tomatoes

Completely Board Post #20: Baked Eggplant Burgers

Veg-am's Completely Board - Vegan Month of Food 2014

With just a little over 3-1/2 hours left in Vegan MoFo 2014 here in the eastern US, I’m sitting down to write my final post.  I can’t believe I actually made it to 20.  It was looking a doubtful for a while. With very few exceptions, I’ve been really pleased with the recipes I’ve tried from my Pinterest boards, both the ones I could use as written and the ones I had to convert in some way.  I’m so glad this last one did not disappoint.

What you see here is my original pin with my comment: “I think I need to buy eggplant on my next grocery trip.”

Eggplant Burger Pin

That was over a year ago. I’ve been to the grocery store many times since then.  I’ve even purchased eggplant many times since then, but I had yet to attempt this burger from The Tolerant Vegan. 

I mostly followed the instructions as written.  The only two substitutes I made were cashews in place of pine nuts and gluten free (Food for Life Brown Rice Bread) bread crumbs instead of panko. And I used parchment paper instead of foil.  I think I went a little overboard on the amount of eggplant and I ended up with 5 large burgers instead of 4.  It took a little while longer to make than I want my weeknight meals to take, but I have 4 burgers leftover so it will balance out for other meals later in the week.

This is the burger queen of Mediterranean flavors.  It has it all…eggplant, onion, bell pepper, hummus, beans, garlic and cumin.  Really…how could I not have loved it?

The texture is different from most burgers I’ve had, but it works here.  It was crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside.  Yes, I said creamy.  It was like there was a mix of baba ghanoush and hummus (well, duh there is hummus) in the middle.   I mostly eat burger platters instead of burgers on buns, so I’m not sure how it would hold up in a bun, but the original one seems to have worked just great.

I really enjoyed this burger topped with a lemon tahini sauce and surrounded by a tomato-cucumber-parsley salad (with a tiny bit of that tahini sauce mixed in).

Baked Eggplant Burger Platter

Thanks so much for hanging out with me this month.  I hope you enjoyed being “Completely Board” as much as I did.  Happy end of Vegan MoFo!

Completely Board Post #10: Corn & Chickpea Fiesta Salad

Veg-am's Completely Board - Vegan Month of Food 2014

 

I really love a good bean salad.  I have a separate Pinterest board for them.  But, for some reason, I never think to make them.  Since the purpose of the Completely Board theme is to use forgotten Pins, a bean salad it is.  And nothing sounded like more fun than the Corn and Chickpea Fiesta Salad with Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette from A Teaspoon of Happiness.

Corn & Chickpea Fiesta Salad

This is going to be short and sweet.  I followed the recipe.  The only tweak I made was to use roasted corn (the frozen stuff from Trader Joe’s).  It was simple to do and delicious to eat, especially the next day when the flavors had more time to meld together.  No single flavor was dominant, they all just blended wonderfully.

For some reason, I can only assume because the word “Fiesta” was in the title, my sister B and I both thought this was going to be a spicy salad.  It isn’t.  But, we agreed it would be good with a little taco seasoning mixed in the dressing on those days we want a little extra kick.

Another winning pin.  Another good pot luck dish.

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For the original recipe, click the image of my pin below (vegan post, non-vegan site)

Corn & Chickpea Fiesta Salad

You Can Thank My Mom for This Post: Veggie Calzones

Years ago before my going vegan/gluten-free, my mom and I used to go to this little pizza place for lunch regularly. But we rarely got pizza. We almost always got the calzones. The crust is crispy, but still soft. It was saucy and cheesy and full of all kinds of yumminess. But the day I had to go gluten free, those lunch trips stopped. I haven’t had a calzone since. Until today.

My mom, sister and I regularly have Friday night dinner together. During MoFo, it’s been assumed that I was cooking Friday night. So, yesterday when I was talking to mom, she said “How about calzones? Those are stuffed.” Well, to be honest, calzones were on my brainstorming list, but somehow got dropped from the schedule (I use that term very loosely).  There wasn’t really a reason for it.  I like them.  It would be something new and different for me to make, but I just hadn’t thought about it much.

