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

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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.