Sunday, September 24


for autumn's debut the other day,
i figured a good ring-in debut meal would be a big ol' batch of french style toast.
here's the thing-
i bake a LOT of bread,
and when my dudes don't come around during bake days,
i end up with a surplus of bread.
...and while i eat a ton of fresh-baked burly barbarian sourdough,
i physically can't keep up with the output my starter provides.
i hate wasting it, so i use it up, and that means lots of loaves,
but not enough mouths.
i guess what i'm telling you is:
i confess that french toast was a matter of mindfulness,
born of a disdain for being wasteful on the face of it,
coupled with respect for my masterful bake-up creations.
i wouldn't want to squander any of my superior sourdough,
and i wouldn't want to eat a sub-par brekkie either.
add in the equilateral daylight that's dispensed along the ley lines and horizons of
an equidistant sunbeam sun-up-to-sundown rundown,
and i've GOT to start my day with some expert sh!t.
that's a thing.
rules is rules, fools.
and on special days, we make the nicey-nice.
and by we, i mostly mean just me, but you get the picture.
check the teleport:

no joke.
the potatoes were big and thick and soft and skin-on like really real HOTbois prefer,.
with red onion all buttercrisped up, and scallion sprankles to sexxxify that sh!t.
and you know i bake them AS the oven preheats,
so that they're done when the oven reaches the desired temperature, right?
i don't have the luxury of waiting for preheats, bro.
i need those roasty toasty magic jauns STAT.
red, orange, and yellow sweet abby bell pepper bits, and red onion mince,
AND poblano dices?
that's the new new on my hemp-hearted, nootch-boosted,
GPOP'd turmeric and smoked paprika tofu scrambo,
which had the customary fried tomatoes and cilantro spranks too.
the rules are in place for our own satisfaction, man.
AVO-EFFING-CADO, with sriracha pepper flakes?
that's how worthy warrior poets make sweet love to the morning, neighbors.
when you grow up, maybe you'll understand.
that's all fine and good,
the really real big-time main-stage headlining superstar is the toast.
the 'batter' is a real stroke of eggless excellence,
and i'll give it to yo one more time:

1 cup of non-dairy milk;
1/2 tsp vanilla;
2 T nutritional yeast;
dash of salt;
4 tsp ground chia/flaxmeal;
1 T chick pea flour;
2 T agave nectar;
1 T melted vegan butterish.
whisked well, and rested until the chia-flax combo blooms.
a lazy long-lasting dredge-and-soak with inch thick slabs of slightly stale sourdough,
and a HOT pan with a coconut oil/ earth balance combo will see you through.
that's sorcery at it's most succulent.
and with banana slices on top?
that's got breakfasty goodness going to eleven.
....something which only gets even crazier with kapowdered sugary sprankles,
AND real new hampshire maple syrup,
AND that strawberry compote on top.
i mean, seriously,
don't be a biscuit-licker and try to front like that's not colossally tasty.
in a small saucepot, simmer:
2 cups sliced frozen strawbs;
1 T lemon juice;
1 tsp vanilla;
4 T powdered sugar;
1 tsp earth balance non-dairy butts;
3 T organic non-GMO cornstarch.
it'll get thick,
it'll be syrupy,
it'll smell better than you ever believed possible.
all of that will be a thing,
and you WILL add it to the tops of your toasts.
thank me later, but do it right NOW.
my old friends are getting old.
another 'nother one turned forty today.
life got ancient while we were bust F*ing around.
i guess i don't mind, since we don't have much choice.
time travel generally only moves in the one direction, anyway.
and besides,
when it comes to me and my people,
most of us chose NOT to become old and busted,
even if old and busted seemed to squat in our bodies trying to claim some sort of residency.
hey, it happens.
and that's fine.
we're not going down the road of weak-kneed whines and gripes.
nobody cares about that,
and there's no good reason to indulge in it, anyhow.
we're plunging headlong and headstrong into the future,
with all the exuberance of youth,
and a solid disregard for all the wisdom we've accrued over all this time.
everything is as new as you'd like it to be,
as long as you keep looking at it that way;
never quiet, never soft.....


browned, bruised, super-sweet overripe bananas.
when you're surprised by a half dozen of those blotchy oblongs,
you've got to make a decision about what to do...
and that decision is ALWAYS to make banana bread.
i mean,
what are you?
an A*-hole?
banana bread is expert.
in fact,
it's so good, the only way to improve it is to activate even more hottness,
with ingredients that are also excellent,
so that a synergy 'splodes across the oven,
and lifts the lusciousness off the charts, to eleven.
don't believe me?
look for yourself, loves:

