Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Night of 15 Pizzas

This Saturday night was the ultimate pizza party (take that, all the grade school ones we got for reading books!) For one brief night, we managed to turn Sacha and Maconda's kitchen into our own little Italy thanks to homemade cheese, sauce, dough and every ingredient our brains could think of. The Heights Pizzeria we created had something for everyone on our menu featuring 15 most delectable pizzas. Everyone can kindly stop throwing fancy dinner parties now because nothing you do will ever top this.

Sacha and Maconda AKA The Gracious Hosts

As Sacha and Maconda are among the rare group of our friends adult enough to own a home, they offered it up to mad pizza scientist Kevin MC and the rest of us for a fancy evening of showing our stomachs zero mercy. Maconda was excited for a day of cooking experimentation (see the upcoming mozzarella and ricotta making post), while Sacha was in full on project manager mode ensuring each and every aspect of our kitchen chaos was at least somewhat controlled.

Kevin MC AKA Doughmaster Fresh

Kevin MC (the brilliant biochemistry prof, not to be confused with our usual collaborator plain old Kevin) has been perfecting his pizza making technique for a while now. He came equipped with 20 doughs and enough ingredients and crazy ideas to turn Sacha and Maconda's kitchen into the quintessential lab. All the pics of him came out blurry because it was impossible to capture the speed at which he was dishing out the delicious calculated madness.

The Experimental First Pizza

Ingredients: Tomato Sauce, Parmesan Cheese, Mozzarella Cheese

Kevin MC needed to get to know his equipment, so we sacrificed a fairly standard cheese pizza as his first offering to the heating gods. We learned a lesson about the evenness of heating in the oven (hint: see the burn mark), and got to experience the wonderfully airy yet crunchy crust complimented by gooey cheese for the first time.

Kevin MC's Mashed Potato and Bacon Pizza

 Ingredients: Olive Oil, Mashed Potatoes, Bacon and Mozzarella

This was the pizza I was the most intrigued to try all night. Kevin MC's creamy mashed potatoes somehow managed to replace sauce for one hell of a tasty slice. Never before had I eaten mashed potato pizza, but by the end of the night I would have tried 3 (and that wouldn't be nearly enough).

My Bacon Jam Pizza

Ingredients: Bacon Jam, Homemade Mozzarella, Onions, Arugula and Cracked Black Pepper

When you already know what the greatest pizza in the history of bread and cheese is, why try to make anything else? Way back in 2012, Courtney, Lars and I first made this pizza while enjoying time by Venice Beach. Bacon jam absolutely has to be tried to be believed. The result is a super bacony almost BBQ sauce that would definitely go great on any and all foods. Our freshly made mozzarella (recipe coming soon), arugula and black pepper helped balance the pizza, while the onions provided a nice second layer of crunch. As suspected, the pizza was a complete hit (as was eating bacon jam with a spoon).

Laura V's Pear, Prosciutto and Blue Cheese Pizza

Ingredients: Olive Oil, Pear, Prosciutto and Gorgonzola

Laura V nearly shocked the world with her entry into the pizza competition. The powerful gorgonzola paired nicely with the delicate pear and salty prosciutto for easily one of the most complex yet simple pizzas of the evening.

Kevin 1.0's Meatball Pizza

 Ingredients: Kevin's Homemade Tomato Sauce, Meatballs, Homemade Mozzarella, Basil and Sauteed Mushrooms & Onions

This was the other pizza of the evening that I couldn't wait to try. Frequent blog adventurer Kevin makes some of the world's tastiest tomato sauce and meatballs. Seriously, it's practically a religious experience. Add in sauteed mushrooms, onions, and freshly made cheese, and you get what's essentially the best giant open-faced meatball sub you'll ever have.

Sacha and Maconda's Truffled Meat Lover's Pizza

Ingredients: Tomato Sauce, Ham, Prosciutto, Meatball, Mozzarella and Black Truffle

In an effort to be the fanciest hosts possible, Sacha and Maconda bought the holy grail of home chefs- a truffle. Unfortunately, it was drowned out by the meat and cheese explosion. Fortunately, the meat and cheese were superb (and we still have plenty of truffle for future enjoyment).

Sacha and Maconda's Pesto Chicken Pizza

 Ingredients: Pesto, Roasted Chicken, Mozzarella, Homemade Ricotta and Roma Tomatoes

I'm not a huge fan of pesto, but the one Maconda made converted me over. Add in the homemade Ricotta, wonderfully fresh, juicy tomatoes and chicken, and this was a refreshing pizza to help cut the meat sweats we were starting to experience.

