January 10, 2010

Turnpike Pizza/daiya cheese/tester recipes/frito misto

Turnpike Pizza with a homemade side of broccolini and seitan.
Sometimes things just don't turn out the way you expect. I had good intentions of making frito misto for the second time last night to try to improve my results so I could post a recipe, but I waited too late to start cooking, and lack of sleep caught up with me. "Can't we just get a pizza or something," I moaned, as I tried to picture myself washing, cutting , mixing and cooking. Now, how many times has that happened to you? Be honest.

We could have gotten pizza from Pizza Pi, a known source of vegan-only pizzas, but I wanted to see if the pizza place down the street could actually come through with the vegan pizza they promised when they first opened. He ordered. We waited. He went to pick up the pie.

I took one look at the pizza, covered with a thick layer of melted cheese, and groaned, "This can't be vegan. I'm not eating it."

"But they said it was 100% vegan. They swore it was," said my husband. Then I noticed a spot of flattened, crispy cheese, and remembered Daiya cheese gets like that if over-heated. (The pizza really is made with Daiya.) So I took a bite. This is the pizza that floated before my eyes the day I decided to be vegan — back in the days when I used to order EXTRA cheese. But that was then and this is now. Now, this thick melted layer of cheesy, stretchy richness was just too much ... too much ... too much like CHEESE. It made me feel a little sick. I realized I'd come to prefer my pizza covered in VEGGIES with just a smidgen of "cheese." This pizza had too few veggies and too much cheese. (My son, who got the cold leftovers when he got home from work, thought it was really good.)

And then there was the crust. Turnpike Pizza is promoted as "real New York-style pizza" or at least "real East Coast pizza." It's been an awfully long time since I've had any such thing but the crust brought back memories not of pizza, but of Philadelphia soft pretzels! In fact, it tasted just like a soft pretzel. It was very white and very smooth. Maybe smooth is the wrong word but it wasn't the bubbly, scorched and chewy brick-oven crust of my dreams.

Okay, I realize I may have just described what you consider a fantastic pizza, and if you live in Seattle you might want to rush over to Turnpike Pizza in Green Lake and order one. What do I know.


Testing recipes for Celine and Joni
We've been testing some really delicious recipes lately. Above you see BBQ beans that my son and I loved. My husband liked them but was, in my opinion, unaccountably less enthusiastic than I. Believe me, they were great.

Everyone, including unsuspecting company, loved these. They look like ordinary potato wedges but they're not. They're special and addictive. Amazing and fabulous.

Above you see the BBQ beans, the wedgies and a side of kale. Ever since I read about beans on toast at Haiku Tofu I'd been wanting some, and the BBQ beans were just perfect atop a slice of toasted sourdough. I think I'll keep to myself the number of times I enjoyed this combo.

This is an excellent lentil and quinoa salad. It surprised me by being much more delicious than I imagined.

Oh my. I love kale and eat it a lot, but this was amazing. Buy the cookbook when it comes out just for this smoky dish!

These muffins had both carrots and sweet potato. My granddaughter gobbled hers up.


New version of an old favorite

We love the sweet chili lime tofu with collards recipe from "Vegan Yum Yum" but when my husband proposed making it the other night I said I'd had tofu for lunch, and didn't want to eat soy again. He was disappointed until I suggested making it with chickpeas, instead. It was just as great with the beans, and served over rice.

Here's my first frito misto effort - not quite good enough to post the recipe. The cauliflower crust was a little too grainy, and the sauce too tomato-y. When I added the sauce to the cauliflower, the grainy quality disappeared and the the cauliflower tasted really good - but not good enough. I'll try again tonight.


Spam attack (the electronic variety)

I've decided to add a word recognition step to leaving comments because I recently encountered some objectionable spam. Someone using the name Disa left a large number of links to porn sites on a number of my posts. The links were in Chinese characters so I used Google translator to translate the phrases. I apologize to anyone who may have followed the links to pornographic pages before I saw and removed them. I hope this won't discourage anyone from leaving comments - I love reading your thoughts.


You can enter a comment to win a copy of "Vegan Cupcakes Take over the World" at Vegan Family Style.


  1. You have so many yummy recipes!!

    Question for you. Do you know what a vegan substitute for buttermilk would be?


  2. Yay! Beans on toast! That will forever be one of my favorites! And those amazing potato wedges really do look special and amazing- I can't wait to get my hands on those cookbooks!! And yours soon? ;)

  3. I agree with your Turnpike Pizza analysis...they use waaay too much Daiya...I even ordered a second time, specifying "light on the Daiya", and it still arrived at our door smothered in the stuff. Wasn't impressed with the dough either. Still, I commend their efforts to be vegan-friendly.

  4. Beans on toast.... sounds very British! Also sounds delicious. Your blog is the best advertisement for that future cookbook, because I know I'm going to have to go out and buy it asap!

  5. OMG! I got a comment from Disa but I didn't follow the link, I can tell it's a bad thing even I don't know how to read Chinese because the only English word said "SEX". What should I do to erase that comment? I don't know how.

