A few weeks ago, our 6-year-old daughter went to a sleepover birthday party. She packed her bag full of books, her pajamas, and her Knuffle Bunny doll. Our friend told us the girls would be having pizza, at her daughter’s request. Lu can’t eat gluten. No problem. I put a small Freschetta gluten-free pizza in her bag as well. She had her own pizza, baked on a different pan, and felt as happy as the other kids at that birthday party. (Of course, they all stayed up too late and woke up bedraggled the next day. That’s the joy of being a kid at a sleepover. Sleep really isn’t the point.)
We’re happy to announces Freschetta gluten-free pizza as our latest sponsor.
I must admit that I’m a little dubious about most frozen pizza. We make our pizza dough by hand every week for our Friday night pizza and movie parties. Once you start making it, pizza dough doesn’t seem difficult.
However, I know that most people love a frozen pizza. After a week of making meals day and night for a week, plus snack for hungry kids, it’s a relief to have someone else cook for you. But sometimes you don’t want to go out for dinner either — too expensive, too much social interaction. Pop in a frozen pizza and turn on a movie with the kids. By Friday, that seems pretty darned appealing.
And our KitchenAid freezer — another one of our sponsors — has a slot in it labeled “In-Door Pizza Storage.” Clearly, we’re not like most Americans. This country likes its frozen pizza.
And we like Freschetta gluten-free pizza. It has ingredients I recognize. (It does have xanthan gum, for those of you can’t tolerate it.) It tastes of real tomatoes and cheese. It’s deliberately left simple so you can top it any way you like. Plus, kids like it. Every kid who has come into this house, gluten-free or not, has asked for more of this pizza.
Lucy may have told us recently that she likes Freschetta gluten-free pizza better than she likes our homemade pizza. We laughed. Actually, I understand. She eats so little food from a package that the idea of eating good pizza, gluten-free, that comes from a store? SO exciting. Your kids will probably feel the same.
Frankly, when Danny and I top our Freschetta gluten-free pizza with something interesting to use — slices of fresh basil and prosciutto, sautéed mushrooms and cauliflower, briny green olives and crispy coppa — and make ourselves a good side salad, like the fennel-cherry salad with cilantro-lime vinaigrette we’re offering below? We’re more than happy with this as our Friday night meal too.
Freschetta is giving away some of their gluten-free pizza to three readers of Gluten-Free Girl. Please leave a comment about why you might like to try this pizza. Winners will be chosen at random on Friday, July 17th, and notified by email.
Cherry-Fennel Salad with a Lime-Cilantro Vinaigrette
The people at Freschetta asked if we could create a side dish to go with the pizza. You bet! This time of year, our favorite salad is one Danny made at a restaurant in Seattle called Cassis. As soon as cherries came into season, he made this cherry-fennel salad for weeks. We offered this recipe in our first cookbook, Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef: A Love Story with 100 Tempting Recipes, made then with a raspberry vinaigrette. Tastes change: we never buy raspberry vinegar anymore. Instead, I like this simple lime-cilantro vinaigrette, the herb cutting the sweetness of the cherries, the lime amplifying their taste. If you don’t count the salt and pepper, we’re looking at seven ingredients for a great salad. Friday night, I have a big bowl of this and a couple of slices of pizza for movie night, and I’m satisfied.
for the vinaigrette
1/2 cup lime juice
1 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
salt and pepper
for the salad
2 heads fennel, thinly sliced
2 bunches radishes, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 pound fresh Bing cherries (or whatever is in season now), pitted, stemmed, and sliced in half
2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil
Make the vinaigrette. Pour the lime juice, olive oil, and cilantro into a blender. Blend until everything is emulsified and the cilantro entirely broken down into the liquid. Season with salt and pepper. Taste. Blend again.
Make the salad. Combine the fennel, radishes, and cherries. Toss them with a drizzle of the vinaigrette. Taste. Add more, if necessary. Top with the fresh basil.
Feel like playing? You’ll have vinaigrette left over. Aside from making this salad every day for a week, you could also use the lime-cilantro vinaigrette as the dressing for a quinoa salad or drizzle it over roasted chicken. Inevitably, of course, someone cannot stand cilantro. If that’s you, then try mint here instead.