Mom was pretty emphatic about it though.  I acquiesced.  It went something like this…

Mom: “What would you put in it?”
Me “Onions, tomatoes, peppers for me and B…”
Mom: “And, mushrooms?”
Me: “Really?  Of course, I’ll put mushrooms!”  (hehehe…my plan is working)

That nailed it.  Mom wanted to try mushrooms another way.  Third time in a week after being a mushroom hater previously.  I’m so proud of her spirit of trying things in the name of MoFo!

“Ok, mom, I’ve never made them before.  But, I make pizza sometimes, so I’ll try them.”

I don’t remember the last time I was so glad that I cooked something just because someone else wanted it.  Gone are the days of missing our pizza shop lunches.

Veggoe Calzone Cut Open

Veggie Calzones

Makes 3

  • 1 recipe of calzone dough (below)
  • 3/4 recipe of veggie calzone filling (below)
  • 4½ – 6 oz Mozzarella Style Daiya Shreds
  • Olive oil for brushing
  • 3 pinches of garlic salt

Preheat oven to 500F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Divide the dough into 3 equal balls.  Using garfava flour, lightly flour your hands and the outside of each ball of dough so that it’s easier to work with.  On a floured piece of parchment paper, roll out 1 ball of dough into a circle about 1/8″ thick (approx 8-9 inches in diameter).  After you’ve rolled your circle, take it off of the parchment paper and turn it over (This is just to ensure that it’s not too sticky to come off the paper.  Wouldn’t want to lose dough after you filled it, right?)

Put filling on 1/2 of the dough, leaving some room around the edges for closing it up.

Filling the Calzone

Put 1½-2 oz of Daiya on top of vegetable filling.  Fold dough over and pinch the edges closed.  Get as tight a seal as possible.

Pick up the folded calzone and put it on the parchment-lined baking sheet.  Repeat with the other two calzones.

Brush the top of each calzone with a thin layer of olive oil and sprinkle on a pinch of garlic salt (or more, to taste).

Calzones ready to go in the oven

Bake for 9-11 minutes on a middle rack (or slightly below middle, but not all the way at the bottom) until golden brown.

Veggie Calzone

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Veggie Calzone Filling:

  • 1 large red onion, sliced in thin half moons and separated into strips
  • 8 oz sliced cremini mushrooms
  • 8 oz grape tomatoes
  • 1 small red bell pepper, cut in strips
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 oz fresh spinach, chopped
  • Double batch of Vegetarian Times’ Quick Pizza Sauce

Preheat oven to 375. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.

Place all vegetables except spinach on baking sheet.  Drizzle the olive oil over vegetables.  Toss to coat evenly.  Roast for 30 minutes.

While the vegetables are roasting, make the sauce.  (When the sauce is ready, it’s a good time to start making the dough so it can rise)

After roasting for 30 minutes, take the vegetables out of the oven.  (Depending on the time you have left for your dough, you can either turn your oven off and then back on to preheat for the final calzone baking or you can turn it up to preheat to 500F)

Mix the roasted vegetables and chopped spinach into the sauce until well combined.

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Calzone Dough:

This is a very slight variation of my pizza dough (and would work great for pizza) that I adapted from this recipe.

1 cup garfava flour
3/4 cup tapioca flour
3 tbsp almond meal (see note 5 below)
1 Tbsp gluten-free yeast
4½ tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 cup warm water (around 110F)
1½ tsp canola oil
1½ tsp apple cider vinegar

Add all dry ingredients together in a kitchen stand mixer with a dough hook or food processor with S blade and combine well.  Add in liquids and mix until a stiff dough forms.  Using your hands, gather all the dough together.  (At this point, it will probably be a blob)  The dough is a bit sticky so put a very small amount of garfava flour on the outside as you form it into a ball.  Flatten it into a thick disc (about 2 inches).   Let the dough sit on a small piece of parchment or waxed paper 20-30 minutes to let the yeast work a little magic.  You won’t see as dramatic a rising as you might expect from a gluten dough, but it makes a big difference in the texture of the crust.

