Friday, June 28, 2013

Nifty Pizza #18 - Louisiana!

Creating a pizza around a state that we have never been to is always a daunting task.  After the great success of our home state pizza (Kentucky), we felt as if we weren't qualified to create a pie centered around the delicious Cajun influences found in Louisiana. We tried a few different ideas, including a pizza based on a muffuletta sandwich, but something was always missing!  Luckily, KT was home for a little while before going off on her next big adventure, so we had time to brainstorm.

As you can see, we like to brainstorm with margaritas.  Then it hit us...a pizza based off of possibly the most famous and well loved dish to come out of Louisiana.  Jambalaya!!

Jambalaya is a rice dish containing the "trinity" of celery, peppers, and onions.  It usually contains andouille sausage and tomatoes, combining together to create a spicy taste sensation. If we simply replaced the rice with a delicious, fluffy, home made crust, we decided we would have quite a delectable pizza on our hands. 

Nifty Pizza #18 - Louisiana

Dough for 1 Pizza Crust
Pizza Sauce
Louisiana Hot Sauce
Celery, chopped
Onion, chopped,
Bell Peppers, chopped
Creole Seasonings 
Vegan Andouille Sausage, sliced
Vegan Cheddar Style Cheese Shreds
Fresh Parsley, for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. 
2. Prepare your pizza sauce.  Mix standard tomato based sauce with about 5-10 drops of Louisiana hot sauce (depending on how spicy you want your slice!).
3. Prepare your trinity of vegetables.  Place the celery, onions, and peppers into a skillet and sautee with the creole seasoning.  After they have had a chance to cook, add your sliced vegan sausage.  

4. Now you're ready to assemble your pie!  Spread your spicy Southern sauce over your crust, followed by the cooked veggies and sausage. 

5. Top with a generous helping of vegan cheddar style cheese, and garnish with fresh parsley. 

6. Bake for 10 minutes on the center rack, and 10 minutes on the bottom rack of your oven. This is our secret for the perfect crust - soft and doughy, yet just the right amount of crispiness on the bottom. 
7. Let the pizza cool, trust us you'll want to.  It's hot enough without the added degrees straight out of the oven! Then slice, plate, and party like you're in New Orleans!

We've made a LOT of pizzas in our kitchen, but this definitely ranks as one of the best.  It was perfectly spicy and flavorful, and felt like a Mardi Gras celebration in our mouths.  The heat from the hot sauce and seasonings brought to mind the long, balmy afternoons that are abundant down south in Louisiana.  

KT has once again left (and packed 2 slices of this amazing pizza in her ukulele case.  Don't worry, the security guards had a good laugh about that one), but thankfully we had an amazing week together full of family, friends, and most importantly...PIZZA!!

Peace, Love, and Beads,
Pam and KT

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Best of Both Worlds - Peach Rhubarb Pie

It's a time of great change around here.  KT has packed up her life in Minnesota, and will soon be making her way down to Florida for her next job, performing in her all time favorite musical, "Spring Awakening".  It's all very exciting.  One might even say a dream come true!  Thankfully, before she sets off for her new destination, we have time to do our most beloved activity...create in the kitchen!!

In the spirit of transition, we decided to make a pie (because everybody LOVES PIE) that incorporated something reminiscent of where KT had been and where she is about to go.  To evoke the southern sunshine we sliced up some juicy peaches, and for the Lanesboro portion, well...there was really only one option...


As you know, rhubarb has become very near and dear to KT's heart while living in Lanesboro.  She has baked MANY a rhubarb pie in the past 15 months, and has attended 2 festivals devoted to everything rhubarb. 

But before this turns into KT's inner monologue...ON TO THE PIE.

Peach Rhubarb Pie

For the crust:
2 cups Flour
1 tsp. Salt
2/3 cup Vegan Shortening
5 to 7 Tbsp Cold Water

For the filling:
2 cups Rhubarb, chopped
3 cups Peaches, chopped
1 tsp Ginger, grated
1 and 2/3 cups Sugar
1/3 cup Flour
Dash of Salt

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Mix together flour and salt, then cut in shortening.
3. Sprinkle in water as necessary, and toss with a fork.
4. Roll out two crusts.  If you choose to make a lattice crust like we did, go ahead and cut the second crust into thin strips,
5. Mix together the filling and let it sit for at least 15 minutes. Spoon mixture into bottom crust. Top with remaining crust.

