Italian Sausage

My 16-year-old nephew, a fantastic cook, stopped by last month for a cooking day with me and Boyfriend.  We thought it would be interesting for Chef D to cook a vegan dish completely from scratch and found this pizza recipe for him to prepare.  It was labour intensive, but Chef D dug right in resulting in a pizza that was unbelievably yummy.

pizza by duncan

The most fascinating element of this recipe was the making of the Italian sausage.  The use of walnuts instead of a meat-substitute had me convinced this “sausage” was not going to work.  Happily, I was wrong, wrong, wrong – the texture and taste are no different from meat sausage.  You don’t actually make this a link sausage, rather it is more like ground sausage in its appearance and it is easily crumbled onto the pizza.

italian sausage

Sausage ingredients (as seen in the link provided):

  • 1 cup dry walnuts
  •  1 small clove garlic, peeled
  •  2 tablespoons tamari
  •  2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  •  1 teaspoon dried basil
  •  ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  •  ½ teaspoon lemon juice
  •  ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

Combine the walnuts and garlic in a food processor and pulse until coarsely ground. Add all remaining sausage ingredients and pulse until well‐combined.

Boyfriend has since made the sausage using walnut, pecan, garlic, tamari, oregano, basil, fennel seed, crushed chili, paprika, and balsamic vinegar (it is always good to know you can make substitutions on a moment’s notice).  It only takes about two minutes to make this sausage and you can add it to anything – use it in spaghetti sauce, as a sandwich spread, or add it to a green salad for that extra zap of flavour.

By the way, we didn’t make the cheese for the pizza as per the recipe because of time constraints.  Instead, we used our standby nutritional yeast sauce.  We finished the day with vegan ginger snaps (made by yours truly) and homemade vegan ice cream (made by Boyfriend).  A lovely day, with lovely food, with a lovely nephew!

Armenian String Cheese!

Armenian String Cheese from Gh

Armenian String Cheese from Gharibian Farm, Carlstadt, NJ

When I go to downtown Houston I like to get Armenian string cheese at the downtown Phoenicia Specialty Foods. Despite the name it does not come from Armenia, but from Gharibian Farm in Carlstadt, NJ. It doesn’t say on the package what it’s seasoned with, but the Gharibian website confirmed my original suspicion that it’s red peppers and parsley. I first used it to supplement the mozzarella on pizza, but if you really want the full effect of the cheese use it as a substitute for all the mozzarella! It’s wonderful on the pizza! (If, in another life, you loved pepperoni pizza, this cheese will add some of that spiciness to a vegetarian pizza.) I also just loved the cheese itself: very spicy and a lot of fun to play with. It comes twisted, like a skein of yarn, but then I untwist it, pop one end loose and there are these amazing loooooooong loops of cheese, which separates into strands which could be separated into more strands. I love string cheese and this stuff tastes amazing. Look for this cheese at stores with a good selection of cheese…it makes the best spicy pizza cheese!