(Semi) Homemade Neapolitan Style Pizza

3 08 2010

Ever since our first visit to Keste, Robbie and I have wanted to try to recreate a Neapolitan style pizza at home, which is a difficult task, being that they cook their pies for a matter of seconds, at about 800 degrees. HOT! Also, the dough is made in a very specific way….so we cheated a little.

Keste actually sells their dough at $5 a piece- which is actually pretty great when you consider the cost of getting the dough ingredients for Neapolitan pizza.

We turned our oven up to max about an hour before baking, and at the same time, placed the pizza stone in the oven to get it nice and hot. We also let the dough hang out at room temperature so it was nice and easy to handle.

When ready, we shaped the dough on our pizza paddle, and transferred it to the pizza stone and baking sheet (we had 2 pieces of dough). The dough cooks alone (sans sauce, or any toppings) for about 10 minutes. It got nice and browned during the pre-baking portion; much closer to the look of Keste’s cooked crust than I had imagined our little oven could accomplish.

As far as sauce goes, we also went all out authentic and a bought a can of San Marzano tomatoes. They really do taste different- nice and sweet.

Baked crust, getting topped with San Marzano tomatoes

One pie was some awesome local heirloom tomatoes from the USQ greenmarket, and the other was lentil sage Field Roast deli slices and yellow pepper. Both had FYH Jack cheese and Daiya.

Fresh local heirloom tomatoes, basil, FYH jack cheese

We also made some sweet bruschetta for good measure.

Bruschetta with local heirloom tomatoes

I’d totally recommend trying this at home if you are into Neapolitan style pizza. It is really worth getting the authentic dough and playing around!


Keste Pizza & Vino

23 03 2010

Last night we went to Keste Pizza & Vino for the second time. It is so tasty, and I think worth the hype. It keeps getting voted high up on NYC pizza ratings, and to me, these rating are all about the crust. The Neopolitan style pizza has a really light, fluffy crust that is the result of super high oven temps.

One cool thing about Keste is that it is the official USA location for APN (Associazione Pizzaluloli Napoletani), which is an organization that attempts to preserve and promote the tradition and art of making Neopolitan style pizza. There are strict guidelines that must be followed to be an APN member which include:

1. The dough must be made only with flour, natural yeast/brewers yeast, salt and water

2. Dough must be kneaded by hand or mixers that don’t cause it to overheat

3. Dough must be shaped and punched by hand

4. Only wood burning, bell-shaped brick overs are permitted.

5. Pizzas must be cooked directly on the oven’s surface (often made of volcanic stone)

6. Temps must reach 750-800 degrees (which often takes hours before the pizza hits the oven)

The results of all these rules is a seriously yummy, totally different kind of pizza that anyone can make at home (unless, of course you have an oven that will reach 800 degrees- if so, lucky you)!

There is usually a wait to get into Keste during prime dinner times, but it is definitely worth it. Last night, we got there at around 8:15, and had to wait about 20 minutes for a table of 4. Also, they don’t take reservations.

The only vegan pizzas are the Marinara (which I have yet to try), which costs $9.00, and my fav, the  Vegetariana ($16.00), which features tomatoes, eggplant, mushrooms, artichoke, zucchini and olive oil. This one is great because it comes cheese-free! There are plenty of vegetarian pies as well.

Here’s my pizza:

Robbie had the Pizza del Papa, which has a butternut squash cream, artichoke, red and yellow peppers, and mozzarella- unfortunately NOT vegan at all, but so easy to fake this one at home. We’ve recreated it multiple times, and he’s said (besides the crust), that it tastes pretty much the same. It is great to make when butternut squashes are abundant at the green market. To make the cream sauce, we just baked the squash, and pureed it in a food processor with some soy creamer and sauteed onions, garlic, pepper and salt to taste. Add cream to create desired consistency.

Here’s our Keste inspired home version of their Pizza del Papa, topped with Daiya and Follow Your Heart:

Also, a while ago we hit up Roberta’s in Bushwick. It was great as well and Neopolitan in style. Here’s my Rosso pizza, topped with mushrooms and onion. Very tasty pizza, in a really cool space.

We still have to hit up Motorino, Saraghina, and Co.


Catching Up!

5 10 2009

I’ve been lazy lately at updating with new pictures, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t been cooking up a storm! The biggest update is that we discovered the source of all the fake meat products from our favorite restaurants. Red Bamboo, Wild Ginger, etc all have these ridiculously convincing seitans, and it turns out, they all come form the same source: A little, weird shop in Chinatown called May Wah. Here, you can get smoked duck, prawns, calamari, salmon, beef, chicken wings, sashimi, and any other product that vegans wouldn’t be able to consume. And most are all vegan. This place is awesome. And it’s cheap too. So, with this discovery, we now have a ton more veganizing opportunities. The pizza is posted because it’s beautiful- no May Wah products there- just seasonal and delicious tomatoes and basil from the USQ market.

