Monday, May 20

POUTINE EXPERTÉ

i can hang out with potatoes.
they're basically good no matter how you make 'em.
and if you've got expert potato makin' skills,
they can be a transcendent force for good in the world...
..or at least a righteous ingredient in a real level-eleven vegan poutine!
yup.
vegan poutine is not a new thing. you can get it at a few places, somewhere-
not around here, 
but in areas where veganism and information are slightly more celebrated
however, 
right now, in the woodsly goodness,
an unbelievable spiced-chip boomfire bowl of heroic hottness 
has arrived to take your potato experiences to a whole other 'nother new level.
that's right.
gluten-free vegan muh-fuhh'n poo-teen, bruh.
the fries are expert.
the curds are expert.
the savory brown gravy? ummmm.... expert!
ha!
all the things were F*ing amazing,
and when they joined forces i almost died of delight.
the weather was fading to a rainy black bummery downpour scene,
(although the temperature was warm for once)
so i was racing the light.
dudes,
natural light can't be accounted for by the o'clock-
not when the weather is being april a whole month later, y'know?
ANYway,
all the elements converged right before the skies opened up.
check the teleport:
POUTINE!!!
damn that's doooope.
i know y'all can see how that chee' be lookin'.
fresh to death, for sure.
and you already know about those well-seasoned supersexxxy russet fries.
no?
well, you will in a minute.
and the gravy?
look, neighbors- a great gravy is the make-or-break with this meal.
f'really-realsies, you better miss me with that watery weak sauce.
i want hearty, thick, deep, dark, dope barbarian blood on top-
so long as it's made out of vegetables, obvi.
ha.
-
so what's the path to satisfaction?
revenge, usually.
but what's the path to satisfying poutine?
it starts with the spuds, buds...
-
*
CHIPZ!
-
slice three fat skin on russet potatoes into thick strips.
you can use other potatoes, obvi. i just had a big bag of russets to work with.
add 'em to a medium sized mixin' bowl along with:
1 T olive oil;
1/4 tsp turmeric;
1/4 tsp smoked paprika;
1/4 tsp paprika;
1/4 tsp Garlic Powder;
1/4 tsp Onion Powder;
a little pink salt, a lotta black pepper,
and dash or two of cayenne, and also one or two shakes of ground sage.
-
toss 'em until the're all coated with herby spice, 
and arrange them on a foil-lined baking sheet, 
and fire them into the oven, which you can simultaneously begin heating up to 450℉.
they'll slowly roast while it gets hot.
and you can tell they're done when they start to get crisssp at the tips.
you make 'em however you like 'em- 
i like mine with that golden brown skin, and not just because of the turmeric.
good potatoes are the foundation from which all poutine begins.
*
the next item is the chee'.
i'm always a little suspicious of curd blops when they're vegan.
they don't always have it goin' on.
however, there's a lotta recipes for cashew chee' on the internet.
i looked at all of 'em, and then i combined my favorite bits into one.
-
*
CHEE' CURDZ!
-
in a high-powered ninja/bullet/whatever blender,
add 1/2 cup raw cashews;
1/2 cup boiling water;
1 T nutritional yeast;
1/4 tsp sea salt all together, 
and give 'em a minute with those superfast spinning blades to emulsify.
to that pureed pulp, add:
2 T tapioca flour;
2 T unsweetened coconut yogurt;
1 T lemon juice;
1/4 tsp ea GPOP;
and more salt, probably.
another minute with that whirling rotor, and you should have a thick, creamy,
melted milkshake mixture ready to go.
add it to a small pot, on high heat, and stir it around until it sets.
it's thicker, sticky, and stretchy, but definitely firm as well.
that makes it easy to spoon hunks of stretchy, squishy chee' into the 'tatoes.
guys, this blend is really effin' good.
and they aren't too much of any one texture or taste.
i'm pleased, for sure, and i'll be making this again, and again.
*
all that's left is the gravy,
and without the gravy, you ain't sh!t, bruh.
the make-or-break big action activation is right here.
-
*
GARGANTUAN GRAVY GOODNESS!
 -
in a 1 quart saucepot, with a fat pat of butter, on medium-high heat saute':
1/4 red onion, chopped;
1 medium carrot, chopped;
1 stalk celery, in 1" chunks;
1 bunch green onion bulbs;
1 T nootch (nutritional yeast);
1/2 tsp GPOP;
dried sage and thyme;
1 T dried shallots;
1 tsp trader joes umami mushroom powder;
a dash of pink salt, and a lot of black pepper.
cook that down until it begins to caramelize,
and add:
1 T malt vinegar;
2 T tamari.
toss all that, and let it reduce over medium-low heat, for five to ten minutes,
or until it gets a bit syrupy.
add 2 cups vegetable broth, and bring it up to a boil,
the simmer it on medium for fifteen minutes or so.
longer is good.
my oven is tired, and slow, so while it was taking it's time roasting those potatoes,
the gravy was cookin'.
have y'all ever made a slurry? 
it's simple, take a ladle full of this soupy stuff, and pour it into a small container.
add 1 1/2 T organic non-GMO cornstarch,
whisk it all up to remove any lumps, and pour it back into the pot.
that's gonna make this into a rich, luscious, viciously viscous gray-vee, boi.
mmhmmm.
now, drain the chunky veg out, over a second pot.
it's a transfer, y'feel me?
all the wet goes in one, and all the used-up fiber gets trapped in a sieve.
toss that stuff, or compost it, or whatever,
but put the liquid back on the stove to thicken up.
i tasted it, add a touch more thyme and sage, and just a splash of tamari,
but otherwise let it reduce a bit, until it had the perfect chocolate-sauce consistency.
look:
the color! 
the texture!!
the flavor!!!
i told you at the top: expert.
yeah. that's right.
*
potatoes are for happiness.
there's an old up-here poutine-region saying: 
'potatoes three times a day makes a man happy'.
maybe i didn't dole out the doses correctly-
i had three potatoes, all a once.
i can't say i'm especially happy
but that's also a lotta pressure to put on a root, so i guess that's fair.
hmm?
well, parsley and green onion sprankles ARE mandatory.
rules is rules,
and that much beige rage wasn't gonna cut it.
a little exxxtra garnish is always a good idea.
if we just keep a very narrow field of vision,
things are lookin' good.
the peripherals tell a whole other story,
but the potatoes are gorgeous;
never quiet, never soft.....

Sunday, May 19

HOMIES

i'll eat three potatoes.
i don't give a sh!t.
but they'd better be flavorful.
i mean,
if you hate flavor, you're probably a jerk.
that's a thing.
especially with potatoes.
if a spud is expert with minimal effort,
then it's gonna be exxxplosively elite with a little work put into it.
mmhmm.
check the teleport:

HOMEBOYFRIES!
dudes,
these jauns were a revelation.
and easy?
it was just a little cuttin', and a little tossin', and some baking,
and the whole thing was ready to rock my socks off.
three potatoes, russets, wedged up.
tossed in a bowl with olive oil,
and smoked paprika, and pink salt, and lots of cracked black pepper,
and cayenne, and hot smoked paprika,
and GPOP, AND some turmeric.
i had that, and a quarter cup of chopped red onion,
and a few quartered sweet red bell peppers,
all flipped around and coated in the spicy hottness-
baked in the oven until they got to that golden crissspy outer excellence.
mmmmmmmmmm.
i had the oven preheatin' for a loaf of homemade sourdough-
...that's 460℉ of convection heat.
and the single layer i arranged, on foil, were roasting as the oven got hotter.
no wasted time.
just breakfast boomfire for my face.
and obvi, i had to also turn it up just a little bit more.
i'm sayin'- too much is the right amount.
scallions and cilantro sprankles took it to eleven.
...and that smoky spicy ketchup?
alright.
ketchup is usually a bummery bullsh!t condiment.
but with smokiness? and heat?
it adds a little bit of something good to the mix.
for now, i'll allow it.
it's organic no-sugar ketchup, with sriracha and liquid smoke.
nothing special.
i added sriracha flakes.
i added a little smoked hot paprika.
i was just messin' around, but it was still pretty good.
-
what?
it's just potatoes?
hey now! you shut your gosh-danged mouth.
it's never just potatoes.
it's saturday morning majesty and it got me up and at 'em.
the rest of the day was determined to bring me to my knees.
life, love, work, communication, concentration....none of that was going well.
but, at least i started with potatoes.
i might have to have some today, too.
especially since everything that was wrong yesterday didn't magically
fix itself under the light of the full moon.
everything is hard. everything is heavy.
at this rate i might not have nearly enough potatoes to even make it just until noon.
fortune has it's own path, i'm just fumbling around trying to find it;
never quiet, never soft.....

Saturday, May 18

SLEEPING BEAUTY

what a beautiful baby girl:
c'mon.
s'cute.
i'm just gonna leave that right here.
i'm pretty much positive it's impossible to have a bad day 
when you can look at a magic cherub like lilli.
so, really,
i guess all i can add is: you're welcome;
NQNS

WEATHER!

i've got a few sniffles brewing in my deep nostril area.
that's what you get when you snuggle up to a whole gang
of little sick ones.
mama and two out of three kids have that nose unit feeling rough,
and now, so do i.
yesterday, it rained a whole bunch.
and that was cool.
today the freakin' wind has been blowing nonstop since before dawn.
yup.
under the weather is the theme for this weekend.
-
it's the middle saturday of the month,
and i've got just one tattoo on the schedule, and it isn't very large.
that's a sad sour salty side effect of the latest outbreak of cancellations.
it's also an unwelcome but common occurrence in may.
f'real.
the may is historically a dry-spell month for y'boi.
college kids are back, but aren't making summer money yet.
summer people are waiting for their kids to get out of school.
the weather is a total butthole,
and whenever it isn't raining or frigid (which is admittedly rare this year)
the mutha-F*ing bugs are ravenously biting all the bloody holes they can chew
their way into on everybody.
word.
may is NOT invited.
we've got belated april showers every week,
and winter's echoes are here....it was snowing on the peaks a couple of days ago.
plus, today's wind is definitely fired.
like, pack your sh!t and go, bro- nobody asked you to blow through and bum us out.
seriously,
let's get some sunshine and some warmth up here in the woodsly goodness.
i've got fires to light, and leaves to rake, and whole rooms to clear out.
there's a sumptuous sunroom full of allocated exxxtras,
and all that stuff has been sitting over the winter and into the spring,
so clearly, it's non-essential equipment and as such can get tossed, donated or burned.
the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress needs a lotta TLC,
and that starts with stripping some of this superfluous stuff out of the house.
*
sorry for not having a picture of food.
i wasn't feeling it.
i had red lentils and tricolor quinoa, with GPOP and turmeric.
that isn't pretty.
i added a whole head of steamed broccoli.
that didn't help much.
i tossed two veggie burgers on top.
my iron, and my protein and my vitamin D were off the charts,
but my food matched my mood-
...ugly.
***********
AMPERSAND TATTOO smells really good.
and it looks F*ing cool, too.
there's no reason my house should be anything less.
so, tonight, instead of making fancy dinner,
maybe i'm gonna light some candles, vacuum the rugs,
and maybe wipe off a window or ten....
spring cleaning is a real thing,
it's just harder to stimulate the urge to start when it still feels like winter.
ha.
*
am i rambling?
maybe.
did i have three types of caffeine yesterday?
definitely.
did that help me stay awake?
indeed it did, and it kept me motormouthing my way through the whole entire day-
and it kept me revved up and roaring,
right up until i cruised to the top of dundee hill,
and tucked myself away in the rain,
soaking in the spirit and memory of my most favorite road
in the whole woodsly goodness.
that was sorta nice.
hey! did you know it's a full mutha-effin' moon tonight?
F* yes it is-
and as such is there a wild werewolfen warrior poet
pushing his way up and out of my pores,
shapeshifting from the sparse-haired and hapless homebody
into a berserker barbarian battle-beastly bigmouth?
yup.
straight out of my cast-iron roiling boiler,
there's thousand degree blood pumping from my nose to my toes,
and i can feel the electricity tingling from my soul to my soles to my scalp.
i'm all fired up,
i'm all ready for another 'nother saturday of serendipity and cultivated coincidence.
i've got blood, love and rhetoric, all at once, coursing across time and space
on a collision course with circumstance and consequence.
-
the recap:
weather: terrible.
may: lame.
food: ugly.
house: dirty.
work: barely.
attitude: anxious.
moon: full.
it's all really happening.
it's not much, but it feels like a lot;
never quiet, never soft.....

Friday, May 17

CUTENESS!!!

little teeny tiny itty bitty baby feet!

AAAAAAAAAAH!!!
this little lilli bean is too dang cute.
she's a squinky, squeaky, squirmy little squiglet,
and i love her to pieces.
there's something about your baby's miniature fingers and toes.
seriously,
if your heart doesn't want to jump out of your chest and explode in glitter fireworks
when you see those teentsy little nails?
you're no good, and you need to get your punk A* some professional help.
babies, neighbors.
i can't stand it.
how does anybody contain all these huge feels,
especially for such little people-ish bundles of discovery.
everything is new to them.
every. single. thing.
and they're just sleepin' and eatin' and slowly becoming something a little bigger,
in small sips and spans,
while we stare at their perfect faces.
...and her perfect face makes my knees rubbery and my eyes wet.
a whole wild gang of sweet children, and their sweet mama, all in pajamas,
and me with too-tight of pants on, dancin' around and enjoying ourselves.
it's good.
it feels good.
it IS good.
they're all good, from the source to the latest installment,
i appreciate their gentle hearts and their sweet souls.
i didn't know i could rekindle so many huge emotions,
so many long years after harvest and maple showed up.
but here i am,
and it's all really happening, all over again.
love doesn't come easy to me, but i feel it so strongly all these days.
i'm just saturated in gratitude for the few truly great people in my life.
i have those wild, raging stormswept savage gypsy werewolfen
nearly-full moon feels, i guess;
never quiet, never soft.....

TOASTED!

sourdough slabs.
lime-kissed, pink salted, black peppery, sriracha flaked mashed avocado.
tomatoes.
radishes.
pumpkin seeds.
pea shoots.
shredded carrots.
purple cabbage.
that's how you do avocado toast like an expert:

F* yeah!
it's like a fancy salad on a bread plate on a regular plate.
i like it a lot.
it's the bread that makes it go to eleven.
that exxxtra good bread, man.
it makes everything so much better.
and fresh veggies are always invited.
it's good for you:

WORD.
i'm just sayin',
what else do you even need?
it's got all the good stuff, and good stuff what your body wants;
never quiet, never soft.....

THROWN!

cohen threw up.
awwwwwww, man.
hmm?
i mean, it happens.
he got out of preschool early for feeling under the weather.
and what with me being his very special homeboy, i went to pick him up,
and on the ride home he was mostly okay.
but, we had to go back out again to scoop up embry from school,
and then he wasn't so okay.
however,
after he got it up and out, he was back to being okay again.
how ok was he?
*THIS* ok:

hahahahaha.
what's wrong with me?
seriously, he just threw up an hour before....
was i trying to get vomit on my face?
and on cali's head?
no way.
but i also wasn't about to miss an opportunity for big fun, either.
f'real.

i'm sayin', they were having a blast,
but i was suddenly braced for a barfatorium explosion!
haha.
man, i act like i know what's up-
but really, i'll risk airsickness for a plane ride on my jumbojet feet.
-
lilli was busy looking at lights next to us,
the boy and i spent a minute with his littlest sister:

C'MON!
all the big boys have to be nice to little girls.
rules is rules.
we made dinner, we played on the swings,
we laughed, and we danced,
and we spanned time like a whole family of experts.
i'm forever grateful for this opportunity to learn so much more about myself,
and to get to know this group of good guys.
...no bad guys, bro.
breezy has really made a magic batch of babies,
and i really like those little dudes;
never quiet, never soft.....

Thursday, May 16

CRABTREE!

he's dumb.
he's half deaf.
he's my homeboy.

yup.
it's crabtree the terribly bullsh!t bull terrier!
it seems like he's been an especially snuggly affectionate little dude lately,
and i feel like shouting him out,
instead of my more common shouting AT him.
he hasn't gotten any smarter.
he doesn't sleep any later.
he's always hungry.
he never listens (mostly because of the deaf thing, i hope).
but he's my little guy,
despite making zero percent of my time management effective in the least.
babies are better.
kids are cooler.
women are far more wonderful.
and somehow he's still happier to see me than anybody else.
that figures.
he doesn't even get to have any of my expert cooking.
it's just the same dry dog food every damned day,
and yet he's STILL psyched.
never in my life did i think i could really love an animal.
i mean, being vegan, i technically show love for ALLLLLL the animals.
i'm sayin' like on a personal level, day in and out, as a family member.
sure, he's like a miscreant little brother.
i always wanted a little brother, so i guess you get what you get;
never quiet, never soft.....

CARCIOFO!

artichoke hearts!
they have somethin' special going on.
if you like 'em, you already know-
if you don't, you maybe just need some help to appreciate their merits.
i took a can of 'em, drained 'em,
dredged 'em,
breaded 'em,
fried 'em,
and put 'em on a pizza.
mmmhmmm.
check the teleport:

HEARTS!!!
and spinach,
and caramelized onions,
and cooked manly marinara,
and homemade cashew mozz',
an fresh basil,
and fried garlic sprankles,
and arugula on top.
too much is the right amount!
-
so, how'd i make the artichokes?
like an expert.
duh.
c'mon.
don't be dumb....but here's a recipe-
-
in one bowl combine:
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk;
2 T nootch;
2 T ground chia/flaxmeal.
stir it up and let it thicken.
-
in another bowl, mix together:
1/2 cup flour;
2 T fine cornmeal;
1/4 tsp ea GPOP;
dried oregano, basil, thyme, sage, black pepper, pink salt, smoked paprika;
2 tsp nootch;
-
drain 1 can of whole artichoke hearts (that's like 6 ish)
halve them, pat 'em dry, dunk those hunks in the wet,
roll 'em in the flour,
and let 'em hang out for a second or two while you fire up 1/4 cup of oil
in a pan over high heat-
fry 'em until they're crispy, flippin' 'em to make sure there's no raw flour,
and drain any excess oil off whlst they cool on paper towels.
that's the move.
*
the dough was standard, but with one upgrade- exxxtra wheat gluten.
uh-huh.
a teaspoon of that binding protein made a world of difference.
the crust was crisp and bubbly and dope as heck.
it proofed all day, and it baked at 485℉.
that's two cups of king arthur flour, 2 tsp sea salt, 2 T olive oil,
1 pkg active yeast, 1 1/2 tsp bread machine yeast, and 1 tsp gluten,
with a cup of warm water,
in your stand-upright mixer on lowish speed,
with the dough hook corkscrewin' around,
for 11 minutes, before a covered all-day bulk rise in the fridge.
it's how home dough gets done, duders.
*
the chee'?
easy easy.
1 1/2 cups raw cashews;
1/2 tsp  sea salt;
3 T nootch;
1/2 tsp ea. Garlic Powder and Onion Powder;
1 tsp lemon juice;
3 T tapioca flour;
1 cup boiling water,
all in your food processor, pureed until creamy,
without any gritty nut chunks-scrape it down if you've gotta, but get it consisitent.
add that to a small pot, and stir it over high heat to thicken it....
it happens quickly, so be alert.
this is it.
hearty vegan homemade chee' in a hurry.
for being so simple, it sure does taste great.
*
if i'm using breaded fried anything on a pizza,
i want cooked sauce.
mmhmmm.
that's a thing.
cooked sauce makes it feel like it has more body,
and has more balance,
and i think i'm decreeing that that's the right move-
and you know i LOVE i good decree.
rules is rules, and marinara with fried food is one of 'em.
i think that's a good usage of mandatory standards, neighbors.
i could do it with just crushed tomatoes, but then i'd be F*ing up,
and i'm not that kind of A*-hole.
...

WOW!
and there's lots of spinach on the bottom,
arugula on top,
dark green basil in between...
yup.
i like vegetation, bruh.
caramelized onions? don't mind if i do.
they're the best ones for pizza, at home,.
restaurants make 'em too marmaladey, and i don't endorse that.
save the slime for snails or some sh!t, b.
f'real.
-
my dude weird dylan enjoyed this with me.
i was glad for the company.
it'd been a minute.
and new pizzas taste better when shared.
i think that's also a thing.
***********
after a brutal weekend of bummery bumhole booty bammer tattz,
and also the alarming absence of attendance at AMPERSAND TATTOO,
i had no cancellations the last few days.
in fact,
i took a few walk-ins while i was at it.
mmhmm.
i'll always make time for new clients,
and for a little extra movie check magic time.
a grand don't come for free, but one grand also isn't enough-
and acting too busy to work harder is NOT dope.
in fact, it's kind of a bullsh!t move.
when is enough enough?
never ever ever EVER.
the object is forever gonna be MORE.
that's just how it is around here.
however,
saturday is WIDE open.
and that's not especially cool at all.
maybe something elite will arrive between now and then,
but more likely, it'll be something else.
hey, man...they pay the same, so i'll be glad for whatever it is.
i like my job. i like making art. i know those aren't the same thing.
i'm still grateful for the time i'm given to do both;
never quiet, never soft.....

Wednesday, May 15

TUESDAYS, Y'KNOW?

dudes,
street tacos!
yeah.
what's the difference between street ones and house ones?
i mean, i eat every taco in my house.
but, the answer, sort of, is that the tortillas are a baby bit smaller,
so you can fit one more down the hatch.
yeah!
or, maybe even two more.
ha.
i know that's not exactly true.
but the sack of soft flour flaps i got said street taco size.
so, that's the report as it stands.
yup.
check 'em:

YOOOOO!!!
red lentils, jasmine rice, red onion, black rice, red chili,
yellow sweet baby pepper, cilantro and scallions....
what?! F* yes. i made taco crOmbles out of beans and rice, bro.
....delicious.
-
f'real though-
in a 1 quart pot, with a pat of butter,
saute 2 T red onion, and add:
1/4 cup jasmine rice;
1/4 cup red lentils;
2 T black rice;
1/4 tsp ea GPOP;
pink salt, black pepper....
simmer it for 15 minutes,
then add:
1 T minced scallion greens;
2 T chopped cilantro bits;
2 tsp finely chopped red chili;
2 tsp yellow sweet baby bell pepper.
how expert is it?
well, it's muh-fuhh'n purple, for starters.
that's pretty damned expert.
uh huh.
*
plus refrieds, always, with the nootch and the onions and the butter.
i mean, rules is rules.
you need the beans, neighbors.
they make the hottness happen.
-
and radicchio, and cilantro, and that superfly escabeche, man.
yeah.
quick pickled mixed vegetables are always invited.
i mean, radish and onion and garlic and carrots simmered
in salty apple cider vinegar with a splash of agave.
ALLLL the good things,
and some texas-style ho'sauce too.
mmmmmmm.
-
and cilantro, red onion and lime kissed tomatoes?
c'mon.
that's how you do good things for taco tuesday.
i mean, they got salt and pepper on 'em, too.
and they're SO freakin' good.

that's burly super-fresh hot fire for your face!
hmm?
yeah, i had SIX of them.
i don't feel sorry about that.
nope.
not one little teeny tiny little baby bit.
too much is the right amount.
shoutouts to eating a lot of tacos.
in fact, if you're eating a responsible number of tacos?
i think you're weak, and i respect you a little less.
don't be sad, be better, and eat more tacos.
that's it.
***********
typing about things.
pushing up.
walking the dog.
tattin' and too'ing.
making dinner.
curling up in a very small ball.
that's today's schedule.
it isn't very glamorous, i'll admit,
but that's what you get on another 'nother grey and frosty wednesday
in the semi-awakened woodsly goodness.
it's cold and busted and nobody is out or about,
so we're working with limited resources to make somethin' out of.
that's fine.
i could've maybe used some brighter spots to seek out,
but at the same time, maybe the dark days are just incubating some extra-large
personal growth opportunities?
i think that's a thing.
i mean, that's how it is with seeds, right?
ok, then.
i guess i'm just a nut (which is just a better seed, really),
and i'll sprout when the weather turns.
then we'll see what comes next;
never quiet, never soft.....

PAINTED!

fisherman?
oil painting?
tiny details made into tattoos?
yes, yes, and yes.
i do all of that.
check it:

WORD.
the smallest little guy with a creel of fish.
he was just one of many small paint smudges in a bigger painting
full of water and boats and stuff.
does it look blurry? maybe a little.
that's because it's just splotches of ink!
mmhmm.
but it was a lot of fun to make.
f'real.
it's not a regular tattoo, and it's not the same ol' internet search bummerism.
my client's family member painted the original image forever and ever ago,
and nobody from that side of the tree approved of tattoos at all.
i like that part the best, actually.
hey!
come get some interesting tattoos.
save me from the bummers, bro.
thanks in advance;
never quiet, never soft.....