these lil jauns have got a whole mess of magic within and without.
for serious.
that's unsulphured, unsweetened organic flake coconut on top,
and there's even MORE super-deliciousness packed throughout the main body
of each mini-bitty itty-baby loaf of buh-nay-nay-nunu nuance.
real talk,
these muthas were amazing.
if you're a fan of the sweet sweet cream-yellow flesh of these monkey-tubes,
and you can hang out with a hint of cinnamon,
in addition to fruit and chocolate???
then you're probably pretty cool.
also, you're probably wodering how to make these at your house.
i'll happily clue you in, kids.
preheat your oven to 365℉
in a medium mixing bowl,
8 T (1 stick) earth balance vegan butterish;
1/2 tsp salt;
1/2 cup light brown sugar;
2 tsp vanilla.
smash in:
4 very ripe bananas;
stir in:
2/3 cup non-dairy yogurt (or vegan sour cream)
now, add in al the important activators:
2 1/2 cups a.p. flour;
1 tsp baking soda;
1 tsp baking powder;
1/2 cup medium flake unsweetened coconut;
1/2 cup dried cranberries;
1/2 cup itty-bitty mini dark chocolate chips;
cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and ginger to taste-
i've got the cutest small loaf pans, which i made sure to grease up prior to portioning,
but i filled the batter up halfway in two dozen of them,
and topped them with a pinch of brown sugar,
and MORE coconut, this time in a sprankle capacity-
because too much is the right amount...
a little bake-up for about 20-25 minutes,
and kaPOW!
you've got miniature magnificence ready to rock your effing socks right off.
they're soft and spongy,
they're hearty and rustic and full of tart fruit,
sweet nanners,
dark chocolate,
and those subtle fall notes from the spices,
plus the recent memory of summer in that tight and TILTY coconut.
i love it when a treat surpasses my expectations.
for realsies, my expectations for myself and my baked greats are F*ing HIGH.
word up.
the avocado excelsior is in effect at AMPERSAND TATTOO though.
we had a whole family in the spot yesterday.
that's dope.
some of my favorites brought all of their people,
and we had the whole spot poppin'.
a few first tattoos,
a couple add-ons,
and a great time with genuinely good people...
that's about the best case scenario a guy could ask for,
i mean,
besides enormous piles of loot for doing far less.
THAT'S about the best i'd ask for,
but in the interest of earning and deserving,
a day full of fun friends and family is pretty damned awesome.
i'm grateful for the way the days unfold.
i never know how happy to allow myself to get,
so i save it for the next day,
so as not to jinx it-
it's all really happening, but i'm respecting a 24-hour delay in delight,
just in case the harder styles and tougher times are waiting in the cut to catch me off guard.
contentment is a curse,
and i reject it as a matter of course.
i stay hungry on every level,
and when i rest, it's never ever on my own laurels-
i collapse from fatigue in mid-pursuit of my ever-elusive ambitions...
believe it;
never quiet, never soft.....

Saturday, September 23


i whipped up an early a.m. batch of blueberry muffins so good,
they make me want to do high kicks and berserker somersaults.
the thing is:
i'm not as spry as i was once....
so, instead of that, i ate about a dozen of them,
and was far too fat and full to flip out all over the place with jumps and sh!t.
at least that's why i tell myself i didn't do the tip-top-toe kicks throughout the house.
what brought on the muffinstorm?
my dudes were in town, and they needed breakfast,
and that's what really real hosts provide when they see a need that needs filling,
or an empty bellyhole that needs nourishing-
at least,
that's how it goes if you understand the concepts of gratitude and generosity, y'know?
you know.
so, i fed my friends with fresh-baked flavorful antioxidant dopeness.
and really, what else would i have done?
there's protocols in place in regards to entertaining after all.
just look at what i'm talking about, man:
shoutouts to these little heavies-
you guys like muffins?
word too!!
these big action babies are spongy, firm, buttercrusty,
and covered in light-brown sugary cinnamon-kissed streusel!
F* yes!
i recommend you make a batch yourself-
what do you mean: why??
because they're really good, duh.
here's how to have a whole tray of morning magnificence in under an hour:

preheat your oven to 350℉
in a medium mixing bowl, begin by creaming together:
3/4 cup sugar;
1 stick earth balance vegan butter;
1/2 tsp salt;
1 tsp vanilla;
1 T lemon zest.
stir in:
1/2 cup vegan sour cream;
2 fat cups of a.p. flour;
1 tsp bakey powder;
1 tsp bakey soda;
1 cup wild maine miniature blueberries,
(or any other not-as-good blueberries if that's what you've got, i guess);
1/4 cup tapioca;
and 1/2 cup non-dairy milk.
a quick fold-in, and stir-up,
and you've got a lightly lavender-hued berry blarpity batter, ready for baking.
greased muffin tins,
and a scoople apiece,
and you're well on your way.
rules is rules,
and muffins need streusel-
1/4 cup oatbran;
and 1/4 cup flour;
1 tsp vanilla;
1/4 cup light brown sugar;
3 T vegan butter;
cinnamon, allspice, ginger;
and a dash of lemon zest;
bake those little baddies for 20ish minutes,
and eat them right away.
your face isn't ready for this much hottness,
but it'll have to adapt, because once you tune up one,
you're gonna need another 'nother couple dozen immediately.
that's real.
that's what's up.
today is the day, duders.
we get our signs.
we get to zipzap some oldschool regulars from the old spot.
we've got Perfect Fall Day magic on our side.
and it's official.
autumn is here.
and not for nothin', the equinox was tight.
indian food, a dog walk, some vegan ice cream, and exercise after the fact...
that's a whole post-work evening's worth of good stuff.
i'm grateful for the company i keep.
i'm thankful for all the work i'm doing,
and humbled by all there is ahead of me.
it's all really happening,
which is kind of the whole damned point, isn't it?
everything is unfolding around us like it's supposed to.
there's a kind of comforting horror in that;
never quiet, never soft.....


peanut butter!!!
cacao nibs!
chocolate chips!!
real mutha-effers crave these things,
and they orchestrate instances wherein they collide in a crescendo
of crucial textures, flavors, and sensations.
...and that's NO joke.
i'm pretty much all about chocolate and peanut butter,
and i'm relatively competent and capable when it comes to arranging circumstances
to get exactly what it is i'm hoping for.
in this instance,
that's a whole mess of chocolate and a healthy heap of peanut butter,
at the same time.
check the teleport:

