Harry Potter and the Golden Pizza Shark

 Act II. 

In which your kitchen heros return center stage, vowing to create an actual CRUST out of goldfish crumbs, and ne’er to quit ’til at last their most admirable quest is completed. Or they’re totally full. Onward! 

Enter: Pep’ and Cheese and a crapton of Goldfish. 

Once again with the grinding, this time using a sample of every Goldfish cracker available at Food Lion N. Main (basketballs, colors, mini, pretzel, garden cheddar, whole grain, original, parmesan) 

 

 For those of you keeping score at home, you may remember that Pep n’ Cheese had also procured a full set of sweet Goldfish: namely the honey, cinnamon, chocolate, and s’mores varieties. Suffice it to say that creating these utterly bad ass pizzas requires an such an intense emotional AND caloric output, that we were forced to refuel at regular intervals. Before we knew it, the grahams were gone. Our profound excuses. Now back to the ‘za: 

This time we learned from our mistake and added a little of nature’s glue to our butter and cracker mix: an egg! 

 

Keeping with theme: 

 

 Once again defying well-established pizza conventions by experimenting with color, patterns, textures and FISHIES. Behold! A pizzography that would make Lewis and Clark blush: 

 

We’re basically bedazzling pizza at this point, with much greater success than Jennifer Love BewHew. 

 

 If it ain’t broke (or you bought in bulk) don’t fix it: we again added crumblers n’ shredded cheese. Then back into the oven for the ultimate bake-down: 

 

VOIfreakinLA. With bated breath, we sliced n’ dice Goldfish 2.0… 

 

SUCCESS!! Goldfish pizza sliced! and remained in slices during plating!! Eff you, spoons, don’t come ’round here no’ mo’. And egg, you truely are incredible, edible, and oh-so-cohesive. 

Act III. 

In which your heros perfect Goldfish Pizza, pushing it, as it were,”to the limit.” 

First, we used the entire existing supply of Golfish, effectively covering our entire 14″ pizza pan. If Act I and Act II were Goldfish Pizzas, this is truly Great White Shark Pizza. 

 

At this point, success has entirely gone to our heads, so we decide to incorporate non-goldfish related ingredients. 

La leaf de Popeye: 

 

 Onions and ‘shrooms: 

 

Sautee it up with crumblers: 

 

Layered atop Food Lion generic brand’s FINEST pizza sauce: 

 

 And the streets are paved with cheese: 

 

Into the oven, or as I think of it, the Imaginarium: 

 

Yeah, it’s ok if you splooge a little.  

 

 And now for the final test… 

 

HOLY FLYING DOGFISH HEAD, BATMAN, HE’S EATING IT LIKE A NORMAL SLICE OF PIZZA!!!!! 

Act IV: 

In which the primary protagonist gives a final, heart-warming soliliquy regarding the Moral of the Story. 

Well folks, there you have it. Let this serve as proof that your wildest fantasies are ALWAYS possible. Except that one… But! If ever you’ve refrained from attempting a culinary creation because it seemed beyond reach, we hope that the Goldfish Pizza Triology will stand as testament to the fact that dreams really do come true. Now get out there and make your own! 

Most fantasies can come true. This one's never gonna happen.

Exeunt

Published in: on March 12, 2010 at 2:17 pm  Leave a Comment  

Go Fish

 Occasionally in the course of human history there emerges an innovation which so profoundly reshapes the very framework of our collective experience, one can’t help but sit back and bask in its glory. Or, as in our case, lean over and munch.

I’ll admit it: when Cheese first suggested Goldfish pizza, I mistook it for mere pipedream. Prodigious but preposterous, this vision was destined for a dusty corner in the dark attic of our minds  alongside “jello jacuzzi” and “raising a prolific sea monkey colony.”

 

And yet talk of the dream persisted. Could such a pizza exist beyond the fuzzy dreamscape of our cerebral cortex? That is to say… IRL? It would take untold amounts of blood, sweat, and tears. And that would just be from the dude bagging our groceries. This would truly be a test of our pizza prowess.

