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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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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