Politics and Pizza

My mind was in 100 different places last week.

*disclaimer: I wrote this on November 7th, but then my life got busy and I’m just editing it now… oh to work 50+ hours a week, am I right? Still, my overwhelming sense of joy is still present, so all is relevant.

We won! Obama won! Four more years! HIP HIP. I can’t even begin to explain how fast my heart was racing as those silly political pundits paced around their 42 screens (were the sound effects and “ballot cams” really necessary CNN?) for HOURS going back and forth with who would take what state.

When Obama claimed Ohio, I went to bed. He had this in the bag. My vagina (and its right to choose) could breathe a sigh of relief.

To top all of that off, my wonderful home state of Washington approved Referendum 74! Marriage equality! EVEN BIGGER HIP HIP! Oh, and we legalized marijuana.

Um, Washington, way to kick ass.

I mean, I live in the red state of Texas now. On election night almost every part of my being wanted to be home, celebrating with all those crazy kids who partied like there was no tomorrow. Instead, I drank beer and learned how to shoot a bow and arrow.

When in Texas, right?

I got teary eyed over Obama’s acceptance speech, spent an hour or two looking at all the pictures of people celebrating nationwide as we realized we get to see the country continue to move towards social equality. I may have also spent time looking at this.

Funny shit.

Thank heavens for this election. And  to sweeten the deal, I got to spend my post-election joy in sunny, 70 degree weather, celebrating with my like-minded co-workers, while I thought, wrote and brainstormed on all things local, sustainable food.

I wanted a recipe that celebrated that victorious feeling, a dish I imagine would high-five the rest of the country in our win. As a vegan, my victory-lap dish is successfully made pizza. When you remove cheese from a pizza, you have to rely heavily on the rest of the ingredients. I deem my invention a success, and therefore label it worthy  as a representation of four more years with Obama.

In my opinion, a vegan pizza isn’t anything unless it’s exploding with flavor. You want a pizza that has you coming back for another slice. And another. And just one more for good measure.

This pizza does that. At least for me and the boy. We ate some, and then had a little bit more and whoops, there goes most of the pizza.

Who cares, it’s a celebration!

Roasted Garlic, Tomato and Kale (Vegan) Pizza with the Easiest Pizza Dough Ever 

*oof… that’s a recipe title for ya. My bad.

For the crust:

  • 1 packet yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2.5 cups flour
  • 1 tsp honey (if you don’t eat honey, you can use agave)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • cornmeal

For the sauce:

  • 1 can of stewed tomatoes
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4-5 basil leaves, chopped
  • Red pepper flakes, to taste

For the pizza:

  • 1 head of garlic
  • One bunch of kale
  • 2 Roma tomatoes
  • Black (or kalamata olives)
  • Nutritional yeast

First you gotta roast the garlic and tomatoes. This will take a while, but the beauty of it is you can start this first, and then go about your business as your kitchen fills with a smell that’s nothing short of heavenly.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

To roast your tomatoes, cut them into desired thickness, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and place on a baking sheet.

To roast the garlic, chop off the top of the head of garlic. Drizzle olive oil on top and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap in foil and set on the same baking sheet at the tomatoes. Place all this goodness in the oven and bake for about 40 minutes. Check the tomatoes occasionally, flipping about 25 minutes in.

While that’s cooking, start the crust. In a large bowl combine the yeast and warm water and stir until the yeast dissolves. Add the flour, salt, honey and olive oil. Stir to combine. Let dough rest. The dough only needs to rise for 10 minutes, but I let mine rise a bit longer as I got everything else ready, do whatever floats your boat.

While it’s resting, you can start your sauce. This pizza sauce is up for interpretation. I took what I had in my fridge and in the garden (have I mentioned how much I LOVE that basil grows well in Texas? It’s a thing of beauty.) I had left over stewed tomatoes from a recipe, and I just went to town. I mashed the tomatoes as they warmed up, and then threw all the rest of the ingredients in there. The sauce turned out great, full of flavor, and I highly recommend being somewhat heavy-handed with the red pepper flakes. If you’re doing vegan pizza, you want a flavor punch in the mouth.  Let the sauce simmer while the dough is rising and the garlic/tomatoes are roasting.

The last thing you’ll want to do is get the kale ready. With the greens, I washed, de-stemmed and tossed them with oil, salt, pepper and some more red chili flakes (perhaps I like the spice…) I just quickly sautéed them on the stove, and set them aside while everything else finished baking/rising/etc.

I suppose there are a lot of different components to this meal, but if you time it out correctly, it’s super easy.

After you let the dough rise, sprinkle a baking sheet with cornmeal and press the dough into it to a desired thickness. Then spread on the sauce, pop out the roasted garlic (you can just remove the skin and squeeze out the cloves) and scatter those around. I then loaded on the kale, and topped it off with the tomatoes and olives.

Bake the pizza at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes. Once the crust is golden, remove and let cool. We sprinkled nutritional yeast over top, because a) it’s delicious and b) I will eat that with everything.

Delicious vegan pizza. Yes please.

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Shame on you North Carolina…

           I don’t have much to say today. I could talk about being in the kitchen, the potluck I went to where I met a lovely fellow vegan, or the fact that I went on the first hike of the season. (all delightful things, of course)
None of that sounds too appealing as the world turns upside down in North Carolina, and decisions are made based on judgement and hate.
So my musings on food and exercise are trivial when a basic human right to choose who to love and marry is denied to people across North Carolina. How this is even an issue blows my mind. Why, when and how does it matter who someone chooses to spend their life with? How is it that those who base their opinions on marriage equality from the bible are okay with picking and choosing which parts of scripture to adhere to and which ones to blatantly ignore?
It makes my blood boil. I consider myself a rational, grounded human being. But you bring up marriage equality and my cheeks get red, my hands start shaking and I just want to scream at the top of my lungs, “LET THE PEOPLE LOVE!”
Thank goodness that my state (GO WASHINGTON) just signed a marriage equality bill– I have never been so proud to claim myself as a Washingtonian—I was hoping the same would happen nationwide.
Big ol’ sigh.
I was about to lose all hope when I opened up the Huffington Post to the headline, “Obama Backs Gay Marriage”.
Even if this is a hot button issue that causes him to get ousted by Mitt Romney (because our country is full of hateful, hateful people– this is where I get red in the face), I have never been so proud. Finally, he stops toeing the line and claims, yeah… I do support equality.

“I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married,” he said.

It’s about damn time.