We had proposed past evenings as ‘the big night’ but the mood was never quite right. I had a headache, Cheese had to work late… the usual excuses. But to be honest, the pressure was a bit intimidating, even for gifted pizzarios such as ourselves, ESPECIALLY after the Pizza Fail we had just experienced (See also: Seppuku Pizza.) So much on the line, not the least of which was our reputation. Reputations and appetites.        

Taiwan knows how to set the goldfish bar high.
 
When the stars finally aligned and the dawn of Goldfish pizza’s creation befell us, we were truly starting from zero. We knew the basics: we wanted our pizza to pay homage to Goldfish, the pizza, and even the noble poisson d’or itself. Given the three-pronged nature of the culinary trident we were wielding, we were either gonna turn tides or sink some serious ships. In the end what would come of this vision exceeded both of our imaginations. Allow me, if I may, to present a play in three acts, a symphony in three movements, a MMORPG in three levels: Goldfish Pizza. 

 Act I.

    Step one was to acquire every single variety of Goldfish we could find:    

     

 Now that’s a line-up: Sweet and savory. Cracker, graham and pretzel. Looks of profound respect from check-out dude at the Comida de Lion. So far, so rad.    

 Beginning with Cheese’s jumbox of original fishies, we put mortar to pestle and created a fine fish power for the crust:    

     

 Melted a stick of butter, because, um, don’t you like, always do that when you cook? For good luck or something?    

     

 Mixed the two together and poured it out onto our pizza pan where it was carefully shaped :    

    

 Adorable. Jonah would have been HAPPY to have been stuck in that guy for 40 days and 40 nights. James and the Giant Goldfish? Yeah, who’s fantastic NOW, Roald Dahl? Next we stuck the crust into the oven (set on a pretty high temp) for about 10 minutes. We were essentially following a recipe for a graham cracker pie crust, minus the sugar. When butter started to bubble up, we extracted the Big Fish and put on a nice layer of pizza sauce.    

     

 Atop the sea of paste of tomato we gingerly sprinkled crumblers and delicately arrayed a sample from EACH bag of salty Goldfish we had purchased into a happy little school. This included, as you can see, ‘mini’, ‘colors’, and ‘basketball’ Goldfish. These varieties all taste exactly like original flavor, but make for wayyyyy trippier pizza decor.    

     

 Finally, a layer of pizza cheese and it was back into the oven for a final toast. I hand-crumbled (ooh, don’t that sound like something Rachael Ray would say?!) a few more goldies on top for that final crunch. Et VOILA!    

    

 It was time for the taste test. Cheese went to cut the pizza (jah-zing!) and found it was rather… erm, soft. How soft? Soft enough that this pizza was going to require spoons. Apparently the butter + goldfish combo utterly lacked any sort of cohesive ingredient, which meant that our pizza crust was just a bottom layer of buttery, crumbled crackers. Luckily enough, it was still freakin’ delish, even if it did qualify for a spotlight feature on ThisIsWhyYou’reFat.com.

Perhaps dizzied by pride, your chefs dared suggest to the innocent bystanders playing cards around the kitchen table that they TOO might enjoy sampling this particular slice of our project. Ever-wary, Cheese’s roommates eyed us with that special kind of suspicious disdain reserved for those who willingly give up bacon products. But just the AROMA of Dream Pizza did the convincing for us. That (and the fact that they were all at least two beers in) made this a much easier sell than previous meatless undertakings.     

Onlookers gawk at Goldfish Pizza.

  The minute they sampled, it was game over. They demolished the leftovers, pausing only to ‘mmm’ in delight.  

    

While the sting of our failure to create an actual pizza crust was still fresh, we took great solace in the fact that we had won the hearts and minds of more than one nonbeliever that night. Creating sumptuous meals out of classic snackfoods AND relieving diplomatic tensions between vegetarians and omnivores? Get me Wyclef on the phone because We Are the freakin’ World.  

Goldfish Pizza Act I. Aaaaaand scene.  

TO BE CONTINUED…

Published in: on March 11, 2010 at 2:46 am  Leave a Comment  
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Lost in Translation

Before I regale you with a samurai’s tale of Sushi Pizza, allow me to make a special announcement. The Pizza What chefs are pleased as pie to recognize that there are now seven symphonies in their pizza opus. We’d like to take this moment to thank you for joining us on our pizza quest. This isn’t just about filling our tummies with unorthodox, incomparable pizzas… it’s about the culinary revolution we’re crafting together. So, as they say in Japan, “Happy 7nd” Pizzaversary to you, Reader-San! 

