Archive for June, 2010

Recipe of the Week: Pizza on the Grill

Grilled Pizza

Garlic Scape Pizza, hot off the grill

Pizza on the grill. Really? Really. I always thought it was a crispy, gooey myth, too. The good news is that it’s the real deal: easy, delicious, and a way to keep the oven off on a hot summer night.

Almost every Saturday, we try to have pizza & a movie night. It begins with the kids and I making the dough, which is so ridiculously easy (and so easy for kids to help with) that unless you are out of the house all day, there’s no reason not to try it. It’s fast, and it tastes a whole lot better than most of what you could have delivered and anything that was frozen. The only special ingredient you need is yeast and a little time to let the dough rise (I usually let it rise an hour).

There are plenty of recipes for pizza dough. I’m partial to Mark Bittman but any general interest cookbook will have a few. Make two batches and freeze one for later.

The key to a successful pizza on the grill, to my amateur mind, is to make certain the grates are prepared. Turn your grill on high, and when it is good and hot, scrub it clean.

Roll or stretch your dough into the form you prefer (and that will fit on your grill). I put mine on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper so it would slide off easily.

Take your grill tongs, use them to grab a loose paper towel, and dip the towel into the bowl of canola oil you have waiting. Rub that oily towel all over the grates. When the grates look dry, repeat this step two more times.

Then slide your dough onto the grill to crisp it a bit before you add the toppings. Using a spatula, keep an eye on the underside, and cook it for 30 seconds to one minute (depending on your preference and keeping in mind that you will be putting the dough back on the grill with toppings). Flip the dough and cook it on the other side for the same.

Take the dough of the grill, turn the grill to low, and add the toppings. Best to put the cheese on last as the dough is very hot.

We are swimming in garlic scape pesto, recipe courtesy of Dorie Greenspan. Another google search for garlic scapes yielded a blog called Amuse Bouche , which gave me the inspiration for adding the pesto to pizza and grilling it. So, voilà, pesto on the pizza, with crispy pancetta, kalamata olives and fontina (no tomato sauce on this one). Fontina is our new obsession for pizzas, by the way. It melts perfectly and has a great flavor.

Putting the pizza back on the grill is a bit of a trick, and the parchment paper helps. Just slide it onto the grates, careful not to let the toppings roll off. And then close the lid, and watch the pizza for doneness. It will take a few minutes to get the cheese bubbling and delicious. And it took me two spatulas to get it off the grill.

The result: perfect pizza, cool house, delicious, fast, easy dinner. A winner!

Related Posts:

Pizza Night

8 Questions for a Kindergarten Teacher (Prepare Yourself and Your Kid for September)

Brigitte Paino

Ms. Paino -- or, Ms. P. -- with some of Jasper's classmates.

Jasper finished Kindergarten yesterday. Already. Just like that. Year over. And it was a big one, too, much different and more intense than Pre-K. He learned a lot, and so did we.

Now he’s headed off to 1st Grade and Magnolia to Pre-K in the fall. In the meantime, I asked Jasper‘s teacher, the wonderful Brigitte Paino from our local school, Brooklyn‘s P.S. 295, a few questions about what parents with a kid entering Kindergarten should know in order to be prepared. She’s a pro — smart, intuitive, and firm but full of heart — so listen up!

Continue reading ‘8 Questions for a Kindergarten Teacher (Prepare Yourself and Your Kid for September)’

Weekly Menu: June 27-July 4

Holy moly, July is almost upon us! Nola has graduated from Nursery School, Jasper’s last day of kindergarten is tomorrow, and we’re off! Before I know it, the kids will be a year older and we’ll be in Martha’s Vineyard again and it will be a year since I was last in France. Wow. In the meantime, we’re trying to soak it all in and enjoy the hot weather. And that means grilling.

Besides grilling, the menu this week is heavy on garlic scape pesto. We picked up a surplus of garlic scapes last week at the CSA, and have been throwing them into eggs, on top of pizza, and making them into pesto. The pesto is delicious…and we have 2 jars full (not to mention the two jars we’ve given to friends).

Weekly Menu:

Sunday: Grilled Shrimp in Garlic Scape Pesto over Sauteed Spinach

Monday: Grilled Chicken with Grilled Peaches and Cilantro Slaw

Tuesday: Garlic Scape Pesto with Peas and Crispy Pancetta

Wednesday: Burritoville…probably Black Bean with the Feta, Lime-y Slaw from Smitten Kitchen from a few week ago

Thursday: It’s so all about Shrimp & Soba again. Can’t get enough of those crispy shallots

Friday: Pizza on the Grill!! (More on this later this week- it’s divine)

Saturday: Dining Chez Gillespie. Hoping for Lobster Fest!

Happy Fourth, all! Long may she wave.

June 26 – 27: Weekend Links for Brooklyn Mamas

Clarks Country Meadow

Clarks Country Meadow sandals in raspberry, $75 on Zappos

New York City public schools dismiss for the year on Monday, June 28th — then it’s full-on summer vacation! Get your act together and get busy having some serious fun. See you at the playground or the pool, mamas!

