Monday, March 19, 2012

Pizza & Bags

Friends over to Play & Eat

The half days have begun. It is the last week of Shogakko. There was no lunch today and so my children invited friends over for lunch. My approach to cooking for Japanese friends as well as children is to cook within my comfort range, not something they know better than me. I made pizza.

One youngster guest inquired in Japanese if I had made the pizza dough myself. My daughter translated back my answer of, "Yes, I did. Do you like it?" The long and the short of it was that she asked to take a pizza home to her family so they could eat it. Apparently neither her grandmother nor her mother makes pizza from scratch. I sent home four slices of pizza reluctant to send home a whole pizza when I had yet to eat my lunch--I was busy feeding the frenzied crowd.

The Japanese boys won my cooking mama heart today. They ate the pizza and ate the pizza pronouncing it oyshi while eating. Later one of the boys asked me for more pizza. I tried to explain that there was no more by pulling out my favorite phrase for the end of a book, oshimite! He understood. I had a counter offer for him and his eager response was perhaps also disbelief, "Nikuman? Nikuman?" I took that as a sign of interest and then the next thing I knew there were three boys eating last night's leftover nikuman (pork steam buns). They too were pronounced oyshi. They asked me if I made them myself. I understood the question better this time. I replied, "So, so, so."

I need to have Japanese children over more often. They make me think I am a reasonably good cook!

Meanwhile my husband was upstairs abstaining from food in preparation for a medical exam tomorrow. Later he joined us for tea and birthday wishes. Over the weekend the Moose had pointed out that though we celebrated his birthday and had cake, there were no birthday candles and thus no birthday wish. I conjured up a batch of brownies in time for his guest's mama to arrive for tea. She arrived bearing gifts as if it were the Moose's birthday in Japanese fashion. I was glad I had stopped my sewing project and made time to bake. The Mule had absconded with her friend the pizza lover but she is not one to like brownies anyway. Her friend would have liked the brownies, as they were sweet, gooey, and dense. I still don't know what the Moose wished for, as it should be I guess.

Sewing Projects

While the boys played, I sewed yet another bag I hope will be for my mother. This time I checked that the fabric print was in an appropriate direction before I cut it. However, I soon realized I had made other sorts of mistakes. I was too lazy to return to work on it after my wee ones went to bed. Well, the truth is I was distracted reading the web, Facebook, and searching online for I can't even remember in the comfort of my bed within range of the kerosene heater. Not so productive as finishing my bag but I guess I could chalk it up to searching for inspiration.

Early tomorrow I will drive my husband to the train station, feeling guilty that I am not accompanying him for his procedure. I then plan to take my children who have a Japanese holiday to my sewing circle which happens to be nearby the hospital where my husband will be so I can get a bit of the sewing wisdom to be imparted in hopes that I can work on the new project after I pick up my husband and return home.

I feel like a sewing addict already!

I have some bag photos to post as I'm sure you await with baited breath my upside down bird bag. Take a look.
My upside-down bird bag :-) 
This bag taught me the value of buying a larger piece of fabric- it was too small for the pattern
This was the leftovers from my bunny bag
How about that pizza dough recipe.

Pizza Dough

Bread flour, 3 1/4 cups or so, 1 cup at a time
Salt, 1 tsp
Yeast, 1 slight TBSP
Warm Water, 1 1/3 cups
Olive Oil, 1 TBSP

In a large bowl, whisk together 1 cup of flour, the salt, and the yeast. Add the warm water and oil. Whisk together 1-2 minutes until smooth. Then using a spatula to stir, add flour 1/2 cup at a time until the dough is not sticky which is usually about 3 1/4 cups but not always. Switch to using your hands to knead the dough about 5 minutes. Form into a smooth ball. Cover with plastic wrap and allow dough to raise until double in a warm draft free place, about 1 1/2 hours. Rub olive oil on your hands, deflate the dough, and divide into 3 balls. Cover with plastic wrap and Again allow dough to raise until double (if you have time), about 45 minutes. Heat oven to 200ºC. Oil down a pizza pan. Stretch a ball of dough out using your hands, pressing from the center outward with your thumbs, gently stretching it like they do at the pizza parlor, add toppings such as olive oil, salt, parmesan, mozzarella, salami, basil, and tomato sauce.

Bake at 425ºF (~200ºC) for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Makes 3 pizzas.

Idatakimas I humbly receive,
Kim