Let’s talk about things that I love. Like pudgie pies. Pudgie pies are high on the list of things that I love. Especially if they are of the build your own variety. (I mean what build-your-own situation do I not go crazy for? See exhibits A, B and C). Pudgie pies are right up there with long meandering hikes through local wilderness areas, 48 hours of nonstop conversation with a friend who lives across the country, and leisurely brunches at the best restaurant in the world. And because this past weekend included all of these things it was one of the top weekends of my life.
(I’m technically not supposed to call it the best. weekend. ever. because then my Carrot will ask that I please specify that it was not in fact better than our wedding weekend which should go down in history as our literal best weekend ever, but I know you all know what I meant).
Also high on the list of things I love that happened to be a part of this past weekend: drinking cider made by farmer friends, long hugs, double dates with favorite teachers from a decade ago, greenhouse time, friends returning from Europe, bonfires, home brews, standing in a room with thirty other farmers chatting about vegetables and selling CSA shares, card games, stories of adventures, cats falling in bathtubs, sharing dreams and lots and lots of Mediterranean food.
Then I woke up on Monday to snow!! And then got home from work and attempted to remake pudgie pies indoors (because a bonfire was now out of the question with all the snow) to snap some better photos with better lighting and literally almost burned the house down. More than once. Thank god there was snow outside to throw my burning towel into. Not every day can be perfection.
But the pudgie pies are always worth it. A pudgie pie is a little campfire sandwich made in a cast-iron press with a long wood handle. You build a sandwich, put it in the pudgie pie press, squeeze it closed (which seals the sandwich and also removes the crust!) and then stick it in the fire for 5-10 minutes until the bread is toasted on both sides.
Pudgie pies are great for camping because they’re simple and require practically zero clean up. Plus the options are literally limitless. Grilled cheese, egg sandwiches, peanut butter and jelly, ruebens, BLTs, ham and cheese. You can make anything! Pudgie pies are also great for bonfires. And dinner parties. Especially when they are filled with pizza toppings of everyone’s own choosing. So buy a pudgie pie maker already and host a party! You can get them at pretty much any outdoor store.
Here’s my tips for delicious pizza ingredients that largely come out of our freezer or pantry, but as we get more into the summer harvest season and a more common time for bonfires, feel free to experiment with whatever local goods you have available!
From my bonfire-loving soul,
BUILD-YOUR-OWN PIZZA PUDGIE PIE
Takes 15 minutes to prep vegetables & 10-15 minutes to cook the sandwiches
Makes 6-8 sandwiches
1 loaf bread
8 ounce pizza sauce (or canned tomatoes in a pinch)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded havarti or mozzarella cheese
1/2 pound sliced cremini mushrooms
1/2 pound ground pork, browned
4 ounces pepperoni
1 onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 bell pepper, your choice of color, chopped
Pickled jalapenos, sliced
Whatever the heck else you want!
- On a plate, place one piece of bread. Leaving a 1/2-inch border on all sides (as best you can), add a couple tablespoons of cheese (a mix or your choice) followed by a couple tablespoons of pizza sauce. Add whatever toppings you want, another couple tablespoons of cheese and a piece of a bread.
- Place the “sandwich” on the base of the cast-iron pudgie pie press. Push down with the top of the press, using your other hand to try and keep the toppings in there (especially if you stuff yours as full as I tend to).
- Once the sandwich is closed in the press, cook it over the fire. Do not place it in the coals and just leave it there. I tried this. It burned. The best technique was to hover it above the coals (which happens to make for a good workout)