Make sure you prep all your ingredients before you start grilling as the pizza cooks fast and you want to make sure you have everything on hand and ready to go. The grill should be set to high.

  1. Pre-grill the asparagus in tinfoil with a little bit of olive oil; cook until just tender. Whip the ricotta until smooth in a mini food processor.
  2. Roll out the dough to a ¼ inch thick; an oblong shape.

    note: do not worry if the shape is not perfect, it does not matter, have fun.
     
  3. Take the stretched piece of dough and place directly on the grill. Cook the first side with the lid shut for one minute. Then open lid and when dough puffs it is time to flip. Lower the temperature on the grill to low.
  4. Flip the dough, and quickly brush the olive oil and then spread the ricotta cheese. Crack the 3 eggs evenly over the pizza.
  5. Then place the asparagus and prosciutto.
  6.  As the second side grills, the cheese melts, and the eggs begin to cook. When the egg whites are set the pizza is done. Sprinkle with Amagansett Sea Salt, East Hampton Blend, cracked black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.

Sweet Woodland Farm: A Growing Homestead

Nestled within the pine barrens of Hampton Bays, NY, is Sweet Woodland Farm, a self-sustaining small family homestead that is 5 minutes from my home Sheridan Green.  Rachel Bristel Stephens, her husband Mike Stephens and their two children Ben and Rayna moved from a ½ acre lot to their dream house in the woods, 2 ½ years ago, with a desire to grow and raise as much of their food organically and to expand their ever growing homestead to serve the community, while living in harmony with nature.

I met Rachel last year at the Hallockville Museum Farm seed-saving seminar that was given by Steph Gaylor, a voracious heirloom seed saving expert, farmer and owner of Invincible Summer Farms. It is no surprise that Rachel was attending this seminar as Sweet Woodland Farm grows a variety of organic heirloom vegetables, flowers and herbs from seed.

Rachel is a natural homesteader with an inquisitive and devoted spirit to grow Sweet Woodland Farm for the health of mother earth, her family and the community at large.

During the past two years, the Stephens family has been growing their homestead steadily. They have ducks and chickens for eggs, bees for luscious honey, guinea hens for tick maintenance, and sheep and rabbits for sheering fur into beautifully spun garments and yarns.

Photograph by Rachel Bristel Stephens

Photograph by Rachel Bristel Stephens

Photograph by Rachel Bristel Stephens

Photograph by Rachel Bristel Stephens

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Mike Stephens is a talented Woodturner and sells quality handmade wooden bowls and stunning objects; his woodwork is breathtaking. What I find most impressive is the families hatch and release program of the Northern Bobwhite quail. The Bobwhites are native to the area, but have been disappearing due to over building and loss of their nesting areas. Currently, there are 6 adults for breeding and 76 chicks being raised for release in hopes of repopulating the area and an effort to control the tick population. You can read about Great South Bay Audubon Society Adopt-A-Quail program here.

Photograph by Rachel Bristel Stephens

Photograph by Rachel Bristel Stephens

On top of a large hill is the farms organic heirloom vegetables, berries, herbs and flowers. The vegetables and berries are grown in Hugelkultur beds,  a mound bed which uses organic compost mixed with manure from their farm animals. From a distance I noticed dead pine trees marked with tape. Rachel explained that the trees were killed by the root borers this past spring and they are to be taken down to make room to expand their growing space. A kickstarter campaign was recently launched to support this expansion effort. “This area would allow us to produce more than twice as much as what we are growing now, and the present growing area will become a fruit orchard,” says Rachel.

Rachel and Michael's daughter Rayna, who is 8 years old, gave me a private tour of the gardens that sit atop this bountiful hill. She pointed out the cucumbers that will to be made into pickles and walked me through the flowerbeds where bumble bees were buzzing about among the purple majestic anise.

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Roy who is their impressive Rooster, was rambling and running the roost, causing quite a stir with his colorful calls for food finds and hen flattery.

The guineas were gaggling and gawking about as I tried to capture their exquisite feather and painterly like face patterns.

