You know those Corona adds that say “Find your beach?”
It’s true. And I have no cause for complaint. I have a great apartment, with lot’s of light, a fabulous kitchen, and plenty of space for two humans, two crazy cats, and an enthusiastic black lab.
My only wish (besides wishing my landlord would refinish our wretchedly abused wooden floors) is that we had a patch of outdoor space.
I decided after years of fantasizing, I would do something about it.
Something which required significantly less time, energy, and resources than finding another great apartment in Union Square.
I bought a picnic table.
And I plopped it down right between my parking space and the building.
The view is certainly nothing write home about, but hey, it’s a place to sit down and enjoy the sunshine.
Or fire up the grill and drink beer with friends.
My point is, don’t put off entertaining because you don’t have the perfect yard, or you aren’t the very best cook.
I made grilled pizzas with the dough recipe from Pioneer Woman. The dough came out great, but you know what? I had only grilled a pizza once before, and I was mighty unsure of what I was doing. Some of the pizza stuck to the grill, and it wasn’t as thin as I wanted it.
But you know what?
No one cared.
Everyone was drinking beer and eating slightly charred too-thick pizza, and soaking up the sun.
I almost didn’t post about this last minute get-together, because I didn’t have great pictures, and the food didn’t come out exactly how I’d planned. But I realized that would be silly, and vain, and defeat the whole purpose of this blog, which is to show you that entertaining is fun and easy, and shouldn’t be taken too seriously.
Next time I’ll plan a little better. I’ll stretch the dough properly. I’ll have lots yummy of toppings prepped, and the grill at the right temperature, and some bottles of rose wine chilling in a galvanized steel bucket filled with ice…
But do you think my friends were thinking about all this while they were wolfing down grilled pizza and homemade ice cream sandwiches?
Of course not.
One of the best lessons you can learn as a host is to never let them see you sweat. Because no one will mind if the food isn’t picture perfect, but no one is going to feel comfortable if you are stressed and cranky. (which I admittedly was, when that first pizza stuck to the grill grate.)
By the third pizza and my second beer, I had moved on.
If things don’t turn out exactly as planned, dust yourself off, take a deep breath, and remember this a party, not brain surgery.
And really, is there any better way to spend a sunny afternoon?
But the food writer in me cannot, in good conscience, give you a recipe I haven’t tested and perfected, so if you want to make grilled pizza you are on your own.
When I have it down, you’ll be the first to know, and will post a proper recipe.
For now I’ll leave you with my grilled bluefish with mustard and thyme.
If bluefish isn’t in season, or it’s not your thing, salmon and swordfish would work really well here.
So this weekend get out there, in your back yard, or on your porch, or slab of concrete, and enjoy! You can find me out back at the picnic table.
Here is the print-out
Mustard bluefish with lemon and thyme
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon olive oil
Grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
1 medium shallot, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
2 pounds skinless boneless bluefish, cut into 4 portions
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. In a bowl, whisk the mustard, olive oil, lemon, shallot, and thyme. Season the fish well with salt and pepper. Pour the mustard mixture over the fish. Let stand for 15 minutes.
2. Light the grill or turn the broiler to high.
3. Grill the fish for 10 minutes over direct heat, skin side down, without turning, or until cooked through. Broil for 10 minutes about 6 inches from the element, without turning, or until cooked through.