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Sunday, May 16, 2010

She Won't Float But She'll Feed the Hungry

Ok. Thai got his boat post. This is mine.Just finished the stone work although I have been honing my skills with the oven since last fall. Pizza wood fired with cherry and hickory. My dough proofs all day. The best San Marzano Tomatoes charred topped with fresh basil and mozzarella. The crust is crisp and light as air with a perfect chewy texture. The wood gives it all a hint of smokiness. If you were all close I would make you some pies.


Thai said...

That is SOOOO awesome!

I knew you could get some pretty cool household toys but that is the very first wood burning oven I've ever seen for the home market.

Any special tricks you care to share in case we ever try the same?

Dr John said...

Practice, practice practice. I have been a very very serious cook for 20 years Thai. I am not sure how much you are into food but I have spent countless hours in the kitchen creating dishes from the greatest chefs in the world.Keller, Trotter, Tetsuya, Jacques Torres and the like. Cooking wood fired pizza is one of the most challenging tasks I have ever attempted. Even mild variations in such variables as moisture of the dough, its thickness, the amount of wood used and hence coals left in the oven all can radically effect the outcome of your pizza.

I am told that in Italy to become a certified "pizzalolo" or pizza master is a 2 year training process. I am not sure this is true but if it is I could see why. I know that to become a sushi master chef one spends the 1-2 years just working with rice. I roll sushi and could believe this as well.

Such an oven should not be considered unless one is dead serious about the effort it takes. It requires about 3-4 hours to bring the oven up to temp. which is 800-900 degrees. I do it with joy every Sunday. I love the ritual and my wife loves me more than anything for the results. If you love pizza and enjoy cooking as I do there is nothing like owning one. Everything I cook in it tastes better but it is made for pizza napoletana.

If your ever traveling through NE Ohio I will prove it to you!

Thai said...

That sounds really really good

Thai said...

Ditto if you're in DC

Dink said...


(Sorry, sorry, my inner chimp took hold for a second. Let me try again with some filters).

Why, how lovely. Congratulations on your culinary achievements. I am happy for you.

"I have spent countless hours in the kitchen creating dishes from the greatest chefs in the world.Keller, Trotter, Tetsuya, Jacques Torres and the like"

Cool. I have an old friend who has become a foodie. He thinks I'm a moron because I didn't know what The French Laundry was. He went to some famous place in London and ordered bone marrow on toast; even in my pre-vegetarian days I think this would have made me gag.

I recently had brownies with goat cheese. This may sound perverted and mismatched, but it was really good.

Dr John said...

That must be the Fat Duck in England.I know marrow sounds gross and you only eat fish but it is wonderful.It is like eating the most flavorful steak ever without needing to chew.

I can see goat cheese with anything. I once made a dessert trio with goat cheese as the theme. This included a milkshake with goat cheese ice cream and a cream stick with goat cheese filling.It was wonderful.

I don't eat like that anymore as my stomach will not tolerate it. I miss it.

Thai said...

I would probably love marrow if I didn't know it was marrow

I had goat cheese ice cream once and it was "ok" but it may have been the quality of the ice cream more than anything else.

JP said...

Wow. I'm very impressed.

I've always been a fan of (good) wood fired pizza.

Dink said...

Did you ever watch any of this madness? I'm convinced "The Chairman" wasn't in his right mind. I haven't watched the American version even though I'm an Alton Brown fan. Not that he's in his right mind either. On an episode of Good Eats he once went on some tirade about how you should only buy ginger grown on a certain hill in Japan. And only the shady side of the hill, damn it!

"I don't eat like that anymore as my stomach will not tolerate it."

Can you eat a little bit still or not at all? Because goat cheese with honey and a balsamic reduction... Oh god, on one of those wood fired pizzas... Sweet Mother of Pearl!!

Thai said...

I love Iron Chef. I can't say I will seek it out or anything but if I'm channel surfing, it will get a good 10-15 stop before I continue on.

Thai said...

Dink, FYI.

Dr John said...

Oh my God Dink I was an Iron Chef addict. The original was way better than the US version. Yes the chairman appears psychotic. Iron Chef Chen was hysterical and Sakai may be the most skilled man with a kitchen blade I have ever seen.

I do not want to bore you with my troubles but about 18months ago I had a viral illness. I seem to have developed severe antral gastritis. I cannot tolerate but a few bights of solid food without terrible pain. Wine which has been a passion of mine for 20 years tastes terrible. I never drink it now. Up until a year ago I had a 2000 bottle wine cellar. I have sold most of it off. I still have 500-600 bottles as my wife still enjoys it.

When I cook it is only for my family. I do nibble a bit. That combination of cheese and balsamic sounds wonderful. Do you eat eggs? I do a Piedmont style pie with prosciutto and egg yolk that is wonderful. I would leave the prosciutto off for you. I also do one with gorgonzola and figs that is killer.

You know my position on God and all. I still "pray" someday I will be able to enjoy food again. It has been a great personal tragedy for me to have lost that enjoyment.

Thai said...

John that terrible.

My 3 year old nephew has recently develop post viral gastroparesis (I had never heard of the condition though I do see a fair number of cyclic vomiters as adults) and I must say it is very debilitating.

His diet is down to about 7 or 8 food only.

Is the gastritis viral and just won;t resolve or some kind of gastroparetic complication?

Dr John said...

First Thai, thank you for asking. No one seems to be able to tell me. I have seen quite a number of Drs. I self treated for the first 8-9 months and took every anti-secretory drug out there with no benefit. Reglan helped a bit but I hated how it made me feel. I was convinced I had post viral gastroparesis as well. I was even scoring Motilium from Canada and Propulsid from Mexico.

