Sunday, December 19, 2010


Rebel that I am, I'm makin' truffles for the cookie party. We've got your standard dark chocolate, cardamom–ginger, chili, and paprika–cinnamon (which is really mostly cinnamon). Well, at least I've made the ganache for the filling. I still have to coat most of them in a shell. I mean, I guess I don't have to—we could just spoon the ganache into our chompers. I imagine it'll be less satisfying that way though.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Portland's on it way to becoming a pizza town:

Food lovers who know anything about Portland, Oregon, may first think of the city's renowned food-cart scene. Or its way with the microbrewed beers. Or its rising coffee-roasting culture. All thriving. Add to that a killer artisanal pizza moment.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

smarter than the average donkey?

The Achenblog has a couple of interesting thoughts on the current tax bill. One of them carries the transcript of Obama's response to a reporter questioning Obama's values. A clip of this appeared on the Daily Show last week. Here's a bit that wasn't included there: 
That can't be the measure of how we think about our public service. That can't be the measure of what it means to be a Democrat. This is a big, diverse country. Not everybody agrees with us. I know that shocks people. The New York Times editorial page does not permeate across all of America. Neither does The Wall Street Journal editorial page. Most Americans, they're just trying to figure out how to go about their lives and how can we make sure that our elected officials are looking out for us. And that means because it's a big, diverse country and people have a lot of complicated positions, it means that in order to get stuff done, we're going to compromise. This is why FDR, when he started Social Security, it only affected widows and orphans. You did not qualify. And yet now it is something that really helps a lot of people. When Medicare was started, it was a small program. It grew.
Under the criteria that you just set out, each of those were betrayals of some abstract ideal. This country was founded on compromise. I couldn't go through the front door at this country's founding. And if we were really thinking about ideal positions, we wouldn't have a union.

Monday, December 13, 2010


I admit that I've neglected this thing for a while, at least with pretty much anything substantial, personal, or what the average person reading this might consider interesting. That is to say, I'm uninterested in reading a lot of the stuff here and when the author isn't even interested, that doesn't exactly indicate Andean condor-like majesty of prose or content. (Though, I suppose that's not really the point of this thing anyway.)

You might have noticed I played with bloggers template designer. We are amused. And look: color! Fun!

What most people seem to be interested in here is the restaurant. What is going on with that exactly? The stuff that seemed to me new and exciting for the first couple months are now kind of old hat and pedestrian. But it's been six months now and I definitely feel much more at ease than I did the first few months. I haven't had chest pains in a couple months for instance (something that seemed to correlate to ingesting caffeine before service—I stopped doing that).

Milestones for Portobello since my last related post (August 22nd):
  1. listed in the Willamette Week's guide to top Portland restarants
  2. appeared on the Cooking Channel
  3. started serving lunch
  4. began serving fancy prix fixe meals on weekends
  5. had one very positive and one middling review regarding the pizzas
Our line is also all crazy. Nate (formally master of apps and desserts) is now the chef de tournant or rotating chef. He's been trained up on pretty much everything and can fill in at any station on the line. I'm now picking up appetizers, desserts and pizzas and am slowly getting lessons on the sauté line, which is to say I'm occasionally getting splattered with hot oil and narrowly avoiding melting my flesh with boiling water.

Jesse, sous-chef and living art exhibit, is now running the show most nights, as Aaron the co-owner/head chef is preoccupied working lunch, designing prix fixe menus, and encouraging everyone to do push-ups.

On the pizza front specifically, we've gone through a few menu changes, and I've made some dough adjustments after learning a little more about salt and its effects on gluten development and enzyme activity.

Since August we ran through our Autumn menu which included a pizza with butternut squash sauce, cherry peppers, brussels sprouts, garlic, and cashew cream in addition to what've been our four standard pizzas: a marinara, a daiya cheese-based margherita, a spicy field roast and cherry pepper pie, and the "piscia"—caramelized onions, olives, capers, garlic, and oregano.

The Winter menu has boasted the standards plus a sweet potato, caramelized red onion, kale, garlic, and rosemary pizza; a pie with butternut sauce, hazelnuts, chili oil, shaved apple, and sage; and last week we had one with cashew cream, chanterelle mushroom, brussels sprout, garlic, pear, and chao cheese. (Is it pizza as I imagine it? Eh. Not exactly, but they tasted good. Trust me. The hazelnut pizza, sans apple, has been my favorite thing to make for myself for a few weeks now. I made a version at home for some friends and they were all pleasantly surprised.)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Yes, I'm positive. The best of 2010.