the new new pastryish dough was in effect-
more of a rustic galette style than a delicate flaky jaun, for sure.
with melted chocolate warmed up with creamy organic natural peanut butter,
and a touch of vanilla, and a splash of soymilk, and a scoop of powdered sugar,
the filling was on point as well.
because rules is rules,
i activated some exxxtras on top.
chocolate leaves, AND chocolate chip sprankles 
added a necessary decorative element-
i mean,
who the F* wants to eat ugly food?
lazies, unworthies, miserables, and doodoobabybuttfaces.
those're the sh!tbirds who get psyched on ugly food.
.....and they do NOT have a spot saved at the treats table, neighbors.
no way.
here;s what you ca do to make the things that make this into a thing.
well,  just try our best to keep up:
in a medium mixing bowl, cut together:
1 1/4 cup a,p, flour;
1/4 tsp salt;
3 T earth balance buterrish;
3 T tofutti vegan creamchee';
3 T cacao nibs;
1/4 cup light brown sugar;
1 tsp vanilla;
chop chop chop that int a coarsemeal mess with a pastry cutter or fork-
then, add in your favorite non-dairy milk,
1 T at a time, until the dough becomes jusssssst sticky enough
to self-adhere with minimal effort.
that's when you turn and fold and turn and fold a whole bunch,
to make layers of fat and flour that'll bake up exxxtra sexxxily.
word up.
rest it for a few in the fridge,
roll it on on a well-floured surface, cut it, shape it, add those accents, etc etc etc.'re going to want to bake it in the 400 degree range.
i did it for 20 minutes at 410℉, but you can do it however you'd like.
the interior was another matter.
it can get grainy, and sort of sucky, if you aren't careful.
oh, i'm careful, man-
but that doesn't eliminate the need to be mindful of natural peanut butter's
temperamental infinite nature.
oils and dry spots and textural inconsistencies that all want to creep into the melted chocolate,
and hide out, in lumps and clumps, that eff up the consistency of your middle.
that's real.
and that's why you add soymilk as an emulsifier.
do it like this:
in a small saucepot, melt:
1/2 cup chocolate chips;
1/2 cup organic natral peanut butter;
2 tsp vanilla;
3 T powdered sugar;
3 T soymilk, with more added as necessary, once the peanut butts get thiccc.
stir frequently once the chocolate melts, to incorporate any rogue elements in the mix.
this stuff is really tasty, but it wants to get firm in a hurry, so stay on it with the soymilk, bro.
that's how you keep it pliable.
you'll figure it out.
i believe in you.
yes, i add sugary dusties, and chocolate lumps, and all that decorative delightfulness.
i mean, you know my style by now, don't you:
too much is the right amount.
i couldn't do less.
the only issue i have with MORE-ifying my life is the added hours of operation at work.
that's for realsies.
there's art to make,
there's cake to bake,
there's risks to take,
but first, the studio needs constant tending and attention.
......and we haven't even gotten the signs hung up yet, dudes.
i mean it.
nobody even knows where we are!
i'm actually worried about when they do, too-
that's a genuine concern.
not about the level of busy-ness for the business,
but for the quality of the work.
i didn't skimp out not once on the design of the studio,
and i do NOT want to start taking shorts on the clientele now that we're open.
straight street skidmark squits are not overtly uninvited,
but the place is designed to be luxurious,
not some ordinary, everyday, average, run-of-the-mill mess.
how do i keep the eliteness at eleven, and the exclusivity at a premium,
without being as rude and dismissive as all the ladies up the road?
no, for real, though.
i'm actually asking-
for over a year now,
i have been the day-saving second choice of clients who receive the customary
cursory, perfunctory, curt refusal of their ideas up the street....
they're grateful, and i'm grateful, but it's not that great, if you get where i'm going here...
and while i enjoyed the cointelpro of hearts-and-minds being won by a comparative narrative,
i'm immeasurably more interested in accruing clients with genuinely good ideas,
rather than just snatching up castaways and cutouts.
i'm open to suggestions, although i almost never ever use them.
just sayin';
never quiet, never soft.....

Thursday, September 21


sixteen years.
sixteen YEARS!
it's been sixteen years that i've been tattooing my very good friend dan dealy.
and here's the thing-
he's rad.
far more adventurous and accomplished and motivated than i am,
and in addition,
he's also a lot kinder, and more socially adept as well.
dan dealy is my homeboy, and it's as simple and complicated as that.
he came up to visit the new studio,
on a whirlwind roundtrip roadtrip through all of new england and new york,
for family and friendship and weddings and everything else.
here's another thing-
i'm by FAR the most out-of-the-way destination on the circuit.
it counts more, to my mind, and in my heart, that i saw his family during their visit.
mr. and mrs. and baby makes three,
and that's some magic number sh!t, for sure.
kaye is great, and always has been, she's got poise, dudes,
and that's a rarity and thus a delight each and every time we see each other.
and that beautiful, sweet, incredibly well-mannered little bitty bay girl of theirs??
noa serene is adorable, and that's no joke.
what do you do when your dudes are in town,
and you've missed them terribly?
you put a whole lotta hurt to 'em.
one more time, on the knee.
we started el pulpo an age ago, and when we get the chance,
we give him a tune-up, and terrorize a little cap-and-bend flesh.
it's sort of like a family thing.
we meet up and punish ourselves.
it's not like i feel good about blasting his body into submission.....
but rules is rules,
and i do what needs doing.
i'm grateful, always,
for the remarkable people that've found their way into my life,
and traveled along the same paths,
and kept in contact as those same paths diverged into wildly tangential time and space.
i know i'm lucky,
and i do not take that for granted.
what do yo do for someone you just did a blunt-force mischief to?
you make that miki-flicker a sandwich.
that's how i apologize for giving you what you asked for.
to be honest, i knew it was gonna happen.
(the sandwich, not the tattoo)
and in preparation,
i made a semi-sourdough banh banh bread batch in the a.m.
i did.
look at what i did:
BANH MIGOS (mama!....fa-mi-ly)
the bread started with an every-8-hours-for 36-hours-fed poolish,
which had all the hottness bubbling in it's sugar-boosted floury bubble-blops.
i had 1 1/2 cups of THAT live and lovely starter,
added to 3 cups of a.p. flour,
and two teaspoons of bread machine yeast-
plus a cup of warm water,
and 3 T of olive oil.
kneaded hard, for ten minutes, in my stand mixer with a dough hook,
until it was smooooooooooth....
i gave it a half-hour contertop bulk,
punched it down, covered it,
and put it in the fridge over night.
it still proofed again, with zeal,
and in the a.m., the latent bread machine yeast kicked in,
while the cut and shaped loaves re-rose while the oven preheated
to 420℉.
twenty minutes of baking, after a gentle brush-up wth olive oil on the tops,
and y'got loaves on loaves like jesus or somethin'......
how good were they?
pretty effin' good.
the flavor?
incredible, with just the barest bit of sourdough tang.
not too fat, not too light. toothsome, hearty, perfect.
good bread makes better people, man.
that's real.
what makes a banh mi so dope?
pickled pickly picks on picks.
heck yes.
i had some custom quickpix radish carrot and jalapeno!
i drained those suckers,
and used their sweet and salty brine to activate some pickled red onions, too.
that's doubly expert.
and i even added some crawnchy little dill roundies on the bottom of the thing.
too much is the right amount, bro.
that's a fact.
and when you add coconut-oil-fried superturbo exxxtrafirm tofu,
with a dash of GPOP,
and vegan mayo,
and hot sriracha stripes,
and cilantro,
and MINT!
the mint was so righteous, i couldn't have gone wrong.
banh mi is so high up on my list of good things,
and i couldn't help but share it with my good friends.
i do what i do for my dudes,
and i do it as hard, and as best as i can.
it's all really happening, which is great,
and it's all shared with my worthiest warrior poets,
which is even greater.
i can't say enough how fortunate i feel to have seen this extended family of mine,
an to hold that perfect little baby girl,
and to span time with those who truly care.
i know,
it's mushy,
but it's also the truth;
never quiet, never soft.....


