I'd say it's that time of year again, but actually, it is several weeks earlier than that time of year. Vegan Month of Food is coming to us early this year, starting on this sweltering day during the relentless summer season we've been having. So thanks for making me turn on my oven today, everyone. I mean, it was worth it, and no one said I had to make a pizza, which demands a 500ºF oven. Anyways, Vegan Mofo was so fun last year, and I had such a great time cooking and baking for it, and reading everyone else's great entries and learning about new foods, new products, new blogs, and new people! It reminds me that there are lots of other people out there all over the world that care about what I do, and do it themselves as well. We really are a little (but growing) community that we can go to for support, for ideas, for recipes, for information, and to contribute however we can to one another. So, go us!!
I decided not to do a theme this month, because I have a lot of different kinds of recipes I'm excited to make, but I will, however, be making many pizzas. I thought of doing a pizza theme, but I just don't know if I can eat pizza every night. I might miss tacos too much. So tonight I began the pizza saga with a sweet potato mole pizza. It's a sweet potato base, sort of in place of the red sauce, and then a red mole swirl, then some roasted poblano pepper strips, then sliced green tomatoes from the farmer's market (my new apartment is across the street from the farmer's market! whoot!) then a swirl of avocado and a sprinkle of cilantro! It's colorful and beautiful and I have a lot of mole sauce left over. What on earth should I do with it? Would you like some?
I've made a lot of different mole recipes, but I didn't break one out today, I decided just to wing it with what I can remember goes in the sauce, which is a lot of things. I couldn't remember if peanut butter was an ingredient... I didn't put it in. Maybe I should have. But in the end the sauce came out amazing, spicy, creamy yet textural, with tons of flavor. It gets a lot darker as it cools. My BF came into the kitchen and was like, "Ohhh you put the sweet potato in the mole sauce" and I'm like nooo, that's just the mole sauce, and then it cooled and it was a nicer contrast of colors on the finished pizza. See?
Honestly, I'm super psyched to make more pizzas. I've told every person I know my ideas for pizzas, and my face lights up and then I start talking really loud and gesturing a lot. Also, today while skinning my poblanos, some pepper juice shot into my eye and it burned for 20 minutes. I am going to wear gloves and goggles next time I do anything with chiles but put them in my shopping cart. People think that being vegan means going pizza-free, which would be a fate worse than death, so I want to prove that vegans eat pizza. The Best kind of pizza. All fancy and stuff. No fake cheese on my pizzas. I'ma roll all naturale. Also don't call my pizza a flatbread. That sounds way less awesome.
So have fun with Mofo everyone! I can't wait for the exciting month to come.
Sweet Potato Mole Pizza:
1 pizza dough, homemade or purchased
2 sweet potatoes or yams
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 poblano peppers
2 green tomatoes, yellow or whatever is fine, sliced in thin rounds
1 avocado, sliced
1 cup red mole sauce, recipe follows
2 tablespoons cornmeal or semolina flour
Red Mole Sauce:
4 dried ancho chiles
4 dried chiles de arbol
4 cups boiling water
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup pepita seeds
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons pasilla chile powder
1 tablespoon chipotle chile powder
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1/2-1 cup crumbled tortilla chips
1 cup mexican beer or vegetable stock
1 28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup dark chocolate non dairy chips
In a dry hot cast-iron skillet, toast the dried chiles for 5 minutes, flipping every now and then.
After chiles have been toasted, place them in a bowl and cover with the boiling water. Let them soak for 20 minutes while you set the rest of the sauce going.
Add the olive oil to the cast-iron pan and sauté the onions for about 5 minutes, until the edges of the onions are browned, then add the garlic and stir. Cook together for 1-2 ore minutes, stirring every 30 seconds or so.
Add the pepitas, almonds, sunflower seeds, and tortilla chips to the pan and stir to toast the seeds and nuts. About 1 minute later, add chile and cocoa powders along with the ground cloves and cinnamon. Stir to coat the onions and seeds with the dried spices and toast for 30 seconds. Then add the beer or stock and stir to remove any dried bits from the bottom of the pan. Now add the tomatoes, salt, pepper and chocolate chips. Stir to melt the chips and mush the tomatoes a little, careful not to splatter.
Remove the chiles from the water and rip off the tough stems. Place them in a blender and carefully ladle the sauce over them into the blender. Blend until smooth, with a tiny bit of gritty-ness, as the texture if desirous in a mole sauce. Return to pan and add 1/2 cup or so of stock or water to the sauce to thin out. Keep over low heat and covered until ready to serve.
Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
Place sweet potatoes on a tray and bake for about 45 minutes or until very soft when pierced with a fork. Do this while you make the mole sauce.
Remove from oven and let cool. Once cool enough to handle, peel the skin off with your hands and drop the peeled sweet potatoes in a medium mixing bowl and mash very well. Add salt and pepper. Set aside until ready to assemble the pizza.
Preheat the broiler. Place the poblano peppers in an ungreased cast-iron skillet. Place pan under the broiler and broil for about 5 minutes. After 5 minutes pull the pan out and turn peppers with tongs so that the other side can blister and blacken. But pan back under the broiler for about 3 more minutes, or until all the skin of the peppers are black and blistered. Place the peppers in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap for about 20 minutes. Alternatively, you can put them in a paper bag and roll it up tightly, so that peppers' steam loosens the blistered skin from the pepper. After 20 minutes, peel the blackened skin off the peppers and discard the seeds and stems. Slice them into thin, long strips.
Preheat the oven to 500ºF.
Roll your pizza dough into a large circle, larger than your pizza stone or tray. Rub the cornmeal on the pizza stone so that your dough never touches the stone, but only the cornmeal. You'll know after the pizza comes out of the oven if you've missed a spot :(
Place the dough over the cornmeal and roll the dough over the crust so that no dough hangs over the edge, making your crust! Now spread the mashed sweet potato over the whole pizza evenly. Spoon the mole sauce on top of the sweet potato, I like to do it in a spiral pattern. Place the tomato slices in a circle around the pizza. Add the sliced peppers, arranging them however you like.
Carefully put your pizza stone into the preheated oven. If you are using a pizza tray, just put it on the bottom of the oven, instead of using the shelf. Bake about 15 minutes, until the edges are crispy and the tomatoes are soft. Remove from oven.
Arrange avocado slices in a spiral in the center of the pizza. Sprinkle with cilantro and slice!