My dad came over from the islands earlier this week to bring me spot prawns (delicious!) and help with the community wood fired oven. The base is laid and the slab poured. We're up and running! Or at least, up and off the ground. It was heartening to get off to such a solid start, though afterwards, as I stared into the coming baking madness--starting now I'm baking or at market six days a week!--I began to feel the creeping panic of running out of time.
The next steps are tracking down high heat insulation (have a stack of Calsil or Rockboard sheets lying around, anyone?), and cutting and dry-fitting the bricks. I want the bricks ready to mortar when they get to the Alley District; I can't afford to have them wandering off, the way a few of the cinder blocks wandered off when they were left stacked overnight by the work-site (who picks up two 35 lb blocks of concrete and decides to stroll away with them?). I'm imagining scoring and splitting the bricks, but if you have a saw set up for stone and brick that you want to lend me, or let me come over to use, I would gladly mechanize the process! Or, you know, I could just drop off the bricks and my cut list...
But for now, it's time to get into my rain gear and onto my bike. I know the morning is a bit soggy, but if you brave the rain for market, I promise I'll make it worth your while. Breads this week are Red & White, Rosemary Sea Salt, Blue Nixtamal (such a strange and wonderful color!), and Mountain Rye. And in the pastry case, alongside the usual treats, I've made you these beautiful little strawberry rhubarb or greens & feta pies. Sweet or savory, take your pick!
Oh, but it's good to feel summer stretching out her long limbs, good to step out of the kitchen on a Friday into the golden evening, and feel that, even though my feet ache and my eyes are sticky with fatigue, the day still holds possibilities. Good to ride home past the kids clustered on corners, the walking families, the crowded bus station, to lay down on the old goat hair rug in my room in the filtered sunlight with a book, promising myself that I'll get up in just a moment, after just one more chapter, to gather my things for market. Good to get up instead only long enough to crawl into bed, with my housemates laughing in the kitchen and the last of the light painting the room shadow blue, and go to sleep.
That is the perfect end to a long day.
And now I've woken up to rain, and it feels as good as last night's golden light. I can almost hear my garden growing. I hope the clouds don't keep you away from the market. I have smoky German rye, for all of you who've been patiently waiting it's return to the menu. A rhubarb lime tart, and another with hazelnut cream and the end of last summer's stone fruit. The usual assortment of cookies and breads.
Come grab a treat, and talk to me about the beginnings of the community wood fired oven. I've dug a hole! Tomorrow I'll pound gravel, and after that set the cinder block base, pour the hearth slab, and start building. It's happening at last.
It's time. The community wood fired oven I've been dreaming, sketching, researching, talking about since winter is finally happening (just in time for my crazy summer baking schedule). I need all the help I can get, so if you're interested in oven building and community projects, drop me a line, especially if you know anything about concrete work, masonry, or even just general construction! I've also started a preliminary MATERIALS LIST. If you have any of this (from an old construction project? house remodel? garage hoarding?) that you're willing to donate, let me know!
In more immediate news, I have delicious (round) treats waiting for you at the market. This week's (arboreal) experiments include a lemon-spruce pound cake, and rhubarb tarts with lime-juniper curd.
See you soon!
I have a few specials for Mother's Day, because every mother deserves a special treat, and because, really, there are few things I enjoy more than dreaming up new pastries.
Drop a line if you'd like to order either of the following for pick up at the Bellingham Farmers Market on Saturday:
Rhubarb & hazelnut cream galette, $24 / half dz
These little rustic tarts are layered with sweet, creamy hazelnut frangipane and tart rhubarb. (serves 6)
Lemon & lavender pound cake, $28 / 8" x 4" loaf
Bright lemon balances the delicate, musky perfume of lavender in this lovely, buttery cake. Serve plain, alongside milky tea, for a simple breakfast treat, or dress it up with berries and crème fraîche. (serves 8)
Have a wonderful week.