New family member: Kamado Joe

pizza on the grill

This homemade pizza is going on the grill.

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Not just any grill. Behold, the Kamado Joe.

I call it R2D2… or the Minion. It’s a relative of the more familiar Big Green Egg.

It has advantages over other charcoal grills. My husband did the research, bought it, and sold all his other outdoor cooking gear.

Why, John, why did you buy a Kamado?

“Temperature control. Ceramic heat retention. Easy to control heat through the vents. Great thermometer on the outside. It will get really hot or you can cook low and slow.”

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Temperature is up to around 640, replicating a traditional very hot wood-fired pizza oven, which cooks the pizza really quickly, with a nice brown crust.

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The pizza goes onto the hot pizza stone.

Surface of the stone was 435˚ F. (John has an infrared thermometer.) It took about 20 minutes to get it that hot.

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In mere minutes our pizza was done.

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There it is.

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Bacon, onion, jalapeno, monterey jack and Mexican cheese pizza.

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Food close up.

This was our dinner Sunday night.

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Monday night: a pork, mushroom, onion and asparagus stir fry on the Kamado Joe. (This Facebook photo that attracted many Likes and comments.) On Sunday, June 21 he made a 12-hour slow-cooked pulled pork butt that was delicious.

Here’s a restaurant that cooks with Kamado Joes: Kamado Grille restaurant amps up the backyard experience in North Raleigh.

Also, from Atlanta magazine: How the Big Green Egg Became a Phenomenon

The Big Green Egg derives from a simple idea with an ancient lineage, as evidenced by pottery shards of cooking vessels in middens around the world. More specifically, it’s an updated iteration of a commonplace Asian rice cooker: the kamado, a Japanese word that translates as “place for the cauldron.” The Egg’s modern design, which uses durable ceramics, is modeled on the cookers traced first to the Chinese Qin Dynasty and then used by the Japanese beginning in the third century, says Fisher, who discovered the apparatus, like many servicemen of his generation, during his travels in Asia as a Navy engineer.

What makes kamados different from other metal charcoal grills is their heavy, airtight seal that holds in moisture, with small vents at the top and bottom to control air flow with precision. The focused heat also can be held to low temperatures for smoking. A kamado has a quick startup time; it’s ready to cook in just a few minutes. Moreover, the natural lump charcoal burns hotter and more efficiently than briquettes, and it produces little ash to clean up.

In fact, the physics of it prove so straightforward, and the success of the Egg so salivating, that at least a dozen other manufacturers have sprung up. Three other companies—Primo, Grill Dome, and Kamado Joe—are now based in metro Atlanta, which the New York Times pronounced “the de facto hub for ceramic cookers.” Each jockeys to distinguish itself, and each has rabid fans, arguing online with the same evangelical fervor devoted to debates about Carolina versus Texas barbecue.

Just a day

rosa rugosa

The Seacoast’s prettiest weed, the beach rose Rosa rugosa.

Photo taken during a morning walk past Rye Harbor and the surrounding marshes yesterday morning.

Yesterday I also cleaned the chicken coop, weeded and mulched in the backyard, then helped my youngest daughter in her (tedious) chore of painting deck railings while newly fledged downy woodpeckers fluttered around us, banging into things and being stupidly fearless and charmingly dopey.

Our lazy dinner was from Las Olas Taqueria in Hampton, then I drove her to the Newburyport train to Boston. The sunset and lingering evening light made a pretty sky show.

Eldest daughter spent much of the day at her tutoring job and in a Calculus class. She loves Math, how weird. Husband was on a trip, with layovers in Fort Myers and Washington D.C. He texted me a photo of the view from the cockpit…

d.c. view

North Beach and a flying machine

North Beach the wall

The seawall and North Beach, Hampton. I visited yesterday, at midday on Midsummer’s Day.

pay and display

To park, you Pay and Display. I paid $4 for 2 hours, 11:58 a.m. to 1:58 p.m.

My daughter Laura and her boyfriend visiting from Boston went to the beach here too, hitching a ride with me, to soak up rays and swim very briefly in the cold ocean while I walked south to the end of this stretch of beach and back, about 3 miles.

seawall

They have been rebuilding the weathered seawall, for years it seems, and now it finished… brand shiny new concrete.

This beach is north of the main “Hampton Beach” beach and is properly called North Beach, and improperly called North Hampton Beach, which is a different beach altogether, a couple miles further north. My daughter and all her friends, who spent much time here in high school, just call it “The Wall.”

“We’re going to North Beach,” I say.

“Oh, you mean The Wall,” she says.

Other beaches to the north and south have seawalls, but only North Beach is THE Wall. Perfectly clear, right?

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The Wall is a good place to sit and look at the ocean, play music, have picnics, take photos. Loaf.

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Lifeguard walks the beach.