i love a good ol' fashioned regular-A* panniecake.
i do.
like, a LOT.
or, at least,
i thoroughly enjoy the heck out of my non-ordinary activated,
expert approximated vegan version.
and when i can spread the word,
and spread some homemade compote,
and add some real new hampshire maple syrup, too?
you'd best believe i'm already standing by the griddle with a spatula ready to flip the eff out
and make a little flapjack stack attack happen asap.
wordimus prime.
i did that, and i'm happy i did,
because that sh!t hit the SPOT.
no, really, it did-
check the morning-glorious-type teleport:

the blueberries were precise AF.
TILTY to eleven, and tasty even more so.
you might need some of it.'s how to make it:
in a small saucepot, over medium-low heat, combine:
1 cup frozen wild little mini blueberries;
1 tsp lemon zest;
3 T cup powdered sugar;
3 T light agave;
1/2 tsp vanilla;
1 T non-GMO organic cornstarch-
that's gonna get thick and luscious and awesome,
and you're gonna wanna stir it a bunch, to keep it spreadable, and not clumpy...
and you're gonna wanna spread it heavy, because it's F*ing awesome.
and with toasted coconut sprankles????
that's some 2048AD joinx, buddy.
it's almost as if i was on some futuristic savant seance action.
i mean it.
these cakes were a joyous celebration of Folk Life, for realsies.
i'm lucky to have the time,
even if it comes at the expense of anything resembling restful slumber,
to create worthy investitures amongst the ranks of the most heroic breakfasts.
that's not even the half of it, either, friends.
on the ones,
the pancakes themselves got that good-good to 'em, too.
...that's no joke.
vegan sour cream, a little freshly-ground coconut,
and a whole lot of melted earth balance butter...
that's my current freeform add-in lineup,
all with the intention of making a fresher-than-fresh-to-death pancake-ulation sensation!!
in a medium bowl, whisk together:
1 1/4 cup a.p. flour;
1 tsp baking powpow;
1 tsp baking soda;
>1/2 tsp salt;
3 T sugar;
4 T fresh-ground unsweetened unsulphured coconut;
1 cup non-dairy milk + 1 T lemon juice, stirred and rested 5 minutes;
1 tsp vanilla;
3-4 T vegan sour cream;
3+ fat tsp melted plant-based butter.
stirred, rested a little, and blasted onto a hot hot griddle?
that's how life turns into art, bro.
you've made pancakes before, so, i mean, keep doing that.
it makes you cooler.
that's real.
scrambo is always dope.
i feel like i write about it an awful lot, so i'll just say this about that:
hemp hearts are a must.
they've got aminos or something,
and they're full of other nutrients, and proteins, and whatever.....
it's all some hippie sh!t, but they make the scram better,
ad that's what matters most.
as always, i go heavy on turnmeric, with a hint of smoked paprika.
the GPOP is critical, obvi,
but, it's the nootch that really levels the whole thing up a notch.
there's lots of ways to crumble and fry tofu.
i'd recommend you try out some rougue angles yourself, and see what you come up with.
that's where the sorcery really occurs.
i had mine gettin' freaky-deek with radishes and tomatoes, and scallions, too.
i like tarts and crawnches and sharp bright zings....
it's like i'm eating sound effects, really.
a symphonic full-spectrum surround-sound feast for my whole entire head.
why would i want anything less?
i wouldn't man.
don't be dumb-
too much is the right amount,
and everything else is sleepybaby doo-doo-butthead wimpleberry watermilk.
which, while totally fabricated wholecloth,
sounds like some stuff you wouldn't want at your birthday party.
i.e. it's NOT invited.
walk-up wendesday was a success.
sort of.
i mean,
i only tattooed dudes all day,
i tattooed all day.
that's a defining example of win-some-lose-some.
movie checks?
tight hangouts with loose women?
however, as i was flying solo at the studio,
perhaps immersing myself in menfolk was the best way to keep the vibe comfortable.
nobody likes to feel unwelcome in a vulnerable position,
and we care a whole lot about that, as far as you know.
y'feel me?
check it:
AMPERSAND TATTOO is a safe place, man.
sure, if you're dealing with some gender identity issues or some sh!t,
or some make-believe hetero-equivalency problems,
like carrying privileged over-educated entitlement-guilt,
or any of the other assorted and myriad would-be-woke woes,
we're tolerant of all that too.
if you're down to be the dopest version of yourself,
you're invited.
if you're a close-minded, tight-lipped, ham-fisted, narrow minded F*faced necktard,
with the full force of north country insulated bigoted mediocrity behind you?
and that's my word, which is law in my sovereign studio space.
that means we want all the strong ones,
all the confident ones,
the curious ones,
the bi-curious ones,
the social-injustice-opposing furious ones,
the smart ones (especially),
and all the other other ones who believe in becoming something better every damned day.
y'all are our VIPS an' that.

