Going to the drive-in!

Saturday, June 29th, 2013

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Rennie wanted to play fetch in the minivan. Silly rabbit!
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Rennie got her second chance at accompanying us to the drive-in this week – her first one being some time around 2005-2006. That first time (which was possibly still during her puppyhood) she was awful, barking at the other patrons and claiming her territory (the Intrepid! we got rid of that thing last summer! memories.) and stuff. We had to throw a towel over her crate so she couldn’t see. Ditto Ralphie and Peedee. For a long time Kaylee was the only dog well-behaved enough to go with us, and then Mags joined the party last summer. (A development with which Kaylee was none too happy.)

With Kaylee gone, Rennie got another shot and she was AWESOME. She only barked once during intermission, and that was when Shane left to go to the bathroom, so she was already excitable and a little on edge. And the second time (we went twice in one week – World War Z & Now You See Me and This is the End & The Purge – and consequently, I’m still catching up on my sleep), she barked at the end of the feature. I think she’d fallen asleep in the back of the van and with the slamming of a car door, awoke in a strange-to-her place. So it wasn’t so much annoying as silly adorable.

Anyway, I think we found the perfect drive-in pair: they get on well, are mostly quiet, and don’t cause too much trouble. And Rennie’s presence helps to take some of the edge off Kaylee’s absence. This week was our first trip out since she passed – the first time in nearly a year, actually – and I was both anticipating and dreading it.

Now if only I could get through a yoga session without busting into tears.

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Mags is not amused.
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In other news, Mags got a package in the mail today! Girl’s gonna be super-bummed when she realizes that it’s an inflatable pool for water therapy. I predict a looooong summer for one little doggeh.

P.S. Today’s Vegan Pizza Day, and yes – I AM HOLDING A CONTEST ON TUMBLR. Check it.

2013 Vegan Pizza Day Banner

French bread pizza!

Saturday, April 27th, 2013

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There was a huge air bubble in the middle of the loaf, which ended up being a pretty convenient receptacle for extra Daiya cheese. Vegan ingenuity, yay!

Greek-Style Pizza with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce and a Lemon Garlic Crust

Friday, April 12th, 2013

Come on, admit it. When I said that I was super-into Greek flavors lately, you knew it was a matter of time before I threw them all together in a pizza.

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Roasted red pepper sauce, roasted red peppers, black and Kalamata olives, sundried and fresh tomatoes, mozzarella Daiya cheese, and a bit of parsley, all on a lemon garlic crust. So, so good, and a nice departure from my (even junkier) french fry and tater tot pizzas. To make this beast a bit healthier, add some spinach or homemade (tofu) feta cheese.

As per usual, you can find the recipes over on the PPP blog.

I have the best mom of all the moms!

Monday, March 25th, 2013

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Exhibit A: The early Easter presents that arrived in the mail for me today! (Have I mentioned that I’m 34 years old?)

Not pictured is a set of mini pie molds, a couple of animal-themed mugs, and some adorable winter hats for the dogs. Pink and blue snowpeople! Dog clothes are, like, a given. They make excellent padding.

This Easter, we shall feast on pizza cones dripping with Daiya cheese, which we will wash down with mini apple pie bites. So stoked I can’t even!

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!

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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!

Sicilian-Style Tomato Spread (and a French Bread Pizza!)

Saturday, March 16th, 2013

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Since I’m currently stocked up on bread (two for one at Sam’s Club, yo!), I decided to try out the Sicilian-Style Tomato Spread from Vegan Italiano. It’s quite simple and easy to make: tomato paste, capers,* garlic, red wine vinegar, and some other goodies; stir by hand – no blender or food processor required – and you’re good to go.

You’re supposed to serve it on baguette bread, but I toasted a slice of French instead. Makes for a rather delicious snack.

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Like all spreads (hummus! butter bean dip!), I couldn’t help but try this one on a pizza – a French bread pizza, to be precise – and it was (predictably!) FABULOUS.

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To prevent the spread from drying out, I mixed in a tablespoon or so of water. Simply spread on the bread (or whatever) like you would a pizza sauce, add your toppings, and bake at 400F for 15 to 20 minutes. Easiest lunch ever.

* Capers! I love capers! They make me feel as though I’m going on an adventure or something. Murder Mystery Dinner Theater, here I come!

