Zucchini Pizza with Lemon and Chives


Arundhati Roy pointed out, “There are things that can be forgotten. And things that cannot-that sit on dusty shelves like stuffed birds with baleful, sideways staring eyes.”

And she was right.

If I were to summarize my character, it would be with this: recently, I sat on a bench in my favorite book store waiting for my friends to finish up and buy something, already. Eventually, one sat down with me, and the other made his way to the register.

And then I decided I wanted to find a cookbook for myself.

(^meeeee)

In process, I spotted a different-kind-of-book cover. And some words: The Ministry of Utmost Happiness. And underneath, there she was. The author of my favorite book of all time. Roy wrote something new.

The sticker read, “Signed Copy.”

If I know anything, it’s this:

coincidence both is and isn’t.

I think, in that moment, I needed to find a piece of this thing that touched me long ago. I was so different then. Yet, I have carried memory of my time spent reading The God of Small Things with me for years. I remember thinking of the twins while at a haunted Florida theatre concession stand. I recall weeping in bed reading the romance. I can still see those blind eyes as I envisioned them years ago, reading. And now, I am the me I have come to know, and I have a new book.

I wonder two things:
.

1) What if I hadn’t gone back?
2) What if I didn’t have people who would wait?

.
It feels like a privilege, because it has not always been this way. And let’s be real: it isn’t always possible. Sometimes, someone can’t wait. Sometimes, you won’t wait, either. But when you find it, do not take the love in your life for granted. Also, let it change you. And change with it. And grow with the ones who are willing to stick around. And don’t explain to people who demand. And don’t overthink it. Let it make you better again.

I don’t know, something shifted recently. And surprisingly. Like, it really didn’t seem like the time. And it took a really long while to get here. And I didn’t ever expect to. And I think that’s why it feels real. Because it took time. It didn’t masquerade as something else. In fact, it occurred when it seemed it wouldn’t. But I think maybe it was happening all along.

Memories of time spent at a huge dining room table with cats and a sweet little dog and my best friend in the whole world. Finally calling the doctor about something that Google later helped me to heal, after all. Cackling about feelings. Bags of coins and settling for PB M&Ms instead of mint ones. Grated zucchini mixed with cheese on top of crispy crust. It seems too simple, even though it isn’t. A lot went into getting there.

[but also, it took two more tries afterward before I realized that lemon and chives taste pretty great and sugar on pizza dough is totally neat and also yes please to parm shavings on top]

You live, you learn.

One Year: Vegan Cumin-Scented Fresh Corn Soup with Roasted Corn and Avocado Salsa
Two Years: Arugula with Roasted (Fruit and) Vegetables
Three Years: Trottole with Olive Pistou
Four Years: Pimenton Oven Fries

Zucchini Pizza with Lemon and Chives
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

2 1/2 pounds (about 5 small-medium or 3 large) zucchini, trimmed
1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for fingertips
2 tsp cornmeal
16-oz pizza dough (favorite = Trader Joe’s)
1 tsp granulated sugar
flaky sea salt, as desired
2 tsp lemon zest, divided
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/8-1/4 tsp chili flakes (for desired amount of heat)
3/4 cup coarsely grated gruyere cheese
1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more shaven, to serve
1 1/2 tbsp chives, finely chopped

Heat your oven to 500°F with a rack in the center. Grate the zucchini. In a large bowl, toss together the zucchini and salt. Let stand for 20 to 30 minutes (more, if you have the time), until the zucchini has wilted and released its water. Drain the zucchini in a colander and then use your hands to squeeze out as much water as possible, a fistful at a time. Meanwhile,
brush 9×13-inch baking sheet with olive oil and sprinkle with cornmeal. On a counter or cutting board, use oiled fingertips to pull, stretch, nudge and press the dough into a thin rectangle. Gently transfer to baking sheet and continue to press to the edges of the pan. The dough will be thin and imperfect; just try to get it even. If holes form, just pinch them together. Sprinkle with flaky sugar and sea salt. Transfer to oven and bake for 5-10 minutes, until crisped and slightly golden. As the dough bakes, toss the zucchini with 1 tsp lemon zest, chili flakes, and black pepper. Add zucchini to grated cheese and toss, making sure to break up any clumps of zucchini. Spread the zucchini mixture over the dough, leaving about 1/2-inch of space from the edges. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until the topping is golden. Straight out of the oven, sprinkle with remaining 1 tsp of lemon zest, chives, and shaven parmesan. Slice into squares and enjoy.

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