Ever since she was probably 6 months old, I always find myself saying "Caroline is just at the best age right now." It is true that every month seems to be better than the last. And I really do think she is at the best age right now - for real this time! Even though she's learned the meaning of the word "no," and has realized that she can in fact do what she wants instead of always listening to us, it is so amazing to see her little personality shine through. She is definitely strong-willed and opinionated, and then right when I feel like I've reached my limit with her, she says something like "Mommy, I love you sooo much." She is so funny and sweet, and I want to always remember every little thing she does and says - like being totally in awe of the "princesses" out at dinner a few weeks ago (high school girls going to the prom). Or when she told me that daddy is her very best friend. Or when she "calls" my grandpa on her play phone just to tell him she loves him. Or most recently, when she kisses my growing belly every day and tells the baby good morning.
Though selfishly, I have to say my favorite thing that she does these days is help me cook. Almost every night she pulls a chair up to the counter to help. Even though sometimes she hurts more than helps - like when she dropped the rolling pin on a pan of rising rolls. But I'll take it all because sharing this passion with her is truly one of the most rewarding things I've ever done.
This pizza was one of our joint endeavors. She helped me pat out and stretch the pizza dough, then we scattered the cheese, and finally, dropped handfuls of shaved asparagus on top. She thought it was great fun to "drop it on the pizza," and what's better, she loved eating this!
As did we. I shaved thick asparagus spears into thin slices with my vegetable peeler, then tossed them with olive oil, salt and pepper, a pinch of red pepper flakes, and minced garlic. The pizza is topped with Parmesan and mozzarella, and then finished with the asparagus. After a brief stint in the hot oven, the asparagus gets nicely charred in spots, and a squirt of lemon juice and smattering of scallions brighten the whole thing up.
We all really enjoyed this pizza, and with 10 minutes of prep followed by 10 minutes or so of cooking, it is perfect for a busy weeknight. I served this with strawberry spinach salad, and we all loved this light and springy meal. And Caroline still walks around saying "Drop it on the pizza."
Shaved Asparagus Pizza
adapted from Smitten Kitchen
- 1 pizza dough
- 1/2 pound fresh asparagus
- 2 tsp olive oil + more for brushing
- 1/8-1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
- 8 oz fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 scallion, sliced thinly
Meanwhile, prepare the asparagus. Lay each spear flat on the cutting board and hold by the woodsy end. Moving from the base of the stalk to the tip, shave thin slices. It's okay if they are different thicknesses. In a medium bowl, toss the shavings with the olive oil, red pepper flakes, garlic, salt, and pepper.
On a piece of parchment paper dusted with cornmeal, shape the pizza dough into a 12-inch circle, leaving the outer edges a little thicker than the inside. Brush the outer edge with olive oil, then scatter the Parmesan over the crust, followed by the mozzarella. Drop the asparagus over the pizza in small piles. If there is any oil left in the bowl, drizzle it over the top of the pizza.
Transfer the pizza + parchment to the pizza stone, and bake until the crust is golden-brown and the asparagus is charred in spots, 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with scallions, and allow to sit for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.