Domo arigato, Mr. English Teacher.

 

 And so, in light of such a celebratory introduction, it is with heavy heart that I must write you tonight bearing bad news. Pizza #7, Sushi Pizza, was not quite a success. I would not go quite so far as to say “Pizza Fail”, but under pressure I might allow “Pizza Flunk.” Our culinary catastrophe was not for lack of forethought: A veggie voyage to Japan had been on our To Bake list since Pizza What’s conception. Nor was it for lack of inspiration. Quite the contrary, sushi begs to be shaped into whimsical, edible tableaux. WHAT’S THAT, YOU WANT PROOF:   

Pointilism at its tastiest.

 

  And yet. The best laid plans of rice and men… Perhaps in retracing our steps through this senseless food-foible, we may find some semblance of comfort and hope for the future. Hold my hand?  (Tighter?)  

  Our vision was to unfurl a giant makisushi and cut it into triangular slices. Seems easy enough, amirite? And in many ways it should have been. Yet there were early signs of the impending doom. Ex. 1: when Cheese when to make the sushi rice in the rice cooker, we found that lo! the lid had been pilfered! Potentially by ex-roommates, potentially by the ghosts of samurai who would rather commit seppuku than see their beloved national dish profaned in such a way. Either way, we’d need Patricia Arquette to find out where it was, so with heavy hearts, we moved the rice into a regular pot.   

Don't tase me, kemosabe.

 

 Happily, things started looking up when we opened the package of tempeh, sliced n’ diced:    

   

 Then stuck em in the toaster oven for that nice warm golden brown:   

    

Mmmm, now that looks totemo sexy, hai? And because we’re all about the alternative protein sources of the east (beloved by the wicked witch of the west) we also threw in a container of firm tofu. The tofu was more milky than normal, however, which threw up some red flags… and with all this throwing, somebody was bound to get egg roll on their face.
 
 
While Cheese was doing all the heavy lifting, Pep took over the chopstick-weight chore of putting the nori down in some sort of pizza-like shape. The rice was then applied evenly on top as the ‘sauce’ layer. Problem was, we totally forgot about the sushi rice vinegar until AFTER we had already layered it… so I sort of just sprinkled it on top…  And yeah, it worked about as well as Vinegar Sprinkles would probably taste. 
 

    

A second layer of nori was put on top of the rice, forming what we thought we be kinda like the Japanese equivalent of stuffed crust pizza and would also make the ‘crust’ slightly more stable than the single-layer nori would have been. HA. Instead of cleverly foreshadowing, let me just come out and say we would later come to realize that this particularly decision is where the sake hit the fan.  This was a full-on sushi pwn.   O.o
 
 
Blind to the error of our ways, we carried on with the toppings layer: the rest of the rice, the tofu, a mushroom, and chopped cashews.
 
 

 Followed by our freshy-fresh ingredients of cucumbers, an avocado (still not ripe enough), and the tempeh strips. Sushi pizza was complete!   

  
 
Now that is a geisha of a pizza. And we even had the good sense to keep our beverages in theme and pick up two bottles of sake to drink with dinner.  We chose the two you see below based on, of course, the prettiness-quotient of the bottle. Prettiness quotient is how the Pizza What chefs have made most of their momentous life decisions with little to no negative consequences, so it seemed a folly not to continue on the current path. With the pizza assembled and our sake poured, it was time to dig in! Sadly, drinking both bottles wouldn’t have been enough to make sushi pizza edible.

     

     

 Trying…   

 
 
Tryyyyying…

    

 
Not gonna happen.

    

Bite. Pull. Try to chew. Repeat. Watch as most of the pizza toppings fall off. STILL Cheese’s canines could not manage to get through the nori layer.  I remember there was a day in third grade where we were being taught about maps: how to read a legend, cardinal directions, Never Eat Soggy Waffles, that sort of thing. As a special show and tell, we were given a map used in military expeditions and wilderness survival trips, so durable it could not be ripped. Well if there’s one thing 3rd graders don’t like to be told it’s what they can and can’t break, thankyouverymuch. Cue twenty 8 year-olds all viciously trying to shred this map until they’re red in the face with exertion and the sense of futility. This nori would have made those maps look like tissue paper.
 
