|Left - Baked Ziti Pizza|
Middle - Garlic and Artichoke Pizza
Right - Deep Dish Hawaiian Pizza
I hope everyone had a nice New Year’s Celebration. We didn’t do very much this year. We invited a few people over but I wasn’t feeling particularly social and so after dinner I mostly just ‘hid-out’ with a book, and then I fell asleep at 10pm, though my husband was kind enough to wake me at 11:55 so that I could ring in the New Year with him.
Since his birthday is on the 30th we normally do a combination Birthday/New Years party which means I typically let him pick out all or some of the food that I make for New Years Eve. Last year we did pizza and it went over really well, so this year I asked if he wanted to do that again and he said yes. I went through my extensive collection of cook books and threw out some ideas and he eventually settled on three pies.
One was the Baked Ziti Pizza from Lane Gold’s book “Vegan Junk Food” I know pasta on pizza might sound crazy to some of you but to me It sounded just crazy enough to try. I mean, who doesn’t like their carbs with a side of carbs? Though this recipe requires you to make pizza dough, sauce, vegan ricotta, and cook the pasta so long as you know this ahead of time and prepare accordingly this pizza comes together really easy. In fact, I was kind of dreading making it but it was such a snap I couldn’t believe I’d been worried about it. Once you have this sucker loaded up it bakes for about 20-25 minutes and it comes out of the oven tasting like magic. Seriously, this was probably my favorite pizza of the night.
|Baked Ziti Pizza|
Next up we had the Deep Dish Hawaiian Pizza also from “Vegan Junk Food.” I have not had deep-dish pizza in a long time, and I haven’t ever made one before, since deep-dish isn’t my favorite. Being from Vancouver I grew up eating thin or medium-crust California style pizza, because that’s pretty much how we do it on the West Coast, and that’s what I like. I had never had a deep-dish pizza until my first visit to Chicago and I remember thinking it was pretty damn good. All that gooey cheese how can you go wrong? After I moved here, and I guess it took about a year maybe less, I lost my taste for deep-dish. It’s too heavy, it’s all dough, there’s too much sauce! In my opinion the best part about pizza is the toppings so why do you want to take up all that stomach space with dough? So I forgot about deep-dish and stuck to thin-crust, but for as much as people in this city rave about Chicago pizza being the best, Chicago just can’t do thin-crust, and so I pretty well just stopped eating pizza altogether unless it was homemade.
|Deep Dish Hawaiian|
All that is to say that I found the prospect of making my very own deep-dish pizza daunting, and I wasn’t convinced it was going to taste any good at all. I guess I needn’t have worried because Lane Gold didn’t let me down. This recipe is super simple, and super easy, and if you already have the dough and sauce made then it’s a cinch to throw together. I guess it doesn’t hurt that growing up my favorite pizza was always Hawaiian! Pineapple on pizza is just right, you know? Anyway, this pie uses Daiya mozzarella, and Smoked Tofurky Slices in place of ham and cheese but honestly this tastes pretty damn close to what I remember actual non-vegan Hawaiian pizza to taste like. I don’t know that I could tell the difference in a blind taste test. The only problem with this pizza was the crust on the bottom was a bit weak and so it didn’t stay together very nicely when you tried to remove a slice. No matter though, it tasted great.
Lastly we had the Garlic and Artichoke Pizza from Chloe Coscarelli’s book “Chloe’s Vegan Italian Kitchen” My husband goes wild for artichokes and we both love garlic so this seemed like a natural choice. It’s a pretty simple pizza once you have the dough and sauce made. The toppings are sliced tomato, artichokes, thin sliced garlic, capers, red pepper flakes and mozzarella sauce. Which is a ‘cheesy’ cashew based sauce that you drizzle over the pie at the end of cooking. I liked this sauce a lot and liked that Chloe’s pizza didn’t call for store-bought vegan cheese. That made this pie lighter then the others but it was no less flavorful.
|Garlic and Artichoke Pizza|
For dessert my husband requested I make him an Oreo Birthday Cake. Ever since that one year I made Oreo cupcakes he’s been hooked! So I used the Oreo Cupcake Recipe from Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero’s book “Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World” and turned it into a cake. Also since it was his birthday I used the special ‘Birthday Cake’ Oreo’s in place of the regular kind. It turned out really well, moist and delicious and even though we were completely stuffed from pizza we still had enough room for a teeny-tiny slice.
|Oreo Birthday Cake|
And that about wraps it up, not a bad way to end the year. I hope everyone else had a nice celebration.