Favorite Places: Flying Squirrel Pizza

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We took the kids to the park late yesterday afternoon and stayed until everyone's fingers had turned to ice. On the way home, I almost said, "Let's go out for dinner," but refrained. We had food in the fridge and time to cook it, and the prudent thing to do was eat in. When we got home, the power on our block was out. It took one second for me to say, "We're going out for dinner!" Thank you, universe.

We had such a sweet night--at Flying Squirrel, playing tic-tac-toe with the kids, driving home to find the power still out.  Yancey made a fire, the kids pranced around with their flashlights, and it was great fun (the power was back on this morning, so my story would be much different otherwise). Our foursome in front of the fireplace , limbs all tangled up, was almost unbearably comforting. Lately, I've been so aware that these are the golden years--our kids want to be with us, they're curious and loving, and these years will be over so soon.

And about Flying Squirrel. We are into pizza. Though we will eat anything, we have opinions. Yancey especially, since he's the pizza chef around here. We are totally crazy about Flying Squirrel. It meets our stringent criteria:

  • Nearby (Seward Park)
  • Cozy atmosphere
  • Friendly waitstaff
  • Kids welcome, but not crazily catered to
  • Good selection of rotating taps
  • Perfect pizza crust--blistered, thin, but not TOO thin. Bends a bit at the tip, but sturdily holds its toppings
  • Delicious toppings--Salumi cured meats, local produce, homemade sausage

There have got to be other pizza opinions out there. What's your criteria? Where do you go?

Roasted Potato and Lemon Pizza

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At first bite of one of our pizzas, I say, with drama, "Mmm. If I had ordered this pizza in a restaurant, I'd be freaking out right now." At this point, Yancey and Wyatt exchange meaningful glances and sometimes roll their eyes. The funny thing is, every time I say this, I think I'm saying it for the first time. Even after writing this, I'll fall into the same amnesiac rhythm, I'm afraid. (This, by the way, is one of the best reasons to make new friends. They haven't heard all your tired phrases, exclamations, and stories. I exploit this to the fullest.)

But if there was ever a reason to bore my family with repetitious praise, it's this pizza. I really, really, really mean it this time. I do menu-plan, as I've mentioned before. But most the time, if "pizza" appears on my scratch pad, I have no idea what will top it. Enter The Leftoverist. Coming home from LaConner, I found four red potatoes in the vegetable bin. Plus my standard cheese drawer, the herbs outside my back door, and whatever lemon I can find knocking around. It's an emergency with a capital "E" if I run out of lemons or limes around here. Code Red. Get to MacPherson's immediately.

Here's to new friends, old friends (please--laugh at the same old jokes occasionally to keep us around), summertime, and scrounging in the fridge.

Roasted Potato and Lemon Pizza
Remember--this pizza crust I'm directing you to makes enough for one standard jelly roll/cookie sheet PLUS a smaller quarter sheet. So you'll have some dough left over.

Recipe and instructions for this pizza dough

4 medium red potatoes, sliced as thin as you can--or about 1.5 c. of 1/8" thick slices
8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
olive oil
1 medium lemon, thinly sliced (I used a mandoline)
1 c. shredded whole milk mozzarella
1 c. shredded parmesan
handful fresh lemon thyme, coarsely chopped
salt and pepper

Heat oven to 425. Toss potato slices, garlic, and onion with a big glug of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and roast potato mixture until everything is just tender, about 25 minutes. Remove and set aside.

Turn oven up to 500. Press dough into your baking sheet/jelly roll pan, and scatter mozzarella over. Top with roasted potato mixture, sliced lemons, then parmesan. Bake until crust is golden and top is bubbly, about 15 minutes. (Make sure bottom of crust is golden--might be 5 more minutes depending on your oven.)

After you take it out of the oven, sprinkle the fresh thyme and a fresh grinding of pepper.