Next up is flautas. We used May Wah chicken nuggets and shredded them to be “chicken” flautas, with FYH cheese. Also, we have another recipe from the Rosa cookbook- stuffed pineapple with “seafood.” We used a combo of tofu, “calamari” and something that I am forgetting (whoops..Robbie?) for the seafood. This gets baked with a pineapple/guajillo adobo, the pinapple chunks, some onion, and tortilla chip “clams.” It’s also sprinkled with FYH cheese.
Robbie made me a sweet dinner after spin class last week. May Wah comes through again with their chicken, which Robbie did up lemon chicken style, over soba noodles. It was excellent.
Friday night, we made beet orzotto from a NY Times article, which was easily veganized. We served that with May Wah salmon marinated in lemon, which was excellent. The May Wah stuff is freaky- truly. This went well with Bread Alone bruschetta topped with eggplant and jalapeno. NUM!

Summer= things on a bun

22 07 2009

So, lately we’ve been on a “things on a bun” kick….

Monday, we made “pulled chicken” BBQ sandwiches with sauteed onions- we used the new Gardein “It’s all Good” pulled chicken. It tastes incredible. We had this with Robbie’s mashed potatoes and Gardein’s BBQ skewers as well- genius.

We then watched Angels in America: Perestroika. It’s been a while. The acting is so fantastic- Meryl Streep blows my mind…the directing is also so genius. That Mike Nichols, he’s okay I guess.

"Pulled Chicken", sauteed onions, on a whole wheat bun...

The sauce is amazing, and the texture is genius- we did these up on the grill pan.

On Tuesday, it was nasty out. We went to see Harry Potter but apparently others had the same idea and literally everything- save Bruno- was sold out- thus, we came home. Wah…wahhhh…For dinner, we did “Bacon cheeseburgers” which consisted of none of those ingredients- Morningstar Farms vegan veggie burgers, FYH jack cheese, and SmartBacon, along with homemade BBQ sauce- on a whole wheat bun. Along with this we had our classic buffalo tofu wings, with our special vegan crack sauce.

Buffalo Tofu WingsMoningstart Farms veg burger, SmartBacon, FYH jack, TJ whole wheat bun, BBQ sauce

Moningstar Farms veg burger, SmartBacon, FYH jack, TJ whole wheat bun, BBQ sauce

Grilled Pizza…not so much

20 07 2009

This is how much I love Brooklyn. I went to the Trader Joe’s in BK, knowing that I would be next to the Union Square Trader Joe’s anyway when I went into Manhattan directly AFTER- but still chose to lug the bag of groceries from BK into the city. Why? Because the BK Trader Joe’s doesn’t make me want to knock slow moving/clueless/touristy people out blocks of my organic, extra firm tofu. So, once in the city, it seemed like the perfect day to get a cocktail- it was gorgeous out. I’ve always wanted to try Mercadito Cantina out, and now that I like beer (hark!), I was interested in their fancy beer cocktails- I ordered a “Happy-Mich” which was Dos Equis Lager, watermelon, lime, salsa picante, and hibiscus. Robbie had a “Tiki-Mich”: Dos Equis Lager, pineapple, lime, serrano, and spicy syrup. We also got a tasting of 3 salsas: the cacahuate (grilled tomato, toasted peanute, chile de arbol, chile guajilo), the veracruza (roasted tomato, bell pepper, pickled jalapeno), and my fav the habanero (grilled tomato, habanero, garlic, lemon). For $6.50, they were amazing. Each was super-good and fresh.

Happy/Tiki Mich

Being that it is summer, and when it is beautiful out, nothing sounds better than grilling something and drinking a beer, we decided to grill one of our favorite things- PIZZA. Robbie had the idea to make a “meat-lovers” pizza, so we put together a bunch of toppings. Tofurky Italian sausage, ¬†SmartBacon, Tofurky Peppered Deli Slices, Trader Joe’s soyrizo, and the new, amazing Gardein fake meats: “It’s all good” BBQ Skewers. Gardein is the new “it” sub they’re using in a lot of restaurants for seitan, but also now Morningstar Farms uses it. We figured we must try it. YUM. Really great. Except that it’s kind of pricey, which reminded me I need to make more seitan from scratch- because it’s super cheap and more pure. We ¬†also made our own sauce, and shredded some FYH Jack cheese. Blue moon beer in hand, Robbie fired up the charcoal grill out front, while I precooked the dough. I thought we may have some issues grilling the fresh dough on a finicky grill, with no lid or anything, so I pre-cooked it for about 15 minutes. It was too thin, so when we put it on the grill, it pretty much just burned. We gave up on the grilling until we can use a gas grill, or not put the pizza directly over the charcoal, brought the whole thing inside and oven cooked it instead. Anti-climactic, but it still tasted awesome! Robbie made some pretty drinks too- lime juice, muddled mind, pineapple juice, vodka, topped with soda. NUM!


19 07 2009

After dinner, we were still hungry so we made some nachos- SO NUMNUM…

Trader Joe’s tortilla chips, FYH vegan jack, soyrizo, Tofutti sour cream, jalapenos, tomatoes, and fresh cilantro- all heated in the toaster until cheese gets melty. We had it with some red and green salsas.

Vegan Nachos