Thursday, November 30

BYE BYE!!!

ugh.
NOvember, man.
it always finds a new ways to surprise me.
and, here's a surprise:
i'm zero percent sorry to see it go.
for decades upon decades it has long been my most despised month,
and it has managed to remain so to this very day.
as this mangy mongrel of a month draws to a close,
i'm reminded that baking is the best part of every month.
in fact,
NOvember couldn't thwart that aspect of my everyday life even one little tiny baby bit.
nope.
because baking is the best.
and treats? well, they're treats, man.
and treats are good for you like little glimpses of positivity,
couched in tooth decay and blarpity wasitlines.
i tried a variant of my go-to cookies, and i think i'm onto something with it.
mmhmm.
chocolate cookies, with maple syrup,
and those new white chocolate chips i'm into these days.
yup.
check the teleport:

c'mon.
with that slightly butterscotchy white chocolate drizzlin' on the tops?
you know i couldn't just leave 'em alone and let the remain circles of cocoa hottness, right?
i mean,
too much is the right amount,
and being that they are already exxxtra-thiccc and totally soft, but also a little crisp,
the only place with room to improve was the surface.
and i activated it accordingly.
would you care to ake some for yourself?
first things first, get those king david white choco chips.
then, follow the directions-
-
*
COCOA WHITE CHOX CHIP COOKIES!
-
preheat your oven to 375℉
-
in a medium mixing bowl, cut together:
1/2 tsp salt;
8 T (1 stick) earth balance butter;
1/2 cup raw sugar;
1/2 cup vegan white sugar;
2 tsp vanilla.
-
once combined, mix in:
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce;
1/3 cup real maple syrup.
1/2 cup cocoa.
that should make for a brown muddy pile of messiness,
to which you will add:
3 cups flour;
2 tsp baking powder;
1 tsp baking soda;
1 pkg white chocolate chips.
knead that dough until it's completely harmonious, with no clumps of clots of chips,
and shape them into 2" semi-flattened cookie-cutter-formed perfect circles.
y'know what i mean?
like flatten a big wad of dough, cut into it with the shape, press it to the edges,
remove the excess, and add it to the next one, so on and so forth,
until you've got about two dozen or so (maybe a few more)
space 'em evenly on some bakin' sheets,
and give 'em about 13 minutes in that hot oven.
it's going to smell incredible in your kitchen.
you've been warned.
the glaze on top is just melted chips, so i think you can handle that without guidance.
(i admit i used a couple buttery-scotch drops to smootherize the solution, don't be mad)
-
the last thing i NEED is more cookies,
but the first thing on my to-do list in the a.m. was to bake something.
i do NEED that, for sure.
the practice of staying keen-edged in creating things is all i've got to look forward to
as each morning gets colder and darker than the one before it,
and crabtree the terrible terrier is whinier and more irritating
for all the comforters atop his stinky little head.
that's real.
but cookies and cake and sh!t all help mitigate the mopey malaise of mediocre mornings.
yeah.
sweets are only literally sweet around here.
and i'm saltier than blood about all the rest.
***********
dudes!
i've been thinking, and that's never any sort of good news.
mmhmm.
as the month draws to it's inevitable and welcome end,
i can't help it.
the ideas that have forged my focus have reemerged at the forefront of my thought process.
chief among them?
everything costs something.
you can argue against that, coming at it from any vantage point,
but you'll just have spent a bunch of time doing so.
see?
everything costs something.
it's a thing.
and if you want that good-good?
the new hottness?
the big fun?
well, get ready, neighbors.
because there's an equal, but opposite, price tag attached.
it's newton's third, but on a meta-metaphorical-metaphysical level.
yikes.
i think that's why i am so uncomfortable having fun.
that's time i could've spent creating something.
the same goes for sleep.
that's a premium span sent right down the drain.
i recognize extrinsic values,
it's the intangibles that require a currency i can't convert.

without the bitter, the sweet's just not as sweet.
...that's the rules.
but,
once that sugar and spice and everything nice touches against tongue?
well, when it goes sour again- and it always does-
oh MAN, is it even MORE acrid than you recall it ever being before...
it's cumulative compounded crap-
a sort of emotional bioaccumulation of toxins and tannins and heavy effin' metals,
plus various other sore and salty subjective sensations....
until eventually, the hemoglobin is replaced by vitriol,
and the entire course of your coursing blood is venomous, poisonous, and caustic.
i'm sure, given enough time, if you're paying attention,
you just become a malformed mutation of demi-diabetic emotional malfunctions,
or a miserable old person who doesn't like anything....
oh.....wait a minute.
dang.
oooof.
what's my point?
it's simple-
i am a dummy-dumb-dumb.
yep.
why?
because i still put some power in retaining hope.
that's the truth.
i really do.
after all,
if one is to truly believe that there are no inexpensive interactions,
and that after our first initial pangs of pain, loss, disappointment,
and/or most other assorted detriments,
all joy becomes subjective and comparative by design.....
well,
then, i s'pose it must be hope that lets us foolishly forge forward with the knowledge
that while good is good, bad is quite literally everything else.
and hope is optimism with an immunity to pragmatism-
or, the absence of math in the face of unmetered and unmetered poetry.
y'see what i did there?
yep.
that's hope.
*
holy sh!t, kids.
i hate NOvember.
the early onset extra dark doo-doo butter keeps me indoors longer,
and that's when i get to thinking,
and that leads to reminiscing,
which in turn leads to dwelling,
which culminates in my crotchety amateur philosophomoric grumbles.
ha.
if you stayed past the cookie recipe, good for you.
i'm so sure you were uplifted by the effort.
it's all really happening, which is the whole point of it anyway.
now,
december had better be ready to deliver the goods,
or i'm going to have to take matters into my own hands,
and clap, snap, and slap the sh!t out of the ensuing holiday season;
never quiet, never soft, never give up.....

Wednesday, November 29

TUESDAY!

food is basically the one thing that keeps me going.
not literally, of course-
air and water also contribute to my continued survival,
but of the three vital components,
food is the one that gives me the feels.
i don't just eat for the sake of nutrients.
that sounds like routine maintenance, and that sounds terrible.
like vacuuming, or rotating your canned goods, or something equally mundane.
i'm not about that.
you've GOT to eat, and if i gotta, i'm gonna;
but you'd best believe i'mma freak it off, and make sure that ordinary
isn't an adjective used to describe what i come up with.
that said-
last night, me and my homeboy nate ate a LOT of tacos,
with a LOT of quick-pickled mixed veggies,
and some suspicious salsa,
and his homemade pineapple habanero ho'sauce,
and my homemade seitan asada,
AND a roasted baby potato and cauliflower blend that had us both pretty effin' psyched
to be at the dinner table doing our thing.
word up.
i mean, let's be smart about it, neighbors,
and take the time to do the math:
taco tuesday + too much is the right amount = expert.
that's the only solution set,
and when you add potatoes and cauliflower?
dudes,
c'mon.
tacos have never been better, in my opinion.
wanna see what i'm writin' home about?
check the calendar-dictated-menu-type teleport:

THAT'S THAT GOOD-GOOD.
the bad news?
i totally had an avocado ready to slice up, and i got so psyched on all those sprankles
that i completely got lost in the sauce, and forgot to activate it.
damn.
.....they still went down like individual victories against man and beast and nature.
mmhmmm.
when you feel like a conqueror after supper, that's how you know you did it right.
for real.
-
seitan recipes are a dime a dozen.
but mine is worth at least 11¢...
i don't know who takes the time to make their own anymore,
but i know without question that i couldn't imagine eating some store-bought jauns
ever again, after years of perfecting the F* out of my own special blend.
no jokes.
you want the basics?
it's all right here.
^^that's special, because you're special^^
-
and when you fry some strips up, with poblano and onion,
and season 'em with cumin, and cayenne, coriander, smoked paprika,
GPOP, salt, pepper, oregano, and lime?
you've just created the future in a skilllet, man.
that's pretty cool, huh.
yeah.
*
chipotle-dusted, soy-splashed, salt-and-peppered potatoes, and cauliflower,
crisped up and then covered?
guys, it make sense-
a cup and a half of halved baby-sized potatoes, and a cup and a half of cauli-florets,
roasted up at 415℉, from a cold-start in the oven,
with olive oil, scallion bulbs, chipotle pepper, and salt,
and, once golden, thoroughly softened and fully-activated, under foil, with that soy splash,
and a little more spicy-spice.
mmmmmm.
i might've hit it with some cayenne.
i might've gotten freaky with a few hard dashes of ho'sauce.
you don't know me, stranger, but you're about to find out-
*
what's dope about tacos is that as long as they're folded in some flaps of flour they're still tacos.
and with that in mind,
you can put almost anything in a taco.
(here at the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress,
we don't even kinda hang out with the crisp-shelled sh!t-crackers...softies only)
look:

we GOT that.
purple carrot discs? lovely!
cucumber crescents? crawnchy and cool!
scallion spranks? you know it!
baby lettuces, purple cabbage shreds, bay-bay spinach? yes. yes. yes.
tofutti sour cream dollops? um, yeah, that was a nice touch, and firm, which was even nicer.
dark tomato bits? weird salsa? cilantro leaves? OBviously, the answer is always yes!
-
and what about that sweet-and-salty slightly sour vinegary greatness?
y'know?
the quick-mixed-pix??!
rules is rules, and MORE is always the right call, y'all-
besides, once you've tasted the amazing flavor of that blend,
future tacos just aren't ever going to be as good without 'em.
real talk.
and it's just radishes, carrots, onions, peppers, and garlic, sliced up,
and covered in a brine of 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 tablespoon of sugar,
and just enough apple cider vinegar to cover all that veggie action.
bring it to a boil, let it simmer until the whole thing gets softened,
and let it cool on the stove until you're ready for it.
IT'S SO GOOD YOU CAN EAT IT WITH A FORK AS IT'S OWN THING-
and nate did exactly that,
because he's kind of a dirty little pickle licker, for sure.
awwwwwww.
but, like, not in a gross way, bro.
don't be a jerk.
...and  besides,
he did bring that fiery habanero pineapple ho'sauce, which counts for a lot.
he effs with the sauces, kids.
and that was good news for me and for the tacos, too.
***********
time takes a toll on us all.
these minutes all seem to slap the sh!t out of me,
and sleep isn't really an option at the end of the day, either.
how much sleep so we really need, though?
y'know?
i'm just sayin'-
i still do all the things i have to, even when i'm worn thin to the bone,
and run ragged on no rest-
does that make me wicked?
i don't know how it works, but i know that i'd be fine with never ever sleeping if i didn't feel so flippin' beat up in between those sparse shut-eyed expanses.
i could maybe use a few extra minutes in bed.
or, maybe, i just need to get stronger at being wide awake and ready to rock.
one thing is for sure-
i will not DO less,
so i may just have to concentrate on distilling sleep into, like, just twenty winks.
that's the stuff.
twice the sleep in half the time?
i'll let you know how it goes;
never quiet, never soft.....

Tuesday, November 28

BARS ON BARS!!

hey man....
dirty graceland.
you like that?
it's the name i've got for the treats i just made.
why?
because they're peanut buttery banana blondies,
but with chocolate chunxxx, and chocolate-peanut-buttery frosting, too.
get it?
like, elvis-type sh!t?
no?
oh.
well, that's probably because you're young, or disinterested, or dumb, maybe.
i dunno.
but, they're still called dirty gracelands, bro.
so, that's that.
......
y'wanna see 'em?
ok!
check the presley-type teleport:

HOUND-DOG!!!
hmmm?
well, it was a flurrying mess of a morning,
so i added those snowflaky sprankles for site-specific seasonal propriety...
dudes!
peanut butter is expert AF.
bananas are often pretty rad (in this instance they are VERY effin' rad.)
and chocolate chunxxx? as in: the BIG ones? 
those are dope, because they're so much MORE than a tiny little chip could ever hope to be.
word up.
...
i am positively delighted by the taste and texture of these dense, spongy, luxuriously thiccc treats.
that's no joke.
i hope you make 'em,
so i'm not just listing ingredients for no good reason at all.
but, even if i am, here it is, anyway:
-
*
DIRTY GRACELANDERS!
-
preheat your oven to 375℉
-
in a medium mixin' bowl, cream up:
1/2 cup raw sugar;
1/2 cup vegan white sugar;
1 stick vegan earth balance butter;
1/2 tsp salt;
2 tsp vanilla.
next, add in, and mash:
3 bananas;
3/4 cup non-dairy yogurt;
1/2 cup sour cream;
3/4 cup smooth natural peanut butter.
-
to that, sift in:
2 1/4 cups flour;
2 tsp baking powder;
1 tsp baking soda;
1 pkg BIG choco chunxxx.
-
mix it well,
and dump it into a 9" x 13" brownie pan,
where it gets baked for 30-35 minutes, all things being equal.
when it's golden, and fluffy, and aromatically activated,
remove it from the oven, let it cool,
and then cover it with a thick spread of chocolate peanut butter sorcery!
that's 1/2 cup chocolate chips, with a tablespoon or two of non-dairy milk,
and a glop of peanut butter-
go heavier or lighter depending on how chocolaty or peanut-buttery you'd prefer your toppin'.
melt it together on low heat, and just shmear it on there.
then, freak it off with your choice of nuts, dried banana chips, or spranks,
as you see fit!
yummmmmmmmm.
-
i hope you like 'em.
i know i do.
***********
i find myself frozen solid, waking up to single digit fahrenheit degrees,
and wondering just who thought that NOvember has ever been any good?
i'm certainly not sad to see it go, i'll tell you what.
and december?
well,
at least it's supposed to be dark, dismal, and dreary-
that's why they put all the lights up on all the trees...
we'd all be cave-dwelling carrion-crawlers otherwise.
honestly,
december has some highlights,
but i waited alllll month for thanksgiving,
and it went by in a blur.
now it's the last few days of this grey, lame doo-doo butter,
and they're creeping along as slowly as anything ever has.
what a bummer.
time moves too quickly, and too slowly, at the same time.
it's all really happening,
with subjective perspective skewing the view.
this is it.
cold as heck,
grayer than what's left of my hair,
and totally temporally temperamental;
never quiet, never soft..... 

HOT DUMPS!

damn, neighbors-
it's just that dumplings are hella F*ing good.
y'know?
like,
if you've got a little leftover filling in the fridge,
and you've got no desire to conspire with with your inner hot fire on some new-new,
there's really a great deal of comfort in the fact that a batch of hot dumps
is genuinely ready to be ready already, and that's just around the corner.
i mean it.
a cup of flour, a dash of salt, a splash of water, some kneading
(ok, a LOT of kneading),
and a little minute or two to rest and roll and cut out your circles or squares,
and then that pre-prepared filling shows up and saves the effing day, duders.
yup.
i get into the dumpling scene pretty heavily.
and i never make anything less than MORE than enough filling.
after all,
too much is the right amount.
you know it.
that's the unwritten (until just now) law of dumpling mathematics.
i will add that i might've overestimated my capacity for spicy food, however,
and made some not at all sweet, but 100% spicy soup to keep my dumpie-dumps safe inside of.
.....yikes!
uh-huh.
i guess the red chilis and jalapenos and crushed red pepper flakes were plenty hot,
but the sriracha and the chili-garlic paste and the cayenne
might've been what took it to the limits of my present tolerances.
awwwwww.
i'm just a delicate little diaper baby.........SIKE!
i fought through the hiccups nd runny nose, and slurped that sh!t like a gosh-danged warrior.
c'mon, kids.
i'm not about to weakly sauce out in my own sovereign barbarian bastion
of experienced excellence, just because the soup is too mutha-flippin' HOT.
what?
oh, well, i'm not saying i enjoyed it.
i'm just saying that i ATE it all anyway.
ha.
rules is rules,
and if you're gonna spice it up, you've gotta suck it down.
it's simply what's done, and we doo-doo that freaky sh!t as a matter of course.
i added fresh veggie sprankles,
and a whole lotta seared sesame-oiled seitan to mitigate the lingering numb tongue tingles
of an overly steeped pepper-seeded 'scenis.
*
sidebar: whatchy'all know about the 'scenis?
it's what happens when you choke on your food, often,
whilst also simultaneously mispronouncing words.
that's that 'SCENIS, pronounced 'sĒn-ǝss'.
...don't get it twisted.
*
ANYway,
all chokes and jokes aside,
the dumpling portion of this superior soup exxxplosion was TILTY and tight all night!
that's for real.
check the runny-nosy-type teleport:

