It's Gluten Free
KNOCK - YOUR - SOCKS - OFF
O M F G - this dip is amazing, and by amazing I mean make this IMMEDIATELY!
I stumbled upon this
recipe for White Pizza Dip on La Phemme Phoodie
and it was love at first sight. I used to adore white pizza and even made a few vegan pies post-break up with dairy. However, white pizza in dip form was a new deliciousness that I had yet to explore and to the top of the kitchen adventures bucket list it went. I hit Trader Joe's later that day for vegan cream cheese (Note: Joe's brand is, in my opinion, better than most of the other vegan cream cheese brands. However I would describe it as good not great) and was indulging in what's now my new favorite dip before sun down.
I halved the original recipe (which can be view here
on Veggie Converter) and made it slightly more complicated via incorporating a homemade vegan cheese sauce AND I made a small pizza dough, which I used to make a batch of fresh bread sticks. Well worth the extra effort in my opinion. However, you can skip the cheese sauce and instead increase the mozzarella and cream cheese as well as dip with store bought crackers/bread of choice. Along with this, I added more kale than the original called for as I really needed to use up what I had. If you hate kale - or don't have any on hand - instead of omitting it out entirely, substitute it with a different green vegetable.
1 (small batch) recipe Pizza Dough
1/3 pint grape tomatoes, tomatoes cut in half
salt & pepper, to taste
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
5 ounces mozzarella cheese shreds
3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
Italian seasoning, to taste
4 ounces steamed and shredded kale
1 recipe Nutritional Yeast Cheese Sauce *recipe below
Begin by prepping the pizza dough and set aside.
While dough rises, preheat oven to 400F. Place tomatoes on baking sheet. Spritz with olive oil pepper, and salt, then roast until bursting (approx 20 min).
While tomatoes roast, mix cream cheese with roughly 3 oz of the cheese shreds. Prepare nutritional yeast cheese sauce and immediately add it to the cream cheese/shreds mixture, along with the seasoning, garlic, cooked kale & the roasted tomatoes. Stir to combine. Transfer mixture to an oven-safe baking dish, sprinkle with remaining mozzarella shreds, and set aside.
By now the pizza dough should be ready to roll out onto a baking sheet (depending on the side of the pan it will only take up half, thus allowing you to place the dip onto the empty side of the pan). Once the dough is rolled out, scour into sticks, place oven safe dish on the baking sheet. Bake dip for 25 minutes, or until top is golden and bubbly. and bake sticks until golden.
Nutritional Yeast Cheese Sauce
5 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
1 Tablespooon Brown Rice Flour
1/2 cup cold water
Pinch Garlic Salt
Squirt Spicy Brown Mustard
Combine all the ingredients in a small sauce pan and, while stirring constantly, bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat and continue cooking until desired consistency is reached. Use as desired.
Note: For the flour blend I used bobs pizza mix
Small Batch Pizza Dough
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 Tbs yeast
pinch of sugar
1/2 Tbs olive oil
pinch of salt
1 - 1 1/4 cup gluten free flour blend *
seasoning of choice, optional
Proof yeast in a measuring cup, add olive oil. and set aside. Add dry ingredients to a small bowl, add in the wet ingredients, stir until well combined (about 5 minutes). Cover with warm wet towel and allow to rise in a draft free area for 20 min. When ready, roll out onto half of a parchment lined baking sheet, scour, and bake until golden.
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It's Not a Diet, It's a Lifestyle!
Mmmmmm..... Pizza! Recent cravings, an increased use of my loved and hated dehydrtaor, and the purchase of brand spankin' new mini springform pans helped launch the following recipe makings. As I type this post, I fondly recall family memories of Christmad Eve, which involved homemade pizza making with "Grandma Bell" (my mother's mother). We engaged in the popular Italian tradition of fish on Christmas Eve but excluding my mother's fried flounder, fish wasn't really my schick. Pizza on the other hand was and every year on Christmas Eve night several pies were made for the kids. Sadly, the pizza making tradition died out with the passing of Grandma Bell. As I adamantly transitioned to a vegetarian diet, a new Christmas Eve tradition of ordering from our local Gino's was started.
