Thursday, December 14


spaghetti and meatballs?!
there are a whole lotta folks out there who swear, up, down,
sideways, and back again that that's the ultimate molto hottnissimo.
i mean it.
back home, in tiny american state of connecticut,
where an overwhelming neo-italian influence permeates the area in a rosily
marinara-tinted glow of anglicized dialects and specialty cheese stores,
a good meat-a-ball might be the difference between your parents' approval
of a potential spouse, or the tragic star-crossed calamity of an unacceptable union.
that might be a tiny exaggeration, but it's not too far off from the truth.
if your sauce game is weak?
you're Off The List.
and that's especially true if you only eff around and use jar sauce.
(it's practically the unspoken 8th sin, i think)
where i'm from, that's for the untouchable filthy rabble we do NOT associate with.
...and then there's the meatballs.
first of all, the idea of a ball of meat is F*ing horrifying.
that's no joke.
mushing together different animals body parts,
with bird butt baby-seeds,
and crumbled old bread?
What. The. F*?!
that's gross, when deconstucted, isn't it?
since the debate over who makes best ones has gone on forever,
naturally, there's elitism and discrimination as to the blend of charnel horrors you employ.
and then, to further explore the minutiae,
you've got to ask whether to cheese or NOT to cheese?
it's a dilemma.
not for me, or you, obvi-
because we're not a kaleidoscopic pulped-carcass-frankensteining A*-holes.
a menagerie of unrecognizable corpses isn't something i'm likely to ever employ.
and the eggs and the cheese aren't invited either.
that's the awesomest part of MY spaghetti and 'balls, y'all.
nobody gets hurt.
and yet, maybe that's not entirely true-
feelings do get a little hurt when you can't tell if you're doing it right or not.
yeah, neighbors,
i'm still over here perfecting the ultimate m(wh)eatballs,
and simmering a slightly chunky super-official marinara, from scratch;
because rules is rules,
and my DNA compels me to obsess over the intricacies of this defining dish.
so i do.
the thing of it is, i do it reallllly well.
i'm not trying to take it easy, just because i don't want to eat dead bodies, bro.
take a look at what i'm talking about, because i think i might be onto something.

come ON.
(it's vermicelli, not spaghetti, but i think that only improved the experience,
as marginally thinner strands of durum semolina really just means
MORE strands of slippery semolina serpents on the plate.
al dente dopeness is what we need.
and that sauce?
*ahem* i mean, that SAUUUUCE!!!
i don't know how you get down with homemade magic,
but i just use what i've got, to get where i want to go.
N.T.S.W.T.S. (never the same way twice sauce)
in a medium pot, with a tablespoon of olive oil, soften:
1/2 sweet onion, diced;
1 cup sliced baby tomatoes;
3 cloves garlic;
1 medium carrot, finely minced.
add 1 tsp ea. Garlic Powder, Onion Powder;
then, toss in phase one of your spices:oregano, parsley, basil, sage, thyme, rosemary.
toast those to unlock the aromatics,
then deglaze the pan with:
2 T red wine vinegar.
add 2 cups crushed tomatoes;
2 T tomato paste;
1/2 cup broth;
1/4 cup apple cider;
one handful of nootch,
salt, black pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes.
simmer for 20 minutes,
then reassess your spices.
add more if you need 'em, or get psyched that it's already awesome. whatever.
that's real.
sourdough garlic bread?!
hell yes.
lightly buttered slices of whole grain naturally fermented super-hottness,
with GPOP, and nootch, a little salt, and fried garlic sprankles,
toasted on one side, at 400℉, until they're just beginning to brown...
damn, that's that super-sexxxy sh!t, son.
i'm serious. it seems simple, but it adds so much.
because good bread makes better people, and that's the truth.
but, let's discuss these balls. bro.
tempeh, seitan, tomatoes, spices, broth, and love.
if you aren't about it, you'd better learn about it,
or you'r going to get held back, and left behind.
there's no room for non-eff-with'rs when it comes to something this good.
here's your move:
in a medium sauce pot,
saute, in 2 T olive oil:
1/2 large yellow onion, minced;
2 cloves garlic;
add 8 oz. crumbled tempeh (i used one with flax seeds in it);
and 1 can petite diced tomatoes, with juice.
simmer that up for five minutes, and then toss in:
GPOP, nootch, oregano, thyme, sage, parsley, rosemary;
give 'em a pinch of cayenne, and a healthy shake of crushed red pepper,
plus 33 coarse cracks of black pepper, and a dash of salt.
add 1 cup of veggie broth, and let it all cook down to a mash,
uncovered, for as long as that takes,
whilst stirring occasionally, over medium/medium-low heat.
guys, that's NOT all there is to it, either.
i like the process, because it's an involved one,
and too much is my favorite amount.
in a medium bowl, sift together:
1 cup wheat gluten;
3 T garbanzo bean (chickpea) flour;
3 T tapioca flour;
2 T nootch.
add the slightly-cooled mash to the flour, and smoosh it all together.
let that mixture set up for five minutes,
then hand-form a set of fattie-boombattie balls, buddy.
i made ten big un's, and another 'nother dozen smaller ones.
y'can't make just a couple.
no way.
set 'em up in an oiled shallow cake pan, and cover each with a dollop of crushed tomatoes.
foil 'em over,.
and bake 'em for thirty-forty minutes, in that 400℉ garlic-bread-toastin'-A* oven,
uncovering the whole batch after the first 20...
all of a sudden, you're living in a passionately compassionate modern-age of
conscientious, capable, culinary creation.
these blops are the BEST.
and i'm still in the over-the-top italian-american snob club, for life!!
my point being: someday i'm gonna make a lovely wife for somebody.
did you just impose your traditional gender roles on my meatballs?
umm, take it easy.
it's cold in wintertime.
currently, it's unseasonably arctic,
and there's a LOT of wind.
that's essentially the worst combo.
and the foot of snow on the ground isn't making crabtree or i ANY happier
about our obligatory but unwelcome wintry trek through the woodsly not-so-goodness.
not one little teeny tiny little bit.
you get what you get, when you live where i live,
so it's all still really happening,
it's just not so great.
nature wins,
but she doesn't have to be such a b!tch about it;
never quiet, never soft.....

