Archive

Archive for the ‘Cooking with Wood-Fired ovens’ Category

Industrial Space Provides New Possibilities For The Arch!

December 12, 2014 1 comment

The Arch has moved once again!  We’ve moved into a space that at one time was the old power house of what long ago serviced the Burlington Industries textiles manufacturing plant but is now The Riverside Business Park.  We moved just  a few hundred feet from our previous location within the park so if you’re looking  at a GPS map, that famous little red arrow marker points to the same spot!

2

How many layers of paint were here?

The building definitely presented us with some huge challenges, but with all the  meandering metal pipes and metal boxes- (most of which I have no idea of their functions),  they are now part of the overall “industrial look” that we simply work with..or around.

ceiling

Reminds me of an old greasy oven

Fortunately we have maintained the same contact address   as we simply moved “Unit 10” with us.
The space was clearly in very sad condition before we moved into it as you can see from these “before” photos. The many shades of paint and crumbling ceiling raised more than one eyebrow when we considered the space originally, in fact, at first, I for one, said ” NO”!
7

Doors being installed

 Then gradually, with the help of the park, and a closer look at the space, we accepted the challenge and recognized that it is going to function well for us. The high ceiling, natural light, upper loft work area and the outside awning are positive attributes of the space. Front doors were added, zero VOC paint was sprayed throughout the space, we built in some upper loft half walls and Jim wasted no time applying American Clay on a few of the walls (..there’s always more walls to cover with this amazing clay!). We still have a lot of work to do, but we’re here and we welcome everyone!

Alan Tilson with Indow Windows is in the upper loft (come in and discuss these energy efficient interior window inserts),  and Roxanne’s  “satellite” location for Amazing Capes takes up the other wing. !!! Check out her website too!
We have easy parking and the same great sustainable products and some new additions such as this sweet small portable stainless steel wood fired outdoor oven shown below.
Some of what The Arch offers: American Clay Earth Plaster and workshop offerings, Forno Bravo  ovens and outdoor fireplace units for residential and commercial locations, Bella Outdoor Living wood fired ovens,  one of Asheville’s best selections of sustainable flooring, Vermont Natural Coatings for floors, furniture, decks and exterior siding,  home accents and art tile.
sh2

Getting things into place. More finishes to apply!

Shown here are some home accents such as doorbells, switchplates, and natural beeswax candles.

Shown here are some home accents such as doorbells, switchplates, and natural beeswax candles.

sh6front copy

Under the awning there’s much to do, but soon we’ll be featuring an outdoor kitchen and hold demos with our wood- fired ovens! Benches and planters will be added.

Nano C 22 full 2jpg

Come in and see our newest oven featured: Bella Outdoor Living NanoC22 wood fired premium stainless steel oven!

In our next blog post we plan to share images of The Nano C22 in action, fired up under the outside awning. We’ll be  cooking some delicious appetizers! We are taking orders ( on the ovens), so come on in and take a look! There are larger units and drop-in options. Call us for details. 828 253 5455

Visit us at our new location at The Arch, 2000 Riverside Drive  Unit 10, Asheville, NC 28804    http://www.thearchnc.com  828 253 5455  cmsilver@thearchnc.com Visit our website for hours of operation.

Wood-Fired Oven Holiday Cooking With The Cool Night Air-Listen To The Asparagus!

December 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Crisp green roasted wood-fired asparagus

Christmas day had been a very full day. I wasn’t sure I wanted to cook an evening meal in the wood-fired oven or just hit the sofa.  After a large breakfast, lunch with extended family, the occasional bites of date bars and chocolate throughout the day, did any of us need dinner at all?

As it turned out cooking outside in the cool air was an invigorating and satisfying way to enjoy the evening and, as it turned out, for everyone at the table. It was actually an ideal time to get away from the “lazy warm inside air”.  I had picked up a number of fresh vegetables the day before which included carrots, asparagus, portobellos, red, yellow and orange peppers. I had planned for a lighter evening fare after heavier meals throughout the day. I didn’t get back to the crowded holiday lines to pick up the fish I considered, (and I love fish), but our house includes vegetarians and vegans as well as meat eaters,  so knowing how incredibly delicious wood-fired vegetables  are  I knew we’d be just fine especially if we included some Kalamata olive wood-fired hearth bread from the day before, some fine wine or other drink of choice. It all made for a great finish for the day.

