Roti Pizza

You can make mini or personal pizzaz on anything you like—tortillas, english muffins, and even slices of bread. I wanted a crunchy, cheesy lunch the other day, but working in a Southwest cafe made me want anything but a tortilla. Luckily I had roti in the fridge and thought I would give them a try. I discussed my failed homemade roti attempts before so I buy pre-made dough now.

I topped mine with tomato sauce, Daiya cheese and cut up tofurky sausage. You can top with whatever pizza toppings you desire. This makes two small pizza, but can be easily multiplied.



Roti Pizza
2 uncooked roti
1/4 cup pasta sauce
1/4 cup Daiya Mozzarella Style Shreds
1 Tofurky Italian Sausage, cut into slices
Dry parsley and basil

Pre-heat the oven 450 degrees.

Place the roti on a baking sheet, without them touching.

Spread the pasta sauce evenly between the two roti.

Sprinkle the cheese on evenly between the two roti.

Lastly, top each roti with sausage slices.

Bake for 5-10 minuntes, until the cheese is melted. Like I have said before, vegan cheese does not get bubbly, so do not bake it for too long or it will burn.

Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the dried parsley and basil.

Let it cool a little before you enjoy!

Thin, crispy and light but topped with plenty of cheesy goodness. I have made an Indian pizza before and I think I am going to make a new version on roti soon.

Roti and Cilantro Chutney

Here are the other two dishes from my awesome Indian dinner. Like I said in my last post, I had never heard of roti before. I have always had nice fluffy naan bread at Indian restaurants. But Michael said his family eats roti, which is more like a soft tortilla, so I thought I would try making them. I looked up some recipes and watched a few videos, and thought I would give it a try. I knew they were not going to come out perfect because I do not have a rolling pin and I used all purpose flour, not wheat flour like the recipes  call for. Also, since I had never had them before and do not know that much about Indian cooking, I had no frame of reference. But, being a good girlfriend, I went ahead anyways.  Michael said mine tasted right, but were too crunchy. I will try making them again, following the same recipe but actually following the method more correctly.

However, my cilantro chutney was amazing and Michael had no complaints. The aloo mattar was good on it’s own, but was fantastic with this chutney.



Roti
1/2 Cup Whole wheat flour
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon of Oil

Pinch of Salt
1 teaspoon vegan butter 











In a small bowl, mix together the flour, water, and salt into a soft dough. 


Add the oil and knead together until it is no longer sticky. 


Transfer the dough to flat surface and divide into 4 round balls. 


Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat with some oil. 


Roll the balls into 1/8 thick rounds. 


Ok, so I had a hard time with the following steps….


Place the rounds into the skillet and cook for a few seconds until the edges begin to curl up and bubbles begin to appear on the top. 


Flip it over until the bubble appear on this side as well. 


Flip over again and begin to press down and rotate the roti. Repeat all the way around until it puffs up and becomes golden in a few spots. 


Remove from the skillet and brush with some vegan butter. 


Repeat with the remaining rounds. 



Cilantro Chutney
1 large bunch of cilantro
1 garlic clove
2 serrano peppers, chopped
1/2 inch piece of ginger
1 tbs of salt
1 tsp garam masala 
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp of asafetida
Water, if needed


Put everything into the blender and blend until smooth.  


I was very satisfied in with this whole dinner, and can’t wait to try making more Indian food…and hopefully not “white people Indian food” as Michael called it. Hope you like it too!







Rosemary Focaccia

Photo from here

My friend suggested I try making a video blog, so I decided to give it a try. Let me know what you think, I may do more in the future.

Here is the recipe for my video blog, it’s based on one from called Focaccia Bread from AllRecipes.com. I used rice flour (because I accidentally bought it instead of wheat flour) so this version is gluten free, but wheat flour is ideal.

Rosemary Focaccia:
1 cup luke warm water
1 packet of active yeast
1 tsp sugar
2 and 3/4 cup flour (I used rice but wheat flour is fine too)
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp salt
2 springs of fresh rosemary, removed from stem
1 tbs olive oil
3-4 springs of fresh rosemary, removed from stem
Sprinkle of salt

This is one of my favorite breads my mom made growing up, I hope you love it too!

