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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

5 Secrets to Perfect Pizza!

 I make "homemade" pizza a lot.  Like once a week for lunch, lately.  The only reason it's not 100% homemade is because a.) Trader Joe's makes freaking delicious herb dough for a little over a dollar and b.) It takes a while to make your own dough.  (but you totally could)

Here are my secret tips, to making the best pizza in your home kitchen.

Tip #1: Let the dough come to room temperature.  Just throw it on the counter for an hour or two before you think you will get hungry.  This makes it much easier to work with!  You can also flatten it out with a couple tablespoons of flour or cornmeal before baking.

Tip #2: Get a pizza stone.  Preheat it in your oven to 450* without anything on it.  This is going to get a bit dangerous, but is totally worth it!

Assemble your ingredients.  You're going to need them soon.  I prefer using tomato paste (canned or homemade), whatever toppings, and then I just use 4 string cheeses as mozzerella.  Way easier for portion control and possibly cheaper too.

Spread out your dough so that it is ready!

Tip #3: When your oven is ready, it's time to work.  Carefully slide out your tray with the pizza stone on it.  (I probably don't need to say this.. but use potholders!)  Then slide out the stone a bit too.  Lay out the dough onto the hot stone, careful to not burn yourself.

Tip #4: Use a rubber spatula to apply your sauce!  This makes the process quicker and the sauce go on more evenly.

 Then do the rest of the toppings, and bake for 12-14 minutes.  Carefully slide the stone back onto the rack, then get that back into the oven with your eyebrows intact.

Tip #5: Check it about two minutes before it's supposed to be done, and switch on the broiler.  Then, you will have super browned cheese without overbaking the crust!

Now go enjoy your super-pro pizza!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Pumpkin Coffee Cake

It seems like Fall is the time when pumpkin-spiced anything sends people running.  I am more than happy to add to this trend!!  (and, this is both low-fat AND vegan?  How could you say no?)

Vegan Pumpkin Coffee Cake

(adapted from Vegan Brunch by Isa Chandra Moskowitz)

For the cake:
3/4 soy milk (I used TJ's Coconut)
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1/3 c. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1/3 c. canned pumpkin (about 3 oz.)
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

For the topping:

1/2 c. flour
2 Tbsp. oatmeal
1/3 .c brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
2-3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 c. salted green pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

First, mix together the pumpkin, brown sugar, oil, and spices.  In a separate measuring cup, mix together the soy milk and vinegar- let it sit for 5-10 minutes, so it will thicken.  Preheat your oven to 375*, and grease an 8x8 square pan.

Add the vanilla, baking powder, salt, and flour.  Mix, and then add in the soy milk and mix some more.  Pour into your greased pan.

 Then mix up your topping.  This part can get a little tricky because the amount of oil changes.  I stir together the flour and sugar first, then add in the spices and oats.  Last, add in the oil, one tablespoon at a time, and stir with a fork or your fingers.  You want it to be crumbly, but not too wet.  (This time I accidentally added too much, so I had to throw in a couple more tablespoons of flour to even it out.)  After it looks like crumbs, sprinkle it over your cake batter in the pan.

Then sprinkle your pumpkin seeds around.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, checking for brownness and to see if the middle is done.

Cut into pieces and enjoy!!