Olive you, Kalamata crust!

Saturday, March 2nd, 2013

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Pizza stack! Don’t worry, I waited for the cheese to cool before performing this daring feat, and no toppings were compromised in the making of this photo.

Right about the time Shane was craving a Kalamata olive crust pizza, I was contemplating the Olive Croutons in Donna Klein’s Vegan Italiano cookbook. Luckily, the crouton recipe proved easily adaptable – and the rest, as they say, was dinner: homemade pizza with a Kalmata olive crust, from-scratch pizza sauce, mozzarella Daiya cheese, and black and Kalamata olives. Recipes at the links.

Enjoy, pizzanistas!

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.

Italian-Style Butter Bean Dip (Pizza!)

Sunday, February 3rd, 2013

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As it happens, butter bean dip is quite similar to hummus – just made with (you guessed it!) butter beans instead of chickpeas. Luckily, my food processor had a much easier go of blending the former vs. the latter. (I’d love to make my own hummus, but it never comes out as creamy as the store-bought stuff!)

The Italian-Style Butter Bean Dip from Vegan Italiano is simple and easy to make: blend butter beans, lemon, juice, and oil and then garnish with black olives and red onions. Tasty, though I think I’d rather swap out the black for kalamata olives for more of a kick. I also doubled with amount of lemon juice for a more spreadable dip, and microwaved the butter beans for 90 seconds beforehand in the hopes that this would make them easier to process. (I’ve yet to test this process with a control, so who knows?)

Much like hummus, butter bean dip is also delicious on pizza! For this mini-pie, I just used some leftover butter bean dip (about half a recipe) in place of red sauce and topped with sundried tomatoes, mozzarella Daiya, and kalamata olives. Singed slightly from a minute too long on the broil setting (hence the extreme closeup), but still tasty.

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Pro tip: since baking will dry out the dip, add some extra water or lemon juice before using. No need to break out the blender, as this is easily done by hand.

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.

Beer Crust Pizza

Sunday, January 13th, 2013

Over on tumblr, B’klynHeart shared some mouth-watering photos of a beer crust pizza she and the mister made, which I promptly reblogged the cheese out of. And then she was nice enough to send me the recipe. Naturally, I just had to try it. I mean, it’d be rude not to, right?

Pizza #1: a vegan cheeseburger beer crust pizza, with cheddar Daiya cheese, Yves Meatless Ground Round, onions, tomatoes, black olives, and my own homemade pizza sauce!

 

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Pizza #2 was a bit simpler, with just two toppings: mozzarella Daiya cheese and homemade marinara sauce.

 

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Basic yet basically delicious.

Shane complained that the dough was little tough to work with – too elastic – but I thought it tasted great! It’s hard to be too grumpy when you’re just doing the eating, you know? It was thinner than we normally make – thin crust pizza, why so elusive? – but not super thin. More like a medium-thin. Crunchy and tasty and totally up to holding the ridiculous amount of toppings I piled on top.

 

Frying-Pan Pizza, you have revolutionized my kitchen!

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

Along with copious volumes of The Hunger Games criticism and a shiny old vintage WWII gas mask (child-sized!), I received not a few food-related items this holiday season. From my parents: all three vegan cookbooks on my wish list (Vegan Italiano, Vegan a la Mode, and Chloe’s Kitchen), as well as (*drumroll please*) a pasta roller! Homemade pierogies, I’m coming for you!

Pierogies are a little more effort than I can muster after all that holiday baking, so for now I’ll have to settle on breaking in those cookbooks. First up: Vegan Italiano (by Donna Klein, whose latest cookbook I recently had the pleasure of reviewing) – specifically, the Frying-Pan Pizza with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Olives, and Onions. ALWAYS START WITH PIZZA, that’s my motto.

(Technically Shane makes the pizza in our house, but who’s counting? It’s weird how we tend to arbitrarily divvy up the meals like that – he’s always pizza, I’m always pasta, and beyond that it’s a free-for-all.)