Notes:

1. I find rolling pizza/calzone dough a little easier with one of those little handheld pastry rollers, but a regular rolling pin should work just fine.

2. The dough recipe only makes 3, but there’s enough filling for 4. This was my first time making them so I didn’t know exactly what I needed. But that filling takes exactly 2 recipes of sauce. I’m thinking the leftover would be really good thinned down with pasta water and served over pasta. Or you might want to make just 3/4 of the veggies that I made, and mix it with 3/4 of the sauce. Then thin out the remaining sauce a little for dipping.

3.  Yep, that’s a full size dinner plate.  I couldn’t eat it all at one sitting.

4.  Mine opened up just a little bit at the seam while baking.  I could have probably prevented it with a bit less filling, but I thought it was perfectly filled.  So make your own call on whether you want more filling or none of the filling peeking out.

5. I’ve always used the store bought almond meal from Trader Joe’s in my pizza crust and it works fine.  But, it leaves little brown specs. I made my own from blanched slivered almonds tonight and the crust is prettier.  It’s just an aesthetic thing, but if it matters to you, buy the meal from blanched almonds or make your own.

6.  This is a very thick dough.  I always use my food processor.  Don’t use a hand mixer.

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National Guacamole Day: Portobello Tacos

Yes, it’s the day avocado lovers all over America have been waiting for.  It’s National Guacamole Day.  I can’t think of a better day to join in solidarity with the vegans of Austin, Tx who have been participating in a month-long Taco Cleanse.

Besides my mother (the mushroom-hater turned “this is my favorite of all your foods”) requested more portobellos.  She wanted a repeat of the MAT lettuce wraps, but in the interest of getting more posts for Vegan MoFo I pleaded with her to agree to try them another way.  She conceded, but only if I promised that liquid smoke would be involved.  Done.

We, along with my sister who was coming to dinner, are big taco fans so I decided to try my hand at portobello tacos. We’re all so glad I did! Cooked this way, the portobello has a nice meaty texture. It looks pretty meaty too. Maybe even a bit too much. But, I promise, that’s all mushrooms and spices in there!

Tuck those mushrooms into some warm, soft corn tortillas with some lettuce and tomato (aren’t those tiny heirloom tomatoes gorgeous?). Top it off with some creamy guacamole, some cool “cheezy creme”, and a little of your favorite salsa and enjoy the great combination of flavors and textures.

They’re super filling. I could only handle two before I was full.

Portobello Tacos | Veg-am

Portobello Tacos

Makes 12 tacos

12 warm, soft corn tortillas (note #1 below)
1 recipe Taco Portobello Mushrooms (recipe below)
1 recipe Cheezy Creme (recipe below)
Guacamole (note #2 below)
Chopped Lettuce (note #3 below)
Diced Tomatoes
Your favorite salsa (note #4 below)

Fill your tortillas with Taco Portobello Mushrooms, lettuce, tomatoes.  Top with a little (or more than a little) each guacamole, Cheezy Creme and Salsa.

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Taco Portobello Mushrooms:

8 small portobello caps (about a pound), stems removed, caps thinly sliced
1/4 cup  Water

Marinade ingredients:
2 Tbsp olive oil, plus more for brushing skillet
2 Tbsp Coconut Aminos (feel free to use soy sauce if you’re not soy-free)
1 tsp Liquid Smoke
1 Tbsp Cumin
3/4 tsp Onion Powder
3/4 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp Paprika
1/4 tsp salt
Cayenne Pepper, to taste

In a large bowl, mix together all marinade ingredients with a fork.  Add the mushrooms to the bowl and toss until well coated.  Allow to marinate for about 30 minutes.

Preheat large cast iron skillet over medium heat.  Brush a thin layer of olive oil on skillet.  Add mushrooms and 1/4 cup of water. Stir regularly and cook until the mushrooms have released their own water and all the water has cooked out.  Cook it just a little longer until  mushrooms start to dry just a bit (about 10 minutes total cooking time). This is probably about 2 minutes longer than you’d think.  But the additional time is what gives the meatier texture. About halfway through cooking, while there’s still a little water, you can add any additional salt, some fresh ground black pepper, or additional seasonings to taste.

