(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!





Vacation Recap

5 05 2010

First off, thank you to my man, Robbie, for the beautiful post…now get on it
more often. Turns out, a real camera (and a good photographer…thanks again Robbie) makes a huge difference, so after this post and going forth, I promise to lose the crappy phone camera shots as much a\s possible and deliver better pictures.

Last week, Robbie and I went to the Pacific Northwest. We basically flew into Seattle, then went to Orcas Island in the Puget Sounds, hung in Seattle, hiked a little Mt. Rainier, drove down to Portland, went to Willamette Valley wine country, then made our way up to Multnomah Falls, back to Settle then flew out. We packed our itinerary rather tight, but somehow we didn’t feel rushed.

We really got to see what we wanted to see (except a longer hike would have been great at Rainier), but for a week, I couldn’t have been happier with our trip. What a beautiful country we have…

So, I must highlight a few specific vegan foodie moments that were particularly memorable. First of all, Portland is a vegan HEAVEN. Everybody knows what the terms vegan means, and even the BIGMENLOVEMEAT hot dog truck guy had vegan hotdogs. Dude…it was crazy.

Our first WOW meal was at Portobello, an all vegan Italian-ish spot in Portland. What is awesome about them, besides the kick-ass food, is that they are really into organic, local produce and supporting local farmers. And, they make their seitan in house, which us in NYC know is a rarity. Side note: Sacred Chow does make their own- Kudos! Back to Portobello, though. We had the Pate, which was actually from Field Roast. It was served with an amazing baguette. You can’t get the Field Roast pate in retail, so if you are ever in Portland, eat it at Portobello.

Next, we had the Portobello Steak, with fleur de sel, olive oil whipped yukons and asparagus. The mushroom was perfectly cooked, as was the asparagus and the amazing creamy mashed potatoes. We also shared the Potato Gnocchi with rapini, fennel and cauliflower vellutata. The sauce on these buggers was plate-licking-worthy. It was so exciting to be able to visit a place with dished like this gnocchi, which is something usually seemingly vegan friendly but often containing eggs, or any number of non-vegan sauce ingredients.

We drank a beautiful bottle of Bunny Rouge from Hip Chicks Do Wine. It was such a beautiful, fruit-forward, well-loved wine. And it was local, baby!

For breakfast the next morning, we hit up Voodoo Doughnut. Robbie got the classic Voodoo style, filled with yummy, jammy blood. I barely remember what doughnuts taste like, but to me, it brought me right back to elementary school birthday parties. Robbie said it was spot on as well, and I trust his perspective on such matters. Regardless, they tasted awesome…

For lunch, we hit up Sweetpea. They have some killer lunch sandwiches, and we had one with some Field Roast, seitan, veg pepperoni,  pickled jalapenos, and other goodies. It was pretty awesome.

After a great lunch at Sweetpea, we hit up the rest of the vegan strip mall. YES- really. Next to Sweetpea is Herbivore, where I got an awesome zip-up hoodie and some fun buttons. Then, we went next door to  Food Fight grocery, an all vegan grocery store that I have been aching to visit for years. In case you were wondering, they’re open: EVERY F’ING DAY from 10-8PM (their signage says so!). I finally was able to try and buy Teese for the first time, as well as find a vegan jello mix! Rainbow cake on the way! The Teese is pretty rocking by the way. I love my Daiya (which is apparently pronounced day-ah…I don’t know how to feel about that), but Teese is easier to melt on things like nachos without drying out.

We also made the mandatory visit to Powell’s books. I thought you might be amused by this sign. Check out the “VEGAN” notation on the sign. Veg books took up most of the right aisle- it was a pretty beautiful sight.

Overall, it was an incredible trip. Not just the food, and the wine (oh..the wine…we brought 10 bottles home), but the country out there is really beautiful. And the folks there appreciate the land. They work with nature, not on it. This was made very clear while we were in Willamette Valley, talking one on one with the vinters. They respect the land and what it gives us. They nurture it and treat it as the living, fragile Earth that it is. The commitment to organic/natural/biodynamic farming that is prevalent out West is inspiring.

We’ll definitely be back.

When we got home, it was 30 degrees warmer, and time to take out the picnic basket for its inaugural trip. We had a wonderful picnic in Fort Greene park, with our Field Roast loot (the PATE, baby- and other things..mwahaha)…if you visit the factory in Seattle, you may just get as lucky as we did.

Cheers!





All Local Dinner

4 05 2010

Hi everybody. Robbie here. You may have heard of me from such posts as Mexican Explosion or Italian, Chinese, and a Birfday. I am Danielle’s fellow cooker-in-crime/live-in-moocher/all around good guy. This is my first post, obviously, but hopefully there you’ll be hearing more from me as this blog/my not-putting-off-my-first-post develops.

Anyway, a while back we discovered Brooklyn Oenology. They source grapes from the North Fork of Long Island and produce and bottle wine a few nabes away in Greenpoint. We tasted them at Astor last year, and were smitten, as the reds were the only reds we’d had from LI that didn’t taste like metaly, flat, mineraly swill… wow that’s harsh… They do make excellent whites out there though… Channing Daughters, for instance (there, now I feel better). Anyway, their Merlot and Motley Cru were excellent, and we’ve been fans ever since.