 

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What’s so rad about this recipe is that the dough doesn’t use any yeast – just flour, oil, and water (Klein calls this “scone dough,” but I’ve never made scones, so the reference is lost on me) – so you don’t need to let it rise AT ALL beforehand. Pizza in a pinch, and without using pita bread to boot! (Not that I don’t love you pita, you know that I do. Sometimes I just need a, ahem, more filling meal.) Fry it up in a skillet, flip, and repeat. Transfer to a baking sheet, add your toppings, and bake for ~5 minutes. It’s that easy!

The resulting crust is thick and hearty, but doesn’t sit in your stomach like a brick. Dense but still light. Plus the little browned patches on the underside add an extra richness that regular pizza just doesn’t have.

 

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I really love the no-cheese, olives! olives! olives! version provided by Klein, but the husband decided to try another pie with our favorite standards, including mozzarella Daiya, Lightlife Smart Bacon, sundried tomatoes, and black olives. What can I say but yum yum yum?

Supposedly one pizza makes four to six servings (hahahaha!), but Shane and I polished a pie off in one sitting. In our defense it was a VERY filling meal.

The Great CriFSMas Food Roundup, 2012 edition!

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

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A basket of chai cookies, oatmeal cream pies, and eggnog cookies for our neighbors.
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You guys, I did so much baking this holiday season! Instead of buying my family the customary vegan treats from etsy, I had the bright idea to make everything my own bad self. (“Make everyone’s presents by hand, she said. It’ll be fun, she said.” reads a mid-December entry in my journal.) Several weeks and a dozen or so batches of cookies later, and I am wiped out. Good thing I have extra cookies to keep me going, eh?

Many of the recipes are from Kelly Peloza’s The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur, which I’m quickly growing to love. My mom gave it to me a Christmas or two ago, but given my awful track record with cookies and other baked sweets, I hadn’t gotten much use out of it. (Until now!)

Much to my surprise, everything came out wonderfully! Not a single burned cookie in the bunch. I think the secret is in the parchment paper. I’ve been resistant to using the stuff in the past, because it feels like I’m wasting paper or something. But it really works! Pro tip: as long as they haven’t picked up any cookie residue, you can reuse sheets of parchment paper several times to save money and resources. This is especially helpful if you’re baking multiple batches of cookies in a single day.

Without further ado, here’s a rundown of all the holiday goodies to pass through my kitchen (and gullet! yay the imagery!) this month. Mostly cookies, but also fancy nuts, truffles, ice cream, pizza, and pasta!

 

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Chewy Spiced Molasses Cookies from The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur (page 228) – Mine didn’t come out quite as plump and chewy as the ones pictured in the book, but I think that’s because I made the cookies a little smaller than suggested.

Actually, that was a trend pretty much across the board – I ended up with more, slightly smaller cookies vs. fewer, larger cookies (the latter being the norm for me). It was all good though, because the smaller cookies were a better fit for the tupperware I used to pack and ship them. Score!

Chewy or not, these were still super-delish, though not nearly as nommy as some of the other cookies I tried.

(More below the fold…)

This Week in Pizza

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

First and foremost: CHEDDAR BACON CHEESEBURGER & FRIES PIZZA! This really happened, people.

 

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When I first came up with the idea for this bad boy, it was with the intention of making it for Thanksgiving. The holiday kind of crept up on us this year, you see, and the prospect of making a five-course meal for just Shane and I wasn’t really doing it for me. Alas, Shane – who hearts his seasonal holiday foods – nixed the idea. Instead we compromised on these epic looking Thanksgiving Burgers, and made the cheeseburger pizza over the weekend.

Gooey cheddar Daiya cheese, fried Lightlife Smart Bacon, savory Yves Smart Round, crispy crinkle cut french fries – not to mention tomatoes, onions, and mushrooms – ugh, my stomach is doing a happy dance just thinking about it. Seriously fucking amazing.

 

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I know that pizza isn’t exactly considered a holiday food, but you should totally take this to your next family gathering and wow the defensive omnivores with the awesomeness that is vegan junk food. “THIS! THIS IS WHAT VEGANS EAT, COUSIN GEOFFREY! Go eat a hamburger and choke on a cow’s dick!

OR! If it’s something a little more festive you desire, allow me to remind you of last year’s Vegan Thanksgiving Pizza with all the fixings!

 

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Just saying. Last minute meal idea. YOU’RE WELCOME!

