Sunday, August 31, 2014

Labor Day Weekend

We don't have a grocery store in Seagrove. They are building one, but it's been in process for four years now. I might be retired or dead by the time it opens. In the meantime it's about a fifteen minute drive to buy food. This summer there has been a guy in truck parked on the Pottery Highway, about 1/4 mile from us, selling fruits and vegetables. It's been very convenient to buy fresh tomatoes every few days. His prices are reasonable too. We didn't grow tomatoes this year, only basil and greens. Jeff and I both love tomatoes and can go through quite a few in no time at all. 

 A few weeks ago I tried my hand at making tomato pie. It's a little time consuming to put together, but it's worth the effort. I have been using either a frozen or refrigerated  pie crust, to cut down on some of the work. It's a recipe from the infamous Paula Deen so of course you know it's very rich. I cut the mayonnaise in half. I can't imagine it with more than that. I have also added a few strips of bacon, cooked and chopped. The key to a less sloppy pie is to drain your tomatoes longer than the recipe says. I even layer a couple of paper towels between them to squeeze out some more liquid. The recipe says to peel and slice the tomatoes. The easiest way to peel them is to blanch them. Ms. Deen even shows you how to do that in the video.
You can find the recipe here. If you love tomatoes, I think you will love this pie.

Aside from eating, we have been making pots and finishing pots. Right now, Jeff is fast asleep, after firing the kiln overnight. I think I heard him creep into bed at 7:15 am. We have a deadline to meet and orders to fill.

These little pigs were made on August 27th, put outside to dry on the 28th, bisque fired the 29th, glazed and loaded in the gas kiln on the 30th. Lots of other pots were pushed through as well. We keep the bisque under 200 degrees for a few hours. Once there is no steam coming out of the kiln we fire as usual. A blow up is a rare event in the bisque firing and we usually have a few wet or damp pots in every kiln load.

My plan for the day is to finish unpacking from the Lazy Days show. Right now it looks like our trailer threw up it's contents onto the porch. I can't look at the mess for another day. Jeff (when he wakes up) is heading down the road to help Fred Johnston cut wood and get ready for a wood firing this week.
It's definitely Labor Day weekend here at the pottery... we are laboring away as usual.


  1. Tomato pie, oh I love tomatoes but have never heard of it. I must look for a gluten free flour to try this as there are so many tomatoes for sale at the farmer's market and our handy man brought us some too. I love pies much better than cake, my reasoning has always been that they are better for me since they have fruit or some such in them. Ha.

    I was surprised you fire to 06 as I have always heard (not sure who from, maybe I read it some where) it's better to fire at 04 to burn out more of the impurities but your glazes seem to come out great and you're work is fired much higher in the glaze than mine, hum?

  2. Linda, we have always kept the bisque under 1900 degrees. Occasionally we over fired to 1920 (pre-kiln sitter days) and then our glazes don't absorb as well.
    I wonder if the glaze firing temp makes a difference, and the fact that our glazes are dipped.

  3. Hope you have an easy day of "labor" day. Just don't get regular holidays when self employed!

  4. Mmmm, we love tomato pie! I halve the mayo as well. I don't bother peeling the tomatoes, though it might be nicer that way.

  5. I think when you dip the piece absorbs more glaze and I brush, but I might try experimenting a bit and see what happens. Wonder if there is any literature on the topic of bisque temps.

  6. Linda- I talked to Jeff about bisque temps and he says there are lots of variables. Years ago he had some trouble with a couple of glazes and lowering the bisque temperature from 05 to 06, helped. If your glazes are working fine, I wouldn't mess with your bisque temp.

    Gary and Barb - yep, holidays are often workdays for the self-employed.

  7. thanks Michele, I think it probably depends upon the clay too. I know the glaze on some of my pots was more matt this last time than I got in my Florida kiln and I was disappointed, I was using MacAbee in Florida and here I am using little loafers


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