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Roasted Butternut Squash & Pesto Pizza

Sunday, November 2nd, 2014

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C’mon, admit it: you KNEW this was coming. Every time I find myself with an abundance of produce, I invariably figure out a way to put it on a pizza (P.I.Z.Z.A.).

Before trying my hand at a butternut squash pizza, I did a little googling to see what others have done; this is kind of a mashup of some of the ideas I found. The roasted squash was heavily influenced by the Fall Harvest Butternut Squash with Almond-Pecan Parmesan from The Oh She Glows Cookbook – and the Farfalle with Zucchini, Mint, and Almonds from Vegan Italiano provided the inspiration for the pesto recipe, which is much more moist than usual. The liquidy pesto is insurance against the oven, which always dries my pesto pizzas out more than a little bit.

The result is hella tasty, and definitely one of my best uses of butternut squash to date.

(More below the fold…)

Pesto Pizza, courtesy of Chickpea Magazine!

Sunday, February 17th, 2013

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With all these cookbooks to keep me busy, Shane and I haven’t been making pizza as much as we used to. Wait, let me rephrase that. AS MUCH AS WE SHOULD. SHOULD. It’s like an obligation or something, seeing as I have a pizza blog to do right by now.

Last weekend we made two pies, identical except for the base: mozzarella Daiya, sundried tomatoes, black and Kalamata olives, and fresh tomatoes. The one in the back is topped with homemade pizza sauce (made and frozen last fall; I for seriously need to empty out my freezer, y’all! anyone want some of my special sauce?). The other slice has homemade pesto instead of red sauce, the recipe for which is from the Summer 2012 issue of Chickpea magazine.

I was lucky enough to win a copy in a Vegan MoFo giveaway, and now that I’m finally getting around to reading it, I think I might subscribe. I’m already a bit of a magazine hoarder as it is, but methinks this one might actually see some use. It’s super-cute, well-designed and thought out, but with a definite indy/diy feel. I was stoked to win the summer issue, since it features an entire spread of vegan ice cream – AND THEN I opened it and saw a pizza feature too! “No such thing as bad pizza” – truer words have never been spoken, my friends.

So anyway, the pesto: very tasty! I was immediately drawn to this recipe because it includes a good 50% more ingredients than most pesto recipes, which piqued my curiosity. And it did not disappoint! I wasn’t able to get it as spreadable as I would have liked, but that was my fault – I ran out of lemon juice, which is what they recommend to help thin the consistency. Oh well, there’s always next time.

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Sunday, November 16th, 2014

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Monday, November 3rd, 2014

Cookbook Review: Vegan Italiano, Donna Klein (2006)

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

Why hello, never ending vegan pasta bowl!

five out of five stars

I received a copy of Donna Klein’s Vegan Italiano for Christmas – and in the few short months that I’ve owned it, I’ve managed to tear through nearly three dozen recipes. This is unprecedented for me, cookbook hoarder and master procrastinator that I am. But I also love, love, LOVE pasta, and since the dishes all sound so incredible, my biggest challenge was choosing just one to start.

(As it turns out, the inaugural recipe was Frying-Pan Pizza, and it was a game changer. Hearty, doughy pizza! In less than 20 minutes! MAGIC!)

Among the recipes I tried:

* Italian-Style Butter Bean Dip (page 4)
* Sicilian-Style Tomato Spread (page 13)
* Cauliflower Soup with Parsley (page 16)
* Baked Vegetable Soup (page 21)
* Tomato and Bread Stew with Pasta (page 27)
* Olive Croutons (page 34)
* Farfalle with Sundried Tomato-Mint Pesto and a side of Fresh Broccoli Marinara (pages 53 and 99)
* Farfalle with Zucchini, Mint, and Almonds (page 54)
* Fettuccine with Mushrooms and Marsala and a side of Roasted Carrots with Rosemary and Sage (pages 55 and 101)
* Fusilli with Caramelized Onions and Walnuts with a side of Green Beans with Walnut Sauce (pages 56 and 103)
* Linguine with Breadcrumbs and Lemon (page 58)
* Linguine with Broccoli Sauce and Garlic (page 59)
* Linguine with Caper and Green Olive Marinara Sauce (page 60)
* Linguine with Potatoes, Green Beans, and Spinach-Walnut Pesto (page 62)
* Linguine with Roasted Pepper, Tomato, and Garlic Sauce (page 64)
* Potato Gnocchi with Sundried Tomato-Almond Pesto (page 73)
* Sicilian Skillet Pasta Pie (page 76)
* Spaghetti with Red Wine and Rosemary Marinara Sauce and Skillet Garlic Bread (pages 78 and 138)
* Baked Herbed Rice (page 83)
* Lemon-Pine Nut Rice (page 84)
* Microwave Risotto with Saffron (page 86)
* Risotto with Zucchini and Sundried Tomatoes (page 89)
* Baked Mixed Vegetable Casserole (page 125)
* Pesto Pizza with a Semolina Crust (pages 132 and 130)
* Frying-Pan Pizza (page 134)
* Baked Garlic Bread (page 138)
* Spinach Pesto Pasta with a side of Green Beans with Tomatoes and Garlic (pages 144 and 102)
* Lemon-Basil Pesto Sauce (page 145; paired with angel hair and sweet corn)

I blogged each dish as I went, so I won’t bother rehashing each one here – but you can click through the recipe titles to see photos and read more about any given recipe.

