the pizza race3
Ordering pizza was one of my favorite activities before I became a vegan. Now, though, that avenue of pleasure is firmly closed off to me since I don’t eat dairy. All is not lost, though — if you live close to Hollywood in LA, there’s always Damiano’s, but their delivery customer service is appalling (last time I ordered it took them nearly two hours to deliver a cold pizza — and that was when I lived under two miles away). There’s a reasonable frozen pizza option, but nothing beats freshly made pizza with ingredients you can select and add at will.
So, I set about creating a similar experience to delivery pizza in terms of taste, timing and effort. I succeeded in two of those (taste and timing), but on the effort front, nothing beats the convenience of calling a ‘phone number to get hot food delivered to your home, just as nothing beats not being milked to death if you’re a cow.
When I used to order pizza, it would take around 40-50 minutes from picking up the ‘phone to the local Pizza Hut to when it arrived on my doorstep. This method of preparing this pizza takes a little less time, but the end result is very comparable to delivered pizza if you’re happy to put in the effort.
The key is to keep a minimum of fresh ingredients on hand (this recipe only suggests a fresh tomato — something that’s entirely optional). Everything else can be bottled, sealed or frozen for weeks and transformed into a ready to eat pizza within about 30 minutes, usually less time than a delivery takes, especially in a city.
First, pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees. Start heating before you do anything else — the hotter the oven, the better the end result will be.
Take a baking sheet and pour on a cup full of canola oil (I said this was fast and tasty, not necessarily the lowest calorie thing known to humanity)
Get one Vicolo Organic Cornmeal Pizza Crust (available at Wholefoods). They are inexpensive and come in packs of two. One crust will serve two people, and I’ve personally frozen them for 6-8 weeks from fresh — they are just as good after being frozen:
Next, Spread a layer of Classico pasta sauce over the crust (yes, this is a pizza but Classico sauce is identical to the sweet, high-end pizza sauce you find in nice restaurants. And Domino’s). I get mine from Costco where they sell three half-liter jars for $5.99.
Make sure the sauce layer is even, then sprinkle some Minced Garlic (I also buy this in half-liter bottles from Costco for next to nothing). You can put as much Minced Garlic on as you like — I usually use 2-3 tbsps, as I really like garlic). The end result will look something like this:
Next, the last mandatory ingredient is Follow Your Heart Vegan Gourmet Cheese Alternative All Natural Mozzarella (I will refer to this as “cheese” from now on, as bandwidth is expensive). The cheese is available at wholefoods or at the Follow Your Heart HQ in Canoga Park, CA. You can use any vegan cheese alternative, though, but make sure it doesn’t have Casein in it or you’ll have a whole mess on your hands. If you use the cheese from Follow Your Heart, it will refrigerate for at least a week, and up to about 10 days after you’ve opened it.
If you’re fine with the pizza like this, jump ahead to the oven instructions below. If, like me, you like some extra stuff on the pie you can add frozen spinach at this point, like so:
Before putting in the oven, make sure you swish the base of the pizza around the oil in the pan so it coats evenly. Finally, pop the pizza in the oven for 6 minutes. You can use this time to slice tomatoes, mushrooms, or whatever you want to (optionally, of course!) include on your pizza.
After six minutes in the fornaio (Italian for Baker, or baker’s oven), remove the pizza and turn through 180 degrees (this will ensure it cooks in a uniform way). That’s a good time to add your tomatoes (don’t put them on at the beginning or else they’ll over-cook) and mushrooms.
Put the pizza back in the oven for 5 minutes, and it should be completely cooked. If it looks under-cooked, put back for two minutes, then rinse and repeat if it still looks under cooked. When it is cooked, it should look like this:
All you need to do is slice it and serve with some nice wine. If you’ve been diligent, and planned ahead a little you can make this gorgeous pizza in less time than it takes to order in, using long-life ingredients. I’m becoming very partial to it myself.
Another option is to use a Rustic Crust (also from Wholefoods) wholemeal pizza crust. It might help soften your stools, but it just ain’t as good as the Vicolo Cornmeal crust.
Other things to put on your pizza after six minutes in the oven include:
Tags: pizza, recipe
Canned lack olives (rinse first!)
Fresh spinach leaves
Vegan meat substitutes (vegetarian ham etc.)
Seitan (never tried it but probably really good)
Other vegetables (peppers, onions, blah blah)
Hey, I just made pizza dough using the directions from this one vegan pizza blogger (www.ethicalpizza.com) and the pizza came out pretty good! Or at least it came out better than the one I made, adapted from Peter Reinhart’s recipe. I want to learn to make a cornmeal crust, that looks really good.
Ethical Pizza blogger man also recommends using pizza screens for a nice crisp crust. I just bought one from Amazon for $5, so I’m going to try it out tomorrow.
If you use Follow Your Heart cheese and you want it to actually somewhat MELT, sprinkle or spray-bottle water onto the top of the pizza. I make pizza with FYH often and it melts MUCH better this way.
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[...] quick. i’ve been on the vegan pizza hunt for quite some time. i’ve tried eating out, cooking countless recipes at home, buying it from the store, and it’s never been quite right…until now. tomato [...]