Bubble pizza and the happy trees

I was a PBS kid. Mister Rogers taught me how to love my neighbors and the importance of a cozy cardigan and slippers, which I slide into every morning in my adult office. My older brother was a rabid fan of this drawing program with a mullet’d man with crayon sleeves drawing imaginary cities in 3D. But all three of us were all transfixed by Bob Ross and his gliding paint strokes. The nature scenes that slowly melted onto canvas floating on top of soothing tones of Bob’s instructions, punctuated by the thwap thwap thwap of his brush against a cleaning bucket. His calm demeanor can lasso in even the most hyperactive minds, including that of children before their afternoon snack. 

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One of my favorite foods during my public television fandom years was BUBBLE PIZZA, which to my adult ears just sounds like a scuzzy basement punk band name. Bubble pizza is like a savory monkey bread, as it pulls apart into sections and extremely gooey and can be made by unsupervised children without any major disasters. As a kid, pizza is the ultimate meal and so imagine having a type of pizza that you can help make (i am bored! give me tasks!) and it involves scissors and an exploding tube of dough. Ain’t nothing better. So now that Bob Ross is streaming on Netflix and I can float in childhood nostalgia for many hours, I decide to go all in and make some bubble pizza to tear into while watching Bob feeds his baby squirrels with a eyedropper full of milk. Creatures big and small, Bob.

Switch on the oven to 350 degrees before you do anything else. You’ll need:

two tubes of average sized refrigerated biscuit dough or one of the imperialist GRAND biscuits.

a can of pizza sauce or half a bottle of spaghetti sauce

A bag of shredded mozzarella

Toppings! Or not!

On this rainy eve, I decided to fancy up the ‘za and shook out some freezer burned basil leaves from a ziplock bag and chopped them to tiny bits along with 2 garlic cloves and about a tablespoon of pine nuts. It was a long day at the office. A disturbed man kept calling and threatening to shove toddlers into oncoming traffic. I needed a few minutes of focus and tranquility that can only be achieved by thudding a chef’s knife against a wooden cutting board in dull repetition. The sound is very similar to that Bob Ross paint brush thwack.

Peel open the biscuit dough containers or if you need a little excitement, smack ‘em against the side of the counter and they’ll burst open. Last week I watched a friend open one of these suckers for the first time ever and the giggle yelp he busted out was blessed. Seriously, refrigerated biscuit dough is so kitch. The texture is combination of baby doll tummy and gak and it is a marvel of food science and I don’t use it enough in recipes.

Take each round of biscuit dough and cut into 4th or 6th or 8th, the cheaper biscuit dough can be kept in larger pieces while the puffy Grands stuff needs to be cut smaller because it tends to swell up too much. This can be done with kitchen scissors if you’re outsourcing this task to children and don’t want to supervise sharp knives.

Put all the pieces in a bowl and glug some pizza sauce on top, around ¾ cup, and then stir. You want it to be pretty moist but not too sloppy. At this point I added my cutting board pesto to the mix, so it would coat around each biscuit piece. 

Line and grease a casserole dish with aluminum foil as biscuit dough really likes to stick. Spread the pizza guts onto the dish so it is fairly even and keep a bit of space between the pieces if possible so they have some room to expand. Sprinkle the shredded cheese on top and add toppings (if any).

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the edges are quite golden brown. It’s really easy to under bake this dish which will leave the middle of the pizza too gooey and it isn’t good. Err on the side of visually overdone for this one and don’t hesitate to poke the middle and make sure that the pieces are firm. 

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Serve the molten cheese wonder with something green, like a cute salad made from CSA greens with a lil bit of vinegar and oil dressing or just some nuked frozen peas with butter and salt.

Now here to sit with a mug of wine and to learn more about Happy Trees and the baby squirrels. Oh, those clouds!

Bob-Ross pizza

Bob with his own slice