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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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.