"Cheesy" Breadsticks and Mushroom Sauce

I had pizza night last night because I have plans for tonight (Bad Geology Movie Night for the geology club, geeky I know) but I still wanted my pizza night. When I was about what kind of pizza to make, I thought of Pizza Hut, which made me think of its breadsticks. So I decided to make some. But, a big pile of cheesy bread is not a healthy dinner, so I decided to add some more veggies to sauce to add some more nutrients. There was sale on mushrooms at the store (99 cents a pound!) so I went with a mushroom sauce with some fresh basil from patio garden.

Mushroom Sauce
1 cup button or white mushrooms, de-stemed and diced
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, chopped
1/4 cup red wine (I used Pinot Noir)
1 can tomato sauce
Handful fresh basil, chopped
Red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper

Wash, de-stem, and dice the mushrooms. Chop the onion and garlic too.

Heat some olive oil in a pot over medium heat.

Add the mushrooms and cook until they release most of their water.

Add the onions and garlic. Cook until the onions begin soften and the mushroom water evaporates.

Add the wine to deglaze the pan. Scrape up the stuff up from the bottom.

Add the tomato sauce and stir well.

Add the red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper to taste.

Cook for a minutes so all the flavors come together.

Take it off the heat and add the chopped basil.

This would be lovely over pasta, but it’s an even better dipping sauce for breadsticks…

“Cheesy” Breadsticks
1 pre-made pizza dough (try mine)
Italian Seasoning
Garlic salt
Vegan mozzarella cheese (I used Daiya)

Pre-heat the oven to as high as it will go and spray a pizza pan with cooking spray.

Roll your pizza dough into a rectangle. This dough I made last week and froze.


Cut into about 1 inch strips.

Arrange the strips on the pizza pan.

Sprinkle with desired amounts of Italian seasoning and garlic salt.

Top with desired amount of mozzarella.

If you want some extra flavor and crunch, you could brush on some olive oil before you put the toppings on.

Bake for about 10 minutes, until the dough is slightly golden. I like mine on the softer side but you can bake them longer if you want more crunch.


I had my breadsticks and mushroom sauce with a side of olives for bit more salt. And of course the rest of my Pinot Noir.

Warning, this dinner may attract your new 9-month old kitty.

Meet Penny, got her from an animal sanctuary on Tuesday. 

Polish Rye Bread

The Polish side of is calling out again. I am heading back to Hawaii in a few days and won’t have my lovely parents to cook for. So I decided to make Polish food for dinner tonight, embrace our heritage once again. Like I said on my pierogi post, a lot of polish food is not vegan so I need to change the recipes a bit. But despite the lack of eggs or pork here and there, they are pretty authentic.

I have never had barszcz, Polish variant of borscht, so I thought give it a try. I love beets so why not try a beet soup? While I was looking for recipes online, a bunch more Polish recipes came up too. I asked my mom what kluski is and when she explained they are delicious little homemade noodles, I knew I had to make them. Then I thought well, what would a Polish dinner be without kapusta? Kapusta is pretty much just plain sauerkraut and it is delicious….makes the house stink though. 
Then I thought a nice home-baked rye would go lovely with the barszcz so I added that to the list too.  I love its dry but savory taste. Plus, my dad was practically drooling over some we saw on TV last night so I figured he would be happy. 
Rye bread is not that complicated to make, just like with any bread you just need to be patience and not overwork it. And it’s already vegan! I found a recipe for a simple breadmaker version called Polish Rye Bread on Group Recipes, but adapted it for normal baking methods. 

Polish Rye Bread

1 cup warm water
1 packet dry yeast
1 and 1/2 tbs molasses  
3/4 cup rye flour
2 cups bread flour
2 tps caraway seeds
1 tps salt 
1 tbs vegetable oil 

Dissolve the packet of yeast into the warm water. I suggest doing this in a measuring cup. Add the molasses. Stir lightly if needed. Set aside until it all bubbly and frothy. 

I did my mixing and kneading in a stand mixer. I wish I had one of these in Hawaii. Can’t wait to not be a broke college kid and have a real kitchen. In the mixer bowl, add both flours, caraway seeds, and salt. Mix together well by hand. 

