Friday, July 14, 2006

Things That Make You Go... Mmmm!

Time for a review post - and this one's for a vegan pizza crust!

You see, I have made pizza crusts in the past. Pre-kids. Now, with testing recipes, trying to get this new book together, as well as meals/snacks for the kids, cleanup after meals, playtime, laundry (oh the laundry), errands, yadda yadda yadda.

You get the picture. I love to cook and bake, but I am not interested in making pizza crusts from scratch at this stage in my life. I'll take a pass on that, thank you.

Well, Rustic Crust to the rescue! They have a line of ready-made pizza crusts, and some of them are vegan.

For this pizza pictured, I used the Tuscan Six Grain Crust, which although it uses white flour (and I prefer whole-wheat), it does include rye, barley, oats, flax, and millet. Rustic Crust does have a whole-wheat crust, called "Ultimate Whole-Grain", which I'd really love to try.

My pizza here was topped with a small amount of organic pasta sauce, a scant sprinkling of fresh rosemary, fresh sliced tomatoes, kalamata olives, very thinly sliced onions, and then topped off with fresh black pepper, and a new smoky avocado sauce (for the book), and a chiffonade (fancy talk for rolling the leaves and then slicing in thin strips) of fresh basil. The avocado sauce was wonderful, and I added some before and after baking to test. I liked the warmth of the sauce baked with the other ingredients, but the sauce really tasted d-lish both ways!

I used my pizza stone to bake the pizza, and the crust turned out very crispy on the bottom and still tender inside. The crust wasn't too thick, which I personally like, and it was pretty big too, which allowed me to sufficiently fill the belly of one pizza-lovin' husband (and kidlets too)!

I also used a crust to make breadsticks to pair with soup one evening, and our older daughter kept saying "mom, these are deeeelicious, you should put these in your recipe book"! Cute, but wish she had shown the same enthusiasm for the vegetable-chocked soup she was eating (um, not eating) that night!

Prepared vegan pizza crusts are hard to come by, especially ones without hydrogenated oils or a ton of preservatives - as they say on their packaging, their crusts "are made with a short list of ingredients that are as easy to pronounce as they are to prepare"! Yes! No more chemicals in our foods, thank you very much!

If you want to take a break from making pizza crusts from scratch, give these crusts a try. Oh, but one note - they are only available in the U.S. (currently)... and if any of you try that Ultimate Whole-Grain crust, please let me know what you think!


Isil S. said...

I just showed your blog to Soner and now I have to fill the belly of my husband ;)
We're back at home, your books arrived via mail order and they are resting on our table in our living room. We enjoyed going through the pages. I will post about them later this weekend.

krispycheks said...

Wow, that looks great. My husband will appreciate the avocado sauce.

I usually make dough or pick up some premade dough from Trader Joe's or New Seasons if I'm low on time, but those look great. I'll have to check them out.

I also use a pizza stone for baking pizzas and other baked goods. I never could understand what the fuss was about until I got one. The thought of baking pizza in a pan again makes me want to gag. Yuck.

EatPeacePlease said...

Mmm to that! The avocado sauce sounds awesome! Again, I really can't wait for this new book.

aimee said...

I've tried the whole-grain as well as the tuscan and they are both fabulous! I usually make my own crust, but these are my choice when time is short!

Laura Faye said...

Hi, I just thought I'd share this easy homemade recipe for times when you don't have a crust on-hand, but want something quick to make:

Melissa West said...

Hi Dreena

I make pizza crust from scratch all the time... in my bread maker! LOL! It is super easy, you just throw in all the ingredients, press one button and voila - 2 hours later you have fresh pizza dough. I think the bread maker is worth the price for the ability to bake pizza dough. I make a multigrain pizza dough with 1 cup white bread machine flour, 2 cups 7 grain bread flour, 1 1/4 cup spelt flour. It is a great mix, especially with the nuttiness of the spelt flour... which you know, I love

We love pizza, and fresh dough makes all the difference!

Carrie™ said...

I saw your pizza picture and I was so blown away by the yum factor, I licked my screen. That didn't taste so good.
Rustic pizza crust? I clicked the link and couldn't find any stores in Canada, then I read the bottom of your post. Damn! I'd love to get one NOW, but with it being summer and tourist time, line-ups at the border are insane. We'll be gearing up for a state-side visit in September and I'll have to look for these then. I'm adding them to my list.

Anonymous said...

I used to buy pizza dough at Trader Joes and my hubby and I made pizza at least 1 night per week. Without a Trader Joes nearby me now, I haven't really made much pizza. I tried making my own dough but it was too much work and didn't even turn out that great. Hubby commented that all of the ingredients can easily be tossed with pasta so why bother with the pizza dough. I kind of had to agree. Although if he did all the cooking we'd only be eating pb&j's or cold cereal for the ease and simplicity and lack of dirty dishes. Thank goodness I cook!

P.S. You're welcome about the basil. Hope you find some luck with it.

Anonymous said...

I just tried this pizza crust for the first time recently and was as pleasantly surprised as you were. Actually my whole family liked it. I haven't had pizza in so long because I haven't been able to find a good crust. I really hope that my Whole Foods starts carrying the ultimate whole grain style, because I too would love to try it. Your pizza looks delicious and I'm sure the avo. sauce was heavenly!

Dreena said...

Isil, that's like grocery shopping on an empty stomach... be sure to show him food pics AFTER he's eaten! :) Too much pressure!! Hey, I hope you're feeling better these days that you are able to cook - the nausea is quite consuming, I know. Yaayy, you got the books - I'm excited to hear what recipes you like... thanks for picking them up - um, well, having them delivered! :)

Krispycheks, I hear SO much about Trader Joe's - no fair, such goodies there! The pizza stone really does make a difference to crisp up the crusts. I've heard about baking cookies and such on it, but I can't bring myself to do so - I'm in disbelief that they won't come out tasting like burned on bits of onion and sauce!

