Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Vegan Cauliflower Crust Pizza

It's summer. You can try to deny it, but when the sweat pours from your scalp and into your defiant eyes, you have to give up, give in and accept the fact that it is summer.

It feels like being at the focal point of a magnifying glass, being in Salem, India. The newspaper says so too.
"40 C heat bakes Salem!" ->
The people of Salem read it and feel vindicated. Yes, yes, we are being baked. My dogs and I nod along as we lie spread-eagled on the floor of my room. Then, inevitably, I unglue myself from the floor and switch on the air-conditioning, pushing aside the voice that worries about 'the role of the individual in energy conservation'. It sounds like the title of a middle school essay. But if my conscience was a book, this would be in the index. Thankfully, consciences can be conveniently ignored. And pizzas can be made.

I joined the bandwagon. I made the much celebrated 'cauliflower crust pizza'. It's vegan too! This totally balances the aircon usage. Doesn't it? It does. Anyway, this does not taste like a normal pizza for sure. The crust isn't chewy, its mealy. There's no cheese involved. However, it is delicious. The garlic powder in the crust and the herby flavors of the amazing sauce make it lip-smacking in it's own right.

A word to the wise- Make the pizza sauce, garlic powder, almond meal and any other ingredients you wish to make yourself a day or two ahead of time, leaving only the cauliflower crust to the final day.

Pizza Sauce:

2 onions, chopped
6 tomatoes, peeled, seeded, chopped
1 small carrot, chopped
6 mint leaves
5 basil leaves
1 bay leaf
6 garlic cloves
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried parsley
2 tbsp olive oil

Throw everything into the pan together, cover and cook till it all softens. Cool, grind to a paste, place back in the pan and cook till reduced.

Pizza Base:

2 small cauliflowers
2 tbsp flax seed powder  stirred in 3 tbsp hot water left for 5 mins
4 tbsp ground almond meal
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp chilli flakes

Remove the florets, wash, drain and place them in a blender in batches. Put the pulp in a frying pan and spread it around for a few minutes. Place the pulp in a cloth and squeeze it multiple times until it's as dry as you can make it (The liquid retained along with chopped stalks make for a good soup)

Place the pulp in a bowl, add all the other ingredients and mix it all together.

Place on a baking sheet and flatten it into a 1/4 inch disc. Bake at 200 C for 30 minutes. Some of the recipes call for flipping it and baking it a while longer, but my crust was brown on both sides. I always use both the upper and lower coils of the oven.

Assemble pizza with sauce and toppings and bake for 5 to 8 mins at 200 C, upper coil only.

Home-made garlic powder and almond meal...

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