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Cheezy Creme

Sometimes things not working out the way you planned is the best thing.  I wanted to break away from using the processed non-dairy cheeses.  So, I originally started out to make just a cheezy sauce but didn’t like it at all. I kept tweaking it until I landed on this.  It has the flavors of a nutritional yeast based “cheezy” sauce with the texture and coolness of a cashew “sour cream”.

3/4 tsp Sweet Paprika
1/2 cup Water
1 cup Raw Cashew Pieces
1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast
2 Tbsp Tahini
2 tsp Onion Powder
1 large clove Garlic
2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1/2 tsp salt

Blend all ingredients in a blender, scraping down sides as necessary, until creamy. This will probably take 6-10 minutes depending on the strength of your blender.  Put in a small container. Taste for salt and stir in additional if necessary (remember there’s also salt in the mushrooms, salsa and guacamole and salt accordingly).  Refrigerate for at least an hour to allow flavors to marry and creme to thicken.

If you happen to have any of this left over, it makes a good chip dip by adding chipotle Tabasco to taste.

Notes:
1. Tortillas: I used homemade using the recipe from Viva Vegan! by Terry Hope Romero.  Store bought ones should work, just warm them up so they have enough flexibility.  I even used some crunchy taco shells the next day just to try them out.  It was good, but with this taco, I like the soft tortillas better.

2. Guacamole:  I’m a guac purist.  There are lots of recipes floating around with tomato and onion.  They’re ok, I suppose, but I don’t really want them.  Then there are the ones with sour cream and/or mayo.  Don’t even let me hear you thinking about those. The best guac is the one made of just ripe avocado, lime juice, garlic and salt.  I don’t usually measure what I put in, and I often get a bit lazy and just use garlic salt.  But 2 years ago on National Guacamole Day, I actually measured a batch.  You can find my basic guacamole recipe here. Depending on how much guacamole everyone likes, you might want to double up.

3. Lettuce:  I usually use romaine for tacos.  But this time, I had some leftover butter lettuce.  It worked great.  Use iceberg if you roll that way.

4.  Salsa: I like all kinds of salsas.  But for tacos, I prefer the non-chunky, plain ol’ tomato, medium-heat salsa.  The Trader Joe’s Salsa Autentica is my favorite.


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MAT Lettuce Wraps – or – The One Where My Mom Likes Mushrooms

I used to hate mushrooms.  I came by it honestly.  My mom doesn’t like them.  At all.  But, over the last several years, I’ve found some ways that I really like them.  Portobellos especially have become a staple in my kitchen.

I always offer whatever I’m cooking, but when it involves mushrooms, I always expect a no from my mom.  I guess it was a combination of the smoky, sweet smell wafting from the kitchen and the gorgeous green of the fresh lettuce wrap that finally got to her. She decided to try one. It went something like this:

“Mom, these are a little peppery because I thought I would be the only one eating them”
“That’s ok.  I’ll try it.”  ::takes bite:: “mmm…that’s good”
“Really?  Good.  I’m glad you like it”
“These are REALLY good”
“Wow! That’s great”
“I think this is the best thing of yours I’ve tried”
“Seriously?  You know you’re eating mushrooms, right?  Even better than the pumpkin roll?
“Well, no.  But the best thing that wasn’t a dessert”  (completely expected from someone with a sweet tooth)

The best part is that this is something I can whip up when I get home from work without too much effort or kitchen mess.  It took about 45 minutes start to finish (and that was with me writing down measurements/times, etc).

I was originally going for a crispy, mushroom “bacon”.  I didn’t get crispy, but I got meaty which I actually liked better.  In case you’re thinking that cooking them longer will get you crispy…it will, but they’ll taste burned.  There were a few little tiny pieces that met that fate.