 

Pizza Shells & Parmesan

Sunday, November 18th, 2012

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A while back, I won a nifty little pizza kit from Galaxy Foods. (Pro tip: enter every vegan giveaway on the internets and you’re bound to win sooner or later!) The kit came packed full of goodies: an apron, oven mitts, a pizza cutter, some free product coupons from Galaxy Foods (we got cream cheese for bagels!), pizza sauce, Galaxy brand parmesan cheese, and pizza shells from Whole Foods (the 365 brand). All vegan, of course!

We finally got around to trying the shells last week; normally I prefer making my own dough (so good! and easy!), but we were in the middle of a huge landscaping project and thus super busy and pressed for time.

On the plus side, the shells are thin and crispy, just how I like ‘em (but can never seem to do on my own. Good thin crust recipe – anyone? Bueller?) They’re also quite large, about the size of the Amy’s and Tofurky frozen pizzas, possibly even a tad bigger. One pizza’s about enough for two people; easy peasy if you enjoy it with a side. (Fries, anyone?)

But the shells are also surprisingly bland and tasteless, even for a white crust. I guess you could maybe consider this a positive, since you can add all the flavor you want with toppings? idk, I think I prefer pita pizzas. Tasty and inexpensive!

 

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The Galaxy Foods vegan parmesan, on the other hand? EPIC WIN! I’ve never had dairy parmesan, so I can’t say with absolute certainty that it tastes like the “real” thing – but the husband swears that it does, and it has the same “dirty socks” smell of non-vegan parm, so that’s enough for me. At the rate we’re using it, we will have flown through a bottle in under two weeks. Seriously addictive.

At ~ $5.00 a bottle, though, it’s one expensive habit! Probably I’ll go revert to homemade parmesan once we finally polish off the fancy store-bought stuff. That’s okay. Still yummy!

(fwiw, the Galaxy parmesan got some pretty awful review on Vegan Essentials, but I think they’ve since changed the formula. Whatever, I like it. Send your unwanted parm to meeeeeee!)

Virtual Vegan Potluck: Something Sweet, Something Savory

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

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Welcome to the Virtual Vegan Potluck, y’all! First visit? Don’t worry, I’m a newcomer, too. Let’s hang together, okay? Strength in numbers!

I first learned of this very cool project over on the Vegan MoFo facebook page – and, not wanting the fun to end on October 31st, promptly signed up. I’m so glad I did, too, ’cause it gave me the opportunity to try two new recipes which might have otherwise been pushed to the back burner. That’s right, two! Because I love you double! Both of ‘em are breads – since that’s what I chose during registration – one sweet, the other savory. Something for everyone!

 

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First up, the sweet stuff: Hot Cross Buns, recipe via Vegan Dad. Initially I was set to make these for Vegan MoFo (paired with Ida Maria’s “I Like You So Much Better When You’re Naked”), but they got bumped in favor of Fried (and Baked!) Green Tomatoes and Paul Young at the last minute. Redemption, thy taste is sweet and sugary!

The husband was actually nice enough to make these for me, as a sort of down(re)payment on my October cooking marathon. It’s a long process, but not terribly complicated – there’s just a lot of waiting around. He mostly followed the recipe, but had to omit the currants since we couldn’t find any locally, and didn’t have the time to order them online.

On his first try, the mister was afraid that the dough didn’t rise enough, so he set it aside and made a second batch, this time with rapid rise instead of active dry yeast. Alas, both dough balls showed about the same amount of rise. Luckily, I think it was enough, because the rolls were super-tasty. Not light and fluffy, but a little on the dense side – in a good way, though. And the glaze and icing? Shut the front door!

According to the Wikipedia,

Sharing a hot cross bun with another is supposed to ensure friendship throughout the coming year, particularly if “Half for you and half for me, Between us two shall goodwill be” is said at the time. Because of the cross on the buns, some say they should be kissed before being eaten.

We replaced the cross with a “V,” so I’m not quite sure of the message my buns are sending. Perhaps you have to be a Level 5 Vegan before you can lay your lips on them? Whatever, I’ll settle for a jab at Mark Bittman. I’m not fussy.