There was a lot to choose from this year. My list clocks in at an hour and forty minutes, which is a lot to sit through. I swear it's worth it though. Everything on this one was either released in 2010 or late enough in 2009 that I didn't hear it until this year.

Friday, December 03, 2010

black and white and brown all over

I just started reading DFW's The Broom of the System and there's a paragraph at the beginning of chapter three that sets the scene. It's filled with seemingly trivial details about the color of paint on handrails (yellow) and the texture of the lawn grass. Embedded in there is this: "Outside the doors an old black woman stood motionless with her walker, her mouth open to the sun." Evocative, yes. But the generic "old black woman" kind of bothers me. If he was describing an old white woman he presumably would have just written, "old woman." Or at least he would have been more specific in his description of skin tone. This is presumably because of some innate bias we have when imagining fictional characters to thinking of them as similar to ourselves by default. So for DFW, who was a white male, in order to paint the picture he imagined, he had to note that this old woman was black.

What I'm getting at is that by noting specifically that the woman is black it underscores the fact that this detail is a real point of distinction and that since none of the other characters so far have been described as black, we assume that they aren't and we can probably continue to make this same assumption for the rest of the novel. It makes me wonder what a black reader might think when arriving at this line.

While I imagine that Wallace did not exactly have a black audience in mind when he wrote the book, I also can't assume that he only imagined white people reading his work.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

the latest and greatest

Sarah is finally here! It only took a few years, but she's now living with Amie in NE. We had dinner this evening at Blossoming Lotus, which is the other well respected all-vegan restaurant in town. Coconut sweet potato soup was consumed among other delicious plates.

I've also been reunited with another friend:

Remember her?

The Great Catsby presides over a new kingdom.

She's also better behaved. I don't have to distract her with a toy at all times.

Furthermore, as probably all the readers of this blog are aware, Portobello was listed in the Willamette Week's 2010 list of the top restaurants in Portland. Pat on the back to us. I don't have any new shiny blocks of color to share from the restaurant, but I did make some cheesy pizzas at home the other week:
...still got it.

ITEM! One Fuji bicycle, which has become my main form of transportation (with thanks to Oma for the capital, and Morgan for having a bike to sell):

Also, the other week I went on a short hike with Laurel and Jonah to Horsetail falls out in the gorge. It was lovely:

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Buke and Gass

It's so rare to find music that really hits that pleasure spot in my brain—the same spot that makes my eyes roll up in the back of my head when I fiercely scratch that mosquito bite that's been itching all afternoon. I mean really rare. There are songs that can get me going, hype me up, follow me around and stick in my head with T-1000-like tenacity (Hannah Georgas' Bang Bang You're Dead is the most recent example I have of that). But sometimes it's years between finding a band that just brings a smile to my face.

Buke and Gass are it right now. Their music gives me that blissed-out sensation. It's unlike anything I've ever heard before—just two people with homemade instruments, a modified bass ukulele and a hybrid guitar-bass; they also simultaneously play a kick drum and bells with their feet.  While they're singular in their sound, Buke and Gass's aesthetic is right up my alley—it's melodic, cacophonous, dynamic, fiery, percussive, and cerebral yet emotive. Mostly they just rock my socks off.

Judge for yourself.

PS Thanks Radiolab.

Monday, September 13, 2010


Mike Daisey's a monologist. Really he's a storyteller who draws on autobiographical material. I attended his performance of The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, an examination of the history of Apple, the cult of Apple fandom, the "visionary-asshole" who is Steve Jobs, and most stirringly the seedy underbelly of electronics manufacturing.

Apparently half—HALF!—of all electronics in the world are produced by one company: Foxconn. Foxconn has its largest manufacturing facilities in Shenzhen, which is southern China, a town that grew from a fishing village of 500 (according to Daisey) to a city of 14 million in only the past 30 years. Their facilities employ 430,000 workers. They have 25 cafeterias that each feed 10,000 people at a time. Daisey, who went there, interviewed Foxconn factory workers about their working conditions and posed as an American businessman to get access to the insides of the factories to see what the conditions were actually like. His report, not surprisingly, is hella depressing. While he was there a worker died from exhaustion after a 32-hour shift. He met factory workers who were as young as 11 years old. He met an employee who was labeled a troublemaker and blacklisted by the labor board after asking why she was not receiving overtime pay for working 105-hour weeks. He saw the netting that was installed around the office and factory buildings at Foxconn after a series of workers committed suicide by jumping from the roofs.