Roland's Bacon, Mushroom and Olive Pizza

Ingredients: Tomato Sauce, Bacon, Prosciutto, Mushrooms, Kalamata Olives, Mozzarella and Ricotta

Roland was inadvertently a man after my heart. My sister and I can vouch that Mushroom and Olive are scientifically the best pizza combo. And then he went and added bacon to it! Well played, sir. Well played.

Cory's 4 Cheese Pizza

Ingredients: Ricotta, Mozzarella, Parmesan, Blue Cheese, Basil and Cracked Black Pepper

I'm not gonna lie. I was a little disappointed to see a cheese pizza pop up after the crazy wormhole of ingredients we had just gone through. Despite my doubts, Cory managed to confirm that with pizza, simple is powerful. The four cheese flavor bomb managed to be just as thrilling as any of our other concoctions and highlighted the awesome power of pepper.

Kevin MC's Bay Area Clam and Radicchio Pizza

Ingredients: Clam, Grilled Radicchio, Parmesan, Olive Oil, Fish Stock and Lemon Juice

I've never been more scared and compelled by food like this in quite some time. Could the coolest named vegetable come together with seafood to make a tasty pizza? The answer was a resounding "yes"! Kevin MC's Bay Area Pizza managed to avoid being overly fishy, and was kicked up even further by the always wonderful lemon and seafood combo.

Kevin MC's and My Bacon Jam and Mashed Potato Hybrid Pizza

 Ingredients: Bacon Jam, Mashed Potatoes, Blue Cheese and Mozzarella

We were just about to begin remaking pizzas in our gluttonous quest, when it struck us that we should create a beautiful hybrid of two of our best early pizzas. The bacon jam upped the decadence of the earlier mashed potato and bacon pizza, while helping us regret our decision to eat so much even more.

Kevin MC's Bagel and Lox Pizza

Ingredients: Smoked Salmon, Capers, Mashed Potatoes and Mozzarella

Breakfast on a pizza was just as good as it sounds. The mozzarella and mashed potatoes provided the creaminess, while the smoked salmon (which turned into normal looking salmon. Thanks a lot, oven!) and briney capers provided the flavor. Also, it taught me an important lesson to check your ingredients when I mistakenly poured fish stock on my slice thinking it was lemon juice (I'm gonna blamed my allergies for not catching the significant difference between the two most dissimilar smelling things in the world).

Danielle's Gluten-Free Pesto Pepperoni Pizza

Ingredients: Pesto, Pepperoni, Mozzarella and Mushrooms

Kudos to the bravery of Danielle for coming to what was essentially a giant gluten bomb. She made hers first in a keen cross-contamination weary move and sought to prove that gluten-free doesn't have to mean boring. Regrettably (since Danielle's cooking has never disappointed), this was the only pizza of the night I didn't sample.

Christina's Nutella Peanut Butter Dessert Pizza

Ingredients: Nutella and Peanut Butter Candy

Christina came prepared with two dessert pizzas. She had us at nutella. The peanut butter and hazelnut combo was just the smooth sugar grenade we needed to help us emerge from our food comas.

Christina's Nutella and Fruit Dessert Pizza

Ingredietns: Nutella, Strawberries, Bananas, Raspberries, Blueberries and Kiwi

Christina's second dessert pizza was even more magnificent than the first. Fresh fruit and nutella are among the greatest pairings known to man, and they delivered on the tasty crust.

Non-Pizza Dessert Corner: Because Why the Hell Not?

Danielle is the queen of gluten-free desserts. These Rice Owl inspired cookies were amazingly crispy chocolate treats that, sandwiched around her amaretto marshmallows (not pictured), made for a killer oreo.

Cory, aside from being an all-star art chemist who is lucky enough to be married to Doughmaster Fresh, is also a cheesecake phenom. Her Amaretto Sour (I'm noticing an unplanned dessert theme) Cheesecake managed to be among the tastiest, creamiest desserts I've ever had despite the law of diminishing returns (read: 15 pizzas) going against it. Somehow, I managed to finish every last bite of my slice including all of the genius crushed almond cookie crust.

The Next Day Pizzas: Because Addiction is Serious

I mentioned earlier that Kevin MC brought 20 pizza doughs. At some point in the evening, we decided to actually listen to our better judgement and stop the madness. Shockingly, Sacha and Maconda found themselves not disgusted by the mere thought of pizza the next day, and they put a few more of those doughs (and, from the looks of it, the mashed potatoes) to good use. I'm starting to worry that they have a problem.

This was one epic night of cooking and eating that may never be topped (and our bodies may never recover from). The night's success was evident by all the happy people unable to move themselves from their seats (but mostly by Sacha and I sprawled out on the floor and sofa, respectively). Despite consuming my body weight in pizza, I still found myself craving it the next day. Unfortunately, all pizza from now on just won't live up to that night.

Thanks again to our gracious hosts and pizza experts for a night like none other!

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