 

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But back to the first, “failed” batch of dough. The husband baked it as one large loaf, roughly following Vegan Dad’s instructions, and…it, too, was awesome! Reminiscent of a certain sugar loaf I love, but with sweetness throughout instead of concentrated in the center. Dazed and hungry from a nap, I didn’t think to snap a pic before I devoured half the loaf. I did get the leftovers, though!

 

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Perfect when sliced thinly, then toasted with a bit of margarine and brown sugar. Ugh, I’m salivating at the thought of it.

 

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And for the “savory” portion of this potluck: Pepperoni Pizza Bread! My aunt’s boyfriend always brought pizza bread to our Christmas/New Years celebrations, so I’ve come to associate it with family and friends and fun. Sneaking sips of wine and playing poker for pennies until 2AM. Stuffing your face until you’re about to pop, and then stuffing it some more. Surreptitiously changing into jammies when your jeans refuse to button. Good times.

 

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I have to give some (read: most) of the credit to my husband for this bread as well, since he made it (albeit at my direction!). As per usual, he started with our go-to fluffy white pizza dough recipe. After the dough has risen, lay it out flat in a rectangular shape, add your toppings (pizza sauce, mozzarella Daiya, and Lightlife Pepperoni), roll into a circle-loaf-thingie, bake, and enjoy. It’s that easy!

 

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Come to think of it, I’m gonna have to ask my mum why she never made us pizza bread. Since it was a once-a-year treat, I always assumed it was complicated and tedious and nearly impossible to make. But not so much! I mean, she was an accomplished pizzanista. What’s the deal?

Because I aim to please, there is a recipe under the jump!

 

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(More below the fold…)

Eat to the Beat: Pizza Margherita & Ghost Mice

Friday, October 26th, 2012

 

The song: “Free Pizza for Life” by Ghost Mice (lyrics)

The foodstuff: Pizza Margherita from Heart Healthy Pizza

The connection: This “heart healthy pizza” might not be free, but it’s good for life!
 

Truth be told, I have no idea where or how a vegan might score free pizza. Befriend the owners of Peace O’ Pie? Offer up one’s dishwashing skills at Vinnie’s Pizzeria in exchange for all the odd slices you can eat? Dumpster dive at Whole Foods, hoping to find a past-date, discarded Tofurky pizza? Who knows! Not me, otherwise I’d be doing it right now instead of writing this post. Pizza is my everything.

 

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Instead of concentrating on the “free” portion of this song, then, let’s enjoy pizza “for life.” The very first all-vegan pizza cookbook (that I know of!), Mark Sutton’s Hearth Healthy Pizza (subtitled “Volume 1″ on Amazon – could there be a second book in the works? PLEASE SAY YES!) includes more than 100 recipes for delicious, nutritious vegan pizza and related foodstuffs. We’re talking dough, cheeses, and meats. Sauces, salsa, and pestos. Tempeh anchovies, y’all! Recipes for crusts and sauces are listed in their own chapters, and then Sutton pulls it altogether by putting together a variety of pizza combinations for you: The Official Mad Cowboy. Thymely Summer Squash. St. Patty’s Pizza Pie. And on and on.

Because the recipes rely primarily upon grains, beans, nuts, vegetables, and assorted other nutritious vegan goodies, the pizza pies in this book aren’t just good – they’re also good for you. Pizza “for life,” in other words.

I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that, though I won a copy of this book months ago, this is the first recipe I’ve tried! Mostly because I’ve been busy concocting my own (much less healthy) pizza masterpieces – but also, every time I crack Heart Healthy Pizza open, I get a wee bit intimated. Baking and blending your own meats and cheeses from scratch…it’s like every recipe is a recipe within a recipe. Inception, vegan pizza styley! With so many steps, I was afraid each pizza would take most of an afternoon to make. Cue: procrastination.

 

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But it isn’t so! I chose the Pizza Margherita because it seemed simple enough – but even this pie required me to make all the components from scratch: Basic Pizza Dough (obvs!); Classic Tomato Sauce; Millet, Sunflower Seeds, and Oregano Sauce (hold the oregano!); and Parmiso. Though I cheated on the tomato sauce (hey, I had a jar of Newman’s Own Marinara Sauce already opened!), I made everything else and guess what? It wasn’t all that hard! Between the dough and the cheeses, the whole affair took less than 45 minutes. Plus, the Millet Sauce and Parmiso keep well in the fridge, so you can make them ahead of time!

