Tuesday, March 28

MEXICAN MONDAY!!!!!

holy sh!tballs, y'all.
how long has it been?
too long!!!
we haven't had a hearty, homemade mexican monday
up in this Folk Life & Liberty Fortress for a minute or two, huh?
well,
don't despair.
that all changed last night, for the bigger, and the better, neighbors.
uh-huh.
por que'?
porque demasiado es la cantidad correcta!
yup.
and when it's time to make up for a lapse in lusciousness,
you all already know i'm ready, willing, and able
to overindulge in way more magnificence than the pan cannhandle,
and to doo-doo that freaky sh!t like my life depends on it.
after all, rules is rules, friends.
if you aren't overdoing it, you're doing it wrong.
that's a thing.
you wanna see how ridiculous i got with the good-good last night?
ok.
check the mas-grande-type teleport:

TRIPLE THREAT!!!!!!
tacos, enchiladas, AND quesadilla!?!?
hell yeah.
i'm over here trying to activate alllllll the hottness, holmes.
and i did.
and it was expert.
and i ate every last bite.
-
here's the thing about shark-gluttony.
you can't hesitate at one hundred calories per tortilla,
even if there's six of them on the plate.
if you start counting, you've already failed.
that's no joke.
instead,
you've gotta focus on more pressing concerns-
like,
sauce.
yep.
sauce is important.
that chipotle rancheros up there, on those enchiladas?
it's the TRUTH.
y'wanna make some?
do it like this:
*
ENCHILADA CHIPOTLE RANCHEROS SAUCE!
-
1/4 cup sweet onion, minced;
1/4 cup hot peppers, mixed, minced, whatever...
1 T butterish;
1 T olive oil;
3/4 cup crushed tomatoes.
smoked paprika, GPOP, cumin, oregano, chipotle pepper, ancho pepper,
1 tsp agave;
1/4 cup chopped fresh tomato;
black pepper;
2 T ho'sauce;
1/4 cup water.
-
start with the fats and the onions and peppers, and wilt 'em up-
add the fresh tomatoes,
the crushed tomatoes,
and then the spices.
drizzle in the ho'auce and agave and the water,
and let it all simmer it for at least twenty minutes.
you know what happens next?
you get to enjoy some terrific sauce, that's what.
-
the enchiladas themselves have cashew-garlic-tofu chee' in 'em,
finely chopped red onion,
custom ho'sauce activated nootch-boosted refried pinto beans,
daiya mozzarella,
and cilantro inside, too.
rolled and arranged in a shallow pan, and covered in easy greasy gravy.
that's essential.
if you're not gravy-baking your enchiladas,
you're a F*ing jerk who hates enchiladas.
i'm sure of it.
the gravy is so simple:
-
2 T flour;
2 T butterish; gently browned together,
plus,
GPOP and 1 cup of broth,
boiled until thick.
-
that's it.
bake all that, covered in foil, for like, fifteen-twenty minutes,
at 350F.
remove the foil, lather e'm with sauce, and give 'em another 7-10 out in the open.
the gravy is so key, it steams and soaks and infises all that exxxtra flavor.
you like exxxtra flavor, don'tcha?
of course you do!
expert!
***********
that quesadilla is so easy to make, you'll wonder why you don;t eat one every single day.
two tortillas,
each with daiya cheddar on it,
plus, black beans, scallions, cilantro, and a smoosh of refried beans,
just to stick it all together pre-melt-
toasted until brown on a hot skillet,
with all that chee' melting and sticking and generally being rad.
i put the red taco-style sauce and some green smoky ho'sauce,
both decanted from my vast collection of situationaly-appropriate hottness.
a few tomatoes, a little scallion, and BOOM.
magical wedges of pure amazing were ready for my mouth to masticate!!!
mmmmmmmmmm.
what?
does the avocado on the side DO anything?
heck yes, it does,
it make every bite a smoother and more amazing creamy dream, dude.
obvi.
don't be dumb.
jeez.
*
..............tacos.
tacos.
tacos!
TACOS!
TACOS!!
dos tacos for my face,
because infinite fat-man hog-mouth shark-gluttony knows no limits.
fajita-fried poblano, serrano, red hot chilis, and onion,
oil-sizzled in a fiery smoky asada-style spice blend,
(that's GPOP, cumin, smoked paprika, oregano, basil, and black pepper)
plus fried black beans,
and fresh hot jalapeno,
sweet slices of baby tomatoes,
cilantro,
and avo-flippin'-cado for the win!!
dudes,
a good taco is always welcome to attend any of my banquets.
no joke.
...and if it brings a hot friend?
well,
i'm not one to shy away from a fabulous orgiastic feeding frenzy.
-
how much food was consumed?
a.) too much,
b.) not enough.
c.) all of it.
d.) ALL OF THE ABOVE.
hahaha.
you know you want that D!
ahhhhhhhh,
-
oh, and those limes made every single thing taste way better.
for realsies.
i don't use citrus unless it's very necessary,
and believe me,
without the lime juice squeezin's,
this meal wouldn't have gone to eleven.
...which, incidentally, it definitely did
***********
there's no such thing as recovering lost time.
it's just gone.
forever,
bye bye.
however,
making the most of the time you have on hand,
in the right of freakin' now, is a pretty smart plan.
so, despite the lack of mexico this march,
with just a little extra effort,
a bit of intentional focused and direct participation,
a whole bunch of soft flour tortillaa,
and an ample application of appetite-guided construction,
in under an hour,
i had a magnificent and mucho mas mexican monday.
you get back what you put out.
so don't act put out.
but,
you ARE gonna wanna put out.
that's solid advice;
never quiet, never soft.....