MAT Lettuce Wraps (smoked Portobello strips)  | Veg-am

MAT Lettuce Wraps

  • Smoked Portobello Strips (recipe below)
  • Thinly sliced Tomato (cut to whatever size you need to fit in your wrap.  My big tomato had to be cut in quarters)
  • Thinly sliced Avocado
  • Butter Lettuce Leaves

Wash and dry the lettuce leaves.  Place portabello strips in center of each leaf.  Top with tomato and avocado slices.  Pick it up, folding the lettuce leaf around the sides of the fillings, and eat like a taco.  Enjoy!

Smoked Portobello Strips

(enough for 4 lettuce wraps)

  • 2 large portobello caps, sliced thinly
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp coconut aminos (if you’re not soy-free, soy sauce would work)
  • 1/2 tsp hickory liquid smoke
  • 1 tsp pure maple syrup
  • Fresh ground pepper, to taste (optional)

In a large mixing bowl, mix all ingredients except mushrooms.  Add in the mushrooms and toss to coat.  Allow to marinate about 20 minutes, tossing once more about halfway through.

While the mushrooms are marinating, preheat oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

After marinating, arrange the mushroom strips on the parchment paper (Some probably will have broken up into smaller pieces.  That’s ok.). If using, grind fresh ground pepper over mushrooms to taste.  Bake until “meaty”/slightly chewy but not crispy, about 20 minutes.


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A taste of NYC: Chickpea Salad “Tuna” Melt

I went on vacation to NYC a few weeks ago.  It was my first time going, but I have the sneaking suspicion it won’t be my last.  One thing I have to do before I go to an unfamiliar area is research food options.  It’s usually hard to go into a new place and just randomly find meals that are vegan and gluten/soy-free. I try to make sure there’s a grocery store nearby.  It’s even better when there’s a Whole Foods Market nearby because they always have good options on their hot bar and salad bar.  I was in Manhattan for 4 days and never once had to eat from a grocery store!

With the help of the New Yorkers on the PPK, my trusty Google skills, and some research by my friend Matt with whom I got to visit while I was there, I was able to find some great options: pizza by the slice at Viva Herbal (picture below), a vegan, raw mallomar at One Lucky Duck, pasta at La Pasta in Eataly, cherry sorbet also in Eataly, sushi at The Green Roll,  banana almond crepe at Bar Suzette, and a roasted yellow plum pop at People’s Pops.

Then there was the place I went to the most while I was in the city: Terri NYC. I would recommend it to anyone, but if you’re vegan and gluten and/or soy-free, it is a God-send.  I ate there 3 times.  I had a roasted vegetable sandwich on gluten free bread and a delicious cupcake that I could actually eat that didn’t crumble to bits. But the one thing that really got me, was the chickpea salad “tuna” melt wrap.  Look at this bad boy:

Chickpea Salad "Tuna" Melt - Terri NYC

It doesn’t have a tuna flavor like the name would imply.  But I didn’t miss that a bit.  What it did have was 2 brown rice tortillas fully-stuffed with warm chickpea salad, fresh tomatoes, smooth soy-free Vegenaise, and ooey-gooey Daiya cheddar.

What amazed me the most though was the fact that the tortilla didn’t crack. I like the flavor of brown rice tortillas, but they always crack on me.

Three weeks later and I was seriously missing that sandwich.  To be completely honest, I was missing that sandwich the day after I got home.  It was part of the reason I decided on the Stuff, Wrap and Roll theme.  I just had to recreate it at home.

Yesterday, it was time.  I decided to make a smaller version, because that is a seriously big sandwich.  On days where I’m not walking all day, it would be too much. I thought I could get the flavors pretty close (though I used less Vegenaise). But, the big question was, can I make it without that tortilla cracking?!  The answer ended up being a big, fat YES.

What’s the problem with the tortilla that makes it crack?  It’s cold and dry.  The trick must be to give it moisture and heat.  I did that by infusing a little steam, and voila – great wrap material. So here it is, my version of the chickpea salad “tuna” melt.

