Project Food Blog, Challenge #5: A Pizza Complex

178 comments

Pizza is sort of a touchy subject with me lately.

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Ordering a vegan pizza at a restaurant can prove to be a bit interesting at times.

Chefs come to the table and try to sweet talk me, pleading with their delicious Italian accent for just a sprinkle of cheese. One time, a chef flat out refused to make his pie without cheese, throwing his hands up in dismay and washing himself clean of impure, cheeseless thoughts.

And this is how a Pizza Complex develops.

And I’m worn down.

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When I found out that the next Project Food Blog challenge was to put a unique spin on pizza, I was scared.

I wanted to run away and never look back. Bye bye, Foodbuzz, it has truly been a slice.

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Running away to the woods allowed me to clear my head. Over the course of a few days minutes- and a lot of Pizza Complex Rumination- I felt like myself again. I shouted, “I will show the world that a vegan pizza is not just ‘a worse-tasting pizza without cheese’, but a beautiful work of art!”

And then I screamed like a baby after seeing a creepy man in the bushes with a camera.

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Wait. Is that my husband?

Anyways. I found myself in the kitchen once again, ready to conquer my Pizza Complex once and for all…

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Roasted Tomato, Onion, and Basil Pesto Pizza with Vegan Parmesan Cheese

Here’s What You’ll Need to prepare:

  • Herb-infused Pizza Dough
  • Vegan Parmesan Cheese
  • Vegan Pesto
  • Garlic-infused oil
  • Roasted Tomato, Onion, Garlic, and Basil topping

 

For instructions, start to finish, see the attached PDF. The dough, cheese, and pesto can be made ahead.

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Despite my newfound conviction to rock a vegan pizza, there was one small catch…

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I’ve had a few traumatic pizza dough flops in the past.

Making pizza dough that turns into a tough ball of gluten is not something one forgets easily. It haunts you in your sleep until you convince yourself that you can actually live a fairly happy life without ever trying to make pizza dough again.

That is, until this challenge threw me for a loop.

Pizza doh, indeed.

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For 6 hours on Friday night I was a student again.

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I studied, I practiced, and I vowed to become a Master of Pizza Dough. It turns out making pizza dough is incredibly easy, but my glowing pride was no less. I can also tell you that cocoa powder, chili powder, or nutritional yeast infused pizza dough all taste horrible. Bad, bad things happened.

I would not be here today without my You Tube Pizza Mentor, Albert.

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He rules.

Also, to the red wine for making the 10 dough trials seem like I was at an all night rave.

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I tested 5 different pizza dough recipes and the one that worked best for me involved no fancy machine or special dough hooks, just some old-fashioned elbow grease!

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Kneading the dough was hypnotic and calming as I tested batch, after batch.

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With each trial, I felt a bit more comfortable with the dough and it actually became fun!

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When the dough is ready it will be soft, smooth, and no longer tacky to touch.

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Now, make the sauce and toppings.

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I had some CSA tomatoes, onion, garlic, and basil to use up and I figured they would work well together.

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and chop.

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Coat the chopped veggies with a homemade olive oil sauce and roast for about 35-40 minutes at 400F.

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Inhale deeply.

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Now whip up the Vegan pesto!

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and then the Vegan parmesan cheese.

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The house smells like a dream right about now.

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When your dough is ready, punch the air out one final time.

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I tested three popular pizza baking methods:

1) Pizza pan –> Soft crust, soft interior

2) Back of a baking sheet –> Soft crust, soft interior

3) Pizza Stone –> Authentic, crunchy crust, with soft interior

The pizza stone won by a landslide!

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Sprinkle cornmeal over your Pizza Peel to prevent sticking.

Now for the part that I was terrified of….shaping the dough!

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I found that the best way to work with the dough was to just let gravity do most of the work.

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Gently hold and rotate the dough allowing gravity to pull the sides down ever so slightly.

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When you have something that resembles a circle, place it on your Peel.

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Gently spread it out.

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Now pinch the sides to form a crust.

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Excitement builds.

Spread on the sautéed garlic infused oil to keep the crust moist and flavourful.

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Don’t be shy with the pesto. This is the best part!

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Now spread on the Roasted Onion, Tomato, Garlic, and Basil mixture.

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and finally, a generous dusting of the vegan Parmesan Cheese to finish it off!

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Slide the pizza onto your stone which has been pre-heating at 500F for 1 hour.

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Magic happens.

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I liked what I saw. A lot.

After 15 minutes, your crust will be golden and crisp and your veggies will begin to blacken around the edges.

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It’s time.

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Your husband, who has been installing hardwood flooring all morning, will magically appear at the right moment.

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He salivates and inhales 3 slices of pizza.

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The pesto makes a wonderful dip for the thick, crunchy crust.

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Pizza Complex Defeated.

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Enjoy your delicious pizza while discussing dessert

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I tend to get a little carried away at times.

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This is my official entry for Project Food Blog Challenge #5. Voting begins at 9am EST on Monday October 18th. If you enjoyed this post I would greatly appreciate your votes in carrying me into the next round! Click here to vote. Thank you!

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{ 178 comments… read them below or add one }

Jessica @ How Sweet It Is October 17, 2010

I would love a slice of that pizza, and I’m a huge cheese lover. And fruit pizza? Well that is one of my ALL TIME favorite desserts! They look fabulous Ange!

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jodie October 17, 2010

mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm………………you got my vote. Again!

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Liz October 17, 2010

That is such a joyous looking pizza!

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Nicole @ Yuppie Yogini October 17, 2010

I have the same dilemma with pizza…it’s so hard to find good, creative pizza minus cheese. Both pizzas are beautiful! Good luck!

