Tonight my husband and I had a late night dinner together. The light was glowing, we sat with a glass of wine in hand, and a plate of fresh made pizza and a crisp salad.
Sounds romantic right? Well in fact, an hour or so prior to this I was upstairs wrangling the children into their jammies. One clinging to my every step because she’s afraid that a dragon lives in the front room while the other throws a full out tantrum because he doesn’t believe that now is a good time for a diaper change. Not exactly the prelude to a romantic dinner for two. And to be honest, the glow is from the television, the wine is more a necessity than an luxury at this point and the fresh made pizza is the only thing that lives up to its name because it’s fresh, it’s hot and it’s delicious.
Let me tell you a little about pizza night. A new staple in our house is a ball of frozen pizza dough from either Whole Foods Market or Russo’s. They both cost under $2 I believe. The only forethought you need is to take the dough out either the night before or the morning of. You can usually scrounge up things in the fridge or pantry, but if you want farm fresh you’re better off going to a nearby farmer’s market some time that day or the weekend before. It doesn’t take long and it is so worth it for flavor, quality and price.
Today after school, I took my daughter to the Belmont Farmer’s market. It’s a nice outing for children since they can usually help pick out the veggies, there are always some sweet treats and for my daughter anything with tents is by definition exciting. If you’re desperate there is a Starbucks in Belmont. You can sit in a cozy chair, refuel with some coffee/tea, read a story with your child and do homework before hitting the farm stands. The market is from 1-5 on Thursdays and it is in the back of the parking lot behind Macy’s and all the stores on Leonard St.
Today, I had two goals. Get veggies for tonight’s pizza and get some fruits and/or veggies for my daughter’s lunch. I found some great eggplant (2$/pound) from the Farm School stand (Athol, MA) and across the way my daughter picked out purple peppers for her lunch at Dick’s Market Garden Farm (Lunenberg, MA). She loves things that crunch like peppers and the purple ones are always a novelty because of their beautiful color. I also spotted some Mutzu apples which are great, they are a bit tart, but very juicy . They don’t brown too easily because of their tartness so they do well cut up in a lunch box. Another tip is to slice the apple in large circles and then put the apple back together. It will not really brown if you wrap it tightly together.
While I fixed the kids dinner, all I had to do was slice the eggplant, toss it with some olive oil, maldon sea salt, and pepper and throw it on the grill while the kids unwound from their day by playing in the sandbox on the porch. Last night my daughter had meatballs from the freezer that I had heated up in tomato sauce. She took some for lunch today and the leftover sauce and a meatballs were the sauce and topping for the pizza. We had some spinach that I bought earlier in the week at Russo’s because it looked fresh and fabulous. I always have grated cheese in the drawer (nachos, kids’ snack, pizza, grilled cheese).
Everything is prepped, I take the kids to bed. When I come down, I preheat the oven, I pour myself a kir (4 parts white wine, 1 part creme de cassis) and my husband walks in the door. He takes over. The ingredients are on the counter. All he has to do is stretch the dough onto the cookie sheet, cut up the meatballs, throw the sauce on, and add the grilled eggplant. We like variety so we keep the meatballs on one half and the veggies on the other half. While the pizza cooks he sautees the spinach with some garlic, adds it to the eggplant side and dinner is ready in about 10 minutes (400 degree oven).
It’s fresh, it’s cheap, it’s quick (even if your husband isn’t man enough to join in the cooking) and it’s delicious . The nice thing about pizza is you can be so creative or not for the picky eater. You can even make a mine/your side if you need to. Crystal Brook Farm (Sterling, MA) was at the Belmont market too. I bet they would have some great goat cheese for the pizza.