6. Bake for 50 minutes.
7. Allow the delicious pie to cool, slice, scoop up some vegan vanilla ice cream, and enjoy!!

These last 15 months have been amazing, and the next chapter will be equally so.  No matter where life takes either one of us, it is comforting to know that we can always bake a pie.

Peace, Love, and the Galesburg vortex,
Pam and KT

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Nifty Pizza #17 - Kentucky!

Oh the sun shines bright on my old Kentucky home...

It's been quite the gastronomical journey through America, and we are finally on our home state, Kentucky - the land of horse farms and bluegrass, where college basketball dictates the rhythms of existence.  A magical place where a big blue building watches over the people with pride, students flock to the North, East, and West to receive an education, and the Hot Brown sandwich was born. We decided quickly that in order to capture the essence of the great Commonwealth we call home, we should do what we do best...put it on a pizza!

The Hot Brown sandwich was created at the Brown Hotel in Louisville, KY in 1926.  It is an open faced sandwich, comprised of turkey, bacon, and covered in a cheesy sauce. The sandwiches also often include additions such as tomatoes, pimentos, or mushrooms.  We decided to take it up a notch by adding another Kentucky creation to the pizza sauce - Maker's Mark Bourbon Whiskey!  It is a culinary creation that Kentuckians everywhere would be proud of.

Nifty Pizza #17 - Kentucky!

Dough for 1 Pizza Crust
Vegan Cheeze Sauce (recipe below)
Whiskey Barbeque Sauce (recipe below)
Tempeh Bacon, browned slightly
Tofurkey Slices
1-2 Plum Tomatoes, sliced
Vegan Mozzarella Shreds

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2. Prepare the Vegan Cheeze Sauce (from Vegan Diner):
- 2 and 1/2 cups of water
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 6 Tbsp nutritional yeast
- 2 Tbsp cornstarch
- 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 and 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 and 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sweet paprika
- 2 Tbsp margarine
Process the cashews and water in a blender until the cashews are finely ground and well incorporated.  Add the rest of the ingredients except the margarine and blend well. Pour into a medium sized pan and heat over medium heat until simmering. Whisk and simmer for 2-3 minutes (until the sauce has thickened).  Remove from heat and whisk in the margarine.

3. Prepare the Whiskey BBQ Sauce:
- 1 cup pizza sauce
- 2 Tbsp smokey barbeque sauce
- 2 Tbsp bourbon whiskey (Maker's Mark)
Mix ingredients together in a small pan and heat to simmer over medium heat. Gently simmer for a few minutes to thicken the sauce.

4. Assemble the Pizza starting with the sauce, followed by sliced tofurkey and tomatoes. Swirl on the cheeze sauce, and finish off with an extra sprinkling of mozzarella and the browned tempeh bacon.

5. Bake the pie for 10 minutes on the middle rack, and 10 minutes on the bottom rack (our secret to a perfect slice!).  If you're feeling crazy, broil the pizza for about 2 minutes, just to get the cheeze sauce nice and bubbly...just like a traditional Hot Brown!

6. Slice, plate, and continue GETTIN' LUCKY IN KENTUCKY!!

(True, we could have easily done a Kentucky Fried Chicken pizza...but that would have just been way too easy.)

Three Kentucky siblings in Kentucky...where education pays!

Peace, Love, and Wildcats
Pam and KT

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Seitan Worshipers

Our Moroccan Chickpea adventure through the pages of the Candle 79 cookbook was too good to stop at just one meal!  After all, it was the best thing that has ever come out of the Veg-Berger kitchen!  So for KT's final night at home before heading back North, we decided to celebrate with one more incredible meal.

This is Candle 79's Seitan Piccata.  The vegan entree that the restaurant is known for!  It consists of seitan cutlets, creamed spinach, fried potato cakes, all drenched in a lemon-caper sauce good enough to bathe in.  At first glance, the recipe seemed daunting, but we were up for a challenge!

