I really didn’t want to post this, but since everyone has been leaving such nice comments it only seems fair to post my failures along with my successes. And this is not a complete failure, it just wasn’t exactly what I wanted. The most annoying part is I could’ve googled my idea and gotten plenty of help, but I decided to just try it myself and see what happened. Soooooooooo…here’s what happened when I tried to make vegan pizza lunchables in hopes of having a fun, nostalgic snack to bring to work. Fails in bold.
I wanted to use up the rest of the sauce, crust & daiya I’m still trying to get rid of from the weekend pizza extravaganza. The pizza lunchables I took to school as a kid included pepperoni, but I’m not a fan of eating “meat analogues” on a regular basis. On the Vegan Pizza Day event page on facebook, at least a couple people mentioned topping their pizzas with something called pepperoni beets. I wanted to try them.
I wondered if I couldn’t use some other veggies instead of beets. Nothing against beets, I was just curious. Along with my beet, I got a big, fat juicing carrot (that is not a typo, this is a huge carrot meant to be juiced) and a turnip. The website I got the recipe from said to slice the veggies thinly, about 1-3mm. I have to admit, I didn’t know exactly what that meant and I didn’t bother to look at a ruler or anything. To my mind, it just meant as thin as humanly possible – not easy for someone with no real knife skills! I can’t cut anything straight, even if you draw a perfectly straight line on it first (you would have to draw the line because I also cannot draw straight lines to save my life). Anyway, I did my best.
Apparently I could have made them about twice as thick as I did. I used nearly the whole carrot, but only half the beet and turnip. Then I started the marinade.
Whisk 1 tsp miso with 1/2 C water and 2 tsp nutritional yeast until there are no lumps. Pour the mixture in a baking dish. I used my famed 8″ glass dish, but I think I would use a bigger dish next time.
Next, add to the baking dish 2 Tbsp soy sauce, 1 Tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp vinegar, 1/2 tsp sweet or smoked paprika (I used smoked), 1/4 tsp each sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, ground mustard, fennel seeds, 1/8 tsp each sage & black pepper. WHISK. Believe it or not, this actually tasted like what I think I remember pepperoni tasting like.
Now everybody in the pool. The instructions said it was okay for the veggies to overlap. I, however, would not recommend overlapping. Unfortunately, my veggies were about three or four layers deep.
Put them in the oven at 350 for 20 minutes, the instructions say. Then flip them and “bake some more,” the instructions said, and keep doing this until all the liquid has been absorbed by the veggies.
While that was going on, I had my dough sitting out and getting warm. Once the little pepperphonies were in the oven for about 15 minutes, I figured they were almost done. I started rolling the dough out nice and thin and cut out tiny little pizza crusts.
This is a great set of dough cutters I bought a few years ago and never used until tonight. One day, I plan to use them to cut donuts! Anyway.
After the veggies were baked for 20 minutes and flipped, and baked another 10 minutes and flipped and back in the oven for another 10, I decided to just throw my little crusts in the oven, too. I bake a regular pizza crust at 500 for 15 minutes, so I thought 10 minutes at 350 should do the trick.
They puffed up like miniature loaves of pita bread. I put on an oven mitt and reached in the oven and pressed them down. Some of them popped back up like in a game of whack-a-mole. Most of them stayed at least partially flat. So after about 10 minutes, I took them out and thought I’d try to press the puffy spots down again…and the first one I tried broke like a cracker. Because it was hard. Like a cracker (but a yummy cracker!). I put them in a zip lock bag and hoped they would soften up after a while (they didn’t, I just checked).
I tried another batch, and this time poked holes in them hoping to keep them from rising. Meanwhile, I took the pepfauxronies out of the oven and transferred them onto a plate. By this time, the liquid around the edges of the baking dish had burned and left a black crust. Some of the veggies were kind of crunchy, and some were very soft and lumped together in a big root vegetably glob. They did come apart, though.
After about 5 minutes I checked the second batch of crusts and they looked done. And they were not puffy! However, they still came out like crackers. They were just too thin.
I cannot stand to waste food, so I still went ahead with my plan and built little pizzas. I did not bother taking pictures of the process because by that time, I was very irritated and hungry. But here’s the end product:
So, to recap:
If you have some random idea for a recipe, it’s probably not a bad idea to google it first.
I do not recommend using carrots for the faux pepperoni, for some reason they seemed to absorb the saltiness way more than the beet and turnip.
In general, and even coming from someone who loves salt, it might be a good idea to cut down on the soy sauce.
I do not recommend cutting the veggies 1mm. Perhaps 1 to 2 cm.
I do not recommend layering/overlapping the veggies. At all.
Don’t worry if there’s still some liquid left in your baking dish. Stop baking before you have an ugly burnt-on mess.
If you’re going to roll your dough out, try to keep it to around 1/4″ thick, but probably the best way to do it is to just divide it into little balls and pat them out. Oh, and poke a few holes in them before baking.
One final recommendation: know the mouth that will be eating these. Mine were *almost* too big to be bite size. I did still manage to eat 10 of them, though.
What is your favorite kitchen disaster memory?