SPIIIIIIIIICY BOI!!
one XL shallot, one yellow carrot, one stalk of celery,
plus three cloves of garlic, a 1/2 cup of cilantro,
3 T white vinegar,. 3 T soy sauce, and 5 cups of broth...
plus, 1 large jalapeno seeds IN, one small red chili, the same,
GPOP, cayenne, 2 T sriracha, and a scoople of chili-garlic paste.
^^ just like that, you've got broth.
the dumps, like i said, are super-simple.
that dough i described above, plus a scoop of brussels-tofu stir-fry fill-ups,
boiled right IN the broth like a big boss man, m'man!
yeah!!
with about 2 cups of baby spinach for health-supportive nutritive dominance an' that.
uh-huh.
and then all that tip-top spranky stuff to sexxx it up,
and those crushed red pepper flakes to freak it off.
i overdid it, of course, and i overreacted to my consequences, as well.
...that's just what i DO.
-
and just try to tell me that seitan does't look FIRE AF.
i'll call you a blind liar right to your mealy-mouthed fibbing effing face, buddy.
that was the TRUTH, as a sizzly-seared and sesa-meaty sossamon 'schuan jauns.
uh-huh.
that means it was gooder than good, for those of you new to the lexicon.
ok.
so,
dumps on dumps in soup can be great.
if you really don't like the spice, you should probably skip most of that peppery stuff.
if you don't like soup, you should probably skip most of the stuff.
if you don't like dumplings?
well, then you are most likely a total A*-hole,
and nobody cares about you anyhow, and that includes your parents,
who you've disappointed for the last time, kiddo.
awwwwwww.
the thing about the way i cook?
i don't measure anything.
in fact,
whenever i don't know what to make, i might sometimes just look at pictures of O.P.P.
(other peoples' plates) and reverse engineer what i think it might be, but from scratch.
mmhmm.
it's hard to list out all the everything, because there's almost certainly a little flippy-twist
i don't recall, audibly called off-the-cuff across kitchen stadium as needs arose.
you can't account for that in the listed minutiae of a recipe...
i'm trusting that you're a competent, capable, curious culinary conquistador,
and that you'll endeavor to explore all your own ideas with the gentlest nudge towards dinners,
or bakery-fresh blazin' biscuits, or whatever the heck i post on here.
make me proud, or don't. i'm not the boss of you, after all.
***********
alas and alackaday !!!
oh, me; oh, my- i'm guessing and second-guessing all of my gifty choices.
these are the perils of shystie piles.
and that's no laughing matter.
y'never ever EVER wanna have the small heaps of presents, man.
especially if you're the type, like me and mine, who don't enjoy anything,
but keep count of everything.
ugh.
we're a terribly greedy bunch of gluttons, i guess,
but,
that's hereditary infinite nature,
coupled with ingrained and modeled bad behaviors,
to produce something akin to the orange lantern ring,
or smaug's hoarding,
or, interestingly, like ebenezer scrooge every day before christmas day...
yeah.
so, like, for realsies, you can't go running around with a shystie pile of gifts.
nope.
no freakin' way.
the objectives here are bigger, beautifuller, and also, perhaps most importantly,
to do MORE than ever before.
it's additive, it's cumulative, and it's the only way i ever really feel like i'm moving forward.
damn;
never quiet, never soft.....

Monday, November 27

THE BEST!!!

apple pie is number one.
that's the all-time lifetime ranking of the premier pie in my line-up.
all-star apple activation is what i want.
ultimate apple magic is what i need.
incredible apple edible expertism is what i have.
word the F* up.
and while a lattice is lovely,
and a crOmble is divine,
a cinnamon swirl pastry shell is the TRUTH,
and anything else just seems lackluster by comparison.
i know,
i'm an inflammatory flamethrower of opinion,
but,
i'm also a maker of many pies,
so my subjective sauce is backed by decades of experience.
and that's no joke.
i made my very first all-by-myself apple pie waaaaaaaaaaay back in the day,
as the only boy in my elective high-school skills for living class, (that's a thing)
with my wonderful teacher, mrs. goudreau, some four-and-twenty years ago.
damn, dudes,
that's a LOT of pie making time between then and now.
so,
i call up the recollections or pies past,
and i drive headlong, and headstrong, into the future of crust and fillings
for you, and me , and everybody.
apple pie is where it's AT.
and this one?
this one right here?
this pie we enjoyed, in the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress,
as a family, a la mode, together, happily and hungrily???
yeah, man.
THAT'S the stuff that sweet dreams are based on.
have a look for yourself, via the pinwheel-apple-wizardry-type teleport:

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!
braided edges?!
swirls for days?
cinnamon and brown sugar and alllll the apples, in a flaky buttery golden crust??
yes yes YES YES YES!!!
too much is the right amount.
you shouldn't allow for anything less than that.
my favorite pie,
my favorite topping,
and baked to a good-lookin'-A* crisp!!!
mmmmmm.
i'll give you my pastry crust recipe one more time,
just in case you're too overwhelmed by the sexxxiness of this treat
to search back through prior posts for information-
-
*
PIECRUST, AGAIN!
-
in your heroically helpful food processor, pulse up:
2 1/2 cups flour;
1/4 tsp salt;
11 T very cold vegan butter;
3 T sugar;
1 tsp vanilla;
3-4 T vegan creamchee';
3-5 T cold non-dairy milk, added 1 T at a time, until the whole mixture is crumbly,
and sticks together when squeezed between your fingers.
easy!
-
wrap it, chill it for at least an hour in the fridge,
then roll it out on a well-floured surface, and put it in your pie pan, man.
i reserved half the dough for the rolls,
which go down soooooo easily as well--
-
that's 3 T vegan butterish;
3/4 cup brown sugar;
dash of vanilla;
cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg to taste.
creamed and spread across a rectangle of rolled dough, with 1/2" long edge left unsugared,
and moistened, to allow a sticky rim to adhere the roll in place.
you know what i mean. i know you do, and i believe in you.
rewrap it, chill that for ten in the freezer,
and cut it into slices when your pie is filled, to top it with tremendous terrificness.
word up.
...
the apples i used were macintoch, and cortland, and macoun,
just because i had 7 large and in charge ones sitting here.
use it up, wear it out, make do or do without.....
that's what they say, and i listen only when it suits me.
ha.
but, we peeled, cored, and sliced 'em,
then simmered 'em up with a glug of maple syrup,
a dash of lemon juice,
a handful of quick oats and a handful of brown sugar,
a shake or three of cinnamon and ginger,
a splishy-splash of vanilla, a pat of butterish, and a pinch of salt.
that all got cooked down to 75% of it's original mass,
and cooled so as not to dissolve the dough in the pie pan.
i mean, guys, c'mon, don't eff it up before yo even start.
be patient, and let things cool a baby bit.
it'll only serve to elevate the end results to higher levels of loveliness.
-
i braided the rim, over those swirls, over those apples, on top of that crust,
and i baked that baby b!tch at 400℉ for somewhere around thirty minutes?
maybe less.
depends on your oven, and how golden you like your edges.
if you don't have vegan ice cream,
go get some.
this one is vastly improved a la mode.
that's for realsies, seriously.
-
BAM!
apple pie, for your eye.
my favorite, lookin' hella good, tastin' hella better,
and disappearing into our bodies at a breakneck pace.
if you aren't devouring dopeness, what are you doing with your life?
there's a lot of pie out there in the world,
but THIS one was one for the record books.
i'm glad for it.
and i'm satisfied with a big ol' wedge, or three.
-
don't get it twisted, either-
i'm a HUGE fan of streusel.
OBVIously.
that sh!t is great.
it's just not as expert as cinnamon swirl scaled armor.
true story.
*
go bake a pie.
don't skimp out.
go big.
you'll be glad you did,
unless you're a jerk;
never quiet, never soft.....

LIL PUMP'!!

