Which brings me to Saturday, November 21 when I experienced a hysterical pop culture moment, Thai style. I love the theatres here and have written about them before (plush, leather recliners with pillow and blankets and valet popcorn and cocktails... what's not to like?!). On this particular Saturday, I entered the huge lobby with soaring ceilings and was shocked to see it filled wall to wall with people. Lines snaked in various directions and people of all ages waited, laughing and chatting and dressed in costumes. There were vampires, there were wolves, there were moody looking girls in long black wigs. Signs with "Team Edward" and "Team Jacob" were being handed out randomly and two Thai Edward and Jacob impersonators greeted the waiting crowds. Pictures were snapped, videos were being shot and the movie's soundtrack pulsed through the air.
People were prepared to wait for hours for a ticket. This was the first Saturday that the movie was playing and three days into the movie's run. No advance tickets were sold, but the film was playing on seven screens. I stood for about five minutes at the end of one of the snaking lines until I realized that I was planning to see the film in one of the Ultra Screen Theatres which have a special VIP box office. (The Ultra Screens, also called First Class in some theatres, are the more expensive, but "totally worth the ticket price" experience.) Spying the special box office and reacting with mild shock when I realized that there were only three people waiting, I quickly moved that direction. Ten minutes later, popcorn in hand, I kicked my shoes off (as is the custom), settled into my posh leather recliner and laughed at the craziness still underway in the theatre's lobby.
Cooking in Thailand, entry no. 71:
Rustic Corn Pizza
I had to create a recipe using corn because the vegetable is added to the oddest of things here in Thailand. I laugh every time I discover a 'new' dish where it is present! Corn seems to be a match for anything and everything here: on pizza, as an ice cream topping, on a burger, along with maybe a more traditional use of corn in soups and stir-fried veggie dishes. This cornbread-like crust is scattered with little pops of sweet corn... a really nice and surprising addition to a rustic dish perfect for a kick-back Friday movie night.
3/4 cup warm water
1 teaspoon yeast
1 teaspoon honey
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup corn meal
1 teaspoon salt
5 large ripe tomatoes, halved
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, skin removed
1 giant hand full of basil leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1 chili pepper, split and seeded
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup of water
1 ear fresh corn, cooked and cut off the cob
8 cherry tomatoes, split in half
1/2 onion, diced finely
4 slices of ham, sliced into thin strips
1/2 cup of diced fresh pineapple
1 hand full of basil leaves
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
dried red chili flakes, optional
*you'll need a bit of veggie oil on hand to prepare the pan and the crust during assembly
Make the dough. Combine the water, honey and yeast. Set aside for 10 minutes. Then, add remaining ingredients and mix well. Turn onto a floured board and knead until the dough forms an elastic, smooth ball. Place in a well oiled bowl and cover. Allow to sit for at least one hour.
Make the sauce. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and cover. Allow to simmer for 30 minutes. Remove lid and allow to cool. Place into a blender and blend until smooth. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Prepare a cookie sheet by spreading a piece of cooking parchment across it and rub generously with veggie oil. Roll out the dough to fit the size of your pan. Place the dough on the parchment and rub the dough with a generous amount of veggie oil, concentrating on the edges. Prick the dough several times with a fork and place into the oven and cook for 15 minutes. Remove the pan and quickly cover with just enough sauce to create a thin layer (you will have extra, use as a dipping sauce or for a future pizza). Place all of the toppings sprinkled across the top of the sauce, finishing with the cheese. Bake for 30-40 minutes (or until the cheese is bubbly and edges are brown). Cool for five minutes and slice into generous pieces.