Kalamata Olive hearth bread

We fired up the oven, tending it off and on for a little more than forty-five minutes which is typical for our Forno Bravo Casa2G90. The temperature outside was in the 30’s, the oven coals somewhere over 1000 degrees, the dome creating the perfect convection experience – all ready to sear in the flavors like no other cooking method.  I prepared a couple of platters of vegetables (which took all of ten minutes- rinse vegetables, drizzle with oils, herbs, etc…, arranging and considering the grilling order and placement  in the oven). Grilled carrots carmalizing on left. Asparagus taking the place of the peppers and portobellosThe carrots were set to one side of the oven ahead of the rest of the vegetables allowing for the most generous amount of grilling time. I have read that cast iron may cook too hot in a wood-fired oven- but I believe it is more a case of knowing your oven and what you are cooking.Setting the heavy pan to the side of the fire works great for carrots. Want more heat? Move the pan closer to the fire. Want less? just pull it away, stirring on occasion, but not too often as its the caramelized skins that are delicious. Next, the portobellos were placed on the grill and then the peppers, checking up on them from time to time, giving the  peppers a turn,  evening out the coals beneath until all were roasted and just beginning to ooze their delicious juices.

Wood-fired vegetables ready for serving.

Vegetables don’t take that long,so they want your undivided attention at this point. No problem. I was glad to be outside tending the beautiful red coals and watching the fire. The last vegetable  I placed in the oven was the asparagus which had been placed on a foil covered roasting tray and placed on the Toscana grill. Drizzled with olive oil, herbs, garlic, fresh lime juice,  combined with the perfect heat of the dome and coals beneath they provided the ultimate chorus and just listening to them sizzle was, well here…listen for yourself.

And they were absolutely delicious!  They were so good that I grilled a second batch after dinner to eat the next day.

For more information on grilling in your wood-fired ovens, give us a call at The ARCH at 828 253 5455

Brotform Proofing Baskets and Other Wood-Fired Oven Accessories Available at The ARCH

Our Forno Bravo wood-fired oven continues to inspire us as we explore recipes and techniques, which often includes baking delicious hearth breads. Though we’re not professional bread bakers, we’ve surprised ourselves with some pretty delicious loaves of bread, and we remain admirers of the bread baking world- learning… learning… learning.

Ciabatta with Asiago and Feta

Shown here are a couple of Ciabatta loaves that Jim made that we thoroughly enjoyed alongside some Fire Roasted Tomato Soup that included roasted wood-fired tomatoes from our oven as well.

Close up of Delicious

We have a lot of respect for the many master bakers that surround us who truly understand the art and  science of creating beautiful and delicious bread. Cooking in our wood-fired Casa2G90 Forno Bravo oven has led us to seek out practical as well as artistic accessories for food preparation as well as cooking with the oven. You really do cook “with”a wood-fired oven as they have a lot to teach us. Wood-fired ovens offer a delightfully interactive experience.

Long handled tools a must

We started out with the much needed and necessary long handled Forno Bravo  tools, peels, pizza accessories,and  cast iron grill, yet we still have a wish list. The tools each oven owner needs all depend on how you cook and use your oven.  Give us a call at The ARCH 828 253 5455 if you would like some advice on what tools you need to get started with.

If I were camping for example, I can appreciate managing meals with a sparse supply , carving out “the forgotten spoon”, and all the improvising and creativity that goes with it, but when it comes to home, I admit  enjoying tools that make a task easier or have an artistic appeal. Some of our bread baking “improvised” props have been successful, but some have not worked out so well for us so we’ve decided to add A NEW COLLECTION OF ARTISAN BAKING ACCESSORIES  in our showroom The ARCH! 

Spiral Lines and artistic cuts on artisan bread

We’re  very excited to explore baking hearth breads with the artisan rustic spiral raised lines and interesting cuts. We now carry  Brotform proofing baskets, liners, baker’s couches, dough whisks and Bordelaise Lames.  All are professional grade and very well made.  Brotform baskets are handwoven bread molds made of cane, brotform, also known as brotformen or banneton. They are used to form and shape artisan loaves during the proofing and rising stage.

