(Not Exactly Gluten Free) Tomato Walnut Pasta

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

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Though this Tomato Walnut Pasta is from Daniel Nadav’s 101 Gluten Free Vegan Italian Recipes, it’s hardly gluten-free, on accounta I didn’t bother using GF noodles. Since I’m not GF, I really just bought this book for the pasta sauce and pizza combos. And it was just 99 cents. And it’s only the third vegan Italian cookbook I’ve heard of, gluten-free or otherwise. So there’s that.

The sauce, which is a combination of tomatoes, walnuts, spinach, and basil, is pretty tasty. Nadav didn’t include any garlic (blasphemy!), so I thew some in there. A little too much, actually – I added several tablespoons of garlic to the saucepan before I realized that the tomatoes I’d picked, cooked, and frozen last October also had garlic in them. No harm no foul. Well, maybe a bit of foulness. Breath-wise, that is. Whatever.

As I’ve been flipping through this cookbook, I’ve found a ton of mistakes. Most are aesthetic – inconsistent font styles, for example – and merely offend the perfectionist in me. But this particular recipe calls for 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast…and then doesn’t tell you what to do with it. (Sniff it? Trippy!) The options are pretty limited: add it to the food processor with the spinach, basil, and walnuts, or mix it right on in with the sauce. I went with the former, although I don’t think it makes much difference in the end. It all ends up on one plate.

Anyway. Good recipe. If you’re half as into Italian food as I am, and willing to wade through editing errors and such, 101 Gluten Free Vegan Italian Recipes might be worth a try. It goes on sale for zero (that’s free!) every once in awhile, so you can always add it to your wishlist until then.

Review coming…maybe.

Adventures in Gluten-Free Pizza: Episode 1

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

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So. The pizza on the left. It’s a mozzarella Daiya stuffed crust pizza with Lightlife pepperoni and black olives. Freaking delicious, but not really germane to today’s post.

The slice on the right represents our very first foray into the world of gluten-free pizza. Not because I don’t love gluten (wheat, yum!), but because I scooped up a copy of Daniel Nadav’s 101 Gluten Free Vegan Italian Recipes when it was just a buck on Amazon. Mostly I just wanted it for the pasta recipes – since they all call for store-bought GF noodles, I can just as easily use the gluten-filled stuff – but I thought it might be fun to experiment with some of the pizza crust and bread recipes anyway. My first attempt? Not very encouraging.

The dough came out perfectly runny, much like pancake batter and, rather than throw good GF flour after bad (it’s not like we have a whole lot to play around with), Shane decided to add some white wheat flour to thicken things up. Hence, this pizza isn’t really gluten-free. And after all that, the crust still came out a little dense and spongy. (Totally edible though. It’s pizza!)

I looked around online and found that Nadav’s ratio of flour-to-water is pretty standard, so I wonder whether the problem was with my flour: I bought a bag of Thai rice flour on Amazon, assuming it was the same as white rice flour, but it’s awfully fine. Maybe the bad was mine?

Anyway, further testing required. (Science!) On top are roasted peppers, sundried tomatoes, Kalamata olives, mozzarella Daiya, basil, oregano, and just a touch of lemon zest. Yum!

Product Review: Bold Organics Vegan Cheese Pizza

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

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While Shane was away at TAM last week, I took the opportunity to empty our freezers of all that vegan pizza we picked up the last time we traveled south of the city. While there are a few natural foods stores in north Kansas City, their vegan options are usually lackluster, bordering on shameful.

(Price Chopper, I’m looking at you! There’s no way you can justify wasting an entire shelf in the frozen section on frozen bananas [FROZEN BANANAS! CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT SHIT?] when you don’t carry a single quart of vegan ice cream. No way! But I digress.)

On the menu: Bold Organics Vegan Cheese Pizza, American Flatbread Vegan Harvest, and not one but two (TWO!) varieties of the new Daiya pizzas. Sadly, I am still searching for the Amy’s brand Daiya cheese pizza. Frowny face.

First up: Bold Organics. Since I planned on reviewing these from the outset – for fuck yeah vegan pizza, if nothing else – I’d promised myself that I wouldn’t add any extra toppings. Of course, that lasted all of five seconds: as soon as I saw the pizza, in its nearly naked state, on went the extras.

For pizza numbero uno, cheddar Daiya cheese, grape tomatoes, and Kalamata olives:

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The first time around, the crust didn’t crisp up as much as I’d anticipated. In fact, it was pretty floppy, like a good NYC thin slice. And totally not up to the task of supporting all the extra toppings: I needed a fork to eat up the stray pieces. (Blasphemy!) Tasty but very, very messy.

So for the second pizza, I opted for a little extra mozzarella Daiya and a few handfuls of french fries. The cooking times on the pizza and fries are roughly the same, so it worked out well.

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Interestingly, this second crust was much crispier and more rigid than the first. I can’t think of a difference between the two save for the toppings – perhaps all the extra (moist!) toppings on pizza #1 made it thick enough that it didn’t fully cook through in the middle?

Anyway, here’s the breakdown:

(More below the fold…)