The Pizza Margherita is like a traditional Old World pie, but vegan – with the Millet, Sunflower Seeds, and Oregano Sauce subbing in for raw slices of mozzarella. It’s a thick sauce, similar in consistency to pancake batter, which you “blob” onto the pizza. I wasn’t sure how much it would spread out during cooking – if at all – so I went a little easy on it. (The leftovers? Makes a delicious spread for sammies!) Turns out that it pretty much stays put, so don’t be afraid to cover your ‘za with blobs. Cheesy!

 

Parmiso from Heart Healthy Pizza (0002)

 

The Parmiso Sutton describes as a “combination of plant-based grated Parmesan Cheese and Gomiso. Gomiso is a ground roasted sesame seed and salt mixture, very popular in macrobiotic cooking as well as in Asia (particularly, Korea). Though I was tempted to use my own favorite vegan parm, I decided to give Sutton’s Parmiso a try – and I’m glad I did! Super-tasty, though I think it goes better on pizza than pasta. For that, I prefer my almond and nooch mix.

As for the dough, the mister (who’s forever on dough duty in our house) reports that it’s denser than he’s used to – which is a good thing, since it makes the dough easier to work with. It bakes into a nice, crispy, stable crust – especially perfect for heavy toppings.

Put it all together, and I quite enjoyed the Pizza Margherita! Nutritious, easy to make, yummy – and possibly even less expensive than vegan pies topped with pricey commercial meats and cheeses, to boot. (My usual MO.) I look forward to trying some of the other recipes in Heart Healthy Pizza. (Tofu Feta, I’m looking at you!)

Pro tip: since there aren’t many toppings protecting the sauce, the Pizza Margherita comes out a little dry when you reheat the leftovers. Go heavy on the sauce or go home! Or if you’re already there, come on over to my place and make me a pizza. I’m hungry again, yo!

 

Pizza Margherita from Heart Healthy Pizza (0038)

 

 

veganmofo 2012
Eat to the Beat

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Iron Chef/Eat to the Beat: Rosemary Potato Pizza with Garlic Sesame Sauce & Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen

Saturday, October 20th, 2012

 

The song: “Gimme Pizza” (Slow Jam) by Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen (original)

The foodstuff: Potato Pizza with Garlic Sesame Sauce (recipe below)

The connection: P.I.Z.Z.A.

 

Y’all, I’ve been wanting to incorporate pizza (my favorite!) into these Iron Chef challenges for some time now – but tragically, none of the ingredients have really screamed “pizza.” (Which is weird because pizza, much like ice cream, never fails to make me scream. And cry and moan and a few other things that are too obscene to mention here.) Until this weekend, that is!

Two words: potatoes and sesame.

 

Rosemary Potato Pizza with Garlic Sesame Sauce for Iron Chef (0021)

 

Two more words: potato pizza!

To start, I made a basic white pizza dough (my go-to recipe!), with a little garlic powder mixed in. The crust is dusted with a bit of rosemary-infused olive oil, then stacked high with several layers of paper-thin, salty Yokon Gold (or, in my case, red skin) potatoes, also seasoned with a bit of olive oil. Sprinkle some sesame seeds on top and, voilà, an Iron Chef inspired pizza for four!

Since this is all so basic it feels rather like cheating, I also made a Garlic Sesame Sauce: silken tofu, blended and dressed up with sesame seed oil, tahini, lemon juice, mustard, garlic, and a few other things. I used the Sour Cream recipe found in Lane Gold’s Vegan Junk Food as a jumping-off point, testing and adding ingredients until I had something that was a little bit sesame, a little but garlicky. Not half bad, if I do say so myself!

It’s meant to be drizzled (or plopped, as the case may be) on the pizza post-baking

 

Rosemary Potato Pizza with Garlic Sesame Sauce for Iron Chef (0041)

 

or served on the side as a dipping sauce,

 

Rosemary Potato Pizza with Garlic Sesame Sauce for Iron Chef (0063)

 

but you could easily use it like a more traditional pizza sauce. Cut the olive oil in half and add the sauce first, followed by the potatoes, olive oil, and optional sesame seeds. Easy as pie! (Because it is a pie!)

