Sunday, September 02, 2007
Ahh..... back to the foodie life. It takes a lot of negative energy to write about negative things, and I'm really trying to be more positive about life in general. I think that I just have too much to be grateful for, to be angry for too long!
Speaking of being thankful, here is something to be very thankful for... pizza! Specifically, Isa Pizza from Vegan with a Vengeance. I haven't had pizza in ... well, I can't remember the last time I had it! I bought the Rustic Crust the last time, and it was only OK. Pizza has to rock my world, for it to be worth eating, since it is so high in carbs and I really avoid them. Well, considering that there was only one slice left after my husband and I got to it (he had four slices, I had two!), I'd say it was definitely worth the carbs.
It took me about an hour to make all the toppings (all from her book), plus a bit of time to wait for the dough to rise, but it was totally worth it! The red sauce was perfectly flavored but not overpowering (and a cinch to make!). The Basil-Tofu Ricotta (the white blobs on the pizza) was equally easy to make and pretty good. The pesto (the green blobs) was easy as well but a little too oily and salty for me. However, matched with the kalamata olives and cremini mushrooms, these toppings just sang out together! If you have a free day, please, please try this pizza.
If you do make it, be prepared to adjust the salt, though! Nearly every step of this recipe called for a copious amount of salt. Luckily, I had other recipes to compare them to. The sauce, for instance, called for, "4 teaspoon salt." This must have been a typo, considering my own family recipe that makes four times as much sauce only contains 1 and 1/2 teaspoons. I put in a little less than one and saved the sauce. The other salt dilemma was with the pesto - I nearly gagged with the saltiness of it! But, after adding the lemon juice and nutritional yeast, this was cut quite a bit. It actually was very tasty, next to the olives and mushrooms on the pizza. There was also salt in the bread dough and salt in the ricotta. Awesome pizza, but not if you're watching your salt in take :) You could totally adjust it though, so now you are forewarned.
Also, although this crust was all white flour, it was my first time with this recipe and I didn't want to try doing a whole wheat version. Next time, I will for sure. I did cross-reference some of the steps in my favorite baking guide by King Arthur (which I think I saw on Urban Vegan's shelf??). I also froze half of the dough and most of the toppings, so I look forward to eating this pizza again... maybe next weekend?
Here is the pizza, fresh out of the oven. I had fun laying the toppings out semi-artistically. I love circles....
(keep scrolling, there's more!)
Another recipe that needs some tweaking was the Maple Nut Orbs, from How It All Vegan. I was excited to try these, especially as I could add my newly purchased carob powder to the batch. However, the dough didn't "come together" like dough at all. I had to mush and squeeze it together with my hands. When they chilled in the fridge, they became very, very dry. The flavor was still delicious, but I have to figure out what went wrong. I'm assuming that I should take out some of the nuts and add more liquid. This was similar to, but not as good as, the Almond Oat Balls by Leslie at Eat Peace Please. As I've said before, these deserve a second chance!
I'll be posting lots of sweets like these Vegan Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Nut Cookies in the coming weeks (can't recall what website these came from, except that I think Tropical Vegetarian posted about them once!). This is because I just bought, "Sinfully Vegan" this weekend! I buy one cookbook a month, or rather, Border's gives me one a month. If you are a book or music or DVD junkie, it is totally worth getting the Border's credit card! Each month, you get checks for Border's, although the amount varies upon how much you spend on your credit card, naturally :) Because of my poor car, I am getting good rewards every month - enough for a cookbook each time! So, with the pain, comes happiness. Anyhow, my hubby scarfed these down with compliments (rare, for him!).
Speaking of sweets, it's back to school for us here in Virginia, and here are my cat cookies for my Cool Cats (that's the name of our class). Two of my students informed me at Open House (we don't start until the day after Labor Day - coming soon, ack!) that they are allergic to cats!
I used Isa's V w/a V recipe for Buttery Lemon Cookies and added chocolate chip eyes and noses instead of icing (didn't have time). I was really disappointed with these cookies, in start contrast to her incredible pizza. The dough was incredibly fragile, needing to be refrigerated every five seconds, and the cookies broke very, very easily. And (guess what) ... they were salty. But cute, nonetheless. I had a song running through my head when I took these pictures... "All the little cats are marching..." (think Dave Matthews).
But wait, there's more! I didn't have time to take the photos of Dreena's delicious Coconut Raspberry Squares, so you'll have to go check them out on her recipe list. They were pretty darn good! My Veg Group ate them all up, and my hubby had two in one sitting! However, I think that a merger between these and the Raspberry Chocolate-Chip Blondies from last time are needed. I might have to create my first cookie recipe!!
But, to end on a healthy note (I am a fitness addict and health nut, after all!) here is a shot of my beautiful free-form salad from a couple of nights ago. I used one of Dreena's delicious dressings (I think it was Cumin-Lime) and it matched perfectly with the black beans, corn, yellow grape tomatoes and spinach (the carrot was just thrown in before it went bad!). The sun coming in the front room where we ate just lit it up perfectly. Thanks to Fat Free Vegan for her photo tips, I think I'm slowly getting the hang of the natural light thing! Here's to the beautiful things in life, especially vegan food!