Sunday, June 26, 2011

Pizza from My Father's Daughter

On Sunday, I wanted a simple, delicious way to enjoy my mom’s garden-fresh tomatoes for dinner.  Obviously, my first thought was a tomato sandwich, but I wanted really good bread, preferably homemade.

I thought I might bake some bread, then I thought I might make a pizza crust (seemed a little quicker and more no-fail).  A simple homemade pizza crust with tomatoes, basil, cheese, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Truly, nothing in this world can beat that flavor combination.

I used Gwyneth Paltrow’s pizza crust recipe from My Father’s Daughter.  Despite my lack of proper tools – you know, pizza peel, wood-fired brick oven – the crust came out tasting (I said tasting, not looking) restaurant-quality.
Before baking, we brushed the crust with olive oil, then adorned our pizza with sliced tomatoes, rather than sauce, to appreciate the amazing flavor of our homegrown tomatoes in “wholer” form.  A few slices of buffalo mozzarella, torn basil leaves, and salt and pepper, then into the oven at 500 degrees on a preheated pizza stone until the crust starts to brown and the top is bubbly and melty.

So simple, so perfect.
*I thought I should address the cheese.  I know throughout the course of this blog, I started out omnivore, then went vegan, then started to slacken up a little, eating dairy and seafood on occasion.  I'm sorry if that is confusing to anyone.  But for many of us, our diets naturally shift and change over the course of our lives. If you want to know where I stand, here it is: I believe that a vegan diet is the best diet.  I think we should all strive to eat as close to vegan as possible.  I admire those who truly stick to their vegan diets 100% of the time.  We all have our reasons for eating what we eat, whether ethical, health-related, taste-related, or all three.
I have seen enough science and research to be convinced that I should not support the meat, poultry, and dairy industries.  Not only are their factory farming practices often cruel and unsustainable, but their marketing dollars go so far as to lie and convince us their products are a healthy, and even necessary part of our diets - not so.
I know there are many kind farmers out there.  Ideally, if we want to eat animal products, we ought to go to them.  But lets not fool ourselves: there's nothing kind about killing a cow when we have plenty of other food that's much healthier for us and does not require a living creature dying.
Do I still love lobster? Yes, I do.  I love it, and oysters, and shrimp, and fish.  I eat them without giving much thought to whether or not I should.  But I don't eat them often.  As for meat and poultry, I do have some on very rare occasion, but I wouldn't care if I never tasted them again.  I prefer gentle, pretty plants and delicate tofu that treat my body well, to heart-clogging animal products any day.
As for cheese and eggs... they're a very occasional treat that I could easily live without.  Either I choose to buy them for a very specific recipe, or they slip into my diet when I eat at others' homes and am not in charge of the menu.
The most important thing is, I've learned I don't need these foods that for some reason, are considered staples in the American diet, and I've learned to use delicious, healthy plants to create exciting meals that taste as good or better than their counterparts.  I feel I've found a happy medium and am making a difference to my and my loved ones' health, to the planet, and to animals.


  1. That pizza looks delicious, especially with fresh from the garden tomatoes! I'm right there with you on the diet thing. There are only 3 things keeping me from being vegan: cheese, crab legs and my omnivore friends. Cheese and crab legs are the only non-vegan things I eat, well and the butter for the crab legs. Crab legs just don't taste as good dipped in Earth Balance!! :)

  2. Mmmm... now I want pizza. :) I've been fortunate not have any non-vegan cravings that I can't satisfy without straying from my diet. I know that's not the case for a lot of people (especially with cheese!) and I don't think there's anything wrong with treating yourself from time to time. My boyfriend is vegan and will treat himself to desserts that aren't every now and then. Thanks for always being open and honest and TRUE to YOU! xoxo