Les, you'd probably love the avocado sauce, and it can be use on sandwiches, wraps, etc - doesn't have to be baked at all!

Aimee, thanks for letting us know about the whole-grain crust. I really wish we could get these crusts (and so many other products) in Canada. sigh.

Laura, I'll check out that link - thanks!

Dragonslayer, that crust sound really good - thanks for sharing the info. I don't have a breadmaker - mostly because I refused to buy one... see, I'm in the kitchen so much already, that I figured if I started making my own breads too, I'd never leave!! Sometimes I'd like to, but I know if I started, there'd be no going back to buying breads, doughs, etc elsewhere!!

What, Carrie, you don't like dust? (hmmm, surely it's not just my monitor that needs a cleaning) Carrie, I know, it sucks that we don't have all the products that are in the US. I spoke to a someone at our health food store here a couple of weeks ago and he said that Fantastic Foods have pulled out of Canada AND Muir Glen are doing the same because of the expense of bilingual labelling. I love the fire roasted tomatoes by Muir Glen, and I had JUST found a FanFoods mix that I liked - for 'nature burgers'. Man, what a drag! Time for us to take another trip south too.

Vivacious, we'd be eating sandwiches too, though my hubby's are little more refined than pb&j you see... it's grilled cheese! oooh, and also home fries - he's good at that. Oh, and waffles (froaen kind), and toast, and pasta. Hmmm, bit of a carb theme going on here! Your man's right, though, all the topping CAN go into pasta. But, a slice of pizza is so much fun - and different than pasta, oh and no pot and sticky colander to wash out either!! Pizza stones are just a wipe clean - hurrah!

Hi Teresa, oh, it's great to hear some others loved these crusts too! I really want to try the whole-grain one, I think we'd love it... I searched and searched for pizza crusts locally, but they all had junk ingredients in them, or dairy (um, okay, well that IS junk in my book)! These are a treat - esp for you US folks!

vegancore said...

I love these crusts! I've had the 6-Grain and the Sourdough, and I have to say the Sourdough is my favorite. They're the perfet balance of crispy and chewy. Yum.

Anderson, Cherie said...

Wow, I'm glad you found a natural pizza crust and it was good. Hard to come by....

Anonymous said...

Like Dragonslayer I make pizza dough in my bread maker - and my machine only takes 90 minutes for dough! We usually have pizza once a week around here. I don't think I could live without a bread machine now!


Carrie™ said...

WHAT?? I can't live without Muir Glen Fire Roasted Tomatoes. Surely, I will DIE! Hell, everyone knows food labels in both languages anyway, so we'll all figure it out right? Q'est ce que c'est? It's stupid, that's what! All they do is put stickers on the labels. How costly can that be. I'm paying $3.59 for a can of tomatoes. That must cover it, surely.
Thanks for the warning. I'm going to stock up while I can. I'll be like Elaine and the sponges only it will be Carrie and the fire roasted tomatoes.

karen said...

I love this brand! I use the sourdough one and I bake it on my pizza stone too! The flavor is great and it makes a fantastic crust. I love the stone and use it to make french fries (sweet potato ones come out crisp on it)

KleoPatra said...

Thanks for the head's up on the pizza crust, Dreena! I also am not a fan of making my own crust. (But i'm just lazy.) The pizza pictured made me want some! I love pizza...

Melissa West said...

By the way, Congrats on being part of the top 5 Dreena!

Melissa West said...

Oh, and.. I think you should really get a bread maker... making your own bread in a bread maker is super easy. You just drop all the ingredients in and press go.

While we're on it... I also think you should get a BBQ! LOL! That way we will get some grilling recipes for the summer months! LOL!

Vicki said...

you're the only person i know who could wear out a 3 year old oven ~ veggie hero! YES, & that is such an adorable photo of you.
hassel-free pizza crust looks delicious ~ i need to get my store to carry that product, thanks for the tip. & i can't wait to try the smoky avocado sauce mmmmm.

Dreena said...

Vegancore, I thought they were just right for being crispy/chewy too - *must* have some crispiness in the crust!!

Cherie, so true - esp here!

Lori, stop! You're going to have me out looking at bread machines!! :)

hahaha, Carrie, that's the best analogy! I agree, they are mucho pricey, and it really irks me that we lose out on fabulous products because of their reluctance to label. I too will be stocking up!

oooh, Karen, I've never thought of using my stone to do sweet pot fries, but that's brilliant because they can be soft otherwise... thanks for that one!

Thanks Dragonslayer... now stop encouraging me to shop - um, no, I mean, keep singing the virtues of new appliances that I *really* must have - ha! Actually, hubby and I were talking this weekend about how we really should have a bbq, so maybe soon - yay!

Vicki, isn't that ridiculous - 3 years??!! I can't believe my food processor has stuck with me so long - at least 12 years I've had that and I use it several times a week. Sounds like you've had a lovely getaway.... can't wait to read more about it when you're back to blogging!!

tara said...

LOL. I had not checked your blog in a few days, but my hubby and I discovered these crusts last week at Georgetown Market, and just ate up a pizza made with the one you picture. Good stuff, but I want to try my hand at homemade. ;)

Anonymous said...

We also like the ultimate whole grain crust and have driven miles to buy them! I stocked up because they have a long shelf life. We have tried the TJ's and have made our own but my young daughter really like the whole grain. (We use a pizza stone also)