Tuesday, December 12


spicy noodles.
a spicy sichuan-style, korean-sauced, japanese udon activated bowl of
pan-asian awesomeness,
turned up, turned out, and turned on,
all for my big fat face to enjoy, with all the brow-sweaty, nose-sniffling mouth-tingles
that you'd hope for-
...if you were the type to be hopeful about the euphoric adrenaline rush that
comes complimentary with a big ol' pot of hottness, and chilis, and sauce!
the hot hots were in full effect,
and the gochujang-enhanced sesame fried tofu was the least spicy bit of the meal!
so much heat, in fact, that we had the whole-head dizzybuzz that comes from
the automatic physiological response to hot fiery attackin'.
damn, but it tasted so good, there was no chance to stop eating it up.
that's for realsies, too.
fully-immersed shark gluttony can't be stopped until it's all gone.
that's called a feeding frenzy, and it's the only way to overdo it,
whenever you're determined to go had on the noods.
word up.
it was a sexxxy dish, for sure.
check the teleport:

yeah, i got the pea shoots, and the purple carrots, and the mung bean sprouts,
all to add crawnch to all that boomfire-
and those juicy udons get pan fried a bit, with those furious dried chilis,
in sesame oil, with sesame sossamon seeds, and a splash of h2o, too.....
but it was the SAUCES that brought this baby b!tch way up and over the top.
after the tofu was crisped up on all sides in a light toasted sesame/vegetable oil blend,
the whole pan was doused in the gochujingle-jangle jauns, for sure!
ok, right quick, rapid fire,
just as a guideline:
2 T gochujang paste, 1 T soy sauce, 1 T rice wine vinegar, 1 T spirit vinegar,
1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp red chili flakes!!!
^^^^so, so SO easy, but packed to the limit with rich, sumptuous, succulent flavorious victory!
the whole thing absorbed into that thirsty tofu, and to quote my dinner companion:
'this tastes like comfort'.
if comfort has a simmering heat, and a little bit of sweet,
and a whole lot of salt, then you can't get much more comfortable than this, man.
and then the separate, but equally expert veggie deluxxxe portion of the program:
2 cups of  chopped broccoli, with severed stems and all,
plus 1/4 cup of chopped onion, 3 cloves of thick-sliced garlic,
a habanero, and a teaspoon of minced jalapeno,
seared in sesame oil, and then totally activated in a red chili and black vinegar bath!
that's what's up!!
you add agave, and black vinegar, and black pepper, and a pinch of sichuan peppercorns,
plus a dash of red chili flakes, and soy sauce, to a dash of chili paste,
with a scoop of cornstarch, all eyeballed and off-the-cuff'd in the moment,
a la prima for your pan and eventually your stomach.
you need it!
the starch thickens the sauce, the sauce wilts the brox, the spice fires up the engines,
and before much time has passed,
you're livin' in a flaming furnace of spice and tastiness.
real talk, if you hate big strong manly food,
go eat a nugget, you weak little baby.
this is grown-up berserker nutrition, and it's not for you.
the rest of us will be here with numb lips and fuzzy frontal lobes,
indulging in huge bowls of barbarian excess.
and that's the truth.
sesame and scallion sprankles complete the look.
i mean, rules is rules, neighbors.
don't come through on that weak sh!t.
no spranks?
no thanks.
...and now, it's snowing.
a lot.
it does that.
nature wins, kids,
and there's no accouting for it.
you ust shovel, and suck it up.
you don't have to like it,
and i don't.
but, it's all really happening,
and i'll be driving myself to work in a bit, to see how many pickup-trucking d!ckturds
need terrible tattoos to prove their worth as neckbiscuits of the great white north.
movie checks and treacherous roads go together like bitter and sweet....
we'll see what happens, as it happens;
never quiet, never soft.....

Monday, December 11


the secret ingredient is tea.
chai tea, specifically.
and the not so secret ingredient?
pumpkin chai spice cake is just what it says it is, man.
and then, unstated, but totally accurate, it's also F*ing amazing.
...that's no joke.
i had some thai coconut chai tea.
in fact,
i have a whole LOT of chai-style spice packets hanging out
all over the place, in several cupboards here at the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress.
i do.
i mean, can you ever really have enough of it?
no way.
and besides, too much is the right amount.
i made a very flavorfully spiced cake,
with special assistance from my special lady,
for her ma's berfday celebration family dinner sing-a-long party times.
i'm only slightly helpful, but i'm severely motivated to make sure all y'all mutha-'uckers
recognize the powerful excellence of cruelty-free vegan desserts.
word up.
take a look through the teleport,
and then i'll hit you with the play by play:

and preliminary reports suggest it was a big hit at the party, too.
that's good news.
y'never wanna send a batch of sh!t-salad-suckery to a soiree.
that'd be embarrassing, and y'see, i'm not about that sort of thing.
do you want to make one of these?
you do?!
here's how:
preheat your oven to 350℉
in the bowl of your most steadfast ally, the upright, upstanding, and righteous stand mixer,
1 stick (8T) vegan butter - earth balance is the best one;
1 cup sugar;
1/2 tsp salt;
2 satchels chai tea (i used that thai jauns, y'all ca use ANY chai you like)
1 tsp vanilla bean paste (i love those little bean bits, man);
2/3 can pumpkin puree (10oz).
whip that into a frenzy,
so that all the butter and sugar and pumpkin are one airy pulp,
and then add:
1/4 cup tapioca flour;
3 cups flour;
1/4 cup maple syrup;
1 tsp cinnamon;
1 tsp bakey soda;
1 tsp bakin' powpow;
3/4 cup vegan nog (or non-dairy milk is you don't have access to holiday hottness)
whisk it all up, making sure it's a fluffy batter,
and spoon it equally into 2 greased and floured 8" cake pans.
bake 'em for 22-25 minutes, until a tester comes out of the center clean....
you'll need to cool them completely before you frost the thing,
but you can still start the frosting ahead of time, anyway...
in your reently rised and thoroughly dried stand mixer,
smash up:
1 stick softened vegan butter,
2 T vegan (tofutti) creamchee';
add 3 cups powdered sugar;
1 tea bag of chai (this time i used decaf bengal spice);
2 T maple syrup;
3-5 T holiday nog, or non-dairy milky equivalent, as needed, to get a fluffy frosting.
whipped on high, spread in between, the layers as glue,
and skim-coated around the whole surface.
yes, i used coloring to tint the frosting pinkish,
and yes, i actually had to add some coconut frosting i had on hand into the mix,
to make sure i had more than enough to get a baby bit fancy.
and kayla cut a circle out of the center for a secret special spillover surprise,
filled to the top with sprankles, and frosted over to stay hidden until cut.
pretty kyoot, bro.
these crazy kids do the darnedest things, am i right?
it was a snow day, guys.
four or five inches of the kapow-powder falling on my head.
how much fun was my walk with crabtree?
well, it was slippery,
and cold, and the sun glaring off of the ice was definitely dangerous....
so, it was pretty much the first worst one of winter,
a few weeks earlier than the first official day.
the day stayed frosty, the studio stayed busy, and the weekend ended in blood and ink...
i DID tattoo a few big pieces,
on a few big fellas who'd braved the elements
on an hours-long drive down from out of the far north....
and then, we spanned the entire afternoon together,
before they trekked back up in the after-dark ice.
i'll bet that was a good time.
i'm grateful for repeat clients.
they keep coming in, and i get more psyched every damned time.
yes, they're all dudes.
no, that isn't what i would've preferred,
you get what you get, man.
i have the opportunity to do so many more interesting tattoos,
only, they're ALL on burly dudes.
so, it turns out, that's the cost of being the kind of artist i s'pose i am.
i'm just not meant for the ladies of the north, it seems.
i'll try to persevere.
in fact, i'm determined to flourish.
me and all these dudes, remaining men, together.
there you have it;
never quiet, never soft.....


i don't always know what to do.
in fact,
sometimes, i only know what NOT to do;
but then i generally opt to do that over doing nothing.
i need to stay in motion, and steadily stay eating, all the freakin' time, man.
i just sort of smash a bunch of stuff  together in a bowl,
and then bake it up with the sincere hope that it isn't awful.
it rarely tastes bad.
i mean, sugar, butter, flour, salt- all those things are meant to span time together;
but sometimes, the outcome doesn't look like a sexy somethin'-somethin'.
in those instances, i feel obligated to eat whatever it is much, much faster...
i mean, ugly food is NOT invited, but if it's here, let's get it together,
and get rid of it in as rapid a manner as we can.
(that means fewer, but much bigger, bites)
i made some blueberry things.
i may have started out on a muffin mission,
but i broke off from my initial trajectory,
and landed somewhere between a blarpity blop and a burly bar.

they were almost bars, similar to scones,
save for all the residual blueberry moisture that steam-melted the shapes
into these sloppy jauns you see here.
they taste terrific. they just loo a little beat up,
i think that starting out making muffins is where i effed up.
a cup of sugar, a stick of butter, a half teasoon of salt, a dollop of vanilla bean paste-
that's all fine and good, guys.
two and a half cups of flour? that's acceptable.
almost a cup of chocolate chips? heavy, but still okay.
a cup of frozen wild maine blueberies? now we're getting wetter, but not better.
a teaspoon each powder and soda, baking-style, are pretty much standard practice.
and a half a cup of non-dairy milk seems like that's a good idea, too, doesn't it?
the creamed butter, tho. that's the undoer!
softened, spread-out fat, coupled with wet AF bloobs, had the whole thing tricking me.
at first, the fold and turn method of combining was going so well......
but, as the berries defrosted in the relative warmth of the creamy butter/sugar paste,
everything started getting a bit soupy, although still kind of cold.
i mean, c'mon, kids-
they were FROZEN berries.
maybe, if i'd rested them in the freezer for a little bit, they'd have held their shape better.
instead, twenty minutes at 410℉ had me looking at these deflated blue-green blobs.
i'd cut them into lovely rectangles, only to see them spread out like muffin tops,
which really makes prefect sense all things considered.
at least they TASTED incredible.
slightly spongy, not too sweet, fruity, with that chocolate coming through strong,
and with a slightly open crumb that held all the spring of the thing,
and made them crumbly, but only barely, compared to how moist and soft they stayed.
all told, i liked a lot about them,
but next time, i'm gonna be sure to do some things a lot differently.
that's how it goes, after all-
i'm livin', bro.
i'm learnin', too.
and that's sort of the whole point, yeah?
and while that's all really happening,
i'm eating these uggos as a reminder that delicious and beautiful
don't necessarily need to hang out together.
and while there's no guarantee of aesthetic pleasure forever,
good taste is it's own reward, even in the ugliest of dishes.
i'd rather eat beautiful food, but whenever i can't, you know the rules provide the answer:
stay ugly, stay dope.
uh huh.
that's a thing.
heck, that's MY thing.
i'm not getting any better looking either,
but i'll promise you that i'm trying to be more delicious every damned day;
never quiet, never soft.....