Results of a Brotform basket before baking

We’ll be adding to our inventory, but we’ve started out with  the following: 8″ round Brotform baskets, 13″ Brotform Baskets, 18″ Baguette Brotform baskets, liners if desired (an option for another great crust texture) to fit any of the baskets we’ve ordered, Baker’s couche precut at 24×35″, Danish dough whisks in 11.5 and 14″ lengths, and Mure-Peyrot Bordelaise Lames. We’ll share some of the results soon!

8" round Brotform

Liner for Brotform basket for desired texture

Bakers Precut Couche

18" Baguette Brotform with Liner

Here’s a helpful link to an article discussing in greater depth the use of Brotform proofing baskets.

Give us a call at The ARCH for accessories as well as the complete Forno Bravo line of ovens, outdoor fireplaces and installation service  at 828 253 5455

Hours T-F 9:30-5:30,Sat 10-3

Forno Bravo Wood-Fired Oven Demo Reveals Versatility

August 17, 2011 1 comment

  The ARCH hosted a Forno Bravo wood-fired oven demo late in July which was informative as well as energizing. The hands-on experience helped those attending get a much broader picture of what it is like to actually own an oven, and to cook in it.

We started the session at sundown and lit the fire in the oven so that everyone could see that, indeed, the Forno Bravo ovens do heat up to over 700 degrees in less than an hour. We had a mistaken piece of pine in the oven to start with, so we all noted that you do not burn pine as the black smoke will quickly make it’s presence known. After a few minutes, we had a clean fire and we continued burning clean assorted hardwoods- mostly oak, but some apple and cherry as well.  As the fire was occasionally stoked, we proceeded to the kitchen to involve everyone with hands-on experience creating pies with the dough made from scratch the previous day.  Handling the dough takes a little getting used to and is a lesson in itself, but we all created some pretty nice pies with assorted toppings.

It came naturally to Jeff

Jeff and Kim brought a few toppings of their own including a fine Italian sausage as well as Mozzarella di Bufala. We prepared several pies  maintaining a good sense of humor as several “lessons” were noted.  Seen here is Jeff Grimm who was immediately proficient handling the dough.  Jeff has many years of culinary experience including some time spent working with Peter Reinhart making pizzas so we were thrilled to watch him handle the dough with such familiarity.  With a little semolina flour on each peel, we didn’t have a single “accidental Calzone”- all the pies slid into the oven with success!

Jeff had this to say: “The Forno Bravo ovens are easy to use, I had it figured out by my second pizza. I am looking forward to roasting meats and vegetables, in addition to great Neopolitan pizzas”!

Jeff and Kim

The fire continue to burn strong and all the pizzas were delicious. My first attempt at the thin sliced lemon dessert pizza also came through with success.

Thin sliced lemon dessert pizza

I have since tried another but this time I  zested the outer rind just a bit before slicing the lemons. Copious amounts of powdered sugar must be sprinkled on unless you like your lemons sour! 

Zest the lemon but leave some of the rind, then slice thin

Another guest – Nancy has an interest in a community oven for a very innovative cabin development she is developing. Nancy has a terrific idea and excellent placement in mind for an oven between the cabins and the community center for guests to look forward to experiencing. This idea could blossom into a huge guest list over time. From cabin guests to guest chefs,  she has something that is sure to be a big draw. Nancy and her friend Joan were struck by the variety of flavors- and this was just an evening of pizza!

Giving that pie a spin. shown here in a Forno Bravo Casa 2G90 36" floor diameter

Grilling and baking may be included in future demonstrations, but for now seeing the oven in operation and getting involved is a great starting point and experience.

Kim shared the following:  “I didn’t realize how versatile a wood burning oven could be. I originally thought it was just for pizzas!”

The evening was a blast and we look forward to scheduling another oven demo this Fall.  If you have an interest please give us a call at The ARCH 828 253 5455.  Interests are reserved primarily for those interested in considering an oven purchase.