it's safe place for free-thought, free-will, and free speech.
it's not a place for gentle words and soft language, empty platitudes, and cloying compliments-
it is a haven for hard-styles, heavy heads, hot hands, open hearts and minds;
and a refuge for refutation, rebuttal, and refusal of status quo ordinariness.
it's destined to be a demesne for debate, too-
as in;
it's where real talk meets real-ass art-making,
at a apex'd-up fulcrum of full-figured fully-operational full-frontal furious flavorful
Folk Lively FRESHNESS.
and if you can't hang out with descriptors, or with alliteration, or with tight vocabulary,
or inclusive discussions,
as well as dedicated, delighted, determined tattzappin' turned up to eleven,
there ARE plenty of other studios that'll stroke your fragile sensibilities,
and i strongly suggest you seek those guys out.
we're here is you're in search of something MORE.
that's our thing,
and it can also be your thing,
if you want it.
it's all really happening, and that's the best news i've heard all year;
never quiet, never soft.....

Monday, September 18


SMOKY (slightly chipotle'd) TOFU!!
i made myself a F*ing feast last night.
i did.
i got home late, again.
and i got right to work.
time was tight, and the hunger/anger level was through the ROOF.
crepes are great for that.
easy, exxtra-flat, super-thin pancakes?
that's dope.
and after a loooong day on nearly non-stop tattooing,
i needed a flippin' SAGA to satiate my starvation.
that's a little bit of an exaggeration, but you get the idea.
i came up with some epic edible adventure time, however,
so all's well that ends in shark-gluttony, as i always say (as of just now.)
check out the mediterranean mealtime mayhem i managed:

where'd i start?
with the red lentils, of course-
3/4 cup red lentil beans;
3 T finely chopped onion;
2 cups broth;
black pepper, cumin, dried mustard, ginger, GPOP, sriracha flakes, turmeric,
and the babiest blend of red pepper flakes, paprika, and star anise,
just to delicately deliver some exxtra-special flavorful flecks
of super-official fire to my face.
that took twenty minutes to cook up.
while that was going hard in the paint,
i had some hot coconut oil frying up a ferociously smoky tofu situtation.
that's 1/2 block exxxtra-firm tofu, cubed, in the oil,
with smoked paprika, regular sweet paprika, cholula chipotle ho'sauce,
and GPOP (obvi).
the slight coconut tones went right along with the seriously smoky redness,
and i have to admit,
when coupled with the red lentils,
the tandem protein scene was dreamy.
that's no joke.
i put kale AND arugula on there!
i had pea shoots;
unappealingly super-hot sharp AF jalapeno slices;
and homemade TZATZIKI, son!
1 mini cucumber, minced;
(about 1/2 cup), drained on a paper towel to keep it from being prohibitively wet.
2 BIG spoonfuls of unsweetened cashew yogurt;
1 large crushed clove of garlic;
1 tsp lemon juice;
1/4 tsp dill leaves.
^^^that's the JOINX right there^^^
all of that, all together,
had just about the best ratio of wet to dry, crisp to soft,. sweet to savory-
it went to eleven with every mutha-lickin' bite, bro,
and the crepes?
in a smallish bowl,combine:
1 cup flour;
1/4 tsp salt;
1 tsp sugar;
2 T nootch;
1 1/4 cup non-dairy milk;
2 tsp flaxmeal.
poured out in big spoonfuls on a big ol' very hot pan,
over and over,
six times in a row...
one flip, when the tops get dry,
and a plateful of goodness is ready and waiting for all that other other stuff.
and now it's time to get back to work.
i swear i haven't had a day to myself in months.
it may be some time yet before i get one, too.
today is the day.
just like yesterday.
busy business is big business around here.
and it's all really happening, friends.
stop by and become a part of it,
or, maybe just read about it at your leisure from a more comfortable place.
that's cool, too;
never quiet, never soft.....


