Cook: Sex, Ice Picks and Puff Pastry Pizza

Cook: Sex, Ice Picks and Puff Pastry Pizza

DSC_0453About halfway through my Basic Instinct marathon last weekend I got a strong desire to do something “psychologically empty” with an ice pick (you know what I’m talking about Ms. Stone). I stripped down to my sexiest undergarments and decided to pound away at the iceberg that had been forming for three years in my freezer. I was pretty convinced that what I would find beneath that ice mound was something mind blowing. Perhaps it wouldn’t top the find documented in Atari: Game Over, but I thought it would come close. After countless hours of grueling ice picking and many false positives I finally hit the jackpot. There, buried in the middle of that desolate landfill of ice, was a half empty box of puff pastry. Score one for the ice spelunkers in sexy undergarments.

I decided a puff pastry pizza was in order. I put together some veggies, oil and balsamic vinegar and baked the mixture nicely on top of the thawed puff pastry. I ate it while finishing up the Basic Instinct marathon. Sex, ice picks and pizza. Not sure life gets anymore real than that.

Puff Pastry Pizza
(printable version)

For the pizza:
-one vegan puff pastry shell
-1 red onion, small dice
-2 handfuls of mixed greens, small shreds
-1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
-4 ounces of button mushrooms
-2 cloves of garlic, pressed

For the sauce:
-1 can cannellini beans
-a few sprinkles of water
-1/2 tsp. olive oil
-1/4 tsp dried sage
-1 garlic clove
-salt and pepper to tast

1. Allow the puff pastry to thaw. 45 minutes for typical puff pastry. Longer if it has been in the freezer for more than two years.

2. Once the puff pastry is thawed, carefully open the sheet of it and slice it in half. Spray a baking sheet with cooking oil. Stretch out the puff pastry by pressing each half with your fingers and pulling with your hands. When the halves have been stretched as far as they can, place each half on the prepared baking sheet.

3. Preheat oven to 415 degrees Fahrenheit.

4. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, saute the garlic and red onion in olive oil until the onions are beginning to caramelize. Add the greens and balsamic vinegar and cook until the greens have wilted. Set the greens, onions and garlic aside.

5. Using the same pan heat the mushrooms. You can also mix the mushrooms in with the greens and onions but we live in a mushroom love/hate household so I made them separately. Heat the mushrooms until they have begun to brown. Set them aside.

6. Mix the ingredients for the sauce, except the water, in a blender. Puree until smooth. Add water to thin the sauce out if necessary.

7. Spread the sauce down the middle of each side of the puff pastry. Sprinkle the vegetables and mushrooms on top of the sauce. Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Don’t worry if it puffs up a lot (its called puff pastry for a reason). Allow it to cool for ten minutes. Slice it and serve.

Served best with a side of cold, hard…

Click: Murder Free Chianti, Vegan Sex, Meatless Monday at a Steakhouse, Making Mustard, Lunchmoney Lewis and Other Things That Titillated My Fingers This Week

Click: Murder Free Chianti, Vegan Sex, Meatless Monday at a Steakhouse, Making Mustard, Lunchmoney Lewis and Other Things That Titillated My Fingers This Week

Not wanting to be outdone by their Thin Mint brethren, Tag-A-Longs went all raw, vegan this week. The ball is in your court now terrible, terrible Samoas. Here’s some other things that outdid themselves this week:




“Circles” by Machineheart (featuring Vanic)

“More” by the Eiffels

“Shake” by Soviet X-Ray Record Club

Damien Ike “Kingdom Come”

Laces “Love Me Sober”

“Rainy Day” by Lady Low


“Thank You” by All Tvvins

“Coming For You” by The Offspring

“Texas” by Magic Man

“When I Was Done Dying” by Dan Deacon

“Colors” by Genevieve

“Kingdom Come” by Damien Ike

“Daffodil Days” by Oscar

“Love Me Sober” (Piano Version) by Laces

“Bills” by Lunchmoney Lewis



First Quarter Click Tracks (When Available) via Spotify:

Click: “Vegan” Parenting Gets a Bad Rap, Cronuts, Chicken and Waffle Dairy Free Donuts, Boxed Wine Leads to Remission and Other Things That Caught My Eye This Week

