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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Utopia

Phew... life seems awfully busy all of a sudden. My last prelim exam (of 5) is scheduled for early March. So much reading to do... I've still been knitting, though. :-)
Pattern: Utopia Hat, by S.M. Kahn
Yarn: Patons Classic Wool Merino, denim mix, less than 1 ball

Needles: US 5 16" circs

Since I am a l-o-o-s-e knitter, Size 5 needles were a good choice for a medium-sized adult head. It's nice and stretchy. For Paul, using 6s would be perfect. I mostly followed Susan's modifications, except for 1.5 inches of ribbing, then I didn't quite finish the 4th repeat of the upper stitch pattern.

While the marled blue yarn may not do the cables justice, I am so pleased to be blowing through my Patons merino wool stash. All these hats have been awesome stashbusters. I like knitting with the Patons, so I used to impulsively pick some up when it was on super-sale. Unfortunately it doesn't wear all that well.

Last weekend Paul and I made an old favorite recipe, Thai pizza. It's far superior to the rather bland CPK version. I usually make the sauce from scratch, but cheat and use bread dough for the crust. The pizza's best with a bready, hand-tossed style crust rather than a thin crust.

Thai Pizza

Makes 2 pizzas; serves 8

Sauce (see variation below):
1 tsp canola or olive oil
2 tsp. red curry paste
2 T. brown sugar
13 oz. light coconut milk
1 tsp. dried lemon grass (optional)
juice and grated peel of 1 lime
4 tsp. cornstarch
a little water
3/4 C. creamy peanut butter
4 tsp. fish sauce (AKA nam pla)

Pizza:
2 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
a little olive or canola oil
2 loaves Rhodes white bread dough, thawed (OR your favorite recipe for pizza dough)
1.25 - 2 C. mozzarella cheese, shredded (depending on how much you like cheese)
1 or 2 medium carrots, julienned or grated
1 C. bean sprouts
5 scallions, thinly sliced on the angle
1/2 bunch cilantro leaves, chopped

Make Sauce:
1. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the curry paste and stir through. Stir in the brown sugar and mix well. Add the coconut milk, lemon grass, and lime juice and peel. Bring to a boil

2. Make a paste of the cornstarch with a little water. Stir into the sauce to thicken slightly. Strain this mixture, then add the peanut butter and the fish sauce. Set aside to cool.
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3. Trim chicken; slice thinly, then cut into 1-2"pieces. Heat a little oil in a skillet (optional); add chicken; saute and add a little peanut sauce.

4. Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Form each loaf of bread dough into a crust on a cookie sheet. Cover the crusts with sauce, leaving a 3/4" border around the edge of the dough. Add chicken, carrot, bean sprouts, and scallions. Sprinkle cheese over the top. Sprinkle cilantro over the cheese.

5. Bake for 10 min. Pizza should be golden brown when done.

Sauce Variation:
When I'm feeling lazy, I sometimes use a whole package of Taste of Thai peanut sauce mix (requires 1 can of coconut milk, light or regular).

Follow package directions, EXCEPT:
While cooking the sauce, add:
- a little red curry paste
- a bit of dried lemongrass

At the end, stir in:
- 2 tsp. lime juice
- fish sauce, to taste (maybe 1-2 tsp? I love fish sauce, so I add more)
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Fun fact:
The Romans were absolutely nuts about fish sauce, which they called garum. See here to learn how to make fish sauce in the ancient way.

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