Wednesday, April 30, 2008

everything-but-the-kitchen-sink pizza.

To tell you the truth, I never really liked pizza. I remember every one of my friends as a kid labeling pizza as their number one favorite food (right before cereal and ice cream), but I just never really understood the appeal. I didn't eat meat, hated melted cheese, and wasn't the biggest fan of vegetables, so it never really struck my interest. It wasn't until I decided to finally start making it myself, my way, that I finally understood just how great it could be. There is definitely a major difference between homemade and take-out pizza: it just can't compare. The process of kneading the dough, rolling it out, covering it in delicious items, and then having the whole house filled with the smell of fresh-baked pizza- it's just something I absolutely adore.

Another great thing about pizza is that it is one of those foods that is great to make for dinner when you have food that is about to go bad and you have no idea what to do with it. I tend to just clean out the vegetable and dairy drawer and just go to town. Even veggies that you don't usually think of as "pizza-friendly" are usually surprisingly delicious (recently my favorites include blanched broccoli and thinly sliced potatoes). So this afternoon I decided to clean out the fridge and make pizza for lunch. And let me tell you, it was good.

Everything-but-the-kitchen-sink Pizza


For the dough (recipe from "Vegan Planet")
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2/3 cup warm water
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
Pinch of sugar or natural sweetener
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for spreading

For the pizza
This is all optional and to your own taste but my favorites include:
Half a package of chopped tempeh (I love fakin' bacon)
A handful of chopped cherry tomatoes
A whole lot of chopped garlic
As much cheese as you'd like (cheddar, mozzarella, parmesan, ricotta, etc.)
A big handful of blanched baby spinach
A couple chopped yellow or red peppers
A small head of chopped, blanched broccoli
Two small very thinly-sliced red or russet potatoes
Any other kind of real or vegetarian meat that appeals to you
Fresh herbs (basil and rosemary are wonderful)
Some marinara sauce (jarred, canned, or homemade)


For the dough- Place the yeast in a small bowl. Add 1/4 cup of the water and stir to dissolve. Set aside for 5 to 10 minutes. Combine the flour, salt, and sugar in a large bowl. Stir in the yeast mixture, olive oil, and the remaining 1/2 cup of water as necessary to make the dough hold together. Knead the dough (with a little more flour if necessary) until smooth and elastic, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a lightly-oiled bowl. Spread a little more olive oil on top of the dough, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside in a warm place to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F. Cover your baking sheet or pizza pan with a bit of ground black pepper and cornmeal (this is not required, but it tastes delicious in the end). Roll the dough out on a lightly-floured surface until desired thickness is acheived. Transfer the dough to your pan and then cover the surface with your marinara sauce- be sure not to spread the sauce too thickly or it will make your crust soggy. Cover your dough in cheese and the rest of your toppings. Drizzle the top with a little bit of olive oil, some course salt, some ground pepper, and a little parmesan if you'd like.

Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes- shorter if you want a softer crust, longer if you want a crispy one. Let cool for a few minutes then enjoy!


toni said...

I've gained three pounds since you started this blog.

wildflower mama said...

we made delicious home-made vegan pizza for lunch too. must-of been something in the air.

joey armstrong said...

can this pizza dough be frozen?