This is going to take some imagination.
So I imagine myself in my kitchen making pizza. I am transported on a line from Santa Fe, through the center of the earth, to a point on the other side - now I'm upside down. My kitchen is rapidly filling with seawater since I have landed in a remote part of the Indian Ocean. As the rising waters churn around me, I manage to grab my plastic tub of 00 flour, a pizza makeup board, a pizza peel, and a Caputo apron - all of which I fashion into a makeshift raft with a sail and barely make it on-board.
Just as my kitchen disappears into the deep, I snatch up a ball of Di Palo fresh mozzarella and paint a face on it. I name it "Mutzy" and it becomes my silent, yet comforting, companion on a perilous journey through typhoons, pirates, and shark attacks. Days, maybe weeks later, my lifeless, emaciated body washes up on the shores of Madagascar. Workers from a nearby vanilla plantation spot me on the beach and rush to my aid. They can barely make out the words my parched lips with enormous effort are trying to form to give voice to the only thought that has kept me going through the entire ordeal: "is .... it ...... still ...... March .... 2011?
Steve sends the Pizzamaking.com Gulfstream to fly me back home. On the flight, I use the SatPhone to negotiate a deal for the movie to be made of my ordeal. Brad Pitt will play me and Angelina Jolie's lips will play Mutzy. Mutzy and a big bag of Madagascar vanilla accompany me on the flight home.
Soon I am back in my kitchen making a pie for this month's challenge. I'll miss Mutzy.
A few years ago I actually acquired a big bag of Madagascar vanilla beans with which I made a batch of vanilla extract - really good stuff. One of my favorite things to make with it is Vanilla Shrimp from a Patricia Quintana recipe: Camarones a la Xanath from her book Mexico's Feasts of Life. This dish is in the section on Lent, which starts this week.
Shrimp are marinated in vanilla extract, garlic, onion, salt, and pepper. The shrimp are then sauteed in butter. A thick, rich sauce is reduced from the pan juices, chicken stock, white wine, and more vanilla.