Pining for Pizza

This cruising family is addicted to delicious homemade pies, and for toppings, they’ll try anything from lobster to lamb.

Sailboat Pizza

Lynda Morris Childress

We made pizza in our oven at least twice a week for two years as we cruised aboard our Admiral 38 catamaran, Makana, from South Africa to Maine. The toppings on the pizzas have been as diverse as the locations in which we've shared our culinary delights with cruising friends. From lobster to lamb, we're willing to try just about any new garnish, although a suggestion from one of my daughter's friends in the Bahamas to sprinkle Skittles on top was quickly dismissed. My wife, Katie, and our 4-year-old daughter, Hoku, are the dough experts who can whip out enough for two pies at the mere mention of the word "pizza." I handle the toppings. To put it mildly, we're pizza fanatics; before we set out from Africa, one of our top priorities in provisioning for our South Atlantic crossing was to find a pizza stone that would fit in our oven.

My favorite combo is chicken, barbecue sauce, red onion, and cilantro. You can whip up such a pizza easily using a premade crust and bottled barbecue sauce, but the effort expended in making your own crust and barbecue sauce will reward you with a far superior pie.

At every landfall we visited, we enjoyed our family shopping forays to local markets in search of pizza ingredients. We usually managed to score fresh cilantro, red onions, and chicken; the challenge was the cheese. Fortunately, Makana has a large freezer, so we stocked up on cheese before we left Africa, then resupplied at Trinidad, Bequia, and in the Dominican Republic, which carried us over until we reached Florida, where cheese was no longer difficult to find.

Once the pies were baking in Makana's oven, our neighbors often visited us in their dinghies to investigate the source of the mouthwatering aroma. More often than not, we ended up inviting them aboard for dinner. If we visited another boat for dinner, we devised a special rig for our dinghy to safely transport the piping-hot pizza while it was still on the stone.

Pizza lovers, the choices for toppings and sauces are endless. The only limit is your imagination. Bon appétit!

Pizza
Dough:
4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar or honey
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 3/4 cups warm water
Olive oil

Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add liquids and knead thoroughly, adding more water or flour until dough is firm. Leave dough in covered bowl for 30 minutes in a warm location. Roll dough out onto cornmeal-coated pizza stone or a glass or metal cookie sheet coated with olive oil. Let rise an additional 30 minutes.

Sauce:
1 cup ketchup
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons molasses
Salt and pepper, to taste
Red pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon each basil, oregano, parsley
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon dried mustard
1 tablespoon vinegar

Topping:
1 pound provolone cheese, grated
1 cup red onion, sliced
1 cup cilantro, chopped
1 to 1 1/2 pounds chicken, diced

Mix together sauce ingredients and spread over crust, then cover with cheese. Top with onion, cilantro, and chicken. (If using a premade crust, precook the chicken and reduce baking time to 20 minutes.) Bake at 350 F to 375 F for 30 minutes or until chicken is done. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Makes two 10- to 12- inch pizzas.