I scramble up and over the rusted-out hull of a small craft, lifting myself off what looks like a long mast dipping into water thick with oil slicks and who knows what else. Inside the boat, Cato walks one of the few planks left in the decayed deck. The opposite side of the plank shifts and lifts off the beam supporting it, and we all hold our breath. But Cato’s footing is firm and he crosses the deck and climbs down the opposite side. This hull sits in one below it like nesting bowls, a stack that makes up just a small fraction of the Staten Island Ship Graveyard.
As I mentioned in my post on steak and ale pie, my lack of brewing has left me more restless than usual for culinary challenge and adventure. While I was brewing, my interest in fermented foods expanded, but I kept pushing projects like kimchee, yogurt, and sourdough to the back of my mind. A fellow homebrewer offered me a kombucha mother and I let the opportunity slip away during the holidays. No more! I’ve grown a sourdough starter, and I’m not looking back.
It is taking me quite awhile to acclimate to cooking in England. The kitchen here is not well-stocked on cookware, and many of the pieces of equipment I use most often in the US are not easy to find at an affordable price. When I have found a deal, it has more than once come at the cost of horrendous quality. A cast iron skillet was high on my priority list, but the first one I order (for a bit more than a standard Lodge cast iron in the US) cracked while I was seasoning it. However, failure on this front was not an option.
Bomb: Prolific painting or marking with ink. To cover an area with your tag, throwups, etc. – Graffiti.org
Most of the buildings in Berlin don’t bear the distinction of being designed by famous architects or under orders of King Frederick William II. Walking through the city you’re far more likely to pass by an imbiss shop or a residence (though that inconspicuous apartment building may have once housed Marlene Dietrich, like the one where I stayed during my visit). However, these anonymous shops and homes bear another distinction – many of them are part of the world’s largest canvas: the city of Berlin.
As soon as I stepped off the S-Bahn in the Friedrichshain district on my first night in Berlin, I was enveloped by bombed-out industrial walls. I had decided before I left England that I would be making a trip to the East Side Gallery, but I had no idea how pervasive street art would be in Berlin or that it would occupy a central role in the identity of many of its inhabitants.
Ever on the lookout for opportunities for fun and adventure, Colleen (who is currently writing her own blog about those adventures I’m missing back in New York) heard that Future of the Left would be playing a show in their hometown of Cardiff while I was in the UK. Not only would it be an opportunity for me to see them play new material from their recently released album and two EPs, but it would be a good excuse to go somewhere new.
To clear things up right off, there is no ham on this pizza. All of my pizzas are vegetarian. The smoked summer ham actually refers to my rauchbier, which has an undeniable meatiness bound to the smoky malt. Colleen and I are fans of Futurama, so as I was describing the beer to her, I joked that the beer was “fresh as a summer ham.”
While thinking of toppings with complimentary flavors, my failed attempt at a smoky seitan pizza stuck in my mind as something to avoid repeating. Then I remembered seeing a recipe on SeriousEats for stuffed poblano peppers in a cashew-chipotle sauce that I had been curious to try my hand at. It struck me that it would be very easy to adapt this recipe to a pizza, using the cashew-chipotle sauce to replace the traditional tomato sauce and simply turning the stuffed peppers into toppings.
In my last post, I detailed my current practice for preparing pizza dough through balling it up for a slow, refrigerated fermentation. After two to four days in the refrigerator, the dough is ready for you to make it into pizza. Again I’ve put together a video to help you understand my process, but there is of course only so much you can discuss about pizza in a five minute video.