Cute AND comfy summer shoes (no, really.) — MOM Finds

The city’s best beaches. — TimeOut New York Kids

The new LEGO store opens at Rockefeller Center. — A Child Grows in Brooklyn

Revisiting the inappropriate summer reading of our youth. — ad hoc MOM

A new Water Slide Beach comes to Coney Island. — Brownstoner

P.S. 1‘s wet ‘n’ wild Pole Dance (no worries, it’s kid-friendly) and more opps to get spritzed, splashed, or totally drenched. — TimeOut New York Kids

Cherry pie? Yes, please. — A Cake Bakes in Brooklyn

And last, Brooklyn brings it at The UnFancy Food Show at The Bell House. — BoCoCaLand

** Clarks Country Meadow sandals from Zappos.

Recipe of the Week: Cherry Amandines from La Tartine Gourmande

I’ve found a great whip-it-up-when-you-get-home-dessert that looks fancy, tastes delicious and is filled with ripe, luscious cherries. It’s a little like a bread pudding with a soft center, and chock-a-block with bright fruit. Perfect for weeknight or weekend company, or (as I made it) for one of those I-need-a-dessert moments.

You should have most of the ingredients in your pantry (eggs, butter, brown sugar, vanilla). You might have almonds (for some reason, we always do. Maybe it’s the granola) and the cherries. And you’ll probably have to buy the crème fraiche or mascarpone cheese (one or the other). But it will be worth it.

Because it will take you 10 minutes to assemble this, 20 minutes to cook it (then some pacing while you wait for it to cool a bit) before it takes you 5 minutes to eat it and exclaim over the deliciousness.

Cherry Amandines, hot out of the oven

Cherry Amandines, hot out of the oven


I found this recipe over at, which you should visit, if for no other reason than it is amazingly gorgeous. Visiting this site from my frigid Manhattan office gives me a short Calgon “take me away” moment.

Cooking notes: I only used about half the cherries because I was afraid they wouldn’t all fit in my ramekins. That said, I could have used more, maybe even all, the recipe called for. I also used mascarpone rather than crème fraiche because the former can be found at the grocery around the corner, and the latter requires a special trip.

Check out the recipe here, and while you’re at it, check out the latest post which includes a fresh pea spread with goat cheese, lemon, mint- need I go on (hint hint Katie who is providing the so-called pea tapenade for dinner tonight)? Wow, that looks good.


Review: Victorian Gardens at Wollman Rink

Victorian Gardens

Into every Brooklyn mama‘s life, a little Manhattan must fall. Love my home borough, but who wants to stay in the ‘hood all the time?

Last weekend, we *finally* made it to Victorian Gardens at Wollman Rink in Central Park. This destination had been on my list since last summer, and I was determined not to miss the season again. Here’s what we found.

Victorian Gardens

What it is:

A small, cheery amusement park surrounded by lush greenery and skyscraper views. It’s very nice (read: not Coney Island) and rides are designed for the younger set, so it’s a perfect destination for families with little kids.

Where it is:

Victorian Gardens is at Wollman Rink in Central Park. Since 2003, it’s been the summer incarnation of the winter skating rink.

Victorian Gardens

Victorian Gardens

Victorian Gardens


What we thought of the place:

Loved it! It was a solid three-plus hours of easy entertainment in the sun. Kids left exhausted and happy, making the moms happy, too.

Victorian Gardens

Two satisfied customers.

Mom intel:

The size of the place makes it easily manageable — it’s not too big or overwhelming. Jasper is almost 6 and Magnolia is almost 4, and only one ride was deemed possibly too scary (by M.) Everything else was fair game. And since the place is so small and contained, it felt fine to have Jasper run over to a ride by himself — he was still easily in view, so we didn’t feel we had to keep both kids in line for the same ride at the same time.

You can pay (with tickets) by ride, or go for a wrist-band which allows access to all rides as many times as the kids want to ride them. Go for the wrist-band. It doesn’t take the kids long to catch on to the fact that it’s a free pass and, if they like a ride and the lines aren’t long, they can just say they want to stay on and go again and the easygoing park employees will let them. Sweet.

Not much shade = don’t forget hats and sunscreen.

As is often the case in New York, you will be rewarded if you get your act together and show up early to beat the crowds. The park opens at 10am most weekend days (11 on weekdays), so arrive well before noon and you’re less likely to have to wait in long lines. We were there by 10:30am and, for the first two hours, the kids could pretty much walk up to any ride they wanted and get right on.

Victorian Gardens

Victorian Gardens

Hold on tight!

More Shiny Brite Reviews:

Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 6 — and to get more deets, see what A Child Grows in Brooklyn had to say about the place.

Moomah Cafe

Nelson A. Rockefeller Park & Teardrop Park

Children’s Museum of the Arts

Brooklyn’s BounceU

Summer Baby Names (Love This List!)

Magnolia at the beach

Beach baby.

I have two summer babies — one born end of July and the other beginning of August. We didn’t strictly choose summer names for them, but we did choose nature-inspired names, which I think have a similar feel. Must be why I loved this awesome list from the ladies over at nameberry!