Back in the day I was a regular pizza eater, often opting for sicilian. As I grew older, I developed a love for thin crust veggie slices. My weekly pizza habit have little to no impact on my physical appearance but eating said slices definately impacted how I felt. This rekindled a personal tradition of making my own pizza's and my switch to a vegan diet futher propelled my pizza making skills as good vegan pizza is hard to come by (but not impossible!! I highly recommend 3 Brothers on Long Beach Road, Rockville Centre, NY. They have an extensive vegan menu, all of which is delicious).
During a recent trip to 'mart, I picked up a new set of mini springform pans as mine were nowhere to be found. (Hmmmm... interesting how MY stuff, and only my stuff, regularly goes missings with none of my house mates having any idea as to what may have happened. Yet another illustration of my personal life mirroring work). My love for all things mini had me day dreaming about all the adorable yummies I'd be whipping up in my new pans (with said new pans being carefully returned to my room immediately after each and every use so that they doesnt get lost without a trace). Within a few days of my purchase I succesfully made my first ever vegan white pizza!! In a word: YUM :-)
I made a garlic and herb gluten free pizza dough (using Namaste Pizza Crust flour), which I divided into four chunks and rolled as thin as possible. After liberally spraying down each mini springform, I drapped one rolled out dough chunk per pan. The dough should cover 3/4 of the side of the pan.
For the "cheese", I turned to a tried and true recipe from Veganomicon: Tofu Ricotta Cheese. I am by no means a tofu fan but this is one of the rare instances in which I actually enjoy it. I generally use Tofu Ricotta when I want a lighter, nut free homemade cheese alternative.
1 lb extra-firm tofu
2 tsp lemon juice
1 clove garlic
1/4 tsp salt
ground black pepper
!0 fresh basil leaves, chopped finely
2 tsp olive oil
1/4 cup Nutritional
In a large bowl, crumble tofu with hands. Add lemon,, garlic, salt, black pepper, and basil. Mix again with hands until you reach the consistency of ricotta cheese (approximately 2 - 5 minutes). Add olive oil and stir with fork. Add nutritional yeast and mix again with fork until well combined. Refridgerate until ready to use.
Tofu Ricotta Nutritional Breakdown per serving; when broken down into 4 large servings: Calories 161, Fat 9.4g, Saturated Fat 1.0g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 163mg, Total Carbohydrates 7.4g, Dietary Fiber 3.0g, Sugars 0.6g, Protein 15.9g.
For the broccoli: I chose to water saute my chopped florettes with some onion and garlic. I then mixed the broccoli with the tofu ricotta before spooning into my 4 mini sprinform pans.
Still on a pizza kick, I decided to bust out my dehydrator once again and whip up a batch of chips, but not just any kind of chips. Today, I was ready to rock out with some Pizza Party Kale Chips.
Kale chips in general are one of my favorite snacks and I dont mind making them via my dehydrator, as the prep is easy and the wait time, bearable. A recent trip to Trader Joe's yielded three bags of Kale (washed, cleaned, and ready to eat), two of which were purchased with the sole purpose of using for kale chips. If you google Kale chip recipes, 1,940,000 results will come up. Nutritious and generally low fat, this popular snack can be made in a variety of flavors and ways, including: spicy, sweet, sour, salty, baked, roasted, dehydrated and fried (although I don't recommend the last one!!)
Kale, washed and de-stemmed
1 cup raw cashews, soaked*
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, soaked*
1 clove garlic
1/3 cup Nutritional Yeast
1 Tbs Lemon Juice
Fresh Oregano, optional
Fresh Basil, optional
Himmalayan Salt, optional, to taste
Fresh Ground Pepper, optional to taste
Soak cashews for several hours (mine soaked for about 5 hours). Soak sun dried tomatoes until soft (mine took 20 minutes). Wash and de-stem kale. (For this batch I used one bag of Trader Joe's Kale). Place in large bowl. Set aside.
Drain sun-dried tomatoes and place them in a food processor or blender, along with (drained and rinsed) cashews, lemon juice, garlic, nutritional yeast, any herbs and spices you are using. Pour mixture onto kale and mix until well coated (for best results, use your hands!). Line dehydrator trays with mesh liner and closely lay coated kale leaves on mesh liner (touching but not overlapping). Dehydrate at 115 for about 6 - 8 hours (flipping leaves once if possible. I did not flip these as I set the timer on my machine and went to bed).