Click: “Vegan” Parenting Gets a Bad Rap, Cronuts, Chicken and Waffle Dairy Free Donuts, Boxed Wine Leads to Remission and Other Things That Caught My Eye This Week

With all the moving and soccer and goodbye dinners, I still found time to enjoy a bit of this:


27 Vegan Pizzas to blow your mind (One Green Planet)

Vegan Steak Sandwich (One Green Planet)

Sesame Seed Bacon (Vegan Crunk)

Strawberry Rhubarb Shortcake (Vegan Dad)

Mixed Berry Crisp (the Chubby Vegetarian) *includes honey

Vegan Cronuts (40 Aprons)

Double Chocolate Cherry Chunk Bars (Blissful Basil)

Peaches and Cream Dessert Squares (The Veg Life)


Sarah Anne Markham gives vegan parenting a bad name

Celebrate the 4th of July with a Vegan Picnic in the Park (if you live in or around Hollywood, Florida)

Best Looking Vegan Donuts EVER (coming from a donut avoider)! I wish Bethlehem was closer.


“Do U Right” by Ambassadeurs

“My Life” by Little Daylight

“East of Eden” by Zella Day

“Drift” by Satchmode

“Shells” by Laurel

“Taking You With Me” by Kid Astray

“Sometimes Life” by Dan and Amy

“Seasons of B-Sides” by Satellite Stories

Boxed Wine “Quiver”

Exroyale “I Want It”

Nick Raven “1953”

“Hold On” by Stallions


Laurel “Shells” (Hannes Fischer Remix)

The Colourist “We Won’t Go Home” (Jane Doze Remix)

Winchester “Field Day” (Winchester Remix)

Jose Gonzalez “Step Out” (The Chainsmokers Remix)


“Love, Again” by Shy for Shore

“They Aren’t Evil” by the Tins

“Black River” by Wolf Gang

“Drinking with the Jocks” by Against Me

“Family” by The Interrupters (Featuring Tim Armstrong)

“Remission” my The Menzingers song of choice this week

Food Flavored Video: Slowolf’s “Overdose”

Food Flavored Video: Slowolf’s “Overdose”

I stumbled around the apartment this morning, still hungover from my evening of baby tears. In the dark I managed to kick the kitchen counter and break my toenail. Beneath it blood started to pool up in a blister. This was unlike any blister I had ever seen before, this one was colored red, white and blue. I smiled. Today was going to be a fine day.

America (from here on out known as ‘Merica). Land of the free. Home of the brave. I fu**ing well up every time I hear that shit. It’s like magnetic refrigerator poetry stuck in just the right order to make every visit to the kegerator a profound one. One of the reasons I love ‘Merica so much is that we are the anti-Robert Frost. We don’t even think about taking the road less traveled, ever. We stick to the one that is the most crowded. The one that has the most shit on it. Our reasoning? More stuff to trample on our one way ticket to the top. Today ‘Merica decided to trample a nuisance. For the last eight years our collective nation has stood on the sidelines and watched a band of men repeatedly take a punch, laugh right in our face and then launch a full force uppercut to the square of our jaw. They’ve beaten and bloodied us. Yep, tonight ‘Merica stuck it to Ghana on the pitch. And I reveled in it completely.

My revelry wasn’t loud and obnoxious. Instead, like the token American male I am, I celebrated the victory with a cheeseless pizza, half off coconut milk ice cream and a soundtrack handcrafted by a Danish DJ. Not sure it gets any more American (or revelry) than that. This Danish DJ, Slowwolf’s the name, recently released a video for his track “Overdose” that is definitely not for the lactose intolerant. There was no coconut milk ice cream to save us. Instead it is overloaded with fully fattened ice cream splatters gyrating in slow motion. It certainly gives the opening credits for Zombieland a slow, meticulous, run for its money. Check “Overdose”by Slowolf done ‘Merica via Denmark style:

Just the sounds:

Click: TCBY Adds More Vegan Flavors, McDonald’s Petitioned, Vegan Super Bowl Snacks, Dr. Dog Gets All Trippy, Made Violent Wastes Their Days and Other Things That Caught My Eye This Week

Click: TCBY Adds More Vegan Flavors, McDonald’s Petitioned, Vegan Super Bowl Snacks, Dr. Dog Gets All Trippy, Made Violent Wastes Their Days and Other Things That Caught My Eye This Week

Linky links from around the webosphere that have made my Super Bowl Sunday superb.


