Monday, February 23, 2009

Homemade pizza and bruschetta = why even bother going to a restaurant?

Why do I even bother being patient with Italian restaurants in the metro? Or pizzerias, for that matter? I am so tired of the boring vegetarian pizzas they serve us. It's as if they want to torture vegetarians with blandness. I remember one pizzeria STEAMED their veggies to oblivion before baking the pizzas. Seriously, guys? Lucky for you I forgot your name.

Not all pizzerias have bad vegetarian pizzas. I like Amici di Don Bosco's vegetarian pizza because they actually put other vegetables other than olives and tomatoes, such as eggplant and zucchini.

In all pizzerias, just remember to order your pizzas without the cow reproductive secretions aka cheese. That's usually the only animal product in vegetarian pizzas but always check to be sure. I'm just saying, beware of the tastelessness. You'll wanna dose your pizza with chili.

Homemade pizza is unbeatable. Absolutely zoom in.

I was lucky enough to score an impromptu dinner at my Tita (Aunt) Colette's home last Friday. She bribed me with homemade pizza and promised to make a vegan one for me. How could I resist? I miss good tasting pizza. You can buy regular pizza dough / shells at the grocery store; she says they're P50 (US$1!) for 2 shells.

She dressed this baby up with a good brush of olive oil and marinara sauce. I added pre-roasted mashed eggplant, fresh shiitake mushrooms, onion slivers, minced garlic, and basil chiffonade (I hate that pizzerias don't utilize herbs in their pizzas). By the way, please don't try munching on fresh shiitakes, they taste like wet paper. A good sprinkle of sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper is always welcome.

She laid the pizza on the oven rack at around 350 F until it looked toasty. After coming out of the oven I topped it with freshly torn arugula leaves, my absolute favorite salad green (I hate hate hate fresh salads, only because that's the only thing I usually get to eat at western restaurants and also because their version of salad = leaves + tomatoes + vinaigrette, that's it. But I'll down a salad with arugula any time). This was such a refreshing change from dull restaurant pizzas. Absolutely add dried chili flakes, and homemade tofu ricotta if you have some.

Tita Colette also made some nice bruschetta -- sliced whole wheat batard rubbed with olive oil and garlic, and grilled on the stove on a cast iron grill pan until nice and toasty. Topped with an "Italian salsa" of chopped tomatoes, minced garlic, basil chiffonade, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and trusty s&p, this was an unbeatable dinner.

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