Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Very Important Date

New York is Wonderland and Brooklyn is the Mad Hatter's Tea Party; a little off kilter, quirky and fun! I recently went to Brooklyn to visit my wonderful friend Kim, who you may remember from her July visit to Seattle and the Bazooka BBQ! Instead of focusing on going out to bars and restaurants, we decided to throw caution to the wind and spend our days catching up and meandering, and our evenings drinking wine and cooking. It truly was one of the best vacations I have ever taken.

Yes, it looks like EOOD 
Kimberly and I kicked off my visit with much-needed conversation and wine, but the following night we decided to scope out the local Park Slope Co-Op and get supplies for the upcoming weekend.

On the menu:

1. One of the best soup/stews known to man: Spicy Peanut & Eggplant Soup from the Veganomicon.
2. Homemade pizza
3. Wine

There are few things more relaxing to me than cooking a hearty, comfort-food, drinking a glass of wine and catching up with one of my best friends. My second night in Brooklyn was just that!

Kim and I decided to indulge in the Spicy Peanut & Eggplant Soup because it makes a ton and is amazing for breakfast the next day. This is a soup I turn to when I am craving a lot of food. It makes a good amount and one bowl is super filling. Although, truth be told, I always have like, 3 bowls. IT'S SO GOOD!

The recipe, not to beat a dead horse (because I NEVER WOULD), is in my all-time favorite cookbook The Veganomicon. I'm not sure if it's my favorite because it's the first vegan cookbook I ever received, or if it's because I have cooked my way through the majority of it and loved EVERYTHING, but either way - if you don't own it, you should. Or, if you know someone who doesn't own it, you should gift it to them.

So colorful, so flavorful and tastes delicious with a big slice of bread OR a glass of wine if you forgot to buy bread at the co-op.

In addition to cooking, I did a lot of wandering around Brooklyn. I could so easily live there and so seriously considered never leaving! I walked to the elementary school that Kim teaches at. The neighborhood was adorable and the trees were beautiful!

Kimberly's classroom was equally as beautiful, and Kim of course, is adorable!

We also took a suitcase full of clothes to Buffalo Exchange where Kim stood in line for 4 years and I found 10,000 things I wanted to buy.

And then it was time for a pizza party! Pizza is the best. It's fast and it's easy and feeds a lot of people. Kimberly invited people over and we got cracking on making 3 pizzas - BBQ Chicken, Taco Pizza and a Veggie Pizza.

We made out own dough, which is super simple and very worth doing. I made each crust separately because it made more sense to me than tripling the recipe. The following will yield one crust that will fit either a standard-sized cookie sheet/pizza stone or a 12 inch round pizza pan.


  • 1 package Active Dry Yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tbs Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Several tsp of any spice you'd like to add to your crusts. I used 2 tsp of Italian Seasoning for the veggie and BBQ pizza and 1 tsp of cumin and 1 tsp of chili powder as well as garlic and onion powder for the taco pizza crust.
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. In a medium bowl dissolve yeast and salt in the warm water. Let stand 5-10 minutes until it is creamy/foamy - roughly 10 minutes. 

Stir in flour, olive oil and salt plus any spices you want to add. You can add generously since the flavors will be distributed as the dough rises - feel free to add more than 1 tsp. 

Flour your hands and knead the dough either directly in the bowl or on lightly floured surface. Knead for 3-4 minutes until the dough is soft and smooth. Place the dough-round in a lightly oiled, clean boil. Turn once to coat all sides with oil, cover with a clean towel and let rise in a warm place. It should take about 20-30 minutes if you are using the Rapid Rise Active Dry Yeast, slightly longer if you are not. 

Lightly oil your pizza pan and sprinkle with cornmeal.

After the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Gently work your fingertips or knuckles around the outside edge of the dough to increase its size. Place it on the cookie sheet/pan/stone and work it toward the edges. It's okay if it doesn't go all the way to the edge! You don't want it to be too thin in the middle, so be careful how far you spread the dough. 

Next up: dress your pizza - sauce, toppings, Daiya, more toppings and TADA! Place your pizzas in the oven and bake for about 20-25 minutes and enjoy with an ice cold beer or soda - preferably in Brooklyn in the comfort of Kimberly's lovely home with her awesome cat, Jacob and her fabulous friends.

Ready for the oven!

Jake in the Box

The remainder of my visit was spent eating more, cooking more and heading into the city. It was peak fall foliage time for Central Park and wandering throughout was - dare I say - magical! Since returning to Seattle, I have spent my time figuring out when I can go back and also preparing for THE BEST HOLIDAY SEASON EVER! Stay tuned for more feasts and festivities!

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