Turn on the mixer to the lowest setting and slowly add the yeast mixture. Use bread hook attachment. Then add the oil. Continue mixing until smooth and slightly elastic. 

Remove the bowl from the stand, cover with plastic wrap (I suggest putting a rubber band around it too) and cover with a dish towel (ścierka in Polish, I’ve been taught a few random words). Put in a warm place like the laundry room to proof. If you live in humid place, that’s really not an issue so just set aside anywhere really. My bread proofs so quickly in Hawaii. 

Momma rolled it out for me.

Once it’s risen, punch it down again. Sprinkle some flour on the counter and roll the dough out on it a bit. Shape into the size of pan.

Spray a bread pan with cooking spray and place in the dough.
Cover with plastic wrap and a clothe again, then set aside to proof a second time. 
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.  
Once it’s risen the second time, pop it in the over for 20 minutes. My mom made the suggestion of putting some hot water in a pot in with the bread to help crisp up the crust. 

Next, remove the pot of water and remove the bread from the pan. Put the freed bread back in the oven and bake for 10 more minutes. 

Your baking times may vary based on your oven. 

My bread skills need some work…my bread came out kinda dense. But  it was still pretty good. Like I said, if you are patience and take your time, your bread should come out lovely.  I would suggest more salt, my mom thinks more molasses. 

It smells so good. 
I’ll post the rest of the Polish recipes later. Still in the process of cooking all of them! 

Beer Crust Hawaiian Pizza

After about a month of conflicting schedules, my friends Rick and Kyla finally made it over from Kona to come visit me. It was nice to seem them and nice to have someone to cook for for once.

Awhile ago I saw a recipe for a pizza beer pizza crust. I can’t remember where I found it, but it was called something like “lazy single guy pizza crust” and that is essentially what it is. Just dump a some beer into flour and there you go. I was curious and decided to give it a try. The recipe claimed it would rise a little bit after 10 minutes, but it lied. It was still good though. It tasted just like a normal dough recipe, yeasty favor and all. It was a a little denser and chewier, but no big deal if you like thick crust.  Overall I liked it and it was definitely easy to make. I used Long Board from Kona Brewing Company because it’s awesome and thought it would be nice to use something local.

I made one Hawaiian pizza, topped with fresh pineapple that Rick brought and vegan ham from Yves (the store was out of vegan Canadian bacon but it’s same thing really), and one veggie with my usual toppings so refer to my Veggie Pizza post for those.

Both were cheese-less but topped with hummus instead. And, I am finally including my hummus recipe in this post. And yeah, I know traditional hummus has tahini and other fancy stuff, but this basic recipe is still good and easy to make (how many people really keep tahini in the house on a regular basis, let alone a single college girl?) And, I used a store-bought sauce this time because I had some on hand.

Easy Hummus (makes enough for 2 pizzas plus extra):
2 cans garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs Ener-g Egg Replacer
Red pepper flakes, to taste
Pinch of salt and pepper
1/2-1 cup water, ass needed


Beer Pizza Crust (makes 2 pizzas):
4 cups all purpose flour
22 fl. oz. of bottle of beer
1 tbs olive oil
1 tbs salt

Hawaiian Pizza:
1 beer crust, unbaked
3/4 cup hummus
1/2 cup tomato sauce
Vegan Canadian bacon (Try Yves), chopped
1/2 cup pineapple, chopped

For the hummus, throw everything into the blender and blend until smooth. I suggest adding the water in slowly as needed to help it come together so it doesn’t get too runny.

It may not be traditional, but tastes just as good to me.

The crust is just as easy. Pre-heat the oven to 500 degree Fahrenheit.

In a large bowl, add the flour. Next add the oil and salt. Then pour in the beer slowly. Add a little bit at a time and mix well before adding more. Depending on climate, you may need more or less. I actually needed a little less then the whole bottle. It is ready when it’s slightly tacky but moist.

