The air was crystal clear, the sky a true Sierra blue, the temp around 73°F, a perfect day to take our guests, Blas and Vanessa, on a hike to our favorite high mountain lake. The dogs zoomed ahead while the people made a steady ascent on the rocky Bishop Pass trail, through aspen groves and lodgepole pines, up steep switchbacks, and then across small meadows until the jagged peaks that cradle Long Lake come into view. We settled down for lunch with a view of the sparkling lake, munched Manchego cheese sandwiches, devoured trail cookies, and took lots of photos.
When it was time to head down the mountain, Tango, our indestructible, high-energy, German Shorthaired Pointer mix, had gone missing. We called, blared our whistle, and promised treats until he limped in, sat down and refused to take another step. Neither coaxing nor chicken jerky would lure him to move, as he lifted his paw pathetically. We were 3 steep trail-miles from our car. What to do? First, we fashioned a halter out of clothing, to lift him slightly to reduce pressure on the injured limb, and still he refused to move. This is a dog who normally covers five miles to our one, at a pace that still keeps him way ahead of us—always. A mule team came lumbering down the trail, but refused to transport a dog that might spook the steeds. Blas, a former marine, insisted the guys would have to carry him down the mountain across their shoulders. This is 65 pounds of dog.
As Steve hefted Tango onto Blas’ shoulders, Scott, a friendly passing hiker, offered to help, and we needed that help. It took all three men trading off every half mile or so to carry him back to the car.
By the time we returned to the cabin, after hiking up to 10,758’, and then carrying a dog back down, we were all hungry, with little energy left for cooking. I keep on hand terrific, easy to find, frozen, gluten-free broccoli pizza crusts for these occasions. The product is one of the few convenience foods I like. It’s sold at Vons, Albertsons, and Safeway, as Open Nature Gluten-Free Broccoli Crust Pizza. There are several flavors, but I like the Veggie which includes tomato sauce, veggies and cheese. While it is more than a crust, it needs embellishments which turn it into a satisfying, hearty meal, so good I never feel as though I’m cheating.
Super Easy Bell Pepper and Red Onion Pizza on Broccoli Crust
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/2" pieces
- Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ⅓ large red onion, chopped
- ⅛-¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 Open Nature Gluten Free Vegetable Broccoli Crust Pizza
- 1/2 cup (about 1 ounce) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Fresh arugula or thinly sliced radicchio (optional)
- Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 425°F.
- Heat the oil in a heavy medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bell pepper and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the chopped onion and sauté until starting to brown, about 4 minutes. Stir in the crushed red pepper and remove from the heat.
- Unwrap the pizza. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over. Place directly on the middle oven rack (no pan) and cook until the crust edges are deep brown, 11-13 minutes. Transfer the pizza to a work surface and let stand 3 minutes. Spoon the pepper-onion mixture over. Top with arugula or radicchio, if desired. Cut into 6 wedges and were right away.