Sunday, December 10


do you like waffles?
YES, we like waffles!
and oatmeal?
that's pretty good stuff- hearty, healthy, burly great northern woodsly lumberman food.
and together?
y'know, as in: oatmeal waffles...
THAT's expert all the way to eleven.
breakfast is awesome.
that's a fact.
also, cute foods are awesome.
not because they taste any different with your eyes closed,
but because they taste so much more adorably better with your eyes OPEN.
i have a miniature waffle maker, neighbors.
and i make miniature waffles when i need a little something exxxtra on my plate.
they're smaller than the frozen ones, i think.
it's been so long, i'm just assuming.
i could search the internet for the diameter of a frozen waffle,
but i prefer to just think of my special homemade minis as especially dainty,
in addition to being impossibly crispy, soft-centered, and delicious.
so i have my minis, made with oatmeal,
and i have my real new hampshire maple syrup,
and just like that, i'm the mutha-effing champion of the morning.
......then i add a bunch of other other stuff,
because too much is the right amount,
and i'm not about to just take it easy like a little doodiebutt baby.
look at the morning glory i've got going on:

tofu scrambo with hemp hearts, fried tomatoes, and scallion sprankles!!
rule is rules, fools.
y'gotta have that scamborghini if you want to have a good morning.
a tablespoon of minced onion, half a block of xxxtra-firm tofu,
a teaspoon or more of Garlic Powder and Onion Powder,
pink salt, black pepper, a scoop of nutritional yeast,
a shake-a-shake-a of turmeric, and just a dash of smoked paprika-
all of that, in a medium-hot pan, with a drizzle of olive oil,
and a little stirring, will have you well-sorted on some eggless excellence.
it's one of the best breakfast bits, in my opinion.
and with those pan-blackened lighlty-oiled halved sweet small tomatoes?
that's good for you.
and of course, the hemp hearts, just to give it all those eagle's egg-style nutrients,
for maximum luchador liberty, man.
i roasted the hell out of those red-skinned new new potatoes.
they were crispy before i put 'em in the pan,
with a handful of minced onion,
and activatedthem with a few glugs of olive oil,
a lotta GPOP, a hard 'n; heavy shot of smoked paprika,
many coarse-ground craxxx of black pepper,
and a whole mess of red hot louisiana pepper sauce.
you like the cabbage and clementine garnish?
oh my darlin' do i ever eff with those satusmas pretty heavy!
bro, a little citrus never threw a curve that caused scurvy, if you know what i mean.
word up.
those waffles though.
i think i want you to come over for waffles with me, please.
i'll give you the recipe, but only if you share some with me.
here you go:
let your oven heat up to 200℉ ,to keep all the waffles warm, of course-
conversely, you could turn your oven DOWN from 400
if you've just roasted some crucial morning homeboyfries
in a smaller mixing bowl, combine:
1/2 tsp salt;
1 cup flour;
1 cup whole rolled thick oats;
4 T melted vegan butter;
3 T sugar;
1 tsp bakey powpow;
1 tsp bakey soda;
2 T vegan sour cream;
1 cup non-dairy milk.
^ whisk it, and let it rest for as long as you can....
heat up your waffle iron (they light up these days)
and make some waffles.
that's a big scoop in the center of the iron, and some time.
if you use an excessively large spoon to do it,
you'll get blarpity bleedover-
if you use a little-itty-bitty one, you get stoopid-lookin' non-circles.
i trust you'll figure it out.
if not,
you ge what you ge, and that's on you, boo.
on a personal note-
i prefer mine brownish, more so than a gentle beige.
the crunch on one of these dented pancakes is priceless, after all.
when you've got all your batter transformed into finished waffles,
hit 'em with that REAL sh!t.
if you're using that imitation jauns,
a.k.a. tricky liar brown corn breakfast-flavored syrup,
the i do declare that i think you're a F*ing piece of sh!t,
and i hope you wake up someday and realize you've been wasting your life
with that inferior garbage,
come to your senses,
and join all of us worth-a-damn duders at the big kids table,
where we celebrate the woodsly goodsly tree-juice activation,
like druids from the imperfect-past-particulate future.
word up.
in other less appetizing news,
immediately after breakfast,
all there is going on around here these days are the hardest styles.
for real.
it's all really happening.
it's a snow day, where anything could happen, but it won't.
it's cold AF, but sunny in a snow-blind rod-hazardous way...
and to add a degree of doo-doo buttery sleeplessness to the weekend,
crabtree exxxploded his A*hole with some sharkbite swallow-whole mayhem.
there was vomit and liquified butt lava EVERYWHERE!
the little imbecile will choke down logs,
strange bones from the woods,
and so on,
all in a hoovering super-sucker shark-gluttonous suicidal search-and-self-destruct effort
to die in a blistering azzblazztin' blaze of effluvium and excrement,
all while inflicting maximum stress and filth and expense on his handler.
...thanks buddy.
there's slippery snow,
and icy hills ahead,
but we'll be peppering them with poop at irregular but frequent intervals
for the remainder of the morning...
i'll be you're totally in the mood for waffles now aren't you.
true stories are more often tha not pretty F*ing gross.
that's the price of honesty, in a weird twist of the plot.
if you report on nothing but bullsh!t, it's all rosy fake flowers,
but when you tell the truth, it's usually covered in filth.
this is it, kids.
the manure of fertile language, unfolding, or dribbling,
from the whole thing, out of most holes.
never quiet, never soft.....

Saturday, December 9


sweet potatoes.
chick peas.
black rice.
sound familiar?
oh. so you must not regularly read this recipe diary.
well, yeah.
because the very last thing i wrote about had all of that in it.
i know, that's repetitive, isn't it?
oh, now now, just because i already made something with all of that
does't mean i'm remaking or leftovering some lame sh!t because i'm lazy, man.
no way...
even though i had my kitchen poppin' with most of the same ingredients,
there was a very different taste and texture situation jumpin' off, for sure.
dudes, i'm serious.
it was almost as if i actually had the capacity to create a tangible change,
despite compositionaly remaining pretty much the same.
check it out:

that's curry, bro.
red curry.
and it's really effing good.
no jokes.
and while it is mainly all the same stuff as i made the night before,
it tastes nothing like the other other one.
it still tastes expert AF, neighbors,
because y'boi doesn't play around like some sad little chump-butt diaperbaby in the kitchen.
i get loud, then i get fresh, and then i go hard up in these pots and pan.
nobody should have to settle for lameness when it's time to feast.
in the olden days, i was NOT an adventurous eater.
i grew up munching up mainly beige foods,
with the twice-weekly influence of tomato-sauce-slathered carbohydrates.
but that was decades ago, and since then, i've seen the light.
and it's a white ball of healing magnificence shining, illuminating, and revealing
ALL the heroic, medicinal, magical, mood-enhancing spirit-elevating nourishment
that i'm capable of experiencing on a multi-sensational level of pure-being.
that sounds good and bad at the same time- mostly because hippie stuff is SO dumb.
the thing of it is: i know there's a huge world of cruelty-free
murderless plant-based sustenance out there, and i'm trying to get all of it into my face.
 on that note, let me add a little true statement to teh mix:
i love the heck out of a curry, kids.
and this one is a pretty hot, pretty hefty one.
i know y'all like that purple rice, too.
it's just a 4:1 ratio of jasmine to black rice, prepared as directed,
but, with a little freak-it-off fire in the form of a handful of flaked unsweetened coconut.
it's that good colorbomb taste exxxplosion stuff that'll have you scooping out
a second helping as soon as you get that first spoonful in your mouth...
that's for real.
coconut rice is awesome, and if it's also purple?
then i guess you're basically having the best time of your life.
that curry has allllll the boomfire you could ask for.
it's thick,
it's hot,
it's spicy...
i piled it high, and i ate it all.
i wanted you to have some, but, it's all gone.
i s'pose you'll just have to make it yourself...
here's how you do it, should you be so inclined:
saute, in vegetable oil:
1/2 rough cut onion;
2 large stalks of celery, sliced;
2 cloves crushed garlic;
3/4 cup cut tomatoes;
1/2 minced jalapeno;
1 minced habanero;
1/2 cubed sweet potato;
GPOP, a dash of coriander, a scoop of cumin, a little turmeric,
a lot of hot paprika, a little smoked paprika, and a bay leaf.
add a couple cups of water, a scoop of bouillon, a heavy dollop of chili paste,
and let those sweet potatoes soften....
toss in a half a cup of chick peas, a few sweet peppers,
and then wilt down a huge handful of baby spinach...
it's all just a matter of time-
sear this, simmer that, soften those....
in around half an hour,
you can have a huge pot of hottness ready to devour,
provided you get the order of operations right.
this was a good one.
hearty, heart-warming, body-warming, tongue-tingling quick-and-dirty big action.
after an afternoon at the mall, i needed something homey for the homies.
this was it, and that was that.
well, OBviously, rule is rules-
those are scallion sprankles, raw carrots, and coolwater cukes all around the damned thing.
too much is the right amount.
and that's a thing even when you're tired, sick, in a hurry, or anything.
no matter what, if it's worth doing, it's necessary that you overdo it. 
make it at your house, and make it count;
never quiet, never soft.....

Thursday, December 7


i was on some other other sh!t last night.
i mean it.
as i've just recently mentioned
my homeboy, and close-quarters coworking companion, nate,
and i have both been watching those asian-food youtube videos,
and getting pretty psyched about red-stained spicy foods...
in a cultivated coincidence, and with the power of refined perception,
due, i'm sure, to newly increased awareness and high-intensity vanilla sky magnetics,
i spied, with my little honey-mango colored eye,
a small, red bottle of gochujang paste in my holiday shopping travels yesterday.
fermented soy, salt, and chili SAUCE, activated all korean-style,
is NOW on the menu at the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress ethnic culinary culture clubhouse.
well definitely be seeing much more of it, i can tell you that,
because it is some seriously expert sh!t.
neighbors, when it's time to get fresh with the flavors,
all i need is a little bitty nudge, and inertia takes over,
creating a juggernaut of sauce-blasting gentleman-barbarian virtuosity.
i mean it.
this time around, it manifested as a hot, black noodoo bowl.
mmmmmmmmm. yeah, man-that's what's up.
check the teleport:

oh man!
i used a few pots to prepare this meal, but, as i've got plenty of burners on the stove,
it still progressed fairly quickly.
it's sort of a main-stage three-parter, but there was a bit more going on behind the scenes.
it's tofu and chickpeas a la gochujang,
mae-ploy activated sweet potatoes and HOT peppers,
and black rice ramen noodles...
together, they make the world a better place.
...and that's no joke.
here's what happened, in case you're feeling the need to improve the world, too-
par-boil 2 cups of chunked sweet potato, drain, and set aside.
in a tablespoon of sesame oil,
1 diced jalapeno;
1/2 chopped onion;
1 minced habanero;
1/3 cup sweet bell pepper
(i vastly prefer the minis, as they're thinner-walled,
and therefore more delicate in texture, which is pretty flippin' nice);
GPOP, black pepper, and 2 cloves crushed garlic.
when that begins to soften, add the sweetie 'tatoes,
and give 'em a good dose- 3-4 T mae ploy sweet chili sauce.
if you don't have that, you effed up, and you're fired.
that's just sort of a thing.
in approximately 1 glug of sesame oil, plus two glugs of vegetable oil, on high heat,
fry up 1/2 bloc of superexxxtra firm tofu, until at least 4 out of 6 sides are browned a bit,
then add in 2/3 can drained and rinsed chick peas.
next, hit 'em with the 'JANG-
i used:
3 T gochujang paste;
1 tsp sesame oil;
1 T white vinegar;
2 T rice wine vinegar;
2 T soy sauce;
1 tsp garlic powder.
that all got slurried and dumped on all those beans  and bean-squares,
and sizzled up all over all of it.
...then i dolloped a nother 'nother tablespooon of 'JANG on top when it was all caramelized.
i had a pot of water boiling for the noods, dudes.
and i dunked 2 cups of baby spinach in it to get blanched,
and then added that to the swee'tatoes.
the ramen took a total of five minutes, and was amazing, as always.
i toasted up those sossamon sesame jauns, which is always a good idea.
crAwnchy raw radish and rainbow carrots added the perfect bite to those chewy noodoodoos,
then, layers of tofu and 'tato, and seeds, and plenty of green onion sprankles.....
that's the combo, bro.
and that's the truth.
you need some of this.
i need MORE of this.
this is all we need.
with XImas season in full swing, i have to say something:
i love presents.
have i ever told you that?
well, then let me reiterate:
i love presents.
wrapping paper is dope.
color-coordinated tissue paper is dope.
corresponding bows?
yup. they're dope.
and don't even get me started on stockings.
stockings are basically the defining moment in a true gift-giver's repertoire.
if your stuffed sock is for sh!t,
you did it all for nothing.
...and you're dead wrong for that.
on the ones,
there are plenty of folks who want to tell you that the meaning of the spirit of the thing
is NOT getting and giving......
and they can stay back in whatever hearthside bummer yule-hole they've crawled out of.
Xmas is for family, if that's your thing,
too much is the right amount.
just sayin'- one louder, fresher, harder, bigger, and waaay better
is OBviously XImas.
and you cannot have that sort of hottness on hand without a big ol' stack of presents.
so don't sleep, and don't miss out,
and don't bother coming through if you don't love a well-presented heap
of metallic-foil-papered, crisp-edged, super-official elite gifts.
i apologize, kinda, because i'll be mentioning this often throught the month,
because i LOOOOVE presents.
oh, and before i prefer to GIVE 'em, for the record
i'm not a total A*-hole.
never quiet, never soft.....

