30 January 2011

The Vegan Pizza Day That Was

I hope everyone enjoyed yesterday's first annual Vegan Pizza Day. Not only did I appreciate the widespread attention so enthusiastically devoted toward a day of celebrating the joys of delicious, animal-friendly fare--pizza is always a reliable source of culinary gratification, especially of the festive sort--I relished the excuse to spend an afternoon in the kitchen. I may finally be emerging from my cooking rut, for which I sigh relief.

Curiosity, chronic indecisiveness, and an abundance of dough eventually produced three homemade pizzas: pizza bianca, artichoke and seitan "pepperoni," and deep-dish. The pizza bianca, more of a sauce-less flat bread than traditional pie, used a whole wheat variation of the Pizza Napoletana dough from that treasured Reinhart book, The Bread Baker's Apprentice. I brushed the thin disc with roasted garlic extra virgin olive oil, lightly sprinkled shredded mozzarella-style Teese over it, and baked the pizza on a preheated stone at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes. Slices of the crusty-but-chewy bread made for a tasty prelude to the more elaborate pizzas to follow.
The second creation, an artichoke and seitan "pepperoni" pizza, utilized more of the whole wheat dough and resembled a more traditional pizza. I topped the raw dough with homemade tomato sauce (recipe follows), caramelized onion, sun-dried tomatoes, marinated artichoke hearts, blanched spinach, more Teese, and slices of Fat Free Vegan's Veggeroni. Again, a spell atop a hot stone in a hot oven resulted in a delectable pizza. The seitan "pepperoni" became a bit brittle and toasty around the edges, but no matter; the crunch of those smoky-spicy slices added welcome textural interest.
A departure from the preceding two pies, the deep dish-style veggie and seitan "pepperoni" pizza boasted a different base dough altogether and was baked not flat on a stone, but molded into a cake pan. I used the dough from Pennies on a Platter's Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza, substituting vegan "butter" for dairy butter. I filled the unbaked shell with various toppings--Teese, caramelized onion, seitan "pepperoni," sun-dried tomatoes, tomato sauce, bell pepper slices, blanched spinach, black olives, and a light sprinkling of additional Teese--brushed the dough with garlic olive oil, and baked it according to the recipe's instructions.
The finished pizza crust wasn't as flaky as one typically expects of deep dish-style pies; rather, this crust had a fluffy, airy interior with crisp exterior and cornmeal crunch throughout. It was actually a rather nice complement to the hearty fillings, with all elements harmonizing into a beautifully messy, deliciously savory treat.
Here is a basic rundown of how to make the sauce I employed, as promised:


Thick and Chunky Tomato Sauce (printer-friendly version)
Yields approximately 4 cups

1/2 medium onion, diced
1 medium carrot, finely grated
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried parsley
1 T tomato paste
2 (14-oz) cans diced tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil

Heat oil in a medium-sized saucepan over medium-low. Add onion and carrot, lightly salt and pepper, then cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and slightly caramelized (approximately 5 minutes). Stir in garlic and cook for approximately a minute or so; it should be fragrant but not brown. Slightly crush the pepper flakes and dried herbs before adding them to the pan. Stir in the tomato paste until it is well-distributed. Lightly drain one can of tomatoes, then add the contents of both cans to the saucepan, stirring to incorporate. Bring the sauce to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, the partially cover the pan with a lid (allow some ventilation). Allow the sauce to simmer gently for at least 30 minutes--up to an hour, if time permits, to further develop flavor--stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper. Remove from heat and coarsely blend until desired smoothness is achieved. Allow to cool before dressing pizza, or warm through to enjoy with pasta.
Needless to say, my humble Vegan Pizza Day celebration was flavorful and fun. How did you celebrate?

11 comments:

  1. Hi Tiffany,
    WOW...pizza extravaganza! The pizza bianca brings me back to a semester I spent in Grenoble, France and I like the looks of your chunky tomato sauce recipe. Thanks for sharing.
    xo
    Aimee

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  2. Girl your pizza looks so good! I totally missed the memo on vegan pizza day, but I had some today! So, maybe that still counts ? I love artichoke on pizza.

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  3. Oh my! That's a lot of pizza goodness!

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  4. Wow, you celebrated Vegan Pizza Day RIGHT! Kudos!

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  5. VEGAN DEEP DISH. HOLY CRAP. My life is complete! I can't wait to try this hah!

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  6. Vegan Pizza Day? Awesome! Love what you came up with.

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  7. I never thought of a deep dish! Yum :D

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  8. ahh now im freaking ccraving pizza!!! this looks fabulous!

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  9. ahh now im freaking ccraving pizza!!! this looks fabulous!

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  10. Wow, you celebrated Vegan Pizza Day RIGHT! Kudos!

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  11. Hi Tiffany,
    WOW...pizza extravaganza! The pizza bianca brings me back to a semester I spent in Grenoble, France and I like the looks of your chunky tomato sauce recipe. Thanks for sharing.
    xo
    Aimee

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for reading! Your comments are always welcome and appreciated. :)