Derek and I don’t usually do anything special on Memorial Day weekend, but this year, we thought it’d be fun to make a typical American food with a twist. By “twist” I mean “Twisp and Catsby.”
Their webcomic is usually based on video games, current events, etc… but they sometimes have original stories. Among them, Lookouts is definitely one of my favorites (I have a thing for monsters) but my all-time favorite is definitely Twisp and Catsby. Twisp looks like a kitty dressed in a classy suit with top hat and monocle and Catsby looks like a red devil-ish thing. I just love the surreal world they travel. My most favorite illustration of them would be the one called “Tea with Moon” where they float in the space, having a cup of tea.
Moon = Pizza!
We love making pizza from scratch. Making marinara sauce, kneading dough, and putting whatever toppings we like. We used to use a regular baking pan but we recently bought an actual pizza pan, so it was a perfect chance to try it out.
The first thing I did for this project had nothing to do with cooking. It was drawing Twisp, Catsby and the Moon. Then I decided which food I’d be using for which part, made a shopping list, and got all the ingredients I needed.
I used this Marinara sauce recipe the night before. In the morning, I traced the drawing onto parchment paper and cut every piece out.
For Twisp, I picked cheddar, provolone, and salami. I was planning on using Tapenade paste (basically pureed black olives) for his suit and hat, so I bought black olives and pureed it with a mortar and pestle, only to find out that for some reason my pureed black olives weren’t a solid color. Also it looked like the surface would be a little too bumpy so I changed my plan, and went with salami. It turned out cutting salami was a lot of fun. It was like cutting a fabric made out of meat. I used the parchment paper templates to cut both cheese and salami, put them between wax paper and put it in the fridge.
For Catsby, I went and bought two large red peppers with the flattest surface area (one was for a backup) and I put the template on a pepper to find a good spot. Then I cut the red pepper around it, flattened the inside of the pepper by shaving the bumps with a knife. And I cut the pepper using the template, covered it with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge. He has two different tones of white, so I used fresh mozzarella for his horns and teeth, and provolone for the pupil with thinly sliced carrot as the glow around his eyes.
The problem was the Moon. I was counting on the Tapenade paste to be smooth / black enough to be used to draw the outline with a piping bag, but it didn’t seem like it’d work. So I had to go to plan B and used eggplant skin. I cut the outlines of the Moon from an eggplant using the template. I also cut the string on Twisp’s monocle, his whiskers, and Catsby’s hair.
*Just so you know, all the food that was not used in pizza making was SAVED, COOKED, EATEN later!*
After all the small pieces were made, we started making pizza dough using this recipe.
When the dough was ready, we spread it on the pan, put Marinara sauce, and sprinkled shredded mozzarella and some black olives on it. I realized that I still had sliced salami left, so I cut it with a star shaped cookie cutter and put them all over the pizza.
While I waited for the pizza to be baked, I baked Catsby and the eggplant pieces just a little bit in a toaster oven. Then I sliced some broccoli stem to make tea cup and saucers.
When the pizza was done, we realized something.
The recipe for the pizza crust was probably for an 18-inch (or larger) pizza and NOT the 14-inch pizza pan we used. As a result, the crust got SUPER thick! The regular cookie pan we used to use was pretty big so we didn’t realize this before. Next time, we’d be making slightly less dough. It was thick but still very soft, so I continued. </lesson learned>
Once the pizza cooled down a bit, I started putting each character on. Even though they were kept in the fridge until the very last moment, the cheese started to sweat pretty much right away once I put them on the pizza. Not too pretty but what can you do? That’s what delicious cheese does.
Even though the pizza was THICK and SUPER PUFFY due to wrong amount of dough, it was ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS! The outside of the crust was crispy but the inside was incredibly soft.
Making a pizza from scratch isn’t as hard as it sounds. You can make a large batch of Marinara sauce and freeze whatever you didn’t use for the next time. (or for any pasta dish) Also you can freeze pizza dough after the first rise by wrapping the ball of dough AIRTIGHT with a plastic wrap. I recommend anyone try it!
This non-bento may seem like crazy amount of work, but actually cutting cheese and salami for Twisp was the easiest part. The great thing about the “cheese art” (?) is that you can make it in advance and keep it in the fridge in a sealed bag until you use it. Catsby was a bit trickier because I had to make sure a pepper had enough flat surface area to work with.
I had tons of fun making this pizza. I think mostly because once I finished the planning/preparation, it was SO much easier than making a bento. Planning (drawing and figuring out which food to use) took the longest, almost all the cooking time was spent on the Marinara sauce and pizza dough, but cutting out all three characters took less than an hour. It was kind of like non-bento #38: Jeremy sandwich, but since this one didn’t involved seaweed, I didn’t have to worry about seaweed getting wrinkled. I’d definitely use the template/cheese method again. (SPOILER: I already did.)
All the photos of the preparation for Twisp and Catsby pizza are on the “Prepping for Twisp and Catsby pizza” set on my flickr!
For more pictures of my bento, visit Bento and non-bento! set and Bento details! set on my flickr page. (On the photos in the “Bent and non-bento!” set on my flickr, you can see the notes on the food explaining what they are.)