It ain’t pretty, but let’s just say the heat in the kitchen after this fiasco was almost, almost, too much to stand. Where had we gone wrong? Who could we blame?!  

Things get tense around the Pizza What table.

 

 But after a few minutes and a few more sips of sake, our shock and horror began to subside. Accusing one another of ruining sushi pizza was as impossible as eating it. It would simply have to stand as testament that even Pep and Cheese aren’t perfect. Hopeful once again, we picked ourselves up by the rickshaw handles and got down to business: scraping the delish toppings off the inedible nori crust,  and packaging it away in tupperware tombs. The nori, however, we were careful to save. It was the silver lining! Our golden ticket! You see, we’re selling it to PETA as a vegan-friendly leather alternative. Crotch rocket riders, rejoice! You can pop all the wheelies you want going 100mph on I-95… road rash is a thing of the past: 

    

 Well dear readers, now you know the tale of sushi pizza. Stick a fork in us, we’re done.
 

 Until tomorrow, of course.    

Pizza #7 recap: nori, sushi rice, cashews, tempeh, tofu, mushroom, cucumber, avocado.
Published in: on February 9, 2010 at 11:15 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Shepherd’s Pizza Pie

Snowmageddon, snowpocalypse, Keyser Snöwze, the Snotorious B.I.G (East Coast, what?) As a trained linguist, I must say that so far this has been the winter not of my discontent, but of my portmanteaugasm. (Heh? eh?) Apparently Virginia is quickly approaching the average snowfall for Anchorage this far into the winter. Which makes sense, because they can see Russia from their front porches, and I can’t even see the house across the street it’s snowing so hard. So with these short, dark, cold Blacksburg days, Pep n’ Cheese were craving a meal that would warm the very core of us and provide fuel for shoveling driveways, grooming terrain parks, and stirring the grog pot: shepherd’s pie! It’s hearty. It’s hot. If it fell out of the sky in large quantities, Fairfax County Public Schools would be closed for a month. Tell the meterologist to check their radar for high pressure bands of deliciousness!

According to Wikipedia, shepherd’s pie originated back in 1791 when the potato was first being introduced as an edible crop affordable for the great unwashed masses. And since 1791 was ALSO the year in which French chemist Nicholas Leblanc patented the process for mass producting good quality, inexpensive soap, we can assume that ‘the great unwashed’ included pretty much everybody. But then again, it’s pretty hard for me to imagine life before potatoes were considered an edible crop. I mean, what did they make waffle fries out of? Let’s take the Wiki explanation with enough grains of salt to rim a jumbo margarita glass and move on.

Since shepherd’s pie was invented to boost an ongoing marketing campaign for potatoes, we would have been remiss not to serve as advocates for the promotion of this economical and nutritional superfood. To further such ends, we would use nothing short of the most technologically advanced incarnation of the crop: industrialized potato flakes packaged for instant reconstituting. SNOWLY SHIT, IT’S SNOWING IN THE KITCHEN NOW! 

 

Now let’s talk mutton. The meat, not the chops. Oh, but let’s DO talk the chops later, it’s in my Top 8 favorite facial hair styles and I could just gab all day. But mutton is made from sheep, and Cheese and I, vegetarians both, only have two uses for sheep: wool socks and an adorable way to cut the grass. Enter crumblers! Plus a plethora of veggies and legumes to thicken it up: 2 chopped carrots, a can of chili beans, a can of kidney beans, a yellow pepper, a can of diced tomatoes, a can of corn, a portabella mushroom, an onion, and a package of frozen spinach.

Spred the on top of a Boboli crust, the ‘taters were our official sauce for this pizza. Combined ingredients, layered on top. Now THAT’S what I call a wintry mix:

Cheese, of course! Colby/cheddar shredded. Like fresh powder on the slopes:

 

Bake at 450 for 10min (convenient, since that’s also the time and temperature required for Pepperoni to defrost after watching Cheese snowboard for more than 10 minutes):

Mmm, now that’s a shepherd’s pizza pie: plowin’ its way into the snowbank of my heart.

