In this week's plant based cooking challenge week 10 we had six choices as usual for ingredients. The sweet side and the savory. I tend to lean toward savory most of the time because I don't have much of a sweet tooth most of the time.
When I saw olives and onions I immediately when to the middle east. I remembered a Lebanese take out place years ago where there were the usual shawarmas, falafels and they had pizzas and flatbreads that were different from the usual ones.
Today I made a pizza in a pan on top of the stove. My oven has a broken bottom element so I used the broiler just at the end. It worked fine. No need for a pizza oven.
The base sauce was an olive paste.
1 can or jar of kalamata olives pitted
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup walnuts
Juice of a lemon or more
4 cloves garlic
olive oil (enough to turn the blender and make a paste)
These olives were salty so there was no need for added salt.
You could use any nuts or tahini or any nut butter. I had these things in the cupboard so I used them. It would be a fine paste if it were nut free as well.
I like lemon juice in this but if you are not a fan you can just use water or more oil to grind into a paste.
Add to a blender or food processor and make a smooth paste. I ground up the nuts first into a powder so there wouldn't be any crunchy lumps.
I added some Lebanese seasoning mix called zaatar which can be purchased already mixed but it's easy to make if you can get the ingredients. A friend of mine went to Lebanon and brought a jar back for me. I didn't hear of it before but I really loved it. Then I figured out that I could just make it myself instead of waiting for another souvenir from Lebanon.
There are different variations of this but this is the basic mix with added cumin. There are also different ratios to this but I did what I like and added the amounts that I wanted of each item.
2 tablespoons oregano
2 tablespoons thyme
2 tablespoons marjoram
1/4 cup sumac
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
pinch of cumin powder
pinch of coriander powder
Most recipes call for less sumac and seeds but that is what I love the most so I just add more to suit my taste.
Another topping was tofu which I ground up to simulate feta cheese by simply marinating in lemon juice, garlic powder, salt and nutritional yeast. Let it sit for the time it takes to make the dough.
The toppings for the pizza were all cooked separately since I would not be baking the pizza.
The final ingredient was caramelized onions which were done with oil in a pan and deglazed with a splash of balsamic vinegar.
For the dough, I wanted it kept as soft as possible so I started with 1 and a half cup of warm water, 1 and 1/4 teaspoon yeast, 1 teaspoon sugar and let it sit in a warm spot to bubble. I just put a pan of hot water in the oven and keep it in there.
After it bubbled I added flour not measuring but just enough so I could form a dough that I could work with. I oiled it and put it in my makeshift oven proofer to rise.
I used all purpose flour for the dough but when I needed flour to roll it out on the board, I didn't have any more so I used whole wheat.
On medium high heat I added the pizza which made two pan sized ones. I left it for a few minutes or so then flipped it back and forth covering each time in between.
At the end I uncovered it and flipped it until it was obviously cooked inside.
I suppose flatbreads are made this way, rotis, naan and such but this really had a pizza quality which I was surprised about.
It was then time to top it starting with the olive paste, the onion, the tofu which was cooked in a pan first, then some extra zaatar mix on top.
Because my top element on the oven works, I finished it off under a high heat for a few minutes to get an extra toasted top. This is not important if you don't have an oven. Everything is precooked first anyway.
To feel less guilty for eating pizza, I accompanied with salad. The only problem is that after two pieces of pizza and salad I couldn't eat anymore. The real problem was that there was no pizza left over when I wanted a late night snack. Marc ate it all!
Wishing you all peace and thank you for stopping by.