COOKIE CAKE!!!!

day in, day out,
day after day,
with days turned to weeks turned to months turned to years,
i've been tattooing any, every, and all of y'all.
that's my thing.
that's what i do.
that's the move i make most often.....
but,
lately,
i can't help but notice that while i am still a versatile and capable tattooer,
it's not tattooing that brings me a sense of satisfaction.
i mean, sure, i'm pleased that i'm not making a ruin of anyone's skin,
and i'm not too bummed out at the freedom that my non-traditional, 
unconventional interactive art and idea exchange provides at every turn...
i do a lot of it, dudes,
and i do it more, and for longer, than i've yet to do anything else.
that said.
i feel the need to forego humility for a few seconds and just say it:
i am one F*ing hell of a treat-makin' baker, too.
uh-huh.
i'm not bragging.
i promise.
i'm griping, actually.
imagine finding a way to demonstrate all of the intention, and affection, 
all of the care, and compassion, and creativity that is restrained. and tamed, 
and contained within bounds by even the most liberal and unrestrictive of jobs,
and then add the descriptor: vegan. 
you'll watch in disappointment as more than half of these mutha-effers 
avoid even trying a slice for fear of catching a mild case of conscience/.
ugh.
treats versus tattoos, neighbors.
it's an exclusively internal conflict, of course,
because i do, in fact, do both.
i bake less than i tattoo, but i bake a lot.
i share it more than it is appreciated, but i still share it all.
it's all really happening:
the fast-and-loose furious tattzap improv show,
the not-as-fast-just-as-loose ferocious bakeshop improv show.
there's a correlative overlap between the two,m
and each one fills in the blanks left by the other.
yins and yangs, bitters and sweets, all of it,
is made possible by doing two things where one isn't cutting it.
too much is the right amount.
seems like that applies to careers as well as anything else.
okay, then.
here's how i bridged that gap most recently.......
check the teleport:
COOKIE CAKE!!!
everything i'd have done to make a cookie,
plus soymilk.
uh-huh.
a crumbly, soft, chewy, gooey, chip-chock'd chunk of pure awesomeness.
wordimus prime.
i'll confess something, friends-
those chocolate covered pretzels are store-bought.
yeah.
i impulse purchased them at trader joe's on my way to connecticut,
and needed to implement them in something before i ate the whole bag by itself.
i LOVE chocolate covered pretzels,.
that's a fun fact about your buddy albie rock, for future reference.
everything else is made up on the spot.
well,
the frosting was left over from the cupcakes i took with me
for my daughters down south.
ok.
anyway,
the cake was expert.
and was basically a cookie, like i said.
here's how you can create your very own:
-
*
COOKIE CAKE!
-
1 cup sugar;
1 stick vegan butter;
1 tsp vanilla;
1/2 tsp salt;
^ creamed, of course, and whisked up wth:
3/4 cup applesauce;
2 1/4 cups flour;
2 tsp bakey powder;
1 tsp bakey soda;
1 cup mini chocolate chips
-
and 1 cup non-dairy milk.
take a big ol' spatula, and stir the sh!t out of it.
by hand.
i know.
we want cookie crumbles, not airy fairy dust, duders.
try to keep up.
now,
pour that business in a greased springform pan, 
which i really like to use, exclusively, it seems, for single-layer cakes,
and bake it for 35-45 minutes at 355F.
in this instance, 
i felt i HAD to activate a handful or two of exxxtra choco-chippy sprankles.
and, real talk, i do NOT ever regret added activation, not one little bit.
-
cooled off, frosted with that sweet, and sexy, 
but unfortunately less-firm\-than-i'd-have-liked vanilla creme,
and those awesome pretzels, too.
that's it.
so simple.
but, so goooooooooooooood.
************
i like to bake.
i like to tattoo.
i more frequently feel the intrinsic rewards of baking,
but i sure do love those stacks on stacks that come from tattooing.
i doubt i'd be able to do either without the other.
as time has worn on,
they've interwoven themselves inextricably into my daily routine.
so,
this is it.
staying sorta happy-sad always,
doing the things i love/hate the most.
that's how it works, i think,
if you're the type of person prepared to look honestly 
at the world as it unfolds around you.
this is it, neighbors.
over and over, round and round,
sugar and blood and ink and flour.
fire and lightning, heat and electricity.
it's ALL really happening.
i don't think i say that enough;
never quiet, never soft.....

Monday, March 27

BAMBOO RICE!!!!

dudes,
they put young bamboo juice IN the rice!!!
huh?
yeah, buddy.
bamboo rice.
for real.
i mean it.
chlorophyll and vitamin b just start bursting out at the seams, it seems,
and those short and sexxxy little grains get all the good stuff poppin' off
right from the mill and straight to the plate!
yup.
and apparently,
it's been a thing, elsewhere, for some time.
however,
i just found out about it.
so, shoutouts to globalization, kinda.
guys,
it's bamboo rice!
i feel like i can't type out how psyched i got about it-
...it's F*ing green, man!
and it tastes a little baby bit like green tea,
and it's kinda sticky,
and it's exactly what got me in the mood to make dinner,
even after a day of reallllly not giving a single sh!t about my suppertime prospects.
word!
bamboo rice.
who knew?
like, did you know about this?
and if you did, why didn't you tell me?
anyway,
i found it, i made it, it's green, and it's expert.
an when you've already got some fancy rice on hand,
you may as well rally,
get into the mood,
and activate some tasty vegan hottness for your face!
that's IT!
check the green-nutrient-machine-type teleport:

WU-TANG!!!!
you'd better believe that's crispy fried sesame tofu!
that's the crackle-skinned soft-centered sexiness that's got it going on.
huh?
well, OBvi,
that's broccoli and garlic sauce, too.
yup.
two terrific sauces, AND that fancy rice?!
too much is the right amount.
you know how i get busy, broski.
a bed of shredded purple and green cabbage,
for that fresh crawnchy texture and bite laid down the foundation of freshness
that all the rest of the stuff followed in form and function.
broccoli crowns are delicious,
and with onions and chilis, they're way better, and way spicier.
how do we top that?
with garlic sauce, silly,
and what's in garlic sauce?
c'mon.
you know it.
YEAH!
...so much garlic.
-
*
GARLIC SAUCE!
-
3 cloves crushed garlic;
GPOP in abundance, (approx 1 tsp ea. Garlic and Onion Powders)
2 T white vinegar;
3 T tamari;
1 T ho'sauce;
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp ginger;
1/4 tsp mustard;
black pepper;
1 tsp molasses;
1 tsp agave;
2 T warm water;
1 1/2 tsp thickener (i still use organic cornstarch, but you do you, boo)
-
whisk all that together,
and pour it all over that oily, sizzling onion, chili, and broccoli jaun.
cover it, and let it thicken over high heat for no longer than five minutes.
seriously.
it'll be the TRUTH, and quickly.
mmmmmmmmm.
if you don't take it to eleven with some cilantro sprankles?
i'm just gonna go ahead and say it:
you might really be an A*-hole.
that last little touch could be the difference between a tasty din-din
and a whole new flavor reality expanding your mind's eye forever.
so don't wimp out in the home stretch.
-
and that tofu?
undrained blocks of very firm bean curd are the best.
whenever you want the squish and the crust and the awesome to happen,
while the heat is ON and high and hot as heckfire,
that's the stuff you're gonna wanna use.
lava-temperature sesame oil,
and half a block of cubed 'fu,
with a dusting of GPOP, and after two sides are seared all golden,
a few tablespoonfuls of sesame seeds, too...
the, you'll need some expert SAUCE!
i got you, duders.
-
*
SWEET AND SOUR SESAME SAUCE!
-
2 T soy sauce;
2 T rice vinegar;
1 clove crushed garlic;
3 T agave;
black pepper;
1 tsp toasted sesame oil;
1 tsp ho' sauce;
GPOP;
1 tsp cornstarch, slurried right in there-
^^^^^^
it's so simple!
it's so delicious!
it goes perfectly with the sossamon seeds already in the pan,
and when the 'fu and the sauce get together,
your tongue is gonna be caught in an orgy of awesome immediately.
mmmmm.
it's scandalously tasty.
-
oh,
yeah,
i got cukes and micros and radishes poppin' off, too.
no big deal,
a few spicy, cool, and nutritious bits are always a nice touch at the end.
.....but,
that bamboo rice, tho!
how neat to have another 'nother component working in concert
with my main staples stirred right in, and activated all the way,
by that so-easy-being-green-style ricey nicety!!
i know i ate every last speck,
plus, everything again in a second helpful helping of that healthy sh!t, too.
i doo-doo that hungry hungry hippopotamus stuff.
'MORE good things, please'
that's what i was thinking, knowing full well that i had a second serving awaiting me.
haha.
***********
today is my buddy beau's berfday.
and it's kind of a big one-
for realises.
he's 30, now.
and that's a whole new decade of life!
the prefix of his age is the magic number for the next ten years!
and i'll tell you something, friends:
being involved in somebody's life from young adulthood,
into full-blown fully grown personhood,
is something i never take for granted.
he's an earnest, honest, straightforward, hardworking, motivated man,
and i'm a lucky human being to have a friend like that.
shoutouts to watching worth-a-sh!t sonsab!tches become something better.
so, happy berfday to that guy,
and here's to 30 more years of hanging out every four-to-six months;
never quiet, never soft.....

Sunday, March 26

CINNAMON!! CRANBERRIES!!

SWIRLS!
what's more of a treat in the morning than hot, sticky, buttery,
gooey, crusty, chewy cinnamon buns??
...not much, man.
that's for sure.
after my trip to connecticut,
i needed an affirmative activation of woodsly goodness for my face.
uh-huh.
the way hippies sage stuff to cleanse the bad vibes,
using the healing smoke to blabbity-blah blah
and whatever whatever whatever what. ev. er.....
instead of that silly sauce,
i just bake expert vegan treats to infuse the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress
with fresh-to-death delicious dopeness.
i don't remove negative waves, man,
i roll right over those imaginary juju beams with real life
positive proactive nutrients in fancily-arranged formation.
WORD.
so,
my invisible aura was cleansed through cinnamon ingestion,
and i have to tell you, neighbors-
baking in the laboratory test kitchen is just about my favorite place to be.
real talk,
everything about the process makes me psyched.
and at the end of my homecoming exercise,
i got to munch up as many cinnamon swirls as i could fit in my body!!!!
yeah!
and this time, there were cranberries, too.
check the cinnamon-magic-type teleport:

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!
i know,
i've been effin' with cast iron pretty heavily these days.
i'm about that black metal, buddy.
there's nothing more to it than that.
ha.
the key to a good cinnamon bun,
in my opinion,
is a stiff dough.
to achieve that, i always add a little scoop of wheat gluten to the flour.
and it works like a charm, every time.
here's the what and how,
in case your house is in need of some morning glory sometime soon:
-
*
3 cups flour;
1/2 tsp salt;
1 T wheat gluten;
1 pkg (2 1/2 tsp) fast-actin' yeast;
cinnamon;
1/4 cup sugar;
4 T melted butterish;
1 cup non-dairy milk, warmed-
with 1 tsp vanilla, and 2 tsp bread machine yeast.
-
combine all that, and knead the crap out of it for 5 minutes in a stand mixer,
or more like ten by hand, which suuuuuucks.
let it rest for 10 minutes,
and roll it out into a rectangle,
-
the filling is super simple, and really hard to do wrong:
1 cup =/- brown sugar;
1 tsp vanilla;
4 T vegan butts;
cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger;
1/2 cup chopped dried cranberries.
cream everything but the cranberries,
spread it out leaving a 1" margin on one long side,
toss all those cranzos evenly along the sugary butts,
and roll it up, so the exposed dough can be moistened,
and fastened to seal 'em shut.
yeah!
if you've really been manhandling the dough, you may want to refrigerate it
for a little bit,
so the soft butts don't squeeze out as you cut the roll into discs, y'know?
or not.
i mean, i'm not the boss of you,
so you can do whatever you want, bro.
however,
i cut 16 sections,
that's half/half/half/half,
and arranged as many as i could fit in a BIG skillet.
14 was the number i could pack in the pan.
the end rolls were baked separately,
but they were eaten first.
how long?
how hot?
375F. around25-30 minutes,
or until they're golden and brown enough for your taste.
parchment paper is a key element in this situation.
it keeps all the stickiness contained,
and the cleanup consists of just lifting out that paper,
and then being done cleaning up..
it's like a two second action.
....nice.
oh, and don't forget to glaze them when they cool off a bit.
be patient.
if you do it when they're warm, you're dumb.
why?
c'mon, kiddo-
because, the residual heat will make all the sugary goodness dissolve.
jeez.
and obvioulsy, i know the rules,
and activated a bunch of dried cranberry sprankles on top.
that's how you make 'em more awesome.
too much is the right amount,
and less cranberries is not that, at all.
making treats.
making treats at home.
making treats in my beat-up and rugged Folk Life kitchen.
that's what i always want to do.
so that's what i do.
....and then i eat way too much.
and that's just right.
***********
all dudes on the schedule today.
yup.
pure crapola.
maybe they're cool?
maybe not.
maybe i'll have a great day?
probably not.
i will do a lot of tattooing.
i will also get paid.
on top of that,
i may have two kinds of pretty sexxxy rice i'm thinking about using,
so,
at the end of all today's measly, mangy, man-time overlap,
there could very well be some satisfaction to be had at suppertime.
if not,
i'll absolutely just order a big ol' pizza.
i think that's ok.
after all,
nothing douses my disposition in doo-doo butter like a day full of dudes,.
yuck.
no. no. no.
all the sage in the world couldn't smudge, or unsmudge,
or unbesmirch the flavor of non-stop male interaction....
so, i can't even count on cooking with it to cleanse my day at the last.
don't mistake me, here, friends-
i am grateful for the path i'm on.
i'm even grateful for these fellas coming through today.
but that doesn't mean i don't have preferences,
i hope we get to talk about all sorts of manly stuff.
except,
i don't know about any of that.
...
i made a cake already this morning.
it's cooling off right now.
i need something to be psyched about while i'm trudging, plodding,
wading, and slogging through this testicle-heavy day of work.
and there will be chocolate-covered pretzels involved.
that's insurance against over-dudefication.
word up;
never quiet, never soft.....