Since it doesn’t need to rise, it’s time to knead. Sprinkle some flour on a clean surface and knead gently. Don’t over work it, just till it’s smooth and workable. Roll the dough into the shape of pizza pan. Transfer to your pan and shape to fit. If it tears, just mold it back together.

Time to top. Spread the hummus on in an even thick layer.

Spread the tomato sauce on top.

Then finally top it with the Canadian bacon and pineapple.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the crust is all golden and crunchy.

It was so nice to share lovely vegan food with lovely friends! Thanks for coming guys!

Yorkshire Pudding Attempts

My Twitter follower @SaraLJohnson75 suggested another recipe and I accepted the challenge. She requested a classic British dish, Yorkshire Pudding. I tried other lovely British foods before I became a vegan, but never had the pleasure of Yorkshire pudding. So, I must admit I am at a slight disadvantage. After some consultation and research online, I got a pretty good idea of what they should taste like: savory, a little flaky and very rich.

I found a great traditional Yorkshire Pudding recipe on About.com (it even has a video) that I based mine on. In this recipe, the eggs are for binding, leavening and flavoring so I wasn’t sure what type of replacer was best (most have a hard time doing all three). The vegan recipes I found said they had trouble getting theirs to rise properly so they had used a lot of powdered egg replacer (usually made from starches) such as Ener-G Egg. However, this alters the texture a lot so I decided to try something different.

I came up with two recipes and made a small batch of each. The first uses ground flax seed as an egg replacer and the second uses yeast. I must confess neither one rises significantly, and although still pretty delicious, are not quite right.

I ground the flax seed myself in a grinder.

I had the highest hopes for the flax seed version because they are a good binder and have a rich flavor when cooked. These ones had an egg-like flavor, but they were flat. For some reason the pictures wouldn’t upload from my camera, but imagine little 1/4  inch brownish hockey pucks.

I worried the yeast ones would come out too spongy or puffy so  I made them second. They are definitely fluffier than the flax seed batch, but still aren’t the right density. I thought about combining the two recipes, to even out the texture and flavor, but I ran out of yeast. This a hard recipe to convert since it is so heavily dependent on the unique properties of eggs.

As a vegan, you learn quickly sometimes you just have to shrug your shoulders and say “oh well.” Another question I encounter often is, “Doesn’t it suck that you can’t have ____?” And I tell them that I don’t think of it that way. Veganism is a life-style change, not a diet. I chose to change my life because I wanted something better.  Yes a rich pudding would be lovely to eat everyday, but it leads to an unhealthy and unhappy lifestyle that I do not desire. I choose life over food is what I am essentially saying. But, that doesn’t mean I don’t get to eat good food (hence the whole point of this blog), it just means I choose different (and better) things to cook with.

Anyways, these are still good—especially with some nice steamed veggies and a nice mushroom gravy (they soak it right up, gives them a yummy, gooey middle).  Try them both, and please let me know if you have a better recipe! 



Yorkshire Pudding with Flax Seed

It doesn’t look like the traditional batter, but tastes more egg-like

1 tbs ground flax seed
1/2 cup water
1/2 unsweetened soy milk
1/ cup self-rising flour
1/8 tps baking powder

Dissolve the ground flax seed into the water. Microwave or heat over the stove until slightly bubbly and thickens into a syrupy consistency.

Add soy milk and mix well.

Add flour and mix until smooth.

Set aside in a cool place for at least 30 minutes.

Yorkshire Pudding with Yeast

Looks and bakes more like the traditional batter.

1 packet active yeast
3/4 cup warm water
2 pinches of sugar
1/4 cup soy milk
3/4 cup flour

Proof the yeast by dissolving it in the warm water and add the sugar. Set aside for about 10 minutes, until it becomes frothy.

Then add soy milk and mix well.

Add flour and mix until smooth.

I let mine rise for only 10 minutes because I didn’t want them to puff up too much and be spongy. Both of the Brits I consulted said they should be more like crepes, not like bread. I suggest only leaving them a little bit longer, maybe 20 minutes or so.

Follow these baking instructions for both batters:

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Oil a cupcake or muffin tin well and place in the oven until the oil starts to smoke a little bit. Watch it carefully so it doesn’t burn and ruin your tin.

