Thursday, May 15, 2008

A Day of Epic Proportions

Today is already officially a Day of Epic Proportions and I haven't even made it through much of the afternoon yet.

First, I have this giant 150g ball of yarn (glasses for scale). This could be the yarn that ate my week! Yikes!

Giant yarn ball!

As you guessed, I have another knitting commission to work on.

I've also been doing some gardening, as it was a lovely day out. I was puttering around, ripping out my broccoli raab that bolted, trimming some things back, and planting some herbs, when I chanced to look up and see this:

Crazy bamboo

I was watching my bamboo happily re-leaf itself from the winter, but I did not expect to see a giant 8-foot shoot coming out of nowhere. Where did it come from? How quickly did it grow (we got 6" of rain or more over the last week)? And finally, why the hell didn't I notice it sooner?! It is really 8 feet tall, and flexible, as I discovered when I reached up to grab it.

Looking around all my bamboo is doing it.

Crazy bamboo

I guess it's some kind of crazy bamboo monster attack thing. All the pointy bits in this photo are brand new. I'm so glad this stuff is in containers, or I'd be in serious trouble. I may go out later and see if this is the kind you can actually watch grow.

Unfortunately I also have cleaning and laundry in epic proportions around here, so I'd better get to it.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Further Adventures in Pizza

As a displaced Chicago native, one of the things I miss is Chicago-style food. This means hot dogs loaded with toppings, Italian beef sandwiches, and, yes, deep-dish pizza. Transporting a frozen stuffed spinach pizza in my luggage has become a fixture of flying home. But now, with some of the research that resulted in the development of an improved Neapolitan-style pizza, we've begun to develop a proper Chicago-style pie. It's a very different animal indeed.

While my favorite was my hometown hangout, Leonardo's (sadly no longer in business), the other household favorite was a Chicago classic, Lou Malnati's. This pizza was intended to replicate a Lou's pizza.

We started with a heavy, oily, very elastic dough.

Malnati's-Style Chicago Deep Dish

Unlike the looser, wetter Neapolitan dough, this could be rolled out with a rolling pin.

Malnati's-Style Chicago Deep Dish

We built the pizza directly into a 9" cake pan. Next time I think we should put some foil strips into the pan to help lift it out.

Malnati's-Style Chicago Deep Dish

And if you've never had a Chicago pizza this next bit may seem strange. No sauce on the bottom - just lots of mozzarella cheese.

Malnati's-Style Chicago Deep Dish

And if you order a sausage pizza, let me tell you, you get a sausage pizza. Forming two Italian sausages into one large patty assures 100% sausage coverage.

Malnati's-Style Chicago Deep Dish

Finally the sauce comes last, with a dusting of powdered Parmesan. Lots of rich chunky tomatoes, but ours should have been drained more thoroughly.

Malnati's-Style Chicago Deep Dish

After baking for about 25 minutes the pizza looked done, but was actually a bit underdone.

Malnati's-Style Chicago Deep Dish

The very last slice, after it all had a chance to solidify.

Malnati's-Style Chicago Deep Dish

We had a good, but not excellent result. The crust was not too bready, and the overall taste was very good, but the tomatoes were a bit too soupy. But it was well worth the effort and much, much easier and cheaper than having one flown in! We'll try again soon, next time with a stuffed spinach pizza - the true classic.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

A Dilemma

My new copy of the Summer Interweave Knits arrived today.


However, I have to knit up all this yarn in about a week's time. Knit, or read?

I think you'll know which one I'll be doing.

(By the way... anybody local got a ball winder?)