Vegan Italiano Mosaic

As was expected (did I mention my carb addiction?), there were very few dishes that I didn’t absolutely love. Growing up my mom made pasta on a weekly basis, but my experiences were mostly limited to spaghetti and meat sauce. Klein introduced me to a number of new vegan favorites: the ‘Linguine with Roasted Pepper, Tomato, and Garlic Sauce’ is out of this world, as is the ‘Sicilian Skillet Pasta Pie’ – and the ‘Fettuccine with Mushrooms and Marsala’ and ‘Farfalle with Zucchini, Mint, and Almonds’ aren’t too shabby either. And the ‘Linguine with Breadcrumbs and Lemon’? AH-MAY-ZING. I never would have thought to mix breadcrumbs with pasta, but now I’m putting them on all the things.

(Adding quotes because the recipe titles seem to bleed together otherwise.)

(More below the fold…)

Pile-It-On Pepperoni and Pesto-Potato Pizzas

Sunday, March 24th, 2013

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…from Robin Robertson’s The Vegetarian Meat & Potatoes cookbook. Don’t worry, the pizzas are all-vegan! I wouldn’t have it any other way.

First up: the Pesto-Potato pizza. Now I’ve had pesto pizzas and I’ve had potato pizzas, but pesto and potato? Who woulda thunkit!

2013-03-17 - VMP Pesto-Potato Pizza - 0018 [square]

As it turns out, Pesto-Potato Pizza is pretty damn delicious. Both pesto and potato pizzas can sometimes be on the dry side, so this is a pizza best enjoyed fresh – or perhaps with some kind of dipping sauce. I veered from Robertson’s directions a bit; whereas she would have you coat the potatoes in a cup of pesto and then layer them on the pizza, I used the extra few cups (one recipe makes three cups) as a base, for extra besto pesto goodness. Plus the pesto is thick enough that it didn’t really take to the potato slices. Whatever, it’s all good.

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We also made a “Pile-It-On” Pepperoni Pizza, which is really just a cute name for a pepperoni pizza. Shane was craving pepperoni anyway, so we figured what the hey? Two recipes with one stove. Robertson only calls for four ounces of vegan pepperoni, but I’m pretty sure we used more than that. Pile it on, right?

The Basic Dough recipe is pretty solid: it’s a little thinner than we normally make (which is to say, medium-ish; our crusts are usually pretty thick and fluffy), nice and crispy, with a slightly butter flavor. I like!

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Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

Happy National Pizza Week!*

Monday, January 21st, 2013

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Did you know that it’s National Pizza Week? ME EITHER! At least not until the day of, otherwise I would have held a contest or giveaway on fuck yeah vegan pizza. Oh well, there’s always next year. Or next week. Every day is vegan pizza day, is what I say!

Yesterday Shane and I celebrated by trying a few new recipes from two of the cookbooks we’re working through: Vegan Italiano and American Vegan Kitchen.

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First up: Pesto Pizza with a Semolina Crust from Vegan Italiano. Where to start? The crust is tasty – crunchy and medium-thin – though not discernibly different from some of the other crusts we’ve made. According to Klein, semolina flour is supposed to have a nutty flavor, but my unsophisticated palate didn’t catch it.

The pesto isn’t half bad, but I was afraid that the recipe didn’t make enough to cover the pizza, so I tossed a half a cup of walnuts and an extra tablespoon of olive oil in for good measure. Personally I prefer sundried tomato pesto, but I’m not complaining.

Topped with Roma tomatoes at Klein’s direction. Kicking myself for not adding more!

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Then there’s the Margherita Pizza with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce from Tami Noyes’s American Vegan Kitchen – which includes recipes for the pizza, dough, and sauce. Yum!

The dough’s delish, though again not all that different from what we normally make. Well, maybe that’s not entirely true. Funny story: we didn’t realize until after we’d assembled the pizza that the recipe makes two pies. (No wonder we had “extra” sauce.) So really the crust was twice as thick as it should have been – but alas, it’s about the same thickness as our go-to recipe, so all’s good.

As for the sauce, it’s a mix of diced tomatoes and roasted red peppers – a little spicier than what I’m used to, but quite good! You can put it on the pizza direct from the stove top (chunky!), or run it through a blender or food processor for a more uniform sauce. I chose option #2.

Topped with Roma tomatoes, mozzarella Daiya cheese (of course!), and basil.

