Make-up post: Vegan Pizza and Ranchino Dressing

29 Jan

Okay, I’m sorry, I realize I said I was going to post all those recipes yesterday and I didn’t.  I have had a very taxing week and it finally caught up with me, which means I came home and laid on the couch for most of the day after a five hour class, yuck.

Anyway, I was feeling gross and didn’t want to cook, so the boy ordered pizza and I baked up my pre-frozen thick-crust vegan pizza.

Vegan cheeze and "sausage" pizza

You can hardly see it under all that, but there is fake sausage on there, too!  (Next time: bacon bits.)

But something was missing from my Pizza Experience.  Ranch dressing.

Being the Healthy Eater (mostly) that I am, I wanted to make the “Sanctuary Dressing” from Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Appetite for Reduction, which is low-fat and other good things.  I had everything–except silken tofu.  And there was no silken tofu at the grocery store nearby/open at that hour, because obviously they hate fun.

No matter.  I have the internet!  And vegan mayo.  Undaunted, I checked VegWeb for a faux-ranch and stumbled across this.  Well, guess what, I don’t think it’s perfect!  Maybe it’s because I never liked yogurt-style ranch–it was very tangy/sweet and didn’t have much in the way of fullness/mellowness to the taste.  Maybe it’s also because I never have any onion powder or flakes.  (Am I the only person for whom this is the case?)  Also, because I didn’t have an hour to let it chill and it was too thin for my taste.

But it’s all good, because a bit of tinkering later, I discovered a way to satisfy my ranch needs, no dairy industry required.  Just a bit of Veganaise.  Fine, a lot of Veganaise.

Life pro-tip: Veganaise.  It’s so good!

I, too, wanted to come up with a cute name for my un-ranch dressing, so–in the tradition of physicists naming the theoretical super-symmetric partner particles of known elementary particles the same thing with an -ino on the end, I named the new, supersymmetric partner of ranch dressing the ranchino!

I don’t know, sometimes my brain barfs and then there’s stuff.  Nevertheless, I assure you the ranchino dressing is quite good.

Ranchino Dressing Recipe (no atom smashing required):

1 cup vegan mayonnaise
2-3 tablespoons nondairy milk, unsweetened
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning or parsley flakes
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon whole wheat flour

Mix wet and dry, then season to taste.  Ready immediately!  Keep chilled after preparation.

Ranchino!

Largely Homemade Vegan Pizza
**REQUIRES ADVANCE PREPARATION! 

Special equipment: Bread maker (or your own knowledge of how to prepare bread dough properly)
That’s right, no pizza stone required!

1 batch of pizza dough (recipe follows)
1 jar of vegan marinara sauce (or make your own–but watch out for Parmesan cheese in your marinara!  Those sneaky bastards.)
Olive oil (for brushing the dough)
Cornmeal (for sprinkling on baking sheets)
Any assorted toppings (personally–and I know this is probably a Cardinal Vegan Sin–I don’t like vegetables on pizza!  The texture feels so weird to me.  But, to each their own.)

Crust:

1 and 1/4 c warm water
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup cornmeal
3 tablespoons whole wheat flour
3 cups white flour
1 packet of yeast or equivalent

I make this in a bread machine, because I don’t have a stand mixer right now to do all the hard work.  To be honest, it’s pretty nice to have the dough going in the background while you do other stuff.  So, place the dough ingredients in the bread machine in your manufacturer’s specified sequence (hint: I’d be willing to bet that it is wet ingredients -> dry ingredients -> yeast.)

When the dough is finished, wrap it in wax paper, stick it in a plastic bag, and chill it in the fridge overnight.  I have tried chilling the dough for a few hours and it tends to be too sticky and not bake as well.

The next day, preheat your oven to 450 F, grab your marinara sauce, olive oil, and toppings, and prepare yourself for a new dimension of physical reality.

Heat the sauce slightly and season to taste, if you’re using a canned brand.  Keep on low heat.

Take out your dough and separate it into two pieces.  Flour the dough and your work surface, and knead/roll/press each piece of dough into a flat, roughly disc-like shape.  (My first efforts, when I made this recipe long ago, were rather amebic, but that’s okay!)

Sprinkle your cornmeal on the cookie sheet and transfer one dough-disc at a time.  Brush lightly with olive oil to retain moisture on the crust.  Add warmed sauce, followed by other toppings. Bake for 10-12 minutes for a small-sized pizza.  As always, know your oven!

If you want to eat them right away, you’re done.  But if you want to freeze them for Pizza Emergencies like I did, you can let it cool on the sheet for a little while (5-7 minutes, ish?) and wrap the pre-baked pizza completely in cling wrap.  Put it in a Ziploc and freeze.  Don’t worry, the plastic wrap will come off just fine!

Tomorrow (probably): My new favorite basic ultra-protein-y/low-fat recipe.  Reheats well for lunch!

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