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Monday, March 7, 2011

Meatless Monday Party: Veggie Pizza with Friends

Greetings!

It's Monday and I have another easy meatless recipe for you to try.  This time, I'd like to share one of my favorite ways to get together with friends and celebrate around food.  Some people say quitting meat is hardest when it comes to festive occasions or making crowd-pleasing meals, but I think it's easy to throw together food that's tasty and even fun while leaving out the meat.

My friend Mary here doesn't eat meat, and her visit was the perfect time to throw a make-your-own pizza party, vegetarian style.

We started with my pizza crust that I have adapted from Peter Reinhart. I made it a few hours ahead of time, and had enough for four medium pizzas.

Pizza Crust

4 1/2 c. flour of your choice (I used half unbleached white and half white whole wheat. I wouldn't recommend substituting more than half whole wheat flour with this recipe.)

1/3 c. olive oil

1 tsp. instant yeast

1 tsp. salt

1 3/4-2 c. water

Mix the dry ingredients together in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle or whisk attachment.  Switch to the dough hook and add enough liquid to bring it together.  Knead for a few minutes until it's smooth and warm.  Let it rest at room temperature for up to two hours or overnight in the fridge.  You can use it right away, but it'll be very hard to roll out.  If you leave it in the fridge, oil the top of the dough, cover with plastic wrap, and remove from the fridge 30 minutes before using.

I divided it into four pieces and rolled them out onto the backs of sheet pans.  I think this is the easiest way to do pizza in the oven.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees for at least 20 minutes, no matter what your timer says.  (If you have a thermometer in the oven this is the time to use it!  Get it as hot as you can.)

Give everybody their crust and let them top away!  You can use any toppings you like, but we had:

-homemade pizza sauce (just onions, balsamic vinegar, s&p, and a can of backyard tomatoes.)

-shredded mozzarella, jack, and sharp cheddar cheese

-goat cheese

-kalamata olives

-green peppers

-roasted red peppers

-tomatillos

-sliced red onions

-criminis

DSC00947A little wine helps with creativity.

DSC00948Goat cheese is sticky but totally worth it.

DSC00950See? Doesn't she look happy?

DSC00951Nice work, Meri.

DSC00952We baked two at a time, and shared as they each came out of the oven.

DSC00953I was happy to see how differently each one turned out.

DSC00954It doesn't hurt to end the meal with a cupcake or two.  I used this recipe from cupcakeblog.com for honey and peanut cupcakes.  The peanuts are salted, and the frosting is cream cheese of course.  The cake was very much on the angel food side of things, but I enjoyed it and am looking forward to making more recipes from that blog in the future.

DSC00956

So tell me, how do you celebrate meatlessly?

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