That, and the fact that we know several parents who did go with summer or summer-inspired baby names. These are a few of the babes we know:








And here are a few other names on the list that we just like:







What do you think of these summery choices? Are there other nature-inspired baby names you like?

More on baby names:

Top 50 Names of Style-Conscious Parents

Goodbye Baby Teeth

Jasper's first lost tooth

One tooth down!

Jasper lost his first tooth!

We’ve been waiting for it to happen. He’s been sporting what I call “shark teeth”- two adult teeth coming in right behind his two bottom baby teeth- for a few weeks now (a nice dovetail with his “ocean” unit at school).

But oh, I can’t believe he’s big enough to lose his little baby teeth. The lonely tooth is SO TINY in my hand. I remember when it showed up on the scene.

Jasper, 11 months old

11 months old

The tooth fairy came last night, but put her tribute in the pillow case by accident, instead of under the pillow. Tears threatened this morning when both the tooth and the reward were missing, but then all was well when the little glassine bag with $1 was found.


Just another reminder that our baby is not a baby anymore!

Bye, bye baby!

Greens Madness: The Weekly Menu, June 20-26

The CSA bounty this week included a gorgeous head of red-tipped lettuce, a monster bok choy, garlic scapes, radishes, beets, peas, basil and rapini. And since I worked my shift, I also scored eggs!

So what to do with all this stuff? I hear garlic scapes (kind of like a firmer scallion, with a garlic-y, onion-y flavor) make great pesto, so I’m going to give that a go. Dorie Greenspan has an attractive looking recipe (here).

And I’ve been reading up on beets. Wow, they’re a superfood– both the beet itself, and the greens. Not to mention that last week I learned that radish greens are kind of like peppery arugula. Who knew? I’d been cutting them off, and throwing them out.

On Thursday, Katie (also a CSA member with a whole lot o’ greens going on) is coming over to eat our shared bounty and make a dent on the rewards.  I’m hoping she’s going to make the so-called Pea Tapenade (which I just made up right now). Stay tuned. By the way- that recipe for black bean tacos last week was a hit (it’s cheap! It’s fast! It’s good!). We’re going to mix it up this week, Brooklyn-style.

The menu:

Sunday: Salmon with Sweet Chili Glaze over Bok Choy and Garlic Scapes (Devoured. 30 mins to make, 10 mins to eat per usual)

Monday: Maggie’s book party! We’re eating out. (Tune in book lovers: Perfect Reader is on sale now and a great book club pick)

Tuesday: Pork Chops with Braised Turnips & Sautéed Beet Greens (don’t we sound so Alice Waters? The pork is local- well, not NYC-based, but NY based)

Wednesday: Black Bean Tacos with Roasted Vegetables & Savory Slaw

Thursday: CSA Dinner! Radishes with Butter & Salt, Smashed Pea Tapenade and Toasts, Pasta with Sautéed Rapini, White Beans & Crispy Bacon (Carbonara style)

Friday: Beet and Goat Cheese over Radish Greens Salad with Grilled Rib-Eyes

Saturday: Garlic Scape Pesto Pizza (adults only). Kids will have their usual cheese pizza.

Happy eating!

Happy Father’s Day, DAD-O

Jas & the Captain on the boat

It’s Father’s Day, and most of you are out there coordinating special breakfasts or dinners for dads, directing your children with cards and gifts. I turned the kitchen into triage for our CSA share this week, trying to figure out what needs to be eaten right away and what can wait until the end of the week. More on that later today.

First, an ode to my dad. Here’s to the guy who:

Played ticklemonster (or tickleplane) at bedtime, landshark in a pool.

Spent my childhood playing guitar for us and singing “Teach Your Children” and “Our House.”

Returned the things I filched from Walgreens.

Coached my winning and losing soccer teams -the Red Hots & the Chargers-and got even more excited than I when he saw me make a goal using my left foot.

Caught black widow spiders in Dallas for us to observe (and let die) in our bug jars.

Bore every babysitter saying he looked like Tom Selleck or Robert Wagner (“when they met, it was MURDER”) with grace

Sold moving to Houston to me by telling me the people across the street had a horse trailer in the driveway (sold it to Katie by telling her there was a whole freeway named after her).

Taught me how to drive on the BMW stick shift, convincing me to keep trying after numerous pops of the clutch by saying, “do you want to drive a sports car someday?”

Seemed genuinely sympathetic when he told me, finally, that they were not buying me a horse.

Found a nickname for everyone long before the Saturday Night Live skit or his buddy George W. (Tara= Terra Firma, the Kymmeister, Kate the Skate, Jake-O, The Boat Wench)

Entertained us kids with great trips skiing and boating (catching air at Park City, singing Neil Young on the chairlift “it’s too dark to see the keys in my ignition”)

Gave us some classic family lore (“in twenty years…” and at my MHC parents weekend: “I AM ENJOYING DINNER WITH MY WIFE AND DAUGHTER!” and “you just don’t know”)

I could come up with more, but I’ll stop here.

Dad, you’re irreplaceable!

Happy Father’s Day! XO

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