Monday, September 23

PIE TIL I DIE

i'll make a F*ing pie for every first day of fall forever.
i think it's a good idea.
and i think pie is pretty great any day.
but especially on the premier of apple-magic season.
so i did that:

see?
that's good for you.
it'll keep the doctor away for ten days.
uh-huh.
that's ten apples, but it goes to eleven.
that's real.
and served up with that no-extra-sugar added vanilla non-dairy ice cream,
and coconut whipped cream?
that's a LOT:

uh-huh.
i don't even know what else to say.
making a pie is quaint and sweet and new englandy and all-american...
honestly,
it's a distraction and not a triumph.
well, to be even more honest, the pie IS incredible.
that's a fact.
but that's not surprising, as i make a helluva good pie.
i just needed to see is doing what i do best even feels good anymore.
the short answer: nope.
the long answer- not much feels very good anymore, but i thought i should give it a shot.
it's perfect.
it's just not enough.
-
i'll give you some recipes, and you can do whatever you want with 'em-
-

CRUST
-
in a food processor, pulse up:
10 T vegan butter;
3 T vegan creamchee';
1/4 tsp salt;
1/4 cup sugar;
2 1/4 cups flour;
1 tsp vanilla;
1/4 cup non-dairy milk...
pulsed until crumbly and sticky,
wrapped, rested for a whole day, rolled, braided, cookie-cut, etc etc etc.
that's pie crust at its best.
and you'll wanna bake any pie at 425℉
-
*
APPLES
-
peel and core and slice 10 macintosh apples,
put 'em in a 2 quart saucepot, with:
2 T vegan butter;
2 T maple syrup;
1/2 cup brown sugar;
1 tsp cinnamon;
1/2 tsp nutmeg;
1/4 tsp allspice;
dash of salt;
1/3 cup quick oats;
2 tsp vanilla...
cook 'em on low until they're softened and the oats are thickened
and the whole of it is a thick sloppy aromatic apple jammie-jam.
so there you have it.
-
i baked this one, with a little olive oil brushed on top,
for twenty-seven minutes.
that's a random number, but it worked out.
now you know how i cope with life.
poorly, but in front of an oven.
***********
i'm not sure if i need to share more food i've made.
i'm not even sure that the personal anecdotes are relevant to anything.
i'm also not really feeling like the poorly-photographed tattoos are
what i should be showing anybody.
i guess what i mean is-
i need to figure it out.
all of it.
all that's happening, all that isn't, all of it.
lilli is five months old today.
that's a very big deal.
way more than a pie.
but where am i?
headed to work.
why?
because i don't know how to do anything else.
this is it.
fall.
fall off the rails,
fall off the trees,
fall and fail and fall harder and fail often.
where's the success? where's the aptitude? where's the competence?
in a pie?!
sh!t.
even my success is failure, if you back up far enough to see more.
there aren't enough apples on earth to fix what's wrong here;
never quiet, never soft.....

FALL DOWN

it's official.
it's autumn.
it's fall.
we're all falling down.
...and we very likely can't get up.
neighbors,
this is usually when the big action happens up here in the woodsly goodness-
changing leaves, and pumpkins and apples,
straw bales and mums, fairs and festivals,
and that general crispness to the days and nights.
today however i'm not really getting any of that.
maybe it'll get better later.
or at least, it'll be more autumnal eventually-
maybe not even this week, but some time during the next three months...maybe?
i don't know.
it might not get better.
this may be the start of something much worse.
but before it all falls apart,
and we fall off and fall out and fall through,
i have made a perfect apple pie.

yes.
rules is rules.
everything is awful?
make a pie.
nobody can get together to get it together?
turn on that F*ing oven.
bad days, long nights, hard times, bad vibes, what-the-eff-ever-else-ain't-okay....
make something, and fast, before the enemy mind takes over completely.
now, hold on.
i expect to make a LOT of baked goodness this week.
i've lost my way,
i've lost the light,
i've lost the plan.
i've got this expert pie, and that's not nothin',
but it isn't enough.
not nearly.
-
i bake things because the outcome is controlled.
and i need that.
it's fall.
today.
the very first day.
a new day.
i'm not feeling it,
but that's still what's going on;
never quiet, never soft.....

