Friday, August 7, 2009

Cooking with Jeremy Blaustein

Join us at HG101’s blog, as Jeremy Blaustein gives tips on improving your Neo Kobe Pizza recipe, as featured in Hideo Kojima’s Snatcher.


I’ve already covered eating Neo Kobe Pizza before, but I didn’t have any pictures then and I didn’t have Jeremy Blaustein’s personal endorsement either. I interviewed Jeremy for a massive localisation article (which Kurt is working on putting together for HG101), and I ended up with 3 hours of conversation which I then edited down in smaller chunks (which will also end up on HG101 in the future, perhaps in a podcast). During our lengthy chat, we spoke about Neo Kobe Pizza’s creation by Scott T Hards. Jeremy also had some interesting ideas: like putting shredded nori on the pizza, Japanese pickles, and more.

Grab the short interview here:

While typing this up I was also happily surprised to discover that Destructoid had attempted Neo Kobe Pizza several months back, and they loved it. They appeared to try quite a doughy, deep pan pizza, with chicken broth soup. I’m not a fan of thick-base pizzas, preferring thin crust, but the chicken broth sounds awesome. Here’s a photo of theirs which I’ve nabbed, and I’m fairly certain she wasn’t coerced into smiling:

Neo Kobe Pizza is extremely versatile, and can be customised to suit your tastes. I’ve also tried it with spring-onion Chinese Pancake (pictured - it is in many similar to pizza, and perhaps even more fitting for NKP), and it is just as awesome. Mix and match what you feel will taste good. Perhaps try some of Jeremy’s ideas, and sprinkle some nori on the pizza before it goes in the oven.

For an explanation of what the original Japanese version of Snatcher had, and how to make it yourself (sort of), check out the always excellent JunkerHQ:

Otherwise, let me go over my original miso and stone-baked recipe again.

You will need some miso (fermented soybean) paste. The jar in this picture is miso with red pepper and garlic, which gives everything a slight Mediterranean flavour.

One pizza. I’ve tried several store-bought frozen pizzas, and by some twist of irony, the pizza with the best base is Asda’s el-cheapo vegetable pizza. I’ve tried more expensive pizza brands, some well known, and with all of them the base is flaky and crumbly, as made out of shortbread. For whatever reason, this pizza is as close to freshly oven-baked Italian pizza as I’ve been able to find (this was some months ago – I’ve not made it in a while). Of course if you live near an authentic Italian pizza parlour, try theirs. Perhaps the next morning when cold.

Ultimately you want to end up with the above. A nice bowl of undulating miso soup. Fried onions, dried konbu, tofu cubes, and various dashi soup-stocks can all be made to improve the miso recipe. Nothing will ever beat the home-made miso I had while staying in Japan. I don’t know how they do it!

Pizza and soup side-by-side. I put shredded lettuce in the soup for a bit of crispiness. On the pizza is spinach and mixed peppers.

It’s been dropped in, and submerges below the surface.

I spin it round so the topping faces up (otherwise it’s at risk of falling off entirely).

I’ve picked the scoundrel up and taken a nibble: the base isn’t soggy yet, and still has some definite bite to it, yet the cheese is runny and delicious. I’m also holding the camera at the same time – damn I’m good with my hands, baby! I’m told by a Chinese friend that my technique for holding the chopsticks is the one used by farmers, as opposed to city folk. I’m still not sure if he was being serious. To make things easy you need a large bowl (mine was an oversized ramen bowl from the Japan Centre in London), and small pizza slices.

This is the best bit, if your pizza had a lot of topping. It’s the soup, with bits of topping that fell off, and all the liquid has been infused with pizza flavour. Man, that is some good Neo Kobe Pizza.

If you don’t feel like making the soup, maybe try instant or tinned soup, with any pizza that takes your fancy. Maybe take photos too, and we can eventually have an entire gallery posted up. Itadakimasu!

Many thanks to Jeremy Blaustein for sacrificing his Sunday afternoon to answer all my questions. Various images which weren't taken by me were nabbed either from Wikipedia under free licence, or from Destructoid (thanks guys, glad you liked it!).

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