Sunday, November 5, 2006

Create-Your-Own-Pizza and Chocolate Fondue

JD and I had been having pizza quite often. It's pretty easy if you use a few pre-made ingredients, it's super satisfying, and it can be really fun if everyone makes their own.

This particular time, R, my roommate was home, and so we invited her to eat with us. We had a make a "quick run" to Whole Foods for the crusts and my vegan notcheese. While we were there, I picked up some lacinto kale and we decided we wanted a decadent but simple fruit dessert. Thinking back to Valentine's Day, I suggested chocolate fondue, and JD heartily agreed.

We bought French Meadow's Yeast-Free Sourdough Crusts, Follow Your Heart's Montery Jack Flavored notcheese (they make a mozzarella version, but I like the mild, buttery flavor of the M. Jack although I don't know if it really tastes anything like jack, as I never tried it before going vegan) artichoke hearts, pine nuts, fresh basil, garlic, fresh shiitakes, unsweetened chocolate, hazelnut milk and an assortment of fresh fruit.

We already had some pizza sauce, black oil-cured olives, assorted greek olives, pepperoni, mozzarella, parmigiano reggiano and olive oil.

This was my pizza before baking:

This was my pizza before adding basil and baking. I took one crust, spread on tomato-based pizza sauce, plus some fresh minced garlic, crumbled the notcheese all over, then added artichoke heart quarters, shiitakes tossed with a little shoyu, pine nuts and oil-cured black olives.

JD and R made their own pizzas, and I swear I took pictures, but I think my camera's more vegan than I am, because they didn't save. They used the non-vegan items I mentioned, as well as the ingredients I used.

While the pizzas were baking, I blanched some kale for myself (they didn't want any), cut the fruit, and made the chocolate fondue. We had pineapple, raspberries, braeburn apples, and strawberries:

For the chocolate fondue, I melted the chocolate in a makeshift double boiler and added a touch of vanilla extract and agave nectar and hazelnut milk until it was sweet and creamy enough for our tastes. The hazelnut milk added a subtle but recognizable nutty flavor that JD loved, but it wasn't as creamy as soymilk, and the end result was a bit thinner than I would have liked. JD has discovered that he loves hazelnut milk, though, and I think he'd use it on cereal instead of cow's milk.

Here's a picture of my dinner from that evening:

R had a lovely bottle of wine which she and I shared. The create-your-own pizzas were a hit, of course, and the pineapple was the favorite dipper for the chocolate fondue.

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