do you guys even ever eff with black currants?
you don't?
too bad, because that's some good sh!t to eff with.
well, no, actually, i don't have any either....
i only have black currant jam.
but, it'll serve.
i mean, seriously, it's very sightly, slightly seedy, sweet purple blarps
of succulent secret berry delights.
no. really, though-
it's dope and it's thick, and despite being something i was previously exposed to
while over in britain,
this specific jammie-jam i've got is from france, i think;
it's in my latest galette,
which just so happens to also have the most elite crust i've made in a dog's age,
whatever THAT means.
(the dog's age, not the part about the crust)
i'm on some:
apples for september;
black currants for my face;
and brown sugar-laced new new for everybody else.
i wouldn't want to waste time would i?
no way.
effective efficiency is how i get my days underway,
and when i've got an exxxtra minute or two, i bake y'all a little treat-
go ahead,
check the big-bakey-style teleport:

i'll confess,
the photo is cropped to conceal an abnormality in the crust.
one edge kind of elongated, and it went slightly amoebic in shape,
rather than the original round i put in the oven.
it's cool, though.
it tasted the same- that weird lopsidedness was not a detriment to the flavor.
it's just blackcurrant jam on the bottom,
two macintosh apples, cored, and sliced,
and fanned around and over that sloppy slapped-down jamboree layer,
in three successive spreads to cover all the available area,
which was about 11", not including the foldover margin.
then, i hit it up with a secondary dolloped dousing dose of black currant .
that's all that's going on in there.
could that be easier?
i mean, besides leaving out one of the ingredients, obvi.
i moistened the dough, and shook on a whole mess of demerara sugar sprankles,
despite being generous with the brown sugar INside the actual pastry.
because rules is rules,
and the rules at the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress clearly state:
too much is the right amount.
get with it, bro.
and what was this new dough all about?
it was about time i made some sh!t that looked like actual galette crust, really.
here's what happened:
in a medium mixing bowl, with a pastry cutter,
or more tiresomely: a fork-
cut in:
4 T COLD earth balance butterish substitute;
3 T COLD vegan creamchee';
1/4 tsp salt;
1 1/4 cups flour;
3 T light brown sugar.
add 1 tsp vanilla;
and ice-COLD non-dairy milk 1 T at a time,
fork cut into the crumbles,
until the whole mixture resembles very dry scone mix.
that'show you'll know you're ding it right.
next, y'gotta fold it, and turn it, and fold it, and turn it,
and then fold it, and turn it out onto a well-floured surface,
roll it into a rough round, about 3/8" thick (or whatever, man),
and put your stuffs into the center.
and when you bake it? bake it HOT.
like 425℉.
and don't get impatient.
give 'er a full 25 minutes worth,
and get that crust crusty, like the name implies.
just sayin'.
am i too busy?
but, am i busy?
hell yes.
the only real downside to my sexy new artistic enclave?
poor little crabtree is being somewhat neglected.
i'm so embarrassed.
that's my main man right there,
but he's too maniacal to come with me,
and i'm too pressed for time to walk him even more,
so that he might be less maniacal.
it's tough.
i gotta work,
and i gotta get those movie checks,
but when i get home, late, every day,
after leaving him alone MUCH earlier than i used to,
i can't help but feel like i'm the world's worst one.
especially when i get home, feed him,
then spend a few making myself a magnificent meal.
he's not the type of terrier to take that lightly,
and as a result, our evenings consist of a high degree of pent-up canine combat.
he's so fired up,
we frequently have a full-blown exercise session, for hours, and hours, after supper.
and that's a lot to handle,
when you're already handling a lot of everything else....
yeah yeah,
poor me, right?
i'm just letting y'all know how important AMPERSAND TATTOO is to me.
i'm failing at family time with my four-legged friend,
because making my work work harder by working harder is what i DO.
that's real life unfolding in real time;
never quiet, never soft.....

Sunday, September 17


the cinnamon swirls, tho!
you aren't aware?
for realsies??!
cinnamon swirl tops are the TRUTH.
i mean,
they're like half palmiers, overlapping and activating all
the protective talismans of total taste immersion,
like an expert shield wall of worthy warrior poetry,
and cinnamon,
on top of my numero uno favortite.
a fresh local macintosh apple mutha-btchin' pie.
oh. i made a pie.
take a teleportational LOOK:

y'boi right here is climbing all up into the pie scene,
and those cinnamon swirls are only adding to the eminence and excellence
of my powerful panful of apple cinnamon brown sugary big action.
i'll admit that my tendency towards overdoing things is why
they're not as defined as the could've been.
no, for real.
i took the buttery brown sugary cinnamon filling to eleven,
but the pastry only went to ten, if you feel me....
too much is the right amount,
but it might lead to overloads and overflows of blarped out caramel if you aren't careful.
...and i wasn't careful.
the swirls are only swirly in some spots,
and, while still incredibly flaky and buttery and crispy and sticky everywhere else,
they're more of a suggestion than a definitive structure.
next time, neighbors.
i'll get better and get it together next time.
until then,
lemme tell you a little more about a good pie-
i bake em at over 400℉.
like 415-25.
that's right.
i want my edges golden brown, bro.
and i've described in detail my piecrust about a billion times,
so i'm going to skip it right now-
the apples were exxxtra tasty this time,
and i think it's because i used butter AND organic sugar AND cinnamon AND ginger
AND agave AND vanilla in the pot with 'em.
i cook my apples enough to soften them,
and create a pectin-rich syrup to soak into the bottom crust.
i like the juice, but not if it's all sorts of wet.
for whatever reason, these jauns weren't inclined towards being watery,
and that was great news.
if you don;t let your apple blops cool a bit, your bottom crust will wilt and melt
and generally kind of suck.
that's no good, so be patient, and allow your apple medley to take it easy first, man.
eight medium apples should do the trick, but i'll wager nine is even better.
a braid around the rim always makes me more interested in a slice of this hottness.
i'm a sucker for a braid,
and i'm guilty of overdoing the things that i like.
so, braids happened.
and raw sugar sprankles on TOP of the cinnamon swirlies did too.
i go hard on the pie scene.
i really like pie.
i mean, c'mon, what's a lean, mean, mutha-ucker s'posed to do?
bring that weak sh!t up in here?
i don't think that's the right play.
i go hard on the pie scene.
that's my area.
we gave away TWO free tattoos yesterday.
that's right.
to celebrate completion of our amazing avocado death star,
we turned up our own giveaway to eleven.
because we had that sh!t up on instagram & facebook,
so it sort of made sense to separate them a little bit;
and also,
because we're always willing to do MORE.
real talk.
this new studio situation is more demanding than i thought it'd be-
and i thought it'd be pretty effing demanding.
and seven days of tattooing every week is a LOT.
i barely have time to grocery shop,
which could severely limit my cake production.
that's a harder style than you might imagine.
making and baking have been my saving graces for a little minute now.
and without all this fine food fabricating,
i might not've become the interior decorating despot in charge of my own spot.
no, for real, though-
all that intentional invention and attention carried over to the new studio.
without the cake, there could not have been our most magnificent bathroom.
weird, i'll admit.
but also not a joke.
it's all really happening.
we've got lucky winners,
we've got busy days,
we've got much to do.
there are far worse ways to span time,
and i think we're very fortunate for the immersive environment
and the attentive clients,
and the general attitude of gratitude and generosity we cultivate every damned day;
never quiet, never soft.....