The sheep, Belle and Kelly, were very curious about my camera and took a break from eating hay for a portrait.

There are plenty of classes and workshops for everyone: beginners knitting, sewing, canning, brewing and fermentation classes, raising backyard chickens, organic vegetable gardening and plenty of kid programs.

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You can find Rachel on the Suffolk Homesteading Forum' Facebook Page sharing best practices and tips with like-minded homesteaders or at Sweet Woodland Farm’s Facebook Page.

The Stephens family and their Sweet Woodland Farm is a homestead worth supporting through their kick-starter campaign or you can visit their farm stand on Saturday and Sunday between 10 – 5 from Memorial Day through Labor.

Address: Sweet Woodland Farm: 45 Old Squires Road, Hampton Bays, NY 11946
Phone: 631.594.1789  Email: sweetwoodlandfarm@yahoo.com

Sweet Woodland Farm: Duck Egg Quiche

Photograph by Rachel Bristel Stephens

Photograph by Rachel Bristel Stephens

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 whole wheat flour
  • 4 oz butter, softened
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 4 eggs *duck eggs are the best for quiche!*
  • 1 large leek or onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups chopped green vegetable of your choice (spinach, arugula, broccoli, summer squash)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese or swiss gruyere
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan, Romano, or Asiago cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°.  Butter and flour a 9-inch round pie pan. 
  2. Combine flours in a bowl and work in the butter with your fingertips or a food processor till crumbly.  Add about 2 tablespoons of water and mix with hands to form a ball. 
  3. Press the dough into the pie pan with the finger tips carefully and slowly starting from the middle and working your way up the sides of the pan.  Cover pan with parchment paper and toss in a handful of dried beans or rice to hold the paper down.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Remove parchment paper and bake additional 5 minutes. Lower oven temperature to 375 degrees F.
  4. Meanwhile, sauté the garlic and leeks(or onion) in a tablespoon of butter over medium heat.  Cook till tender and a bit caramelized. 
  5. Add green vegetable and cook, covered till tender (adding a bit of water to steam if needed).
  6. Combine eggs, milk and cream in a bowl and beat till well mixed.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Spread vegetable mixture in the bottom of the quiche crust and pour on the cream/egg.  Top with the cheeses.  Bake at 375° for 45 minutes or till set and golden.  Allow to cool to room temperature for best results.

Sweet Woodland Farm: Beach Plum Jam

Ingredients

  • 5 cups of pitted beach plums
  • 5 cups of organic cane sugar

Directions

  1. Combine together in a stainless steel pot and simmer over medium heat, until it is jelled.

    note: This can take anywhere from 25 minutes to an hour. It all depends on how juicy the fruit is.
     
  2. Stirring often so it doesn't stick.
  3. To test for jelling, keep a plate in the freezer, put a spoonful of the jam on the plate, put back in the freezer for a minute. Push your finger through the jam on the plate. If it wrinkles it's ready.  
  4. Allow to cool and refrigerate or can using the water bath method.

A Summer Solstice Potluck at Sheridan Green

I could not think of a better way to pay homage to the summer solstice than with an Eastern Wood-Pewee melody, yoga and a friendly potluck dinner.

On June 21st at sunrise, the Eastern Wood-Pewee welcomed the longest day of the year—the summer solstice—with it's plaintive beautiful melody of sliding notes, "pee-a-weeeee, pee-a-weeeee". This long-distant small tyrant flycatcher migrates from its wintering range in Central and South America and arrives in the eastern United States during the Springtime to breed. These olive-brown feathered friends have chosen our property at Sheridan Green as their place of frolic and forage within the canopies of our pine trees; I never tire of their daily welcome, especially on the longest day of the year.

A morning ritual of French pressed coffee jump-started my Bikram Yoga practice in the Sheridan Green yoga studio that sits where the Eastern Wood-Pewee sings. In between Bikram Choudhury's dialogue, “Would you rather suffer 90 minutes or 90 years?”, I would hear this bird's melody and am reminded that life is but a wonderful journey and my 90 minute yoga practice in 105 degree sweltering temperatures is far from the feat this little bird had travelled.