No dehydrator? No problem! -
Make baked kale chips in your oven instead!! Place kale on lightly olive oil sprayed baking sheet and bake 300F until edges are brown and crisp (approx 20 min but keep a close eye on your kale as you don't want it to burn. Burnt kale is horrific!!). Once desired crispness is reached, dig in! (If you baked allow chips to cool to avoid mouth burns. Mouth burns are no fun). Store remaining chips (Remaining?! Ha! Good luck with that) in airtight container until your ready for your next feeding ;-)
Happy Spring Everyone!
It's a little chilly out today but the sun is shinning & it's nonetheless a nice day. I'm feeling extra refreshed due to having slept an obscene amount of hours yesterday (it had to be at least 16). Today I am going to begin a thorough cleaning of my living space. The goal is to simplify: get rid of what I dont use or want and rearrange a bit to make things more comfortable.
On the menu for today is low fat vegan calzones, mainly because I have a dough that needs to be used. I had invited a friend to dinner but he never called to say whether he was coming - rude but whatever - so I decided to go with a recipe I've been meaning to try.
If you recall, last tiime I made vegan calzones I used cashew cheese. They were delicious but rather high calorie and fat. To lighten things up, the cheese in these is made from cauliflower and tofu. I had sceen the cheese recipe in Appetite for Destruction, but used in a lasagna. The original is very simple and mild in terms of taste. I definately doctored it up for the calzones. Everyone in the house sampled a piece and said they were "suprisingly good" (LOL!).
Basic Pizza Dough
1 pkg rapid rise yeast
3/4 cups hot water
2 cups bread flour
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbs olive oil
Pour yeast in a large bowl. Add water and stir to dissolve. (Since using rapid rise there is no reason to wait. If using regular yeast wait 15 minutes then proceed).
Add sugar, oil, and salt to the yeast & water mixture. Then slowly add flour until dough starts to form. Once you have added all thr flour and your dough has formed, transfer it to a lightly floured flat surface and knead it until it is smooth. (If dough is sticky just add tablespoonfuls of flour to it one at a tiime).
Oil a bowl and place dough inside. Cover with warm cloth and put some place warm to rise (inside microwave or oven that is NOT on). Let rise approximately 1 hour. Gently degas ball. Then using a rolling pin, roll dough out and cut into sections (number varies by personal preference on size. I made 4 personal calzones with each dough I used - and I used two).
Adapted from Appetite for Destruction, Isa Chandra Moskowitz.
Note: This makes ALOT - I filled 9 personal calzones and still had extra!!
1 medium head of cauliflower, washed and chopped into chunks
1 pkg extra firm tofu, drained and crumbled (by hand)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
2 tbs lemon juice (fresh squeeze preferred)
1/2 tsp fresh ground salt
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 tsp chopped basil
1 tsp oregano
2 tsp olive oil
Fresh ground pepper, to taste
Peppers, chopped small - I used yellow, red, and orange.
Arrange chopped cauliflower on a baking dish and drizzle with olive oil. Bake at 400F for 10 minutes. Flip cauliflower chunks and bake an additional 15 minutes.
While the cauliflower is baking. Drain and crumble tofu in a medium bowl. Add nutritional flakes, 2 tbs fresh squeezed lemon, and seasonings (salt, pepper, garlic, basil, oregano). Mix well wiith a fork. When cauliflower is done, run it through a food processor (I used my commercial blender), then add it to the tofu mixture. Use a potatoe masher to mash the two together. Lastly, add peppers to the mixture and mix with spoon or fork.
To make the Calzones:
Drop tablespoons of cheese mixture onto the rolled out sections of the dough. Then fold dough over and seal with fork (or fold the edges). Lightly press to flatten in needed and place on parchment paper lined baking sheet (If you dont have or use parchment paper spray or oil pan so that they dont stick!)
Bake at 350F for 35 - 45 minutes, or until drust is light golden brown. Enjoy!
PS: these freezer and reheat very well!!