WHY IS PUMPKIN PIE SO SMOOOOOOOTH??
i mean, i get it...
pureed pumpkin is creamy.
but,
c'mon.
it's squishy, and it's soft, and it's mushy-ish.
dudes, it's NOT my favorite.
...nope.
but,
my daughter harvest is craaazy about it,
and i therefore i feel obligated to fire one up every thanksgiving holiday weekend,
just to show the kid that i care about her,
and accept and respect her poor pie preferences.
yup.
that's the right answer, and it's the one i chose again this time around.
it's a time for giving thanks,
and i'm pretty thankful for my kids, so i behaved accordingly.
what?
yes, i made a whole other 'nother different pie for maple, too.
what do you think i am?
some kind of a A*-hole?
jeez....take it easy.
there's no place for playing favorites among one's children.
there's no harm in playing favorites with pies however,
because they're not around long enough to hold grudges and blame you for sh!t.
even so,
i still hooked this little second place finisher up with all the hottness-
check the pumple-poop-type teleport:

WORD, THOUGH, BRO!
those deep fissures let you know that it's perfectly baked,
through and through,
for maxxximum toothsome texture
(a little firm, but still very submissive to those teeth, y'heard?)
yep.
that's IT.
and yeah, i freaked it off with those shortbread acorns.
really, i wasn't about to let it go onto the plate without some fresh-to-death accentuation, man,
you know that's not my style.
i need that nicey-nice.
i need that activated exxxtra stuff.
i need MORE.
....even on a blarpity pumpkin-A* pie.
rules is rules.
that's a half-oatmeal half-graham-cracker crOmble crust, too.
i just couldn't do all of one or the other.
it's against the doctrines dictated by my infinite nature.
-
at any rate,
if you'd like to know my recipe for pumpkin pie, or at least, this one, this year, for this pie-
here it is:
-
*
PUNK-A* PIE!
-
preheat your oven to 400℉
-
in your completely awesome food processor,
combine:
1 pkg graham craxxx;
1 cup rolled oats;
1 tsp vanilla;
4 T raw sugar (the big crystals)
1 tsp cinnamon;
-
pulse that into a crushed-up crumble, transfer it to a bowl
that doesn't have razor-laser-sharp blades in it, and add:
3 T melted earth balance butterish;
2-4 T non-dairy milk, stirred in one at a time, until the mixture is sticky, but not wet.
-boom-
that's your crust waiting to be pressed into a pie tin or pan.
-
now,
let's make that filling, kids-
-
in that same food processor, pulp up:
1 15 oz can pureed pumpkin;
1 block pressed and drained silken tofu;
1 T flour;
1/4 cup tapioca;
1/4 cup maple syrup;
1/4 cup molasses;
2 tsp vanilla;
1/4 cup powdered sugar;
cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, mace, and cloves, according to your tastes.
smootherize that into one sloppy plop-out,
and spread it onto your crust.
i didn't even prebake the crust this time,
i just let the whole thing run for like, 30 minutes, on convection,
turning it 180° halfway through the bake time.
...and it came out lookin' hella tight, no?
i know!
(i put the cookies on there immediately after baking it.)
-
don't eat it hot.
that's my numero uno tip.
body-temperature doodie-butter is what you get if you move in too quickly.
be patient, and everyone will be happier with the outcome.
uh-huh.
***********
so,
now we're here.
staring at the end of NOvember,
getting ready for the present-giving holiday season.
neighbors,
i'm the first to admit that i do not care one whit, nor a lick, a tick,
or even an iota, for the spirit of christmas.
nope.
i'm on that presents sh!t, son.
yuuuuuuup.
i know, i know-
it's commercialized,
it's capitalist,
it's avaricious,
it's materialistic......
but i hang out with that.
hard.
why?
because the tingly bell-jinglin' togetherness of the season has forever eluded me,
but presents are tangible.
yeah, man.
i go for the absolutes.
and i can absolutely represent of some well-wrapped thoughtful present presentation.
...and don't even get me started on stuffed stockings.
you start with exxxplosively excellent stocking stuff,
and turn it up to eleven from there
real talk-
i stress out super hard, every year, about doing it correctly,
because i am an avid adherent to the master mantra:
too much is the right amount.
everything else is cindy-lou-who loser stuff.
y'all can keep your 3x heart engorging,
but i'll be over here with the ribbons and the bows.
that's no joke.
we can thank all the fiercely false females who fooled my yuletide heart for that.
those death's head ghosts of christmases past sure left an indelible mark on my overall enjoyment.
the idea that i'd end up singing "fahoo fores dahoo dores"
after losing out on all the stuff i like most is insulting at best, and infuriating at the very least.
i LOVE XI-mas.
that's the truth.
and yet, for all the purpose-driven preparations i undetake,
i really HATE the imposition, i presume to be pressured and powered by poor people,
on 'feelings'.
lemme get those boxes and boughs, buddy.
i'll take real over feel every time;
never quiet, never soft.....

Saturday, November 25

CRUMBLES!!

seckel pears?
they're small, but they are sooo mightily sweet,
and that's a good thing, if you're not trying to over-sugar yourself.
of course,
i sort of AM trying to over-sugar myself,
because i think i could maybe afford to be a whole lot sweeter in general.
however,
i had a big basket of those sweet, small, seckel jauns
and i quartered the whole lot of them, save one,
and tossed them with 2 tsp powdered ginger;
3 T brown sugar;
2 T non-GMO organic cornstarch;
1 tsp vanilla bean paste;
and a cup and a half of toasted pecans!!!
that's like, four cups of pear wedges, hanging out and soaking up all that stuff.
yup.
what for?
for filling up an exxxtra-special holiday tart, obviously!
word.
i love a fancy treat,
and since i was already going to make a few classic pies,
i figured i should probably freak it off with a luxuriously indulgent fancy one, too.
rules is rules, after all,
and i was sure that somewhere on the dessert plate there need to be steusel, too.
wait.
what?
yes.
fancy tart, streusel topping, gingered pears and pecans,
AND a supreme shortbread crust....
damn, that's a lot going on,
but, too much is the right amount,
and responsibly hesitant weak sauce is NOT invited to my holiday facestuffin' sessions-
nope.
not now and not ever.
but,
here's what IS coming through on that TILTY tip this weekend:

I GOT THE TARTITUDE FORTITUDE GRATITUDE ATTITUDE, DUDES!!!
mmmmmmmmmmhmmmm.
that's HUGE flavor, friends.
seriously.
the crusty shortbread lining the rim is pretty much a superhero.
you wanna make a little/
ok.
-
*
SHORTY-BREAD!
-
preheat your oven to 400℉
-
in a medium mixing bowl, combine all the following things:
10 T vegan butter;
1/2 tsp salt;
2 tsp vanilla;
1 cup dark brown sugar;
3 T vegan creamchee';
add:
2 cups flour;
3-5 T non-dairy milk-
hand stir that stuff, until it sticks together, but isn't wet at all.
wrap it up, chill it out in the fridge for 15 minutes-1 hr,
roll it our on a well-floured surface, and press that 1/4' thick goodness into a pie pan;
or cut it into shapes for decorating;
or hand form little cookie blops;
or whatever, man.
but, bake it for 12-15 minutes on it's own,
or give it some twenty-something-style time limit if it's part of a tart,
pie, grunt, slump, cobbler, or crumble.
word up.
*
and speaking of crOmbles-
that streusely crumb is KEY to succeeding at tart activation.
that's real.
and, it was so simple to concoct on the fly!
to do it to it, y'just moosh together:
3 T vegan  butts;
1/2 cup kapowdered sugar;
1 tsp vanilla;
1 tsp cinnamon;
1/4 cup rolled oats;
3/4 cup fresh-ground oat flour.
cut and chopped and combined until it's all one big tasty jumble of goodness.
i mean, come ON, that's as simple as it gets.
without it, though, your treats are bullsh!t,
and so are you.
true story.
***********
i love a good treat.
i love a good story.
i love a good time.
wait.
one of those things is NOT true.
i am not fun,
and i do NOT pursue fun for it's own sake.
i don't get it.
i have things to DO, guys.
all that effing off just seems weird to me.
sure, i s'pose regular-A* ordinary folks need a break from their daily trivialities,
but,
maybe, and i'm certainly no authority on the subject,
maybe they just need to do MORE, harder, fatsem louder, and longer-
so there are far fewer trivialities,
and far greater endeavors towards tangibly rewarding purposeful awesomeness?
i'm not out having fun, kids.
nope,
instead, i'm making an effort.
hey, now,
could be i'm just pure rubbish at it and that why it takes so much work.....
i'm not sure, but i think that to get to where i wanna be,
it won't be from F*ing off and having fun.
who knows?
hopefully, the answers present themselves while i'm working,
or i'll likely be too busy to notice them otherwise;
never quiet, never soft.....