Remove the pan from the oven and fill each cup 1/2 of the way with batter.  I filled only 1/3 of the way because I expected them to rise more, so if you are using my exact recipe, I suggest filling them more.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden.

I will attempt Yorkshire Pudding again in the future, but I am happy with what I came up with for now. Hope you like them too!

Pizza Dough

In my Pad Thai Pizza post, I posted a link for pizza dough but I thought this time I would demonstrate how easy it is to make. This is my mom’s recipe. I am not sure where she got it from specifically, but most pizza dough recipes are the same anyways. 

Easy Pizza Dough
1 cup warm water (around 105 degrees F)
1 packet active yeast
1 tbs sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tps salt
1 tbs olive oil

Dissolve the packet of yeast into the warm water. The temperature of the water is very important—too hot will kill the yeast and too cold wont activate it. Add the sugar and set aside to proof. It should get all bubbly and frothy like in the photo. If nothing happens, then you will have to throw it out and try again. I had trouble getting this right when I first started working with yeast.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour and salt, then drizzle olive oil on top.

Tacky

Once the yeast is proofed, pour it over the dry mixture and mix together until well combined. Do not over work the dough, it will get tough and chewy. It should be moist and tacky between your fingers.
 Cover the bowl with a damp towel (if you live in a humid place then it doesn’t need to be damp) and set aside to rise for at least 30 minutes (I forgot it for 2 hours once and it was still fine).

Pre-heat oven to 500 degrees F and spray your pizza pan with cooking spray.

I put mine in the microwave while it rises so it’s out of the way.

Once it’s puffed up significantly, punch it down and place on a well-floured surface.

Knead gently, just until it’s smooth. Again, try not to overwork the dough. No one likes a chewy pizza.  Just be patient and gentle with your dough,  and all will be well.

I split mine and freeze half.

Roll the dough into the shape of pizza pan. Transfer to your pan and shape to fit. If it tears, just mold it back together, no big deal.

Bake for 10 minutes, until slightly golden, turning over half way through. This is only a pre-bake so it should not be golden and crispy just yet.

Now you have a prefect pizza crust ready to be topped and baked!

Alicia Silverstone’s Rustic Bread and Eggplant Lasagna

If you want a good introduction to veganism, read Alicia Silverstone’s book The Kind Diet. In it she explains her vegan story as well as outlines the health benefits of an all-plant based diet— plus it has killer recipes. This recipe for Rustic Bread and Eggplant Lasagna I got from her website The Kind Life and have been dying to make it. I made my own bread for it this morning, which I posted in my last entry. I made a few changes to adapt to what I have on hand. I have posted my version, which isn’t too different from the original. Her recipe includes instructions to make your own tomato sauce, but I did not have enough tomatoes so I used jarred Prego. It’s always best to use local produce, so I used Japanese eggplant that I bought from the Hilo Farmers Market. I also did not have breadcrumbs so I made my own from toasted oatmeal.

The picture from website

Rustic Bread and Eggplant Lasagna 
6 Japanese eggplants
1 tbs olive oil
3 cloves of garlic
3 cups tomato sauce
1 tbs Italian seasoning
1/8 tps ground black pepper
1/4 tps red pepper flakes
8 thick slices of a rustic-style bread (try my Italian Herb Oat Bread)
1 cup breadcrumbs
1 large ripe tomato, cut into thick slices
Basil to garnish

Pre-heat oven to 400 degree F.
 

Japanese eggplant is less bitter than normal eggplant

Slice eggplant length wise into 1/2 inch slices. Arrange in one layer on a baking sheet, drizzle olive oil and salt on both sides. Bake for 30-40 minutes, turning over half way through, until soft and slightly golden.  Leave the oven at the same temperature for baking the assembled lasagna.

Although great as is, jazz up pre-made sauces to your tastes

While the eggplant is cooking, heat olive oil over low heat, add garlic and cook till slightly golden. Add tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Heat until warm.

Extra slices make a good snack while you wait

Spray both sides of the bread slices with cooking spray and heat in a skillet over medium heat until toasted, flip and repeat for the other side. Do this in 2 to 3 batches, since all 8 slices can’t fit in at once….unless you have a very large skillet.

