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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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.

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.