Sunday, September 22

TREE TATTZ!

y'ever start a tattoo forty minutes behind schedule?
y'ever walk into work with puffy eyes and a thick throat,
but you weren't sick or hungover?
y'ever wonder what your client, who is getting his first tattoo,
must be thinking as he looks out at you in your car in the parking lot
animatedly talking to thin air with wild hand gestures?
yeah.
me too.
and then i barreled in like a wrecking ball,
wrecked and wreaking mayhem and havoc with my marky markers,
and i drew on and blasted off a big ol' tree for this kid's FIRST tattoo.
yuuup.
wanna see?
here:

one shot, one tree, one moon, one aquamarine crystal,
drawn up and tatted on and sent packing with time to spare.
why
because i had to put the oversaturated battle batteries to some kind of good use,
and i figured since he'd been awkwardly waiting for my phone call to end,
with no contact from me, despite being able to clearly see me....
maybe i should try to make it seem like i have some kind of professionalism.
(i may or may not,but i did go hard on this tattoo all the same)
i'd almost give credibility to the idea of a tortured artist being more creative,
except.........here's the thing.
i took advantage of the fact that he couldn't start without me,
and that's not the best foot forward.
and i tried to create a better experience despite starting off way behind schedule,
after i tried unsuccessfully to create balance or the semblance of it between
two out of many worlds i live in.
yeah.
i'd love to tell you that i'm one of the aesir
traveling between the layers of the world tree-
but that ain't me.
i've just got separate and unequal shares of spirit and memory
fractured and fragmented across a prism of whatever the opposite
of rose-colored perception is.
y'feel me?
no? 
well, look man-
i've got my work life, at AMPERSAND TATTOO,
and all the albie rock you could ever handle happening therein;
i've got my home base at the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress, and too much old,
broken, busted, cold cavernlike dwelling and dwelling to do within those thin walls,
including dragging crabtree around and hoping that will ever feel easier,
and desperately trying to be excited about all the things i used to be so excited about,
and wishing that still felt good;
i've got the weird and wintry stormswept aches and pains of my past stretching
from downstate new york to western massachusetts these days,
with silence and violence and the distance that distance and age
create between family members slowly and subtly overlapping in flowery
asterisks of ven diagram spiral;
and i had the thriving and growing and glowing little lives in the middle of nowhere,
new hampshire, getting bigger and better in the secluded oasis of small town american life.
that's a lot to account for.
and every day, the one thing that actually makes any of it possible is tattooing.
the curse of being a tattooer?
once you're in it, what the F* else are you ever gonna do?
like a mafia where you basically put out a hit on yourself,
and then also do the hit on yourself, just by doing the thing you do.
so shoutouts to tattooing for creating every interaction,
and also ruining every interaction i've had for twenty years.
that's a hard-styled biodome of closed-loop recycling if ever i heard one.
the ebb and flow of all my life has one baseline that stays steady and consistent-
work.
work work work work work.
the highest highs and lowest lows weave through the one constant that keeps me alive.
i. go. to. work.
and that's it.
sometimes, i do it while i'm broken in body,
other times when i'm broken of heart,
and occasionally, when i'm broke, broken in spirit,
and disconnected from the collective soul of the secret universal plan.
i'm not very spiritual, kids.
but i tapped back into some art making outlets yesterday,
and dug deep with more silence than i usually allow,
and made it work, at work, at least,
and worked as hard as i could for as long as it took.
why?
because when all else has gone wrong,
and all is lost, and all of that sort of sad sh!t is everywhere?
working more always feel right, because that math makes sense.
being sad doesn't generate revenue,
therefore it's a luxury,
and luxuries are expensive.
emptiness isn't going to pay for itself;
never quiet, never soft.....

BYE BYE DÜDIBOI SUMMER!