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After feeling rejuvenated from yoga and the song of a birds melody, I began cooking for a summer solstice potluck for friends, who more often than not, eat vegetarian with some gluten intolerance thrown in there. Potlucks tell a story about each person, the season, a recipe and is a nice way to taste a variety of dishes over great conversation. Soon Sheridan Green will be hosting more formal Potlucks called the Out East Feast. In the meantime, close friends and family have come to enjoy the setting, while I observe the ebb and flow of the new house and continue with the completion (or close enough for an Out East Feast) of the the courtyard, living spaces and the roof top edible garden. I cannot thank you all enough who have dined and or stayed at our new home and broke bread with us; your presence brings the house alive and fills my soul with much gratitude—life is good.

Here are some of the dishes we feasted on:

I prepared a vegetable polenta terrine with Sang Lee Farms asparagus, an egg salad made with Browder’s Birds eggs topped with Amagansett Sea Salt Montauk blend, baked feta with homegrown tomatoes and parsley, a basmati rice with seared sea scallops from Cor-J Seafood, and my husband Chris grilled (he is the grill master) local eggplant, fennel, endive, and radicchio for a vegetable platter.

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bakedfeta_lluciano.jpg

Mark and Lynn who are from San Francisco, made a savory salad of peaches, blueberries, red onion, homegrown mint and basil with a dressing of Arlotta balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Mark and Lynn are creators of steel and stone fabrication, inquisitive observers and a fountain of energy. This salad reflected in every which way their exuberance and grace to embrace the savory, sweet and twists of life that come their way .

Jennifer and Louis made a salad of local strawberries, figs, pecans and avocado in a creamy avocado cilantro dressing. This couple has watched the construction of Sheridan Green be built from the ground up and are the most frequent diners at our home. Their home is being renovated by my husband Chris of Christopher Jeffrey Architects and soon they will be gleefully hosting many friendly gatherings. Jennifer is a seeker of health. From making people look beautiful on the outside in the fashion business she switched gears to focus on healing folks from the inside out. She recently got her masters in clinical nutrition with an emphasis in culinary nutrition and functional medicine. Jennifer is my gluten intolerant friend who inspired me to create dishes that are gluten-free. Gluten-Intelligence is a story I wrote for my What's in Season column for Edible East End and was influenced by her. If you are looking for a gluten-free sweet treat to create this summer and love strawberry shortcake, you can get the recipe here.

Mary McGuire-Wien, the author of "The 7 Day Total Cleanse" from McGraw-Hill and the owner of American Yogini Juice Cleanse Retreat and the Hohm Juice Cleanse Delivered and Charles Wildbank, a celebrated artist on the North Fork of Long Island made a raw zucchini "pasta" with a raw romesco sauce of pine nuts, red peppers, lemon, honey, tomatoes, basil, sun-dried tomatoes and a dash of hot sauce. Mary used a spiralizer to make a long raw pasta—how clever. This raw dish had a beautiful toothsome crunch, that was bright, healthy and raw-licious.  I see a spiralizer in my future—watch out zucchini. 

While we shared in ample discussion and filled our bellies, the Easter Wood-Pewee sang until the sun set at 8:30pm; a melody that praised the longest day—the summer solstice— for all its shining glory.

Recipe: Raw Zucchini Pasta with a Raw Romesco Sauce, by Mary McGuire-Wien

Ingredients

Raw Romesco Sauce

  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes (in oil)
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1 sweet red pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes
  • 1 small lemon, peeled and seeded
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Favorite hot sauce or cayenne to taste

Raw Zucchini Pasta

  • 3 large zucchini

For Assembly

  • Extra pine nuts
  • Fresh basil in a chiffonade chop
  • Sea salt
  • Pepper

Directions

Place all ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend until a paste forms. Adjust seasoning to taste

To serve

Place zucchini spirals on plate and top with sauce. Sprinkle liberally with fresh chiffonade of basil (chopped basil). Add fresh sea salt and ground pepper to a taste.

Optional: add shaved or grated parmesan