When Em visited earlier this month, she brought us an armload of Christmas gifts, one of which was a book called The Plant-Based Foodie: Vancouver–a book of stories and recipes from Vancouver’s various plant-based eateries.
James has been poring over this lovely tome for the past couple of weeks and finally settled on a recipe he wanted to try from a Vancouver pizza place called “The Virtuous Pie.” In typical James fashion, the recipe he chose must’ve been THE most labour-intensive pizza I’ve ever made, in that it required no fewer than FIVE sauces/batters. And silly me, I told him if he made the dough and sauteed the shallots, I’d do the rest! The other funny thing is that our larder is almost bare, yet we happened to have almost all the necessary ingredients (even if I did have to fudge a bit on the potatoes in the Bianca Sauce).
Now, in truth, I actually made more work for myself because one of the ingredients is barbecue sauce, so I had to start off by making a whole-food, plant-based barbecue sauce. I used this recipe, but subbed dates for the brown sugar. I’m sure the pizza would be perfectly fine with commercial barbecue sauce (but we all know how I feel about THAT stuff!).
Once I had the barbecue sauce in place, I made the blue cheese drizzle, which required a 1/2 cup of Vegenaise. In future, I think I’d just use a 1/2 cup of cashews…or a 1/4 cup and 1/4 cup water. I’ll have to experiment! The dressing recipe is similar to this one but uses the Vegenaise in place of tofu and cashews.
Next, I made the Cauliflower Bianca from the trimmings of the cauliflower florets I put aside for the Buffalo Cauliflower. The recipe is surprisingly delicious–like a healthy version of an Alfredo sauce and quite similar to this one.The Virtuous Pie recipe does require reheating the sauce after blending and thickening with a tapioca flour slurry.
Next, I made the batter for the cauliflower–the recipe is similar to this one.
You dip the cauliflower in the batter and bake it, but then you dip it in another sauce AFTER it’s baked and before you put it on the pizza. The Virtuous Pie Buffalo Sauce is simply equal parts barbecue sauce and sriracha and 1/4 of a cup of tapioca flour.
James made the dough–the crust was excellent and the recipe is very similar to Martha Stewart’s Basic Pizza Dough.
Next, the assembly! We covered the pies with a generous portion of the Bianca Sauce and fifteen or so pieces of the Buffalo Cauliflower.
We baked the pies at 500 degrees for eleven minutes, switching/turning the pies halfway through. While the pies were baking, James sauteed a few shallots until they were nice and crispy.
Once the pies were cooked, we drizzled the top with the Blue Cheez sauce and sprinkled on a generous portion of the shallots. The recipe also calls for a sprinkling of spring onions, but we were out, so left them off!
The result was SO DELICIOUS!! I highly recommend making this and wish I could reproduce the recipe here, but it’s from a cookbook, so I cannot! With the links to the recipes above you should be able to reproduce a reasonable facsimile though! The odd thing about the recipe as written is that we had two cups of the Bianca Sauce left and at least twice as much of the Buffalo Cauliflower than we needed for the pies! I’m going to make a bit more of the Blue Cheez dressing for dipping the leftover Buffalo Cauliflower for dinner. As far as the Bianco Sauce goes, I’ll likely just use it for some brown rice pasta later in the week.
This is a pic from The Virtuous Pie menu and, barring the spring onions, ours looks pretty close!
And this morning, I had a piece for breakfast! Stella was VERY interested!
And our dinner this evening was the Buffalo Cauliflower with the Blue Cheez Sauce and a piping hot baguette fresh from the oven. James also ate the leftover pizza from last evening, but the bread and cauliflower were filling enough for me!
And the song of the day is Crosby, Stills, and Nash’s “Our House.” I know, I know….a bit sappy, but it’s always been one of my favourites, and I always sing it when I’m feeling particularly delighted with our little lives at Sideways Cottage. I recently learned the background of the song, which delighted me even more. According to the songwriter, Graham Nash,
“Well, it’s an ordinary moment. What happened is that Joni [Mitchell] and I – I don’t know whether you know anything about Los Angeles, but on Ventura Boulevard in the Valley, there’s a very famous deli called Art’s Deli. And we’d been to breakfast there. We’re going to get into Joan’s car, and we pass an antique store. And we’re looking in the window, and she saw a very beautiful vase that she wanted to buy … I persuaded her to buy this vase. It wasn’t very expensive, and we took it home. It was a very grey, kind of sleety, drizzly L.A. morning. And we got to the house in Laurel Canyon, and I said – got through the front door and I said, you know what? I’ll light a fire. Why don’t you put some flowers in that vase that you just bought? Well, she was in the garden getting flowers. That meant she was not at her piano, but I was … And an hour later ‘Our House’ was born, out of an incredibly ordinary moment that many, many people have experienced.”