May 10, 2008

Danger: Tofu Pizza

I'm expecting an update on the struggle against fava beans any day now, but in the meantime I have received a message about putting tofu on pizza.

You've noticed by now that I use tofu pretty regularly.  Do not be deceived; the Dangerous Cook is not a vegetarian.  He does live with vegetarians, but he isn't usually cooking for them either.  That being said, tofu is an inexpensive and flexible source of protein, and it's very good if you know how to use it (and what sort to use).  I will further discuss the matter of tofu-for-meat-eaters some time in the future, but for now, I'll hand the reins over to agents in the field once again:

The idea for putting tofu on pizza (which even I, a tofu lover, admit sounds questionable) came from the somewhat pretentiously named but excellent cookbook "A Taste of Heaven and Earth" by Bettina Vitell. The first pizza we tried was kale and tofu and it came out well, but once you know the trick of sautéing the strips of tofu with garlic first you can use pretty much whatever other ingredients you want. The second time around I used more "traditional" pizza toppings along with the tofu - mushrooms and sun-dried tomato - substituting That Dutchman's Gouda for mozzarella. (I am still searching for Buffalo Mozzarella with no luck. According to the CBC, "Cow's-milk mozzarella is a ball of fresh cheese swimming in brine, pleasant as ice cream but absolutely tasteless. Made out of buffalo milk, instead, it becomes an altogether different matter," and I agree.)

The tricky bit has been using spelt flour instead of the whole wheat called for in the crust recipe. No matter how much extra flour I add it seems to come out too sticky to toss in proper pizza-crust-making fashion, so I've been forced to resort to a rolling pin. I don't know if you can tell from the picture but the cooked pizza is on parchment paper. According to a newspaper review of a local pizza restaurant this keeps the crust from getting soggy. Seems to work.
I've never taken so long eating a pizza that it got soggy, unless I actually left part of it for breakfast, but that's good advice.  I don't know if I agree that cow's milk mozzarella is "tasteless" per se, but compared to bufala it would certainly appear so.  If you can ever find buffalo mozzarella, it's more like a good parmesan - a little will flavour the whole thing, and if you added enough to use it for texture, you probably won't taste anything else.  It's fantastic, though, so that might not be a great loss.

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