Petition Urges McDonald’s to Offer Vegetarian Options

Marshall, TX Mayor Goes Vegan Then Urges the Rest of the Town to Do So Too. Its working.

Las Vegas’ First Animal Sanctuary is Opening Soon

Dallas Vegan Dessert Truck Rolls Out

TCBY Adds Vegan Vanilla Frozen Yogurt to its Repertoire


Super Bowl Snack Ideas: 10 Easy Recipes for Vegans (Huffington Post Canada)

Super Bowl Party Picks (PETA)

35 Vegan Super Bowl Party Recipes (Keepin’ It Kind)

Game Day: 11 Pizza Like Objects (Serious Eats)

25 Epic Vegan Recipes for Chinese New Year (One Green Planet)

Tasty Celebrations: Chinese New Year (Vegetarian Times)


“The Seeds You Sow” by Prides

“Make it Easy” by We Are Scientists

“JJ” by Reptile Youth

“Chemical Motivation” by the Love Junkies

“Wasted Days” by Made Violent

“Blindfold” by Canopy Climbers

“Secrets” by Shell Shock

“Funn” by Cash + David

“Innocent Love” by Model Aeroplanes


Work Drugs “Digital Girl” (Resistor Mix)


“Magdalena” by Pixies

“Rewind” by Telegraph

“Distant Light” by Dr. Dog

Cook: Caramelized Onion, Spinach and Garlic Pan Pizza

Cook: Caramelized Onion, Spinach and Garlic Pan Pizza


The other type of pie I made for Thanksgiving, the one that needed no qualifiers, was a pizza pie. I knew my audience. They are pizza lovers for sure. So I decided to wow them with some J. Kenji action. For those of you who don’t know, J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Chief Creative Officer for Serious Eats. He is also the man behind The Pizza Lab. In this lab, J. Kenji experiments and shares dozens of pizza recipes. Got a favorite crust, he has probably figured out the best way to make it at home. Need a regional version of pizza? He’s got you covered. Want a quick English Muffin pizza for breakfast? Done. The man knows his pizza. One of my favorite crusts of his is the easy to make pan pizza. This dough requires no kneading, no finicky water heating to just the right temperature for the yeast to percolate, no sugar water mixtures. It is just a matter of having the right ingredients and the right amount of time. I put aside the right amount of time to make it a part of our Thanksgiving meal. I made two pizzas from the crust. The one pictured at the top was a spinach, garlic, and cheese version that J-Fur requested. The one below is a caramelized onions, spinach and garlic one for all the vegans (err…for the vegan) in attendance. That being said, I heard that the vegan version had a great taste. No qualifiers added.









Caramelized Onion, Spinach and Garlic Pan Pizza
(printable version)

-1 pan pizza crust (slightly under 1/2 of this recipe)
-1 onion, sliced thinly
-1/2 Tbs. olive oil
-1 garlic clove, sliced thinly and then halved
-handful of spinach leaves
-tomato sauce

1. Make the crust according to directions.

2. Preheat the oven to 550 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large saute pan heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the onion. Stir occasionally. Continue to cook until it is beginning to brown (about 10 minutes). Reduce the heat and continue caramelizing until the onions are brown and soft (about 3o minutes). Remove from the pan and set aside.

3. When the crust is ready (it has sat out for 24 hours and then sat in its container for another 2) spoon some tomato sauce over top. Take it all the way to the edge.

4. Put down a layer of spinach leaves being careful not to overlap. Add the sliced garlic in between spinach leaves.

5. Spoon the caramelized onions overtop. Place the pizza into the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Place in front of hungry Thanksgiving visitors and make them stare at it for a few minutes before allowing them to eat.

What does this meal sound like? Check it.

