I have never been afraid of vampires. Maybe growing up watching The Count on Sesame Street just made them seem harmless to me. I wasn’t afraid of much in the way of movie monsters in general. Chucky didn’t bother me; neither did Freddy Krueger or Jason. No, when the lights went out at night at my house, a different breed of terrors kept me awake.
Aliens. I was absolutely terrified of aliens. Somewhere along the way I heard or read that the little green men could pass through walls as if they weren’t there. This was just too much. I was left with zero protection against abduction. I would lie in bed at night waiting for an alien to emerge through the wall right by my head. Chucky, I was sure I could kick in the face hard enough to at least get a head start running. Even Freddy Krueger would have to come in through a door or a window, giving me a chance at hearing him. But aliens? Right through the walls, clever things. I was defenseless, and terrified.
Going to Hell. This was one that I lost countless hours of sleep over. I managed to convince myself that my minor brushes with immorality – ranging from hitting my brother to telling white lies to starting small fires with a magnifying glass (which is a science experiment, by the way, and not a sin, and I always put them out) – were going to send me straight to hell in a handbasket. The one thing that gave me solace from my fear of hell was to take on the attitude of, “Well, if you can’t beat’em, join’em!” It was strangely calming for me to think that I would be able to save myself from an eternity of torture by just becoming evil! Mwahahahahaha!
And finally… I’ve saved my greatest childhood fear for last. I was shaken to the core with fear of nuclear war. Yep. Nuclear war. I think I watched the movie “The Day After” on cable when I was way too young. This, coupled with my knowledge that nuclear warheads did indeed exist, spelled certain disaster for me. Somewhere out there in some deep, dark bunker, someone had their finger on a big red button and at any moment they would sneeze and their finger would slip; or the order would come from the President to annihilate us, and a great rumbling wave of destruction would sweep across the globe.
And then, unless the aliens came through the wall and abducted me in time, I would die and go to hell and be forced to join Satan and his evil minions in spreading terror among whomever was left living. Sigh. I wish I had just been afraid of vampires.
Whatever you’re afraid of, or whatever you have ever been afraid of, or whatever you think you might be afraid of in the future, I believe I have a remedy. It would certainly work for keeping vampires away – Roasted Garlic Grilled Pizza. This baby has enough garlic to keep anything at bay: four entire bulbs of roasted garlic, 10 of the cloves blended into a creamy white sauce and the rest spread on top of the pizza along with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, and freshly chopped basil and parsley. The garlic, once roasted, takes on a sweeter, milder flavor that is seductive on the taste buds but still packs a punch for the post-garlic-pizza after-party. Your breath ought to keep anything you fear at bay. Vampires will run in terror. Satan shall send you rocketing toward the pearly gates. Aliens will seek other planets, and the great wave of nuclear destruction shall make a wide berth around you. Enjoy your pizza, my friends, and sleep well tonight.
Roasted Garlic Grilled Pizza
1 cup almond milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon plus a pinch salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 to 4 heads Roasted Garlic
1 recipe Pizza Dough
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
2-3 thinly sliced roma tomatoes
Preheat the oven to 350˚. Line a baking sheet with foil. Cut the tops off the heads of garlic and drizzle each head with olive oil. Place garlic heads face down on the baking sheet and bake for about 20-30 minutes or until cloves are soft. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
Warm the milk in the microwave for about 1 minute and set aside. In a large saucepan melt the butter over medium heat. When the butter is bubbling, add the flour and whisk constantly for about 1-2 minutes. Add the milk ¼ cup at a time, stirring constantly as the sauce thickens. Once all the milk has been integrated and the sauce has a thick, creamy consistency, remove from heat. In a blender or food processor, combine the sauce with 10 roasted garlic gloves, salt and cayenne, and process until smooth. Set aside.
Prepare a low fire on the grill. Lightly oil a grill pan. Stretch the pizza dough to fit the grill pan and place on the grill. Grill for about 6-7 minutes, watching closely, until the bottom of the pizza dough begins to brown. Remove grill pan, with dough, from the grill. Lightly oil the top, or uncooked side of the pizza dough and flip the dough over.
Spread the sauce on the cooked side of the dough. Sprinkle with the rest of the garlic cloves, fresh herbs, tomatoes and mozzarella. Replace the pan on the grill and cook for 7-8 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the bottom of the crust is crisp and brown.