MAPLE PUMPKIN!!

so, i've got this girl, 
and she loooooves pumpkiny stuff,
which i think is a common by-product of being a girl in this modern age.
but, she really gets psyched on it,
and i get psyched on making treats that are guaranteed to be a hit with the folks
who're dining at the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress.
which means that the girl power gets what it likes,
just so i can get a little collateral residual power from their enjoyment.
....and some cake, which i happen to like as well...
it's reciprocity in motion, and it creates a synergistic treat-making scenario all
up in this immediate vicinity.
who doesn't like that, am i right?
(the answer is A*-holes; that's who doesn't like it, and they're not invited, bro)
the thing of it is, i'm not some sort of lazy diapery waterbaby,
so when i do get after that pumpkin treat activation,
i want to make sure it goes to eleven, y'feel me?
word up.
and that's when the pumpkin love really gets going.
i mean it.
check the maple-creamy-dreamwork-type teleport:  
PUMPKIN IS FOR THE LADIES!!!
dudes, c'mon.
that's a superfancy bundty butthole shape...
and this is the very first time it released a cake from it's clutches 
without holding onto a little as a tithe to the bakery gods.
that's cause for celebration, and luckily, i just so happen to have some cake!
yeah!
i mean, take another 'nother look at this sweet baby:
YEEEEEAH!!!
is it moist?
F* yes!!
is it fall-spiced like a muhfuh?
you'd better believe it, babe!
does it have all the sweetness of maple syrup AND brown sugar?
don't be dumb.
did you really think i'd skimp out on hottness?
jeez, that's not how we doo-doo that sh!t around these parts...
uh-uh.
we bring a big ol' ruckus with the whipped creamy sugar, syrup, 
and pumplestiltskin stuffin'.
yummmmmmmmm.
you wanna make one?
i hope you do.
i wanna make another one, actually.
lucky for all of us, i have all the steps laid out,
and i'm about to let y'all in on what's poppin',
so you can concoct your very own, if you'd like.
here you go, kids:
-
*
PUMPLEMAPLECREAM CAAAAAAAKE!!!
-
preheat your oven to 355℉
-
in that indefatigable stand mixer you most certainly have,
combine:
1 cup brown sugar;
1/3 cup maple syrup;
1/2 tsp salt;
1 tsp maple extract;
1/2 stick (4T) vegan earth balance buttery goodness;
2 tsp vanilla;
1 15oz can pumpkin;
cream it together loosely,
then whip it around on high-ay-ay until it's a lighter colored aerated awesome sauce!
add:
3 cups flour;
2 tsp baking powder;
1 tsp baking soda;
cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, and mace, if you like that sort of thing;
give it  a quick turn around the bowl,
and pour in 1/2 cup non-dairy milk.
whisk it all up so that it's a fluffy af batter,
and spoon it into a very well greased fancy bundt, or regularly greased boring bundt,
and bake that sweet baby b!tch for like, an hour.
...or until a cake tester comes out clean from the tallest center point.
WORDIMUS PRIME!
cool it down, flip it over, trim and level it for perfectly proper plating,
and ice that spicy little monster like a pro.
i used 1 T vegan tofutti creamchee', and 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste,
and 3/4 cup powdered sugar, and a splish-splash of non-dairy milk,
to get a ferociously thicccc glaze.
and then i dusted it with kaPOWdered sugar sprankles!
mmmhmmmmm.
too much is the right amount.
...and that's the right way to make it expert.
***********
this weekend,
my niece cash is crashing with us.
yeah, that's right,
it's full-blown family togetherness in full effect.
my sister mary grace, and her husband tim are in the woodsly goodness,
and we're all spanning time as a cohesive team of appreciative participants.
i love that.
it isn't often that my peoples from back home come through.
in fact,
it averages about once every eight years or so-
the forest realm is NOT for the convenience-reliant urbanites of my bloodline.
weird, right?
i know.
i'm for certain the odd man out-
but not today, buddy.
nope.
today, i am one of the many werewolfen warrior poets practicing cooperative family fun.
and that's something special.
we're here, at the same time, in the same place,
and it's all really happening in all the best ways.
i'm tattooing my sister later, and i'm pretty excited about that, too.
this is IT,
and it's good;
never quiet, never soft.....

Friday, November 24

GRATITUDE!!!

did we give thanks?
OBviously.
what do you think we are?
an armada of effin' A*-holes?
c'mon.
the whole day is designated as one for maximum mindfulness of all you've got.
and we LOVE it when there are clear and understandable rules.
for realsies.
did we give thanks?
damn, dudes, i can't believe you'd even wonder about that...
sure,
we're a whole household of bold barbarians,
with rough-hewn edges, rollicking ambitions,
persnickety perspicaciousness, and pugilistic predispositions-
yet still we're objective in our perspectives,
not to mention the subsequent subjective objectives,
and let's be sure to include a note as to our superlative berserker battle-beastliness,
as it relates specifically to our savage stormswept scalding skald-style temperaments, too.
yeah.
we can be a cadre of coarse corsairs,
BUT,
we absolutely embody the spirit and memory of gratitude and generosity.
......and that's no joke.
mmhmmm.
my friend ian attended, for his first ever all-vegan thanksgiving,
and it was honor to have him here.
my professionally lovely ladyfriend, kayla, was also here of course,
for her first ever all-vegan thanksgiving, as well.
plus, harvest and maple, my champion children, put in their share of the work,
and held it down alongside me at the stovetop all dang day.
that's sort of a big deal.
to adequately activate a truly expert exxxplosion of good times,
with good foods, for these good folks at the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress,
i had to really bring the juicy juggernautical shark-gluttony far further than
the farthest-flung reaches of active participation.
what does that mean, exactly?
it means we made 19 separate edible and exceptional foodstuffs,
some of which included several homemade, from-scratch components within,
which in turn means that we brought the FUEGO to the fortress,
and it was a thunderously thumpin' success!
F* yes!
check out the first round plate-up, via the thanks-for-everything-type teleport:

TOO MUCH IS THE RIGHT AMOUNT!!!!
neighbors,
we done did it.
would you like the list of all that we produced?
yeah?!
cool.
1. a pan of pink-salted, olive-oiled, buttery, from-scratch fresh-baked focaccia!!!
2. grit-activated maple-syrup-sweetened up-north cornbread!

3. apple-cidered, maple-sugared, vanilla bean whole berry-burst cranberry SAUCE!!

4. seared scratch-made seitan and spinach stuffed whole button mushrooms!

5. custom-blend tempeh bacon crumbles and caramelized shallot brown-sugar-topped mashed sweet potatoes!!

6. butternut squash, maple syrup, cinnamon, dried cranberries, and pecans!!

7. freestyle red lentil/tofu/seitan-style roast, with black 'n' jasmine rice stuffing!!!
(this one was the best one yet, by a country mile!)
8. great gooey gouts of homemade gravy, from a crucial brown-buttery roux!!
9. fried-garlic-and-olive-oil italian-style kale greens!!
10. soy-glazed sesame oil-seared brussels sprouts!!

11. RAINBOW ROOT VEGGIES, with cauliflower and squash and sprouts! s'kyoot!
12. custom cashew-shee' and daiya-baked mackin' chee'ronis!!! a crowd favorite for sure.
13.garlic mashed red skin-on potatoes!
14. homemade red lentil vegan sausage-packed Folk Life sourdough STUFFING,
with leeks, carrots, celery, and nootch!!!!

15. kabocha squash bowl,
with red-rice, arugula, tempeh bacon, shiitake, seitan, and pepita stuffing!
kaBOOM!!!
guys,
that's a LOT of food,
but, as you already are all well aware: rules is rules;
and overdoing it is the only was to go.
......
and that's not even including all FOUR desserts.
yuuuuuup.
i said it earlier, but it bears repeating:
too much is the right amount.
16. maple cream pumpkin cake!!
17. gingered pear and pecan shortbread tart, with coffee-cake crOmbles!!
18. pumpkin mutha-effin' pie!
19. cinnamon-swirl-topped apple pie!!!
-
bro,
the recipes for most of that stuff are here already, somewhere.
i mean,
there are probably five years worth of food posts on this site.
this isn't the one where i tell you how to make the magic happen.
this is the one where i show you all the spells we've cast.
*
five people, ALL the gravy, MORE desserts, MORE breads, TWICE the potatoes,
and all of it really happening in keeping with the notion of abundance.
family togetherness?
that's expert.
cooking with the whole clan?
that's expert.
overdoing it to eleven, and then doing it some MORE?
you know it.
***********
friends,
i didn't even get pictures of everything.
nope.
and there was SO much of it, too.
in fact, there was such a maelstrom of magnificence swirling around my head,
i didn't even get a single shot of everyONE all together, either.
damn.
i guess so much was going on, all at the same time,
that i was too dang busy livin' to make a record of the proceedings.
that's probably a good thing, right?
when the moment is so commanding you just lose yourself in the experience,
and all the past and future fade out at the periphery?
i am grateful as F* for the time i have been given,
and for these worthy warrior poets who've opted to share their portion of space with me.
we're lucky.
i know it, and i will never, not now nor ever, take that for granted.
friends,
i hope this missive finds you well,
and that the world around you is welcoming and wonderful.
failing that, i hope you're feeling full as F* and ready for representing on some
hall-decking and deck-clearing on that leftover business.
wordimus prime;
never quiet, never soft.....

