Tuesday, January 31

TORTELLONI!!

y'know what the difference is between tortellini and tortelloni?
one's bigger, better, burlier, and full of MORE stuff!
you therefore can make an assumption of which i'm all about,
based on what you know about how i do what i do, am i right?
yup!
too much is the right amount,
and that makes me positive that the big O is better than i.
(that's a spelling joke, bud)
guys!
homemade pasta!
homemade filling!!
homemade everything!!!
why?
because rules is rules,
and i already told you the other day-
i'm on that making vegan-italian-food-molto-for-the-people sh!t.
that's the stuff.
take at little look at what was poppin' last night:

SOUP IS DOPE WHEN THERE'S 'LLONIS IN IT!!!
that's no joke.
i had my burners going crazy as i got everything ready.
for starters,
i made a pretty expert filling for my pasta.
yup.
1 diced potato;
plus the bottoms of 4 green onions;
1 T minced leek;
and 2 cups chopped escarole,
boiled until tender in salty water.
easy.
drain it, mash it, add some black pepper, GPOP, olive oil,
and a big ol' punch of nootch,
and you've got a pesto that's so rich, you'll imagine you've won the lottery.
-
while that cooled, i started my pasta dough.
it's so easy, you'll wonder why you don't do it more often.
1/2 cup flour;
1/2 cup semolina flour;
1 T olive oil;
1/4 tsp salt;
1/2 cup warm water.
^!!^
seriously, that's it.
roll it out thin, and start cuttin'.
i got 26 2.5' circles from mine,
rolled out with a generous layer of flour to keep it from sticking.
a small scoople of 'tato magic in each,
and a flapover fold-up has got you well sorted
in the pasta pesto pouch-o department-
my torte pinch improved by the last few, for sure.
think of making dumplings.
with a few extra folds where you make the edges hold hands.
awwwww.
s'kyooooooooot!
i let 'em rest, and dry out just a tad, not long,
but long enough not to be wet and fall apart when boiled.
i boil mine in water that isn't the broth they'll be living their last moments in.
nope.
i don't need that to get all starchy and dumb.
but,
speaking of broth-
neighbors, i am onto something here!
1/2 cup of minced leek;
1/4 cup petite diced carrot;
two cloves crushed garlic,
and a pinch of salt-
sauteed in olive oil,
deglazed with 3 T red wine vinegar,
and submerged under 2 cups of hot water,
with >1 tsp better-than-bouillon vegan solution!!!
a little GPOP,
a dash of oregano,
some cracked black pepper,
and suddenly, everything was a tangy, tasty, exxxtra-sexxxy soup!!!
i let it simmer for about twenty minutes while i made my pasta.
and while my tortelloni were drying,
i fried up some tomato halves.
woooooooooooord!!!
a little olive oil, a very hot pan, and those little red cherry tomtoms,
face down, until browned.
i did hot 'em with a torch. yeah.
i had too.
i wanted them blackened, man.
for the aesthetic.
-
so, we got boiled tortelloni.
(they're done when they float)
we got simmered soup.
we got tomatoes.
what else?
arugula!
yessssssssssssssssssss.
fresh leaves, wilted in hot broth,
so the peppery bite of each leaf is undiminished.
expert.
 few parsley sprankles, because i'm not an A*-hole,
and we've got ourselves a suppertime victory for the record books.
.......and yeah, naturally i had custom sourdough for dippin'.
it's not my first day at eating, man.
***********
so,
january is all but over.
it was more like jaun-uary.
because these jauns were off the hinges.
work hard'
cook harder.
walk more,
play less.
get busy,
live lonely,
eat 'llonis.
yup.
it's been a big year so far,
even in this small small world;
never quiet, never soft.....

APPLES!

how about 'em?
y'know?
...yeah.
how about 'em?
wait...what?
oh.
apples, man.
how about them apples?
personally, i'm all about apples.
i think they're great,
and i think they're a delicious doctor repellent,
and i think crabtree loves to munch up on the skins,
so everybody gets a treat around here.
actually,
to be fair,
it was just one large apple.
when?
yesterday morning.
one large apple, cubed up, was all it took.
happily,
one large apple stole the flippin' show, bro.
check the teleport:

APPLE-CINNAMON OATMEAL MINI-SCONES!!!!!
wordimus prime.
dudes,
i did a different thing than the thing i usually do,
and i have to say,
it was dangerous!
oh. no, not in any real life-threatening sort of way-
just dangerous to my body mass index.
for real!!
i powered down so many of these little sexxxies.
i really did.
like, all day long-
three bites each,
crunch crunch crunch munch munch munch.
it was too easy, and too tasty, and since i took the whole box with me to work,
i had the hottness near to hand...
and i mean, c'mon-
when it's right there, tempting my whole face
i'd be a fool to pass up on all that hearty home-cooked scone-zone nourishment.
also, it was because of the apples.
mmmmmm.
would you like to know how to do it yourself?
ok, here it comes:
*
apple cinnamon oatmeal scones
-
1 stick (8T) vegan butterish;
3 T vegan creamchee';
1 2/3 cups flour;
1/4 cup sugar;
1/2 tsp salt;
2 tsp baking powpow;
1 tsp bakey soda;
1/2 cup coarsemeal oat flour (i grind my own from thick rolled oats)
^^^^
using a pastry cutter, chop all that fat into all that dry,
until it's a rough crumble of buttery bb's and not-yet-doughish.
then,
y'gotta add in all the good stuff:
1/3 cup non-dairy yogurt;
2/3rds cup non-dairy milk +1 T lemon juice (whisked and rested);
1 tsp vanilla;
1 large peeled and cubed apple, tossed in 1 T cinnamon.
^^^
fold and turn and fold and turn, adding more flour if it gets too wet,
until you've got a slightly dense damascus of dopeness,
moist, but firm, and evenly mixed.
how many folds?
a LOT.
that's how those buttery flaky layers are formed, buddy.
on a floured surface, press the dough out flat, about an inch thick or so,
into a big ol' rectangle.
i cut mine lengthwise once,
so, that was two strips at roughly 4" x 12"
and then i took my slicey little knife and made little folksy triangles,
yielding 18 or so little scones.
-
those are baked for 20 minutes in a 420F oven.
...and be prepared,
because your whole house is about to get aromatic as a mutha-'ucker.
that's IT!
kids,
what's the rule about when we make treats?
yup-
too much is the right amount.
in this case, that called for two kinds of icing.
yessir.
vanilla and cinnamon powdered sugary drizzle stripes!
pretty.
***********
a good morning treat can make a trying day bearable.
and believe me,
yesterday was very trying.
my first appointment went from a simple big black symbol
to a small half-black symbol,
with the added bonus of non-stop fidgeting and a near pass-out.
hey, it happens.
and that's nothing to be ashamed of....
but, a wave-riding line-chasing sweaty struggle,
at half the duration of the scheduled appointment
also meant just as much work for half the movie checks.
hey, that also happens sometimes,,. but it always eats sh!t.
later on, though, it got brutal.
my last appointment was a lovely older woman
experiencing a great loss in her life.
we started out attempting a tribute to recently deceased father,
but,
as time moved forward, and she moved away from every single line,
and began repeating herself,
and becoming gradually less clothed,
well,
it became pretty F*ing obvious that strange things were afoot.
guys,
you may or may not know this about me, but i don't eff with drugs or alcohol.
never have.
in fact, i HATE that stuff.
i hate being around it, i hate the smell of it,
i hate the culture that surrounds it,
i can't flippin' stand it.
not one bit.
so,
just imagine how good a time i had,
being fondled and propositioned by a severely inebriated old lady.
ummmmmm, yeah.
how did that happen?
well,
i guess if you hide vodka bottles in your boots,
and pound 'em, along with various colored pills, right when we begin,
it'll hit you like a crazy train after a very short time.
wait.
but,
how do i know about the pills?
well,
when she dumped her backpack out on the floor,
and began to search for MORE things to eat,
her aspirin bottle full of rainbow 'vitamins' was also dumped out,
take it easy, kids-
the tattoo was as done as it's ever going to be,
and we did what we could to console her epic crazytime,
being considerate of her condition and her loss-
but the real adventure was just beginning.
oh, yeah.
the full gambit, swearing, stumbling, topless dancing,
attempts at kissing me,
and our studio manager,
and a dervish whirl of clothes and tears and empty bottles....
one hundred percent of all the things that make me absolutely certain that
remaining drug free is the only way to be, for me,
it was ALL really happening.
i can say that i felt terrible for her.
and for me.
and for the weirdo who was with her.
oh, i forgot to mention the dude who sat silently, intervening not at all,
whilst this unfolded?
yup.
loss is a horrible experience for those unused to it.
me?
i live with a sense of it every day,
so i can empathize,
and i think that helped keep the situation much calmer.
everybody else was pretty freaked out,
but,
as always,
it's when things are the worst that i'm my absolute best.
that's right.
the worst is my natural element.
anyway,
the point is,
i'm awfully glad i had scones.
that's all;
never quiet, never soft.....

