Saturday, October 16, 2010

Vegan Mushroom Pizza

This pizza is somewhat atypical in that it doesn’t include tomato sauce, but given how easy it is to make, I think it’s likely to become one of your favorites. It does require that you make the dough a night in advance, however.
As I mentioned in my recipe for vegan stromboli, I use a dough recipe from Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan. It yields a great all-purpose dough, but you’ll probably have to cut it down. Using about 2/5ths of the original recipe, I had enough dough for one loaf of pita bread and a pizza.
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 – 3 portobello mushroom caps, diced
Olive oil for the frying pan
Daiya Mozzarella Style Shreds vegan cheese
Flour for the cutting boardPita bread dough (from Baking with Julia, above)

Serves 2.

  1. Put a frying pan of at least 8 inches in diameter over high heat. Mince the garlic cloves and dice the mushroom caps.
  2. Pour a thin layer of olive oil in the frying pan. Toss in the minced garlic. Once the garlic has browned slightly, reduce heat to medium-high, and put in the diced mushrooms. Sauté for a couple minutes. Scoop out the sautéed mushrooms and garlic into a bowl. Do not remove the frying pan from heat. 
  3. Spread a little flour onto a cutting board, and stretch the dough into circle a little over 9 inches in diameter. The dough should be a little bit thicker for this pizza than for pita bread. Carefully place it into the frying pan. 
  4. Place the sautéed mushrooms in the center of the dough and spread evenly. Spread just enough Daiya cheese over the body of the pizza. Be judicious with the Daiya or your pizza will be on the soggy side.

    Cover the frying pan with the lid for a couple of minutes. Check periodically to see if the cheese has melted.
  5. Once the cheese has melted to taste, Using a spatula, slide the pizza out of the pan and onto a cutting board using a spatula. Slice and serve.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Vegan Stromboli

Originally I wanted this to be something like the venerable hors d’oeuvre known as “pigs in a blanket,” but like the Incredible Hulk, it changed into something bigger and better.

While baking bread can be intimidating, this recipe is fairly easy to follow. I used a recipe for pita bread from Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan. I highly recommend the show of the same name, which airs on public television. You can never go wrong with a master like Julia Child; she makes the most lavish dishes seem easy to prepare.

You’ll have to start the dough a night in advance.

The pita bread recipe yields enough dough for this and for my upcoming recipe for mushroom pizza. If you don’t want to remain in the kitchen after making the stromboli, you can put the remainder of the dough in a sealed container in the fridge—but for no more than a day or two. There are active yeast cultures in bread dough, so whenever possible use fresh dough over dough that’s been in the freezer or the fridge.


1 package of Tofurky Italian Sausage, sliced
4 gren onions, finely diced
1 package of Daiya Mozzarella Style Shreds
Pita bread dough (from Baking with Julia, above)

Makes 8 – 9 stromboli.

Note: I don’t know the exact volume of the bread dough, but the recipe calls for about 6.5 cups of flour (whole-wheat and all-purpose) and 2.5 cups of water.


  1. Start heating a nonstick frying pan of at least 8 inches in diameter.
  2. Using your hands, scoop out a ball of dough onto a floured cutting board. Flatten it to a circle of 7 to 8 inches in diameter.

  3. Place on the dough a few pieces of Tofurky sausage along with some green onions and Daiya cheese. If you want your stromboli to be very gooey, add more cheese than in this shot.

  4. Flip one side over the other, folding the dough in half. Make sure that the ingredients are completely encased in the dough. Pinch the edges to seal it.

  5. By this time, the frying pan should be very hot. Lightly place the stromboli in the frying pan. You don’t need to add oil since the bread dough already contains enough. Let the stromboli cook for a couple of minutes, turning it over once or twice (depending upon the heat of the pan) to cook evenly. Remove from pan when both sides are well cooked. 

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Be Prepared

Several years ago, I worked in the receiving area of a bookstore. On this job I learned the importance of having all necessary items in place before beginning a project. As shipments came in, I’d affix price and item stickers to the book covers and place theft prevention tags inside the books. The receiving area was a bustling place. Everything had to be on hand, accurate, and ready to go, as more shipments would come in almost before I could finish processing the first.

This notion applies to kitchens at every level, from residential to five-star restaurant. Known in top kitchens as mise en scene, or “everything in place,” it entails not only having all ingredients on hand, but also pre-measuring them out in bowls and preparing them if necessary (e.g., washing, chopping). It also means laying out your utensils while you preheat the oven, pots, and pans. Always keep your knives sharpened.

Always read a recipe completely, from ingredient list to final step, before you begin so that you’re thoroughly familiar with the dish and the manner of its preparation. Plan ahead especially if you have to soak dry ingredients like beans or if you have to let bread dough rise. Preheating is essential: you cannot pan sear ingredients in a room-temperature pan, for example, and putting bread dough in an oven that isn’t preheated will always end badly. Following the principle of mise en scene will always save you time and trouble.