This past weekend was spent on nothing but eating and carving pumpkins. I’m gonna need the week to recover from all the food consumed while the carved pumpkins sitting in my living room slowly deteriorate. Friday night was originally planned for a simple gathering of friends to carve some pumpkins. Originally I figured we’d order pizza and do something simple. Unfortunately, as the week progress, those plans changed for the more elaborate. Food was consumed and pumpkins were carved. One of the guys made a Zaku pumpkin, so even tho there’s no models involved, Gundam is still a part of our everyday lives…
Again, the original plan was to do something simple, delivery food and pumpkin carving. Earlier last week, while wandering through the local Asian supermarkets, Yuki and I noticed that with the cold weather, the markets have set up their hotpot displays with burners pots, cans of soup, etc. The cold rainy weather was perfect for this style of communal cuisine. So we decided to turn the pumpkin carving night into a hotpot + pumpkin carving evening. A list of raw materials was created and divided out to the folks coming over. A little furthering along in the week, the complexity bug bit me again, and I decided to add yet another element to the dinner, yakitori aka stickmeat.
Yuki and I gathering a good number of the basic materials for the yakitori part as well as a few things for the hotpot. Thursday night we spent time preparing the yakitori items:
- Bacon wrapped enoki mushrooms
- Bacon wrapped boiled quail eggs
- Marinated filet mignon chunks
- Marinated chicken hearts
- Chicken gizzards
- Teriyaki chicken chunks
- Pork belly
- Chicken thigh chunks
I picked up a small charcoal table grill and set up a little yakitori station at the back of the dining room. Wood charcoal and chunks of mesquite wood was added and using my grill grates, I had my own yakitori style grill.
For the hotpot side, we had two burners heating two pots of soup. There were eleven of us and everyone ate while I grilled the stickmeat. The room got a little smokey as I didn’t have the proper ventilation set up. I was by the screen door, but smoke was filling the room. Grabbing my big fan, I set it up on my chair and in short time, the room was cleared of smoke.
Once the food was finished, and surprisingly, we had very little left overs. We did have the full amount of chicken thighs that were not grilled, but almost everything else was polished off. Damn those bastards can put away food. The tables were cleaned off and pumpkins were gathered in preparation for slaughtering.
The room quickly filled with the smells of pumpkin innards as we cut the tops off and pulled out the stringy orange pumpkin guts. Knives, carving tools, scooping spoons and various other pumpkin carving implements came out and went to work on butchering our orange friends. For a good number of the folks here, they hadn’t carved a pumpkin in years, some had never carved a pumpkin ever.
Yuki was one of those that had never carved a pumpkin, and here’s her pumpkin:
The pile of pumpkin guts grows as the night wears on, time is completely forgotten as we’re all immersed in our pumpkin carving fun. I break out my dremel to help shape and sand my pumpkin. Tiny chunks of pumpkin fly everywhere. My black shirt turns orange. My face is covered in micro pumpkin bits. I ended up running to my workshop to grab my goggles so that I could see what I was doing. Plus, tiny bits of pumpkin flying into your eyes isn’t the most pleasant of sensations in the world.
Everyone with the exception of a few start finishing up their pumpkins around 1AM. As we complete our pumpkins, we set them up on the table in the living room for display.
Jen and Grace are still busy working on finishing their pumpkins we we start lighting up the finished pumpkins. Jen put the finishing touches on her pumpkin, can you tell she’s an uber fan? Grace ends up finishing her pumpkin around 3am.
And here are all the pumpkins lit up.
The next night, I cooked some steaks for my family. Over the week, I had aged some steaks and on Saturday, I picked up two cuts of fresh steaks. The cuts were the same as those I aged. We wanted to do a side by side comparison, aged vs fresh. The color of the steak is pretty evident, as well as the size of the steaks.
The final verdict is that the fresh steaks are more tender and have a “fresh” flavor, while the aged were not as tender, but had a stronger flavor as well as a crispy top layer as a by product of less moisture in the steak allowing for the cooking process to create a nice crispy crust to the meat. Yuki and I prefer the aged while my mom definitely prefers the fresh. Well, less work to prep steak for her in the future. But I’ll definitely continue to age steaks for my own consumption.
Sunday comes around and I’ve not completely gotten the pumpkin carving bug out of my system, so with the remaining pumpkins I start work on my second pumpkin. Angel comes over and carves up his second as well. I work off a silhouette of Shenhua from Black Lagoon as my template, and Angel just wants to make one with it’s tongue sticking out.
Here is picture of Angel’s second pumpkin, followed by it molesting Christiana’s and Terry’s respective pumpkins. Hell, it serves them right for leaving them at the house right? Oddly enough, Terry’s looks like it’s more receptive to molestation…
All the pictures from this past weekend are here: http://gamerabaenre.com/pumpkin_carving_2010.htm
And as a side note, Manny brought over his NeoGrade Gouf Custom for a photography session. In the midst of all the pumpkin carving, hotpot/yakitori eating fun, we snapped some pictures of his most recently completed project:
More pictures here: http://gamerabaenre.com/manuel.htm#4