Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Plant-Powered Polenta Pizza-Forks over Knives Cookbook

Heirloom Tomato Sauce:
1 pound heirloom tomatoes
sea salt
6-8 garlic cloves
Fresh herbs, such as basil, chives, oregano and sage
 * Instead of using fresh tomatoes, I used a 15 ounce can of diced tomatoes, drained.  I mixed it with salt, minced garlic and just a sprinkle of all the above mentioned herbs.  This easy step omitted step number 1, below.*

Poltenta Crust:
4 C water or unsalted vegetable broth
1 tsp sea salt
2 C organic polenta or cornmeal
*Instead of making the polenta, I bought a pre-packaged version.  This saved me from step 2, and 4, below*

Herbed Cashew "Cheese", optional
1 C organic cashews
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 tsp Himalayan sea salt
1 tsp fresh basil or your favorite seasonal herb
1/4 C spring water
*I placed the cashews in a bowl, covered with water, and let them soak for a few hours.  This makes them easier to chop.*

Toppings of choice, such as finely sliced red onions, zucchini rounds, sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced Chinese eggplant, or fresh baby artichokes, fresh basil.

The toppings I used were, chopped green onions, sliced black olives, black beans, and fresh pineapple.

1. For the tomato sauce: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  quarter the heirloom tomatoes and place faceup on a roasting pan.  Sprinkle with sea salt.  Add the whole cloves of garlic and roast for 30 minutes or until lightly caramelized.  Scrape the roasted tomatoes and garlic into a bowl and pulse with an immersion blender or mash with a fork.  Chop some of your favorite seasonal fresh herbs and stir in.

2. For the crust: Bring the water and sea salt to a boil in a 10-or 12-inch pot or saut√© pan. Whisk in the polenta slowly until all is incorporated.  Stir for about 1 minute, then turn the heat to low, cover the pot, and leave it for 40 minutes.  Turn off the heat and allow to sit for another 10 minutes.

3.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

4.  Carefully turn the pot upside down, dropping the polenta onto a cutting board.  Slice the polenta n half, parallel to the cutting board, into two round pizza crusts.  Place the crusts onto a cookie sheet and bake for about 30 minutes, or until crispy around the edges.

5.  For the cashew "cheese":  Put all the "cheese" ingredients into a food processor and puree, adding water slowly, until they reach a thick, cream-cheese-like consistency.  (You want to be able to form little "cheese balls", so be careful not to add too much water.)  Adjust seasonings to taste.  (I enjoy a clove or two of garlic and sometimes more lemon juice, depending how juicy the lemon is.)

6.  Assemble the pizza: Spread the tomato sauce over the polenta crust, then use a teaspoon to form little balls of the cashew "cheese" and arrange them on top.  *I just spread this on the top instead of forming balls.
*  Add toppings of choice.

Bake the pizza for 10 minutes just to heat the toppings.  Garnish with whole fresh basil leaves and serve.

By using the canned tomatoes and the pre-packaged polenta, this saved me a lot of time and was very easy to make.  You can always use pre-made pizza crust or English muffins as your crust.  For non-vegan pizzas, add reduced fat cheese, ham, turkey sausage, etc. 

I served these little pizzas with corn on the cob, green beans, and baked veggies.     

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