Food related holidays, they’re my favorite.

* Belated! Turns out I’m a week late. Old gif is old.

Cookbook Review: Cooking Vegan, Vesanto Melina & Joseph Forest (2012)

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

Cooking Vegan: You Know It!

four out of five stars

(Full disclosure: the publisher sent me a free copy of this book for review.)

The second collaboration between (vegan) dietician Vesanto Melina and (not-vegan) professional chef Joseph Forest, Cooking Vegan: healthful, delicious, and easy is a nice introductory vegan cookbook, particularly for newbie vegans and skeptical omnivores, as well as veteran vegans who want to eat a more healthful diet.

With chapter headings like “Vegan Nutrition” and “Vegan Ingredients,” the first fifth of the book is devoted to describing the basic building blocks of a vegan diet: fats, sweeteners, nondairy milks, soy foods, thickening agents, etc. (Spoiler alert: the age old question “But where do you get your protein?” will be answered!) There’s also some more general info about organizing your workspace, following recipes, and the like. Twelve suggested “theme” menus (Children’s; Super Simple; North American; Japanese) provide additional guidance for overwhelmed cooks.

Now for the food! The recipes in Cooking Vegan are divided between nine categories: breakfasts and beverages; dips, spreads, snacks, and sandwiches; soups; salads; salad dressings; entrées; sauces and gravies; side dishes; and sweet treats. Each recipe is accompanied by detailed nutritional information, and many come with suggested variations.

Before I begin reviewing a cookbook, I leaf through the recipes and come up with a list of dishes I’d like to try, so that I can check my pantry for ingredients and update my shopping list accordingly. For Cooking Vegan, this meant about thirty recipes, give or take – roughly enough to fill up a sheet of legal paper. At this point, I’ve tackled about half of them – enough that I feel comfortable writing a review.

With few exceptions, I enjoyed nearly all of the dishes I tried. In particular, the Scrambled Tofu, Marinara Sauce, Tapenade and Pesto Pizzas (including the pizza dough!), Good Morning Granola, Mac Uncheese, Light Mushroom Gravy, and Vegan Dazs Ice Cream stand out in memory, and all will be joining the regular rotation here in the Garbato-Brady household. (Actually, the Vegan Dazs already was a staple, just under another name: One-ingredient banana ice cream. Look it up!) The sole dud? The Holiday Pie Topping, which has a rather unpleasant aftertaste.

Still on my to-do list: Gooda Cheez (for which I bought a bag of agar, all special!); Heart Healthy Hummus; Black Bean Soup; Tuscan Minestrone; Wild Rice Salad; Shepherd’s Pie; Mushroom Lentil Patties; Corn with Bell Peppers; Scalloped Potatoes; Cashew Cheeze Lasagne; Blueberry Muffins; Almond Butter Balls; and the Cashew Cream Topping. I’ll blog these as I get to them, so keep an eye out!

Based on my experience, the recipes found in Cooking Vegan are straightforward and easy to follow, with few unusual or hard-to-find ingredients required. While some of the recipes (such as the Mac Uncheese) call for a second recipe (in this case, the Gee Whiz Spread), this is kept to minimum, with one added recipe at most. (One notable exception are the pizzas, which reference recipes for dough and a topping. Both of which are super-easy to make!) When referring you to another recipe, the authors include a page number, which I really appreciate. (All that flipping back and forth to the index when you’re trying to cook dinner? No thanks!)

My main complaint is that Melina and Forest are rather light-handed with the seasonings. With the Scrambled Tofu, for example, I found myself doubling – even tripling – up on some of the spices. Likewise, before I worked my magic, the Mediterranean Lentil Soup could best be described as “bland.” Still, the fix for this is easy enough: taste, taste, taste! as you cook, and don’t be afraid to adjust the ingredients to fit your own style.

As someone who’s been experimenting with banana ice cream for a while now, I do have to point out one glaring error in the Vegan Dazs Ice Cream recipe. While the primary recipe uses a juicer to blend the fruit (I’ve yet to wrap my mind around the logistics of this…not a big juicer, me), one variation gives these instructions for using a food processor: 2 cups of frozen bananas to 1 cup nondairy milk; serve immediately. In my experience, it’s best to use as little liquid (be it nondairy milk, creamer, or water) as possible, since the liquid will form ice crystals as it freezes. While it’s clear that Melina and Forest don’t intend for this version to be frozen and enjoyed later, there’s no reason why it can’t be!

Either way, one part liquid to two parts bananas is still excessive, even if you’re enjoying it immediately as soft serve. Better to leave the frozen bananas to defrost on the counter for 30 to 60 minutes prior to making the ice cream – this will give you a richer, creamier dessert, whether eaten soft serve or frozen ice cream styley.

Under the jump: photos and summaries of all the dishes I tried. Feast your eyes!

 

(More below the fold…)

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Thursday, July 12th, 2012

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Sunday, May 27th, 2012