Saturday, September 16


y'better get that formuoli!!
hell yeah, duders.
because the formuoli is essential for activating those homemade ravioli jauns.
and when i decide it's time to doo-doo that freaky sh!t,
you can guarantee i'm fixin' to get molto busy with those sexxxy pasta pouches.
i showed you my pesto pizza.
y'know what was especially awesome about that?
well, i followed my true path and purpose,
and made more than i could conceivably need.
because too much is the right amount.
and that's good news, since i got to fire up a whole other 'nother powerful pesto meal
the very next mutha-flippin' day!
how dope was the dinnertime scene?
molto molto, of course.

from-scratch vegan pasta is great.
custom pesto is terrific.
juicy fillings and add-ons and sprankles are essential.
and all of it, all together, is the path, process, and procedure by which
really-real plant-based kitchen wizards do their thing.
....and you know i'm gonna do my thing.
some years ago,
this forum was a catalog and chronicle of my daily doings,
comings, goings, and happenings.
in a way, it still is.
i've just refined my daily actions and activities
to be infinitely more nourishing to my mind and my body.
i s'pose that is a natural, logical, evolution, isn't it?
after all, the prose and poetry of pain and suffering ma have been exquisitely descriptive
back when my world as i knew it ended, fittingly in 2012......
but the detailed accounts of my real-life fabulous feasting is a whole lot easier to digest
on just about every level.
i hope those of you who've been around since the jump agree.
and for all the newcomers-
thanks for reading, and maybe just avoid the archives from before 2014.
real-life documentarianism demands i keep the true-storytelling records,
but let's not dwell in hell,
and move forward like the bakery barbarians and stovetop savages
which we were always meant to be.
moving on,
who wants to make some pumpkin seed pesto??
you do? and you, too??
wordimus prime!
here's all you've got to do:
in your inestimably heroic food processor, blend up:
2 cups of fresh basil;
1/2 cup raw pepita pumpkin seeds;
a generous sprinkling salt;
1/4 cup nutritional yeast;
4-5 T olive oil;
2 large cloves of garlic;
black pepper to taste.
puree that sh!t, and let it marry and marinate for a bit.
it's good!
like, really really good.
make some, and you'll be glad you did...
and those tight and TILTY ravs?!
c'mon, man.
that's that good-good.
knead up:
1/2 cup flour;
1/2 cup semolina flour;
1/2 tsp salt;
2 T olive oil;
1/3 cup warm water.
flour up your board and pin.
roll it out, cut some 2" circles, (twice as many as you think you'll need, obvi)
and put the filling of your choice in the centers,
with a healthy margin for crimping both sides together.
i had some caramelized onion bits, and sauteed crushed garlic, and wilted shredded kale,
and i combined all of that with my custom cashew-garlic chee',
and made up the most exquisite middle-stuffs i've had in some time.
or, since the last time, probably.
what do you even know about this sh!t?
are you on that heavily salted water boiling up those little packets of tastiness
until the little effers float?
or putting a spoonful of hot pasta water in a bowl with a fat scoop of pesto
in order to make it slippery and sticky for optimum ravioli coating?
i hope so, because that's how you do it right.
pesto and ravs is a luscious combo.
but with those black-peppered pan-toasted pepita sprankles, on top?
and those fried sweet grape tomato joinx?
AND few baby kale leaves, too?
that's mandatory sexxxiness.
rules is rules, after all.
and when you've got triple exxxtras above the homemade everything else?
that's when your simple pasta supper goes all the way to eleven.
i don't want lazy food.
i don't want ugly food.
i don't want boring food.
i want that PRECISE  sh!t.
the kind of yumums that can GET IT.
if you know, you know.
if you don't, you're out of the loop,
and you need to get into the loop,
and stop being a poop-boat.
that's no joke.
we're picking winners today.
winners for the AMPERSAND TATTOO opening giveaway contest.
we've got to pick a random name from 600+ entrants.
that's a lot, bro.
in fact,
it's SO many,
we're going to give away a tattoo from EACH OF US!
because we're AMPERSAND TATTOO,
and we add on those exxtra-ands like it's cool, fool-
so there'll be one big winner.....& then, kaBOOM, another OTHER one as well!
that's right.
we doo-doo that real-A* sh!t.
we've been open a whole week,
and i still haven't seen you.
what're you waiting for?
come say hi, and have a slice of pie, guy.
there's the distinct smell of pizza in the closet.
you can come sniff it.
there're scented candles galore up in this b!tch, too.
we got all the good smells, fella.
that's always good news;
never quiet, never soft.....