But, I digress. We got the ’05 Chardonnay (which has been sold out for a while) a few weeks ago, and I thought it might need something special to go along with it. So we decided to hit up the USQ Greenmarket and do an all local dinner.

We ended up thinking that a wheat meat and potatoes style dinner was what we wanted to go for and immediately Ray’s seitan (made in Philadelphia) came to mind. Now, as far as we know, there’s only one place in the city to get it, and that’s at Lifethyme on 6th, so we headed down there, but they were out of it. We called around a couple other health food stores, but nobody else carries it. At this point, things were looking dire, we had just gotten some beautiful asparagus, potatoes (Norwich Meadows Farm, NY), and mushrooms (Madura Farms, NY) from the Greenmarket , and weren’t about to go down without a fight. So Danielle had the idea to call Blossom, we know they use Ray’s, and it was worth a shot right? Right, because they said it wouldn’t be a problem, and they had it waiting for us when we got there. Thank you VERY much to them. We rewarded them (but mostly us) by going to Cocoa V and  having a glass of wine and getting some amazing chocolate.

ON TO THE FOOD!

Our main dish was the seitan, but we’ll get to that in a second. We also had bread leftover from our first picnic of the season (Fort Greene Park, it was awesome) so we decided to do bruschetta.

There it is, a 7 grain bread from il Forno in the Bronx topped with caramelized onions, sautéed portobello and shiitake mushrooms, PA grown cherry tomatoes, Dr. Cow’s aged cashew and brazil nut cheese (Brooklyn), and fresh basil from Danielle’s mom’s herb garden. It’s alongside the asparagus which we roasted with just a little bit of olive oil and S & P. They were great additions to our wheat meat and potatoes.

This was great. I did my classic mashed potatoes with rosemary again from Danielle’s mom upstate, while Dani seared the seitan and made a red wine reduction to finish it off.

This was a great dinner, and a lot of fun to make. As we get further into the summer season, I want to do this as much as possible, it’s great to get fresh ingredients, and talk to the people who grow them.

But that was last night, and now it’s a new day… and that day eventually turns into TACO NIGHT! So I’ve got to get started on that!





Who owns our food?

12 03 2010

When buying food, I’ve been pretty good over the past few years at staying away from the big name companies. I try to buy local and organic whenever possible, but as organic/natural/small companies get more popular, they seem to be swallowed up by huge corps that are quickly monopolizing our food. We have a right to know what we are putting in our bodies and the bodies of those we love.

Take Health Valley, for example…owned by Hain. Yves? Yup, they’re Hain too. Naked juice? They’re owned by Pepsi, and Odwalla is owned by Coca-Cola. What about Green & Blacks? Cadbury Schweppes, people.

Here is a great chart for finding out whether or not your food is owned by a conglomerate.

http://nutritionwonderland.com/2009/02/organic-corporate-hierarchy/

And if you’d like to be even further informed and/or horrified, check out Coca-Cola’s own website, where they list all the companies they own, including one starting with every letter except X and Z. Impressive.

http://www.thecoca-colacompany.com/brands/brandlist.html

I guess it all comes down to attempting to buy fresh ingredients that are local and hopefully organic, and educating ourselves so we can support the little guys.  If you haven’t yet, see Food Inc.

And congratulations to The Cove for winning best documentary at the Oscars. It is an incredible film, and a story that deserves worldwide attention.

http://www.thecovemovie.com

Coke takever





A confused local grocer…

17 10 2009

Our local grocery store is the Met- a small, but packed store that carries all the standards, and randomly some really great vegan products. Weirdest of all, they carry Field Roast- vegan grain meat. It is the seitan superstar of all faux meats, and comes in sausages, slices, and even a stuffed “Celebration Roast” with butternut squash, apples, and mushrooms. It tastes incredible, and has become a staple (when we can afford it) on our menu. A few months ago, I noticed a familiar label in the packaged meat aisle at the Met. God knows why I was looking in that direction, but I was- and noticed Field Roast in the MEAT section. Not in the separate vegan/veg section with your standard Tofurkey/Light Life selection. Nope- the Field Roast vegan sausages were right next to the other premade “gourmet” (blech) real meat products. I thought this was hilarious (especially since they cost less here, at the Met, than at Whole Foods), and thought that would be the end of the story. Did they think it was meat? Maybe, but regardless, I was just happy to see it there. Last week, however, the story unfolded. As usual, I always look to see that the Met still carries it, as I have a fear that one day it will just be gone. Today, however, there were not only sausages, but Field Roast meatloaf and Field Roast Celebration Roast (which I’ve rarely seen anywhere). The best part is that it was priced out as an actual meat- handling warning label on it and all. This all confirmed by suspicion- the Met really doesn’t know it is vegan. And that’s good- it is a good enough product to be placed on the same “level” as it’s counterparts. Huzzah! We used it to make a pre-Thanksgiving vegan feast- with gravy, mashed local purple potatoes, and local greenbeans with almonds and rosemary. Vive la Field Roast!

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