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!

Blackbird Pizzeria

One thing that can be hard to find is really good vegan pizza. Most vegan cheese is just not that good. Daiya cheese is the best I’ve had, but it’s only good in small quantities and has to be melted enough.

If you’re craving pizza and you’re in Philadelphia, you have to go to Blackbird Pizzeria. Even though I live near New York now, I still go back when I can. I just went last weekend while I was in town. They have by far the best vegan pizza I’ve tried. Everything on the menu is vegan, so it’s nice to be able to order whatever you want without thinking. It’s a casual place where you can order at the counter by the slice or order a whole pie. They also have sandwiches, salads and desserts from Vegan Treats.

This time I tried a new slice I haven’t had before. It’s called the Haymaker, and it has garlic butter, seitan sausage, onions, tomato sauce, and fresh oregano. The garlic butter adds an extra layer of flavor that’s really good. I would definitely get it again.

I have a few favorite menu items I get often. The pepperoni pizza is awesome. It’s simple, but so tasty. I’m not sure what kind of vegan pepperoni they use since I haven’t found something comparable anywhere else. I wish I could track it down to use at home. If you’re more in the mood for a sandwich, I would recommend the chickpea salad hoagie. It has artichoke and fresh dill in it, which is a really good combination. I’ve recreated this at home and will share that recipe with you sometime. I would also recommend their hand cut fries which are made fresh to order. Again, simple but so good!

I’ve brought vegans and non-vegans here, and it’s always gotten great reviews. Another upside is that it’s not too expensive, especially since eating at vegan restaurants tends to be a little pricey. It’s definitely worth a stop, or two, or three, if you’re in Philly.