Chickpea Salad "Tuna" Melt | Veg-am

Chickpea Salad “Tuna” Melt Wrap

  • 1 recipe of chickpea salad (recipe below)
  • 2 Thin slices of fresh tomato, thinly sliced and cut in half moons
  • Daiya Cheddar Wedge (about 3 slices across the wedge, more than 1/8″ but less than 1/4″ thick)
  • Soy Free Vegenaise – about 1/2 Tbsp
  • 1 Food for Life Brown Rice Tortilla
  • Olive Oil for brushing pan

Prepare the chickpea salad, tomato and cheddar pieces and set aside.  They need to be ready when the tortilla comes off the pan so that you don’t lose the flexibility from heating it up.

Preheat a cast iron griddle or skillet over medium heat. Brush the tortilla with water on one side.  Place the tortilla, water side down, on the griddle pan, until the tortilla is warm and  flexible (about 15-30 seconds).

Remove the tortilla from the heat.  Put the chickpea salad in the middle third, leaving enough room on the bottom to fold up the tortilla a little bit.  Top the chickpea salad with the tomato and Daiya.  Fold up the bottom of the tortilla and wrap one side over.  Place the Vegenaise near the edge of the other side of the tortilla and fold over.  The Vegenaise acts as the “glue” that holds it all together.

Brush a very thin layer of olive oil on the pan. Put the wrap, seam side down on the pan.  Cook until golden brown, flip the sandwich and cook the other side until golden brown, about 3 minutes on each side.  Three minutes gives it a little crisp on the edges, so if you don’t want that,  cook it a little less, but give the Daiya long enough to get melty.

Sit back and enjoy a brown rice wrap that doesn’t fall apart!  Meanwhile, I’ll be enjoying memories of a fun vacation :)

Chickpea Salad (enough for one wrap like above)

  • 3/4 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 2 Tbsp fresh red onion, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp soy-free Vegenaise
  • 1/2 tsp dry parsley
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

In a small bowl, mash chickpeas with a fork.  Some pieces and even whole chickpeas are ok.  Mix in the remaining ingredients.

Here’s a bonus inside view of the wrap: Chickpea Salad "Tuna" Melt | Veg-am

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Just in case you’re interested, here is a small sampling of vacation photos:

Inside Chelsea Market, home of the Food Network and the location of The Green Roll, Bar Suzette, People’s Pops and One Lucky Duck.IMG_4312

The pizza from Viva Herbal on 2nd Ave.  This was vegan, gluten free and soy free.  It was ready by the slice, no special ordering.  ::shock::  You could even pick these slices up and fold it like you’re supposed to be able to do with New York Pizza! Note that I couldn’t wait to taste it until after I took a photo.20130819_192941

A view from the High Line.IMG_4283

As the older Latina lady walking by said, “Hola, Libertad”IMG_4231

Steps leading up to Lincoln CenterIMG_4071

Obligatory taxi shot.
IMG_4080

 

Musicians in Central ParkIMG_4093

My favorite light display on the ball.IMG_4132

 

Inside St. Patrick’s Cathedral
IMG_4056

Rockefeller CenterIMG_4053

Just a glimpse of the lovely wrought iron in “my neighborhood”
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Girls’ Night In (Pizza and a Movie)

Entertaining Thought #2:

If you’re having an informal event like girls’ (or guys’) night in, movie night, a slumber party, game night, etc, a make-your-own bar fits the bill.  It’s laid back, fun and less prep work for you.  You can set up a bar for baked potatoes, sundaes, tacos, salads, sandwiches and more. Make up some cute little labels for the ingredients and let your guests have a good time creating.

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Last week I was hosting a girls’ night in at my house with one of my favorite movies,

and a few of my favorite girls.  We had a make your own pizza night.

