Hawaiian Pizza

Hawaiian pizzaStore bought pizza dough
1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves crushed, diced garlic
1 14.5 oz. jar pizza sauce, marinara sauce, or tomato sauce
1 8 oz. package Canadian bacon or diced prosciutto
1 14.5 oz. can pineapple rings, drained and chopped
3 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
Dried oregano
* Special equipment recommended – pizzas stone (cookie sheet will work fine, too)

Preheat oven to 400º.
If using a cookie sheet, spray with non-stick spray.
Roll out pizza dough onto stone or cookie sheet with pizza roller, until it resembles the crust for your pizza.
Drizzle olive oil over crust and dot with garlic.
Cook pizza crust in oven for approximately 6 minutes, until the edges begin to brown.
Remove pizza crust from oven.
Carefully pour pizza or tomato sauce over pizza crust.
Add pineapple, then bacon or prosciutto.
Sprinkle on dried oregano, to taste.
Lastly, add shredded Mozzarella to pizza.
Cook in oven for approximately another 10 minutes, until cheese melts and before crust gets too brown.

fish tacos


2 Pounds Wahoo (also called Ono) – Halibut or Tuna will work too
Whole Wheat Tortillas (or white, it’s a matter of preference)
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
½ head of green and ½ head of purple Cabbage, chopped
Juice of 1 lime
1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
Diced tomatoes optional
Lime wedges

Sour Cream (no more than a cup)
(Best Foods) Mayonnaise (no more than one cup)
Juice of 1 lemon or lime
Lemon Pepper
Pinch of Salt

Make sauce:
Put equal parts sour cream and mayonnaise in bowl. Squeeze juice of one lemon into bowl; add a pinch of coarse grain salt, and about half a tablespoon of lemon pepper. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Season fish with salt and pepper prior to sautéing. Coat pan with olive oil. Add fish, grind some additional pepper to taste. Squeeze lime juice over fish. Cook fish 4-5 minutes on each side (note: if grilling fish, cook 4-5 minutes on each side as well) Next, warm up tortillas.

Serve taco by placing fish on tortilla, adding cabbage, and finally white sauce with lime wedges on side. Tomatoes and cilantro add the perfect touch.

Fish taco recipe from Little Grapes on the Vine,Mommy’s Musings on Food & Family by Samantha Gianulis (Wyatt-Mackenzie Publishing, 2007)

https://www.familiesonlinemagazine.com/CALIFORNI.jpgThe year was 1984, I was thirteen years old. My best friend Kari and had traveled up Interstate 5 North from San Diego to Laguna Beach, California for a week-long vacation with her family. A thick marine layer had moved in on the coastal city, it was June, and we walked towards the beachfront hotel with alongside Kari’s older sister, Kathy whom I worshipped. Kari were sipping sparkling cider out of glass bottles, our hands strategically wrapped around the labels. We were pretending to be older and glamorous like Kathy, and that our cider was actually beer.

During the day that preceded our adolescent pretending, Kari and I giggled like the little girls we still were as we chased the waves. Nearby, a radio (“blasters”, we called them back then), played The Boys of Summer by Don Henley. We were aware that in the black and white Boys of Summer video shown on MTV, a man and woman chased each other in and out of waves on a beach that remarkably resembled the one in front of our hotel. But we had no boys chasing us, we knew we were just kids, and we spent a good portion of that summer day discussing what we thought our future husbands would be like.

Life seems so simple when you are thirteen. At least, it should.

I had not fallen in love yet. I wasn’t thinking about college. My family was intact, and I didn’t have a job yet. No major rite of passage was on the horizon for me, either – but I did find an integral part of my identity on that trip. I discovered twenty-four years ago, in some fine restaurants and rustic beachside snack shacks in Laguna Beach, California, my inherent sense of culinary adventure.

It went something like this at dinner that night,

“What’s that they put on the peeeht-suh? Pyyyne-apple,and hh-what? Bay-cuhn?” Kari’s father, a Texan, said this in his finest drawl. I had never heard her father surprised about anything, it made me giggle. And I don’t know what possessed Kari and me, maybe we wanted to be rebellious, but we ordered a pizza for just the two of us (we were going through a growth spurt, no doubt) with those unheard of toppings. Everyone else stuck to pepperoni and sausage.

In 1984, the Hawaiian pizza, as we know it now, was not mainstream. It was, as I recall, almost sacrilegious. And our exploratory attitude served us well; we succumbed to the pineapple sweetness and Canadian bacon saltiness married atop a blanket of earthy mozzarella.

I have ordered only Hawaiian pizzas since summer, 1984. Every time I order or make a pizza pie, I taste the independence first encountered at that pizza snack shack by the water.