North Beach is wide, flat sand at low tide and almost nonexistent, especially at the south end, at high tide. At the south end, during windy, rough-ocean high tides, the water splashes over The Wall.

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I observed this boat going back and forth along the beach. Maybe mapping the ocean floor?

copter

This flying machine flew over around 12:35 p.m. Neat!

I wondered what it was, so I googled. Is it this guy? Gyrox and Norman Surplus

From the website: Welcome to the central point for information about the G-YROX autogyro circumnavigation of the globe. Piloted by Norman Surplus, the autogyro, now affectionately known by the nickname, ‘Roxy’, will cross 26 countries, flying over 27,000 miles / 43,000 kilometers, crossing deserts, jungles, mountains and oceans. Not only will the flight be an official FIA World Record attempt to be the first Autogyro to circumnavigate the globe but Norman will also be using the flight to bring awarness of Bowel Cancer to a worldwide audience.

Screenshot from a link on his site…

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Here’s a story from the Portland Press Herald June 22: Unique world traveler touches down in Maine: Norman Surplus of Northern Ireland, five years into his quest to fly around the globe, is greeted by about a half-dozen people at Biddeford Municipal Airport.

His journey has taken him through 18 countries so far, and was supposed to take only four months. But the record attempt was delayed for three years in Japan. Surplus waited for Russian authorities to grant him permission to fly through the country’s airspace to reach Alaska, then Canada, and then the lower 48 states.

But he had to change those plans, shipping the aircraft to the U.S., starting off again June 1 in Oregon.

Surplus lands in new areas without a plan or a ground crew to assist him, instead relying on local people to help him find his way to hotels, restaurants and anything else he needs.

“It’s like an aerial road trip,” he said.

Surplus said his autogyro generates looks wherever he goes.

Although it is considered the precursor to the helicopter, the autogyro, developed in the 1930s, has more in common with a fixed-wing aircraft than a modern helicopter.

While a modern helicopter uses an engine to power the overhead rotors, an autogyro’s rotors spin freely in the breeze.

To fly, any aircraft must generate lift to leave the ground and thrust to move forward through space. The autogyro is equipped with a horizontally spinning propeller, which moves the aircraft forward.

Once moving ahead on the ground, the rotor blades overhead catch the air and begin to spin, unassisted by an engine. As the forward speed increases, so does the speed of the rotors, until the lift generated is enough for the aircraft to leave the ground.

He is in Nantucket now, then will head north along the coast into Canada, to Newfoundland, Iceland, Scotland, then home in Northern Ireland. Best of luck to him!

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The weather was exquisite.

Where shall I walk with a camera today?

Words in wood

driftwood

If you say so.

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I found driftwood log, inscribed (possibly with a Dremel woodburning tool), on a rocky beach walk just south of Odiorne Point, in Rye, late morning.

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Big log, must have washed up in a big storm.

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Some graffiti is more beautiful than others.

angry rocks

Nearby rocks are ugly and angry. Stupid, bad children. Go to your rooms.

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After lifting weights at the gym, I had a swift walk with my point-and-shoot birding camera just around the point of Odiorne Point. If you park in the pullout south of Odiorne, and cut through along the shoreline, you don’t have to pay.

Resolved: more walks with cameras this summer. And amykane.net blogging resumed. (I have kept up with my bird blog for over a year now: amybirds.com.

tidepooling

Low tide and children, just south of Odiorne. And crabs, urchins, snails, seaweed.

This is possibly the premier tidepooling location in New Hampshire.

cormorants

Cormorants and tidepool explorers.

I was here between thunderstorms. Cloudy, warm-cool and humid day. We got a good sky-washing later.

rock kids

Near the driftwood, a small forest of stacked rocks. Also worth exploring. Admission is free.

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Sea-weathered and washed up rope looks a bit like a starfish.

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Artifacts arrive with the seaweed and linger on the higher part of the beach.

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Rock art. These are the materials we have to work with in New Hampshire.

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driftwood kindness

A final message from the wood.

The first full day of summer

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Cape Man.

Tide coming in. My husband looks down and says, “Lots of little fish.”

We were walking a trail from the Cape Cod National Seashore Visitor Center along Salt Pond toward Nauset Marsh and Coast Guard Beach in Eastham, Massachusetts, the town where John grew up.

Day trip to Cape Cod to see old friends and old favorite places. We drove by his mom’s house. It looks the same from the outside. We haven’t been to the Cape since she died in April 2012.

The weather was as beautiful as the day we eloped and said our I Dos at the courthouse in Orleans and went and took pictures of ourselves at Rock Harbor, July 1987. We are such old farts.

We saw a coyote not long after this, on Doane Road, a big one with a thick coat of fur in shades of gray. Dinner with John’s childhood friend and his wife in the neat little cottage they are renovating.

More Rock Harbor, with barn swallows, on bird blog: Bright Day