June 20, 2013 By This Vegan Girl
Tonight, I was entertaining some new guests. I am in the process of switching gears from a 1st grade teacher to a 3rd grade teacher. *gasp from an entire audience* …it’s almost that dramatic. You non-educators out there may be thinking, “… uh, so?” It doesn’t sound like a big change, but trust me, it’s a big deal for us teachers.
So, in order for my new 3rd grade team to plan a bit and bond, we decided to meet up a few times this summer. I offered to host our first get-together.
My night of entertaining was a bit of a challenge: All of my guests are non-vegan and I don’t know them well-enough to know their likes and dislikes. After some thought, I decided to go with something that everyone on planet Earth loves: pizza. Pizza is like, well, you know; when it’s bad, it’s still good. (Trying to keep this blog somewhat clean. Ugh, it’s not easy.)
Anyway, we had a great time. The pizza takes less than an hour from start to finish, and it’s delicious! Plus, people will be curious about the vegan ricotta cheese, and you know it’s fun to talk vegan to people. 😉
Giant Easy Ricotta Pizza
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
- 2 dough balls (from your local bakery)
- 1 jar of Classico bruschetta
- 1 ball of ricotta cheese (see recipe for Homemade Ricotta Cheese)
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 1 or 2 handfuls of spinach
- 1-2 cloves of garlic
- 1/3 cup of green onions
- salt and pepper to taste
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 400° F. Start working with your dough.You’ll get the best results from your dough if you let it defrost in the fridge for a day, but honestly, I was in a time crunch and started rolling it out within the hour I bought it, and it was just fine. I bought my dough balls from Publix.
Step 2: Begin by kneading the dough to flatten it out, followed by alternating between rolling out the dough with a rolling pin and stretching it out with your hands. I like to place the dough on top of my fists and stretch it out that way, rotating the dough in a circle.
Place the dough on a greased pizza pan or tray. Spread it out on your pan to desired shape and crust formation.
Step 3: Open your jar of bruschetta and spread it around your dough with the back of a spoon.
Step 4: Begin to wilt the spinach by heating up a skillet with olive oil to medium heat. Throw the spinach and garlic on the skillet and let it heat up between 1-2 minutes.
Step 5: Add spinach, ricotta, salt, and pepper to your pizza. To give my crust a crunchy outside and a fluffy inside, I spray/rub the crust with olive oil and sprinkle garlic salt on top of it… mmmmm.
Step 6: Put it in the oven and whatta ya got?
Twenty minutes (or so) later, you have delicious, easy ricotta pizza! Garnish with green onions.
Now you’ve got a vegan pizza that all mouths can enjoy.
June 15, 2013 By This Vegan Girl
As a vegan in the kitchen, my mentality is that if there’s something awesome to eat, there’s a way to veganize it.
I was watching Extra Virgin on the Cooking Channel the other day, and on it, they made homemade ricotta cheese. I was fascinated by the little amount of ingredients required, the chemistry of the ingredients, and how simple it was to execute.
Now, I’ve seen those posts on Pinterest on making vegan cheeses, and some of them are lengthy, failure-laden processes. I once tried to make cashew cream cheese that ended up a goopy mess instead of a spreadable, edible delight. (I’ll get it down eventually.) Until then, let me assure you that this ricotta cheese is almost dummy-proof.
Oh, and by the way, you’re about to find out that Little Miss Muffet was a sick freak for indulging in curds and whey at the same time, especially when it comes to this recipe.
Anyway, here’s my vegan adaptation of Extra Virgin‘s ricotta cheese!
Homemade Ricotta Cheese
Prep Time: 5-10 minutes
Cook Time: 5-10 minutes
Yield: about 1 cup
4 cups of soy milk with a 4.5 grams of fat (sadly, almond, coconut, and hemp milk do not work)
3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
Step 1: Place a pot on the stove and place the ingredients in. You want your mixture to reach a temperature of 175° F. If you have a gauge to help you monitor this, GREAT! If you don’t (like me), turn the burner temperature on medium high and wait for the mixture to bubble and steam.
At this time, you’ll see the curd start to separate itself from the whey. The curd is your future cheese! Resist the urge to stir it up, as this might make your cheese stiff.
Once it reaches 175° F (or bubbling/steaming status), let it sit for 5 minutes.
Step 2: While your curds are… curdling… prepare your cheese cloth by placing 2-3 layers over a colander. After your curds have sat for 5 minutes, transfer the pot over to your cheese cloth. Carefully spoon out the curds and place them on top of your cheese cloth.
Step 3: Once you have gathered all of your curds, wrap your curds into a ball, tie it with a rubber band (or butcher’s twine if you’re really fancy), and tie it above your kitchen sink to let it strain for 5 minutes.
Step 4: Once your cheese ball as hung for 5 minutes (take your minds out of the gutter, people), untie the cheese cloth from around the sink head, place the ball in a bowl, and open it up your present to reveal a ball of ricotta cheese!
Cool, huh? I had some fresh oregano on-hand, so I chopped it up finely and mixed that in my ricotta for some added flavor. It opens up a world of possibilities for your cheese and your intended flavor, but you may also leave it as is.
You may refrigerate your cheese for up to 5 days.
I have used this recipe as a staple in my Easy Ricotta Pizza, where you DON’T have to settle for vegetables on dough anymore!