Sheep are total brohams. And ya don't eat a broham.

Pizza #6 recap: boboli crust, mashed potato flakes, onion, yellow pepper, spinach, crumblers, kidney beans, chilli beans, cheddar cheese, colby cheese, carrot, corn, mushroom, crumblers.

IHOP: Int’l House of Pizza

 OK let’s stop before this blog goes a single line of text further and address the elephant in the room: the title of this entry was ALMOST ‘Pizza for Breakfast’. The thing is, that  syntax would have come perilously close to implying that pizza isn’t normally a breakfast food. Obviously that would be ludacris. It is well established that pizza, especially cold, left-over-from-an-after-party-drunk-order pizza, is as perfect for starting the day off right as a glass of orange juice and a bowl of Wheaties. Or a bowl of something.  

2nd Runner-Up in the Acceptable at Every Meal Category

 So, no, pizza for breakfast would not be KRAZY enough to play a starring role on the Pizza What stage. Luckily, this wasn’t actually Pizza for Breakfast… no. We were eating it at 9pm, after a full day of eating other things. Instead it was Breakfast Pizza. Aye, therein lies the rub. So rub the sleep out of your eyes, put the coffee on, and behold… Breakfast Pizza!

Our goal was to combine all of the things you would normally have in a no-holds-barred weekend at Grandma’s type breakfast. So obviously we were going to have scrambled eggs and sausage on a giant pancake. 

Start with a pouch (yes, pouch) of instant pancake mix, add water and an egg, get to mixin’: 

 

Don’t act suprised that there were mimosas. This is BREAKFAST pizza! For those of you keeping score, it’s worth noting that yes, we did go for the $4 bottle of Andre champagne but invested in the high-end organic jug of orange juice. Feel free to make your own values judgment when recreating this recipe at home. 

 

Next came the omelet ingreds: onion, red pepper, Morningstar breakfast sausage patties, and Gil, a particularly noble portabella mushroom. 

  

 Mixed in the eggs… originally we only used a few, but kept adding more and more for ultimate scramblage. Next thing we knew we had added like 6! Impressive. But then again, growing up there was this guy I knew who ate four dozen eggs every morning to help him get large. Now that he’s grown he eats five dozen eggs, so he’s roughly the size of a barge

 

Lord, he was born a scramblin’ man.  

 

 Meanwhile, we make the pancake “crust” in deep skillet (1 packet was 2 crusts-worth.) Pour the scramble on top and it’s time to RISE AND SHINE, PIZZA LOVERS! 

 

 

 

 Of course no breakfast pizza would be complete without the proper maple syrup dressing: 

Now that’s a hell of a way to wake up

 The Pizza #5 recap: red pepper, sweet onion, fake sausage, mushroom, eggs, pancake mix, maple syrup.

Published in: on January 31, 2010 at 3:52 am  Leave a Comment  
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Veni, vedi, ate.

Ah, the meat tornado:  

Auntie Em, Auntie Em!

For those of you who didn’t spend a year living in a city with more kebaberies per block than New York City has Starbucks, a vertically mounted rotisserie of lamb may at first intrigue– even intimidate. But fear not, gentle readers, your herbivorous hosts will hold your hand every step of the way. But be prepared… because     

... and I'm eating off those abdominals.

  Allow me to explain, by way of introduction, that our theme tonight was to go Greek. And by ‘go Greek’ I don’t mean ‘wear a suit and tie to football games’ or ‘attend win-a-date auctions with functional alcoholics’. We’re talkin’ straight up democracy-inventing-Olympic-Games-dominating-banging-out-goddesses-disguised-as-mortals-or-swans GOING GREEK. And this would require gyrating. Gyroing? Doner kebab.     

Only ninjas can be trusted.

  As you can see, doner kebab is basically a huge chunk of meat which rotates on a spit waiting to be shaved down and tucked into a pita. According to my sources, doner kebab came to Greece via the Turks, who, after a raucous all-nighter of chariot races and pouring out libations with their Hellenic brethren and sistas, were positively famished, but waaaaay too tired to get up and find a fork (who hasn’t been there!) So, they simply un-sheathed their swords and hacked off some slices (we can only assume those of the hoi polloi armed with bows and arrows explains the invention of the kebab skewer.)  