Wednesday, December 6


rules is rules.
i asked kayla what we should make for dinner,
and she scoffed, for real, right at me.
a scoff is an awfully hard style when it's genuine.
then, she was all like: 'ummmm, isn't it tuesday?!' if somehow, i'd become a completely temporally-challenged what-day-is-it-type A*-hole.
and to be fair, she had a point.
if you're not sure of something specific for supper,
in an essential but non-alliterative capacity,
then the obvious default is taco mutha-lickin' tuesday.
because that's the thing you DO on tuesday.
of course, i had ideas about how to go about it,
which were promptly derailed by special requests for both black beans,
and cauliflower rice.
the direction of my actions was altered, and the path that our preparations took
was a sideways enfilade of expert excellence that i didn't anticipate,
but absolutely took full and capital advantage of.
word up.
now check the dang teleport already, why don'tcha?

i got textures poppin' OFF over there!
if you aren't making lime wedges for upgrading from 1-10 to eleven?
you might be a A*-hole.
that's an honest assessment, man.
we start with toasted soft flour tortillas, every time.
those crispy-crap self-destructive corn jauns are for poor people,
and bad people with limited palates.
real recognize real,
and soft flour flaps hold the most taco in their interior,
and are therefore superior, which in turn keeps it real to the max.
too much really and truly is the honest-to-goodness right amount.
don't settle for a diminished capacity within your vessel, homeboy.
but, what about the fillings?
there's a couple cups of chiffonade-style kale, and ribbon-shredded purple cabbage,
with a handful of cilantro, fresh cracked pink salt, and fresh lime juice,
for a base of vibrant and fragrant and crisp slaw.
that's dope.
then, there's thinly-sliced cukes, and rainbow tomatoes, and scallion sprankles.
that covers all the freshie-fresca end of the spectrum.
and these days, the quick-mixed pickled veggies are the TRUTH.
and the truth is something we cannot, and will not escape from.
that's enough cider vinegar to cover half a roughly-chopped onion;
two large sliced radishes;
most of a medium-sized carrot (crabtree ate the extremities of tip and top);
a baby bell pepper;
half a jalapeno;
and three cloves of garlic...
y'just add half a teaspoon of salt, a teaspooon or two of sugar, and boil it until
the 'penos turn a grosser shade of green-o,
and that's how you know it's done.
let it cool, and very liberally apply the results to everything in sight.
they're too damned tasty not to overindulge in.
as a matter of fact, i make slightly more each and every time i make them,
and there's never any left over.....
two cups of crushed cauliflower?
that's rice?!?
we added GPOP, and lime juice, and a little oil,
and seared it over high heat until it was crispish, but softish, and very aromatic...
i dunno exxxactly HOW it happens, but i know it was delicious.
that's real.
the black beans were picante, kids.
half an onion, a few cloves of garlic, a chunk of anaheim chili, a half a jalapeno,
a whole minced habanero,
plus GPOP, cumin, crushed coriander seed, oregano, and smoked paprika?
and 3/4 can of those blacker-than-blacks?
that's flavor from every direction, bro. and heat on heat with hottness to spare.
how good?
SO good.
i was very pleased with both the thick, meaty textureand the high-intensity flavor.
if you are willingly and knowingly having bland beans, you're making a mistake...
and you might be dumb.
just sayin'.
these juicy joinx were on point, and warm on a few levels.
y'boi was all too happy to hunker down and tear into the whole panful.
and then there's the sprankles.
pepitas, aka pumpkin seeds, aka pumplestiltskins-
about a quarter cup's worth,
fried in 2 T olive oil, with 11 turns of the coarse black pepper grinder,
removed from the heat as soo as they begin to brown
and finished with 4 tsp maple syrup with a serious shake-the-sh!t-out motion applied to the pan.
yum yum YUM.
those are what you need, nerds.
don't skimp out, or you'll never know how awesome your life can be.
that's not an understatement, either.
did i hot 'em with the habanero ho'sauce?
what do you think, buddy?
i'm some sort of piece of trash?
OF COURSE i hit 'em with the habanero ho'sauce.
this is not a game, this is taco tuesday,
and that's not something to be taken lightly.
the holiday season is encroaching on my time management skills.
i've got a LOT to do,
but i'm always at work.
yesterday, i dipped out for a minute, to hit up the homegoods,
and stock up on site-specific seasonally-appropriate candles.
i mean,
rules IS rules, and if it smells like summer, but looks like santa,
you're doing it WRONG, homie.
get with it.
now it's aromatic in the best way at AMPERSAND TATTOO,
and we hope you appreciate how spirited our holiday sensibilities truly are.
there may not be enough time,
but what moments and minutes there are have been maximized as if by magic.
fitting it all in isn't easy,
but it's ALL really happening anyway,
and that's forever and ever the whole point;
never quiet, never soft.....