Saturday, March 25

RUSTIC REPRISE!

blooooooobs!
yup.
i've been on a serious blueberry kick for a little minute.
also,
it seems that the bloobs are a regional favorite, as well.
uh-huh.
as we are right on the maine border up here in the woodsly goodness,
there's this whole wild new england blueberry craze,
and we just happen to be at the edge of that super-site-specific treat!
yup.
i had more pastry dough than i needed over the last week.
i dunno how it happened, but i'm happy about the abundance.
you know why-
too much is the right amount.
and when there's exxxtra dough,
you've got to use it up, or you're a jerk.
rules is rules.
no pastry gets left behind, man.
so,
a rustic galette was the first and best response i could conjure up
to make good use of the surplus of sweet and buttery big action in my fridge.
word.
check it out, via the teleport:

C'MON!
that's somethin', isn't it?!
i knowwwwwwwww.
how do you make vegan mascarpone?
well,
you add a little powdered sugar, (3 T or so)
and a big splash of lemon juice, (2 T roughly)
and a pat of vegan butter, (1 1/2 T thereabouts)
to half a tub of creamchee',
smashed together over low heat in a little pot
and voila.
it's ready.
i added blueberries in there too.
i couldn't resist,
i mean,
that purple just looks SO nice!
and with all those blueberries on top of that,
with lemon zest and raw sugar sprankles on the pre-baked,
rolled out, rough-folded circle of pastry in that cast-iron skillet?
neighbors,
the hottness was basically guaranteed.
and of course, cuteness always counts for exxxtra-credit,
so i just had to put those springtime flowers on top, too.
awwwwwwww.
s'kyooooot!
i baked that sweet babyb!tch for about 20 minutes at 410F.
i arbitrarily assign times and temperatures.
i mean,
i don't have any actual training in this stuff.
i just do what i do, and hope that the templates i've created apply
equally well to the basic bakery bits and bobs.
-
i like to freak off a little treat here and there and everywhere, man.
waking up to a little ovenly lovin' feels good,
and making things makes you a better person.
that's no joke.
so, here's to self-improvement.
i may do most of my dirt all by my lonely,
but,
really,
who else is going to make me a better version of me?
it's all really happening,
every pastry crust is symbolic, baby.
one more step in the process of personal progress.
getting better all the time is more than a good reason.
it's the path to expertism,
and it's paved with active participation.
making stuff is how it's done.
get on it;
never quiet, never soft.....

SINGING!!! RAINING!!!

so,
i went to connecticut,
more specifically,
i went down to the bottom middle of connecicut,
which is a good four and a half to five hours south of the woodsly goodness,
and i saw the cheshire high school drama production of singing in the rain.
it was good.
it was long.
there was a lot of kissing.
and there was real rain.
indoors.
also,
i watched my daughter smile from ear to ear as she sang and danced,
it was a great time to be a dad.
sitting next to my older daughter, with her stepbrother, and my ma,
all watching the heck out of that musical explosion of youth and yesteryear.
i liked it,
and i was damned glad i went down.
family togetherness with harvest and maple is my F*ing favorite thing.

c'mon.
they're a lot of fun to be around.
for realsies, we could sure use a whole lot more of that in all our lives.
-
sidenote:
crabtree spent a day and a night and half a day again
under the attentive and watchful auspices of my friends patty and dennis.
they can now attest to what a time-consuming attention-seeking
and totally obsessive, compulsive, impulsive and terrible terrier he truly is.
neighbors,
i could not have been in connecticut had they not helped out.
i'm lucky,
and crabby is very lucky,
and they are very good and kind.
so yay and hooray for that.
-
dudes,
by and large, teenagers don't give a sh!t.
i know i hated everything and everyone and more, always.
that lasted well into my twenties,
with hints and highlights popping up throughout the following decades, too.
so,
i count myself ferociously fortunate that i have a laughing, loving,
true and genuine relationship with my two big littles.
the have better hearts than i could've ever dreamed.
we went back to their house after the show,
and we had cupcakes.
huh?
homemade jauns, obvi.
i brought 'em with me.
vanilla fudgy mini-cakes are good to share with your people.
so i did.
teleport:

YEAH!
again:

YEEEEEEAH!!!
crushed chocolate-filled chocolate sandwich cream cookies??
ummmmm,
that's definitely the best way to make use of a shopping-hungry purchase.
chocolate frosting blops,
five-pointed vanilla frosting swirls.
that cookie crumble,
and how about how sexxxy those cupcake papers are?!
yup.
i want that pretty princess celebration cake,
especially when i'm sharing it with the extended family.
don't bring weak sauce to your ex-wife and her husband's house.
if you do, you're a turd, man.
you going somewhere that calls for cakes?
you are?
well, then,
do you want to make some cupcakes?
ok.
do this:
-
*
1 cup sugar;
1/3 cup light brown sugar;
1/2 tsp salt;
2 tsp vanilla;
*creamed, and whipped with
3/4 cup vanilla soy yogurt.
add:
3 cups flour;
1/4 cup tapioca flour;
3 T corn starch;
2 tsp bakey powder;
1 tsp bakey soda;
plus:
1 cup vanilla soymilk;
stirred with 3 T lemon juice curdled for 5 minutes;
& 2 T agave;
whisk the sh!t outta that stuff,
and bake it in half-filled papers, for 30ish minutes,
at 350F.
-
guys,
cupcakes are great.
you don't have to worry about the size of your slices,
or how gummed up your knife might get with all that frosting.
you just peel off the papes,
and fire it up.
expert.
*
after a bit of breakfast with my children,
i hit the road to the north.
uh-huh.
the play, the 'cakes, a bagel,
and that's that.
home again, home again, jiggety-jig.
only,
whereas the singing in the rain that happened in the play
paled in comparison to the screaming and yelling i was doing\
on the the ride home again,
ugh.
it was kind of rough, especially when the rain was falling/.
that's when the slush and ice and suckiness really got started.
mmhmmmm.
i navigated snow and whiteouts for more than half the way back,
plus,
nervous nerds white-knuckling the one lane snowtrack drive up
through these hills, keeping me at a constant 40mph or less.
i can't tell you the words to what i was singing,
but i can say that most of them were the eff and ess ones.
ha!
.......and now i'm home in the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress,
freezing in the 'springtime' snow.
as always, there wasn't enough time.
as usual, i'm scrambling to catch up.
forever and ever, it's all really happening,
and i'm just wondering where i fit into it.
the middle?
the periphery?
a migratory path through or over?
outside of and around?
i can't tell, because i'm surrounded by so much to do.
maybe a new perspective is in order,
and maybe,
that's what today is all about;
never quiet, never soft.....

Thursday, March 23

BISCUIT BOTTOM!

twice-roasted beets.
or else they're beat.
neighbors,
i don't necessarily all-the-way enjoy those wholesome
and wholly earthy dirtbombs
unless they've been baked first, roasty and toasty,
salted, oiled, and activated,
before being used for whatever purpose we've got designed for 'em...
but, when that's the case?
well,
then by all means, let's get freaky with the beets, buddy.
dudes,
i made some anti-wind, anti-winter, anti-springtime plot-twist supper.
look,
here's the thing-
when it's 17 degrees fahrenheit, and it's crazily windy,
and it's miserable and ugly and there's fresh snow on the ground,
that springtime feeling just isn't there.
and when your dog is an exploding suicide bomber,
because his ravenous wrench-choosing appetite has caused him
some intestinal mischief yet again?
there's no fun on the menu.
y'know what that screams out for?
biscuits.
...and beets, apparently.
one cast-iron skillet, with one big ol' rolled biscuit bowl pressed into place.
check the teleport:

to be honest,
the biscuit sort of failed.
do you want a recipe for failure?
sh!t, man.
you don't need me for that.
some advice, though.
more butter, more baking soda, and maybe a little sugar, might help.
ha.
and i'm still not writing out the recipe.
i will say this, though-
the insides count.
i'd heard that that's what does.
roasted asian-style purple-skinned white-flesh sweet potatoes,
sliced, oiled, salted, and baked...
over thinned out cashew-garlic-tofu chee',
with sauteed shallots,
roasted carrot strips,
those mutha-'ucking beets,
with brussels sprouts,
and giant chunks of garlic,
and chick peas.
that's a whole lotta flavor.
i'll tell you what else-
lots of black pepper, and those pea shoots helped take it to eleven.
i ate the whole thing.
i couldn't help it.
all those flavors are best buds,
and they were working together like a team.
awesome.
*
what's important here is i made something.
that's the thing of it.
it isn't always a gigantic win,
but doing it puts us all one step closer.
i do that.
i get closer, and closer,
like when you always travel half way to your destination,
with every single step,
until the distance between success and failure is invisibly immeasurably incremental,
imperceptible,
infinitessimal,
but still there.
awwwwww.
and you know what you do then?
make another thing.
don't ever stop.
that's the rules,
and you know how much i love the house rules;
never quiet, never soft.....

THE FORMUOLI!!!

homeamde RAVS, bro.
that's what we had.
yeah.
me and my very close friend beau.
he came over,
and patiently waited for the dinnertime preparations to begin,
while i tended to my terrible terriers tempestuous 'testines.
ugh.
yeah.
crabtree ate something dumb, again-
yup.
somehow, during the six seconds within which i might not have
had him embedded deep inside my daily doings,
he found a piece of small plastic, ate it, wrecked his sensitive guts,
and coated himself in slime from out of both ends.
embarrassing?
a bit.
but, beau knows, bros.
i mean, he's got a dog,
albeit a very laid-back and low-key good dog....
and he's worked at several dogsled kennels,
with animals more temperamental and challenging-
so he understands that sometimes,
you may go over to your friend's house for dinner,
but he has to get in the shower with,
and thoroughly shampoo and rinse off filth and effluent from,
his pupper's paws, jaws, sides, and back,
and that's before doing a load of diaperload-laden laundry,
and then,
and only then,
can the meal progress in earnest.
who still has an appetite?
haha.
anyway,
homemade ravs.
guess who didn't get the proportions right for the dough on the first try?
hmmm?
did you guess it was me?
good job.
take two, however, yielded some sexxxy semi-semolina softness,
and that certainly set the stage for a new beginning.
that's take three, if you count the dog debacle at the onset...
ok.
so,
we ended up with something good.
y'wanna see?
ok.
check the teleport:

RAVIOLI RAVIOLI!!!!!
dudes,
butternut squash, squashed, with onion, garlic, vegan brick-hued baconic bits,
and minced daiya mozzarella.
word!
the dough was dope, but the filling?
that jaun was expert.
the butternut was seared in oil, with the onion and garlic, until browned,
with GPOP, and thyme, and a tinkle of nutmeg.
the store-bought (*gasp*) baconish strips were diced into teentsy-tiny squares,
and tossed in long enough to darken up too;
and that's when we dropped in all the little bitty bits of daiya.
mhmm.
it was so good it was almost worth the incredible wait.
i mean,
dinner was at nine,. buddy.
that's three hours past when i'm starving!
ha.
but for real, though.
and is that a thick scoople of homemade nana-style chunky tomato sauce?
heck yes it is.
...what?
c'mon-
you think a little week away from reppin' marzo italiano 
was gonna make me forget all the secrets?
no way, giuseppe!
onion, garlic, and carrot,
diced, crushed, and minced,
in olive oil,
with fresh cubed tomato chunks tossed in, along with red wine vinegar,
and oregano, thyme, basil, and parsley,
plus a cup and a half of crushed tomatoes,
3 T tomato paste,
and cup of broth, to boot.
all that was missin' was the GPOP, nootch, salt, sugar, and black pepper.
guess what, though, neighbors?
i had those things, i added those things,
and we enjoyed every single last lycopene-laden driplet of that fantastic sauce.
some things shouldn't be measured,
the spices and herbs of a good marinara-style pomodoro deluxxxe are one of 'em.
that's a thing.
how do you adorn a bowl that elite?
ummmm, don't be dumb, dudes.
sprankles.
fried garlic and parsley, right on top, in quantity.
double up on the double down, and you'll be rewarded with each and every bite.
too much is the right amount,
so don't you go gettin' cheap on me now.
-
sourdough bread and an agave-glazed oil-toasted pumpkin-seede topped salad, too?
yes.
always.
bread and sauce are best friends.
and salad is one hell of a wingman.
white balsamic vinegar and preposterously virginal olive oil complete the look.
...
did we scrape all the sauce out of the pot?
yep.
was there more bread?
yep.
did those little crimp-edged squash-stuffed circles hit the spot?
OBVIOUSLY.
we had the mutha-'ucking formuoli, kid!!
***********
shoutouts to long drives to bad places.
uh-huh.
connecticut, here i come.
less than 24 hours of whirlwind roundtrip booster-shot family togetherness.
my daughters and i have a date with the theater.
and afterwards, who knows?
maybe we'll have a cupcake or three,
talk some sh!t,
span some time,
keep it super-real,
and remember how much we actually like each other.
that's something i think gets overlook by a lot of folks.
finding something to like about your kids.
i'm sure it isn't easy.
i mean, it is for me,
but that's just because these children i've helped make are really flippin' rad.
like,
way more enjoyable to be around than i have ever been,
or likely ever will be, in fact.
that's why i'm headed down.
as they get older, i just get sadder.
distance isn't insurmountable, but only if the destination outweighs the journey.
that's no joke.
i'd go anywhere for those two, whether they know it or not.
and as they grow up, and and up, and away,
me and my hermity Folk Life feature less and less prominently.
that's what the woodsly goodness costs.
absence is supposed to make the heart grow fonder,
but really,
time takes the win in the end,
and that only works if nothing better is happening wherever you actually are.
for me,
i only love them more and more,
for them?
well,
they're busy little bees,
and they're in a constant state of becoming something better.
so i'm just grateful for the time we'll share,
and i'm counting the drive as a worthwhile investment.
the destination outweighs the journey.
that's it;
never quiet, never soft.....

Wednesday, March 22

PIZZA PARTICLES!

dudes,
i never got around to telling you about the last sourdough pizza i made.
but,
i'm going to fix that right now-
i'm so psyched on good pizza.
SO psyched.
for realsies-
there's something special about every single pizza i've ever eaten.
that's what's so F*ing cool about 'em:
they ALL mean somethin'.
and this little gem was one of the extra-especially special jauns.
why?
because of the grapes.
uh-huh.
you'll see.
check the pee-eye-zee-zee-ayy-type teleport:

EGGPLANT ACTIVATION IS THE TRUTH!!
neighbors,
a well-built homestyle pizza is a true joy to eat.
the sourdough may not be the puff-and-pop crust of yesteryear's tradition,
but.
it's crunchy as heck, and it's tasty as hell.
that's real.
and when it's had a few days to prove itself in the fridge?
that fermentation activation really adds molto flavor to the dough.
the dough is dope.
the crust is crisp.
the mixture is simple:
1 1/2 cup flour;
1 1/2 cup semolina flour;
~2 tsp salt;
1 T sugar;
1 pkg commercial yeast;
4 T olive oil;
1 cup warm water, + 2 tsp bread machine yeast, bloomed.
that's it.
mix it, knead it, let it bulk once,
and punch it down after 30 minutes or so,
stick the whole thing, covered, in the fridge for half a day or so.
divide it into 1/4s, in resealable plastic bags,
and you've got a quartet of ready to rock doughski-mo's.
that's dope,
because pizza needs to happen frequently,
and having the good stuff at the ready only makes ultimate hottness
a far more accessible reality.
i love that.
.....this one has fried eggplant!
and outside of greek food, and indian food,
where mashed eggplant is an acceptable method of preparation,
the fried circles are basically the best version of the stuff on the menu, man.
sliced thin, salted, rinsed, and dredged in a chia-flax-nootch soymilk slurry,
before being dipped into some expert-level cornflakey breading?
i'm sayin',
that's what you're gonna want to have in your face, a soon as you smell it,
let alone if you;re close enough to actually see it.
uh-huh.
guys,
crushed cornflakes are sorta sweet.
that's a nice touch.
plus there's arrowroot, GPOP, oregano, thyme, black pepper,
basil, and rosemary!
whe that stuff hots the hot oil, all the best aromas,
and twice the crispy outsides get involved in making sure you're psyched
on how awesome that purple venata-be-kidding-me  has become.
mmmmmmmmm.
and that's just one aspect of this elite disc of dominant delightfulness.
there's a thick bed of caramelized leeks laid down underneath the melanzane,
and those are sittin' pretty on some daiya mozzarella,
which in turn is strewn over a thick layer of crushed tomatoes.
yes.
that's the way to go, and it'll have you saying 'way to go'.
from there, it was a no-brainer to fire up some grape tomatoes,
but,
once i was on the grape trend,
it didn't take much to convince me to sweeten the deal,
and halve some actual seedless red grapes,
bruh,
red grapes on a pizza??
do it,
and you'll find that you probbaly agree: that's that good-good.
a post bake (490F, 15 minutes) finish of fluorishes
took the whole shootin' match to eleven, too.
red radicchio and rockety arugula and few fresh parsley sprankles
to add a little baby bit of bitter to all that sweet?
that's called balance, bud.
i'm sort of semi-secretly all about that.
real talk.
i want to have perfectly-paired flavors and textures.
i want particularly pinpointed preparation in place.
i want all the best parts on my plate.
that's the right call, y'all.
we get a choice, don't we?
just be dope,
or,
F* right off.
....i'm still here, so you know which one i've opted for.
it's all really happening.
and the little things,
like fancy homemade pizza,
matter every bit as much as the big things.
from within, from without,
and with or without assistance,
there's really one one direction to move,
and that's forward.
it's be cool to have company,
but it won't change the path if i don't.
also,
that means more pizza for me,
so don't feel obligated to join up.
there's a lot going on,
and as time passes, the truth always reveals itself.
right now,
the truth is, grapes on a pizza are delicious;
never quiet, never soft.....