"After Party"

The First Kebab

  This low-effort-high-return method of food preparation continues to thrive across the pond today, where, for fun-loving youths, kebab shops are the European equivalent of Wendy’s All Night Drive Thru. Since the Pizza What chefs happen to be vegetarian (SPOILER ALERT: so will all the pizzas…) we clearly were not going to have an actual meat tornado. But our goal was to harness the spirit and as much of the look as possible using our old friend Seitan.  

An entire package of WGF, soy sauce, a little miso to make up for the lack of enough soy sauce, mix together and simmer for an hour in a Big Pot. During simmertime, Cheese rummaged through the machine shop of 1280 N. Main St to find a suitable skewering device. And he came back with a 5 foot pole. Yeah, we’re kind of a big deal.      

      

Sadly, the seitornado would not stop doing the fireman’s slide down the skewer! Our dreams of kebaberation began to crumble like Oddyseus’ dreams of being home from Troy by dinner. Alas, discouraged but ne’er defeated, we de-skewered the seitan blob and sliced it up. Point of interest, the seitan, which was of an uneven consistency this time, had little pockets of air that were particularly tough. It was definitely more meaty than our last batch, and came a little closer to lamb or pork than chicken. Ya know… if you’re into that kind of thing.  

      

Next, we chopped up onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, some sun-dried tomatoes (which I purchased in bulk, so expect SDT cameos in several of our next pizza features)… Zeustastic.      

      

      

Sauce this time was a spicy pepper hummus with eggplant meze layered on top:      

      

     

Combined all our ingredients and dumped them on top of the crust; the effect pretty much resembling a cuddle-puddle of post-battle Spartan soldiers from 300:    

     

Add a can of chic peas and a tub of feta cheese because… well… doi. The Parthenon is practically made out of the stuff.     

     

Into the oven aaaaaaaand PRESTO!    

     

     

Veni, vedi, ate. The pizza is cast. Heck, we might as well been eating it off pieces of the Acropolis here (though Mama Cheese’s beautiful handmade plates could put red figure to shame.)     

  
Fig. 1. Blue plate special.

So, readers, at this point most of you are thinking to yourselves, “I swear. Everytime I think I’ve seen the most delicious pizza ever created, Pep n’ Cheese come out with something so amazing it reshapes my entire philosophy of eating.” This is normal. It will continue. But some of you (yeah, like you… with the face) may be experiencing a slight nagging feeling, generally ignore-able but incessant, like the buzzing of a mosquito or your mom asking you if you’ve cleaned your room: “Was this truly a KRAZY pizza? Or was it merely an Olympian Greek pizza?” In response, I offer you this story: “in the year 75 BCE,  while sailing to Greece, Caesar was kidnaped by Cilician pirates and held for ransom. When informed that they intended to ask for 20 talents, he insisted that he was worth at least 50. He maintained a friendly, joking relationship with the pirates while the money was being raised, but warned them that he would track them down and have them crucified after he was released. He did just that, with the help of volunteers, as a warning to other pirates, but he first cut their throats to lessen their suffering because they had treated him well.” The moral should be clear: if you dare to question Pizza What, There Will Be Marinara. I mean BLOOD!    

But what to CALL it? This pizza represents all the bounty of Zeus and Athena, O oracle of satisfied tummies! But it’s piled on a homemade pizza crust, O undertaking of Roman hubris! Could there possibly be a single nomenclature that would capture both Greek and Italian culinary heritages as well as convey the historical significance of such a combination in the Pizza What oeuvre? I think you know where I’m going with this…    

Pizza #4, I hereby dub you “the Caesar Milan“.    

  

Especially because after Cheese puts enough spicy stuff on it, this pizza is officially in the Red Zone. Welcome to our pack, Pizza #4. Love, The Pizza Whisperers…     

Pizza #4 recap: homemade crust, chick peas, feta, hummus, eggplant meze, red onion, cucumber, tomato (sun-dried and fresh) seitan.  