And here they are putting on the toppings…


Crust:
Makes 4 “rustic” pizza crusts



1-1/3 cup garfava flour
1 cup tapioca flour
1/4 cup almond meal
2 Tbsp gluten-free yeast
2 Tbsp xanthan gum
1-1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1-1/3 cup warm water
2 tsp. canola oil
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar


    Add all dry ingredients together in a kitchen mixer or food processor and combine well. Stir in liquids while beating on medium speed. A stiff dough should form. Divide the dough into four equal pieces.  Let the dough sit 20-30 minutes to let the yeast work a little magic. You might not see much change in the size, but the finished product makes this worth the wait. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and roll out 4 rustic shaped crusts as shown in the picture.  It would of course work for round pizzas too, but with the rustic shape, we could fit two on the pan at a time.
    Move oven rack to bottom position.  Preheat oven to 500

    Let each guest put on the toppings s/he desires and then bake the pizzas on bottom rack for 10-12 minutes until crust is golden brown. 

    Toppings we had to create from:

    • Pizza Sauce
    • Olive Oil (helpful if you provide a brush)
    • Black Olives
    • Onions
    • Banana Peppers
    • Portobello “Sausage” (Slice thin and then cut in bite size pieces, cook in frying pan with a bit of oil – adding water as necessary to keep from sticking, until mushroom has soaked up all the water and gotten a little chewy – about 7 minutes – then add a little more water with sage, fennel, salt, garlic powder, crushed red pepper to taste.  Let portobello soak up all the water and seasonings and then remove from heat.)
    • Fresh Oregano
    • Fresh Basil
    • Fresh Chives
    • Navy Beans
    • Daiya Mozzarella
    • Eggplant (sliced thin)
    • Sweet Potatoes (cubed and steamed)
    • Pine Nuts
    • Roasted Red Peppers
    • Green Bell Peppers
    • Sliced Tomatoes
    • Pine Nut Cheese (recipe follows)

    Topping labels…



    There’s a pdf below that you can print out to set up your own pizza bar.  If you just want blanks so you can write in the toppings, just print out page 4 (go to scribd and download in order to print)

    For some reason, “the other Dawn” didn’t look so sure about these going in… I think it might have been her reaction to the Daiya before it was cooked. She liked it ok after cooking though. Btw, a good tip for people not used to Daiya: use about half of what you would use if it were dairy mozz. Too much will mess with the texture.

     I bet it’s pretty obvious which one is mine.  Yes, I pile on the toppings!
     

    Here are a couple straight out of the oven.  Look how beautifully that crust browned!

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    Pine Nut Cheese (adapted from a recipe from Dr. Ben Kim)

    1 cup pines nuts, soaked for 1 hour then drained
    1/4 cup olive oil
    juice of 1 lemon
    1 small garlic clove
    1/4 cup nutritional yeast
    water to desired thickness (I use about 1/2 cup – it does thicken in the fridge)

    Put all ingredients in the food processor and process for 7-8 minutes until creamy.  Refrigerate for at least an hour so all the flavors can meld together.  Drop by spoonfuls onto pizza.

    Pizza Topping Labels

    Enjoy!!

    Sometimes TV is Useful

    I’m not usually one to cook things I see on the Food Network.  Heck, I’m not usually one to watch the Food Network.  Until recently.  I blame my sister.  After watching the Food Network Star show with her, I decided I wanted to watch a little Giada At Home.  Giada was making this lovely pasta dish and I could hardly wait to try it out: Penne with Brown Butter, Arugula and Pine Nuts
    A few easy subs and it was gluten & soy-free and vegan: Soy Free Earth Balance for the Butter, Corn Fusilli (they were out of penne) from Trader Joe’s, and vegan Parmesan (I used the recipe from Yellow Rose Recipes)
    It sounded like a ton of work, but I had it all done in just over the time it took to boil the water & cook the pasta.  You could see all the colors better in person, especially from those cute little heirloom tomatoes.  She suggested those on the show though not on the written recipe.  The lemon dressing brightened it up and the capers gave just the perfect bite.
    Super yummy and super filling!

    1 food 5 ways, Navy Beans, Way #4: Breakfast Scramble

    One of my favorite easy meals to eat pre-vegan was egg scrambles. I can only assume I’d love tofu scrambles too. But, since I can’t have that, what to do? I do consider navy beans to be the tofu of beans. So…it was a natural jump. This may seem pretty simple to some of you, but it actually took me until this year to realize I could make a scramble out of navy beans. If you haven’t tried it yet, do it! It’s totally yum!