Despite all this, Daisey still loves his technology. He remains optimistic that things will change because, he says, "they do change." He notes how Apple was once near the Greenpeace's dirtiest companies (due to their uses of heavy metals, packaging waste, etc.). Now Apple is atop Greenpeace's list of cleanest companies. Why is that? Primarily pressure from consumers. I plan on emailing my buddy Steve Jobs about it soon.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


Oven management is really something you don't think about too much when you're only making a three or four of pizzas in a night. It's also pretty straightforward when you can only fit one pizza in your oven. The oven at home can generally bake two or three pizzas in a row before it needs some time to reheat, which takes about 15 to 20 minutes.

The Bakers Pride at work though is a trickier beast. Because it has two decks, but only one burner, and seemingly poor thermal mass. Any time I open a deck to put a pizza in, take it out, or move it, I heat is lost. And it doesn't matter which deck I'm messing with, if I open one, I lose heat in both.

And the temperature difference between the top and bottom deck is probably roughly 50 to 100 degrees. There are up and downsides to this, which I'll get into soon. But for now I have to grab my shin guards. My legs are in demand.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

LA: The Sequel

I unclogged my bathroom sink today. Hooray.

In other more appetizing news:

Two LA slice joints had the dubious honor of my bum in their seats.

Tomato Pie is a kinda hole-in-the-wall greasy slice joint. It's cramped, with bar seating around the circumference, and seemingly without air conditioning. It the kind of place that could be a hive of scum and villainy (and I mean that in the best way).  While it ain't gonna be the origin of a pizza revolution, they churn out some very decent slices.

The Sunny Los Angeles Exterior

On the left we have their Margherita slice. On the right we have a slice of their Tomato Pie.
I sampled their simplest offerings. The Margherita was pretty straight forward tomato cheese and basil, while the tomato pie offered a marinara with a kick, sprinkled with some parsley and romano. 

While the undersides revealed themselves to be on the golden-brown side of things, they were pleasantly crisp without being crackery. The winner here is the tomato pie, which might be described as a grandma-style (or nonna-style), with an olive oil-infused, pan-baked crust, and a sauce that's tart, sweet, and spicy.

For dessert I went to Vito's and tried their margherita-esque slice featuring globs of fresh mozz and a uniformly super-thin crust:

Whoever the architect of this slice was, did not really think things all the way through. Vito's thin crust does not have the kind of structural integrity required to hold the weight of cuts of cheese that thick and and fresh tomato slice. So really, I ended up eating some cheese, then some tomato, then some crust, more cheese, and more crust. Disjointed is my best description. Also the slice was over $5.

Given that I ended up eating most of the components individually, I can say the cheese was rich and creamy—exactly what I look for in a fresh mozzarella; the tomato sauce was fine, but a little too thick and pasty; the tomato slice was your standard grocery store beefsteak slice, which isn't ever going to win me over; and the crust, while nicely charred, was dry with little-to-no rise on the edge.

Conclusions: Tomato Pie named their establishment after the right kinda pizza... though also, if they'd named it Sausage and Mushroom Pie, it maybe wouldn't have the same kinda marketing pull. I give it six and a half Mulligans. Vito's was overpriced and medicore for an upscale "sliceria." If I end up in LA again, I wouldn't go back.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Tales of LA: A Moon Landing

There's a water problem in Los Angeles. It's so bad that bottles of the stuff now cost up to $9. This is true. At least the $9 part. To be fair it was the water in my parent's hotel room at the W Hollywood, which has a nightclub on the first floor and the second floor, and apparently is also stocked with naked men to appear in hallways at odd hours of the night.
From the mini-bar:

yes, 200 ml of vodka is $33

My base of operations (facing the celebrity center for the Church of Scientology... the street was guarded by security with guns... on bicycles):

Think the apartment complex in the Karate Kid, but nicer

Also street traffic is now so bad they've instituted public blimps:

At least the pizza situation is under control.

First stop: Mozza

Squash blossoms, tomato & burrata
Margherita with mozzarella, tomato & basil
Coach farm goat cheese, leeks, scallions, garlic & bacon
Abita! Root beer!
Blond, yet crisp.

Big and crunchy on the outside, soft and airy on the inside.

All in all, I was quite pleased with the pizzas Mozza's volleying out.