Drop the freakin' panpipes and get me another slice!

Seitan is My Motor

Who can forget the first time we took my dear Southwest Virginian roommate to Café Asia? This Wilson Blvd restaurant relies on most Americans’ ignorance of the disparate and unique cultural heritages of the individual nations that make up said continent in order to serve numerous far-eastern cuisines under a single Washingtonian roof. Don’t get me wrong: I love one-stop shopping. And happily, the establishment’s quality food compensates for a blurring of geopolitical borders. Admittedly, with her total exposure to ‘Asian’ cuisine limited to Kobe Japanese Express and the Chinese buffet at University City Mall, the bar wasn’t set all that high for our foreign food debutante. Nevertheless, when she brought that first bite of pad thai to her lips— initially approached with such trepidation!—her eyelids sinking slowly in delirium, nostrils flaring slightly at the aromas of distant lands, and finally, the tell-tale “mmmmmm”… for this corn-fed farm girl, our entire voyage to the godless, money-grubbing land of Northern Virginia had been justified. Such was the emotion I hoped Pad Thai Pizza would capture, even for the most jaded Thai schoolers among us.  Having rushed to make Mexipizza, the all-day-all-play nature of Saturday lent itself well to a more time-consuming pizza. Thus we opted to a) make our own crust, and b) make our own seitan:  

   

After asking a mutual friend (the Internet), I settled on the classic unbleached flour + yeast + a little oil combo. Knead, knead, knead. Punch, punch, punch. Ya gotta wait an hour for the dough to rise, so this is a good time to take a break. Then it’s  knead, knead, knead. Punch, punch, punch. Aye, macarena… AIGHT!  

My first time, but Cheese is an old pro. Wheat gluten flour (WGF from here on out) + regular flour + soy sauce. Knead, knead, knead. Punch, punch, punch.  How are those forearms doin, kids?  

After cooking the seitan in a pot of vegan vegetable bullion, it was time to assemble the toppings…  

 Brocs, red pepper, mung bean sprouts, thai noodles, onion, all gettin’ friendly in the Wok.  

 Sauce-wise, a suprisingly-healthy pad thai sauce with crushed peanuts mixed in seemed fitting:  

  

Having spread the dough out onto a large baking pan, we applied the sauce. Seeing our small container would not go as far as hoped, we added a little teriaki, in true Cafe Asia fashion.  

   

While our directions said to preheat at 500F, we were MOST doubtful, and opted to turn the oven down. What do parents call that again? Oh yeah, a ‘learning experience.’   

Ye of little oven temperature faith!

Mais quand même, our pizza emerged looking as gorgeous as those posters of Thailand they sell on campus at the beginning of each semester (you know…  the ones under all the Warhol reprints, the grainy Bob Marleys, and Alcohol-themed bastardizations of the periodic table.) Without further ado, Pep n’ Cheese are proud to present… Pad Thai Pizza: 

  

So, Pad Thai Pizza proved as successful as we hoped. Some minor notes: in the future, we are going to A) believe them when they say to bake at 500 degrees,  B) not fall asleep while the left-over seitan we hoped to turn to jerky is still in the oven… unless we’re TRYING to make a charcoal substitute instead of a meat substitute.  

Re-cap:  

Pizza #4:  homemadee dough, pad thai sauce w/ teriaki and crushed peanuts, onion, red pepper, broccoli, pad thai noodles, mung bean sprouts, and seitan cubes. 

Until tomorrow! You stay classy, interwebs. 

Cheesy Gonzolez

(Nota de Ed.: Era mi sueno de escribir este blog en espanol, pero mi nivel de comprension no es suficiente para hacerlo. Lo siento, amigos, amigas, y comedores. ¡La proxima vez, si dios quiera!)

“If you can’t stand the heat, don’t get so spicy.” — Lauren

Well, pizza peeps, Taco Pizza came faster than you can say ‘andele andele’. I needed a few days to digest before I felt ready to sit down and kneed away at the keyboard, regaling you dear readers with our positively Quixotic culinary adventures (wait, the Don was from Spain, not Mexico… meh. what’s Spanish for ‘tomayto, tomahto’?) Anyway, this was a time trial pizza. Shopping commenced at 6pm with the goal of finishing and having me out the door again by 7:30. In the end we needed 30 minutes extra, but it was still a personal best for us (especially given my tendency to waste precious minutes softshoeing down the canned food aisle.)