The pizza’s pretty great on its own, but I like the sauce because it helps to add a little moisture to what can sometimes be a dry pie. (Mashed potatoes work wonders too!) Got leftovers? Don’t fret! The sauce also makes for a tasty dressing, dip, or sandwich spread.

We also made a pretty epic Bruschetta Pizza, a slice of which you see on my plate. (When we make pizza, we ALWAYS make two. One for everyone!) And yup, I’ve got a recipe for that too!

You’re welcome.

(More below the fold…)

Eat to the Beat: Pepperoni Pizza Monkey Bread & The Monkees

Friday, October 19th, 2012

 

The song: “Hey Hey We’re the Monkees (Theme)” by The Monkees (lyrics)

The foodstuff: Pepperoni Pizza Monkey Bread (recipe below)

The connection: Is obvious!

 

Pepperoni Pizza Monkey Bread (0026)

Want a pizza bite? You’ll have to punch the monkey first!
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As a kid, I was a ridiculous fan of The Monkees (the sitcom! and the boy band! back before there was such a thing as boy bands!), cheesy as they were. Of course, this was the ’80s (oh how I date myself!), so I met Davy, Micky, Peter, and Mike in reruns. In the ’90s, I fancied myself a hippie, and often looked as though I could stand in as an extra on the show. When I wasn’t dressing all in black lingerie, anyway. Twenty years later, and I’m still nursing a secret crush on…well, I’ll never tell. That’s what makes it secret!

I even have a little plush monkey that plays the cymbals while singing the theme song to The Monkees. It was a x-mas gift from mom – when I was 28 or so. Don’t wanna grow up, you can’t make me.

 

Pepperoni Pizza Monkey Bread (0014)

Fresh bread, in your face.
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So I’ve been meaning to veganize the many Pepperoni Pizza Monkey Bread recipes I’ve seen circulating the interwebs, and Vegan MoFo seemed the perfect time. I mean, hello! Monkey Bread. The Monkees. Talk about your OTPs.

Though it’s a total pita to make (not difficult, just a little tedious), the final product is amazaballs – so worth it! Basically what you have are 48 or so individual pizza rolls, coated in margarine and spices, and baked together to form one ginormous pizza-cake-shaped-bread-thingie. If you have any leftovers (Doubtful! Shane and I polished off more than half the loaf – loaf? pie? cake? idk! – in one sitting), pop ‘em in the oven on a pizza stone or similar at 425F for about ten minutes. That’s just enough time for the cheese to get all melty and gooey again. Good as new!

 

Pepperoni Pizza Monkey Bread (0043)

The underside of the loaf is a delicious neon, much like your brain on carbs.
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I actually made this dish twice. I keep telling myself that the reason for the repeat is because I wasn’t happy with the first batch of photos – but, if I’m being honest, I really just wanted to have Pizza Monkey Bread again! (But still, the second photo shoot? Way cuter! With a treeloot monkey and everything!)

 

Pepperoni Pizza Monkey Bread (0061)

Itty bitty baby bites! Don’t worry, I’ll be gentle.
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Pro tip: Use AT LEAST six ounces of cheese! I trusted my pizza bread to the Follow Your Heart brand and, while there are plenty of haters out there, it melted like a charm. Any block-form vegan cheese will work, though: Teese, Daiya wedges, whatever. The first time around, I underestimated how much cheese could fit in a bite, and ended up with pizza bread tragically lacking in cheesiness. The cheese liquifies as it melts, thus taking up less space – so keep this in mind when considering the optimal cube size.

 

Pepperoni Pizza Monkey Bread (0064)

Hot oozy FYH action. (It really DOES melt!)
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When in doubt: add more cheese! That’s my motto, anyway.

We’re just trying to be friendly,
Come watch us sing and play.
We’re the young generation,
And we got something to say.

You’re dancing, aren’t you? ME TOO!

 

Pepperoni Pizza Monkey Bread (0018)

Paint me like one of your french rolls.
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(More below the fold…)

Eat to the Beat: Nacho Pizza & The Beatles

Friday, October 5th, 2012

 

The song: “Blackbird” by The Beatles (lyrics)

The foodstuff: Nacho Pizza

The connection: Straight from the Blackbird Pizzeria specialty pizza menu.