Here are a few more images of another round of pizzas enjoyed more recently – this time with my visiting niece and nephew and brother:

Alex and Tom topping a pie with fresh pesto

Waiting in line

Caramelized onion, mozzarella and Asiago, pine nuts

Lauren created this one

Detail of Mushroom Gorgonzola and walnut pizza

Alex removed another great pie

A great lineup

The cat sat here for the next three days pretty much.

It’s Not Too Hot for Wood-Fired Cooking!

It is 90 degrees  in a mid-summer heat wave and you’re thinking about firing up an oven? Absolutely! We enjoy a Forno Bravo Casa2G 90 wood-fired oven which is built next to our deck far from any air conditioning. Basically, the heat is kept outdoors and will not heat up your home that you invest in keeping cool. This is an energy saver in itself.   It’s perfect for summer evening cooking as well as the harshest winter months. The actual time spent cooking in a Forno Bravo wood-fired oven is very intentional and generally fast compared to cooking with a gas grill.  You develop the art of timing when cooking  with wood and it takes a little finesse but it’s sooooo well worth it!

Perfecting Timing with wood-fired cooking

Fresh Fresh Fresh

Summer is all about eating outside when it’s cooling down, enjoying your yard, and eating  FRESH! Fresh everything. The tomatoes are actually red and juicy, the squash, eggplants, herbs, corn, are either fresh from our own garden or from local tailgate markets.

Support Local Farmers

Supporting local farmers feels great as we know it feeds the local economy.  When you own an oven you can cook light fare or cook up a feast, but the best part of all is when the sun has set you’re on your own deck or patio with friends savoring some of the finest flavors that could otherwise cost you a pretty penny.  Around 6pm fire up the oven and occasionally feed it a few pieces of dry hardwood  to increase the heat.

Not much longer and the coals will be perfect

The exterior of the oven doesn’t put off high heat. It’s better than a thermos. The exterior may be warmed naturally from the sun, but the oven is so well insulated it is never too warm to touch. If the oven hasn’t been used for a good week or more, the interior behaves much like a cellar as it maintains what seems to be the same air temperature as outside if not a below ground cooler temperature.

Roasting carrots

After forty-five minutes to an hour, you have a fabulous bed of coals to push the heavy cast iron grill over.  I put a cast iron fry pan nearer the entry but in front of the fire to caramelize  summer carrots as we wait for perfect coals for the salmon filets.

I can do this

As we were entertaining for a birthday party (and the crowd  magically grew), we put ten salmon filets on a single heavy duty cast iron grill which took between 4-7 minutes tops to cook with the intense convection of the oven. Combine this with delicious cooler summer salads, corn,  a fresh peach pie and homemade vanilla ice cream for dessert and  you have some very happy campers.Dessert time As the oven will still have retained at least 300-400 degrees overnight, we’re cooking a light fare meal tonight of eggplant with freshly made pesto, fresh tomatoes, fine bread with garden herbs.  Forno Bravo wood-fired ovens are designed for year-round use and the enjoyment of wood-fired cooking unlike any other kind of cooking.

A Facebook comment we received from David Horn just today (during this heat wave):

“Great selection of your many products and services. Thanks again for the great job by Jim and Tom on our Forno Bravo oven in Lenoir. We have had lots of pizza and lots of guests over- more tonight!”   This says it all.

Some links of interest:

ASAP Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project  Facebook

ASAP Local Food Guide and CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) web

Buy Local NC Facebook

Slow Food Asheville Facebook

Slow Food Asheville web

Asheville Grown blog

North Carolina Organic Bread Flour Project blog

Carolina Farm Stewardship Associations web

Jim’s Wood Fired Ovens  Facebook/ gallery of oven installations (please “like” Jim!)

Jim Erskine Masonry and Applications web/ masonry services at The ARCH

Customers Share Forno Bravo Wood Fired Oven Progress as Well as Healthy Cooking Passion!

