Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Jamaican Jerk BBQ Chicken Pizza
Today is the second game for my daughter’s 7th grade volleyball season. Her first game was just two days ago. W was driving straight from work to the home team’s gym in a nearby town. I had Y as my navigator and we were expected to arrive about the same time. W texted “At the gym”. I took a wrong turn, glanced at the clock and noticed my heart race a bit. We would be close to not making it on time. I had tried in the past few days to find out from J where she settled in amongst her teammates. She assured me she wasn’t good enough to start but she didn’t think she was the worst one on the team.
I knew what it was like to be the worst. My mind flashed to my rookie volleyball season. I recalled the first day of practice where we were told to serve 25 times and record the number we successfully got over the net in the coach’s notebook. Volleyballs were flying every which way in the gym that day. Half-way through I had yet to make any over, yet I knew there would be many of us with low numbers based on the direction the balls were flying off the sides of server’s hands. I had served 20 times, all unsuccessful attempts. I was bound and determined to get my last five over. Unfortunately I did not. I sullenly wandered over to the grade book to record my 0. I scanned the numbers written before me and saw mostly high numbers. Tears immediately blocked my vision and my heart pumped nearly out of my chest as I resolved to tell the truth and scribble a sad 0 in the book.
A few minutes later, I took another wrong turn just as W sent another text. Y read the text out loud. “She’s starting…”
“What?!?” I screeched as I U-turned over the curb and onto a sidewalk- all four wheels. I screeched into the parking lot, took the buses only lane short cut to a parking space and moments after parking, and locking looked at Y and said “RUN!” We both sprinted leaping over curbs, bushes and perhaps even a small child or two all while trying to navigate which exterior door would lead us straight to the gym. We entered the gym at a whistle- the first whistle signaling the initial serve. We glanced at the scoreboard- 0-0. We made it! We high-fived each other and took our seats next to W at the top of the bleachers to settle in and watch J play her first volleyball game.
Several rotations in, it was her turn to serve. My heart raced a bit even though she didn’t look nervous at all. She actually had put forth descent effort this summer in preparing for the season. The $20 Wal-Mart net we purchased was strung across the basketball court. W, Y and I took turns shagging balls for her as she worked on serving.
My dad had done the same for me the summer before my sophomore season. I had decided in June that when I showed up for volleyball try-outs the next fall, I would be serving overhand successfully. My goal was to get 50 serves over every day. The first several weeks, the task had taken me hours each day to try and complete. I had strung a rope across an area of the lawn from a second story window to a tree at the edge of the lawn. I looked over my effort and decided the sag created about the right height of a volleyball net. Grandma and Grandpa came for a visit later in June. Grandpa watched as diligently served every evening to meet my goal. Grandpa went to town and worked for hours the next day to install a real net set in concrete. It was beautiful. I spent a lot of time there that summer. I would often only be half-way done with my goal when Dad would return from work. He would shag balls for me as they careened every which way.
J had practiced all summer. The referee whistled her to serve. I held my breath. Her serve successfully cleared the net and entered play. I sat back, enjoying the opportunity to watch my daughter play her sport that she is truly loving.
I didn’t quite exert that much effort this summer on my new recipe for Jamaican Jerk BBQ Chicken Pizza- but almost. Y had fallen in love with it at California Pizza Kitchen. I went with him once to taste “the best pizza ever”. I thought the ingredients on top were a little sparse. So I load mine up considerably more. Celebrate dutiful efforts today and make this pizza:
Jamaican Jerk BBQ Chicken Pizza
Jerk Chicken Pieces
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast grilled, or cooked on stovetop
1-2 teaspoons jerk seasoning (depending on how spicy you want it)
1/2 cup taco or chilli sauce
½ cup BBQ sauce
3/4 teaspoon jerk seasoning
Cook on low heat, simmering for several minutes.
Prep for the Pizza
pizza dough- purchase at favorite pizzeria or make your own
1 cup+ shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup diced red and yellow peppers
1/4 cup diced red or green onions
1/4 cup crispy bacon pieces
Jerk Chicken pieces
Use a spoon to spread the Caribbean sauce to within an inch of the outer edge of a stretched pizza dough.
Distribute ingredients to within 1/2-inch of the outer edge of the pizza.
Distribute Jerk Chicken over the sauce.
Distribute mozzarella over the chicken.
Distribute peppers over the mozzarella.
Distribute onions over peppers.
Distribute bacon over the onions.
Bake at 450 degrees in your oven or on a heated grill (I heat the grill then turn off the burners on the side I place the pizza on. The burners on the other side stay on and keep the grill cavity warm enough) until ingredients are hot and cheese is melted.