Sunday, April 30, 2017

Faux Pepperoni for Pizza

For most of my teenage life pepperoni and black olives were the only things allowed on my pizza slices. Day after day after day where I worked at Mazzatta's Italian Restaurant.

In the past 20 plus years as a pescatarian I have indulged in pepperoni pizza on rare occasions, but not often because I prefer my meat to be "happy" and generally pepperoni in pizza joints doesn't fit that description.

But since working as a lunch lady making vegetarian meals only in a groovy, alternative charter school where I hear the plaintive longing for pepperoni on the pizza, an investigation of alternative forms seemed in order.

And then I found THE recipe on the Minimalist Baker.

Can I just say easy, delicious and quick!

If you have kids, big or small, with a vegetarian diet who are craving pepperoni this is the ticket. Don't be put off by the list of ingredients, you probably have all them in the pantry, and this just needs a few whizzes in the food processor and a quick bake and Voila! Magic!

Faux Pepperoni for Pizza (adapted from The Minimalist Baker)
(makes 20 rounds with leftover cuttings)

10 oz firm tofu
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1-3 teaspoons red pepper flakes (if you like it hot)
2 teaspoons ground mustard
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons garlic flakes
1/4 teaspoon anise seeds
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place tofu on a plate and place another plate on top with a heavy weight (32 oz canned tomatoes or something similar) and allow to press out liquid for at least 15 minutes. Drain and place in the bowl of a food processor.

In a spice grinder (aka your coffee grinder), add salt, fennel seeds, garlic and anise and grind into fine powder. Add to tofu along with mustard, paprika and liquid smoke and puree until smooth and well blended. Spread tofu puree on parchment paper and use another sheet to press down on it to create a 1/4 inch thick sheet of puree, removing the top sheet and spray with oil to help it crisp up (but this is optional). Bake for 20 minutes until firm. Remove and allow to cool before trying to peel off the parchment. Cut into rounds with a biscuit cutter or some sort of sharp round object (check out the tea strainer above!); keep the trimmings!