Sunday, May 23, 2010

Week in review

Haven't had much to post lately. Went to a conference. Decent presentations and there was a fun hospitality room at night. Free Scotch. I'm surprised I left.

Still obsessing about the oven. Still leaning towards doing it, but the saner side of my brain is telling me to do more research. I think it has a point. There are a lot of decisions to make and things to learn before breaking ground. One perk of being at a conference and skipping the lunch was that I got to drive around a price things. In a comparison between Home Depot and Lowes, the Depot had better prices. Most of the cost differences were withing 30 cents. In defense of Lowes, they had a few things the Depot did not and their block was on sale this week. I also went to Harbor Freight to look at tile saws. Ouch. I'm also looking for a nicer used saw. But while I was at Harbor Freight, I picked up a cheap clamp that I might use in the Indispensable Tool. Here's a photo of one variation on the Indespensible Tool. There are many variations. It is basically a rod attached to a hing that is attached to something that can rotate. The clamp attachment can hold a brick in place. As the dome rises, the radius will stay the same. As you get really high, you can take the clamp off and attach a piece of wood for a form. You can also attach a Sharpie for scribing lines. I have no experience with one, but it apparently lives up to its name. I want one.

At the Forno Bravo site, I usually read a full thread on someone's oven construction every night. It is very educational. There is a guy named Dino in California that built a beautiful oven. Really impressive. But the oven's need a break. Clear the head. And what better way to do that than cure something. There is a new butcher shop in Waterford called Henry's Meats. I'm always looking for new places to try for a pork supplier. So far, I have found Cardona's to have the best pork butt to be turned into sausage and salami. Wasn't as impressed with their beef or chicken. Anyhow, something need to get made. Enough sitting at the computer and daydreaming about pizza. Gotta to cook something. And finish painting the deck too. What a pain in the ass that is.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Still on the fence

It occurred to me earlier today, that I have been more of a blog reader than a blogger...again. Since I last wrote, I have become obsessed with wood fired brick ovens. I've read blogs, forums, watched videos on youtube. I've learned about different styles of ovens, their pros and cons, and construction methods. And yes, I have also made a spreadsheet.

I am a co-owner of two lottery tickets. The numbers were drawn last night. On Monday, should one of the tickets turn out to be a winner, I'll be in Schenectady doing paperwork. On Tuesday...well on Tuesday morning I am chaperoning a field trip to Indian Ladder with a bunch of 4 year old kids.  But on Tuesday afternoon, I will be ordering the materials needed to build a Pompeii dome style wood fired oven. They look kind of like an igloo. The problem right now is the cost. If I thought I could build it for under a grand, I think I would. The cheapest I think I'd be able to do it for would be $1500 and that is just a material cost. There are a handful of things/tools I would need to buy or rent. If I wanted the outside finished a little nicer, the cost goes up over $2000.I am also thinking I could enclose it in a few years. Build a working oven now that will look OK, and then build the cool stone faced enclosure down the road. Thinking about this hurts my head.

Irrational voice in my head: "Just think of the awsomeness of the oven."

Sane voice in my head: "You start things and never finish them."

Irrational voice in my head: "You'd be making pizza and bread 24/7."

Sane voice in my head: "The deck need staining. Gonna to start that someday?"

Irrational voice in my head: "Dude, you are totally going to crash the AOA Tournament of Pizza. And win."

Sane voice in my head: "You've never done any masonry. Ever."

Irrational voice in my head: "But I've got a lot of Lego experience under my belt. How different could it be?"

Sane voice in my head: "It's a lot of money and it will take a lot of time."

Irrational voice in my head: "THINK OF THE PIZZA!"

Sane voice in my head: "The pizza would be pretty freaking good, but you might move soon. What a waste of time, energy and money."

Irrational voice in my head: "Alright, that's a good point...but with all the lessons learned building this one, just think how awesome the oven at the new house will be."

This goes on in my head all day. Some days, I am definitely building an oven. Others, it doesn't seem like a good idea.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Product Review - Artison Select Extra Virgin Olive Oil

The first time I got this oilive oil was at the Different Drummer's Kitchen is Newton Plaza. That store is gone, but the olive oil is still available at the new Stuyvesant Plaza location. That's where I got the original bottle refilled.

The first bottle is about $12. Refill are a little less, I think it was $9. (I should have written this sooner, I would have remembered the prices.) This is a really nice Greek olive oil. I like it a lot and as long as I can find it, Artison Select Extra Virgin Olive Oil has a spot in my kitchen. The oil works well in salad dressings and tastes great by itself. I put some of the oil in a bowl with salt, pepper, and oregano and then marinated some chicken in it. Grilled it up - delicious.

The bottle comes with two caps. One is the pour spout seen in the picture. The other is a twist-on cap. You need to not lose the twist-on cap to safely drive your refill home. You might be able to find another cap that fits, but life will be easier if you keep the cap is a safe spot. This company's balsamic vinegar is also for sale at Different Drummer's. Based on the quality of the olive oil, I'll be buying some vinegar in the not too distant future.