Veganized: CPK Pear + Gorgonzola Pizza

Vegan Pear and Gorgonzola Pizza
Yields 2 servings (one large pizza or two personal pizzas)

**Disclaimer: I didn’t measure anything when I made this pizza.  The measurements provided below are approximations.

For the ‘gorgonzola’ cream:

3/4 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight
2 tbsp tahini
Juice of 1 lemon
Olive oil
Salt, to taste

In a food processor, combine cashews, tahini, and lemon juice. Slowly add olive oil while food processor is running, until mixture starts to become smooth. Continue processing until all chunks are gone, about 5 minutes. Add salt and run food processor for one more minute.

For the pomegranate vinaigrette:

1 tsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tbsp olive oil

In a small bowl, whisk mustard, pomegranate molasses, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Continue whisking while slowly adding olive oil.

For the pizza:

Prepared pizza dough, I made a half batch of this pizza dough recipe that yields a lot of extra dough to use later
1 pear, cored and thinly sliced
1 medium onion, cut into thin slices
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup raw hazelnuts, roughly chopped
salad greens of your choice (I used radicchio)
1 batch ‘gorgonzola’ cream
1 batch pomegranate vinaigrette

Remove pizza dough from fridge 30 minutes prior to baking.  Preheat oven to 400° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Heat olive oil and balsamic vinegar in a pan over medium-high heat.  Cook onions until they are caramelized.

Roll pizza dough to desired thickness on a floured work surface (I used a fist-sized ball of dough for each personal pizza).  Transfer dough to baking sheet.

Assemble pizza(s) by spreading gorgonzola cream over dough, layering pear slices, and sprinkling caramelized onions and chopped hazelnuts.  Bake until crust rises and is slightly crispy.

Toss greens in vinaigrette and place on pizza.



Grilled Avocado Sammy

This week has been insanely busy at work so I haven’t been spending much time in the kitchen.  Fortunately, I have a repertoire of quick and easy dishes that I can rely to keep my tummy happy when my brain is going crazy.  A grilled avocado sandwich is one of my go-to meals when I get home after a long day at work.  I often prepare this sammy caprese style with tomato and basil, but I didn’t have any tomatoes at home today.

Grilled Avocado Sammy:

2 slices sourdough bread
1/2 avocado, sliced
Earth Balance

Preheat skillet or panini press to medium-high heat

Spread Earth Balance on outside of each slice of bread

Spread avocado between slices of bread, sprinkle salt to taste

Grill until golden brown on each side

Restaurant Review: Walia Ethiopian Cuisine

Let me start by saying that Ethiopian food is the bomb dot com!  The dishes are loaded with bold spices and you eat with your hands, using tangy injera bread to scoop up your food. When I lived in the East Bay, I frequently BARTed to Oakland to stuff my face at Addis.  After moving down to San Jose, I discovered the culinary gem that is Walia Ethiopian Cuisine.

Walia is a cozy restaurant with top-notch service.  The Man and I go there for dinner about once a month and have the same waiter every time (I really need to ask him his name) who  recognizes us as soon as we walk in the door and simply asks if we’re having our usual order as we’re being seated.  My ‘usual’ is the vegetarian combination, which is brought to the table about 10 minutes later along with an extra plate of injera.

Nerd alert!

Each Ethiopian has their own variation of the veggie combo, here’s what Walia has to offer (pictured above):

  • Miser wot (left): Red lentils simmered in berbere sauce
  • Alicha wot (bottom): Split peas prepared mild in turmeric and light sauce
  • Gomen (right): Stewed collard greens
  • Atkilt wot (top): Cabbage, carrots, potatoes simmered in mild sauce
  • Shiro (center): Pureed chickpeas in berbere sauce

All five dishes taste great, but I think the miser wot is my favorite because it is the spiciest.  The combo plate can easily feed two normal people but I eat it all on my own.  I always wear loose clothing and bring a crane when I eat at Walia because all that food you see in the picture above quickly finds its way to my belly.  I walk out of the restaurant feeling like Violet Beauregarde in full-on blueberry mode, but it is so worth it!   (Bonus points if you can name that movie reference)