krampus seems pretty cool.
all that stuffing of bad kids into a sack,
and givin' out a beatin' with a birch broom,
and taking those little sh!ts to hell for a year or somethin'.....
here's the thing-
i'm a dear sweet boy, 
and so is my little pup,
so we're relatively safe from the snatch-and-grab antics 
of santa's bound-and-compelled demonic enforcer-
...but damn, duders,
those proto-germanics sure knew how to take it too far,
which is good, because too much is the right amount.
and in the taking-it-to-eleven spirit of the day,
i made some everything-all-at-once-cookies to celebrate.
i did.
after all, rules is rules, and a cookie is worth a thousand cheers.
all the ingredients in one spot, and al the flavors positively bursting from every angle.
y'wanna see what's up?
good thing, because here's that revelatory teleport:
what sort of satanic sorcery is stuffed inside of these diabolical delights?
ALL of it!
i hooked 'em way up with so many textures, and so many flavors, and then, 
i turned it around, and iced 'em up top, too.
oh, i know.
the tableau with the baby feet and the chains and brooms......
what can i say?
i'm a F*ing nerd, bro.
but don't be hatin' on my indulgences, or you can't share these cookies with me. 
that's real.
i feel like y'all need to know more about these amazing bloxxx of hottness,
so i'm going to early XI-mas you with the recipe, right now:
preheat your oven to 375℉
in a medium mixin' bowl, smash together:
1 cup sugar;
1/2 tsp salt;
1/2 cup medium flake coconut;
8 T (1 stick) earth balance superior butterish goodness;
2 tsp vanilla.
once combined,
stir in:
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce;
2/3 cup chopped cranberries;
1/2 cup rolled oats;
3 T toasted flax seeds;
2/3 cup chocolate chips;
1/2 cup chopped roasted peanuts.
give it a decent mix-up ,
and then fold in:
1 1/2 cups flour;
1/2 cup oat flour;
1 tsp ea. bakey powder and soda.
take that dough, and dollop out a golf-ball sized blop, over and over, 
onto two baking trays evenly spaced, where they'll bake for 13 minutes in a row.
remove 'e from the oven, let 'em cool for a bit on the trays, transfer them to a rack,
and mix up some icing.
icing is key here.
that's the truth.
4 tsp cocoa;
1/2 cup powdered sugar;
non-dairy milk splashed on in.
what you get is a thick fudgsicle-flavored spread, 
just dying to get dosed with some bright white coconut sprankles.
that's it.
simple as anything, but tasting better than everything.
just like that.
i've been watching the most interestingly horrifying youtube channels.
that's right.
in between appointments at AMPERSAND TATTOO,
we've been tuning in to white dudes living and eating in chengdu, china.
turns out, there's more than one,
and they're very different,
but all somewhat uncool.
here's something you might not know about the thousand of restaurants in that city:
they use a LOT of dead body parts, covered in red oil.
so, mainly, we watch slightly irritating resident-travelers eat slimy spicy organs and sh!t.
i don't know why.
i mean,
i'm NOT trying to get down on some of those boiled pig intestines, 
or bony whole fish buttholes or whatever.
i s'pose i'm just psyched on all that spicy, oily, sichuan boomfire.
that stuff looks rad AF.
andwith enough heat, it must be much easier not to think about 
the fermented lamb urethra, or whatever the F*else is lurking underneath the chilis.
the stuff that these dudes are gobbling up is just another 'nother reason for eating at home,
with the ingredients that constitute a health-supportive, nutritive, 
nuanced and compassionate diet..
yet i'm still watching the charnel horror of these cultural explorations.
call it morbid curiosity, 
call it vegan re-up affirmation, 
call it the creepy-crawly heebie-flippin'-jeebies,
but we've seen a LOT of 'em at this point......
and there's still plenty more where those came from.
i can't stop, but i'm more entrenched in veganism with every episode.
that's no joke.
i try not to be limited in my worldview,
but i have an instinctual repulsion of stinky animal chunks.
i'm guess i'm just delicate like that;
never quiet, never soft.....

Tuesday, December 5


pie-style apples!
dutch-style oatmeal crOmbles!!
spelt-type floury powerful coffee F*ing cake!!!
i put stacks on stacks on stacks of stuff on top of each other,
and the i baked the sh!t out of all of it,
and now, along with a scoople of no-sugar-added coconut vanilla bean ice cream,
i've got THIS:

i have an especially special spot in my body reserved for crumbly grandmom-ish treats.
...and it is currently occupied by this little sweetie.
it's got all the goods in one place!
three large peeled, cored, chopped, and stewed apples-
that's 4 T maple syrup;
2 tsp cinnamon;
1 tsp vanilla;
1 T cornstarch;
and 2 T raw sugar,
all together, softened ove medium-low heat, cooled off a little, and ready to go.
that crOmble is the business, brothers and sisters.
2 T vegan butts;
1 tsp cinnamon;
1/4 cup powdered sugar;
1/4 cup oat flour;
1/4 cup rolled oats;
1/2 tsp vanilla....
all chopped up and held together with force and flavor-
it's SO good, for being SO simple.
and one goes on the other-
both go on top of that spelt cake,
and that's the real hero, y'know?
i mean,
it supports all that pie on top.
and here's HOW you do it:
preheat your oven to 360℉,
then, inside your stand mixer you've gotta cream together:
1 cup light brown sugar;
1 stick (8T) vegan butter;
1/2 tsp salt;
1 cup non-dairy sour cream;
2 tsp vanilla;
1 1/2 cups flour;
1/4 cup tapioca flour;
1 cup spelt flour (slightly heaped);
1 tsp each bakey powpow and soda;
1 cup non-dairy milk + 1 T cider vinegar.
that's cake, once you've gently whisked it all up.
into a greased 9" springform, you dump the batter,
then the apples, then the crOmbles,
and bae that swet baby for at LEAST 45 minutes, or more,
until it's risen, solidified, and firmed up across all areas, including that juicy central core.
don't you dare underbake it, or you're just gonna get puddingy poop in the middle,
and we don't invite that sort of riffraff rabble to our parties, duders.
don't be dumb, or impatient, please and than you.
once it's ready, and still warmish,
you're gonna wanna hit it with that a la mode scoop jauns.
trust y'boi on this one-
it's the only way.
i had some unsweetened vanilla bean coconut milk icy hottness,
and it totally turned this masterpiece into a virtuoso exxxplosion of texture, taste,
and transcendental soul-touching joy.
that's real.
try some, and you'll see for yourself.
time is ticking faster than i can keep count.
it's slipping past like water,
and what's current is swept away in the currents of present into past,
and i'm hurtling into the future totally unprepared.
who knew i'd have half the things happening that are occurring in my immediate area?
no ME, that's for sure.
i'd likely have prepared a bit better for the experience.
it's all going on, and going off,
and getting busier by the tick tockin' to the body rockin' to the rhythm of crabtree's whines.
and in between,
i've got tattoos and cookies and dinners and chores pouring out of the aether,
and i'm poring over all of them as i sweat out of my pores.
too much?
but, that's the only amount we like, right?
this is IT,
and that's all you get;
never quiet, never soft..... 


