Meant to Be

I do hope everyone had a nice weekend.  I’m coming off a high from a nice Mother’s Day.  Originally, I was expecting to have to sit on a baseball field an hour away from my house to watch my son’s team who was ranked 8th in a tournament have to play the #1 ranked team.  The game was fairly meaningless and they were likely to get an ass kicking.  As much as I love to watch my kids in their activities I was fairly bitter about spending my Mother’s Day doing this.  Not to sound selfish, but Mothers Day is my day.  Ok, yeah that’s selfish, but I’m honest and I don’t care.  So, the weather Gods listened to my plea, and dumped a load of rain the night before and cancelled all games.  Vindicated!  I got my favorite brunch at my favorite place with my favorite people.

I think we can all agree that no mother should have to cook on Mother’s Day. It is an unwritten rule.  Moms should go out for brunch, or their husbands and kids should cook them meals that day.  Just to make certain that rule was followed in my house, my oven decided to break on Saturday night.  I had a sheet pan of dungeness crab ready to roast in the oven as I painfully watched the temperature only rise to 130 degrees over 40 minutes.  So, that’s that.  Broken oven.  Just add this to my to do list on my busiest week of the year upon me.

I thought about it for a few minutes and realized I had not used my oven in probably 2 weeks.  Owning an instant pot, slow cooker, air fryer, industrial sized toaster oven and a grill has pretty much eliminated the need for my oven.  But now that it is broken, I started thinking of all the things I can only make in my oven.  Like grape and gorgonzola pizza.

I first had this pizza when we were on a Disney Cruise.  Palo is an Italian restaurant on the Disney Cruise Line that is Italian inspired and carries an surcharge of around $25 per person.  They offer a brunch (on sea days)  and dinner service.  It is amazing.  I have gotten pretty picky over the years on cruises and my expectations of meals in the main dining rooms are lackluster.  As much as a cruise line can try to uphold amazing food with amazing presentation, when you cook for 1500-3000 people per meal something will get lost.  When we cruise, we always seek out the smaller restaurants with an extra charge as the quality of the food is always better since they aren’t cooking for as many people.

This pizza at Palo is amazing.  I have heard rumors that they don’t have it anymore, but no worries, cause I found a recipe that comes extremely close.  I made this a few weeks after our cruise ended and it has been in the homemade pizza rotation in our house.  The flavors are amazing together but it is somewhat geared to an adult palate as many kids (including mine) don’t like stinky cheese.

As soon as my oven gets fixed, it’s back on the rotation.



(adapted from Epicurious)

serves 6


  1. Dough – I use my favorite prepared pizza dough.  Trader Joe’s or Wegmans typically fit the bill and is usually a good time saver.  Have the dough at room temperature before rolling it out.
  2. For topping
    • 1/3 cup Vin Santo (or a comparable sweet red wine)
    • 1 tablespoon sugar
    • 1 1/2 cups red seedless grapes (9 oz), halved lengthwise
    • 5 oz shredded Italian Fontina, ( about a 1 cup)
    • 2 oz Gorgonzola, crumbled
    • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  1. Shape dough and make topping:
    1. At least 45 minutes before baking pizza,  preheat your working oven to 500°F.
    2. Put parchment paper on a half sheet pan (around 13×9)  Roll out dough (use all purpose flour to generously dust your rolling pin, counter and parchment paper.  Pat out dough evenly with your fingers and stretch into the sheet pan.   (Do not handle dough more than necessary. If dough is sticky, dust it lightly with flour.)
    3. Bring Vin Santo with sugar to a boil in a small heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved, then boil, uncovered, until reduced to about 1 tablespoon, about 5 minutes. Add grapes to saucepan and stir gently to coat with syrup, then transfer to a bowl. Add cheeses and pepper to bowl, then stir to combine.
  2. Assemble pizza:
    1. Arrange toppings on the dough leaving a 1-inch border.
    2. Slide pizza in the oven.  Bake pizza until dough is crisp and browned and cheese is golden and bubbling in spots, 14 to 16 minutes. Transfer pizza to a cutting board. Cool 5 minutes and remove parchment before slicing into 6 pieces.