Wednesday, November 22

SUPA SOPA SUPPA!!

black beans, bro.
they're pretty much in the top three beans.
they might be the silver medalist, really.
what?
really?
that's reserved for chick peas, man.
OBviously.
frijoles negros have still got it going on, though, for sure.
they've got that special something that a whole lot of beans are missing,
and they make one hell of a righteous soup.
y'feel me?
\black bean soup is what's up,
and it's what i had poppin' last night.
...here's the thing:
i've got this full-time girl-A* girl all sorts of up in here,
and she loves the holy heck out of 'em.
but, and check this sh!t out-
the first time i'm 100% all about blacking out the bean game to the fullest levels
that a pot of hottness could ever allow?
...she wasn't even around!
womp womp.
huh?
no. i didn't cry about it-
that just meant MORE mutha-F*ing sopa for ME!
and i never feel badly about exxxtra servings of deliciousness.
word.
guys,
maybe i'm not being descriptive enough.
black bean soup usually looks like greyish brown mud.
that's NOT sexxxy.
i do it half-chunky style-
for better texture;
a much improved physical appearance;
a more clearly defined flavor profile;
and, i like prettier food than a basic bad bowl of blops.
with that in mind, here's what i came up with:

SUPER!
and really it's all about all the exxtras, isn't it?
i think so.
i've got peppers on peppers on peppers,
and avo-flippin'-cados,
and ho'sauce,
and cilantro,
and scallion sprankles all over the tippity top.
THAT'S the way to do it to it, neighbors.
really.
mmmmmmmmmmm.
black bean soup!!!
that's what i needed.
and that's what i got.
you wanna make some?
it's ridiculously easy, but it tastes like a super-complicated symphony once you start slurpin'.
that's real.
here's all you've gotta do:
-
*
SOPA-DOPE!!
-
in a 2 quart pot, on medium heat, with a tablespoon of olive oil,
saute:
1/2 sweet onion, diced;
1 carrot, sliced thinnish;
1 celery stalk, also thinly sliced;
3 cloves sliced garlic;
1/4 cup minced poblano;
1/2 cup tricolor sweet baby bell peppers;
1 diced jalapeno;
1 cup halved baby tomatoes;
give that a decent sizzle, until the onions are softening,
then add:
2 tsp each: oregano, basil, parsley;
1 tsp each: cumin, coriander, black pepper, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder;
1/2 tsp each: thyme, cayenne.
3 T apple cider vinegar;
1 T better than bouillon soup base;
1 15oz can black beans, in their dark-as-heck juice;
2+ cups water;
1 bay leaf;
salt.
give that a simmer for a spell,
and then add cilantro a dash of ho'sauce and a splash of liquid smoke.
that's basically it.
give it fifteen minutes of simm', then immerse your stick-mixin' blender,
and pulverize half of it, roughly.
leave it chunky, for maxxximum enjoyment, please,
then add all that other other stuff on top.
kaBOOM!
you're a pro, just like that.
-
***********
massive masa tostadas?!?!
sure.
what else would you dip into the broth, bro?
c'mon.
don't be dumb.
they're even simpler-
-
*
CORN TOASTIES!!
-
in a small bowl, mix together:
1/2 cup slightly heaped masa flour;
dash of salt;
1 cup warm water;
2 T lime;
1 tsp olive oil.
mix it up, let it sit, form about five patties, and fry 'em up, for a few minutes,
on both sides, in some melted earth balance butter.
dudes!!!
that's really all you've gotta do.
i'm serious.
you like that?
me too.
***********
i'm baking presently,
then,
i'm walking crabtree.
then,
i'm tattooing.
then,
i'm driving to massachusetts and back, to retrieve harvest and maple.
then,
i'm baking again.
today is the day, kids.
the big pre-game prep-work exxxplosion.
there's so much to do, and five hours or so are going to get lost in vehicular travel.
that's a hard style,
but it's a true story,
and i s'pose the real talk of real life is a lot less awful
than any career-fabulist's rose-colored glow.
i'm busy as hell, and i'm not en joying a single tic-toc of any of it.
maybe that's what grown adulthood feels like?
to get what i want, i've got to do what i do.
until such time as i discover how to get past the hands-on portion of the program,
that's all i've got.
busy busy busy busy busy;
never quiet, never soft.....

Tuesday, November 21

NICE DUMPS!!!

yoooooo!!!!!!!
who out there effs with dumps?
...on your face?!?!
...on my face?!?!
...for everybody???!!!!
oh, really?
well, you know who else gets exxxtra-sexxxy on the dump scene?
........it's me, kids.
yep.
i love-love-LOVE-LOVE-LOOOVE a good dumpling.
that's right.
and i'll never feel ashamed about it, either.
me and dumps go way back,
to my early years back in connecticut,
at house of chao, where the legendary dumplestiltskins were allotted in small doses
to provide just a tiny little baby bit for everybody,
which kept 'em all on tenterhooks for MORE.
mmhmmm.
these days, tho, i'm in charge of my own destiny,
and i'm determined never to go without an epic overabundance of dumplings,
whenever i so choose to indulge.
and last night, i determined that it was an absolutely necessary dumpling night.
uh-huh.
and when y'boi gets into the dumpling spirit,
the laws of Folk Life active participation come to the forefront from the jump.....
for example,
i had THREE kinds of dumplings.
i had THREE kinds of wrappers.
i had TWO kinds of mushrooms for hot and sour soup,.
and i had THREE techniques for preppin' all those diapers of dopeness.
WORD.
do me a quick favor, friends, and check the teleport:

DUUUUUUUUUUUUMPS ON OUR FACES!!!!!!
guys,
there's a LOT going on.
and all of it is F*ing expert.
that's no joke.
would you like to know more?
ok.
let's start with the standard-issue pouches of power:

fried brown rice and dual-sossamon sesame potstickers!!
what's in 'em?
*
half a block of exxtra-firm tofu;
1/2 minced onion;
with one small finely-diced yellow carrot;
1 tsp grated fresh ginger;
1 1/2 cups shredded brussels sprouts;
a heavy dash of three-spice mirchi seasoning;
2 cups chopped baby spinach;
GPOP, rice wine vinegar, black pepper, and tamari, all to taste,
fried up in a few tablespoons of sesame oil until it's all browned a bit.
-
and the wrappers?
*
1/2 cup brown rice flour;
1/2 cup + 2 T white flour;
salt;
two color sesame sprankles.
1/3 cup hot water.
kneaded up, rested, floured rolled,
and cut out in circles with the top of my special dumpling glass.
i got a glass, and i only use it for dumps.
rules is rules, bro- and that's my favorite part of my process.
DAS IT!!!
-
you fry 'em for a minute in toasted sesame oil,
then you dash 'em with a few tablespoons of seitan broth (or water, or whatever),
cover 'em until all the liquid is absorbed, and then you give all of '
em a little flippy-flip on the other sides, depending on how crisp you like your skins.
-
what?
oh, i know you also want to knowALL about the SAUCES
...there are two, naturally.
double sauce is the essence of the duality of our infinite natures.
or something like that.
*
sauce one:
2 T tamari;
2 T rice wine vinegar;
1 tsp sesame oil;
1 T agave;
Garlic Powder, Onion Powder;
dry ginger, dry mustard, black pepper;
fresh crushed garlic (2 small cloves);
fresh chopped scallion.
*
sauce two:
2 T sriracha;
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds;
1 tsp soy sauce;
1 tsp rice wine vinegar;
1 drop liquid smoke.
-
two sauces are essential.
one for lubing up the works,
and one for firing up a little spicy digestive activation.
trust me, or not, or try it for yourself,
but i think you'll find i know what i'm talking about.
***********
and what about those red oil jauns??!!?!
dudes!
y'all ain't ready.
but, you may wanna get ready.
seriously,
they had the FIRE:

C'MON!!!
what do you want to know?
the wrappers were easy...
-
1/2ish cup flour;
1/2 tsp sugar;
salt;
1/4 cup warm water.
-
the filling?
that was easy too:
1/2 cup ground homemade seitan, fried up in a spoonful of sesame oil,
with soy sauce, a handful of scallions, 2 cloves of thin sliced garlic,
a splash of rice vinegar, and black pepper.
simple, right?
right.
and then, after you fill 'em, fold 'em, fold their arms to make little dumpy cups,
you've got to steam 'em.
do you have a steamer?
no?
weird.
do you have a strainer and a pot and a lid?
then you DO have a steamer, it's just a sh!tty one.
these are actually rad on their own, but that's not nearly enough for me and mine
to fully enjoy the fat heap of hottness.
nope.
because the whole point of these is the red oil.
yuuuuuuuup.
and that's where the majesty and mystery and magic all dwell.
-
*
RED OIL SAUCE!!
heat up 1/3 cup vegetable oil with:
1 tsp hot paprika;
3 shakes of cayenne;
black pepper;
2 cloves crushed garlic;
4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes;
let it marinate off the heat for a bit,
and you'll have something exxxtra-especially awesome to drizzle on your dumps, dudes.
toss half of the sauce,
plus a handful of chopped cilantro, in a  tall-sided bowl with your steamy seitan scoops,
and roll 'em around until they're well-coated.
then, you're gonna add a little bit more flavor,
just because too much is the right amount,
dump the rest of that boomfire butt-lubin' lusciousness right on top,
and add some scallion sprankles, too.
NOW you're in business, brother.
this is what you need.
and it has all the best hot and spicy szechuan jauny-jauns for your mouth to masticate to.
true story.
***********
TSO-STYLE SHIITAKES??
who knew that was a thing?
i mean, i knew, naturaly.
that's not so surprising since i was the one making them.
but, they're reallly realllllly good.
mmhmmm.
and while that would've been it's own thing, and been outstanding at that,
it was just the activator for a whole mess of wondrously  regal tangy hot and sour soup stuff.
yup.
i don't half-step, because i'm not a half-stepper.
i do it to it, to eleven.
that's the way it has to be.
look at this bowlful of all the best stuff:

PORTABELLA MUSHROOM SOUP DUMPLINGS!!
wow!!!
*
the wrappers for the dumps are simple:
3/4 cup flour;
salt;
1/4 cup+1 T hot water.
kneaded hard and long, rested well, roled, cut, foldedm etc etc etc.
-
*
the filling is pretty straightforward, but very very deliciously hearty-
1 cup minced baby bella  mushrooms;
1 large crushed garlic clove;
1/4 cup minced carrot;
1/4 cup chopped onion;
sesame oil, black pepper, GPOP;
1/2 tsp crushed ginger;
1 cup diced pea shoots.
cook it down, hit it with a splash of reduced sodium soy sauce,
and chill it out.
-
i make my fillings in advance of any actual dumpling creation.
that's the key, really,.
cold fillings have had time to marinate their flavors,
and the temperature won't ruin the wrappers by being so hot that they soup up the dough.
it's the smart way to rock it out.
be smart.
make your fillings the night before, or at least in the morning....
-
*
the soup was so nice.
perfectly tart, definitely spicy, pleasantly flavorful.
and while not exactly a traditional version,
its a damned good version, and that counts for exxtra points, for certain.
-
in a medium-sized pot (2 quarts?)
heat up:
1 tablespoon of bouillon;
3 T chili-garlic paste;
1/3 cup cilantro;
1 stalk bias-sliced celery
1/4 cup diced onion;
3 cloves sliced garlic;
1 heaping tablespoon minced fresh ginger;
heat that for five or so minutes,
and add 5 cups water.
bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer,
and add:
4 T reduced-sodium soy sauce;
3 T sharp white vinegar.
2 BIG handfuls of baby spinach;
and all your dumplings.
by the time the spinach is wilted,
the dumplings will be cooked through
(under five minutes)
and the soup is ready for scooping.
i added mung bean sprouts and pea shoots to each bowl to sexxxify the appearance,
and add some crawnch,
before the triumphant angelic elevation of those shiitakes seized the reins
and brought the whole bow to heaven and beyond.
word up.
*
shiitake tso-tso good!!
-
1 1/2 cup uncooked shiitake strips,
sizzled in one tablespoon of sesame oil,
with the SAUCE in full F*ing effect-
-
2 T soy sauce;
2 T rice wine vinegar;
dried ginger;
2 T molasses;
2 tsp raw sugar;
GPOP;
1/2 tsp cayenne;
1 dollop of sriracha;
1 splish of sesame oil.
2 T water;
1 T organic non-GMO cornstarch.
slurried, splashed on top, and allowed to caramelize.
just. like. THAT.
now you're a genius, with massive levels of flavor exxxploding off the charts,
and into your mouth,
like some sort of futuristic savory savant-garde spicemeister .
*
i'm not saying you should do anything....
but, i'm subtly suggesting that a dumpling night of these proportions
could be the key to unlocking your full potential.
can you afford to risk it?
i know i couldn't.
and i'm glad i got involved in my dinnertime scene as hard as i did.
my whole body was nourished in ways that simply eating could not have provided.
lucky me.
plus i shared it with my people,
and that's just as important, really.
experiences that overlap and intersect form stronger bonds than the ones that run parallel.
that's essential interwoven tapestry of life sh!t right there.
who'd have guessed doo-doo dumpling diapers would be so
integral to lasting human interconnectedness?
i confess, i might've had some idea,
and orchestrated the event to strengthen a bond or three.
it's all really happening,
and i plan on making the most of every minute,
since way back, and from here on out;
never quiet, never soft.....

BUTTERSCOTCH!!!

i don't do scotch,
and i don't do butter, either;
but,
i do get a little excited when there are vegan butterscotch chips
stocked up inside the Folk Life & Liberty larder, neighbors.
yup!
i didn't know about 'em until i learned about 'em,
but now that i'm aware, nothing needs to be butterscotchless anymore-
i'll still abstain from butter,
and i'll steadfastly avoid scotch forever and always,
but i'm for sure gonna be baking up some of that new-new from here on out...
here's the thing-
little beige vanilla-y chips of creamy cake-tasting chocolate-style chips are
actually something that should be gross....
but they're NOT.
in fact, they're pretty dope.
that's real.
i knew i had to use 'em quick-fast and in a hurry,
so i did.
mmhmm.
there's no point in wasting time, friends.
and there is less point in wasting food, dudes.
y'all know about cookie pie?
it's just cookie dough made into one real big thick tasty cookie,
that is more like a cake-pie than anything else.
that means a soft center, and a crisp edge, and a thick slab of pure sexxiness
are all waiting for you, should you choose to create one.
i did so choose, and here's the proof:

KABLAMMO!!
y'see the sprankles of butt'scot's on top?
i doo-doo that freaky sh!t.
and i'll tell you something else-
there's a whole bunch of those little light-and-tights INside, too.
yeah, you know why-
too much is the right amount.
anything less is just plain ol' dumb, bro.
i like to make food.
more than most people, i think.
at least, for the area i live in,and the people here that i interact with,
it sure does SEEM like they can't be bothered with intentional inventiveness.
then again,
maybe all the culinarily creative types are all super busy at home,
firmly entrenched in the space near their own ovens,
and aren't the sort to want to leave the house to come and get tattoos,
sample treats from a conscientious creator of confections,
and simultaneously engage in stimulating conversation.
who knows?
i've got all that stuff and cookie pie, so my point of reference is the one
where it's all really happening all the time everywhere....
uh-huh.
so that's a thing, too.
ANYway,
i'll go on ahead and just figure that someday you too
might want to make a tasty lil pie like the one above.
to that end, i'll also provide the recipe,
just in case you're the type of person who likes to have one of those ready to reference
while you're stirring and adding an' that.
ok, ready?
GO!
-
*
BUTTERSCOTCH CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKE PIE!!
-
preheat your oven to 375℉
-
get yourself a 9" cast iron pan, and fold/crimp in a large piece of parchment,
lining it all nicey-nicely and easy-cleanable for the future.
-
in a medium mixin' bowl, crush and combine:
1 cup light brown sugar;
1 stick (8T) earth balance vegan butter;
1/2 tsp salt;
2 tsp vanilla.
-
next, thoroughly stir in:
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce.
-
to that wet mixture, i'm asking that you also include:
2 1/4 cups flour;
2/3 cup freshly ground coconut (from medium flakes of unsweetened tropical love);
1 tsp each bakey powpow and soda;
6 oz king david vegan butterscotch chips;
one large handful vegan mini chocolate chips.
-
knead it into a soft, but totally integrated dough,
and press it into the parchment-lined iron heaviness.
then add those b'scotch spranks,
and bake that sweet baby b!tch for about 25-30ish minutes.
you'll know when it's done, because it puffs up and gets good and golden-
the interior will sort of be soft even after it cools,
but that's part of the pleasure of this pie.
it's got the gooey goodness going OFF!
-
guys,
rules is rules.
huh?
oh, you know.
like, MORE makes everything better.
that's a rule, fool.
and i couldn't just leave that pie like that.
all golden and luscious, but oh, so plain on the surface...
no way.
i HAD to hit it off with the dark chocolate drizzles.
fully-activated additional awesomeness is mandatory in these parts.
word.
***********
the holidays are here.
like it or not,
ready or not,
believe it or not.
they're right up on us,
and i've got a LOT of work to do.
yesterday had me on some homemade seitan, homemade sausage,
homemade dumpling filling, homemade sauces,
and homemade morning-time busy business.
i'm all about the onslaught of edible expertism.
that's part of my obsessive compulsive infinite nature.
i HAVE to make the stuff.
because i WANT to eat it,
but where the eff else am i going to get it from besides right here,
crafted with my own two hands,
using recipes from inside my head,
to bring my thoughts to reality in bowl after bowl,
and on big burly platefuls of piled-high hottness.
you feel that. don't you?
i hope so.
if you can make it, you can have it,
and that's sort of the best, isn't it?
whenever, and wherever, i'm manufacturing whatever,
so i can partake of my own self-created culinary kaleidoscope
every flipping damned day and night.
i'm grateful as F* for the path found for myself,
and the trip i'm on is one where every stop is a pit-stop for ferociously flavorful fuel
for my mind and my body and my spirit and all that sort of bullsh!t;
never quiet, never soft.....

Monday, November 20

WHAT'S THIS?!

yeah,
i still do tattoos.
i know, right?
who knew?
i mean, all seven days a week,
i'm at AMPERSAND TATTOO,
doing something....
like,
yesterday, i was second-half busy making zips and zaps;
before that, i had a little first half XI-mas decorating...
uh-huh.
it's not always nonstop art-makery.
but it IS nonstop intentional activation of that active participation, for sure.
and sometimes,
i get to do some neat tattoos.
here's a few from recently for your face:

chopped-meat mayhem scars, under cover-up from a little freehand marky-marker scrawlin',
over all those gooey gross-out glops of overhealed body-stitch humanity!
damn.
i have the pleasure of getting to draw tattoos directly onto folks,
without stencils,
and those jauns almost always have exxxtra-flavor, and way too many lines.
that's sort of my thing.
now,
here's a little hybrid of lines and stencils and markers and sh!t:
 
word!!
beau gets cool ones, exclusively, and that's good for both of us.
lucky lucky lucky is what i'd call that.
girls?
i do tattoos for them, too.
nice ones, pretty ones, cute ones, and fancy ones:

TASTY LADIES GET DELICIOUS TATTOOS,
and that's what we like around here.
yeah!!!
ian is a solid fella,
and he started a pretty neat leg sleeve:

and again, drawn on, freehand, with my sharpies,
and lined, shaded, and colored just a baby bit, all in one day.
that's manly, and that's a whole lotta lower leg full of woodsly goodness...
-
ANYway,
i'm not just making cake, guys.
i'm making a LOT of stuff.
every day, all day, all the time,
because rules is rules,
and being activated necessitates being active,
like a flippin' activist;
never quiet, never soft.....

Sunday, November 19

NO-BAKERY!!

i'm makin' it without bakin' it,
and definitely without bacon in it.
you'd better believe it, neighbors.
no-bakes are good.
and there's certainly more than one way to no-bake up a batch of cookies and sh!t.
i should know, because i doo-doo that cookie cookery,
and i do it loud, fresh, hard, and in quantity.
yup.
that's the stuff. 
in fact,
i had myself TWO kinds of peanutty buttery barbarian big action activators recently,
and i have a feelin' there's probably even MORE where that came from.
mmmhmmmm.
here's the thing-
after the success of my white chocolate jauns,
i felt it a necessity to immediately set about making some dark chocolate realness,
with that crowd-favorite, graham-style crackery crOmbles, as the base.
...how dope is that?!
no need to respond, because i'm going to show you exxxactly how dope.
heck yeah!
check the teleport:
DEEP DARKNESS, HEAVY DOPENESS, NUTTY BUTTNESS!!!
c'mon!
dudes,
the crumbs as the bottom was a good move.
but the choco-nut on top is a great move.
the white chox drizz' is a dirty dirty touch, but it's necessary,
and furthermore, since rules is rules every damned day,
the chopped peanut sprankles made it expert AF.
DAS IT!
.
was it complicated?     far from it!
was it time consuming?     not even slightly!
was it messy?     it shouldn't be, if you're not an A*-hole!
guys!!
i can't get enough of that chocolaty peanut buttery flavor,
and i'm all about it in light and dark sides of the force.
word up.
i think that i'm lucky as heckfire to have the well-stocked, stacked and packed pantry
that allows me the luxury of making layers and layers of double treats and eats.
that's truly good fortune.
...that i can always indulge in the fancy-pantsed complicated creation 
of pretty much whatever the F* i want?
i am truly grateful. 
on the ones, 
it isn't everyone, everyday, that produces something new from scratch
just because the spirit and memory of Folk Life & Liberty possesses them....
...so i know i'm lucky to have caught the muse of makery magic.
and what's more,
i'm gonna give you the recipe, too.
ready?
y'like to hear it? here it go:
-
*
GRAHAM CRAXXX PEA'BUTT CHOXXX!!!
-
in a small saucepot, on low heat, on your stove-
melt 1 stick (8T) vegan butterish.
add 2 tsp vanilla, and pour that over:
2 cups crushed graham cracker crumbs;
1 cup powdered sugar;
3/4 cup natural peanut butter;
press that well-blended concoction into a 9 x 13 inch pan,
lined with foil, which has been greased for ease of release,
and allow it set in the fridge while you re-use that saucepot
to dissolve:
1 cup+ chocolate chips;
1 tsp vanilla;
2-3 T all natural unsweetened thiccc peanut butter.
once that is spreadably melted up,
pour it over the graham base, and smooth it out.
re-refrigerate it, 
and add the white drizzles after another 'nother 11 minutes or so.
mmhmm.
white choco chips, a little non-dairy milk, 
and low heat to turn the blanco solids into slippey lava.
that's when you turn it UP, and drop those peanut spranks on top.
otherwise, what are you even doing?
y'know?
too much is the right amount,
and if you aren't OVERdoing it,
you're doing it wrong.
*
i couldn't decide which one was superior,
and i still can't.
i might need to make MORE, to try to get to the bottom of it.
i know i'll get to the bottom of the pan faster than i can make up my mind.
uh-huh.
shark gluttony is the true winner in a contest like this.
***********
the sharkiest most-gluttoniest holiday is right around the corner,
and i think i may have more company than usual.
that's right.
last year,
it was just the girls, harvest and maple, and myself 
(and crabtree but he's never any help at all)
this year,
there's the very likely attendance of a couple of good guys,
and at least one more valuable viking vixen with all the fixin's.
yup.
it might be a real party.
a house party.
a Folk Life & Liberty Fortress Fiesta.
a gathering of gratitude and generosity.
a concentrated collective of concentric overlapping ghost circles of family togetherness.
who'd have supposed a year would change everything so much?
this is What Is now, and it's all really happening-
the unfolding blueprints of a secret universal dispersal of fortune and favor,
flowing forward from here to points unknown to me and mine,
but mapped out in advance along the paths and passages of warrior poetry in motion,
navigable only through active participation.
yikes!
that's a lot to be a part of,
but at least i won't be going it alone;
never quiet, never soft.....