  • The tomato sauce on the Margherita was rich and piquant.
  • An incredibly creamy burrata with a delicate flavor similar to egg whites.
  • The puffy edge, which maybe appeared to be little much—almost showy—but turned out to be light and flavorful. I'd be happy to finish any slice with an edge as nice.
In all, I wasn't blown away by the pizzas at Mozza. They were very good, but in some cases it seemed they were concerned with appearances over palate. The squash blossoms for instance—as far as I could tell—didn't have any flavor at all, though they looked beautiful, especially with the mounds of bright white burrata floating on top of them. Also $23 for a 12" pizza is a bit pricey. UPN could get away with it, but they were serving arguably the best pizza in the country.

This is also one of the few instances were a blond crust was actually very good. It was crisp, but not crackery. And it held it's own against the weight and wetness of those burrata mounds. They also get some bonus points for being a fancy joint that also serves root beer.

Rating: five-and-a-half mulligans out of eight.

Further pizza adventures TK.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Culinarily speaking...

First point of business: Portobello now offers pizza to go (other parts of the linked report are false). So now you don't have to wait 45 minutes for table.

* * *


So when I've said in the past that there are no good slices in Portland, I was wrong. Give Pizza A Chance actually does some pretty solid work. When I originally tried their wares when I first moved here, it was toward the end of the day and the slices available were limited and had likely been sitting out for quite a while. I failed to take this into account in my thinking. After dropping by there for lunch this afternoon, I can say that their slices are better than most NYC slice options. They certainly blow Escape from NY out of the water.

I tried the margherita and the sausage and mushroom. The former was crisp and pliant, with dots of char on the underside. The mozzarella and basil used were fresh along with a couple of thin wedges of roma tomatoes. A mildly seasoned tomato sauce was there too, hiding under the mozz. The crust has some whole wheat in it to add a little extra depth of flavor (it adds a little bit of weight and chew as well, but it's a minor compromise in this case).

The sausage and mushroom slice was a little more pedestrian. The crust wasn't quite as well baked and the grease from the sausage soaked through a little bit. But it was plenty satisfying with Carlton Farms pork sausage and aged mozzarella.

I followed that up with ¡¡BEIGNETS!! from The Swamp Shack.

Sunday, July 11, 2010


BIG BANG BIG BOOM - the new wall-painted animation by BLU from blu on Vimeo.
Some of the things I didn't think about when considering the life of a pizzamaker:

1. that my glasses would constantly be covered in flour
2. the hour and half it would take to clean the kitchen
3. how quickly I would need to rush to fulfill orders
4. how long I would sometimes have to wait between orders
5. wearing sneakers could lead to pulling a muscle slipping on wet concrete
6. I could make more than $100 in tips in a week
7. how tired my legs would feel—especially my right leg, as I absent-mindedly put all my weight on it
8. the amount of money I'd save on dinners
9. free soda pop and alcohol at the end of the night

Thursday, June 24, 2010

trouble in two parts.

1. There's No Pilot? 

That beautiful Baker's Pride oven, which was adjusted to burn ever more violently at temperatures that would sear the eyebrows off of distant alpacas, started to cough and sputter the other night. Apparently the thermocoupler—which sounds a like a fake piece of equipment lifted from a Star Trek script, but is actually a sensor that, when a pilot light flickers out, will cut off the gas line—went on the fritz and started indiscriminately shutting off the gas.

It started doing this about 45 minutes before we were supposed to open at the end of last week. Our head chef (we'll just call him HC), spent a good 10 minutes burning his hands trying to fix the problem. Eventually we got it running and the rest of the evening went relatively smoothly.

2. There's No Co-Pilot?

Today the sous chef (SC) walked out. HC seemed to handle it pretty well. And by handle it, I mean he hired a replacement this afternoon. So, yeah, he takes care of his shit. The amount of stress he's able to take is pretty remarkable.

There are any number of reasons why SC decided to leave and give no notice. I reckon there's something going on outside of work and this was a way of indirectly dealing with it. At least, as of last night he seemed like he was having an alright time.

* * *

Still on the work-front, it looks like we'll be getting a wood-burning oven to replace the Baker's Pride sooner rather than later. Once our plan is in place, I'll divulge some more details.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

the perils. the tribulations.

Tonight I ran out of dough. I went through roughly 40 dough balls. A couple of them I burned—my fault (though, in my defense, the thermostat was adjusted to bring the oven temp up to 700-ish, so the timing for cooking the pizzas changed). I'm happy people are ordering the pies though. And they seem to still enjoy them.