this is it.
eighty degrees outside, fahrenheit.
that's hot.
and by this evening, the days will be less than half full of light.
honestly,
i've already felt like the dark days were here to stay for some time.
now, that'll be true in a physical sense, as well.
sweet.
the outsides are hot as heckfire, and the trees are starting to turn,
and the golden glow of the mountains is tarnished at the edges.
y'know what that means?
it means today is the last day of summer.
that's that.
the end.
the final punctuation mark on the story of this year's big profitable push.
mmhmm.
now,
we head into that other part.
yeah.
the fall part.
the fall apart part.
the fall apart apart part.
that's what's really happening.
that's what's going on on this equidistant equinox of balanced light and dark
and life and death and happy and sad.
or anyway,
the day is balanced fifty/fifty,
but everything else is skewed towards the downsides
in increasing increments and inclemency,
and the elements are all aligned to malign the math that no longer makes a whole number;
instead, there's just a hole, and it can get in line and take a number
and wait it's turn to be dealt with in the long litany of loss and lament and lambast
that has been at the heart of the tug of war between young and old and august and december.
it's a beautiful beautiful beautiful day,
and that has to be enough because that is all there's gonna be.
too much is the right amount.
i believe that.
but that doesn't create unlimited quantities,
just the desire for MORE.
and today is the last day, so we're all out of summer.
we're all out of time.
and we're going headlong and headstrong into nature's smartest stunt.
dying for a while, but looking GOOD as she fades away.
we'll get a full-spectrum goodbye before she leaves, in leaves,
and then it's just grey all day for half a year.
goodbye DÜDIBOI SUMMER.
you sure felt bad, and looked stupid, and took forever to get anywhere,
and still somehow didn't.
it seems only right that it ends hot after it started cold,
and that there should've been more, and better of all of it.
that's the whole story;
never quiet, never soft.....

Friday, September 20

HASHERS!

four shredded skin-on potatoes,
salt, pepper,
and thinly-sliced shallot....
how's that sound?
good i hope.
and what do you get when that's what you've got?
well,
if you're an expert,
you'll probably have fried up a plate of hash browns.
i mean,
that's the best answer.
....yeah.
and also, YEAH!!
check the teleport:

f'real-deal DÜDI BOI summer's end spuds for your morning.
starch?
got it.
salt?
lots.
buttery goodness?
heck yeah.
crissssssssspy edges???
c'mon, man.
what am i?
an A*-hole?
OBVI, there's crissssspness for days.
that's how you make a hash brown.
otherwise, it's just sad potato.
-
anyway,
y'gotta salt and drain the potatoes,
and mix in the shallot, and let it all sit together, salted, in a strainer or colander,
to draw out the extra moisture.
they get soggy if you don't and that's not invited, man.
-
then, you HAVE to squeeze away all the excess water,
and potatoes hold a LOT of water.
so be prepared to squeeze a few times, and marvel at all the sad,
grey bummerjuice leaking out from between your hands-
then,
form 'em into whatever shape you like-
i'm a circle guy.
always have been,
and i made 4 thickish circles from 4 potatoes and a shallot-
-
i had a hot pan, a pat or three of vegan butter,
and a slow sizzle going on,
when i added this quartet of excellence,
and i put a pat on top of each one, too.
mmhmm.
these'll hold a heck of a lotta fat,
and salt,
so don't be shy.
more cracked black pepper,
and attention are all they really needed.
when the bottom is brown, flip 'em over.
duh.
then do the same all over again.
i added a glug of olive oil at the end of the thing,
and that got 'em shiny, and golden, and good,
and made me happier to eat 'em all up.
-
hot sauce?
not necessary.
ketchup?
no freakin' way.
garnish?
no thanks.
straight-up potato morning glory.
that's all i needed, that's all i had,
and i enjoyed every single bite.
just immersing myself in a simple something for a change.
i should do that more.
i should do more, more.
i should do something anyway.
i'll have potatoes to start,
but i need an awakening asap.
my eyes are open, but i'm still asleep.
*
i want sandwiches.
and i want apple everything.
the apples can wait until sunday, though.
that's when autumn happens,
and even though the weather up here is hella fall,
rules is rules,
and i don't eff around with apple exxxplosions until the time is right.
and the time is sunday.
so i guess i'll have to heft myself into a heap of between-bread comfort.
that's how it has to be, so that's how it will be;
never quiet, never soft..... 

