Thursday, May 31, 2007

Tony's Vegan Pizza Recipe

The crust is based on a method that came from an article in the NYTimes (November 8th, 2006):

Basically I put water and salt (1 Tbs per 2.5 Cups water) in a container and add enough flour so that it is a wet dough, drier than a sponge but not quite kneadable. If you aren't making sourdough I add yeast (1/4 teaspoon) or if I'm in a hurry or my sourdough culture is less vigorous. I let this sit overnight or at least all day so the gluten can form and the culture can ferment. I then pour this out onto a floured counter and I set up a new batch for my next loaf of bread or pizza crust. If I don't need it right away I put it in the fridge to hang out until the day before I need it. If it will sit a long time I add less flour so that it will have some fresher stuff at the end (gluten can break down from the acididc sourness of the culture and the culture also needs some fresh food at the end to make some good bubbles).

Anyway, I pour it out onto a counter and I knead in some more flour. I let it rise a bit. Then divide up and roll out and place on oiled baking sheets. Let rise a bit and then pre bake for 10-15 minutes. Now the crust is ready for assembly.

The pizza sauce is based on my mom's spaghetti sauce. She's not Italian but my dad is so she learned how to make good stuff. I use our own preserved our own tomato sauce (1 qt per three pizzas more or less), basil, oregano, parsley, garlic, and onions (all grown here usually). I add salt, a little vinegar and a little sorghum (grown at Sandhill) to taste. Simmer for a few hours.

The "cheese" is nutritional yeast cheese based on The New Farm Cookbook only I make some modifications. Approximate recipe:

1 cup wheat flour
1 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1-2 Tablespoon of cornstarch
3 cups water
1/2-1 cup pickle juice or water if we dont have any in the fridge (this is the main modification)
Garlic powder
2 tsp wet mustard if we have it
1/4-1/2 cup of oil
salt to taste (not usually necessary if you use enough pickle juice)

Mix dry ingredients. Add wet except mustard and oil. Stir constantly while heating over hot flame. Once it thickens and boils cook for 30 seconds, turn off hit, and stir in oil and mustard.

For the toppings I use the following if we have them:

Sundried tomatoes - I rehydrate them in a little oil and vinegar and a touch of salt. I put them in a container with lid and shake them until they are all coated and let them sit a couple hours, shaking occasionally. I try to have them in contact with cheese or sauce or they can char in the oven which I dislike.

Soysage - Farm cookbook recipe. This time I tried to make it pepperoni flavor by adding a bunch more pepper, fennel, mustard seed, and a little star anise. Seemed to work. I fry them until lightly browned.

Tofu or Tempeh - fried with soy sauce or sometimes fried and covered with pepperoni spices (see above)

Spinach or other greens - rip up small and place under sauce so they don't just dry out. Beware that they will produce liquid which can make crust soggy so allow extra time to dry it up.

We also make our own sauerkraut and pickled green beans (aka dilly beans) which make surprisingly great pizza toppings. For a special treat I might add olives or artichoke hearts from the store.

Tony's World Famous Vegan Pizza

Dinner 5/31 by Tony

• Various Pizzas with any combination of the following toppings: pepperoni-soysage, tempeh, sun-dried tomatoes, sauerkraut, dilly beans, broccoli, kalamata olives, tomato sauce, nutritional yeast cheez

• Spinach Salad with Italian Dressing

Tony's pizzas aren't world famous yet, but they really should be. When I first moved to Dancing Rabbit, Tony made other things for dinner. Then, one night he made pizza. From then on, whenever he asked what he should make for dinner, my answer was "Pizza!" Since then, we've been eating pizza at least once a month -- sometimes once a week!

Honestly, Tony makes the best pizza I've ever had. His crusts are made of fresh wheat sourdough and most of the toppings are homemade and/or locally grown (with the exception of the olives). The toppings usually change with whatever we have around, but no matter the combination, they're always incredible.

Here's Tony's recipe so you too can have world famous vegan pizza!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Tempeh Ruebens

Dinner 5/30 by Brian

• Tempeh Reubens

• Sauteed Spinach

• Salad with Radishes

• Applesauce

• Raisin-Spice Scone

Tonight Brian made Tempeh Reubens from "Vegan with a Vengeance" by Isa "Cupcake Goddess" Moskowitz again. He made them on his last cook shift and they're so delicious! He makes the rolls from scratch using Sandhill-grown wheat and sauerkraut that we canned here last year. The sauce is a combination of ketchup that we canned here last year from tomatoes that we grew in our garden and a pickly-sauce made from East Wind tahini. Together, they taste kind of like the Russian dressing that's found on traditional reubens.

The spinach and radishes are from a neighboring farmer who uses a greenhouse. Until Skyhouse gets our greenhouse built, we're depending on other sources for earlier produce. The salad is another crispy Ironweed delivery and the applesauce was made and canned last fall with organic apples from a neighboring orchard.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Cinnamon Themed Potluck

Potluck Dinner 5/29 by Rutledge Area Communities

• Salad with Cinnamon-Pear Dressing and Toasted Tamari Sunflower Seeds

• Cinnamony Moussaka Potatoes

• Cinnamon Baked Beans

• Steamed Asparagus and Greens

• Cinnamon Rice Horchata

Every Tuesday night our ecovillage has a potluck with the neighboring communities Sandhill Farm and Red Earth Farms. Even though not everyone who lives in the area is vegan, all of the potlucks are usually vegan. Once in a while, someone brings something that's not, but it's not very often and they usually provide a vegan version, too. It means a lot to me that my dietary preferences are respected here.

Today is Tony's 35th Birthday and in honor of this milestone, we asked people to make their potluck dishes using his favorite flavor: cinnamon. We were thinking that the whole thing might end up being nothing but cinnamon buns, but people really got creative with their "cinnamintegration." :)

And it didn't just end with dinner. For dessert, there was one of the most amazing cakes I've ever seen! It was four 9"x13" cakes cut to spell out TONY! The cake was apple spice and the icing was cinnamon vegan buttercream decorated with red hots. It was so good -- Alline makes such delicious cakes. Celebrations really are special here and I think it's great how people go out of their way to let people know they're loved.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Here goes something!

For three years, I've been living at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage in Skyhouse subcommunity, eating in a food co-op called Bobolink.

You might already know that living sustainably means eating lower down the food chain. For some, this is an easier choice than for others. You might also think that locally-grown, mostly-organic vegan meals would be boring -- and that's why I'm here to show you the oh-so-delicious truth. The food here rocks!

I'm sure I'll be telling you lots and lots about our life here at the ecovillage as posts go on, so without any more ado, on to tonight's dinner!

Dinner 5/28 by Amy

• Baked Tempeh with Creole Sauce

• Cajun Sweet-Corn Relish

• Rice with Parsley and Lemon

• Lightly Steamed Greens

• Salad

The first three recipes are from "The Voluptuous Vegan" by Myra Kornfeld and George Minot. Some tweaks were made for what's in season, but it was pretty close. The tempeh was made 3 miles away at Sandhill Farm with organic soybeans they grew on their own land. The corn was bought from a local Mennonite farmer who uses natural farming methods. The greens and salad were grown a stone's throw from our kitchen by Ironweed subcommunity. They are market gardeners here at DR and they provide lots of yummy produce to our co-op. We're definitely spoiled! :)