just bake a cake.
that's my favorite option.
a quick bake up of a little cake-up activation, 
and most things get much improved for the effort.
maybe not my waistline,
but most other things, for sure.
it doesn't take a lot of time up front to make cake happen.
i mean,
while you're whipping up the batter, the oven is preheating;
and then, while it's becoming cake, you can go eff off elsewhere for a bit,
and do other stuff until the timer or your internal clock, 
remind you to remove it from that hotbox heat source.
and if you're an expert, and you've got a stand mixer,
you don't even really have to so much besides measure.
what i'm sayin' is:
just bake a cake.
then, you get to have cake, man!
i really like coconut a whole bunch.
i do.
and for the record: no, not the sulphured soggy stuff.
i don't hang out with chewy wet-dry strings of sadness.
i only get down with the unsweetened flakes.
i want real coconut texture and flavor, not those doo-doo strands that only grandmas buy.
and, i also like caramel, specifically caramelized coconut sugar.
(it already tastes sort of caramel, anyway)
which is just melted sugar in a pot, really.
that's pretty simple.....just don't burn it. 
if you know how to pay attention, you'll be fine and you'll have caramel gargamel hottness
all up in your ingredients.
coconut and a little caramel and a minute or two of mixin' had me ready to rock,
and when i wanna rock, i rock around a ring of cake.
that's real.
i combined the things, i spanned the time, i made the moves,
and when it was all said and done, i ended up with THIS:
oh, yeah, that's chocolate drizzle,
and coconut frosting, too.
like, why wouldn't i go all out for the big deluxxxe, y'know?
i put medium flaky coconut on the bottom of my ring pan,
and it toasted itself in the oven!
really, the top of this cake has sunken-in embedded toasty coconut 
turning UP the volume on being delicious to eleven.
you could probably make one of these at your house,
in your oven,
for your face,
and that's with or without caramelizing the sugar.
yeah, man.
cake is a good thing, and you really can't have too much of a good thing-
no matte what the nancy-pantsy diaperbabies tell you.
trust me:
too much is the right amount.
and that's even more true when we're talking about cake.
here's the way to go, if you're inclined to go full ring cake any time soon:
preheat your oven to 360℉
in your incredible handy stand-up stand mixer, cream together:
1 stick (8T) vegan butter;
1/2 cup fresh ground coarse coconut meal;
1/2 tsp salt;
1 tsp vanilla;
3/4 cup coconut vanilla yogurt;
1.2 cup raw sugar;
1/2 cup caramelized (melted) coconut sugar
-like i said, you don't have to melt it, but it adds some serious flavor-
to that soupy slop, you'll need to add:
2 cups flour;
4 T tapioca flour;
2 tsp baking powder;
1 tsp baking soda;
one tasty punch of medium flake unsweetened coconut;
1 cup non-dairy milk. (drinking style coconut, preferably, but anything will suffice)
whisk it into an airy, lofty, slightly gritty batter,
before you spoon it into your well-greased ring,
you'll want to lay down a heavy layer of that unsweetened coconut first.
it toasts in the pan, and it makes the top sort of like a samoa cookie,
especially after you've baked this bad baby boy for 40-50 minutes, or until it's golden,
and completely baked throughout the crumb,
and you've drizzled some melted dark chocolate on top.
i mean,
the bottom coconut becomes inset flip-over topside sprankles,
and the chocolate seals the deal.
that's expert.
and like, what else do you even need?
ohhhhhhhh, you're right.
we're gonna need frosting!
i mean, we can see it ON top of the cake.
i should've taken that into account a second ago...
coconut frosting has me in it's throes, bros.
it's so flippin' good, and so creamy, and so rich,
and it certainly adds another 'nother dimension of flavorful complexity,
extrapolated off of one constant theme, to the betterment and increased enjoyment
of your mind and body with every single bite.
and that's no joke.

in your well-rinsed stand mixer,
whisk ferociously:
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar;
3 T vegan butter;
1 tsp coconut extract;
2-3 T finely, fresh-ground coconut meal;
and 3-4 T non-dairy milkymilk....
maybe a dash more, or less, depending on how creamy you're aiming all your frosting sights.
i just love a good cake, kids.
and what's more, i love to make them myself.
i have a few signature dishes that i repeat somewhat regularly,
but with increasing frequency, i'm freakin' it off, and adjusting, tweaking,
and generally messing with the recipes in my head,
trying to get new and better results from the same ingredients,
and reaching for an elusive secret special SOMEthing i'm hoping to find
through rigorous experimentation.
i guess i take my morning rituals a little more seriously than i let on sometimes.
there is a quest i'm on, and it involves seeking a nirvana of alchemical manipulation.
i've got ingredients lined up like spell components,
and i've got a steel cage instead of a summoning circle to invoke the powers of
transformative earth, wind and fire.
you may just call it baking,
and that's your own limited and shortsighted viewpoint.
i'm on some ultra-universal visionquest sh!t with a trajectory arcing
from my kitchen counter towards the ever-expanding outer limits of time and space.
all that just from some cake making every morning.
pretty cool, right?
i know.
then again,
it may just be the full-moon residual aftershocks makin' me see lunar astrophysics
where really there's just a slice of cake.
i guess i'll just keep doing this thing,
and either way, i'll have treats to eat,
whether or not i end up on the astral plane for my efforts;
never quiet, never soft.....