Monday, January 30

GIMME PIZZA!!

i want it.
i need it.
i love it.
i have to have it.
yep.
pee eye zee zee ayy!
pizza.
in my mouth, all the time-
more and more, and also MORE.
white pie?
savory pie?
seeded super-herb sexxxy pie?
yes, yes, and yes.
dudes,
check the tastes-like-rich-folks-type teleport:

GIMME GIMME PIZZAAAAAAAAA !!!!
word up.
neighbors,
that crust really set it off.
here's how that happened:
-
3 cups of all purpose flour;
1 T gluten;
1 T salt;
1 pkg. commercial yeast;
2 T olive oil;
1 cup white sourdough starter;
1 T sugar;
2/3 cup warm water;
1/4 cup non-dairy milk.
mmmhmmm.
nothing fancy, really.
water, milk, and yeast, combined, and allowed to activate for ten minutes.
the rest worked itself out,
and bulked once for an hour,
before going in the fridge for a whole day,
getting divided and going back to chill out,
post-portion-and-shape, for another 'nother half a day.
the yeasts seem to get along better when they have to hang out in the cold,
huddled like homies, to stay alive an' that.
i mean,
you can see those sexxxy bubbles on the crust.
that doesn't happen when friends fight, man.
for real.
so the crust was a win.
that's always a good thing to begin with.
and the rest?
well,
i just imagined what a heartful of happiness would taste like,
and i put on the toppings that synced with that accordingly.
awwwwwwwww.
for realsies, though-
daiya mozzarella, by the fistful,
and thinly-sliced red onions started things off.
i had a whole mess of toasty little sesame seeds left over
from the epic blackout dump-o deluxxx-o,
so i tossed them down too.
a few toasted fennel seeds, for a zap of that surprise-style zestiness.
that was a good call. with the sesame, and the rosemary?!
c'mon.
yeah.
rubbed rosemary.
expert.
i went for the superflavorful herb ferocity, for sure.
there's also black pepper, crushed red pepper, and fire-roasted tomato flakes.
y'wanna talk about how dope that is?
ok.
this crucial 'za-'za has spice. it has zip.
it has vim.
it's invigorating.
and also, it has seitan.
he has!!
yeah, cubed and browned bits of custom seitan,
fresh from and for the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress test kitchen.
damn, that's some tasty business.
i baked the crap outta that on my hearthstone, for about as long as i thought prudent.
like,
15 minutes almost. at 480F.
hot, and slow, and sourdough crispity-crunchy.
-
when pizza works out at peak performance tolerances,
it's the best thing in the world.
i mean it.
guys!
shredded radicchio?!?!
yuuuuuuuuuuup!
the bitterness of those red leaves really rewarded my tastebuds.
savory savory savory.
that's what i was aiming for,
and i was spot on target, too.
and because too much is the right amount,
there's also arugula!!
if one bite-back leaf is good,
two is ideal by a damned country mile.
no joke.
more,
it just looks better.
and i still don't want ugly food, dudes.
***********
another pizza party for one?
uh-huh.
that's my style.
but,
there was only one pizza?
yeah, man.
i've been beating my body into blarpitiness through the
very liberal application of shark-gluttony.
this crazy month-long culinary crash-course in cooking more creatively
has had me eating a LOT.
huh?
oh.
well,
i set out to make something every day,
and i cooked or baked a new something,
from scratch, every single day in january.
that's no joke.
sandwich week made the first eight or nine days a breeze,
but i've been steadily workin' on it since then.
heck,
i made more meals than i've discussed.
not everything makes the cut, man.
but,
it's beginning to take a toll.
our daily walks have been truncated by the terrain and the weather.
(the woodsly goodness is a real A*-hole all winter long)
so the limits of exercise are finite, relative to our endless appetites.
yeah.
the bottom line is- maybe one pizza is a better idea for a little minute,
until things get back to normal.
besides,
racing home every single night,
like a reclusive, elusive, and exclusive hermit of hard styles
is no way to span all your time all the time.
really.
it might not kill me to attempt to be social.
welllllll,
at any rate, i'm willing to risk it in small snippets of space and time.
word up.
i make up recipes,
i tell true stories.
it's ALL really happening,
that's the whole point;
never quiet, never soft.....

Sunday, January 29

FIRE ROOSTER!!!

triple dumpling delicious delights?!?!
F* yeah!
dudes,
i'm not about to ring in a whole new new moon new year
like a weak-sauce diapery doo-doo baby.
no way.
that's not how it happens in the woodlsy goodness.
all by my lonely,
i STILL had a heroic happy new helping of three kinds of super hottness!!!
word up.
feeling low about being low on friends on a celebratory saturday night?
no worries,
i've got dumps on my face!
all i needed was a direction, and my purpose propelled itself to powerful places.
that's a thing.
once i decided i was going all out on the dump scene,
and i knew full and well the night before-
which is why i pre-gamed a dozen dirty diapers of dopeness-
i just had to formulate a procedure.
i did that while i painted after my first appointment at work.
mmhmm.
multitasking keeps the juices flowing in multiple directions,
and that's the best way to hit all the important points in a plan.
boiled, fried, and steamed.
the big three.
the trifecta.
the trinity.
the TRUTH.
yup.
duders,
check the fire-rooster-type teleport:

BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!!!!!
c'mon.
that's expert is it not?
yeah, i know.
the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress came alive with rolling, and kneading,
and pinching, and folding, and stuffing, and stirring
and every other kind of good food-making technique.
friends,
i made seitan in advance, in anticipation.
i made a whole other 'other new tofu filling for more dumps,
and i toasted a sh!tload of sesame seeds.
i'm not scared to overdo it.
in fact, the recurring regret i experience is that i haven't done enough.
you know my flavor, don'tcha?
too much is the right amount.
everything else is less than acceptable.
i'm just one dude,
but i ate all of that food,
and three more of each, too.
not all of it was capable of fitting on the plates.
that's a good way to tell if you're on the correct path.
-
let me begin by saying that sichuan cukes were a good idea.
cool, but spicy,
with chili flakes and cayenne, and rice wine, and a drop of oil.
i like a little veg to go with my massive dumpfeast.
ha.
and those dumplings?
holy sh!t, guys.
i outdid myself.
hard.
check it out:

STEAMED SEITAN-SCALLION SOUP DUMPZZZ.
that's minced seitan, sauteed in a dab of veg oil,
with the whites of green onions, and a clove of garlic,
doused with a blast soy sauce...
plus, in the post-heat portion, all the diced green onion tops,
dudes,
they're good.
really really good.
5" circles of wheat, water and salt, rolled thin,
and crimped around a big scoop of the filling,
placed on squares of parchment in the steamer,
and cooked by hot, wet air for twenty minutes or so.
the lid isn't just removed, either.
nope.
that'll eff the whole thing up.
don't do it.
one whole baby bok choy went right in on top for the last five minutes,
withOUT the heat on, but with the lid cracked just a little baby bit-
as the dumps cooled, the greens cooked,
and all of it was perfectly done.
the chewy dense dumps are not playing,
and the crunch in those leaves is top notch.
a splash of seitan broth, with added rice vinegar,
made sure i was getting the full effect.
i dunked them in a rice-wine-vinegar and garlic oil sauce,
with red chilis and toasted sesame seeds.
all that onion, plus the hot and sharp and the nuttiness of the sauce?
expert all the way.
*
how about this:

CLASSIC DUMPSTICKERS!!!
pure wheat sesame seeded wrappers,
with carrot leek ginger tofu filling.
i kept it simple.
soy, rice vinegar, GPOP, ginger, black pepper.
the veggies are key.
the previous night's leafy greenies were good,
but these jauns right here were incredible.
the agave-soy-ho'sauce-vinegar-garlic-sesame-oil-scallion sauce is key.
so is the fire rooster freshness of the o.g. fire rooster:
sriracha.
yeah!!
activated with soy and sesame seeds, you've got hottness for whatever you want.
how well do dumps get along with heat?
they're in effing love.with each other, bruh.
a sesame-veg oil blend in a shallow pan,
with a minute or two of sizzle before a blasy of hot water,
and a lid, allow for a hot air ciculated fry-up from the future.
a flip on each side, to fry the skins extra crispy,
and these triangular wedges of wild, worthy, wheaten wonder
are totally ready to blow your buds right off that tongue-piece
and out into the aether of the infinite expanse of universal flavors.
that's no joke,
*
i combined the remainder of the seitan,
a small clove of macerated raw garlic,
the tofu, sans veg, and some chili flakes,
and filled up the last, but most delicious of my tri-triumphs.
neighbors,
check the teleport:

RED OIL WONTONS ARE WU-TANG,
LIKE FOR THE CHILDREN!!
word up.
i don't know what's in real red oil,
but i know mine had a splash of vinegar, crushed sriracha flakes,
red chili flakes, paprika, hot paprika, and garlic oil.
yuuuuuuuuuuuup.
that sh!t is amazing.
i could've looked it up, i could've checked it out,
but, i went right on ahead and forged my own approximation instead.
i do that sort of thing when i'm already doing a whole mess of things.
uh-huh.
how tasty is it?
it goes to eleven, no question.
and those wonton-style raviolis of savory sexxxiness?
potsticker-style pinching, without the crimp,
and with a tip-to-tip hug and press to seal the deal,
boiled in salted water until they float.
a quick drain, a dunk in the oil,
and voila-
your whole life just got measurably improved.
i guarantee it.
***********
if you're aren't going all out, you should start.
there's no good reason to hold back on what you're capable of.
for me,
the best version of myself is the one where i'm by myself.
it's true.
i'm much more focused by my lonesome,
probably because i'm lonesome.
when you're starving,
you can overeat and nobody gives a crap,
but when you're starved for attention,
it's hard not to overact.
and that's not really the truest representation of what's really going on.
here's the thing-
it's ALL really happening,
whether or not anybody else is party to it.
it's a party of one, and that's the one thing i can always count on.
i'm doing a whole bunch, and it doesn't feel like it's enough yet.
i can't imagine if i had to chat and natter
and be friendly and hospitable while i was about my business, too
that's the stuff i save for the studio.
on MY time, i want to get done what's important to ME.
and that's what's up.
food and it's creation and it's consumption-
i care a lot about that.
crabtree the terrible bullterrier-
he's my guy, so i gotta do what needs doing for him.
words, written and read-
i'm not trying to ge any dumber if i can help it.
it's real life, and it's real-life documentarianism.
that's all that there's time for,
as it just so happens,
that's all that seems to be really happening;
never quiet, never soft.....

AUSPICIOUS COOKIES!!!

...maybe they're muffins.
man,
i don't know.
i made dumpling cookies.
i did.
i thought that'd be just about the coolest sh!t for the lunar new year.
and for the record,
i still think it's pretty cool.
you know that i'm a holiday kind of guy, don'tcha?
i am.
i was never a school-spirit, pep rally,
sportsball-game facepaint and pompoms type of person.
nope....not one bit.
i'm pleased to report that even now,
after a damned dog's age,
i'm STILL not into that stuff.
it's too weirdly fanatical,
and uncomfortably contentious.
i don't feel better by attaching my identity to external entities,
and i don't feel included by joining a throng of revelers.
that ain't me, man.
but,
a juicy nationally-non-specific holiday?
a big action celebration of time and space?
like, for example, lunar new year?
hell yes, friends,
i will bricka-bracka firecracker rah-rah sis-boom-bah THAT extra hard.
i like all the GOOD ones:
lace and chocolate and flowers are for lovers on valentine's day.
everybody is irish on st. patrick's day. (and remember it's okay not to drink)
pagans and the proletariat go apesh!t on MAYDAY.
force feeding freshness on may the fourth,
tacos and salsa and sh!t on cinco de mayo. (no wall can stop that!)
damn, early may is no joke.
tricks and treats get got by all the dressed-up children on hallowe'en.
there's gratitude and generosity on thanksgiving (sorry DAPL)
and XI-mas, (one louder than Xmas)
there's solstices, equinoxes,
plus we can't forget about sandwich week,
heck,
even the regular ol' western calendar new year is pretty rad.
yeah!
...so,
since it was a new moon,
and a new year,
and a flaming hot fire rooster of one at that,
i got into the mood, and into the zone,
and made dumpling cookies to munch up while i worked\ the day away.
uh-huh.
here's the thing-
i put the dough in mid-sized muffin tins,
and the bottoms taper a little bit,
but in the opposite direction of dumplings.
i'm gonna still go ahead and count it as a win.
ok?
ok!
so,
y'wanna see 'em?
check the teleport:

TET TET TET TET TET.
neighbors,
i'll tell you what-
that's some tricky dough.
really.
a combo of wheat and sticky white rice flour (the sweet stuff) challenged
my attempts to knead and roll it regularly.
i made it work, but it took a little actual work.
i used coconut yogurt to soften them up.
at the first scoople, it was all still too stiff and crumbly.
so, obviously, i added more,
and then it was all limp and blarpity.
awwwww.
here's the cool thing about rice flour, though.
it's very absorbent.
it wants to drink all that moisture into it's core, and hold it close forever and ever.
which was lucky-lucky for me.
*
here's how i did it:
-
1 cup sugar;
1 stick vegan butts;
1/2 tsp salt;
1 tsp vanilla;
^creamed and mooshed and smooshed and squished until it's all one soft mass,
to which i added 2 T toasted sesame seeds;
1 cup white sticky rice flour;
1 cup all purpose wheat flour;
1 tsp baking powpow;
1 tsp baking soda;
3 T coconut yogurt.
^that's the proper count of coconut scoops, i think.
...the rice flour is very tasty, and zero percent gritty.
which is awesome.
the sesame seeds add that nuttiness that makes it slightly less like a cookie,
and way more of a serving-up of savory sexxiness.
yeah!
you're gonna need a lot of flour to roll the dough, bro.
it's sticky.
...just like the name of the rice clearly tells you in advance.
ha.
anyway, i cut out two dozen+ 3.5" circles.
*
and then i made a little tasty sweet filler for the centers.
-
1 cup creamy natural real-deal peanut butter;
1/2 cup powdered sugar;
3-4 T non-dairy milk;
3-4+ T toasted sesame seeds.
whisk all that up,
and it'll firm itself up into a nice-nice and stiff pliable paste.
a little half a teaspoonish in the centers of each,
and then a crimp-and-turn technique,
gently,
will get you those pleated neat-o's you see.
-
guys,
i knew that the softness would want to undermine my efforts.
there's no good reason to willingly contyinue with foreseeable,
and therefore preventable,
impediments to the production of cuteness for your mouth.
and THAT'S why i used the muffin tin, man.
smart.
i baked the whole tray for 15 minutes at 375F,
and i might've given 'em a turn,
and then let 'em hang out for one minute more, too.
i'm not afraid to eyeball the outcome, and adjust for doneness.
i mean, c'mon.
don't sell yourself short.
i don't know you, but i believe in you.
why?
because nobody wants treats that suck.
real talk.
-
and how do they taste?
F*ing expert.
duh.
don't be dumb.
***********
i celebrated solo after work with a big fat feast for myself.
and i did it all, and i ate it all BY myself.
yeah.
that's sort of become my thing.
however,
before i got into any of that,
i also rang in the lunar new new with a dog kennel full of diarrhea.
uh-huh.
i'm going to look at that as what it truly is,
rather than an omen for the rest of the rooster-
it's simpy an unfortunate dietary result of doo-doo buttery dog-walk opportunism.
yep.
crabtree will sniff out the grossest skuzz on ice and suck it down faster
than i can wrest it from his mandible.
he doesn't care about consequences.
not when there's awful offal right there in front of him.
seriously.
dogs don't understand the future.
it's just a special little gift for me, in my future,
when there's filth and effluvium caked in between the creases and cracks.
awesome.
so, he wet on a rice-heavy restriction until his b*hole isn't a volcano,
and i ate all my tasty treats a full hour later than i'd have liked.
that's what you do when you have a needy little nerd
who waits around all damned day for you.
it must've been awful to burst at the seams like that,
and then have to hang out for who knows how long.
don't worry,
after i bathed him,
and dried him, we snugged up exxtra good.
he's my dude,
that's what we do;
never quiet, never soft.....

Saturday, January 28

RABBIT-RABBIT!!!!!!!

yeah,
i said it, man.
rules is rules.
when it's the numero uno, you do the thing.
and i ALWAYS doo-doo the thing.
so i said the words, again,
to cultivate coincidental fortune and favor from the universe.
yup.
rabbit, rabbit!
the sorcerous summoning of spirit and memory.
once and again,
because that's my thing.
you know what else is my thing?
hot dumps.
uh-huh.
ha.
on the ones,
dumplings are the TRUTH.
that's real.
also,
dumplings are delicious and adorable.
and moreover, dumplings are for worthy warrior poets,
hungry heroic homeric hermits,
raging savage stormswept berserker barbarian battle-beasts,
wild-eyed werewolfen gypsy wanderers,
and soul-searching sojourners of the sauce!!!
...word.
if you aren't the type  of person who gets into it,
you might be the kind of person who needs to get outta here.
today is the day, guys.
TET.
lunar new year.
the year of the FIRE ROOSTER!!!
that's expert.
and when there's expertism afoot,
those of us with the know-how,
and the wherewithal,
and the elbow grease,
and the gumption all get after a big batch of dumps on our face!!!
check the fire-rooster-type teleport:

DUMPS DUMPS DUMPS DUMPS DUMPS!!!!!
y'wanna know something?
yeah?
exxxtra-toasted sesame seeds taste better than untoasted ones,
and even better than regular-toasted ones.
that's no joke.
i had mine on a deep brown  roast before i removed them from the heat,
and it took my dumpling dough out even farther.
like, way deep into the realm of super-deliciousness.
mmmm.
*
the dough itself couldn't be simpler:
-
1/2 cup flour;
1/2 cup brown rice flour;
1/2 tsp xantham gum (to keep that rice in check);
1/3-1/2 cup warm water;
pinch of salt;
2 T toasty sesame seeds.
-
knead it up,
roll it out thin with plenty of extra flour,
and cut yourself some circles, man.
i found a slightly larger sized roundie than my ciustomary one,
and it made me pretty happy.
i mean,
c'mon.
more dumpling space means more dumpling filling,
and everybody already knows why that's good:
too much is the right amount!
yeah!!
and the filling was damned good.
one bunch of green onion bottoms,
plus a fat scoople of shaved sharp white onion,
and two macerated cloves of garlic,
sauteed for a few minutes in sesame oil,
plus 1/2 block exxxtra-firm tofu, crumbled up.
after about five minutes of high-heat stirring,
i added 1/2 cup chopped pea tendrils,
and 2 cups of chiffonaded kale.
i wilted all of that down with 3 T tamari,
2 T rice wine vinegar,
black pepper, ginger, dried mustard, and copious GPOP.
what i got out of the bargain was a deep rich flavorful dumpstuff,
and i'm very pleased with how it turned out.
i let it cool before i scoople it into the dump-dough.
always.
warm ones disintegrate the pocket,
and all you end up with is sh!t-smashed suckiness.
no bueno.
so cool it off, buddy.
and maybe start your dippin' sauce while you're waiting.
yeah. that's the right play.
don't waste time, homie.
it's precious.
you need tangy, you need salty, you need sweet, and you need a lipid.
i also include spicy, because i'm not a A*-hole.
soy sauce, agave, rice wine vinegar, and chili oil.
that should do it.
plus those obligatory scallion sprankles,
i'm sayin',
without 'em, you're just effing around.
get serious, and get your sauce on.
mmmmmmmmmm.
-
neighbors,
i pan fry my dumps in sesame oil for a minute or two,
and then i blast 'em with liquid.
in this instance, i used fresh, hot seitan broth.
holy sh!t!!
that was some new new!
it was also what's good-good.
no jokes.
three minutes of steamy sizzles from that vaporized victual aqua-vegeta vitae,
and  the whole of my house smelled like a bazaar of exotic mysteries.
i'm serious.
i gave 'em a flip, and then, after a minute more,
another 'nother one, so that the sear on the sides was just crunchy enough
to add a whole deep caramelized level of taste to their already elite profile.
daaaaaaaamn.
that's how i want everything to be all the time.
*
here's the thing-
the new moon is TONIGHT.
i do believe that means MORE dumplings.
maybe some soup jauns.
maybe with noodoos, too.
anything can happen,
it's FIRE ROOSTER time,
and that's the right time to strut and holler like the cock-o'-the-walk,
and i mean, also, to play with FIRE.
this is it.
happy new year,
show me your TETs;
never quiet, never soft.....

BLACKER, SWEETER.

chocolate blackberry galettes.
that's it.
four components:
pinched pastry piecrusts,
chocolate creme,
blackberry jammie-jam,
and precisely four blackberries each.
c'mon.
how can something so straightforward be so dope??
i mean, really,
i'm usually into the superfancy unnecessary complications.
this time around, however, i kept it pretty direct.
check the teleport:

GALETTE IT TOGETHER, GUYS!!
-
ok,
so maybe i did add some sparkle sugar sprankles.
...i couldn't resist adding a little exxxtra.
rules is rules a\round these parts,
and doing MORE is kind of a big one.
mmmmmmm.
*
the pastry crust is great-
2 cups flour.
1 punch sugar.
1 tsp vanilla.
1 stick + 4 T butterish.
3 T vegan creamchee'.
i'd strongly recommend that food processor for this part.
you could cut it by hand, and that's cool, too,
if you're not the type to have anything else going on.
you're gonna want a rough, kind of coarse, chop-up,
and you're gonna need soymilk,
added tablespoons at a time,
until the crumbles stick together when gently pinched.
wrap it up tight in plastic,
and let it rest for at least an hour (overnight is better),
before you heavily flour a flat surface,
and roll it out thin enough to get about nine 4.5-5"circles.
-
neighbors,
fill 'em up, fold 'em over,
and bake those big babies at 425F,
for twenty minutes, or until they look golden enough to suit your aesthetic.
go ahead,
turn the oven light on-
magic will unfold in front of your face.
real talk.
-
the middles are pretty much perfection.
i had a little bit of chocolate creme pie filling cold-coolin' in the fridge.
a tablespoon+ plopped out and smooshed in the centers was a good call.
over that, a scoop o seedless blackberry jam,
and then four of the fattest, blackest, sweetest jauns got stuck in that sweet mess.
listen up, friends-
delicious treats make you a better person.
even when they're sorta simple.
even if you're not sure if you can pull it off.
even though you're busy.
do it.
you wouldn't want to be a sh!tty human, would you?
no way.
so get you a bowl, bruh,
and get yourself into the action.
don't be a jerk.
***********
today is the day.
a day to paint,
a day to tattoo,
a day for dog walking of the first order.
mos of my january obligations are finished.
most of my time was spent in the kitchen,
in the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress,
with crabtree,
making something good to eat.
january might've been better if it'd been more of a fresh jaun-uary,
but the blacker-than-the-blackest-berry history month is heading our way next,
and i'm sure all of those jauns are about to drop 100% hotter for all 28 days.
i'm ready.
you're ready.
we're ready.
it's all really happening,
and the best part?
it's happening to US.
yeah!
we're the main ingredient.
deliciousness will surely ensue;
never quiet, never soft.....

Friday, January 27

ESCAROLE!!!

italian soup.
uh-huh.
i told you.
i'm taking it there.
is escarole in your pantry?
no?
is it at least in your lexicon?
no?
neighbors,
don't sleep on that leafy luxury.
it's like what you'd get if cabbage and lettuce had a lovely-looking lovechild,
and it is practically begging to hang out with it's best friend: the white bean.
mmmmmhmmmmm.
so,
currently it lives in soup?
it does.
dudes,
soup is good for you.
duh.
check it out:

C'MON.
i don't want ugly soup, so i made it nice;
i don't want ugly bread, so i grilled it pretty-like;
i don't want ugly food, so i sexxx it up at every meal.
talk about getting what you want in one bowl, huh?
it's SO simple,
and it's a super supper solution.
here's how it happens:
-
half an onion, minced.
saute that in olive oil until it's just translucent,
and then toss in two large cloves' worth of macerated garlic.
let the oil soak in that essence,
and then add your liquid.
in this case 3 cups of vegetable broth.
yeah.
a punch of salt, a crackle of black pepper, a generous dust-up of GPOP,
and a hard shot of crushed red pepper flakes are in order at that point.
add what you think is appropriate to your preferred level of spice tolerance.
(but please don't be a weak-sauce diaperbaby about it, man)
also,
1 cup of diced stewed tomato chunks is a good idea at that point,
as well as 3 cups of white beans-
that's like a can and a half of prepared ones,
or maybe like 20 ounces worth of soak-it-yourselfers;
...i used great northerns, because that's what i had,
but any sexy white jauns will suffice.
and you're gonna need a LOT of escarole.
once the big chunks are at a simmer,
you're doing the right thing if you toss in about half a tsp dried thyme,
and maybe, just maybe, a little bit or oregano. like, a fairy tinkle of it.
then you dump some coarsely, but intentionally 1" strip chunks of escarole.
i use 2/3rds of a head.
(i like escarole)
you can do just half a head if you are timid and/or delicate.
twenty minutes, covered, on a medium-low flame,
and you've got the TRUTH for your face.
all the texture, all the flavor, all that molto italiano goodness,
right there in one bowl of vegetable superiority.
grilled sourdough for dipping?
you'd best believe i'm not going into a soup situation with bread.
i'm not some amateur, buddy.
no way.
i had two slices of olive-oil and hot gridiron goodness.
MORE is always better.
i had two bowls, too.
i'm out here trying to improve myself, man.
one bowl isn't gonna provide enough power for personal groeth.
ha!
-
there you go.
italian upgrades, version one:
soup.
hot, wet, salty, chunky, spicy.....
those are all good things.
*
food is where i've been focused for a while.
that's good, because good food is it's own reward.
but,
not if it's at the expense of longer-lasting rewards
i've gotta find more time to look into other stuff.
i'm serious.
i've got paintings to finish.
i've got a huge home on which to enact impressive improvements.
i've got plans for the future that've been postponed for far too long.
if it's really all really happening,
then these things need to catch the eff up.
time's been a-wastin' while the watched pot was simmering,
but not boiling over;
never quiet, never soft.....

BLUEBERRY BREAKFAST!

blueberries, man.
blueberries are good.
heck, they're really good.
as in: they taste great,
and they have all sorts of secret nutrients,
and they make a purple mess of everything.
um.
yeah.
blueberries.
the quintessential muffin ingredient.
the go-to for pancakes, too.
neighbors,
i made up a thing,
and it's pretty much all of that at once.
check the teleport:

BREAKFAST BLOOBS FOR YOUR FACE!!
that's a graham floury, brown sugary, spongy, coffeecakey rectangle
of really hearty, slightly oaty, very tasty breakfast wizardry.
and,
that's not all it is,
either.
*
dudes,
this is how you do it to it:
-
1 cup dark brown sugar;
1 stick vegan butts;
1/2 tsp salt;
1 tsp vanilla;
3/4 cup non-dairy yogurt...
^ whip all that into a frenzy, so it's all sorts of fluffy and wet,
and then dump down the following:
1 cup a.p. flour;
1 cup+ graham flour;
1 handful of whole rolled oats;
2 tsp bakey kapowder;
1 tsp bakey soda;
1 cup non-dairy milk.
^that's dope.
it's all the gritty goodness you could ask for in a treat.
i mean it.
but,
that's not nearly all there is to it.
no way.
i'm not your everyday coffeecaker, bruh.
i like MORE from my treats.
so,
in a rectangular greased and floured pan, we spread that out nice and evenly-
and then,
on top of that,
there's a liberal dispensation of 1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries.
and THEN, (and this is where we get expert)
the remaining pancake batter from wednesday's brekkie came to the party.
what-what, say what, say whaaat??
yuuuuuup.
kids,
little minicakes take forever,
and once i had eleven of 'em, i knew breakfast was served.
the thing is, there was enough batter for 22 of 'em.
what to do?
obvi, use it up,
and make it dope.
too much is the right amount.
i'm sayin'-
got an already rad cake batter?
it could always use even more awesomeness.
got an already rad pancakebatter?
maybe it's lonely...
introduce 'em, duders.
they'll hit it off, i promise.
so,
with a cup and a half of oatmeal coconut pannie topping over the graham goodness,
i had a real somethin'-somethin' on my hands.
uh-hu.
that's just the hottness i needed for this tasty piece.
...and on top of all of THAT?
MORE BLOOBZ!
yeah!!
and also,
a pinchy pinch of brown sugary sprankles.
word the eff up.
oh.
well, yeah.
y'gotta bake it, at 360F, for 35 minutes.
i mean, c'mon, man.
-
cakes are good. square cakes are included in that.
a big ol' bar of burly blueberry barbarian baked greats is what i want every day.
today is the day, however, where i can have as much as i want.
that makes today a pretty good day.
i even had mine with a scoople of coconut vanilla ice cream.
mmmmmmmmm.
i'm not about to wimp out in the home stretch.
blueberry cake and blueberry pancakes as one blueberry coffeecake.
i'm glad that unfolded from my mixing bowls to our bellyholes.
that's fortunate, and it's the result of informed ingredient choices.
zero cinnamon was included in this recipe.
and not one bite was lacking for the absence of it.
sorry, cinnamon,
but i'm having a blueberry party over here.
*
i've got more to do than i've got time to do it.
car registration and car inspections and maintenance work,
terrible tattoos for hours on hours,
ornery dog ownery obligations,
and all of that before it's dark and dumb outside,
with as many chores and errands stuffed into the gaps as possible.
dudes,
it's friday,
it's chinese new year's eve,
and it's F*ing windy.
it's all really happening, and i'm about 13 minutes
away from diving facefirst into a maelstrom of mandatory participation.
this is it.
i'm not into it,
but i'm in it;
never quiet, never soft.....

Thursday, January 26

BIG LITTLES

little panniecakes?
you bet!
why?
because that means there are MORE of them.
woohoo!!
check the teleport:

BIG BREAKFASTS ARE THE BEST BREAKFASTS!!!
i think i need more small circle cutters.
no, i'm serious.
one of each size is great for cookies,
but,
it makes for a very time consuming effort when used as a pancake form.
...yeah.
here's the thing, though-
little 'cakes are too dang cute!
so i s'pose it's worth the extended expended time.
i mean,
i wouldn't wanna eat ugly pannies, man.
would you?
c'mon.
don't sell yourself short.
they're oatmeal coconut jauns, as always.
rules is rules,
and i've refined my defining pancake scene to the point
where these are a signature breakfast item in the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress.
a fixture, you could say.
a mainstay, even.
you want to give it a shot?
ok.
try this:
1 cup a.p. flour;
1/2 tsp salt;
1/2 cup freshly-ground whole rolled oat flour;
1/4 cup fresh-ground unsweetened unsulphured coconut flakes;
1 tsp baking powder;
1 tsp baking soda;
3-4 T sugar;
-
2 T vegan sour cream;
3 T melted vegan butter;
1 cup soymilk + 2 T lemon juice;
1 tsp vanilla.
-you'd better get ready, because these tasty bits will change your dietary reality.
no jokes.
you whisk the dry,
you add the wet, you gently combine it all,
and then you rest it.
yes.
it will thicken a LOT. oats are thirsty
yes.
you will need to add more soymilk before you pour it.
no.
you should't just add it before you rest it.
it'll soak up whatever you add, so save some for later.
how much?
i dunno, man. how thick do you like your 'cakes?
use your head, neighbors.
-
grease your griddle between flips,
and always lube up your forms, if you're making shapey ones.
that's my advice, take it or leave it.
and what's the sweet sauce always got to be?
yeah.
real-deal grade B maple syrup.
the thickest, mapliest, most intense stuff to drip it's sappy sentiments,
sans sediments, from the side of a tree.
*
my potato game is precise these days.
pre-roasted skin-on diced 'tatoes,
olive-oiled, salted, and blasted with black pepper,
added to diced onion, GPOP, ho'sauce, smoked paprika,
regular ol' paprika, and a little more black pepper,
i love that stuff.
and for the record,
if you ain't about those green onion scallion sprankles?
you've missed the whole point completely.
*
guys!!
you need to try that tofu scrambo ranchero deluxxxo!
i did a new thing(s).
for starters,
there's less crumble on the 'fu,
also,
i sauteed the onion, and the peppers, and then the tomatoes, in that order,
in one pan, separately from the tofu.
and that tofu got ho'sauce.
and it got GPOP.
and naturally, there's turmeric turning it scrambotone, too.
but,
there's also oregano, and nootch,
and red chili,
and a dash of coriander seed,
plus a leaf or two of fresh torn basil.
yeah.
and when the two forces were united,
the juice from the veg soaked right into the thirsty scramborghini,
and the whole things became a force for empowered breakfast magic.
don't forget to activate the cilantro spranks.
on the real-
rules is rules, man.
-
there you go.
one expert luxury breakfast bonanza.
all told, it took some time.
it's a worthy investment, but i'll be honest-
i had several other irons in the fire at the same time.
no sense in wasting energy,
and momentum,
waiting around for all those pancakes to cook one at a time.
i'm a busy boy on my single day away from the studio.
i don't have the comfort of double days in a row to do as i please,
so i do what i can,
as hard as i can,
whenever i can.
frivolity can go eff itself,
i've got things to DO;
never quiet, never soft.....

ITALIANO ARRABIATA!!!

hey kids,
i decided last night that i should maybe try to make more italian food.
or, at the very least,
to include a little more italian-american
and/or italian-inspired food in my repertoire.
y'see,
i usually eschew the nostalgia and disavow the heritage that fed my forefathers.
i do.
italian specialty stores, italian restaurants,
and a majority of italian-american families-
none of them give any sh!ts about vegans.
although, most of what they're serving will certainly give vegans the sh!ts.
we're too weird.
too extreme.
i mean,
F* me for challenging the notion that a generationally-ingrained
perverse flesh-and-blood gorefest isn't very cool, right?
seriously.
what a jerk i am.
actually, in fairness,
the first few years i after i woke up and took my first positive steps
towards progressive compassionate dietary awareness,
my good ol' grandmother would specially make me some stuff to eat.
twice a week, when i'd visit like a good boy should.
...and that was dope.
hmm?
well, yeah, of course it was pasta!
c'mon.
hahaha.
otherwise,
in my 40+ years of firsthand experience,
the lion's share of cooking in the style of my distantly-related countrymen,
as well as my immediate blood relatives has demanded ALL the meat,
that's mammals, babies, birds, and fish,
ugh.
and then there's all that cheese, and eggs, and milk and cream...
basically,
it's the F*ing worst.
now,
i'm not very nice, neighbors, but i'm always trying to be good.
so,
for the last 20 years,
being the type of dude who low-key cares about life,
and the planet,
and the future,
and our collective karma,
and anything worthy and wonderful,
italian food has held a sore spot in my meal planning.
i'm just sayin'-
the renaissance was pretty expert,
but the menu was, and still is, a F*ing horrorshow.
(my dudes might've peaked in the 15th century.)
anyway,
i don't hang out with italian food as often as i could.
i don't think it helps that my least favorite ex-wife was a fiend for pasta and sauce,
and would beat up a bowl three times a week, no joke;
or that holidays were a source of agitation between me and my people
for the first 15 or so years after i switched things up.
i guess i have a lot of deep-seated, ingrained grudge-holding bias, bros.
and that's not fair to the long, luscious, flourishing tradition of culinary innovation
that imbedded itself in my genes, bruh.
hahahaha.
and sure,
there's no good reason to use baby pigs' cheeks in a salad.
what the heck is wrong with these dudes?
and why is there a pound of the stinkiest spoiled milk on top of EVERYthing?
man,
i dunno why i gotta be so contrary.
probably because rules is rules,
and if you're not prepared to just be dope,
you're obligated to F* right off.
since i'm not going anywhere,
i guess i'll have to hit up some new hottness in the food department.
look for more italian influences in february, friends.
*
so, i'm guessing nobody read that top part?
well done.
y'wanna see a picture of a sandwich now?
swell.
check the teleport:

SPICY SAUSAGE AND SPICIER SAUCE AND PEPPERS!
italian?
sorta.
expert?
unquestionably.
dudes,
i took some sliced homemade garbanzo/garlic/olive oil sausages,
and simmered them with crushed fennel seed, black pepper, rosemary, and GPOP.
oh,
here.
sausages happen like this:
-
1 cup garbanzo beans
1/2 block extra-firm tofu
4 cloves sauteed garlic
1/2 onion, browned
1 tsp smoked paprika
3 T nutritional yeast
1 T ea. Garlic Powder & Onion Powder
blended in a food processor until smooth.
plus:
1/4 cup garbanzo flour
2 T arrowroot
1 cup wheat gluten
3 T olive oil
oregano, basil, parsley, fire-roasted tomato flakes,
ground sage, thyme, ground mustard, black pepper, red pepper flakes.
mix it up, roll it into links,
wrap each in foil,
put 'em in a steamer, or whatever means you have to approximate that,
and steam the sht outta those tubes for at least 30 minutes,
rolling them once or twice.
BOOM.
sausages.
-
so i simmered them in the spices, and oil, until the surfaces were sealed with flavor,
and i added them right into my spicy tomato sauce.
do that like this:
2 T finely macerated onion;
2 lg cloves crushed garlic;
2 T olive oil.;
^sautee that until the onions get clear,
and add:
2 tsp crushed red pepper;
generous cracked black pepper;
GPOP;
let the oil suck the essence of that fire into it,
and then douse it out with:
1 cup crushed tomatoes
1/4 tsp salt
a little splash of chili oil.
now, i don't know how hot you like yours.
this version has all the flavor, and the spiciness creeps up after a few bites.
arrabiata means angry.
fra diavlo is more recently made-up, and american in origin.
are they very different?
not really.
but,
i personallyprefer the way arrabiata sounds.
-
so,
in terms of this sandwich-
there's sausages, sliced,
and sauce, spiced,
combined and cooperating..
that's good.
the other element is the pepz.
and they're pretty simple, too.
one small sweet onion, finely sliced into strips.
fry it up on medium heat in oil,
and add in, as you go,
1/2 poblano, red, yellow, and orange swet bell peppers.
i used the little ones, because i prefer their texture.
yup.
all the same flavor, but half the skin, and less time to cook.
smart.
when the onions are caramelized, and the peppers are soft,
toss in a punch of fresh basil. torn and tiny, to wilt into the blend,
mysteriously adding subtle notes of harmony to all that hot fire.
give all that one last toss,
and it's done.
-
hey, do me a favor, and consider that bread, baby!!
those are hoagie buns, from scratch!!!
1 1/2 cups flour;
2 T butter;
2 T olive oil;
2 T wheat gluten(accidnetally dumped in a LOT);
1/2 tsp salt;
1 tsp sugar;
let your stand mixer (which i hope you've purchased by now)
blend all that together,
while a cup+ of warm water, with a pinch more sugar, and 1 T of yeast
all activate for roughly ten minutes.
when it's a bubbly foamy frothy festival of live cultures,
add it in,
turn the power up on your mixer,
and beat that dough UP.
give it 30 minutes to rise,
then form 3 long loaves,
let 'em rise in shape for another 'nother 30,
slice the tops,
pop 'em into the oven for 15-20 minutes, at 425F,
until they're as golden as heck, or at least, as golden as you'd like,
and voila.
buns.
-
peppers, saucy sausage, more peppers,
and then,
just because too much is the right amount,
i tossed on some thick fried garlic sprankles.
if you're ever unsure whether or not your sh!t goes to eleven?
the solution is easy;
add more spranks.
***********
is that going to be the pinnacle of my italian endeavoring?
no.
it's just the beginning.
i had to start somewhere, right?
sandwiches are great place to begin.
i didn't eat alone, either.
nope.
my buddy carlos came through to break bread,
talk about food,
listen to music,
and crack jokes.
that was nice.
food tastes better when you share it.
that's a thing;
never quiet, never soft.....

Wednesday, January 25

MAS TACOS.

guys,
i've reached critical mass.
uh-huh.
i'm now making more dinners than there are days in a week,
and i think that might be over the limits of overkill.
too much is the right amount,
...don't think i don't know that's the truth...
however,
my body can't fit much more food inside of it.
now,
i've got a prodigious appetite.
that's something all the folks around me know.
so,
if i'm sayin' i'm out of room,
you'd best believe there's no room.
yesterday could've been taco tuesday.
but,
i still had one last semi-semolina whole-wheat sourdough
pizzacrust proofing in the fridge.
..........wait.
see?
right there.
there are missing pieces of the preamble to the story.
i mean, i'm letting you know there was one last one.
how about that?
i never even told you about the other three that came before!
neighbors,
there's gargantuan megalodon-gluttony going on
like a marinara mariner's sauce-in-the-water feeding frenzy
all at once, but all behind the flippin' scenes!
like i said, it could've been taco tuesday,
but instead,
it was time to make some moves,
and go for the gold with a TACO PIZZA!!!
yuuuuuuup.
guys,
i will NOT pick between two super-agreeable situations.
pizza or tacos?
weak.
pizza AND tacos is more like it.
if i can have both, you know i'm gonna, because i've gotta.
in the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress test kitchen,
i'm the maestro,
and i'm positive i'll always get what i want for dinner.
mmmmm.
so,
check it out:

C'MON!!
the crust is crunchy as heck.
and firmer than a crunchy taco, of course.
those are still for sh!t.
after the first bite, this 100% naturally leavened disc stayed intact,
and not once did it splinter into soggy shrapnel.
interestingly,
i made it by reactivating a sourdough starter i'd had sleeping
tucked in at the way back of the refrigerator for months.
that's awesome.
this is the original managua masterwork that started it all, y'all,
resurrected and recharged and really freakin' delicious.
-
i always add lots of vegan butter, onion, nootch, GPOP,
a minced scoople of chilis, and ho'sauce to my refried-style beans.
yeah i do.
i like 'em exxxtra-expert.
they made a great and very solid foundation for all the rest of the stuff.
i got daiya mozzarella, and daiya cheddar on there,
the taco blend, as it were-
and over that i tossed down a heavy handful of black beans,
sauteed with a little bit of onion and oil.
...how about some black olives?
don't mind if i do.
from there,
i spooned out scoops of salsa fresca at irregular intervals across the surface.
it's so simple, but it's so delicioso, bro:
1 large tomato;
1/4 cup onion;
1/2 jalapeno;
2 cloves garlic;
2 T chopped cilantro;
1/4 cup sweet bell pepper
2 T lime juice;
GPOP;
salt and pepper.
i had this marinating for days.
the flavor is incredible as the acids begin to dissolve
and preserve the whole thing at the same time!
it really gave the pie some depth.
sliced jalapenos?
yes!
i'm not afraid of a little spice.
a few red onion sprankles,
a few more fried garlic sprankles,
and it went right into the oven for 20 minutes,
at 480F.
that seems long, no?
i know.
it IS long,
but sourdough doesn't give a sh!t, man.
anyway,
when it got browned and crusty,
i put the finishing touches to it-
avocado!
scallion sprankles!
cilantro sprankles!!
(the sprank game was muy muy experte this time around)
and lastly,
to crank it to eleven,
a drizzle of tahini/lemon/sourcream SAUCE!!!
***********
if only i hadn't eaten a whole other dinner as well.
jeez.
i'm pigging the F* out.
often.
i don't want to be a big fat blarpity mess.
really, i don't.
the thing of it is-
the flavors are calling me,
and what's more,
i'm listening.
remember what i said about three other pizzas?
yep.
i did a little of that all week as well.
teleport:

this one i showed off a little via other social media.
real talk- fried eggplant is SO dope.
salted slices of a small thin-skinned italian jaun,
dredged in a flaxmeal-crushed chia-soymilk-nutritional yeast slurry.
and breaded with semolina, crushed cornflakes, oregano, basil, GPOP,
black pepper, parsley, and arrowroot.
a hot skillet, a big glug of olive oil,
and a flip or two, after a minute of three, to get 'em golden,
and you're cooking up the TRUTH.
mmm.
kids,
it's got hummus instead of sauce,
and sliced cherry tomatoes for a little juice,
fried garlic sprankles,
because rules is rules.
wedges made from sliced circles of daiya provolone
got all kinds of brown and bubbly....
that's pretty sexxxy.
and lastly,
a few sprigs of fresh basil to finish it off.
i ate that like it was my first time having food.
*
and how about this one:

BROCCOLI RABE IS GREAT!
...if you blanch the bitterness away in boiling h2O for two minutes.
uh-huh.
homemade chickpea sausages, activated with all the sauce,
and upgraded to vegan pepperoni through the liberal soaking in
of smoked paprika, hot paprika, fennel, and black pepper.
yumyumYUM.
fried garlic sprankles?
understand this, buddy.
they're great, and pizza tastes better with them on it.
a little nutritional yeast,
a whole lotta thinly-sliced caramelized onions,
daiya mozzarella,
crushed tomatoes,
and cashew-garlic chee' underneath.
that's the beauty of pizza.
it could be just sauce and bread, and it'd still be AWESOME.
*
what?
how's that, now?
you want one MORE?
ok.
check out the veggie deluxxxe:

I'M ALWAYS EXCITED TO EAT PIZZA!!
heavy on the crushed tomatoes on the bottom,
with no underchee'.
exxxtra daiya, to compensate.
caramelized onions,
chopped kale,
shredded radiccio,
braised broccoli,
red onions,
and olive oil drizzles.
huh?
OF COURSE i put the spranks on it.
don't be dumb.
***********
that sourdough crust was a winner.
100% wild yeast.
2 cups of semolina
2 cups of a.p. flour
1 cup of ww starter
1 T salt
1 1/2 cups of warm water
1 T vital wheat gluten,
and a whole bunch of no-knead, no joke time.
yeah.
bulking all day- as in, like, 14 hours.
plus, a cold proof for another 'nother 12 overnight,
before being divided,
packed in individual baggies for convenient pizza dispensation,
and re-refrigerated for at least another 10 hours!
this last one went 72 exxxtra hours in the cooler, with no ill effects at all.
-
i've got a lot to say about food.
i'm trying to catch up.
i've got b-sides and blooper reels going back as far as thanksgiving.
and in between,
i'm still experimenting,
documenting,
adjusting,
and ingesting all of it as it unfolds across the kitchen and onto my plates.
i need to get out of this house more, in a non-dog-walking capacity,
or i might become a five-hundred pound boring boar before long;
never quiet, never soft.....

Tuesday, January 24

FALAFEL PARTY!!!

dudes!
from out of nowhere,
like an assassin's bullet,
the lightning-striking dinnertime blitzkrieg hit me full force!!
that's no joke-
i was wondering,
like,
all damned day,
just what in the heck i was gonna do for dinner.
i had plenty of time to ponde the mealplan,
as all of my clients didn't bother to show up.
nope.
not one.
honestly, it was pretty cool. juts this once,
because i got the opportunity to climb into a new painting,
a valentine, in fact,
and that was the first time in a long time i had enough minute
strung together to get into some non-skin no-blood art-making.
i wouldn't want to make a habit of it.
i prefer going to work and making those sweet stacks of fabulous moolah.
anyway,
i started my february stuff early,
and i made all the phone calls i'd been procrastinating,
(guys, who else hates making appointments?)
so,
with a surge of non-profit productivity swelling my senses,
i headed home to the unknown quantity, and hidden variables
of a monday night meal for one.
here's the thing-
luck was still on my side!
i wasn't home any longer than it takes to engage in a very affectionate
super-roll-around floor-cuddle with crabtree,
before the solution came to me.
what haven't i had in a while that is totally expert;
as well as indulgent;
filling;
fulfilling;
crunchy;
salty;
spicy;
squishy;
hot;
cool;
and mother-effing DELICIOUS?!
there's only one thing, man.
FALAFEL!!!
yeah!!!!!!
i went all in, and i went all out,
and i went after it like savage stormswept starving shark-glutton of the first order.
mmmhmmmm.
i'm over here trying to have GOOD days, dudes.
and the key is not to wimp out around suppertime.
on the ones,
i went a little bit rogue on my falafel,
and it's non-traditional as a mo'fug.
but,
i'll tell you something, bro-
i regret not one motion of my new methodology.
check the falafel-style-new-balls-type teleport:

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOORD!
are those homemade flatbreads?
of course they are.
don't be dumb.
for serious-
once you get yourself started on that path,
it's very difficult to go backwards to those stiff storebought jauns.
real talk.
*
i did these breads like so:
-
1 cup flour;
1/4 cup brown rice flour;
1 tsp wheat gluten;
1/4 tsp salt;
2 T yogurt;
1 T olive oil;
black pepper;
1 tsp bakey powpow
1/4 tsp baking soda;
1 tsp lemon juice;
1/4 cup hot water.
+ brown rice flour for de-sticking, and dusting.
knead it, blend it, and pull it apart into 3 equally-sized blops.
i pat 'em, and pulled 'em, and eventually rolled them round with a pin an' that.
each one gets a zap of oil in a skillet, on high heat,
and each side cooks for a minute or two- it'll bubble,m it'll puff up, and you will love it.
six sides, three breads, one mission:
hold the fillings together at all costs.
mmhmmmmmm.
*
i made my falafel-ish balls differently, as i mentioned.
in fact,
i went completely off-book, and off-road,
and forged a whole new something for my mouth.
i mean it.
instead of relying on binders to hold a bunch of beans in place,
i added a bunch of beans to a starch in the first place.
those potato fritters i've been messing around with are so freakin' good,
i tried to use that template as a basis for more than just the one style.
yeah!
it worked like a charm,
and i'll be doing more with this in the fiture for sure.
what's the recipe?
roughly, it's this:
*
1 potato, diced;
1/4 onion;
salty water.
boil that sh!t up until it's soft.
set aside.
-in a separate bowl, combine:
1/4 cup whole chick peas;
1/4 cup chick pea flour;
2 T arrowroot;
GPOP;
lots of parsley, cilantro, thyme;
a healthy shake of crushed red pepper, black pepper, cumin, cayenne;
a little bit of coriander, ground mustard, sumac ;
splash of soy sauce;
splash of ho'sauce;
drizzle of olive oil...
now you'll add the 'tatoes and onions,
and mash it all up.
the arrowroot should starch it up fairly quickly, but,
you may wanna shake a little on the surface before you handle it.
don't worry. it all gets absorbed into the mix, and it all tastes great.
i started by making big balls.
that was dumb.
i adjusted them to half that size,
and ended up pan-frying them in hot oil for about 3 minutes per side,
so the tops and bottoms were crispy, and the centers were hot, but softish.
they looked so flippin' good, i had to tune up a handful while i cooked.
that's a statement i rarely make, neighbors.
i'm not much for sampling before the big headfirst heapin' helpin' is served.
this was a special circumstance, wherein my excitement got the best of me.
the new hottness should never be ignored, y'know?
that's right.
*
so, we got our bread sorted.
and we got falafzzz poppin' off exxxtra hot and juicy.
now we just need to sexxx 'em up.
bruhbruh,
you KNOW i'm not scared to add some fixin's.
no way.
i gotta pack 'em full of flavor.
rules is rules.
NObody likes a wimpy falafel.
so,
there's hummus on there, of course,
and thinly shaved red onion, for that ZING.
pickles are a must,
(i used little gherkins, and sliced 'em myself, for the cutest little circles)
pepperoncinis aren't optional. they're mandatory.
if you've ever been interested in how to make a falaf' more expert?
...this is it.
yes.
that vinegary tang is the balls with all of these balls.
salad?
always.
parsley, purple cabbage, and cilantro, with lemon juice, was the right choice.
cool, crisp, crawnchy, all at once.
nice.
is that it?
of course not-
too much is the right amount.
we got ourselves some homemade salsa fresca picante,
only it's straight from the fridge where those flavors had been marrying together.
hot and cold is where it's at.
neighbors,
these big burly foldovers are molto molto dope.
it's almost gross that i terrorized all three by my lonesome.
although,
i'd have hated to have even one less bite.
that's how good they were.
and there's still the sauces to consider.
sriracha is good for you.
it's on there.
tahini is good, too. the more lemony the better.
this batch was a concentrated combo of citrus and creaminess
that really held it's own among all those other huge flavors.
DAAAAMN.
how could that get any better?
coolwater cukes for cleansing the palette,
lemon wedges for squeezing,
and just to make sure the taste went to eleven?
sumac sprankles for the WIN.
***********
what?
you think that's a lot of work for one sandwich?
well,
for starters,
it was THREE sandwiches.
and also,
if you aren't trying to get fresh with the flavor,
what the heck are you even doing?
c'mon.
what are you?
some kind of a half an A*-hole?
don't you think you deserve the dopeness?
i know i do.
and although it's up to me to make it happen,
i'm relieved,
because that's the one way i can be sure that it will.
big action on the stovetop,
big action on my plate,
big action in my bellyhole-
take the time to take it to the next level.
it's worth it;
never quiet, never soft.....

Monday, January 23

BUFFZZZZZ!!!!

buffalo girls go 'round the outside,
'round the outside,
'round the outside....
ok.
actually,
there are no girls in sight.
nope.
not anywhere, not at all,
not even one little tiny bit.
but,
there is a LOT of buffalo SAUCE.
and honestly,
i think i prefer that these days.
mmmhmmmm.
neighbors,
i still had three extra fat slabs of seitan still soaking from my last batch.
i did.
and i'm not the type to squander that sort of succulent sustenance.
no way.
so,
with the whole of the woodsly goodness absolutely shuttered up and shut away,
sequestered in front of screens where they all fixated and focused
on sunday sportsball suckery...
i figured that since i couldn't beat 'em,
and since the regional team was likely to win,
ensuring a serious surge of swollen-headed at-home
backseat benchwarming bravado and braggadocio,
i should at least try to summon some slight semblance of team spirit.
but, i mean, in the form of food.
yup.
vegan, considerate, compassionate, positive, and powerful,
yet, still slightly situationally appropriate to the stage as it was set.
guys,
what do suds-swillin' sports-turds love?
buffs.
uh-huh.
buffalo wings.
little baby arms and legs by the bushel.
so gross.
but,
buffalo seitan?
yeah!!
SO expert!
i fired up a platter,
and i think i did myself some creditable culinary concocting.
tell me what you think-
check the exploded-buff-style-sauce-masterpiece-type teleport:

BUFFZZZZZ!!!!!
sauteed in the sauce,
i quartered each steaky cut of seitan,
and took those dozen wedges straight to a medium hot pan,
where, after a brief moment of dry sizzlin',
i tossed in 2 tablespoons of vegan butter,
and two tablespoons of sriracha,
as well as hot paprika,
regular sweet red paprika,
Garlic Powder, Onion Powder,
black pepper, and crushed red pepper.
i let the butter dissolve, and bubble, and blend into all that spice,
coating the whole pan, and all the pieces in fresh-to-death fuego.
and then,
i turned it up.
yuuuuuuuup.
buff sauce is not for the lazy, the weak, the delicate, or the dietarily dutiful.
it's for real mofos who do real sh!t.
so, with buttery fire already in place,
i took it to eleven.
2 tablespoons of vegan mayo,
and an impossible dousing of louisiana ho'sauce, shake after shake,
so that the already red recipe became an orange glowing batch of seared sexxxiness.
i served it up over a slab of gently toasted, slightly buttery maple sourdough.
uh-huh.
bread is good for flame-mouth.
a little seitan-broth-blanched braised kale gave it some texture,
and then,
because rules is rules,
i had to give it the ol' celery sliver salad.
that's how it's done.
hmmm?
well, yeah,
OBviously i wasn't finished with it yet.
too much is the right amount.
there are red onion AND cilantro sprankles on top, too.
all in all, that's one epic feast.
in fact,
it's a heroic heap of hottness,
and it's about the slipperiest, sauciest seitan i've made in a minute.
but, that's not all, y'all-
spicy fries?
heck yes!
i love a seasoned cayenne and GPOP jaun.
potatoes are dope.
french style, they're even better.
i baked 'em,
but it didn't hurt anything.
i figured on consuming enough fat in that brutal buff business.
....and i was right.
but,
with a little cup of smoky ketchup, too?
c'mon.
presentation counts.
although,
if we're being honest,
i only dipped couple fries in there.
ketchup just isn't my thing.
i thought i'd give it another 'nother shot.
it so happens that while i can use it
to conceal my disappointment in an inferior fry,
these superior specimens were only diminished by it's application.
oh, well.
*
so,
like i mentioned,
i ate it all all alone.
no buffalo girls,
no syracuse girls,
no utica girls...
basically,
there were NO girls.
i should've made some ranch dressing.
that would've guaranteed a girl or two to come sniffing around.
they LOVE it.
ha.
c'mon.
and while the rest of new england was sh!tting it's pants
over the team they aren't on securing a spot in the superbowl,
i was doing the dishes,
and some sniffling,
as my cold wasn't as completely cured by the high-heat spice as i'd hoped for.
making food is good.
making good food is even better.
making the most of my time with crabtree,
in the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress,
as time unfolds along the creases of a secret blueprint i'm not privvy to?
that's the best....that i've got to look forward to.
aww.
it's all really happening, kids.
the sauce is hot,
the temperature in here is too,
heck,
so is my fever.
i think you're s'posed to starve those?
no way.
i guess i'm just gonna be sick a little longer,
because i've got ideas for food i'm dying to try out.
now,
where're my hungry ladies at?
just kidding-
i'm not sharing;
never  quiet, never soft.....

TRICERATOPS!!!

what's the coolest dinosaur?
yup.
triceratops!
it's my favorite, anyway.
those triple horns? dope.
the frilly armored collar? dope.
the fact that it's a real life vegan monster from the far flung past,
a preposterous beak-mouthed precursor to all the coolest vegetarians?
DOPE.
sure, lots of people tell me lots of different things about dinosaurs.
that's no joke.
i get it, guys-
-tyrannosaurus has tiny arms... hilarious.
-'raptors are so smart (they're the size of turkeys, you jurassic fanboys)
-longnecks are so cute. (that's a land before time film series reference.
you're reaaaaalllly young if you don't get it- they made F*ing 30 of them)
here's the thing-
if you don't like triceratops?
you're probably a jerk.
i'll even allow for him to be in your top 3.
but if he does't take the bronze?
i don't know if we're friends, man.
-
neighbors,.
sometimes time is of the essence,
and ingredients are at a minimum.
and adorable delights are lacking in my actual
real-time 360surround-sound high-def life.
...when that happens,
i just go for broke by going after what i like.
y'know?
and what do i like?
cookies.
triceratops.
hearts.
cuteness.
put it all together and what do you get?
check the teleport:

DINOSAUR CUTIE COOKIES, KIDS!!!!!
and speaking of dinosaur cuties:

C'MON!!
shout out to my kids for being expert.
and expert is as expert does;
which is exxxactly why i made triple-colored-tri-horn treats!!
here's the set-up:
*
oven: 375F, in advance.
-
cream together in a medium bowl:
1 cup of sugar;
1 stick + 3 T vegan butters;
1/2 tsp salt;
1 tsp vanilla;
1/2 tsp lemon exxxtract;
zest of  1/2 lemon.
add in:
2+ cups flour;
1 tsp baking soda;
1 tsp baking powder;
2 T vegan yogurt;
1 T lemon juice;
-
get it nice and uniform,
and roll out the dough pretty thin.
the thinner you make it, the crispier the cookies,
and the more of them you'll get.
no pressure.
i like a fat triceratops myself.
-
after the first blonde lemony dozen,
complete with cutout hearts,
i separated the dough into handfuls,
and added 2 T cocoa to one,
and 2 T strawberry powder (pulverized freeze dried strawberries) to the other.
there you go, bro.
three flavors.
the heart cutter was the same, so the hearts were the same,
so it was a simple matter to switch 'em out,
and maxxximize the super-cuteness of my dinotreats!!
bake 'em for 12 minutes, and you'll have dozens of perfect crunchy,
sweet, sugary buttercookie thunder lizards for lunch!
i LOVE triceratops.
also,
i LOVE a quick, easy, lovely, cool-looking treats.
in this instance, too much is the right amount
but of the finished product.
man,
i must've made 4 dozen at least.
that's a lot of dinosaurs.
and that's just what we need.
***********
the one thing about baking versus cooking in winter?
i feel my aesthetic is divergent.
uh-huh.
maybe you've noticed?
here's the thing-
i'm primarily a baker in the mornings,
i'm always up early,
feeding the sourdough starter,
stretching the loaves i've got leavening,
mixing butters and sugars and flours,
and doing all of that for hours
before i head out to walk the dog, run some errands, go to work,
and by the time i'm done doing all of the obligatory responsible adult tedium?
it's dark out.
that means i have reliably better lighting for cookies and cakes,
and as such,
i feel like there's more sophistication in the set-up still life scenery
of my cakes and cookies (even when they're ceratopsian)
than when it's post-civil-twilight, and after sunset-
that's when you'll find me doing some serious crop-and-edit artistry
under the artificial daylight of a megawatt bulb.
i just get this suspicion that i'm making cakes for ladies,
and food for dudes,
solely on the captured imagery i'm capable of cultivating and curating
under the available conditions that time and place determine.
it all TASTES great.
that much i'll stand up for, and assure each and every last one of you of.
but, it looks like two different dudes are making it.
at least, it does to me anyway,
and i'm the one doing all the work.
maybe there's some truth to that?
i'm just sayin'-
the probability of being multifaceted is likely increased
by being multi-disciplinarily inclined.
right?
i've just got a thousand and one faces to show,
and the nighttime dinner situation is NOT the same
as the dawn's early dough display.
i'm okay with that.
it's all really happening,
there's just more to it than i may have originally thought;
never quiet, never soft.....