 

Nacho Pizza, a la Blackbird (0003)

 

Of all the specialty pizzas offered by Blackbird, it was the Yukon pizza I most wanted to make. But been there, done that! – and, since one of my Vegan MoFo goals is to try all new recipes, I settled on the Nacho pizza instead. Avocados, jalapenos, caramelized onions, Daiya cheddar cheese – do I have your attention, vegans?

Since I’m kind of a baby when it comes to hot foods, this pie was all Shane’s. (I got my own Daiya cheese pizza, with fresh tomatoes and black olives – may favorites! – so no worries.) Though he’s never before had avocados on a pizza (we’re not a big avocado family, don’t ask me why), he proved an instant convert. The avocados offered more volume per slice, while the sweetness of the caramelized onions complemented the spicy jalapenos. And who doesn’t love Daiya cheese?

He’s a moderately spicy kind of guy – when we buy jarred salsa, he goes with medium – and reports that one jalapeno (with two to three rounds per slice) made for a hot enough pizza without going overboard. If you’ve built up a greater tolerance, try two (or even three, dog help ya). The more you know!

 

Nacho Pizza, a la Blackbird (0028)

 

Nacho Pizza

(Inspired by the Nacho Pizza at Blackbird Pizzeria.)

Ingredients

…for a Fluffy White Pizza Crust

1 cup warm water (110 degrees F / 45 degrees C) [Optional: sub in 1/2 cup of plain soy milk; this gave us a slightly thinner crust.]
1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/4 tablespoons active dry yeast
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

…for the pizza

2 large onions
2 teaspoons olive oil and/or margarine
a dash of salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar (optional)
1-2 avocados, peeled and sliced
1-2 jalapenos, cut into rounds
Cheddar Daiya cheese
Red pizza sauce
Cornmeal or cooking spray with which to coat the pizza stone or pizza pan

Directions

1. To prepare the dough: stir the water, sugar and yeast together until dissolved. Add the olive oil and salt, as well as any extra spices or seasonings. Stir in the flour until blended. Form the dough into a small ball and let rest in large bowl, covered loosely with a towel, anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours.

2. At least an hour before you’d like to start making the pizza, prepare the caramelized onions. (Alternately, you can prepare them ahead of time and store them in the fridge.)

Peel the onions and remove the top and bottom ends. Cut each onion in half, then slice lengthwise to the desired thickness. Coat the bottom of a large sauté pan with olive oil (about two teaspoons) or a mix of olive oil and margarine. Bring to heat on medium-high; when the oil is hot (but not smoking), add the onions, spreading them out evenly in the pan. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally. Add a dash of salt and, if desired, a tiny bit of sugar to aid in the caramelizing.

Cover and cook on medium-low for another 30 minutes or so, stirring occasionally so as to prevent the onions from sticking to the pan. If they begin to dry out, add a splash of water. As the onions cook down, you may want to reduce the heat to low; you’ll also need to stir the onions more often near the end of the process. If necessary, add a little extra olive oil to prevent them from sticking to the pan. The onions are done once they reach a rich, brown color. (See, e.g, this or this.)

3. When you’re ready to assemble and bake your pizza, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Spread a dusting of cornmeal onto your pizza stone (or lightly coat your pizza pan with cooking spray). Using fingers dipped in olive oil (optional), pat the dough onto the stone, spreading it out evenly.

4. Add your toppings: pizza sauce, followed by the cheddar cheese, caramelized onions, jalapenos, and avocados.

5. Bake at 425 degrees, for between 15 and 20 minutes for a single pizza, or 30 minutes for two pizzas.

6. Enjoy!

 

Nacho Pizza, a la Blackbird (0036)

 

On another note, check out this awesome tee I scored for just $2 on my most recent trip to Goodwill.

2012-09-24 - Reading is Delicious - 0001

The pizza is really a book.

2012-09-24 - Reading is Delicious - 0004

Let me repeat: THE PIZZA IS REALLY A BOOK!

I wonder if the book is hollowed out and stuffed with another pizza, Inception styley? A pizza within a book within a pizza within a book within a bowl of mac & cheese? Who knows! Just throw a dog in there and this is my idea of heaven.

It’s a kid’s shirt, but a large, so I can just barely squeeze my person into it. Works for me!

 

veganmofo 2012
Eat to the Beat

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