Veg*n Cooking and Other Random Musings: Roasted Veggies and Homemade Pizza!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Roasted Veggies and Homemade Pizza!

There isn’t much to report on brunch yesterday. I had some left over butternut squash (they are HUGE), so I decided to try out Vegetarian Times’ Butternut Squash (Potato) Pancakes (I had to veganize these as they called for eggs, but no biggie). But I seem to be having trouble getting potato pancakes right, so no picture this time. Every time I have tried to make potato pancakes, I end up with a fried, blackened mess of a pan and pancakes that fall apart and are not evenly cooked.

Now, as I have stated before I live in a crappy apartment and the burners on the stove are not entirely level, so this may be part of the problem. I also might have had the heat on too high, but needless to say, while they tasted pretty good, they looked nothing like the beauties on the Vegetarian Times’ website. Hopefully I will get them down eventually.

I also experimented with roasting vegetables yesterday. I love roasted veggies, but up until this point have really only been brave enough to roast asparagus or potatoes. It is so easy and roasted veggies rock my world! I prepped a nice mess of veggies (and by prepped I mean washed, removed stems and cut in half), drizzled them all with olive oil, tossed a pinch of salt on, popped them in the oven and let them do their thing – hardly an ounce of effort required on my part, the veggies and the oven do all the work for you. Thanks Vegamonicon!

Thought I'd give you a nice before and after, in case there is anyone out there who isn't roasting their own veggies, this should convince you to do so immedietly.

Before (my pan is very used, can ya tell?)

And after (our apartment smelled so good!)

On to dinner last night. I mentioned in an earlier post that I had found a vegan pizza crust recipe from VeganYumYum, and while that looked good, Bryanna Clark Grogan had what appeared to be a much simpler crust so we went with that.

This was a team effort pizza as Brett actually made the dough, vegan no less! Brett’s interest in cooking extends about as far as things like breads and pasta. He likes making dough. Nonetheless, it was a lot of fun working together in the kitchen (albeit a bit difficult since our kitchen is so small). And trust me, I realize how lucky I am to live with an omni who is not only supportive of my lifestyle and willing to eat my creations, but will also take part in the cooking sometimes and help with the other stuff like the dishes that result.

On a side note, I am lucky on many levels to have found a person like Brett. He never lets a day go by without letting me know that he appreciates me. He helps around the house, he shows interest in my interests, we share the same values and worldview, and he enjoys many of the things that I do. We can (and very often do) talk for hours and hours and have some of the most stimulating conversations that I have ever had. He impresses me with his intelligence, his kindness, his humor, and his heart. He is truly my best friend!

OK, onto something MUCH less sappy, I have to admit, I almost disgusted myself with what I just wrote, but it is the truth. I imagine Brett will probably be more embarrassed by that than me if he reads this though. :-)

Back to the pizza – Brett made the crust, and since it was the first time we had made it, we decided to cut the recipe to only make one crust in case we didn’t like it – we didn’t want to be stuck with a bunch of icky crust. This can be a challenge sometimes as you end up with very odd measurements, and it doesn’t always work out the best. The crust turned out wonderful, it was thin and crispy with excellent flavor. But Brett thought if we followed the full recipe (and he read the whole thing before starting to work with the ingredients :-) - I have that problem too), that the crust would have turned out thicker and chewier like in Bryanna’s pictures.

Regardless, it was good. While Brett was preparing the crust, I made a simple pizza sauce that turned out nice and thick, with a rich tomatoey flavor, but not overpowered with other spices, which is what we look for in a good sauce. I also got out some of the roasted red peppers and shallots I had roasted earlier in the day, as well as sliced and sautéed some button mushrooms, and sliced up some artichokes.

Now, some of you out there might be saying “Well Jennifer, this is great and all, but this sounds awfully similar to the Amy’s pizza you claimed to be getting sick of.” (Though really, probably not.) I know it is very similar, but since this is the first time I made homemade pizza, I wanted to go with a familiar flavor combination. I can now comfortably experiment with sauces and toppings now that Brett and I successfully made our first homemade pizza together.

Basic Pizza Sauce
1 clove garlic, mashed and minced
1 teaspoon salt
1-2 tbs tomato paste
1 8 ounce can tomato sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 tablespoon olive oil
dash red pepper, optional

Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan over low heat until well blended.

I plan on using the rest of the roasted veggies for a nice simple dinner this evening.

I’m off to enjoy a beautiful (though windy) evening in Mid-Missouri with Brett and my lovely kitties Gabby and Nermal. This more than likely entails playing basketball on the Playstation with Brett (which is a bit funny in that I don’t actually like real basketball) - Go Virtual Houston Rockets! Or I might read as John Pilger’s Freedom Next Time and Chris Hedges’ War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning are waiting for me at home – thanks to Brett. But now I have to chose which to start with, which likely means basketball as I’m too damn indecisive!

