Sunday, May 17, 2009

Homemade pizza #2 + a sort of media mention

Arghhh, so my one-blog-a-week resolution just went out the window about 3 weeks ago. I don't really have much of an excuse, just that things have been crazy-busy with work and baking.

Oh! Some news-ish. My baking business got mentioned in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, a major daily in my neck of the woods. You can check it out here. It's tiny, the article is essentially a list of websites that can help you be more eco-friendly, in the spirit of celebrating Earth Day last April 25. Kitchen Revolution is "eco-friendly" because it's vegan and I don't use parchment paper and disposable frosting bags. Wheee!

Anyway, on to real food. I've ranted in the past about the suckiness of pizzeria-pizza. My feelings have not altered, except maybe they've been a lot more strongly opposed to lazy vegetarian pizzas pizzerias try to sell to us lowly vegetarians. It's like we are afterthoughts! Pizzerias, you know who you are.

I love my aunt / tita Colette because she always tries to accomodate my and my brother's veganism when it comes to food for family reunions or dinners at her home. She invited me and my brothers to an impromptu pizza night last Friday and again, we made pretty awesome homemade vegan pizza which pwns any pizzeria pizza any day.

This time I used mini wholewheat tortillas, which are great because [a] they're wholegrain and [b] they're so tiny you can stuff yourself with 2-3 pizzas and not feel guilty. They crisp up nicely despite the overload of toppings -- I believe the trick is to be sparing with the tomato sauce.

My tita made a thick tomato sauce out of tomato paste, garlic, onions, and basil which tasted surprisingly sweet -- tomato paste is usual sour. It was quite thick, I had to use a spatula to spread it on the tortilla.

Toppings include: leftover roasted vegetables (zucchini and broccoli), roasted eggplant, mushrooms, slivered onion, chopped garlic, sliced green peppers, Italian herbed tofu, and toasted pine nuts. Out of the oven, I added torn arugula leaves, parsley, and chili-infused olive oil. May I just say, pine nuts on pizza are aMAzing. Try it please.

I swear, best pizza ever, nevermind a wholewheat tortilla isn't a traditional pizza crust.

I've got 2 recipes to share: the Italian herbed tofu and the chili-infused olive oil. I employed a version of Isa Chandra Moskowitz's Italian marinated tofu from Vegan with a Vengeance. The chili-infused olive oil, I winged it :) Seriously, please don't waste your money on store bought infused oils when you can simply make your own.

Italian herbed tofu

1 block of 350g firm tofu
1/2 cup white wine
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp white balsamic vinegar (may use regular)
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
3 cloves of smashed garlic
1-2 tsp each: dried basil, marjoram, and rosemary

oil for frying
brown sugar

Drain tofu and wrap in a dish towel, lumpia style. Place something heavy on top, such as a huge can of tomatoes or a marble mortar and pestle. Let press for 15-30 min.

Meanwhile, make the marinade: mix the other ingredients together in a glass / ceramic bowl or measuring cup.

Slice the drained tofu thinly, like 1/4-1/8 inch in width. Make it thin like how you would slice cheese. This will help crisp up the tofu. Place the sliced tofu in a container and cover with the marinade. Best if you marinade the tofu overnight, but since last Friday was impromptu pizza dinner, I marinaded it for about 15 minutes.

Heat some oil (3-4 tbsp if I recall correctly) in a skillet on medium heat. Fry the tofu slices until crisp on both sides. I drizzle a bit of the marinade and sprinkle a bit of brown sugar on both sides in between flipping -- it makes the tofu all yummy and caramelized. That's it!

Chili-infused olive oil

Place 1/3 cup olive oil in a cold saucepan. Add in about 2 tbsp dried chili flakes. You may add chopped garlic as well (as much as you want). Heat the pan on the lowest heat setting, until you see bubbles appear on the oil's surface. Do not raise the heat! The point is to let the oil draw out the chili's and garlic's flavors, not the fry them.

You can store your infused oil in a bottle in room temperature. Drizzle this lovely oil on anything and everything.

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