Cook: Tofu Lahmajun

Cook: Tofu Lahmajun


You’ve been pounding craft beer after craft beer for the past ten hours. Your head hurts, your eyes are droopy and your sister-in-law’s birthday breakfast is happening in just a few hours. You can’t show up drunk, mom already wants to check you into rehab. What you need is a pickmeup. A meal that will begin soaking up that alcohol and helping you sober up, at least a bit. You spot a pizza joint and head that way. You get a nice thin dough, maybe a few roaches and maggots and are on the road to recovery. Now let’s imagine this same scenario in Turkey, Syria, Lebanon or Israel. It plays out exactly the same except except for one minor detail. The pizza. Instead of your typical American pie with lots of cheese and pepperoni, you sit down to a version that includes a spicy tomato and lamb sauce. It is commonly referred to as lahmajun,  lahmacun, lachmanjan or lachma bi ajun.

A few days ago, I had no idea that such a pizza existed. But thanks to One Green Planet, I have now been educated. Lahmajun are essentially flatbreads which are topped with spicy lamb and tomato. They are then baked and served pizza-style  (you know, open-faced and all). But if you are on the go, they also work well rolled up like a burrito or gyro sandwich. Rumor has it, that the rolled up fashion is how they are served on the streets of Istanbul.

While the One Green Planet version is vegan, it uses soy crumbles to replace the “lamb”. I went with a smoother approach and added tofu. The result was a flavorful albeit less chunky version of the topping.

Tofu Lahmajun (adapted from One Green Planet)
(printable version)

For the dough:
-2 cups all purpose flour
-2 1/4 cups organic whole wheat flour
-1 1/2 cups almond milk
-3 tsp salt
-1 tsp unbleached sugar
-1 packet active dry yeast
-1/4 cup vegetable oil

For the topping:
-1 container of tofu
-1 red pepper, seeded, veined and cut into chunks
-1 green pepper, seeded, veined and cut into chunks
-1/2 medium onion, peeled and cut into chunks
-2 tomatoes, cut into chunks
-1 tbsp tomato paste
-1 1/2 tsp cumin
-2 tsp smoked paprika
-1/4 cup olive oil
-Red Russian kale
-Corn meal

1. To make the dough. Put all the ingredients into a stand mixer with a dough hook. Turn on low and allow to run for five or six minutes until all ingredients form a loose ball.

2. Remove from the stand mixer, form into a ball and cover with plastic. Let the dough sit for two hours.

3. While the dough is resting, place the peppers, onions, tomatoes, tomato paste, parsley, cumin, olive oil and paprika into a food processor.  Pulse to combine. Pour the mixture into a bowl and set aside.

4. Put the tofu into the food processor. Process until it is smooth and creamy, like ricotta cheese.

5. Pour the tofu into the vegetable mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon until everything is combined.

6. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place a baking sheet dusted with corn meal in the oven. Tear off a piece of the dough and roll it into a ball. Flatten it into a circle. Make it as thin as you can (should be the thickness of a cracker).

7. Place the dough on the baking sheet. Rip pieces of kale and place them on top of the dough. Spoon the tomato mixture overtop. Bake until crispy, about 7-10 minutes.

Soundtrack it.

Where We Eat: Cappy’s Pizza

Where We Eat: Cappy’s Pizza

One of my archaeology friends told me that they recently found a scroll dating back to the beginning of the written age. The scroll said only four words inside: cheese + dough + sauce + topping = perfection. Yep, since the beginning, pizza has remained virtually the same. It is the sum of four amazing parts joined together as one. Nowadays people like to mess with perfection. They subtract or alter one of those elements to see just how dreadful the result is (who would ever forget the crustless pizza…I still shudder from that one). I must admit, I’m one of those people. I love me some pizza. I don’t love me some cheese. I’ve tried fake cheeses and they just don’t do it right. So most of the time, I just take the cheese off. The majority of pizza restaurants don’t survive the removal of the cheese because it requires a couple things they don’t have. First and foremost, a cheeseless pizza should have a good sauce because it is now the star. It can no longer play understudy to the cheese because it is gone. The second requirement is a deep crust. Skinny pies have no substance when the cheese goes away.

