Sunday, 10 March 2013

Green Pizza (Vegan)

I love making pizza. My family loves that I love making pizza. I like experimented with making different types of dough and combining lots of toppings. I mean, who doesn't love pizza? (This question is rhetorical I don't actually want to know if you don't like pizza, I could really care less)
One of my best to date was inspired by a fig pizza I had in a restaurant in Bloor West Village. My love took me there for my birthday celebration dinner back when we were first dating. I ordered this amazing pizza with mascarpone, prosciutto, figs and drizzled with honey. I have recreated this pizza the last 2 years for my birthday dinner (I know what am I doing cooking on my birthday right? It's ok he takes me out too :) So now since we have eliminated using most animal products in our home I'm looking for a new amazing vegan pizza to add to my repertoire.  We're not really big fans of fake cheese (or fake meat) as a general rule so that makes things interesting for me. This pizza was a big success (I won't bother boring you with my first attempt at vegan pizza, it was my most epic fail in the kitchen to date) I'm also not a big fan of tomato based sauces and had recently been leaving my pizza's sauce-less so I needed to find a sauce that was moist and full of flavour. I had been recently experimenting with what I call my universal Green Sauce and decided to try one more incarnation and add it to my pizza. It was amazing! Probably my best pasta/pizza/dipping sauce. I will be making a post just for it in the very near future. In making this delicious vegan pizza you can substute any toppings you want or and sauce. I really shouldn't have to tell you that it's pizza for Christs sake not plans for a nuclear reactor, it's meant to be mixed up a bit.
One thing I will tell you is go out and buy some nutritional yeast. I know it sounds weird and gross but seriously it is full of B12 and makes almost anything taste salty and cheesy. You can find it at most grocery stores wherever they keep specialty flours, grains, organic cooking stuff, or just buy it in bulk (no extra packaging) at Bulk Barn. The best price I've found was actually at Goodness Me in their bulk section. The other thing I will tell you is if you haven't bought into the whole coconut oil craze you're so behind. Just do it. It's so versatile and healthy. If you don't like coconut flavour then get the refined but the virgin unrefined coconut oil has such a nice light flavour that it seriously makes everything taste better. I'll be doing a post on all the supplies and products I use and love very soon but this just needed to be said. Another warning I hardly ever measure anything so these ingredients are all totally adjustable to your taste. Following recipes exactly is boring. .Be creative! I believe in you! 

pizza dough 
coconut oil

1 zuchinni roughly chopped
1 ripe avocado
2-3 cloves of garlic
2-3 tbls of nutritional yeast 
1 bunch kale leaves stems removed

mushrooms thinly sliced
baby spinach
1 onion
balsamic glaze (so not healthy but so delicious)

large baking sheet - rectangle, round, oval, hexagonal whatever you want
Preheat your oven to 425. If you would like to saute your kale please do so in some coconut oil untill it browns a bit and wilts down. You can throw your garlic cloves in with your kale as well if you'd like. If not just put your chopped up zuchinni, avacado, garlic, kale and nutritional yeast in your food processor and blend away (process away?) Then taste and adjust any seasoning adding salt and pepper as needed. Always taste first sometimes you really don't need that extra salt as nutritional yeast tastes salty. Then slice up your onion, mushrooms and get out your baby spinach. 
As for the dough feel free to spend the time making your own, it really doesn't take that long at all. I found that having to make the dough always put me off making pizza so my love had been gracious enough to find an amazing dough at  a local grocery store that meets our needs. The key is to let it reach room temperature before you work with it and don't roll it. Stretch it out with your hands/forearms. A note on handling pizza dough: It is an art. Don't be tempted to throw it up into the air like you've seen on TV. You will end up like the Swedish Chef with the pizza dough on your head or stuck to the ceiling. Don't get discouraged! Practice, practice, practice. You'll get the hang of it. Grease your pan with some melted coconut oil (make sure you get ALL OVER trust me I've had entire section of dough adhere to my pan before and that's no fun for anyone. Then sprinkle cornmeal over the bottom and lay your stretched dough out on it. Feel free to stretch it out even more to get it to fit into the corners if needed. Poke the dough with a fork which will make sure it doesn't end up with huge bubbles when you bake it. Always, always, always bake your dough a bit first before you add your toppings. This will ensure your dough will be crisp enough to hold up to your toppings. Usually 5 minutes is sufficient. 
Once the dough has been baked for about 5 minutes take it out and start to assemble. Spread out your sauce first in a good layer then add your toppings. I layer mushrooms, spinach and then onions. We like a lot of mushrooms so I probably use about 5-6 reasonable sized creminis all sliced up. Then pop your pizza back into the oven and wait the excruciating 15-20 minutes it takes to brown up. Please check frequently because I don't know how hot your oven gets and a pizza's doneness is kind of a personal preference. Once you take it out let it sit for another 5 extcuciating minutes and then slice up for serving. I use scissors to cut up a lot of things in the kitchen and pizza is one of the best because the topping stay put and you don't have to take it out of the pan to avoid damaging it with a knife or rotatory cutter. 


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