Pair properly seasoned dishes with icy summer concoctions and drink in the fun.
Bob Voogt's Outdoor Kitchen Pizza
Basic Pizza Dough (14-inch pizza)
• 1 cup of warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
• 1 (¼-ounce) envelope of active dry yeast
• 1 teaspoon of honey
• 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
• 3 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon of salt
• yellow cornmeal, to flour the wooden pizza paddle
• 1 pound of fresh mozzarella, torn by hand into shreds
• 1 cup imported canned Roma tomatoes
• 1 pound of provolone, fontina and Parmesan, combined
• 1 clove of fresh garlic, crushed
• ½ pound of spinach, steamed
• ½ teaspoon of fresh thyme
• ¼ to ½ teaspoon of hot pepper flakes
• ground pepper to taste
In a large bowl, combine the water, yeast, honey and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, stirring to combine. Let sit until the mixture is foamy, about five minutes. Add the salt and 1 1/2 cups of the flour, mixing by hand until it's incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Continue adding the flour, 1/4 cup at a time, working the dough after each addition until it's smooth but still slightly sticky. You might not need all of the flour. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth but still slightly tacky, three to five minutes.
Oil a large mixing bowl with the remaining olive oil. Place the dough in the bowl, turning to coat with the oil. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place free from drafts, until doubled in size, about 90 minutes. Press down the dough and stretch to make a 14-inch round.
Preheat wood-burning pizza oven to 800 degrees about two hours ahead of baking time. Flour paddle and both sides of the dough with cornmeal so that they are not sticky. Stretch with hands, turning dough in the air in a circle like you see them do in pizza shops. Do not press or stretch dough on paddle or it may stick. Lay stretched-out dough on paddle. It should be about 14 inches in diameter.
Spread thin layer of olive oil on dough. Place thinly sliced fresh mozzarella on top. Strain imported canned tomatoes, dice and place all around. Sprinkle a combination of sliced provolone, fontina and imported grated Parmesan cheeses. Add crushed fresh garlic and some steamed-but-squeezed spinach. Top with fresh thyme, hot pepper flakes and ground pepper. Be careful to not have toppings too thick, as the pizza will not slide off the paddle into the oven.
Carefully slide the pizza into the oven and bake for two to three minutes, rotating the pizza until the cheese bubbles. (To bake in coventional stove oven, preheat to 450 degrees. Cook 15 to 20 minutes on pizza stone.) Serves four.
• 1 pound of extra-large, peeled, deveined shrimp
(leave tail on)
• 6 1½-inch-thick wedges of pineapple
• 6 cherry tomatoes
• 6 bite-size chunks of red onion
• 6 bite-size chunks of yellow bell pepper
Divide shrimp and vegetables among six skewers. Thread onto skewers, alternating shrimp and veggies. Brush with ginger-mango glaze. Grill over medium-high heat about two to three minutes per side until shrimp are just cooked. Do not overcook. Brush again with ginger-mango glaze and serve. Serves two to three as entree.
• 2 ripe mangoes, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
• 1 tablespoon of seasoned rice-wine vinegar
• 1 tablespoon of chili-garlic paste (recommended: Sambal)
• 1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice
• 2 teaspoons of fresh ginger, minced
• 1 teaspoon of fresh garlic, minced
• 1 teaspoon of toasted sesame oil
• 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
• ¼ cup of soy sauce
Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until mixture is smooth. Transfer to a small pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce to medium-low and simmer about 10 to 15 minutes until slightly reduced. Cool completely before using. Glaze can be stored in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Bob Voogt's Arugula Salad
• 1 pound of arugula, cut fresh from the garden and washed twice
• ½ pint of grape tomatoes, cut in half
• ¼ to ½ cup of kalamata olives, pitted
• salt and pepper to taste
• balsamic vinaigrette to taste
In a large bowl, toss all ingredients together until just barely coated with vinaigrette (¼ cup should be plenty). Serves four.
Balsamic Vinaigrette Ingredients:
• 1 cup of balsamic vinegar
• 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
• 1 clove of fresh garlic, minced
• salt and pepper to taste
• 2 to 3 cups of vegetable or olive oil
In a bottle with a lid, combine all ingredients (start with 2 cups of oil) and shake until well combined. Taste — if it is too vinegary for your preference, add a little more oil.
• 6 to 8 large mint leaves
• 1 teaspoon of sugar
• 3 tablespoons of lime juice, fresh-squeezed
• ice cubes
• 1 ½ ounces of light rum
• chilled club soda
• mint sprig
• lime slice
In the bottom of a tall, thin glass, muddle the mint leaves and sugar together. Add lime juice, ice and rum — then top off the drink with club soda. Garnish with mint sprig and lime slice and enjoy. Serves one.
* Pomegranate Mojito
Make pomegranate ice cubes the day before. Simply freeze pomegranate juice in your favorite ice cube tray, then proceed with the recipe — just use pomegranate ice cubes instead of plain ice cubes.