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Make your own Pizza Party!


Wednesday seems like a L-O-N-G time ago.  Probably because I’ve been in a little slice of paradise called the San Ysidro Ranch  since Thursday and coming back last night was sort of like walking into the full-on midday sun the morning after your 21st birthday…with no sunglasses.  Okay, maybe not that bad.  But I didn’t want to leave.  More about that in my next post.  This post is dedicated to the good time I had before I left!

We had our neighbors over for dinner on Wednesday night.  Basically, I generically invited them over the week before for dinner and swimming, and then I forgot to actually follow up with a date.  Once I remembered, I was already booked for dinner the rest of the week.  I invited them to come over on Wednesday the following week (which was last week…are you lost yet?) and then began brainstorming what kind of dinner I could make that had little (no) cleanup and would satisfy both kids and adults.

About that time, I opened June’s Cooking Light to the “Fresh Summer Pizzas” section and decided we would bring back an old party we used to throw all the time in Law School: Make Your Own Pizza Night!  We have an amazing pizza stone that’s designed for our grill, and if you buy the dough, making your pizza is a snap.  I think Cooking Light said it best: “Invite friends over, scoop up some fresh ingredients, and throw and easy pie party…start with the dough.  Fast and simple means store-bought, not homemade.”  Exactly, CL, you’re speaking my language.  We called a local pizza joint, Pie Hole and ordered 5 large doughs.  Tuesday night, I roasted eggplant, squash, zucchini and onion.  I also bought mushrooms (which I sauteed Wednesday), kalamata olives, pepperonis, canadian bacon, shredded and whole mozzerella*, parmasean, romano, ricotta, tomatoes**, spinach (also sauteed), garlic, tomato sauce and pesto.  

I left the pizza dough out when my husband brought it home and that made it easy to stretch into pizza form.  Then, I put it on a cookie sheet covered with corn meal (to prevent it from sticking) and let my guests team up to make their pizzas.  They could add whatever toppings they wanted, and then we baked the pizzas for about 10-15 minutes!  I made the Three Cheese Pizza with Spinach and thought it was pretty good.  My husband and another guy made a “man pizza” which came to be called the “POTN” (pizza of the night).  The kids had fun making “patterns” with the pepperoni and tomato.


One of our neighbors brought Sangria.  I will ask her for the recipe to post it, but I know the primary ingredient was Carlo Rossi jug wine.  It was dangerously delicious.


I also made a three berry pie for dessert.  My husband said it wasn’t “real” pie because it had a crumble on top instead of a lattice top, but I thought it was delicious.  I got the recipe from Nepenthe in Big Sur, and I’m calling it Hippie Pie because the instead of a cook time, the recipe advised to bake until “the top is golden and bubbles rage”. HA!















*Mozzerella is so squashy it’s really difficult to cut without it completely losing its composition.  I found that freezing the mozzarella in the package and then taking it out when it’s hard (that’s what she said) makes it way easier to slice.

**Put the sliced tomatoes on a jelly roll pan lined with paper towels for 20 minutes before you put them on the pizza.  It makes the pizza less soggy.

Three-Cheese White Pizza with Spinach and Tomatoes

Hippie Pie


Manly Salad on Mother’s Day?

Lately I’ve been craving a Nicoise Salad like the one I ordered at Balthazar in New York City (or just “The City” if you don’t live in Oklahoma where that means Oklahoma City).  I decided to make one for dinner on Saturday night, but my husband decided he was hungry for a “man meal” which meant steak on his hasty bake and (what else?!) a baked potato.  He was also nonplussed at the idea of “wasting” charcoal to sear the Tuna I bought on the grill.

I decided we would make the Nicoise Salad for the Mother’s day picinic he (I) and my son (I) had planned to celebrate Mother’s day.  It was actually perfect because we made the mise en place Saturday night and actually assembled the salad at the park!

The bad news: I forgot plates so we had to eat out of the plastic containers holding different components of the salad.