Yesterday, Aaron, the head chef, gave us a run-down of how he'd like the kitchen cleaned. He said it should take us 45 minutes. Tonight it took us about 2 hours, and we seemed to be working at a faster pace (thanks to that old stand-by of better communication and teamwork). While he gave us pointers on more efficient ways to accomplish tasks—cleaning from the top down and finishing up one task for the entire kitchen before starting the next one—he also added more steps to the process. And in the end, the thing that seems to suck up the most time is dishwashing. So no matter how quickly we kill the work stations and floors, there's gonna be some back-up when it comes to pots and pans.

We had a new pizza on the menu tonight: leek cream sauce, asparagus, shaved lemon and fennel, topped with basil. Other pizzas were the same as last week with a couple minor adjustments. I'll pretty much eat anything with the basil-cream sauce.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

the week in review

I still have gobs to learn about working in the Portobello kitchen, but after four days of service I feel much more settled than I anticipated after that first night.

We continued to be full-up through the rest of the week, however the pizza orders dropped by about a third. So instead of making 35-40 pizzas a night like I did when we opened, I've been making 20-25. We think the difference in numbers has to do with the fact that a lot of the people who sat at the opening were regulars who were possibly looking to try the new items on the menu. Whereas people later in the week were standard customers without an agenda.

My guess is that orders will pick up for pizza once we start offering a to-go menu, which I believe will be primarily pizza with a smattering of other options that are easily transportable. We're also looking to serve our to-go offerings at our neighboring bar/beer store, The Beermongers. I'm also hoping some good buzz on the pizza will help increase demand.

Apologies for not posting photos of the place in action, but I feel kind of weird bringing the camera out in the middle of service when I should probably be doing other things (often things I don't yet know how to do).

In the meantime, please see below. I took some leftover dough home and made myself a cheeseful margherita:

The dough is a mix of Caputo "00" and Blendako. It has a lower gluten content than what I'm used to working with, which means that it's harder to stretch out and more prone to tearing,  but that it also has a softer crumb, airier hole structure, and is lighter and easier on the stomach in terms of digesting. It's also pretty tasty.

Tomorrow we're closed for service, but are scheduled to have a kitchen meeting at some point. We're gonna try and get more organized and efficient, I believe. It'd be nice to get out of work at 12:30 instead of 1:15.

* * *

In other news, I bought a 21 or 24 speed bike from my friend (I haven't actually counted the rear sprockets, but when you have that many, it doesn't really make much of a difference). It's a nice, steel Fuji frame. Photos are TK.

This weekend I was able to do some basic maintenance—replaced the seat; adjusted the handlebars; moved the break levers to a more comfortable position; cleaned the chain, rear derailleur, and bottom bracket. I also took my Peugeot in to get the fork replaced. (And subsequently the headset and stem too, since finding a french-sized fork the right size for my bike is virtually impossible. And if you get a fork that's English-sized, then it snowballs and all the other parts that attach to it also need to be English-sized. The different standards are annoying to deal with.) The old one was bent, which I could barely notice, but when I dropped by to get a new front brake, the mechanic barely glanced at my bike and noticed it immediately. He also told me not to buy a front brake, but to replace to fork instead. Then he told me another shop in town would probably have better fork options for me. This is all fairly insignificant information. If you're still reading this, I apologize.

Friday, June 11, 2010

the short of it.

Portobello re-opened last night. Word is that the place was teeming with multi-celled organisms looking to chow down. By all accounts it was a success.

I did spend most of the first three hours of service in pretty much a complete panic, though according to the chef and sous chef, I at least appeared to be handling myself on the line pretty well considering it was my first day.

The head chef schedules the orders when they arrive. He keeps track of what table is getting their 1st, 2nd, 3rd course, etc. There are a few key cues that I had to learn. When he says, "order in" a pizza (or 3), it's to let me know to prep my station for those pizzas. "Pick up" is the go cue—cook it. If someone asks for an "all day," it means, "tell me how many orders I have in total—both order in and pick up."

In all, I made about 40 pizzas during the opening. Tonight I only made about 20 though we also had a packed house this evening—people actually waited over two hours to get a table. And the few comments that I received were very complimentary. I was told that the folks over at Food Fight may mention the pies in their blog. Isa Chandra Moskowitz dropped by the kitchen for a moment (though I didn't realize it at the time, she's the author or co-author of a number of cookbooks, including one of my favorites Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World), and had very nice things to say.

