Every once in a while some well-intentioned friend or relative will ask me "hey, how's that cookbook coming along" and after thinking 'what cookbook?' and 'like I don't have enough to do' I remember that I've been neglecting my VGML blog.
So, I made some Sunday Night Pizza. I know I promised to disclose the secret to my gooey cheese sauce, but I got inspired by the Urban Vegan's use of the Tofu-Basil Ricotta recipe from the VwaV on her arugula pizza. So inspired, that I headed in that same direction for my own delicious pies.
Actually, there were two pizzas made. One recruited a combination of veggie sausage, leek, tofu ricotta, basil, toaster-bag-roasted red pepper, mushroom to make a big, tasty mess (see left).
The other pizza involved tomato, arugula, red pepper, garlic, green olive, tofu ricotta, and was only slightly less messy to eat.
This was one of my favourite Sunday night pizza sessions to date. Maybe because last night we were going for an over-the-top feast, so we cooked up a dozen faux-chicken drumsticks to go with the pizza. See the picture (right) for the drumsticks before they are soaked in marinade, basted, and baked.
The marinade is the key to their succulence. If you let them swim around in a simple warm marinade (whisk 1 tsp vegan "chicken" broth, 1 tsp light miso, 1 tsp dark soy sauce, 1 Tbsp dry sherry, and a few drops of hickory smoke flavour into 2C boiling water) for an hour or two, they can be basted and baked (30 minutes at 450F) to uncanny resemblance to the real thing.
I decided to spice up the usual recipe by adding a liberal sprinkling of Blair's Jersey Death Hot Sauce to the barbeque sauce I used to coat the wings. I swear I only added about 6 drops of the stuff to the jar, and I even added a couple spoonfulls of agave nectar and sweet ginger paste to balance it. But when I shook it up and tasted it, I found that the spice level had increased alarmingly.
It says right on the bottle "not to be used without dilution" - and I believe them!
(Which is not to say that I haven't tried putting a drop of the hot sauce directly on my tongue... My -faulty- rationale was: "okay, it's the hottest death sauce sold by this new mexico store that sells 300 kinds of hot sauce. I've never found my personal limit for hot sauces ... this seems like a perfect way to find that personal limit, right?")
While I don't feel like I've yet hit the peak of my spice tolerance (there was no loss of consciousness, or permanent nerve damage), the sauce earned my respect with its fierceness. And judging by its potency after dilution, this bottle should last me until I graduate.
On a Sweeter Note:
For a friend's party the other day I made pistachio-chocolate bark with a spicy kick that hits you about 5 seconds after you take a bite. I don't regret shelling out for a pricy bag of 'stachios, because I think I've found a new favourite chocolate. Sooo easy to make.
Pistachio-Chocolate Bark (with a bite)
2 cups belgian chocolate discs
1.5 cups raw, shelled pistachio nuts
1/2 tsp mexican chili powder
1 tsp peanut oil
1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper, divided
In a double-boiler over medium heat, slowly melt the chocolate, stirring ocasionally until completely melted. Be careful not to introduce any moisture to the bowl, or the chocolate will "seize" and become clumpy.
Meanwhile, toss the pistachios with the chili powder and oil, and 1/4 tsp of ground cayenne. Add the remaining 1/4 tsp cayenne to the melted chocolate, and stir well to combine.
When the chocolate has cooled slightly (2-3 minutes), gently fold in the pistachios and pour the mixture onto a sheet of parchment paper spread on a lightly-greased baking sheet. Cool in the fridge until completely hard, then break into 1" squares and enjoy.