    You can put whatever you want in it, but I’m a one scramble kinda girl. In fact, I fancied it up a bit for you by actually using onion and garlic this time. It was good, I think I’ll add it to my usual. Of course, the likelihood that I’ll ever measure it again is pretty slim.

    I call it a breakfast scramble, but I eat breakfast for lunch and dinner too. Eat it whenever you want. Call it whatever you want. It’s ok by me.

    Here it is pictured with my latest failure of a biscuit. Biscuits seem to be my arch nemesis. But one day, maybe I’ll get it. Finally, the flavor was decent, but they were a crumbly mess.

    But I digress… Don’t let the scramble’s homeliness fool you, it’s tasty!

    Breakfast Scramble

    Ingredients:
    1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
    1/4 cup chopped onions
    1/2 tsp crushed garlic (approx equiv 1 clove fresh)
    1-1/2 cups navy beans
    1/4 cup water
    1/2 tsp black salt, plus extra for sprinkling at the end
    1/2 cup large dice tomatoes
    1 cup loosely packed spinach leaves, chopped
    1/8 nutritional yeast
    freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    Directions:
    Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Add onions and saute until translucent, 3-5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Add beans and water. (The water is useful for keeping the beans from sticking, for making the beans a little creamier and making a bit of a sauce with the nutritional yeast). Add in the 1/2 tsp black salt and mix throughout the beans. Cook for a minute or two until about half of the water has cooked out. Add tomatoes and spinach and stir to combine well. Cook for a minute or so until warm throughout. Stir in the nutritional yeast until well mixed. Sprinkle on any additional black salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste. Eat up!

    1 food 5 ways, Kale, Way #4: Kale Salad with Lemon-Pepper Dressing

    Besides the caesar salad I posted earlier this month, this is probably my favorite salad. The remarkable thing about that is that it’s probably the easiest salad to make! And best of all, it’s autumn-y and sunny all at the same time so I can eat it year round without a seasonal disconnect.
    The first time I had a salad like this was a couple years ago at a Whole Foods Market salad bar. I started thinking that even though it was ultra convenient (which is nice sometimes) $7.99 a pound was quite a lot for something I could make for a lot less at home. So I made my own.
    That was before pine nuts were $31.99 in bulk. (hint: buy the bags at Trader Joe’s if you can $7.99 for 1/2 lb bag).


    Kale Salad with Lemon-Pepper Dressing

    Salad:
    8 cups loosely packed curly kale, stems removed and leaves torn into bite size pieces (about 5.5 ozs)
    1-1/2 cups grape tomatoes
    1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries
    6 Tbsp Pine Nuts (raw, unsalted)
    Dressing:
    1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
    2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    Fresh ground pepper, to taste
    Directions:
    In a large bowl, toss all the salad ingredients together.
    In a small bowl, mix the lemon juice and oil with a fork. Grind in the pepper and mix again with the fork.
    Pour the dressing over the salad and toss until everything is well coated.
    General notes:
    1. This can be served immediately, but personally I like to let it sit together for a little while first. The kale gets softer and and dried cranberries soak in the lemon juice. I have kept it in the fridge for 3 days with no problem.
    2. Please note the measurements here are just a general guideline. This is really very forgiving. Change up the quantities to your liking.
    3. The dressing is on the oily side, so if you don’t like that cut down the oil. I’m not a usually a huge fan of that, but somehow against the crispy kale it works for me.
    4. If you’re not a fan of pine nuts or they’re too expensive or you just happen to be out, then slivered almonds should work just fine.
    5. I’ve made this with orange juice instead of lemon. I don’t prefer it, but if you have a lemon hater among you, it works just fine. Not quite as bright a taste, but still good.
    6. I really like to taste the pepper against the lemony kale and the sweet cranberries. If you like pepper at all, go for it.
    7. The nuts, cranberries and tomatoes tend to slip to the bottom of the bowl. So, if you’re serving it at your holiday functions, tell people to dig deep to get all the goodies. Or, don’t tell them and save those parts for yourself 😉

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