Tag Archives: Pizza

Sagra – An Italian Dream come true for vegans and the gluten free in East Austin

Italian food seems to be universally loved. I did an informal poll in my office asking “do you like Italian food” and everyone said yes, and then looked at me with questioning eyes as if I was about to give them a piece of lasagna or something. Sorry y’all! Somehow getting vegan Italian food in Austin isn’t always that easy. If you go to a fancy place they often use eggs in the fresh pasta. Rarely do they have vegan specials or delicious vegan cheese. You’re lucky to get Daiya at a pizza place here. If you go to a shitty place – I’m looking at you Olive Garden- you can’t even order a salad. I guess it comes shipped in pre-made from god knows where.

There is one place, however, in Austin that does it right, not only does Sagra have a multiple course vegan menu but they also offer homemade cashew cheese and special meaty substitutes. When I went the other day I was also impressed that they were able to assure me, without asking, that the table bread was vegan and they could easily leave items on the side so my dining companions could have their precious cheese. And yes GFers, they can make any dish gluten free. We started with the polenta fries with fried brussels and chickpeas in a salsa roja. I was a bit worried with all the fried items that this dish would be a bit greasy or heavy but it wasn’t at all, the large portion was enormous for the three of us too. 

We also tried the Barbietolla which was roasted beets, fruit mostardo, truffle salt. This dish was very sweet but a really nice complement to the polenta dish and we all enjoyed it as well. 

My favorite dish of the night was undoubtedly my pizza. When I originally looked at the menu I thought I might try the Macaroni al Forno, (baked macaroni and cheese, cashew cheese, spinach, bread crumbs, truffle oil, spinach macaroni), but once I saw the pizza I knew I had to try it. 

If you know anything about me, you know that I love olives and Star Trek and the only thing that could have made this pizza better would have been if I was sharing it with Captain Picard. Or actually, if they hadn’t run out of cashew cheese. No matter! I didn’t miss the cheese in the least and they added pine nuts to compensate. The pizza is called the Maialina and comes with pesto sauce, walnuts, black olives. Interestingly, they chopped up the walnuts and olives together which gave the pizza a salty delicious meaty texture. From now on it’s going to be my go to home topping. I loved it! And the large was so big that I got to eat it for the next few days although obviously it was much better in the restaurant.

So Sagra is a big win for me, their cocktails were fantastic too and they have a nice happy hour special so when it cools down I think it might become my after work meet up spot. Let me know what you thought or think if you try it out! I’m curious about the rest of the menu.

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Grilled Vegan Pizza

Memorial Day starts the official summer season for me even though it has been unofficially summer since I saw my the first firefly on the same day as I got my first red tomato. Memorial Day makes it official because when I was growing up that was the weekend that the water park opened up and I loved the water park. Wait, I still love the water park I just never get to go here in Texas because it is an hour away. This summer it is going to happen! In my summer enthusiasm I decided to grill some pizzas. Unfortunately I ran headlong into the project without doing any research and though my pizzas were good, I have a lot to learn! I made the dough recipe from Vegan Lunch Box and maybe I overworked the dough because it came out really hard. I decided to make mini pizzas so that I could experiment with the technique. The first one I tried was peaches and olives with some sage and some chives on top.It was a great combination but I should have grilled the crust on both sides before putting on the toppings because the bottom got over-grilled (I think another word for that is burned).

The next one I grilled on both sides first before topping but I should have done it for a shorter time or maybe the grill was too hot because this one got a little crispy as well. Plus, tomatoes, basil, pine nuts, and mushrooms was a great combo but would have been so much better with a tofu riccota base.The last one was maybe the best (I liked the peach a lot, but it was burned). The grill wasn’t as hot when I put it on so it didn’t get as hard. The topping were Zucchini, Tomato, Olives, Mushrooms, and Garlic. So here is what I have learned, oil the crust and grill it on both sides before you put the toppings on. Have all the toppings ready to go before you start otherwise you can’t keep on eye on the grill, use lots of toppings in general, and most importantly; add lots of olives and everything will be yummy regardless of what happens.

Oh, and have beagles around to eat any excess crust.