Lenoir, NC Premio 2G 110 Forno Bravo oven

It’s exciting for us to see the progress of  the Forno Bravo oven projects that Jim and Tom have worked on as well as customers. It’s the owners of the ovens that have the final vision to complete!  Some of the finish work and details that may be among the  finish “to-do” list include counter surfaces, lighting, surrounding landscaping, furnishings, cabinetry or metal work for oven tools and other oven accessories.  What can’t be shared here on a computer are the phenomenal smells and flavors. You just have to experience it! Wood-fired ovens are becoming increasingly  popular and one day we hope it to be true that many more ovens will find their place in homes and yards across the country.  It’s not a new idea as depicted in this old painting below. Yet, modern materials such as high temperature refractory cement and tested design forms have made Forno Bravo ovens an excellent choice as they are very efficient ovens which also translates into less wood use.

Many generations ago

The first photo above of the brick oven was built by Jim Erskine and Tom Silver in Lenoir, NC earlier this spring.  It is a solid and stately beauty and there will be some serious cooking, good humor and great fun shared by home owners  David and Mary Ruth Horn.  We hope to provide more details about their cooking adventures in the near future. In fact,  David has been involved in a cooking show called Two Men and a Stove , Fun in the Kitchen with Dave and Ram, who refer to themselves as “chef wannabes” with a focus on healthy eating and movement for overall health. They’ve worked with the Lenoir Fire Department cooking up recipes such as firehouse grilled chicken and firehouse salsa, and much more, all benefiting their community and beyond. We’re hoping to see a wood-fired oven segment!

 

This next photo is an outdoor kitchen in Columbus, NC, by Glen and Marilyn Lefeber.Their oven was shipped directly to them and they were responsible for the project from the ground up.

All the components coming together. Let’s get cooking!

They researched and planned their outdoor wood-fired oven area for quite some time before purchasing their Forno Bravo Casa2G oven and now the finishes are all coming together. With all this wonderful counter space they have ample serving and preparation area.

Glen with some of his first bread loaves from their wood-fired oven.

Glen has been a baker for decades and these are his first bread loaves from their oven.

We plan to share the progress of others if they can put their pizza peels down long enough to take some photos from time to time! We hope to share more images in future entries. Carry on!

For more images of these two oven projects click here.

Easy Wood-Fired Oven Roasted Vegetables and Portobello Mushrooms and a Few tips Utilizing Oven Space

Easy wood-fired oven roasted vegetable meal

What about the meal that falls into the middle of the week and you want to use your wood-fired oven to make something that is easy to make? Here’s a mid-week meal that requires little preparation time and minimal tending of the oven giving you a chance to actually sit back with your drink of choice, and simply swivel a few pans and stir the vegetables from time to time.

With a handful of potatoes, carrots, apples, and in this case,  a package of Portobello mushrooms you can put together a delicious blend of flavors.

Chopped carrots, red apple, yellow beet,olive oil, and a dash of sugar- all ready to roast

Cabbage has a good shelf life, so, as a side, I created a simple slaw of thin sliced cabbage, (both purple and green cabbage), a little honey flavored Texas Pete mustard, a pinch of sugar, salt and pepper and a couple of tablespoons of mayonnaise. Add a few pine nuts or slivered almonds, and a few dried cranberries if you like. (Roast the nuts in the oven first!)

Within about forty-five minutes I built a pretty nice fire  using hardwood pieces typical of  the sizes shown here.  Hardwoods are needed to maintain the duration of heat.

About five to ten minutes into the process the logs burn with intensity as shown. You can easily move the fire around with the flat rake tool to make use of different areas of the oven. Don't be afraid to "multitask" -making use of different locations in the oven!

The dry wood catches easily and gave me time to chop up the vegetables, make the slaw, and baste the mushrooms with olive oil and sea salt.

I have several pieces of Lodge Ware, and find the smaller pans easy to maneuver when shuffling a few items around the  grill   positioned within the oven for the portobello mushrooms.  (Grills are available at The ARCH).

Lodgeware smaller pans are convenient.The pan on the right has yellow sweet potato, onion, garlic, olive oil, and late in the game add the tomatoes and some chopped rosemary


With the grill in place I can still pull the smaller pans back and forth  to check the progress and move them about. If the fire begins to drop  in temperature I’ll nudge a few wood pieces to one side of the fire and ease them into the hotter coals as needed. 

Roasted!

This insures a high heat to maintain that lovely “sizzle” in the pans  that is music to your ears as the vegetables roast  and caramelize.

The apples add for a nice sweet balance

That about wraps up another fine, but simple meal.