Happy New Year! – Vegan Cheesy Bread

Happy New Year! I hope you all had a good 2012, and if not, I hope 2013 treats you better! Last year, my New Years Resolution was to learn how to make bread. I’m happy to say I feel like I’ve accomplished that goal. Sure, there will always be more to learn about breadmaking, but I’m feeling more confident about my ability to make a decent basic loaf of bread.

This year, I think my New Year resolution will be to try new ingredients that I’ve never used before. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut and use ingredients you are comfortable with, but I’m hoping to branch out and learn to cook new things. But before we move on to 2013, here’s a send off to 2012’s resolution. This isn’t an entirely new recipe, but one that I repurposed to recreate a yummy flatbread pizza.

American Flatbread has a new vegan pizza which I got at Whole Foods. I’ve been told it resembles Papa Johns Cheese Bread pretty closely, though I’ve never had it myself. I wanted to try creating a similar version at home that would be cheaper since their frozen pizzas are small and a little pricey. It turns out the vegan naan recipe I posted a while back makes really yummy vegan cheesy bread! It’s perfect for a New Year party, and you still have time to get the dough started! Happy New Year everyone!

Ingredients:

naan dough (see recipe for ingredients and directions)
Daiya vegan cheese
garlic powder
salt
dried basil
dried oregano

Directions:

  • Follow the recipe for making naan dough. It’s a very easy recipe, but it takes 1 1/2 hours to rise and you also have to roll it out, so factor in that time. When you get to the step where you are rolling the dough into balls, create a baseball to softball sized ball rather than a golf ball sized ball.
  • Once the dough is finished the second rise, roll it out fairly thin (about 1/4 inch thick or slightly thicker is good). Heat your skillet over medium high and drizzle in a little olive oil. Cook the naan on one side for 2-3 minutes until bubbles brown, then flip the naan to cook the other size.
  • As the other side cooks, sprinkle garlic powder, salt, dried basil, and dried oregano on top of the naan. Then sprinkle on Daiya cheese. Lower your heat slightly so the naan doesn’t burn. Cover the skillet with a lid so the Daiya melts. Once the daiya is melted, transfer it to a plate or cutting board and slice. This makes a perfect side to a nice bowl of homemade soup!

Also, here are a few of my bread making adventures from the past year, in case you missed them or want to look back.

Braided Italian Sesame Bread
Rye Bread
Rosemary Dill Bread
Soft Pretzel Rolls
Naan
Cinnamon Buns – (Okay these aren’t technically bread, but they are made from a yeast dough that rises…close enough! They are seriously yummy!)

Hurricane Sandy and Vegan Pizza

It’s been a weird week with Hurricane Sandy. There’s still no power at my work office in NYC, so I’ve been out all week and cabin fever is setting in! I finally ventured out today and it was nice not to be stuck inside. Luckily, there was no damage where I am, but it’s sad to see all the photos from New York, Hoboken, the Jersey Shore and all the places that were badly affected by the storm. Hope you all fared ok if you were in the path of Hurricane Sandy!

I wanted to share a tasty meal I made during the storm. I’ve posted about homemade pizza in the past, but I figured I would share this new combo. I bought pizza dough from Trader Joe’s before the storm hit. I sauteed some garlic, dried basil, dried oregano, salt, and pepper in vegan butter. I used this as a garlic butter base rather than tomato sauce. Then I topped that with sauteed onions, vegan sausage, fresh slices of cherry tomatoes, and fresh basil. It made for a yummy and quick meal in the midst of all the rain and wind.

The storm left me thinking…how do vegans prepare for emergency situations? We stocked up on vegan granola bars, vegan soups and chili, almond milk, cereal, pasta and sauce, Annie’s Bunny Fruit Snacks, and all the usuals like water, bread, etc. What do you stock up on when a storm is headed your way? Anyone have any good tips?

Also, keep an eye out for the Virtual Vegan Potluck taking place tomorrow. There should be lots of yummy recipes!

Easy and Quick Dinner – Vegan Pizza

A lot of times people ask me what I eat as a vegan. Everything doesn’t have to be an elaborate recipe. There are really simple things that you can make on a weeknight or if you just need a quick meal. One of my go-to quick dinners is vegan pizza.

It’s so simple and you can easily create your own favorite flavor combos. For this particular pizza, I picked up pizza dough from Trader Joe’s. You can make your own dough, but TJ’s pizza dough is good if you don’t have time to make it yourself. Someday I will share my mom’s pizza dough recipe with you. It’s easy to make, but it does need time for the dough to rise.

I stretch the dough out until it fits to the edges of my non-stick pizza pan. If any holes form as you stretch the dough, you can patch them up so the sauce and toppings don’t leak through. Once the dough is stretched out, add tomato sauce. Don’t use too much or it will make the dough soggy. I spoon the sauce on and spread it out until there is a thin layer over the dough. Then add your toppings and bake it for about 20-25 minutes at 400°. The pizza is done when the dough is golden brown and crispy.

For toppings, I used sauteed onions, garlic, and shallots, and vegan Italian sausage. I pan fried the sausage before putting in on the pizza so it would be crispier. TJ’s also has a vegan chorizo that I use on pizza sometimes…so tasty! You can use vegan cheese, like Daiya, if you want to, but I usually don’t. Experiment with your own favorite toppings. The combos are endless!