i hope everyone had a wonderful new years eve, i know i did! i had a dip and drinks party with a few of my BFF’s, and (bonus!) was able to re-purpose leftover dip into some killer mini pizzas- hopefully my guests weren’t double dipping!
i made four savory cracker spreads- cashew goat cheese, kalamata tapenade, thick walnut pesto, and garlicky sun-dried tomato. all came together with minimal effort, and paired well with each other for an itallian inspired theme. i made a few extra items for extra substance when i converted them all into pizza toppings the next day, so keep in mind that you don’t have to go to all the trouble to make all of these- but if you do, your taste buds will be greatly rewarded!
i got the cashew goat cheese recipe from vegetarian times. i doubled the recipe, added 1 tbs each miso and nutritional yeast, and skipped the cheesecloth. i spread my cheese into a shallow casserole and baked @200 for 45 minutes to firm it up.
1 c kalamata olives
1/4 c olive oil, or less
2 large cloves garlic
2 tbs red wine vinegar
combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse into a smooth, grainy paste. taste for salt.
Sun-Dried Garlicky Tomato
1 c dried tomatoes- not oil packed
1-2 chopped roma tomatoes
6 cloves garlic
1 tbs olive oil
1 tbs fresh basil
1/2 tsp or less salt.
place the tomatoes into a glass dish, add enough boiling water to cover and steep for 15 minutes. drain the tomatoes and reserve the liquid, and place all other ingredients into the bowl of your food processor, except for the fresh tomatoes. puree until smooth using as much of the soaking liquid as needed to achieve a smooth consistency. fold in the fresh tomatoes and serve.
Thick Walnut Pesto
4 c loose basil
2 tbs nutritional yeast
3 cloves garlic
1/3 c toasted walnuts
1/2 tsp salt, or less
pulse together the basil, walnuts and garlic. stream in enough oil to make a thick, but creamy pesto. add salt to taste. cover in a thin layer of oil before storing.
for the pizza, i preheated my oven to 350 with a cast iron pan on the bottom rack, and a cast iron griddle on the top rack. i also grabbed 1 1/2 sweet onions, like vidallia, and one medium eggplant. i thinly sliced the onion and placed it along with 1 1/2 tbs earth balance in the cast iron skillet, and i covered the pan with a tempered glass lid. with the eggplant, i peeled it, halved it, and cut it into 1/2″ thick moons. i smeared some earth balance on the griddle, laid out the eggplant slices, and sprinkled them liberally with smoked sea salt, and black pepper. i turned the eggplant after roughly 20 minutes, and cooked them for a total of 40 minutes- long enough to brown them and almost ‘dehydrate’ them a little, but they were by no means soggy at all. i also tend to pick the skinniest eggplants with tight shiny skin, i hear it helps the texture. i let the onions simmer until soft and golden, about 60 minutes, and then uncovered them to let them turn deep brown. they dont need much attention, so feel free to start the dough while they cook. i also thinned the sun-dried tomatoes with a little white wine to achieve a ‘sauce’.
to assemble the pizza, i started with one ball of dough (sans pepper flakes), my leftover dips, the roasted veggies, and some scraps of bell pepper and seitan that were hanging in the fridge. i cranked the oven to 450, and kept the griddle on the top rack, and swapped the skillet for a pizza stone. i rolled the dough into 4 individual pizzas, and par baked them for 2 minutes. i removed the dough to my counter, poked the air bubbles, flipped them over and topped them in this order:
sun dried tomato ‘sauce’
eggplant and seitan slices
teaspoon sized blobs of tapenade and pesto.
i returned them to the oven and baked for another 12 minutes- just until the crust was deep golden brown along the edges.