Tuesday, March 21

THIS CAKE!

man!
oh man!
OH MAN!
i made something especially good,
and i can't say for sure what it was that did it,
but whatever it was-
it worked like a charm.
a cake so tasty, so moist, so spongy, and so flavorful,
that everybody who had a slice was actually excited to have another.
that's the best compliment i can get-
because when it comes to treats, in actual real life,
as they are being eaten up,
the object is MORE.
yup.
and when my guys are all over that?
i've got to take a minute to see what i did right.
i mean,
those are the results worth replicating.
bringing treats to work is kind of self-serving.
on the one hand,
there's something so comforting about a whole flippin' cake just hanging out,
with it's sole purpose to make my face happier with bite after bite after bite.
and knowing that it's been made vegan, and decadent,
and by my own two hands is just about as awesome as it could be.
for realsies-
it's not like vegan cakes are falling from the sky around here.
and on the other hand,
my generous provision of cake also keeps me from eating the whole cake,
which, if left to my own gluttonous designs,
i would absolutely do.
i'm a nice-ish guy,
but mostly because i wouldn't want to be a big ol' fatty ever again
...
ANYway,
i have a springtime cake,
a mama-type berfday cake,
a strawberry-upside-down lemon ring cake,
the hottness is happening at a pretty fantastic level with this one-
check the teleport:

RINGO DELUXXXO!!!
c'mon.
setting some strawberries down on the bottom of the pan
meant enjoying baked strawberries on top of the cake!
expert!
neighbors,
i think the makeshift cake flour might've contributed to the improved texture.
also,
i assume that steam escaping from the berries buried at the base might've been
a factor that activated and accentuated the moistness of the crumb, as well.
i love a good cake,
but i might very well be IN love with this cake.
it is so good, it doesn't even need frosting,
but rules is rules, y'feel me?
no, really.
after all,
if you can make it look better, you should-
or else you're sort of selling yourself short.
and that's not how we doo-doo that freaky sh!t around these parts, bud.
too much is the right amount.
it is.
and i'm a firm believer in and strict adherent of that mindset.
otherwise, i'd maybe get busy doing something else once in a while.
ha.
ok.
so, here's how you can make your very own equinox cake:
-
*
preheat your oven to 355F.
grease and flour a flat-bottomed ring cake pan.
-
in a medium saucepan,
combine 2 cups sliced frozen strawberries;
1/4 cup powdered sugar;
vanilla;
a splash of lemon juice;
and 2 T cornstarch.
let that all melt together over medium-low heat,
stirring regularly to prevent clumps in the starch.
when a jammie-jamlike consistency is in effect,
remove it from the heat, and let it cool off a little baby bit.
-
in a stand mixer (preferably),
or,
in a large bowl with an electric mixer if you're not serious about this bakery life,
or worse,
with a pastry cutter and a whisk,
because it's the year 1807 in your house for some reason,
blend-
1 cup sugar;
1/4 cup brown sugar;
1/2 tsp salt;
2 tsp vanilla;
3/4 tsp lemon extract;
8 T vegan butter-
when thoroughly muddied,
add in 3/4 cup non-dairy yogurt,
and whisk it all together until smooth and creamy and aerated as much as it can be.
now, stir in:
2 1/2 cups flour sifted with 3 T cornstarch;
2 tsp bakey powder;
1 tsp bakey soda;
1/2 lemon's zest;
and
3/4 cup non-dairy milk, curdled with 1/4 cup lemon juice-
and mix all of that on high if you're luxurious, of forever if you;re not,
until it's the fluffiest batter you've ever made.
word.
-
now,
the berries go in first, and the cakestuffs go on top,
and all of it gets baked for at least 45 minutes,
or until it's done enough, however long your oven decides to take to do it.
...
once it's cooled completely,
you can remove it from your ring-form.
if you do it too soon, it might fall apart,
or the berries might adhere to the bottom and ruin it.
don't do that.
however,
when you've flipped it over,
and you;re staring at that glazy, glassy berry blop-on-top slop,
you might want to activate some exxxtra hottness.
it's up to you.
it doesn't need it.
nope. not one bit.
but,
if you're like me, you won't want to leave it alone until it's really pretty.
mmhmm.
melted chocolate drizzle spokes, with  little extra built up around the edges,
is what i was reppin' right away.
i've been using sandwich baggies with a pinhole in one corner to get
the nicey-nice thinness to the drips and drops.
thought they'd trickle down the sides and look all sophisticated,
but the sauce was too thick to play like that.
it's cool, it doesn't taste even one percent less awesome for the thick chox.
and that creamchee' frosting?!
chocolate and vanilla styles, flipped and flopped and activated like a champ????
yeah!!!!
i told you:
too much is the right amount.
everything else is just playing games with my emotions.
***********
this is it.
i mean it.
today is the day.
the last day before i remove myself for three whole days from the studio.
yes, i am serious.
what?
no.
i am NOT relaxing.
ew.
i've got to go see maple in the high school musical, man.
hmm?
singing in the rain.
that's what's up.
i'll be round-trip roadtrippin'
from here to there and back again,
for something like sixteen hours of connecticut,
and another nearly ten of just driving there and back again....
that's how it's done...
and if that is how it is done,
that's what you DO.
so,
it's two days of loss and labor without profit,
but,
there will be about two hours of family togetherness,
and another two of stage-time audience appreciation,
so that's good news.
i miss the heck out of my daughters most days,
and as they develop into more independent people,
i think that's bound to get worse before it gets better,
a few hours of real-time actual happenings
is much better than just missing their faces all the time
but,
that's how life works.
i think i'd do well to remember that they're still growing,
and becoming,
and gaining their own sense of themselves.
the best i can do is always allow for that.
uh-huh.
i can vividly recall how frustrated i was (and remain)
with family failing to note the progressive additive process,
beyond their own point-of-sale contact with the version of me they remember.
memory is a F* of a thing, anyway.
and the little kid you miss has little to do with the person they will become.
time and age are a couple of real bastards in that regard.
allow me to better explain that:
just because you haven't seen someone in a little minute doesn't mean
they're likely to be just the same as they were the last time you did...
and that's absolutely reliably true,
even if you've done nothing different in your own life.
the hardestthing about watching kids choose their path
is the knowledge that you cannot do it for them.
they'll find their way, or not, as they see fit.
in the meantime,
i'll find myself in connecticut,
addressing the exact same issue with the elder generation.
we're all gonna come together for the kid, tho.
or, at least, i'm gonna be there,
from way up here,
because any other option is a make-believe diaperbaby excuse.
i'm ready to see what's good with these girls,
and to show them a thing or two about what's good with their dear ol' dad.
it's all really happening,
and i think we are all choosing to make the minutes and moments matter the most;
never quiet, never soft.....

