November 01, 2009

The Witching Hour

It's Halloween, and once again I handed out treats to the kiddies on my own. Rain threatened all day, but miraculously held off, resulting in a blustery, windy kind of evening for trick or treating.  Sixteen kids this year; never many in our neighbourhood.  A perfectly respectable pumpkin carved by moi, complete with batty grin.

Rich, back in HK until late November, is enjoying his sole day off of the week by sitting by the pool.  It's 28C in Hong Kong but the fashionistas have already started wearing their fleece-lined, fur-collared ski vests with chic jeans and boots. 

Funny to speak to someone twice a day, exactly 12 hours apart and million miles away.  Seems it's often around food: me, drinking my morning coffee; he, eating sushi for dinner, but both of us present in that shared moment.

Tonight I was inspired by trailrunner on Gardenweb to try making ciabatta style pizza, and was just tackling the very wet dough when Rich called.  As he drank his morning Starbucks, I struggled to stretch sticky dough onto parchment paper, slide the gooey circle onto a baking stone and cut up toppings.  The dough wasn't wet enough - instead of stretching to nearly the edges of the stone, it shrunk in on itself, protectively yielding a scant 9" circle.

The pizza is baked twice - once to set the crust, and then again with the toppings.  All in all a 20 minute process, just about as long as we chat on these twice daily check-ins.  The pizza was ready after we had hung up the phone, so of course I had to call back and report on the results.

Eye appeal: A

Lightly crusted dough, perfectly melted cheese and just right charred toppings - yum!

Crust: B

Rustic "holey" ciabatta-like appearance, but just too darn thick.  Like a calzone disguised as a pizza.  Gotta get the dough to spread more!

Taste: well, I'm biased :-)

I mean, who would say no to a homemade pizza dinner that looked like that? And it was pretty damn good for a first time out.

Still and all, a great meal alone is ... a lonely thing.  As I eat my solitary meal, I'd trade that perfectly browned crust and my glass of Chianti for any old morsel with Rich.  Sigh.

a carving we will go...

I don't get Halloween. What I mean is the EXCESS of Halloween - the tricked out houses complete with elaborate levitating mummies, the lights, the 15 carved pumpkins...  Much as I like to wield a knife in the kitchen, pumpkins leave me stumped. 

I learmed today that there is such a thing as a "pumpkin saw".  I discovered the pumpkin saw when I was searching online for a fairly simple stencil to use to upgrade my usual gap-toothed pumpkin face.  Now I get it.  One does this:

with this...

Are you kidding me????

I settled for the jack o lantern template with the "batty" grin.


and after!

No saw - just good old fashioned knives. 

Although I have to admit I bought a big inflatable pumpkin - the kind that has a light inside and makes a soft "whooshing" sound as it billows, ungainly and bloated, at the end of the drive...

Now, what was I saying about not getting Halloween?