‘Til next time!


Ruby Red Vegan said...

Brett would be really useful in my kitchen - making breads and pizza dough really intimidates me! And I didn't interpret what you said about you and Brett as sappy at all. In fact, I am quite jealous, and very happy for you that you have someone like that in your life!

The butternut squash pancakes sound like they will be great when they finally decide to cooperate. Mmm, winter squash rocks.

You make me wanna roasted some vegetables! Ahh, some sweet potatoes, carrots, and butternut squash would make a nice orangey veggie roast...

Jennifer said...

Ruby Red - You are not kidding, now that I have seen how much he enjoys making dough, I may put him to work in the kitchen more often.

Thanks about Brett. I am very lucky that Brett and I "fit" so well. I guess I am a believer that your significant other should be your best friend, someone you admire for who they are as people, and so on. And he's damn cute too! :-)

I had a good experience with butternut squash, it was the first time I had prepared it at home. Aside from trying to handle the size of the thing, it was a breeze to work with too. I love the flavor!

Your orangey veggie roast - great idea! Mmmmmmm. Roasted veggies are so good that they don't even need seasoning, I think I could live off of them.

the pleasantly plump vegan said...

man, those roasted veggies look good! i can never get enough of those!

Anonymous said...

Your pizza looks delicious! There's nothing more rewarding than making your own.

Lizzy said...

I have thought about making my own pizza dough for such a long time now and I think I'll give it a try.
I like thin crispy pizza so I guess I should also cut the recipe ;)

Roasted veggies are sooo good. My mom started doing it years ago, along with potatoes. I never wanted any potatoes though, I always stuffed my face with bell pepper, zucchini, scallions and whatnot. I love that the options are almost endless. And like you said, there's no work for us except cutting them into pieces.
I still have a few veggies left from my salad last night, I think I'll roast them tonight =)
Too bad I forgot to drain the chickpeas or else I could have made the sun dried tomato hummus. I might try the sour cream again, I don't want the silken Tofu sitting in the fridge for too long and turning bad again!

Honestly, I feel kind of weird for writing this since I actually don't "know" you. But reading how you described your relationship with Brett made me so happy. It sounds like you really found your better half there(and that he helps so much around the house, with cooking and all... well I believ you cherish the fact that you got yourself a man like that). And from the comments and the general writing of yours I got to know you as such an awesome person. I don't know, I wish I knew more people like you in real life. Kind, honest people who have something in their head. Not just hot air like most people.
Just wanted to let you know that I'm not trying to freak you out =p

Lizzy said...

*not drain, damnit I meant soaked =p

Jennifer said...

Pleasantly - I know, roasted veggies are the best! I plan on roasting more this weekend. They are easy to prep, tasty, and make for an easy dinner. Can't beat that.

Romina - Thank you, you are right, making something yourself is always more rewarding than getting it from a box or a take out place.

Lizzy - Yeah, if you want the crust to be crispy, you might want to halve the recipe, and then halve it again like we did. It makes for some difficulty in measuring ingredients, but it is how our turned out the way it did.

That sucks, I always buy my beans dried, so if you forget to soak them, well, your meal is pretty well shot!

I think you can get to know a person quite well from blogs and stuff actually, so I don't think it is weird, whatever means it takes to engage with like minded people works for me.

I am very fond of Brett. He has more of an egalitarian view on life and in areas such as the 'division of labor'. He is also still in college (I graduated last May), so he has more time to do these sorts of things. To be honest, I haven't done laundry myself since I got my first 'real job' this past September!

Thank you, you seem like a very cool person yourself. I looked at your photography the other day, by the way, pretty neat stuff. I liked the staircase, the tree, and the mirror pictures the best!

I also understand what you mean about wishing you knew more 'like minded and thinking folk' in person. I find myself in that dilemma pretty often as the few people I know (I am very shy and a homebody so people my age [23ish] don't tend to find me very interesting as I would rather read at home on Friday and bake on Saturday than party), well they waste the stuff they have in their heads on things like video games, shopping, and television (though that is the 'American Way' eh?). My activist friends bring me down sometimes because that is ALL they do, deal with issue, organize, and it starts to get you down, 'cause things really aren't that great in the world right now. I wish I could find more people who had a balance. I think it is important to be aware of issues and such, but to also have a recreational life beyond that.

And trust me, I'm from the US, I know all about the masses whose heads are full of hot air.

Hey, I don't know if you have Facebook or not, but if you do, you can add me as a friend if you like.

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

I love roasted veggies; they're one of my FAVORITE things to eat :o)

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