Our friend Bill was celebrating his birthday this weekend up in Olympia, so we headed up to wish him the best. He arranged to borrow the outdoor masonry oven at the local bakery for the day, which was totally cool. He spent the morning firing it up and then sweeping out all the ashes, etc. Then people brought over all things bakeable for the rest of the afternoon and we just hung out baking and eating and gabbing and baking and eating some more.
There were spelt pizzas, baked vegetables (asparagus, tomatoes, winter squash, Italian frying peppers), little pies filled with leeks, fresh herbs and kalamata olives, calzone filled with ground turkey, onions, fresh mushrooms and parsley with yogurt (mmmmmmm), a casserole of roasted peppers, pine nuts, cheese and rice, a very tasty strawberry/rhubarb crisp with shortbread on the bottom, the list goes on. It was all amazing. We left just as they were getting ready to put 15 loaves of bread into the oven, made with the spent grains from the previous day's beer brewing.
The oven was amazing. We left around 5:00 in the afternoon, and the oven was still around 500°. Bill estimated that they could keep baking until 9-10 in the evening. Now if only I had space for one in my backyard. While there, I was checking out a cool book called the Bread Builders, on making traditional bread and constructing masonry ovens. Neat.
I also got a chance to check out the garden at Bill's house. He and his housemates have a pretty amazing setup, complete with chickens, and a huge garden with just about everything good growing in it. They still have about 30 pepper plants with lots of peppers on them, as well as kale and other nice Fall/Winter goodies. I'm jealous. I don't have any space in my yard for much of anything, let alone something on that scale.
Happy birthday Bill, and thanks!
BTW, if you are in need of any fabulous jewelry, check out Bill's site. He's an amazing artist.