Monday, March 20

SPRING!!!!!

happy berfday to my ma!
yup.
the lady who made me adds +1 to her numerical total today.
let's hope she has a happy happy one, for sure.
i made a fancy springtime cake!
so, really, it's kinda like i'm there celebrating, in spirit, at least.
uh-huh.
mama turns whatever today,
and the season flips forward into some new vernal equinox socks-rocking.
uh-huh.
today isn't just the big day for my mother,
it's ALSO the big day for the cyclical nature of nature and time.
mmm.
it's SPRING.
of course, it's only so possible to be overwhelmed with springtime cheer
because, here in the woodsly goodness,
there is at least a foot of snow frozen solid on the ground,
and more specifically,
along the perimeter of the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress,
there are heaps of plowed powder
still standing tall at seven feet higher than the soil.
.......awesome.
oh.
and it's a balmy 13 degrees fahrenheit.
so, yeah,
rebirth and growth and all that is symbolically on the schedule for today,
but as for any practical applications?
we'll still be shivering for a few more months up here.
but,
y'all'd better stay happy happy, all the way, all the time, all day long, anyway-
because rules is rules.
and nobody likes a berfday ruiner,
and nobody likes a poop-headed party poop-boat, either.
that said-
can we talk about breakfasts?
ok.
thank you.
-
neighbors,
i made a thing.
and that thing was pretty much the best thing.
no joke.
remember that potato parsnip hash-brown waffle from friday?
well,
i re-upped and honed that sort of potato style for sunday, too.
yuuuuuup.
and it was even F*ing better on the second try.
word.
guys,
check the breakfast-type teleport:

EARTHNEST CRUSTY PUNK-ROCK BRUNCH VIBES!!!
anybody out there ever been to the seward cafe in minneapolis?
you know the one-
with the hand-poked face-tattooed crotchal puff-puff passers,
topped with dread mullets and tall bikes,
making vegan 'fluffy' manhole-cover pancakes and sh!t...
yeah.
that one.
well,
shoutouts to those dudes,
because i channeled the spirit and memory of that place SO hard for brekkie.
mmmm.
and before we go any further,
i'd just like to recap the method for that hashbrown waffle,
because i think it's important that you try it-
*
potatoes, man,.
i used one regular sized and one smaller one,
peeled, and grated and set into a colander to seep away it's starchy juice;
plus,
one parsnip and one small carrot, both peeled and grated as well,
all tossed together and liberally salted,
to draw out any exxxtra moisture inside that nest of roots.
also, shaved red onion strands should probably get added in after the salt.
so,
that's 1 1/2 'tatoes, plus orange and white pointy roots, plus pruplish onion strips,
pressed and drained and allowed to rest,
before squeezing the ever-lovin' livin' sh!t outta the whole messy mass,
that's right.
get all the moisture you conceivably can right on out of it,
and the put it, spread evenly, inside a well-greased HOT waffle iron,
until it's browned to the point of burning on both sides.
friends,
it's SO GOOD I WANT IT TO EAT IT EVERY DAY.
and that's no joke.
-
from there, it just keeps getting better-
i had some tofu scrambo, rough crushed and molto chunky,
with a decent amount of crisp on the oilp-fried side.
that's exxxtra-firm tofu,
and turmeric, GPOP, nootch, salt, black pepper, and smoked paprika,
stirred together to make it expert.
there are blackened fried grape tomatoes, too.
the seared skin on 'em really takes the taste of a tomato to eleven,
and that's the right way to enjoy everything...
homestyle quick rancheros sauce?
don't  mind if i do-
a little baby bit of sweet pepper, a couple teaspoon's worth of a couple of hot peppers,
a scoop of diced red onion,
GPOP, oil, two or three tablespoons of crushed tomatoes,
and a dash of oregano, and basil, and cumin,
for some super sauce activation,
that's the stuff.
i broth-braised and seared some broccoli too.
guys.
if you've ever had that crust-commune brunch,
you'll already know that that's the stuff you want.
it's good. and i was glad for it,
the avocado only served to turn the whole thing into a magnificent masterpiece.
ahahaha.
but, i'm serious.
salt-and-peppered avocado is the business.
and i'm in the business of taking care of business.
yummmmmmmmm.
cilantro sprankles,
and a bit of added arugula and pea tendrils, just to sexxx it up?
ka-bada-boom, in my mouth.
taste explosions go off, and just like that,
i'm in heaven at the breakfast nook.
-
y'wanna know the weirdest part?
i had myself that baby bowlful of vegetarian baked beans,
from a can!
awwwwwww, man.
it's true.
even those green onion sprankles couldn't make me feel better about it, though,
and they got the sadness award for least inspiring piece of the puzzle.
i figured it was likely to be better to use 'em up
than to let them languish in the cupboard another day.
the jury is hung on the wisdom of that decision, however.
even with that little stumble in procedure,
the main body of my brunchly buffet of big action was DOPE.
who doesn't like that?
jerks.
that's who.
i'm no jerk, and that's no joke.
so, we're still on track for sustenance and success.
***********
good food in my life,
clear skies overhead,
warmer times and brighter days ahead.
that's what's up over here on this sweet springtime berfday.
yeah!
it's all really happening,
that's sort of the whole point, y'know?
real life, unfolding in every direction at once.
some folks might call that chaos,
but i prefer to thing of it as controlled demolition.
creative destruction is the best kind.
it's a prefect circle, a complete cipher, a closed solution set.
it's winter into spring without a single flower in sight,
and it's the way it goes, harder than the hardest styles,
but still inexorably slogging forward
just because it HAS to;
never quiet, never soft.....