Saturday.... My initial thought upon waking was that it felt good to sleep in (till 9am). I've been dragging myself out of bed at 5:30am every morning to get the gym in before work so this was a nice treat. After a quick stretch and good morning greetings to the herd, I made the mistake of picking up my phone. As I sit and write this, I cant help but laugh at the ridiculous that greeting my eyes, and in hindsight instead of responding to the text messages I should have put the phone down and went about my morning. But of course I hit reply. And of course drama ensued....
In times like this, I know for myself, it's very easy to focus on what's bad and getting wrapped up in misery and self-pity only perpetuates the negativity I'm ultimately trying to avoid and it becomes this seemingly never ending energy zapping cycle. That said, instead of letting my day get derailed, I was up and off to the gym for an hour of cardio. During my treadmill session I tried to make sense of what had transpired and decided to view it as an "everything happens for a reason even if that reason isnt clear". Even when the shit seemingly hits the fan, our own attitude towards and response to what has transpired is going to have a huge impact on how cope. A few minutes ago I acknowledged the fact that I was not crumbling as I normally have in this same situation and I'm rather happy about that. Perhaps I've reached the point of indifference.... Or maybe I'm drunk off the cuteness of Zilla having visited. She got aquainted with the meow meows today. (In a word: Precious!!) Whatever the case may be, I'll take it!
I had filling left over from yesterdays calzones so I decided to make a polenta lasagna. I chose not to make the polenta from scratch as I had planned to make two batches of pretzel bread (one gluten free, one regular) and fully intended on following through with such. The breads came out delicious (as usual) and when Farina came to pick up Zilla I sent him home with the regular batch.
There are no words to express how truely delicious these pretzel bread rolls are. They have become an obsession of sorts and I have yet to get rave reviews every time I make them. Gluten free baking is a bit of a challenge for me and even that batch was tastey. The dough was a different texture and it was awkward working with it but all in all I thought they came out very good. Now on to the Polenta Lasagna
Veggie Polenta Lasagna
My inspiration for this dish came from the left over veggie calzone filling I had from the previous day. (Unfortunately I dont have measurements of what was used.) Any vegetables can be substituted as well as a cheese of your choice. The polenta used was gluten free (although I am not sure all polenta is) and if your a carnivore, meat can also be added to this dish.
1 roll Italian Herb Polenta, sliced
Homemade Sauce (I had on hand)
Veggie Filling: see previous recipe
Homemade Italian Herb'd Cashew Cheese
Red, Green, Yellow & Orange Peppers, Sliced
Black olives, sliced
Daiya Brand Shredded Mozzarella
Slice Polenta. Spray 8x8 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Cover bottom of pan with sauce, then arrange first layer of polenta. Cover polenta with layer of veggie filling and then cover that layer with sauce. At this point I spread a little more filling down as I wanmted to use as much up as possible. Repeat layer of polenta and cover that layer with sauce. Sprinkle shredding cheese on top of sauce. Insert tooth picks in and cover with tin foil. Bake at 400F for approximately 50 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 mmore minutes. Remove from oven and enjoy!
Oddly enough when I ate dairy and meat I never enjoyed lasagna but this, I thought, was delicious.
Mmmmmm.... Cheese.... One of the hardest parts of transitioning to a vegan diet, in my opinion, is the lack of palate please non-dairy cheeses on the market. I've tried almost every brand out there and the majority of them are horrid! I do enjoy Daiya brand and will buy it upon ocassion. However, I try to limit my consumption of pre-packaged foods, which brings me to the following recipe:
Cashew (Nut) Cheese
2 cups raw cashews
2 tsp lemon juice, preferably freshed squeezed
3 cloves garlic
Sea salt, to taste
Pepper, preferably freshly ground, to taste
Soak cashews in covered bowl for 2 hrs prior to using in the above recipe. Once your nuts have been soaked and drained, place them in a food processor. Add 1/4 cup of water plus the lemon juice, garlic, sea salt, and pepper. Mix all ingredients until thoroughly pureed. Note: you will need to stop & scrape the sides every now and then to ensure everything is well mixed. Along with this, you are free to add small amounts of water, if necessary. Keep blending to adjust the consistency.
Once everything is well blended, transfer to bowl and cover for 24 hrs. Your cheese will get a more solid as it sets. Once cheese is set it can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Feel free to season your cheese with various herbs - Fresh is best but not required.
Adapted from Raw Food Cleanse, by Penni Shelton