I had my first scope 6 months ago. The GI doc said I had "gastritis" and put me on my 5th PPI. I also had a few inlet patches and he sent me to the Cleveland Clinic to see a specialist on these. He told me I did not have gastritis but "watermelon stomach". This is some bizarre gastric antral ectasia people with end stage kidney and liver disease get or those with scleroderma. He offered no reason why an otherwise healthy 46 y/o would have this. He did get a gastric emptying study which was normal and checked for celiac dz.He said 50% of people have inlet patches and they were no big deal. He mostly blew me off.

I saw a surgeon who runs a bariatric and heartburn center in Akron. He has done an upper GI series, HIDA scan and US of the gallbladder all nl. Yesterday I was in for more tests including esophageal manometry(very unpleasant indeed) another scope and a BRAVO test. This is where they monitor gastric ph for a few days and I where a beeper and press it when it hurts. Funny in that it hurts all the time. I was out of it in a glorious high from Demerol and Versed when the surgeon came in yesterday and told me to call him in 10 days. Looking at the pictures of my stomach it appears I still have a very nasty case of inflammation in the gastric antrum. I wonder if it is post viral and immune mediated.

I see why people get pissed at Drs. They often are terrible listeners. I have had 18 months of misery and now like your poor nephew I am reduced to eating maybe 6-8 foods.(I know from my own reading most gastroparesis gets better on its own. I sure hope that little guy does) I am also forced to eat every 2-3 hrs to get enough calories. This is very difficult because I have been training with wts and very physically active since I was in high school.I have lost about 20lbs but gained about 5-6 back in the last 2 weeks as I have found Robeks shakes which are high calorie and I tolerate well.

I would submit to just about any procedure if there was a chance it would help. My stoic belief system helps me cope without food but not so much with the pain.

Thanks again for listening.

Thai said...

Do you have a path and or cell analysis of the inflammation (I'm assuming they did biopsies?)

I.e. could it be allergic, etc...? Or can you get a kind of inflammatory bowel disease of the stomach?

Any other bowel involvement?

Dr John said...

The first path report was not "gastritis" or anything. The second GI guy I saw said that what was visible was hyperemia but maybe they missed an imflammatory spot "because your a DR and we don't like to take biopsy chances on bad areas as it looks bad when we send Drs to surgery". Honest that is what he said.

I suppose it could be allergic but this is not listed in common causes of antral gastritis and I am not sure what I would have developed an allergy to. I eat almost nothing. You can get inflammatory bowel disease of the stomach but usually get it in other spots. I have no other bowel involvement. No lower GI symptoms at all.

Sorry this has gone from a post on authentic wood fired neapolitan pizza to the state of my bowels.

Thai said...

No problem

It turn out my eldest son has pretty severe eosinophilic esophagitis which causes periodic functional esophagea strictures and food bolus impactions.

We keep a box of EZ gas crystals in the house to periodically dislodge the food when it gets stuck.

We have never actually gone through all the allergy testing that was recommended once they made the diagnosis on endoscopic biopsy as I tend to have little faith in the predictive utility of allergy testing but he is clearly allergic to some thing(s) and we just kind of have to live with the issues. We have never been able to ascertain what it is on our own and my son just kind of goes on with his life with only periodic minor inconvenience (it can be a but frustrating when he starts barfing at Ruth's Chris Steak House but it is what it is).

If they don't think biopsy is needed so be it but for my son it was at least nice to understand why he had been having all these issues.

... And I had never heard of eosinophilic esophagitis before he had it.

He can drink liquid steroids if he wants and they have prescribed them) but we have never had to do this yet as I hate the idea of a life long course of steroids.

OF course he only gets food stuck in this "throat" periodically and he does not have to deal with daily pain which is an entirely different issue.

You and I both know pain is a real pain on so many levels so I hope you get to the bottom of it.

Dink said...

"I would submit to just about any procedure if there was a chance it would help"

Merciless immune system! So sorry that this is happening to someone with such a clear gift for creating delicious things. I wish you resolution in the near future!

"Sorry this has gone from a post on authentic wood fired neapolitan pizza to the state of my bowels."

No apology needed. These things happen in the saloon. We all have a wide variety of interests.

"Iron Chef Chen was hysterical"

Things got tense when the Ota faction arrived. And the chefs were already on edge since they only had 83 seconds to create and appetizer, entree, and dessert out of aardvark lungs....

Dr John said...

Well I hope they took a bunch of biopsies yesterday. I await the results. The surgeon at least seems a little interested.

It seems like everyone of the old Iron Chef's had an oriental girl saying in a badly dubbed high pitch squeal, "I've never had this taste in my mouth before". There was no way that was an accident and I would laugh every time.

Dink said...

"The surgeon at least seems a little interested"

Good. A curious scientist sounds like just the thing that is needed. A little OCD, a little ego maladjustment, and this could be the guy that cracks the mystery.

"I've never had this taste in my mouth before". There was no way that was an accident and I would laugh every time.

Yes! Every single episode! "The texture is great in my mouth!".

Spike TV had a show called MXC. They took a very strange Japanese game show and dubbed over with 8th grade double-entendre. But after a while the dialogue gets repetitive; yet you still watch because your thinking "WTF were the competitors doing?".

Dr John said...

I watched MXC on a regular basis with my kids. We would squeal with laughter. I once wet myself when they introduced a Japanese woman and described her occupation as "mad cow therapist".

Dr John said...

Thanks again guys for your concern and questions. It helps. I will keep you posted and remain hopeful he can help me.

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