The sun comes out, the temperatures rise, the flowers bloom, and the grass grows. Spring has sprung and summer will officially be here in a few weeks.
For many this is a time of rejoicing.
Finally, many Oregonians can escape the stuffy walls of their homes and get outside. For others (just as many?), they stand staring longingly out the windows of the walls of their homes and wish they could go outside without suffering from allergies.
Over the weekend, I took such a gamble.
While my husband continued to work outside fine-tuning the new gate, he encouraged me to join him outside, planting my azalea plant and mini rose plant. With trepidation, I agreed. I got all of my gardening tools and grabbed my huge bag of Miracle Gro potting soil and set to work; 15 minutes later everything was planted and my tools put away.
As I wandered over to the gate to check on Josh, our neighbor started up his lawnmower.
Literally two minutes later, my nose was getting that itch that informed me a sneezing attack was not far behind and my eyes got that watery feeling like there was something in it and needed to be rubbed.
I pressed on, dismissing Josh’s nudges to head inside and get some reprieve.
I stayed outside in the backyard for another 10 minutes – by that time I was regretting my choice of staying outside, and suddenly the weed pulling didn’t seem as important as my need to stop sneezing.
All of this weed-related allergy suffering got me thinking of Genesis and the Fall. (Genesis 3:17-19)
I can’t even begin to imagine the weight of disappointment Adam and Eve must have felt once they realized the gravity of what they had done. Adam had to work the ground and wrestle with weeds, and work to nurture plant growth, all while struggling with lots of dust, pollen, and hay that maybe even led him to discovering that allergies are awful. It’s an admittedly “minor” part of the Curse, but it’s one that I won’t mind leaving behind when all things are made new someday…
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace we have been saved)…” Ephesians 2:5,6
Did you read that? That word “but” always means there is more to the story and that there is hope.
The verse above obviously refers to God’s gift of salvation, relief from spiritual suffering, but, in a much smaller example of grace, how blessed we are to have a merciful God who created individuals with certain skill sets and gifts to become scientists and doctors and pharmacists who can create and provide us with some relief for our physical suffering as well!
In the spirit of our toiling in the great outdoors and the temporarily relief that we are provided with, I am sharing with you a grilled pizza recipe that celebrates the outdoors, this Tomato Salad Grilled Pizza.
This pizza is so good! If you have never grilled a pizza then you are missing out. You get that smoky crunchy crust from the grill and then all of this freshness from the tomatoes, arugula, basil, and cherry tomatoes that are simply dressed with a little olive oil, salt, and lemon juice.
I love that even though I can’t always be outside because of my allergies, I can still “taste and see that the Lord is good!” Psalm 34:8
Tomato Salad-Topped Grilled Pizza
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil , plus extra for rolling dough
- 1 pound pizza dough
- 1 1/4 cup halved cherry tomatoes
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 6 fresh basil leaves , roughly torn
- 4 oz mozzarella cheese , thinly sliced and quartered
- 2 cups arugula
Rub a little olive oil onto a cutting board to lightly grease the surface. Place the pizza dough on the cutting board and turn over so both sides are lightly oiled. Cover with a kitchen towel and set aside for 30 minutes.
Heat one side of a charcoal or gas grill to medium-high heat and the other side to medium-low heat (if using a charcoal grill, bank most of the coals to one side while leaving a few hot coals on the other side).
Place the tomatoes in a bowl. Add the lemon juice, salt, basil, and the 1 TB olive oil. Toss to combine and set aside.
Using a rolling pin to roll the dough into a circle about 1/16 inch thick. Carry the cutting board and all of the remaining ingredients plus the tomato salad out to the grill and place the dough on the hot side of the grill. Grill until the underside is browned and has grill marks, 1-2 minute. Using a grilling spatula to turn the dough over onto the cooler side of the grill. Place the mozzarella on top of the pizza, cover the grill (if using a charcoal grill make sure the vent holes in the cover are open), and cook until the mozzarella is melted, 2-3 minutes longer.
Transfer the pizza to a pizza peel or cutting board and slice. Top with arugula. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the tomato salad to the pizza and serve.