The latest local restaurant to get the Tender Branson treatment was Cappy’s. Cappy’s has been a stalwart in Seminole Heights for as long as I’ve been here (8+ years). In the past few years they have expanded into St. Pete, Brandon and their latest venture, New Tampa. Since this is just moments from our apartment we decided to give it a go for J-Fur’s birthday. We were joined by her parents, sister and her boyfriend. Z-Bot came along as well:









Z-Bot’s first Cappy’s (and pizza) Experience

Not everyone in the group avoids cheese, so the table started with a plate of cheesy bread. J-Fur ate most of it. She thought it was delicious with the crispy bottom and gooey top. A side of their pizza sauce comes along with it for those who like to dip.









The Cheesy Bread

At this point the waitress came by to take our orders. This is when things got a bit crazy. There was a deep dish, no cheese, spinach and artichoke version for me, a spinach and garlic thin crust for J-Fur, a sausage and basil thin crust for the sister and a light cheese, garlic and spinach for her parents. The waitress got it all down without a moments hesitation (well except for that brief second where she assured me that she thought the kitchen would be able to make my pizza without cheese). The twenty (or was it thirty) minutes of baking time passed rather quickly. When the pizzas came out, it was fast and furious. One pie after another crash landed (delicately) on the table. When the dust had settled, two pies were hovering above the table on crazy metal holders while two sat right on the wood. At this point hands and bodies became twisted as everyone reached for what they ordered. Everyone took a bit and remarked how good their pizzas were. I was the lone holdout. I breathed deep.












The In-Laws Pizza

Now came the true test. Could Cappy’s hold up their no cheese end of the bargain? The crust was nice and flaky like true Chicago style should be. It wasn’t too dry or crisp (which can easily happen with deep dish pies). In fact, I would say it is one of the better Chicago style crusts I’ve had here in Tampa. The sauce was tangy with a good bit of flavor. The spinach was fresh and plentiful. The artichokes still had a bit of the canned taste to them (again, no cheese to mask this) but that was my only qualm with the pizza. I’d probably do better next time with a garlic, spinach version (as their garlic pies are really good). Yes, that’s right, next time. There will be a next time. Cappy’s crust, sauce and fresh spinach more than held up to the cheeseless test.












My Pie

I have long considered Cappy’s one of the better pizza places in Tampa. With their Chicago style offerings and varied toppings (as well as a really good salad) it takes pizza to a place that a lot of other restaurants in the area can’t. The new Tampa Palms version follows right in line with its sister stores. Best of all, you can take the cheese off and still have a mostly pleasant time.

Cappy's Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

It’s easy to fall in love with a pizza like this. That’s why I paired it with the also easy to fall in love with “I Think I Love You” by Enerate. With a chorus like “I think I love the f**k out of you” what’s not to like?

Click: Artisan Vegan Cheeses, Cap’N’Crunch, Meat Free Gumbo and LSD Laced Trips to the Video Arcade

Click: Artisan Vegan Cheeses, Cap’N’Crunch, Meat Free Gumbo and LSD Laced Trips to the Video Arcade

Here are some of the things that made an impression this week.


Vegan Richa’s Lasagna Bechamel with Sweet Potatoes and Cauliflower

Homemade Gluten Free Vegan Cranberry Bliss Bars from Fork and Beans

The Sweet Life’s Tofu Avocado Benedict

Minimalist Baker’s Vegan Dirt Cake

Vegan Lahmajun (Turkish-Armenian Pizza) from One Green Planet

Also their Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Orange Marmalade Frosting


Treme Creole Gumbo Fest in New Orleans includes a vegan gumbo competition. Fest ends today.

Ho hum, another list of “surprisingly” vegan foods

Nashville’s Door 86 Offers Artisan Vegan Cheeses


“Pacifier” by Catfish and the Bottlemen

Wishbeard-Strawberry ’79

“Summer Nights” by Pollimer

“Nothing to Be Frightened of” by Killing Fields of Ontario

“Nothing” by Big Beat Bronson

“Deeper” by Ella Eyre

“Are You in Love with a Notion” by the Courteeners

“Good Love” by Sagamore

“Bound in Love” by Cut Ribbons

“Girls” by the 1975 (the Knocks Remix)


Big Beat Bronson gets all fake mustachey in their 70’s influenced video for “Nothing”:

Hot Dog eating on “Girls” by the 1975

Live footage of Deep Sea Arcade bringing bad luck with a “Black Cat”

Hello Phones find one of those gaming places and get all psychedelic

The close-up, intimate view of Wolf Alice’s “Blush”