So far so good.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010


of what's in store:

this char will hopefully be making the rounds:

this pizza will not be on the menu:

Sunday, June 06, 2010


Two of the ten pizzas I made this evening:

Mushroom, garlic, basil, olive oil, tomato:

field sausage (vegan), pine nuts, basil, fennel, olive oil

Oddly, the most positive response came from the simplest one: tomato, garlic, crushed pine nuts, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Not pictured included a lemon & fennel pie, and pies featuring shaved broccoli stem.

I'd still like to get a crisper exterior on the edge crust. That's my biggest issue right now in terms of results.

If anyone has topping recommendations, I'm open to suggestions.


Well, I forgot my camera again last night. But tonight I snapped a couple shots of the kitchen-in-progress, the pizza oven, and my latest batch of dough (100% Bob's Red Mill unbleached white).

Friday, June 04, 2010

Dig the new digs.

So I'm leaving my job at VTech to become the pizzamaker at Portobello. We still have a bunch of kinks to work out pizza-wise, but I promise you, we will be serving some of the best pizza in Portland in the near future.

I'll try and keep this here updated with pizza developments as they occur. Last night was the first time I used the oven—a two-deck Bakers Pride, natural gas-fired deal. The temperature hits 650 on the dial, so it's kind of a step up from my home oven.

We've got the opposite problem though. Heat is from the bottom in the Bakers Pride (as opposed to from the top element on the broil setting at home), which is good in that it's more efficient as warm air rises and all. However in the current set up, the pizzas are cooking too fast on the bottom, and are barely cooked at the top of the cornicione when the bottom is practically a block of char.

As possible solutions we're looking at shrinking the height of the decks to make the floor and ceiling temperatures more even or adding a reflective material to the top of the decks to bounce the heat back down (and keep it from escaping as quickly via heat transfer). If anyone else has any ideas, I'm all ears.

So we're experimenting with some dough mixtures. Last night was 100% white whole wheat, and a 75% unbleached white-25% white whole wheat blend. Tonight is a 50/50 whole wheat-unbleached white mix and a 100% unbleached white. All Bob's Red Mill. I forgot to drop the dough balls in the fridge this morning. Hopefully they haven't over risen.

Photos are TK. I totally spaced on bringing my camera yesterday. I'll try and make up for it this evening.

Scott. Pilgrim.

I am kind of giddy with excitement.

Monday, May 24, 2010

another sunday pizza

tomato, vegan tomato-cream, pine nuts, salt, pepper, basil, olive oil

* * *

vegan tomato-cream, pine nuts, garlic, mizuna (from Sauvie Island Organics CSA), salt, pepper, olive oil

* * *

margherita #2

* * *

margherita #1

* * *

Foolish Poolish is right. The top rack is where it's at. I layered about three sheets of tin foil under my stone and placed 3 bricks around the sides (couldn't fit a 4th due to the oven light's placement). Aesthetically, these are some of the nicest looking crusts I've made. Could've used a touch more salt though.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

burn it to the ground.

I've started construction of my wood-burning oven. Right now I'm kind of in the test phase. I put the fire pit together (which in the instructions specifically says it's not for grilling or other cooking purposes) and attempted my first mixture of perlite and portland cement at about 3:1 perlite to cement by volume. Hopefully this will set well and make for a relatively solid block.

I really have no idea how much water to add to the mix. There doesn't seem to be a standard ratio for that. I may have made it too soupy to set properly...The good news is that the perlite makes for an ultra light mixture, so making it easy to move and store shouldn't be a problem.

If anyone reading this has any knowledge they'd like to drop regarding masonry or oven building, please speak up.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Another Sunday Pizza or Four.

Moriah and Ian have conquered Bridgetown and left it in magnificent ruins. It will never be the same after they depart. They have slayed our first born and swallowed whole all the kale, doughnuts, and asparagus within sight. It's been awesome so far. Yesterday morning Moriah made a brunch consisting of a roasted asparagus and fennel salad topped with a sunny-side up egg (one for each of us), with a mescaline mix riding sidecar. And then in the evening we conquered Pambiche and Staccato Gelato.

Tonight Moriah made wilted kale with some citrus zest (AWE-some) and I made the pizzas.

Tomorrow brings Pine State biscuits and St. Cupcake.

Pizza documentation (that's Ian's documenting machine and hand in the upper-right):

Adam at This Is Pizza mercifully did not post images of the bottom of my crusts when posting about the the festivities the other week. Some of that pizza was, like, beyond blond. It was practically albino. Just to prove I'm not a complete hack, here's the upskirt of the first one out of the oven (generally the best baked of the lot) this evening: