Showing posts with label caribbean. Show all posts
Showing posts with label caribbean. Show all posts

Oct 5, 2012

california pizza kitchen make over

Not to be outdone by New York and Chicago, California introduced the west coast's version of pizza in the 1980's. It takes New York style thin crust and serves it up with California cuisine which integrates different cooking styles and local ingredients.

California Pizza Kitchen made this style of pizza popular by serving it in a casual dining environment. Pizzas such as Original BBQ Chicken and Jamaican Jerk Chicken, are being served around the country and internationally.

I couldn't leave well enough alone, even though I said I'd only make one dish, so here are two pizzas, but totally unconventional, with nary a tomato in sight. These crispy, sweet, loaded pizzas are a surprising culinary adventure.

The Original BBQ Pizza has chicken, onion, cheese, BBQ sauce and cilantro. So what is absolutely vegan and BBQ-y? Beans. I used navy beans because I didn't want the pizza overwhelmed with the texture of beans and the navy bean is dense, firm and small. I baked them in the sauce before adding them to the pizza. It works! The onions gets almost caramelized and the sauce of choice of the chain is a sweet and spicy one. Really delicious.

The second pizza I made was the Jerk Pizza. This one originally comes with chicken, onion, bacon, roasted peppers and green onions with a sweet Caribbean sauce. I used marinated tofu as my chicken sub and used my Tofu Bacon. The tofu needs to be pressed really well (6 hours in Tofu Xpress), but only needs to marinate about 30 minutes. The marinade is a very strong chicken-style broth. This was delightful as well.

The dough needs to proof overnight and the oven needs to preheat at 500 for an hour, so plan on making this in the winter.

If you've been hankering for CPK or just curious about all the fuss, get baking. 

It's worth the experience.

How did I do?

The chain charges $12.75 for each pizza.

Original BBQ:

crust: $2

beans: $2
onions, cilantro, sauce: $1.50
vegan cheese: $4
Total for 2 pizzas:

Their charge per Pizza: $12.75
Make-Over cost per Pizza: $4.75


crust: $2
tofu, pepper, tofu bacon: $3
onions, green onion, sauce: $1
vegan cheese: $4
Total for 2 pizzas:

Their charge per Pizza: $12.75
Make-Over cost per Pizza: $5.00

Original BBQ Pizza

Jerk Pizza

Jan 3, 2012

island burger

Liz, a terrific lady over at Cooking the Vegan Books, and a fellow cookbook tester, suggested I get Caribbean Vegan by Taymer Mason, since we share the love of island food and the love of Habaneros (or is that Scotch Bonnets?) 

I open up my adventure of this cookbook with a burger. Mikel asked for a burger to be on the menu and this satisfied both of us.

The Island Burger uses TVP for the burger base. Nice and easy, I thought, that is unless you are one of those people who cannot stand a huge list of ingredients; this one recipe has over 20 ingredients. I do not mind the list of ingredients since I know it can sometimes take a bunch seasonings to make a dish great.  As an additional work-load, you are asked to make one of the ingredients in the ingredients list - Bajan Seasoning.  There is also a recipe for the Barbecue Sauce that goes on the burger and a recipe for the bun - Salt Bread - that the burger goes on. 

Naturally, the only way to tackle a recipe with this much to do is to:

 (1) come to terms with it - it isn't going to get shorter unless you cut something out, but, then how do you know what to cut out without affecting the result? 

(2) plan to make it at the right time. Don't make a recipe like this in the middle of the week while the kids are crying for food and you've just come home from work. Which includes planning a Weekly Menu (name of this blog- check out the tab "Weekly Menu" to get some complete weekly menu ideas. Once you are good with both (1) and (2), the task isn't work, but instead becomes fun.

The recipes in this book feed my yearning for the fiery little pepper, but since I can't get Scotch Bonnet peppers as readily as Habanero peppers (and I can't really discern the difference between the two anyway- even Ghost Peppers have that same flavor profile to me), I use them interchangeably. 

It seems to be an authentic cookbook worthy of the islands and worth the effort. Many times cooking something out of your comfort zone can seem challenging. However, consider that once you have met the challenge the first time, you can easily do it again.

If you are jonesing for a burger, but you don't have this book, try this one.