Perhaps I did you a favor by not posting pizza on the grill at the beginning of summer. If I had, you’d probably be about 5 pounds heavier right now because you wouldn’t have (couldn’t have) stopped making pizzas on the grill as a weekly activity. Besides being an enormous amount of fun and absolutely delicious, it also is easy and let’s you really get in touch with your creative side. I didn’t even know I had one (a creative side, that is), but once I get that ball of dough in my hands, and the grill is piping hot, my imagination goes wild with all the different delicious toppings that can adorn the pizza. The possibilities are endless. The rolled out dough is like a canvas just waiting for you to construct a culinary piece of art, able to delight many of the senses…..eyes, nose, tastebuds. Now for the essentials needed to create this piece of art. One of my all time best purchases has been the pizza stone for the grill that can be purchased at William Sonoma (online or in the store). It sits inside the grill, and makes for a perfect surface on which to cook pizza. It’s not permanent, but you might just want it to be. Another piece of equipment that makes this process easy is a wooden pizza paddle. You must cover the paddle with cornmeal before placing the rolled out dough on it. Then you “dress” the dough with your favorite ingredients, while still on the paddle. The cornmeal allows the pizza to gently glide off the paddle and onto the hot stone. Of course, the freshest of ingredients is of utmost importance. Always use the best quality and freshest ingredients you can find. I never make my own dough because within 2 miles of my house there are at least 5 places that carry spectacular dough. No need to waste energy on making it. Exhaustion inhibits the creative juices…..or at least that’s just my excuse for buying the dough. I am in love with the cookbook “La Pizza…The True Story from Naples” by Nikko Amandonico. It is the bible for pizza lovers. Whether you want it for the many recipes for different pizzas, or the magnificent photography that will make your mouth water, you will definitely want it for the history of pizza. It contains everything you ever wanted to know about pizza, but were afraid to ask. If you are a true pizza lover, this book is a must! So get the canvases ready. You are about to become the Michelangelo of Pizza art. RECIPE: for dough preparation For each pizza, use approximately one pound of dough. After you’ve made a few pizzas, you’ll know if want thicker crust (use more dough) or thinner crust (use less dough). 1. Place dough in a bowl to rise. I do as my mother did, and put a little bit of flour in the bottom of the bowl, then a drizzle of oil on the top of the dough. Then I cover it tightly with plastic wrap. My grandmother and mother always put a wool sweater or shawl (clean of course) over all the bowls of dough to help it rise. This is totally not necessary, but it is part of my routine..just for tradition’s sake. 2. Once the dough has risen, place it on a well-floured work surface. Knead it a bit, and then gently manipulate it with your hands, into a circle. Then place it back down on the floured surface and roll to desired thickness. 3. Gently place the rolled out dough on the well-cornmealed wooden pizza paddle. 4. Top it with ingredients of your choice (I’ll give you some suggestions below), and always finish with a drizzle of olive oil. 5. Make sure your grill has reached 500 degrees and has been preheated for at least 15 minutes. This is essential. Please read the instruction for your stone as this will be most helpful. 6. Gently shimmy your pizza off the paddle and onto the stone. Close the lid. 7. Try not to peek for about 4 minutes. After that,it is fine to quickly look to make sure the pizza is cooking to your liking. RECIPE: my two favorite toppings (always let ingredients drain a bit to get out the water and prevent soggy pizza) Margarita Fresh tomatoes of you choice, sliced or if using cherry tomatoes, cut in half Mozzarella (the best you can buy), sliced 6 or 7 basil leaves per pie salt drizzle of olive oil Alla Melanzana eggplant, cubed cherry tomatoes, halved capers garlic, chopped oregano salt mozzarella, sliced 1. Fry the eggplant in a non-stick fry pan with very little oil until they are crisp on all sides. Add the well drained tomatoes, capers, oregano and garlic to the fry pan. Mix together. 2. Spread the mixture on the prepped dough on the paddles. Season with salt. Add the mozzarella slices. Drizzle with oil **NOTE: Always leave an edge of about an inch around that does not have topping. **NOTE: These are just two of the endless ways you can prepare pizza. Use the ingredients that you love, and you will not be disappointed.