October 22, 2010: An evening with friends having hot pot and carving pumpkins. Originally this was going to just an evening to carve pumpkins. I was thinking about just having a few friends and doing pizza or something simple. Running around earlier in the week, Yuki and I saw that the chinese markets had started putting out the hotpot materials as the weather was cold and wet. So the idea came to us to welcome the fall with an night of hot pot and pumpkin carving. Further along in the week, the idea to add yakitori style stick meat to the mix came and I picked up a small table top charcoal grill, and using wood charcoal, I set up a yakitori station.
We had bacon wrapped enoki mushrooms, bacon wrapped quail eggs, filet mignon, marinated chicken hearts, chicken gizzards, kurobata pork, teriyaki chicken on sticks, and chicken thighs on sticks (we never got to these)
And of course there was the hotpot. With eleven of us, we fired up two soup stations and everyone started cooking and eating.
The house was smokey and steamy with the grill and the hotpot going. We set up a fan to start blowing the yakitori station's smoke out which helped out greatly.
After dinner and cleaning up, it was on to the pumpkin carving.
All eleven of us carving up pumpkins.
Yuki's first pumpkin carving experience.
Pumpkin carving goodness from Yuki's camera. When using the dremel, I learned that pumpkin bits fly EVERYWHERE. My black shirt became orange, my face was covered in pumpkin goodness. I ended up running to my workshop to grab my goggles so that I could see what I was doing. Plus, tiny bits of pumpking flying into your eyes isn't the most pleasant sensation in the world.
About midnight to 1AM, we were all starting to finish up our pumpkins. I did a minion - it'll look more like one once lit up.
Everyone was done except for Jenn and Grace. Jenn added an additional touch to the back of her pumpkin. A true die hard Muse fan. Grace finally finished hers around 2:30 to 3 AM. Jenn and Helen ended up separating the pumpkin "brains" to harvest the seads for later use.
And here are the pumpkins lit up.
Well, since these next pictures were taken the following two days after the above pictures, I'm just adding them here. The first set of pictures is a comparison shot of aged vs fresh steaks. I finially got down to doing a taste test with my family and Yuki. Yuki and I are fans of the aged for the added flavors, my parents on the other hand, like the fresh for the fresh taste of the meat and tenderness as the aged steaks lose quite a bit of the water content hence less tender, but much more flavorful meat. The aged meats also have the ability to crust up a little giving an additional crispy texture to the ends of the meat.
Sunday, not satisfied with the pumpkins we carved two nights prior, Angel and I carved one more pumpkin each. I did a profile view of Shenhua from Black Lagoon and he did one with it's tongue sticking out.
Here is Angel's pumpkin, followed by pictures of it molesting Christiana's and Terry's pumpkins respectively. Oddly enough, Terry's looks like it's more amicable to the advances of Angel's pumpkin.