Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Virtual Dinner Party

A couple things that have increased in frequency in the last year since moving to San Francisco are:
- days when the weather has been within 5 degrees of 63°
- times I have made homemade pizza for dinner
- times I have seen my family in person

(I feel like I could go on and on right now about other things that have increased in frequency since the move--i.e. times I have smelled pot while walking outside, the number of ironic mustaches I see on a daily basis, times I have wondered if the hills in SF are steeper than the last time I walked up them...things like that.  But those aren't as related to this post.)

Anyway, I see my parents and sisters a lot more now, which I really appreciate.  And part of the reason I see them more often is due to our FaceTime parties.

I've posted before about my Virtual Dinner Parties, and last week I "facetimed" with my sis and mom, so that we could have a dinner party together.  On our menu?  Homemade pizza, of course.  And fall-inspired sweet potatoes, since the weather was the crisp, fall-like 60°.  (I was pretending that wasn't normal.)

The chefs on both sides of the screen got started on onion caramelization, since, to do it right, you caramelize low and slow for 45 minutes or so.  I cooked up red onions, and yellow onions sizzled away in the other kitchen.

We also sauteed cremini mushrooms and chicken sausages.

[Side note: mushrooms are another thing I didn't care for while growing up, but I love them now.]

I reluctantly admit that I got "caught" sneaking samples several times while the food was cooking, and my mom definitely called me out on it... some things never change.

That's okay to do, though, when the dinner party guests aren't actually eating this food, isn't it?

Our perfected recipe involves a very hot oven, a pizza stone that has heated up to the oven temp, a couple minutes of baking the crust before any toppings are added...

...using both tomato sauce and pesto, and rubbing a little bit of salted butter along the hot crust before baking the pizza for the remaining 8 minutes.

We both added some greens after the pizza finished baking.  My co-hosts added arugula, and I added chopped basil and oregano from the balcony planter.  Greens add so much flavor.  (Here's where Giada would also talk about how greens add so much color!)  (If you have ever watched her show, please click that link and enjoy!)

Meanwhile, our fall-inspired sweet potatoes, which we created based off this recipe, baked away in the oven.  

And then we sat down to eat together.  The smells on the other side of the screen somehow made my dad materialize, so that was fun!  Wonderful company.

 My co-hosts also wanted to share a photo of their wine pairing.  Well done, D and M!

Our FaceTime evening made it feel like I had real guests in the house.  I loved it!  Hopefully many more to come.  One of these days we'll graduate from homemade pizza to something more fancy for our dinner party menu...though it is SO, SO good!


  1. Please send samples of that pizza. If it tastes half as good as it looks, it will be amazing.

  2. I recognize those plates and that stove. :) Co-host me in sometime!!

  3. LOVE the Giada link. Can't wait for "shhhhhhhrimp pahsta" (see article comments about drawing out sh sounds)

    1. Haha, yes! You are right on track with her lingo. That shhrrimp pah-stah with par-mah-gheee-ahhh-no was great!


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