The following evening on our vacation, Kari’s parents took us to a Japanese restaurant next to our hotel. I expected white tablecloths, white napkins, and tea steeping from a ceramic pot brought to us, set in the middle of the rectangular table, with tiny white cups dotting the crisp linen setting. I expected chicken with a dark, tangy soy sauce and sticky white rice, steam rising from the plate. Instead, someone put baby octopus and raw fish in front of me.

So I ate it. I simply could not think of a reason not to try it.

I hadn’t taken the SAT test yet, decided what I wanted to be when I grew up, but I felt strongly I should not turn down a culinary dare. I loved the chewy texture of the octopus, the cold wetness still clinging to it from the sea. I loved the pinkness of the raw fish, the thin blackness of seaweed wrapping around the avocado, crab and rice in the California Roll. I ate a lot of sushi and then I ate some more. I felt brave, proud of myself in a silly way, and I hadn’t broken any rules. A win-win for the foodie to be, me.

I was content with the simple contradiction of daring paired with obedience.


The year was 2004. An August morning in Laguna Beach, California, I was experimenting with champagne, mango juice, and star fruit. Cinnamon rolls were baking in the oven, and as I poured heavy cream into whisked eggs, my husband Pete sat on the sofa of our vacation rental with our children, watching a baseball game. Watching, as it were, the boys of summer.

Life felt simple. The imaginary husband that I concocted at the same place twenty years ago waited for his breakfast. He was, and is everything and nothing what I expected him to be. Another contradiction that I couldn’t deny enjoying. Beyond the open windows overlooking the beach, I watched young teenage girls in modest bikinis not straying far from their parents, and laughing, laughing with abandon, whispering in each other’s ears, and drawing hearts and initials in the sand. I smiled and remembered Kari, who slipped away from me years ago, and moved to Texas. I wondered if she still ate Hawaiian pizzas. I made myself a note to e-mail her older sister Kathy, whom I was still in contact with.

Pete and I spent our vacation days in Laguna Beach much like other families do, families who traveled to the beach for recreation and escape. We built sand castles, glided on skim boards, and stopped every four to six hours to reapply sunscreen (I got burned enough as a child). But most importantly, we introduced our children to non-traditional cuisine. It’s our job as parents to instill certain risk-taking behaviors in our children, we agreed.

So we geared up and headed out for fish tacos at a roadside place called Wahoo’s. They specialize in the “surfer’s hamburger”; grilled fish wrapped inside a tortilla, with cabbage, tomato salsa, avocado. Squirts of lime as well as Tabasco – total necessities for a fish taco – ran down the back of our anxious hands cupping the seafood treat. Fish tacos were no different than chicken or beef tacos to our kids, and for that, we reigned happy and indulgent. Cultivating palates that were non-conventional in culinary wisdom would serve them well. Risk-taking that didn’t endanger. A win-win for our little foodies.

My introduction to fish tacos – during a baseball game, the third date my husband took me on – was the only time since 1984 that I had taken a culinary dare. I had eaten sushi, broken tradition with pizza, but hadn’t been challenged by anyone since I was thirteen years old. So I ate the fish taco, married the person who wanted to partner with me in calculated, flavorful, and secure adventure, and have eaten a thousand fish tacos shamelessly ever since.

Because I believe that potential favorites come unexpectedly, and almost any food is worth trying once. It’s sanctioned jeopardy. Breaking culinary boundaries can change the way we eat, the way we look at food, the way we see ourselves, and provide hints of kinship within others.

At the table, I never say never. It’s a simple, reliable recipe.

It’s not so much “you are what you eat” as it is, you are what you feel like eating.

If I feel adventurous now (or if I’ve had too many star fruit Mimosas), I may try Menudo. If I covet the feeling of safety, I’ll fall back to cinnamon rolls. If I feel nostalgic, I’ll go out for California Rolls.

Later today my husband, three children and I are driving to Laguna Beach for the holiday weekend. We’ll do Easter Brunch seaside. I foresee Eggs Benedict in my near future, but I could change my mind – about food – at any time. That is so much fun for me.

It might sound simple, but the culinary choices I am free to indulge in provide the fixes I need, that I can take without consequence – whatever age I happen to be.

Life tastes better when you know yourself.

Smantha Gianulis

Samantha recently released my her family food memoir, Little Grapes on the Vine…Mommy's Musings on Food & Family .

Samantha is a self-taught chef. She worked in the Catering and Special Events industry for seven years before becoming a stay at home, now a work at home, Mom.
She appeared on NBC's ivillage Live.

Smantha Gianulis

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Smantha GianulisApron Strings Cooking ColumnHome CookingCooking and RecipesHawaiian PizzaStore bought pizza dough1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil2 cloves crushed, diced garlic1 14.5 oz. jar pizza sauce, marinara sauce, or tomato sauce1 8 oz. package Canadian bacon or diced prosciutto1 14.5 oz. can pineapple rings, drained and chopped3 cups shredded Mozzarella cheeseDried oregano* Special equipment recommended -...Parenting Advice| Family Fun Activities for Kids