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Lauren October 17, 2010

Haha, love the psych references! Awesome job! :)

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Meredith Lilly October 17, 2010

Beautiful pies, Angela! High five!

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Charlie October 17, 2010

This pizza looks delicious! I love to try pizzas with no tomato sauce ;).
+ Dessert pizza is SO good! My mother used to make an apple & goat cheese one and it was incredible.

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Leah @ L4L October 17, 2010

Faboosh! I’m impressed!

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Sarah October 17, 2010

Awesome job! Congratulations! You continue to be an inspiration :)

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Exercise and Eat October 17, 2010

Congrats on beating your pizza complex! It looks delishhhh!

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Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine October 17, 2010

Perfection. I too have gotten the weird looks, the eye roll, the are you SURE? when I order vegan pizza. Bravo for creating one that truly is a work of art!!

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Mara @ What's For Dinner? October 17, 2010

Fabulous as usual my dear!!! Once you get the dough right ONCE, you’ll never go back!!

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Lisa October 17, 2010

This looks amazing!!

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Marci October 17, 2010

So pretty! Those colors are beautiful! There’s a reason why you’re reader favorite two times already!

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Mary October 17, 2010

I cannot wait to try this out! :)

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Kristina @ spabettie October 17, 2010

BRAVO for overcoming the complex! it looks perfect !

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sippitysup October 17, 2010

These pizzas glow nearly as much as your beautiful blond self! GREG

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Noelle October 17, 2010

Angela, you rock. God has given you a great gift and that is creating and capturing the art of food. It looks gorgeous and congrats!

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Maria @ Oh Healthy Day October 17, 2010

Words cannot describe…beautiful! Can I reach into my screen please?

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HF October 17, 2010

Angela, I am so proud of you right now. I want to hug you. You have such a gift of art and inspiration.

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Dorry October 17, 2010

This looks amazing! Love a vegan pizza – and I’ve had the same experience with ordering cheeseless pizza (actually in Spain!) where the chef was so adamant about sprinkling just a bit of cheese – like he couldn’t resist! Ha. I think making a pizza in your own kitchen is a great way to get it just right. Your crust left me salivating!

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rachel October 17, 2010

that is one beautiful pizza. it looks perfect, and delicious! amazing photos as well :)

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Hope October 17, 2010

Wow, Angela that looks incredible! Voting for you now…

In NZ we have a company called Hell Pizza who actually have Vegan pizza on their menu, and they allow you to mix and match other toppings to your hearts content! I much prefer homemade pizza, but vegan pizza made how I want it and delivered to my door is sometimes so much more inviting on a Friday night!

Creepy man in the bushes made me laugh so much!!

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Heather (Heather's Dish) October 17, 2010

beautifully done! i love the colors…perfect for this time of year :)

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Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) October 17, 2010

The recipe is awesome, the food photography is beyond beautiful! And so are you in the last pic :)

I LOVE THE BRIGHT colors of the veggies! I love that it’s vegan, I love that you used CSA ingredients, and that it was the old fashioned elbow grease that did the trick.

And the fruit pizza, just as a causal “aside” that you threw in…woman…you must live in your kitchen and at your computer after it’s all done to upload and blog about it all…beyond impressive!

:)

take a load off and go have a glass of vino :)

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Amy @ be.you.ti.fully, a.musing October 17, 2010

OMG Angela!! I haven’t been following anyone else’s entries, but still, I can say with complete confidence that you deserve to win this whole shebang! You have me drooling at the pizzas, and I especially loved your fall-inspired dinner – absolutely beautiful! This is what you call quality blogging.

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Allison @ Food For Healing October 17, 2010

can i come over for supper? haha

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Nicole October 17, 2010

Wow!!! Your pictures are incredible and your food looks outstanding! You are so talented:) Placing my vote for you right now!

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Lisa (bakebikeblog) October 17, 2010

oh my – this looks perfect!!!!!! What a BRILLIANT effort Angela!

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Leah @ Why Deprive? October 17, 2010

This looks incredible!!

I have to say, Im a big fan of cheese, (I probably have 7 different kinds in my fridge right now) but I really dont think I would miss it at all on this pizza. Im drooling just thinking about it!

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Holly @ couchpotatoathlete October 17, 2010

I love making fruit pizza!

The colors of teh roasted veggies are absolutely beautiful — I love the purple of the onion :)

Congrats on a beautiful post!

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Jeanna October 17, 2010

magically beautiful!

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Jemma @ Celery and Cupcakes October 17, 2010

Both pizzas look great! Such a fab post,

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Krystina (Organically Me) October 17, 2010

That is hands down the most beautiful pizza I’ve ever seen.

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Wei-Wei October 17, 2010

I think….. that I may love you.

(I also think that this may or may not be the 120938120948192th time I’ve said that on your blog.)

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Bridget October 17, 2010

Wow this is beautiful! You can really tell how much hard work you put into it.

The fruit pizza at the end was the icing on the cake! I can’t wait til the voting opens so that I can vote for you. Come on everyone, lets try for a third readers choice!!!!

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Callie @ Callieflower Kitchen October 17, 2010

This looks awesome Angela :) Especially the dessert pizza!

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Jes (@ Self Motivation) October 17, 2010

That looks amazing!

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Stephanie @ Laugh and Cook October 17, 2010

I was waiting for this post since last night! When I noticed you posted the #5 challenge, I seriously clapped my hands! haha! Great post!

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Allison October 17, 2010

Great job with the pizzas!!! I made grilled vegan pizza for challenge #4- you’re right, vegan pizza can be great! You’ve got my vote! :-)

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