I always laugh when people balk at the price of books because even a just-released, hardcover, 300-page novel usually costs only about twenty-five bucks: the price of admission for two people to go to an hour-and-a-half movie. And a novel offers, on average, TEN hours of entertainment!
A book is also the perfect gift–a way of showing someone you’ve paid attention to their tastes and interests. I’m always touched, for example, when my niece, Annie, tells me about a book and says, “Auntie Shell, you will LOVE this book! There is absolutely ZERO plot!!” She knows well my aversion to any form of action (that she calls me “Auntie Shell” is a story for another post).
And for those of us who love both cooking and books, what could possibly be better than a cookbook?
Indeed, we have so many vegan cookbooks at Sideways Cottage that I finally declared a moratorium on new purchases.
A week after my declaration, Jamie Oliver’s Ultimate Veg showed up at our door and I realized we’re utterly hopeless. I decided at that point that I could limit my cookbook purchases by eliminating any vegan cookbook that includes a recipe for either avocado toast or…..English-muffin pizzas.
You’d be surprised at how many otherwise decent vegan cookbooks include these two “recipes.”
Now including avo-toast is silly enough, but I am particularly offended by the English-muffin pizza because who the hell includes drunk food in a cookbook…and because pizza is so quick and easy to make.
And it’s just gotten a whole lot easier and a whole lot quicker!
Have a look at this America’s Test Kitchen video on making a pizza in one-hour start to finish. Then check out how I veganized it!
If you’re going to make it, do watch the video for the various techniques, but here is a link to the written recipe, ATK One-Hour Pizza, which I won’t reproduce because the subs are pretty straightforward.
Tips on the Dough:
First off, for the dough, make sure you use a food processor, not a stand mixer. I used a stand mixer the first time I made it, and the results were not as good and the crust did not rise as much.
Second, use the volume, not weight, measurements for the dough recipe. I’ve tried both ways, and using volume measurements produces a better result.
Third, if you do not have bread flour, you can use all-purpose flour: simply measure out one and one-third cups of flour, remove two teaspoons, and replace with two teaspoons of vital wheat gluten. I’m not sure if this is necessary because Canadian all-purpose flour already contains 13% protein, but I did it anyway, and it worked a treat!
Fourth, I haven’t been able to find semolina flour, so have been subbing 00 pasta flour for that ingredient.
Finally, I’ve found that that parbaking each crust for four minutes and cooling it on a cookie rack before loading up the pizza and baking it (for 8 – 10 minutes) makes for a crispier crust!
First, replace the three anchovies in the sauce with three tablespoons of capers. Avoid adding the caper liquid though because you don’t want watery sauce.
Next, replace the quarter-cup of grated parmesan with a quarter-cup of this vegan parm.
Finally, replace the 3/4-cup of grated mozzarella with either homemade vegan mozza or a good store-brand–we’re quite liking the President’s Choice shredded mozzarella at the moment.
I also added some of my vegan pepperoni for extra flavour…
Oh, and a handful of fresh basil leaves once the pie was out of the oven.
The dough produces a very thin, super tasty crust with a few delightfully big bubbles:
The pizza is particularly good with a hot-honey drizzle, which is made by mixing equal parts honey and hot sauce (sriracha, Frank’s, and sambal oelek all work well). Just heat in the microwave for thirty seconds, stir, and drizzle away!
And there you have it: delicious thin-crust vegan pizza in only one hour!!
The song of the day is Iron & Wine’s cover of Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time” because we were talking about what a good cover it is last weekend when Annie and Jamie were visiting. The song always reminds me of San Francisco in the 1980s because it was a favourite of a talented street musician who played at Fisherman’s Wharf every night. We called her “the electric lady” because she used a synthesizer keyboard back when it was an unusual choice for a busker. I was shocked to suddenly realize that would have been around thirty-five years ago!