A campfire sounded friendly, so I bought a fire pit. After I twisted the metal feet onto the metal bowl, I was stumped. Fire doesn’t require feet.
It does, however, require stumps where campers can slump, sticks in hand, and burn marshmallows. I checked back at the supermarket: no stumps. Later, while driving a country road, I saw a sign claiming free stumps. I pulled over and tried to lift one. Free, apparently, to anyone towing a crane. Then one night at a dinner party I mentioned my stump problem to my neighbor Andrew. Not stumps, he corrected, rounds.
The next afternoon Andrew pulled up in his truck. He heaved six rounds into place around the fire pit.
That night we all slumped on the stumps. We burned marshmallows. We stared at the stars. Andrew pointed out pale Jupiter and fiery Mars. Which is when I noticed that the wood chips, under the feet, were on fire.
Never miss a local story.
After we’d doused the flames I decided I prefer the old-fashioned ground-level campfire. But I’m so glad I’ve got those sturdy rounds. And a round of sturdy friends.
Prep: 2 1/2 hours
Cook: 4 minutes
Makes: six 8-inch pizzas
Provenance: Construction inspired by Iggies in Baltimore.
Pizza dough (recipe follows)
10 ounces whole-milk ricotta cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
6 cups (about 6 ounces) baby arugula
Flaky salt, such as Maldon
2 tablespoons lemon-infused olive oil (see note)
Grill: Light a medium-hot fire. Lightly oil grates. Grill dough until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side.
Top: Spread 3 tablespoons ricotta onto each pizza, leaving 1 inch of perimeter crust bare. Grind on pepper. Heap 1 cup arugula on each. Sprinkle with salt. Drizzle each with 1 teaspoon lemon oil. Enjoy.
Pizza dough: Pour 1 cup warm water into the bowl of a stand mixer. Sprinkle in 1 teaspoon active dry yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar. Let stand until creamy, about 5 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 cup olive oil and 3 cups flour. Knead with a dough hook until smooth and elastic, about 3 minutes. Shape dough into a ball. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rest until dough has doubled, about 11/2 hours. Divide dough into 6 balls. Set balls on a lightly oiled baking sheet, cover with plastic and let rest until puffy, about 30 minutes. Dust each ball lightly with flour and roll out into an 8-inch round. Use right away or stack up, separated by parchment paper, slip into a zip-top bag and refrigerate. Chilled dough will produce a chewier but equally delicious, crust.
Note: Stocked with other olive oils or available at specialty stores. Its intense lemon flavor is worth tracking down. Or substitute 2 tablespoons olive oil mixed with the finely grated zest of 1 lemon.