CURRY!

half an onion,
two teaspoons of coconut oil,
an inch of minced ginger,
three cloves of chopped garlic,
a teaspoon of cumin,
a half teaspoon of coriander,
a half teaspoon of turmeric,
a quarter teaspoon of black pepper,
a half a teaspoon of paprika,
chili powder for days, cayenne and a fancy chili one, too....
two heavy shakes of GPOP,
a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg,
and another dash of cardamom....
all of that, toasty and sizzling, in a 2 quart saucepot,
is going to make your house smell incredible.
-
oh, hey guys, i'm just reminiscing over my quick-curry bowl from the other night.
that's how it all started.
it ended up like this:

WORRRRRRRRD.
once the spices were activated, i added half a diced jalapeno,
and a cup of chopped fresh tomatoes,
and a 15 oz can of diced tomatoes,
and the juice and zest of a lemon,
and let it start to bubble a bit on high heat.
THEN,
io added a whole 15oz ca of rinsed chick peas,
and simmered the whole dang bucket of hottness for twenty minutes
on medium-low heat, while it did its thang.
did i add scallion?
yes.
did i add cilantro?
i did.
did i adjust the spices a little,
and maybe even add a shake or two of flaky coconut?
yes yes yes.
and what's up with all that other stuff?
well, i'll tell you-
the rice is basmati.
the shoots are pea sprouts.
there's exxxtra jalapeno, and cilantro, and scallion,
and a bunch more freshie-fresh baby grape sweetie tomatoes.
all the flavors, temperature, textures, etc are represented.
i blasted it with a lil baby bit more lemon, just because,
and then i added half an AVO-F*ING-CADO,
because they elevate serotonin, neighbors,
and i really need more of that.
that's a huge portion of spicy, chunky, exotic action,
and i ate every single solitary last scrap of it.
that's what i do.
and i do it like a champion.
*
i'm baking bread that looks F*ed up.
yup.
it is COLD in the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress,
and that's no bueno for naturally-leavened bread.
so, it had precious little bulk before baking,
but it leapt off the stones with heroic oven-spring.
i called it.
i was right.
it looks dumb, but i'll bet it has molto excellent flavor.
that's me,
i am what i eat.
i'm a LOT, and i look dumb, but i'm alright on the INside.
that's the best i've got.
and i'm going to gorge myself on half this loaf
before i walk crabtree the dog.
i do that, too.
i love fresh bread,
and i believe that good bread makes better people.
that's the best i've got on offer this morning,
so i'm gonna do the best i can with what there is.
is it enough?
not even kinda;
never quiet, never soft.....

LILLIGIRL!

who doesn't like that bath,
but kind of likes the bath,
but also kind of isn't as psyched right after the bath?
the most beautiful almost-5-month-old on earth, that's who:

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
this baby is so freakin' happy all the time,
that every time she makes that old italian guy mobster face,
i pretty much totally fall apart laughing.
jeez, she's pure joy.
but she can't hang out with after-bath time.
why is she so great?
a schedule.
a regimen.
a routine.
does she know if she's three minutes past her house when she should
completely be in her house?
she does.
how?
because she's got a system in place that keeps her happy happy.
y'see that kid?
that's mama's face, but papa's eyes.
i love it.
i love her.
i love 'em all over there;
NQNS.....

GFVB!

gluten-free vegan brownies.
breezy is gluten-free;
i'm annoyingly vegan-
and we both love brownies.....
so we both win.
and a double win is rare so we'll enjoy one wherever it pops up.
check it:

YEAH, BOIIIIIIIIIII!!
y'wanna make a batch of super-fluffy, extra-chocolaty, chocolate-chippy,
almond-tinged, soft, rich, deep, fancy brownie magic?
word.
here's the recipe:
-
*
GFVB!
-
preheat the oven to 375℉
-
in a medium-sized mixin' bowl, cream together:
1 stick (8 T) vegan butter;
1 cup brown sugar;
1 cup sugar;
1/2 tsp salt;
1/4 cup cocoa;
1/4 cup unsweetened medium-sized coconut flakes.
mash it all together, and stir in
1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla yogurt;
3 T tapioca flour;
1 cup bob's ap gf chick pea flour;
1 tsp baking soda;
2 tsp baking powder;
1 cup mama's almond blend flour;
1/2 cup bob's 1:1 gf flour;
1 cup mini dark chocolate chips;
1 cup coconut-almond blend non-dairy milk.
yup.
stir it up, make sure there are no lumps, and lay it out evenly
in a 9" x 11" greased rectangle pan,
and bake it for 25 minutes or until the center is fully-baked through.
use a tester, man.
c'mon.
-
they wanna stick to the cake cutter, neighbors.
beware.
you're gonna wanna be careful so you don't shred the edges.
otherwise,
these are freaking great.
like, really soft, airy, delicious dark chocolate cakey little joys.
and that's all i really need, sometimes.
*
i made them for the lovely lady,
because i like to do that stuff.
your favorite little old bakery boy is over here whippin' up
all the treats for the sweetest treat i ever did meet.
y'ever feel like you could break on the inside just inhaling
the good air that a person is surrounded by?
that's a thing.
i feel it around this magnificent mama bear,
and the best i've got to offer is a made-up recipe for wheatless cake.
i do what i can, but mostly, i spin around in circles.
i had such direction in my life-
trajectories, man.
i don't even know what i mean.
the brownies were good though;
never quiet, never soft.....

