Thursday, October 6, 2011

Pizza Night

Everyone has a night where they are craving pizza and beer. That was tonight in the Nixie house. Mr. Organnix and I traveled to Trader Joe's and picked up the necessary toppings for our delicious pizzas. He got his "real" mozzarella and pepperonis and I got my olive oil, tomatoes, and garlic. Making pizza is an adventure. Tonight I did it on a whim, but I would suggest planning it out if you don't want a big mess giving you the evil eye. But guess what? Homemade pizza for dinner and breakfast is totally worth it. 

Mix Dry+Wet
Form into a ball
Knead for 10 minutes
Cover and let rise for an hour in a warm place. (Top of oven)
Mince Garlic and Onions
Make a marinara
Punch Down and Let rise 1 more hour
Roll out & Have a beer
Mr. Organnix trying to spoil my pictures with a hug. Got You!
Spread some marinara on (I like mine chunky)
Add vegan cheese-Daiya 
Brush Garlic Oil on crust
Add your favorite toppings
Pine nuts+Cashew Meatballs
Not so Vegan
First things first, make sure you have lots of working room. Luckily, I have a big enough kitchen to make the sauce, dough, and all the dishes dirty at the same time. Since this was my first time doing it from scratch, I must say it was an experience and lesson. I used a dough recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance but would make some changes. Instead of using only "all-purpose flour" I subbed half for stone ground whole wheat. Next time I would add in some more flavor such as garlic, onion, or agave nectar. This recipe only called for flour, olive oil, yeast, water, and salt. Simple? Yes. Nixie approved? No. 

Next things next: the marinara. Mr. Organnix likes his marinara smooth, thick, and consistent. I can't blame him, he's from New York where the pizza gods exist. Growing up with Numero Uno pizza, I like mine the chunky tomato style. This time it was my way, next time it will be his. 

Marinara: What I Did
Mince 1/4 yellow onion and two cloves garlic. Heat a medium sauce pan with olive oil and throw them in to sweat all their flavors out. Add in a can of organic, peeled, whole tomatoes, minced, with ends cut off. Add in three handfuls of plum tomatoes, hoping they will pop and get all their juices into the marinara. Mine needed some assistance so I popped them with my spatula. Die baby tomatoes! Die! 

What I Would Change
Next time instead of using plum tomatos, I will use the guts of large juicy tomatoes. I'll add in some tomato paste to thicken the sauce and add more consistency. 

Waiting Game...
As I waited for all the flavors to simmer together on low heat, I did an hour of Insanity. The dough was doing it's second rise on the counter and the tomatoes were getting to know each other's insides. It was a party in my nose and great motivation to sprint faster, jump higher, and dig deeper.

Punch It Out
After the hour had gone by, I washed up and punched down the dough, for it was time to roll out, roll out, roll out...Oh Luda! 

I don't have a rolling pin (What kind of cook am I?) so I just used my hands and made a fun oblong shape. I called it a monster because it's Halloween time. A sad excuse for a sad shaped pizza, sure, but I had fun and that's all that matters. Hmph! 

I floured my pan, blasted my oven to 500* and topped my pizza. Sauce, cheese, cashew balls (which are technically a fermented cashew cheese that are now playing the roll of "meat" balls) and pine nuts. Mmm pine nuts get all soft and flavorful when cooked, totally underrated. I cooked it for 15 minutes, but would suggest 10-12 minutes for a less crispy crust. I used a cookie sheet, which was all I had, but would suggest a pizza stone for the best crust. 

Wah-lah...Or Mr.Organnix's term "Vwa-lah!" Vegan pizza made at home and only a few hours work. Simple? Not this time. Fun, healthy, and delicious? Yes! If you're looking for a fun date with a new crush, want to create something new, or just want to take a whack at making homemade pizza, I'd say Go For It!

Things to Keep in Mind 
Flavor your crust 
Know your marinara recipe well (or cheat and buy your favorite) 
Don't use too much flour on the baking sheet or...
Use a pizza stone
And most of all, Have fun!  

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