Friday, September 15


three styles of pizza?
i mean,
there are way more than just three, obvi.
for a quick and dirty pizza party time exxxplosion,
my superior semi-semolina dough, done up three ways,
was the right call.
the dough was a little drier than i'd have liked,
there was a fatness to it, too, that defied the lack of hyperhydration,
and kept it crusty, crunchy, and intact as it baked itself into superlative saucers
of sauced and sauceless circular sexxxiness.
y'wanna see what i came up with?
you do?
check the teleport:

pizza is my favorite.
pizza is probably YOUR favorite, too-
at least,
it is if you're the type who knows about exploring options,
infinite customization and extrapolation on a theme,
and the creative concocting of crucial comestibles.
real talk, pizza is the ONE.
and also, for the record, if your favorite is 'steak'?
you're a sh!t-lipped F*-hole, and nobody good likes you.
there's no steak on these,
only all the most succulent and sexxxy bits and pieces,
live and direct from my stovetop, to my oven, to the plate, to my face.
...and yes,
they've ALL got fried garlic sprankles.
because rules is rules,
and Folk Life & Liberty Pizza isn't worth a damned thing
without those lil shards of powerful, flavorful alium shrapnel activating exxxtra hottness.
word up.
pizza pizza pizza.
homemade tastes great.
the dough is usually pretty dope, if you know what you're doing,
and the toppings are so elaborate that you really can't go wrong.
the dough is simple, but perfect, if you don't underknead and underhydrate, like i just did.
like i said, it was STILL dope, but it wasn't precise.
here's the right answer:
in your stand mixer,
1 1/4 cup semolina flour;
1 1/2 cup flour;
2 tsp salt;
1 tsp wheat gluten (optional, but recommended);
1 pkg commercial yeast;
3 T olive oil;
1 cup warm water, with 2 tsp bread machine yeast, + 2 tsp sugar,
dissolved and bloomed and active as heck.
add it all up, beat it up for 8 minutes, cover it,
and then, you've got options-
1. let it rise for 30, punch it down, let it rise for another 30,
and then refrigerate that sh!t.
2. put it directly in the fridge overnight, or for 12 hours, or whatever.
either way, divide it into 3 or 4 even chunks, bag 'em, and use 'em up as necessary.
the longer they stay in the fridge, the more flavor they'll develop,
at the expense of pliability. then again, don't let 'em sit around, man,.
so, we've established, yet again, that pizza is TITE and TILTY.
but like, are you even curious as to what i made, specifically?
you are?!
let's start with the no-sauce bossman:

that's braised broccoli, and caramelized onions,
and heirloom grape tomatoes,
with daiya mozzarella and smoked gouda shaved on top,
a little olive oil to activate the crust,
and arugula to hook it up with that freshie-freshness.
i know, right?
simple, but elegant, and elaborate as well.
i love a clean-A* pizza pie neighbors,
and this was a heckuva starting point.
next up?
the best pesto i've produced in a while:

it's spicy, with raw garlic and basil doing dual duty on the savory end-
and nootch (that's nutritional yeast for you casual perusers),
and olive oil, and salt and pepper, to taste, to turn it up.
the pumplestiltskin seeds really added a creamy, nutty, hearty, transcendent element, too.
i love when that happens.
honestly, they were the only nut/seed-type thing i had in the house,
so they were elected by default.
i'm psyched it worked out, for sure.
and there's tofurky chik'n-apple-soysages.
i admit, i've been (s)lacklustering my way through most days,
what with the new studio soaking up the largest portion of my attention lately.
so, i went store bought, but i'm not ashamed, because they tasted amazing,
and that was my top priority, anyway.
there's fried peppers on top, too-
and roasted red potatoes.
potatoes on pizza are expert.
try it out, homie.
you'll become a believer instantly.
they're THAT good.
AAAAAND just because,
there had to be parsley sprankles,
for that little bitty baby bit of added exxxcellence,
and another 'nother other note of clean green amidst the powerful pesto-sausage-peppery tones.
a little of that so-smo'gouda, too,
to offset the creamy cashew garlic burrata-be-kiddin'-me blops i custome blended?
DASSAVIBE, all day.
the last one was a BANGER.
like, way too hot for the club, kids.
check the teleport:

crumbled plant-based weirdie breakfast patty sausage jauns?
i did that.
and caramelized onions, because they're the best.
crushed tomato sauce? red red red red red...
it's how pizza really excels at being pizza.
braised, barely browned brussels sprouts are always on my mind when it's pizza party time,
and they always turn up and get turnt when the oven's on.
real talk.
daiya non-dairy mozzarella?
i doo-doo that vegan sh!t.
hen i had a masterpiece on my hands,
i added MORE.
you know my grind, guys-
too much is the right amount.
i went ahead and activated it with some ornamentals, all the way to eleven.
how did i do that?
with those raddichio ribbons,
and a couple of baby kale leaves for that good look.
stay ugly, eat beautiful.
that's my move, friends.
i have no choice about one, but i make up for it with the other.
that's no joke.
pizza is where it's at.
and good meals make long days seem more tolerable.
the new studio is developing a rhythm,
and it's a good one.
the clients seem satisfied with the work,
and impressed by the welcoming luxury of the space.
the merchandise will arrive,
and that movie check situation will begin to remedy itself.
i went full guap-amole on my avocado palace,
and now i've got the pinterest-knows-best greed-sweats.
never heard of those?
ask a tattooer.
they'll know.
bad ideas seems more exciting when your expenses have exceeded your income.
it's all really sort of flowing along.
the path is unfolding in front of me,
and it's illuminated by copper-clad glowing wire coils.
i can see where i'm going,
but not where the road ends.
it's an adventure, clad in green, gold, and warm wood.
i'm going to need a lot more pizza,
and a lot more time,
in order to get comfortable on the journey.
i'm prepared to make and take both, by force, or by finesse,
for as long as it takes to make something amazing out of what we've created here;
never quiet, never soft.....