The good news:  It was delicious!  And my husband was surprised by how filling it was…for a salad.  (“I didn’t know this salad had potatoes in it!”)  We also had a delicious bottle of 2000 Dom Perignon champagne, followed by a bottle of Benessere Muscat Canelli Frizzante which was WAY too sweet for our salad.

Here’s the recipe for the salad:

Elizabeth’s Mother’s Day Nicoise Salad

Serves 4

  • 4 6-ounce tuna steaks
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 dozen small purple or new potatoes
  • 1/3 pound green beans (or thin haricots verts), ends trimmed
  • Mixed Greens (Julia Child says butter lettuce, but I saw mixed greens at the farmer’s market)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved *see note
  • ½ cup Niçoise olives
  • 4 organic, large eggs, hard-boiled and cut into wedges
  • Dijon Vinaigrette

1. Preheat grill or grill-pan over medium-high heat. Rub tuna steaks with the olive oil, season generously with salt and pepper, and grill until cooked to your liking (some people like a mere sear on the outside, but feel free to cook it all the way through). Let the tuna cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting into ½-inch thick slices.  Or, put it in the fridge and serve it cold the next afternoon!)

2. Meanwhile, steam the potatoes for 20 minutes (or until cooked through) and the green beans for 7 minutes and let them cool. Cut the potatoes in half.

3. Arrange the lettuce on a big platter (or 2 small plastic containers if you forgot a plate). Lay the green beans, tomatoes and olives over the lettuce. Arrange the potatoes and eggs around the edge. Lay the slices of tuna on top. Drizzle with the vinaigrette.

Dijon Viniagrette

  • 2 parts olive oil
  • 1 part lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste

We are the Foodie Family on the Go!

We love food, wine, traveling and each other…at least we love each other most of the time…as long as there is plenty of food and wine involved…and no one asks what rocket is more than 11 times on a single vacation, because if we tell you rocket means arugula ten times, you should probably stop asking (especially if we haven’t eaten in a few hours), or just order it and see for yourself.

Our family is like a Super Tuscan wine.  Super Tuscans got their start in the 1970s when Italian winemakers decided to create a new an exciting red wine. Italy has strict wine blending laws according to the Denominazione di Origine Controlla e Garantita (DOCG). Producers of Super Tuscans decided to break the rules and make a new wine blended from grapes of their choosing.  Although our birth years span 1940 to 2011, we were blended in 1994, not the 1970s like the Super Tuscans.  And we aren’t from Italy.  So really all we have in common with the Super Tuscan is that we decided to break the rules and become a “blended” family that gets along pretty well (again, as long as we are properly fed and wined) Maybe we are more like a White Zinfandel…but not Beringer, a classier one…unless we are really desperate.

All in all, there are eleven of us so we tend to take over a restaurant when we walk in.  Six of us are adults (by age…only five of us are adults by demeanor) and we span three generations.  We travel ALL the time.  We live in Oklahoma, and July in Oklahoma feels like I imagine it would feel to live inside of a mouth.  And I’m not talking about a mouth that just put a piece of spearmint gum in it, I’m talking about a mouth that just woke up from an 8 course wine pairing dinner at Joel Robuchon.   In other words, it’s HOT and HUMID and HORRIBLE.  So we leave because it’s hot.  We also leave because it’s cold or because the kids are out of school for Spring Break or because one of us is running a marathon, or because someone is having a big birthday, or because flights were on sale, or because it’s Friday and we don’t have plans.

We almost always bring our kids with us when we travel.  They are great travelers, and they love trying new things.  They also love room service.  Their restaurant, travel and recipe picks are on our Foodie Kids page.  They are excellent chefs, explorers and pizza/mac & cheese/ cupcake connoisseurs.  But they will also try new foods and let you know what they think of them.

We want you to use this site as a reference when you’re traveling with your family.   Please check back often.

Until then, happy eating, drinking and travels!