As a personal chef, my friends have expectations when attending a party at my house. And as a good host, I try to deliver.
I had friends over on Sunday, Cinco de Mayo, for a party in my back garden, to enjoy the 70º weather, the sunshine, the bounty of my vegetable boxes and each other. One of the friends, Amanda, had given me a croquet set for my birthday and I thought this would be a fantastic time to break it in. Since I don’t have a grassy yard big enough for croquet, we walked down to the greenbelt at the end of my block and set up the game. It was hilarious fun. And I learned that some of my friends have nasty competitive streaks that I hadn’t seen before. There was much trash talking and heckling and lots of laughing.
After the game was won, we walked back for some adult refreshments and a little talking and some bocce ball. I do have a perfect spot in the yard for that. And I fired up the wood grill.
My idea for dinner was a build-your-own grilled pizza. I had made a batch of fermented dough, on Friday. By Sunday, it was perfect. I cut up all the ingredients I could think of, sweet peppers, hot peppers, salami, mozzarella, mushrooms, red onions, and more cheeses. Then I demonstrated, by making the first one, how to make the pizza on the grill.
Wait until the fire burns out and there are just coals. Take your dough, rolled out into rounds or ovals, oil one side and stretch it a little more with your fingers. Lay it oil side down directly on the grill over the coals. Watch it and see when it starts to bubble and stiffen. Then turn it over. Now here comes the exciting part. You have to dress it fast, while it’s on the grill. Spread sauce, lay out your toppings, cover with cheese and put the grill lid on, in a minute or two. Let it cook for a few minutes, until the cheese is melted and toppings are warmed, but don’t let the bottom burn. It’s such a yummy, wood-smoky pizza. I had them team up into pairs and each team planned and made their own pizza to eat. Everyone had such fun racing to get theirs topped. And the afore-mentioned competitors even competed in whose pizza was better. It was great fun, with more laughing, some squealing, and even a little more trash talk. That may have been my best party ever.