I have an ever-lengthening mental list of things I feel I should teach my children. It seems to grow by the day, with more and more items appearing: some amorphous (“learn to appreciate nature”), some practical (“learn to wash your hands after going to the bathroom”), some lofty (“leave the world a better place than when you came”), some motivated by my own self-interests (“learn to not say embarrassing things about your parents in public”). One of these goals is “be an active participant in democratic society,” so last week’s election was a prime time to talk about voting and “the issues.” Mainly this consisted of walking downtown to drop off our ballots and me trying to have philosophical conversations about the importance of participating in a democracy and my four-year-old talking about whether we could stop for ice cream. So I’m not sure how effective that was.
In any case, we tried to make election night a sort of party, eating pizza in the living room (a rare treat) while we watched the results come in on T.V. We had a fun time watching all the maps and fancy diagrams and switching between stations and, most of all, eating pizza.
I love pizza, and have a weakness for anything with barbeque sauce on it in general. These generally don’t tend to be healthy things, so I think this pizza is a pretty good compromise, and if both Ryan and I love it, I don’t know who wouldn’t. The sauce is tangy and bold, sweet and hot. There’s not much cheese—just enough to add a little creaminess from the mozzarella and the melted salty taste of feta. Thin onion slices add punch, and the chewy roasted tofu or succulent chicken add heft, all on top of a thin, but still moist, whole wheat crust (which you might recognize from the Costa Rican Calzones recipe). It’s fabulous paired with a green salad; I think it would also be great with an onion, basil, and fresh tomato salad in the summer months.
Now, the recipe I chose for our election night party has a symbolic meaning as well. Barbeque is quintessentially American, of course, but I also like the melding of vegetarian and meat options here; the simple and harmonious combination of two opposites. If there’s anything I would hope for in America’s near future, it’s that we could strive for a little more civility, a little more common ground, a little more understanding with those who hold different views. I’m sure we can achieve it. Every time there’s an election, we have a mini party at my house, even though we’re not usually rooting for the same team—or at least not all the same players. That doesn’t keep us from enjoying it, from discussing it, and from spending time together. So, I hope you won’t leave any comments regarding the outcome of the election, but I do hope you’ll try the pizza, whether you opt for chicken, tofu or both, and that you read this article on Civility, which I really enjoyed.
Speed it Up: You can make all the toppings ahead of time and have them ready to go whenever your dough is ready. You can also use store-bought barbeque sauce, of course, although this recipe takes just a few minutes. You can also keep this dough in the fridge for a few hours before punching it down and rolling it out.
Vegetarian Meal with Meat Option: This is pretty self explanatory, but you can easily do one pizza chicken and one tofu, or make each half-and-half. Of course, this also works if you do all chicken or all tofu.
Special Diets and Allergies: Vegetarian, Nut free.
Barbeque Chicken/Tofu Pizza
Makes two 14″ pizzas
This thin-crusted pizza is bursting with flavor. The strong tang of the barbeque sauce and the heat from the onion slices is mellowed by the creaminess of the feta and mozzarella. This recipe is designed to make one tofu pizza and one chicken pizza, but I usually do half-and-half on each pizza, so that everyone can eat as soon as the first one comes out of the oven. I like a lot of sauce on my pizza, but you can certainly use less than the amount this recipe makes if you like.
1 C warm water
2 T yeast
2 T honey
¼ C oil
2 T flaxseed, mixed with 3 T very hot water
3¼-3½ C whole wheat flour
½ t. salt
- Mix flaxseed and water and let sit for 5 minutes, or until gelatinous.
- Mix water and yeast and beat with a fork until foamy.
- Mix honey, oil, flaxseed mixture, and salt. Add 2 C flour. Mix.
- Stir in yeast mixture.
- Mix in remaining flour, 1/2 C at a time, kneading once it gets too stiff to stir, until dough reaches a nice, elastic consistency. The dough should be soft, but not sticky. Let rise 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
- While the dough is rising, prepare the toppings.
1 1/2 C ketchup
1/4 + 2 T brown sugar
3 T Worcestershire sauce
3 T apple cider vinegar
6 cloves garlic, smashed in a garlic press
3/4 t mustard powder
3/4 t salt
- Whisk all of the ingredients in a small saucepan.
- Bring to a low simmer over medium-high heat until mixture thickens, 5-10 minutes.
Take one 12-oz package of extra-firm tofu, drain and cut into 1/2” cubes. Salt very liberally. Heat 2-3 T of olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Fry the tofu cubes in the oil, flipping every five minutes or so, until golden all over, about 15 minutes.
Lightly brush one large bone-in chicken breast with olive oil. Sprinkle with seasoning salt. Bake at 450 F for about 35 minutes, or until no longer pink inside. Allow to cool, remove the meat from the bones, chop, and set aside.
1/2 C Feta cheese, crumbled
1 C mozzarella cheese, grated
1/2 red or yellow onion, thinly sliced
- Preheat oven to 450 F.
- Punch down the dough and roll out into two circles (or, if you don’t have a pizza stone, roll into rectangles to bake on cookie sheets). The dough should be thin, a little less than 1/4” thick. Sprinkle the pizza stones or cookie sheets with cornmeal.
- Place the dough on the stones or cookie sheets and fold up the edges to create a thicker outside edge.
- Mix about 1/2 C of the barbeque sauce with the chicken and toss to coat. Do the same with another 1/2 C sauce and the tofu.
- Spread as much barbeque sauce as you like on the dough, spread one pizza with chicken and the other with tofu. Sprinkle with onion slices and the cheese.
- Bake in the middle of the oven for 8-10 minutes or until the edges are just beginning to turn a golden brown.