First, we prepared the potato mixture, formed it into cakes, cooked and creamed the spinach, and created the elegant sauce. The day before, Pam made sure to whip up her famous vegan seitan roast (chicken style), which we sliced into cutlets.

We fried up the potato cakes and the cutlets. Then it was time to assemble!

We stacked the separate components right in the middle of a moat of sauce.  First the potato cake, smothered in greens....

Followed by the seitan cutlet and garnished with caper berries!  It was a gourmet feast for the history books!

These delicious stacks didn't stand a chance!! It was the perfect ending to a perfect visit.  It was a blast!

Peace, love, and book nooks
Pam and KT

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Nifty Pizza #16 - KANSAS!

Somewhere over the rainbow....

After 10 months in Minnesota, it was time for KT to come home for a few weeks to celebrate the holidays!  Our schedule was jam-packed with people to see, places to go, celebrations to attend, and food to make.  One of the most important things on our to-do list was to create our sixteenth nifty pizza...Kansas!

We took our inspiration from what is possibly the most famous Kansas-centric story, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.  We went over a rainbow created from farm fresh vegetables which could have been picked by Uncle Henry himself!  Dorothy would have been so much happier in Kansas if while she was lamenting about her plight, she had just made this pizza.

Nifty Pizza #16 - Kansas!

Dough for 1 Pizza Crust
Pizza Sauce
Vegan Mozzarella Style Cheese
Grape Tomatoes, sliced
Orange Bell Pepper, sliced into strips
Yellow Squash, sliced
Zucchini Squash, sliced
Black Olives, sliced
Red Onion, diced
Vegan Parmesean Style Cheese
Italian Seasoning, Crushed Red Pepper, Salt, and Pepper, for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Slice and dice your colorful collection of vegetables.
3. Top your crust with pizza sauce, followed by vegan mozzarella.

4. Arrange the prepared vegetables in a rainbow like fashion! Like so:

5. Top the pie with a sprinkling of vegan parmesean cheese, crushed red pepper, salt, and pepper.

6. Slide your rainbow pizza into the oven and let bake for 10 minutes on the middle rack, and 10 minutes on the bottom rack.
7. Remove from oven, slice up your own piece of the rainbow, and be as happy as those "happy little blue birds."

As you can see, one pizza just wasn't enough for us.  We made two...A DOUBLE RAINBOW!!

KT is headed back North soon, but this break has been awesome.  We got to spend lots of time with family and friends, bake delicious treats, make amazing pizza, and enjoy our time together.  Because after all...

There's no place like home!

Peace, love, and Winkies
Pam and KT

Monday, January 7, 2013

3...2...79...Happy New Year!

On January 1st, 2012, Pam and KT were recovering from a raucous good time in the heart of the biggest party on earth.  New York City!  That day was amazing.  With bright blue skies and the sun shining down on us, we gallivanted around the city all day, hitting up the high line and central park.
As great as the morning and afternoon were, the best part of the day happened later, when we had a celebratory New Year's dinner at Candle 79 , one of the most famous vegan gourmet restaurants in the world.  It was an experience of a life time, and we were able to cross it off our bucket lists! KT ordered the Moroccan Spiced Chickpea Cake, and claimed that it was the best thing she had ever eaten (besides the brownie sundae that she had for dessert).  
Chickpea Cake served with seasonal vegetables, coconut curry sauce, apricot chutney, and toasted almonds.
Since Pam is the proud owner of the Candle 79 cookbook, and since the past New Year's Day dinner started off such a fantastic year, we decided to it again!  Veg-Bergers style!

We started by roasting red peppers for the coconut curry sauce.  

After forming the delicious patties, we slid them in the oven to keep our roasting brussel sprouts company!
Once everything was prepared, it was time to plate!
We served the cakes just like they do at the restaurant:  On top of a pool of mouth-watering sauce and a bed of roasted brussel sprouts.  A dollop of apricot chutney went on top, all garnished with slivered almonds. It was the best thing we have ever made. 

If 2013 is anything like 2012, then the Candle 79 Moroccan Spiced Chickpea Cake will definitely become a good luck Veg-Bergers tradition. From us to you...HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
Ringing in 2013!!
Peace, Love, and Brownie Sundaes
Pam and KT