Thanksgiving Leftovers: A slice of Thanksgiving

I don’t know if I made it very clear that I love Thanksgiving. Now that the big meal is over I keep having all these flashes of different things I could make with the core ingredients. As I side note, I think it is really weird that the internet at the papers are filled with “what to do with all this leftover turkey” I mean, how hard is it? It is roasted poultry, just cook anything? Since becoming vegan I realized that the turkey is not the flavor if Thanksgiving. The key, really, is the mix of gravy, potatoes and cranberries together that is so unique and representative of the meal. And stuffing. Oh I love stuffing. I love it and I am not afraid to admit it.

So I was thinking about eating the potatoes, roasted, for dinner (we had already had the leftover seitan for lunch) I wanted to slice them thin and utilize Brussels sprouts and then I starting thinking how nice it would be if they were roasted together on a pizza. When I thought of making a gravy as the base a lightbulb went off and I went to the kitchen to work on the pizza. First I used I made the dough using a standard recipe and adding chopped sage and rosemary into the crust. Next, I started to caramelize a sweet onion and sliced and prepared the rest of my toppings: potatoes, Brussels sprouts, pearl onions, garlic, pecans, and green beans. When the onion was finally done I added a dash of celery seeds and pinch of sage and then set it aside while I made a roux in the same pan with a little earth balance and flour. I added about a half a cup of stock, added the onions back in, and threw the whole mix in the food processor to blend it into a paste. I smoothed it out over the crust, topped it with the vegetables and put the whole shebang in the oven for about 20 minutes. When it came out, I topped it with dollops of leftover cranberry sauce and then enjoyed it to an extent that I can not convey to you. It was all the wonder of the Thanksgiving leftover sandwich but toasty, roasty, and better.

I was worried that the pizza was going to suffer from the absence of the stuffing element but I think the crust and the celery seeds in the gravy perfectly melded into the correct flavors and even a similar texture.

VeganMoFo- Mexican Pizza & Olive Chips

Last week I made an Italian Taco and it got me thinking about what other cultural mash-ups I could do. Although the Mexican Pizza is somewhat common most places just throw taco ingredients on a typical pizza crust. In Olympia Washington I used to love a place called El Sarape; they made the Mexican pizza the way I like it, with crispy tortillas instead of a pizza crust and lots of olives. Of course, it was covered in meat and cheese as well and now I live in Austin Texas, so I thought I could try my own version. I have had some Teese kickin’ around the back of the fridge for a while now along with some cheddar Follow Your Heart so I knew I could keep up the cheesy element and I also had some olives. Two cups of black beans in the freezer would make a great base re-fried and some salsa, which is just Spanish for sauce, right? It ended up being, by far, the best Mexican Pizza I have ever had. If it sounds appealing you should try it out, I think kids would love this recipe and it came together really quickly and was very filling for two people. You could bake the tortillas instead of frying them and not add the cheese and it it would be a fairly healthy meal as well. I didn’t measure anything out and the quantities will depend on how big your tortillas are so I will approximate.

Ingrediants:
2 Large Tortillas
2 Cups of Black Beans
1/2 Cup of Onions, chopped
2 cloves of Garlic, chopped
1/4 Cup of Mozzarella and/or Cheddar style vegan cheese
1 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Chili Powder
1/2 cup Vegetable Broth
1/3 cup Salsa
1/4 cup Olives

you can also add green onions, chives, mushrooms, spinach, corn, whatever you like

Saute a half a cup of chopped onions and a couple cloves of chopped garlic for 5 minutes

Add a teaspoon of cumin and a teaspoon of chili powder

Add black or pinto beans and saute another 5 minutes

Add about a half cup or so of vegetable broth and cook another minute

Mash the whole mixture with a potato masher and set burner to low

Meanwhile heat canola oil, one inch deep, in a pan that is the same size or a little bigger than your tortillas

Test to see if the oil is ready by dropping in a tiny bit of the tortilla. If it sizzles on contact you are ready to go.

Fry the tortillas on each side until golden, about two minutes and then set on paper towels to drain

Preheat the broiler

Spread three quarters of the bean mixture on the tortilla and top with the second tortilla and lightly press together

Mix the remaining beans with the salsa and top the tortilla

Cover with shredded teese or other vegan cheese, olives, and any other toppings

Place pizza under broiler until cheese is melted

Slice and enjoy!

I also discovered the greatest chips at the store. The brand is “Food Should Taste Good”. I saw that on the bag as I was marching through the aisle, it stopped me in my tracks. Food shouldtaste good I thought to myself and then laughed and saw that they were olive chips, had natural ingrediants and appeared vegan. They were terrific! Olive Chips Link