Mexipizza ole!

Layer #1: Refried bean base on top of Boboli brand thin-crust:

Layer #2: Enchilada sauce on top:

Layer #3: Toppings of black beans, a red pepper, a sweet onion, diced fresh tomatos:

Now you may be thinking, “Awesome. Another epic pizza brought to me by Pepperocini and Cheese. Is there anything these two CAN’T do?” BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE.

MUCH, MUCH MORE!

Upon returning home from the store, Cheese sought to get a rough idea of just how high this pizza was gonna be by stacking all of the ingredients on top of the crust. Turns out? It would have been 4” high. Pepperocini can’t even walk in heels that high. So a second crust was promptly procured, with the hopes of making two 2” pizzas instead. A slight variation change: crumblers and salsa added!

The rest proceeded equally for both versions. We added a half a bag of taco cheese on top of each, baked for 10 minutes aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand:

Hold on to your pinatas, people, cause this has more goodness than you can shake a maraca at.

Height admittedly remained an issue, especially after we placed a splendid garnish of shredded lettuce on top, so we had to get a little creative:

Mexipizza, if you aren’t reason enough to keep conservatives from building The Fence, I don’t know what is. DELICIOSO!

The recap:

Pizza 2a:

thin crust, refried beans, enchilada sauce, red pepper, onion, tomato, black beans, taco cheese, lettuce.

Pizza 2b:

thin crust, refried beans, enchilada sauce, crumblers, salsa, red pepper, onion, tomato, black beans, taco cheese.

Easter in January

So tonight was a night of ressurections. Not J-Man, maybe, but he gets his day in April (or is it March? We Unitarians aren’t much for dates…) Anyway, I was thrilled when my car started, thrilled when my old laptop booted up, thrilled when Cheese and I managed to fill an entire canvass bag at Goodwill for under $10. And yet none of these rebirths were as deliciously rewarding as the one that took place in the oven.

Yesterday (as my car was dead and had not yet rolled away the stone) I got good n’ lazy and ordered a pizza from local legend Gumby’s. Cheese was right to point out that while Gumby’s is inarguably the best source of Pokey Sticks this side of that creepy claymated house where the block dudes lived, their veggie pizza left something to be desired. Rather bland and with a few measily tomatoes, mushrooms and peps, it was no Garden of Eden on dough.

Block Dudes

Block Dudes react to Gumby's Veggie Pizza

Perhaps it could be… improved upon? My partner-in-kitchen had already improved personal pizzas in the past, and I knew this would pose little difficulty for our cooking combination punch.

With the existing base of cheese and veggies, we figured we only needed a couple add-ons to jazz things up. Tofu for protein (and because it kicks ass) was an obvious choice. Cheese cut the tofu into slices that ended up deliciously french-fry-esque when he was done frying them up in Deep Skillet with a little oil. The jar of leftover edamame would add a little color and flavor without taking up too much space or time. A little extra parm on the pizza fetched by yours truly during the tofuing was the the icing on the cake.  Dumped it all on top of the Gumby’s pizza already warming  and returned the whole thing to the oven for about 5 minutes:

As you can see, the result was breathtaking.

He Has Risen!

I'd Come Back for Seconds, Too!

From what had been a wilty, uninspired and generic delivery grew one of the best pizzas I’ve ever had. Not to mention… an idea: A month of pizzas, trying as many crazy, unexpected, and mouth-watering combinations as possible. Would we get sick of pizza? Scoffable. That would be like saying can you get sick of art, or sunsets, or porn. So with that, we welcome you to the Pizza What? Challenge. Better get your tip money ready, ‘cuz these are gonna delivered HOT to your door.

Pizza Heaven

Ding dong.

The Re-cap:

Pizza 1: Gumby’s crust, cheese, green pepper, onion, mushroom, tomato. Our own added parm, tofu, edamame.

Published in: on January 12, 2010 at 3:53 am  Comments (1)  
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