    I'll come back to talk about your yummy looking dishes tomorrow, it's getting late and I have to get up early. Thank you for telling me about that spam.

  6. Hi Andrea,
    It's me again! Just wanted to let you know thatI did delete that spam comment from my blog, thanks.

  7. I feel the same way about over-cheesed pizza, I rather have more veggies or at least a balance between veggies and cheese. Whoa - those potato wedges look awesome! Can't wait to check out the cookbook! :-)

  8. Jessica - Sure do. Just add some lemon juice or vinegar to non-dairy milk. Use 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar to 1 cup of soymilk. Let it sit for a minute and it will curdle.

    Trinity - Thanks for that idea! What is it that makes the beans on toast taste so good?

    Rose - I was actually thinking about ordering again and asking them to go light on the Daiya but maybe that won't work. I want to be supportive of their vegan-friendly efforts, too. I'd love to find a vegan pizza (that I don't have to make myself) with lots of veggies and a great crust.

    Claire - I've become very fond (an understatement!) of beans on toast. You should try it.

    Oraphan - Disa left those links on so many of my pages that it took a while to get them all off. I hate spam! Glad you erased yours. Who knows what viruses could be lurking at all those sites.

    Chow - I can't believe there was a time when I ordered pizza with extra cheese - just couldn't get enough. I still feel that way about mushrooms ... and broccoli.

  9. You are so very very lucky to have not one, but two choices for take out vegan pizza. No one in a hundred mile radius of my house has heard of Daiya. It's good to know you have options for those nights when you're tired and hungry, even if they're not ideal!

    Also, now that I know what kind of site you're running here, I would like to leave some links to mitten-related porn. You know, no clothes, just handmade mittens. And gluten-free edible underwear--that sort of thing. Okay? Thanks.

  10. Fabulous recipes! That pizza really DOES look like cheese! But I could totally relate to finding it "too cheesy"--I think I wouldn't be able to eat that much cheese any more, either (yay!). And the tester recipes--wow!!

    Oh, and re: spam, how awful. I have noticed whenever I leave a comment that I hit "post comment" and get a message saying it couldn't be processed and to try again. THEN I get the word recognition step and have to hit "post comment" again. This happens every single time--I'm wondering if it's a Wordpress vs Blogger issue?

  11. Mary - I'm wondering, do you have any recipes for the gluten-free edible underwear? I think I have some readers who may be interested in that.

    Thanks for the great laugh! I'll be watching for the clothing-optional, mittens-only pics on your blog.

    Also, I hate to make you feel bad but we have more than just two purveyors of vegan pizza. I can think of two places where you can get gluten-free vegan pizza.

    Ricki - Sometimes I get those same messages when I try to leave responses on my own blog, and sometimes I have a hard time leaving comments on other blogs. The most annoying (besides when my comments disappear) is when I'm supposed to type in a word but it's below the frame and I can't see it. I suspect the "processing" has to do with how many users are trying to access the server on which the blog resides. I'll eventually remove the word thing but I've gotten some annoying spam lately, and I'm a little tired of it. Spammers are such a nuisance.

  12. I just ate breakfast and after reading your blog am hungry again! All of your food looks fabulous!

  13. Ha ha I had to laugh when I read your first reaction after seeing the pizza. I would have reacted the same way! I wish they started exporting daiya to Germany.

    You did some fantastic testing! There are so many things I haven't tried yet and would love to but there's just not enough time :(

  14. I thought the same thing about the Daiya pizza from Whole Foods... Too realistically cheesy. Kind of grossed myself out.

    Also, I'm English and grew up on beans on toast... That was a favorite when dad was cooking. If you're looking for some other fine dining Brit style, try beans on mashed potatoes (if you're feeling extra fancy add some seitan sausage). Yum!

  15. Janet - Thanks! (I really love your photo.)

    Mihl - I know you've been doing a lot of testing, too. This is the first time I've had enough time to test recipes for a cookbook, and it's fun, but now I don't seem to have enough time to create recipes for my blog!

    Katie - Some people rave about those Daiya pizzas. I'm not sure why I reacted so badly when I used to love cheese so much, but it really made me queezy.

    If my father had been English, I'm sure he would have made beans on toast, too. (And I'm also pretty sure my mother wouldn't have eaten it.) Beans on mashed potatoes sounds great - kind of like an upside down shepherds pie.

  16. You have me drooling over that pizza description. The only place I'm able to find vegan pizza here is Brixx. It's not bad, although sometimes they don't cook it long enough for the cheeze to melt. I am dying to find some Teese or Daiya so I can make my own GOOD pizza.

  17. Kiersten- Daiya is a very realistic "cheese" but as far as cheese alternatives go, I like Follow Your Heart mozzarella. I just use just a little, and it melts pretty well, though it's not stretchy like Daiya. I keep it in the freezer, though, because I don't use it fast enough, and it gets moldy quickly. It's actually easier to shred frozen, anyway.

  18. I've made carrot vegan muffins once, and recently made vegan marshmallow cola mufins, so the sweet potato and carrot muffins are calling to me.

  19. Excuse for that I interfere ?To me this situation is familiar. I invite to discussion. Write here or in PM.


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