I almost forgot the tomato slices!

 In a large baking dish, spread 1/2 cup tomato sauce. Line the dish with half the bread without overlapping the slices. Layer half the eggplant on top of the bread, then top with 1 cup tomato sauce. Repeat another bread and eggplant layer then top with remaining tomato sauce. Sprinkle on breadcrumbs and put tomato slices on top.

Bake for 40 minutes. Let it rest for a few minutes before cutting in to it.

The eggplant has a creamy texture that totally makes the dish.

Alicia suggests garnishing it with fresh basil and balsamic vinegar, which sounds great, but I do not have either at the moment so I sprinkled it with red pepper flakes and paired with a nice green salad.

Italian Herb Oat Bread

Italian Herb Oat Bread

My mom was a baker for several years, so I grew up eating delicious homemade breads. I loved coming home from school to the smell of fresh baked sourdough or banana bread. Since I  inherited most of my cooking skills from her, I am giving baking a shot too. I found a recipe from Alicia Silverstone’s website  The Kind Life for Rustic Bread and Eggplant Lasagna (which I will be making tonight and will post later) and thought it would be a good opportunity to make the bread for it. Her recipe calls for sourdough, which is beyond my skill level at the moment so I decided to make something using the ingredients I have on hand.  I made up this recipe based on my current knowledge and some web research.  Since it is for a lasagna, I thought an Italian bread would be lovely. I also love the texture of oat bread so I decided to attempt a Italian-ish, oat-ish bread.  I drew inspiration from two recipies, both from Veg Web. The first is for Outrageously Easy BIG Bread, which I have made before, and is exactly what the title promises.  The second is for Garlic & Basil Bread, which I thought would fulfill the Italian part of desired outcome. I consulted my mom on the oats. I have instant oatmeal and old fashion oats in the cupboard, she told me that instant oats were a bad choice so I went with the old fashioned. I live in sunny and humid Hawaii, so my dough rises pretty quick and usually has the perfect texture without adding extra water or flour. You will need to adjust according to your climate. My mom told me that baking is done best by feel, so do what you feel is right.

Italian Herb Oat Bread
1 packet active yeast
1 cup warm water
1 tps brown sugar
3 cups white flour
1 tbs olive oil
1/2 tbs dried Italian seasoning
1/2 tps garlic salt
1/2 cup old fashion oats

Proof the yeast by add the packet of yeast to the warm water. I usually do this all in a measuring cup. The water should be warm to touch but not hot (about 105 degrees F if you want to measure it). My mom told me the water should be a bit cooler than you think it should be. Once it is fairly dissolved, add the sugar. It’s ready when it gets all bubbly and frothy. If nothing happens, your water was either too hot (my problem when I first started making dough) or too cold. Or, your yeast could be bad too. You will have to throw it out and try again.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, oats, basil, and garlic salt then add the oil on the top. Once your yeast is ready, add it to the dry mixture and carefully mix. Work until it all comes together into a doughy ball. The dough should be moist and pliable. If it’s too gooey, add a bit more flour until it reaches the right consistency.

Cover the bowl with a moist towel and set aside to rise for about 45 minutes.

Risen twice and kneaded

Once the dough has puffed up, put it on to a well-floured countertop and knead gently.  Try not to overwork the dough, otherwise it gets tough and chewy. Just work it until it’s smooth and soft, but not overly wet. Add additional flour as needed.

Shape into a loaf or whatever shape you desire, cover with a cloth and let it rise again for another 30 to 45 minutes.

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.

I checked mine after 45 minutes since my oven isn’t the greatest.
After it’s done rising the second time, place on a baking sheet or baking pan. Cut a few shallow slits in the top. Brush on a little olive oil or an egg substitute so it gets golden and crunchy. Sprinkle some oats on top for decoration if you desire.

Bake for about 45 minutes, adjusting the time for your oven (I have a crappy dorm room oven so mine takes 5-10 minutes longer some times). It should have a nice golden crust on the top.

Let it cool for an hour before slicing.

 

It smells soooo good. It’s hard to resist, but let it cool a bit, it’s easier to cut.