Thursday, September 19

SOURDOUGH!

a couple of cups of king arthur bread flour,
and a few teaspoons of sea salt,
and a small spoon of sugar,
and a glug or two of olive oil,
and half a cup of sourdough starter,
and 3/4 cup of warm water.....
hmm?
is that a weird way to start a blog?
well,
imagine kneading that up one night, and letting it proof for a day and a half
in the refrigerator before making a pizza!!!
how's that for a weird way to start dinner??
haha!
thirty-six hours of sittin' around makes for a realllllly rich tangy crust though, neighbors.
check it:

PEE EYE ZEE ZEE AYY!!
word.
naturally-leavened slow-fermented super-hottness
is one way to make the magic happen for sure.
and this one was magical.
with the vegan meatballs and peppers and caramelized onions
and parsley sprankles,
and cooked sauce,
which really boosts the flavors up even MORE.
yesss.
so good.
how about that garlic?
y'like that?
me too.
slabs of garlic, fried in olive oil,
then the oil was used to caramelize a whole sweet onion,
then the vegan chee', which in this instance is daiya,
was minced before being spread...
why?
because rules is rules,
and the exxxtra seven seconds that takes makes the whole pizza
a billion times better.
seems stoopid not to, but what do i know...
besides how to make pizza taste good, i mean-
because i sure as sh!t be knowin' how to doo-doo THAT.
right?
right!
-
what's so good about cooked sauce?
like, manly marinara?
....nuthin'.
it's pure expert awesomeness.
i love it.
dudes,
get yourself some fire roasted tomatoes or somethin'.
or look at half the recipes i have cataloged on this long-running blog,
and make some, bro.
i mean, the info is there,
all you've gotta do is like, scroll down.
yep.
and then make a mean mutha-f*ing pizza, guy.
PIZZA.
SOURDOUGH CRUST!!!
SAUCE!!!
yeaaaaahhhhhhhhhh.
not a lot in this world makes me feel good,
but pizza, especially fancy pizza, does the job;
never quiet, never soft.....

NOT THE SAME

blackish and greyish and greekish and poorly photographed?
i gotcha.
here:

yup.
one extra large and in charge sisyphus pushing rocks.
huh?
you were thinking of something more american?
like a haircut lady?
oh.
alright.
here:

uh huh.
what's the best part about doing all the kinds of tattoos at AMPERSAND TATTOO?
never getting all the way bored with the same stuff.
what's the worst part?
never really getting elbows-deep into any one style.
however, there's a consolation prize.....
i do get paid to do even the ones i would never curate a photographic record of.
ha!
it feels good to have clients who trust the process and wear the results forever.
it also feels good to get those movie checks from the most basic
and generic and unremarkable jauns, too.
i mean,
when the check comes for all the pizzas i'll eat the next time
i'm in wolfeboro with the family,
i'll be thankful for those bambams being spun into gold on the spot.
but more importantly,
the cool tattoos,
and the fun tattoos,
and the better clients who know what's good and choose to come see us?
that's what has made september bearable so far.
well,
that and all those sandwiches early on.
a few cool tattoos and a lot of bread
and i'm ready for whatever comes my way;
never quiet, never soft.....

Sunday, September 15

TATTZ!!

i did a pretty sweet little frog tattoo.
there's mushrooms, too.
that's a nature tatt, bro.
and that's cool.

see?
and i did a dagger, too:

they aren't the same style, at all.
and the back of this dude's arm was NOT gonna twist the right way for my photo,
so i took the bendy one, and i don't even care.
i was happy to do both types of tattoo,
and so psyched to get to draw up some stuff with no real input for the clients.
i love that.
cooler tattoos make the work day a lot better.
i appreciate it, and i want MORE of that.
come get some cool tattoos at AMPERSAND TATTOO.
that's where it all really happens;
NQNS.....