Wednesday, February 28

TUESDAY BOWL!

goodbye february!!!
and not a moment too soon.
twenty-eight days was enough for me.
and really, it felt more like fifty-six years,
if the truth be told.
damn, dudes.
it was one heck of a loooooong lonely month.
sure it was jam-packed with tattoos,
and food,
and cruisin' around with crabtree.
but still,
i'm zero percent sad to see it go.
i'm ready to represent on some marching forward.
but, before we head into spring-ish,
we still had one more taco tuesday to dominate.
mmhmm.
after a entire morning full of fat-face-stuffing,
and an afternoon activated with some hot, thick, fat sicilian-style square pizza
from the joint next door to AMPERSAND TATTOO with our buddy todd,
i opted for taco bowls, instead of the taco board i usually operate on.
yes!
tasty bowls for our bellyholes, bros.
that's what was poppin' at the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress last night.
check the teleport:

kaBOOM!!!!!
purple kale, baby kale, and lettuce form the foundation.
over that, there's steamed cauliflower.
and we topped that off with ho'sauce-activated, GPOP'd black beans,
sauteed with onions, garlic and poblano, jalapeno and serrano pepper.
tight.
that's homemade salsa fresca on top.
THAT'S that good-good, guys.
yup.
tomatoes, tomatillos, garlic, red onion, sweet onion, green onion,
jalapeno, poblano, cubanelle, red sweet baby bell pepper, and cilantro;
all seasoned up with a shake of GPOP,
and limes by the squeezeful, too.
with pink salt and black pepper, and a LOTTA LOVE, too.
awwwwwwww.
we got the patented perfect pickled mixed vegetables,
this batch a big bunch of carrot, radish, jalapeno, garlic, and onion,
in that sweet, salty, sour cider vinegar brine.
it's expert af,
and it's mandatory most days.
seriously,
rules is rules,
and exxxtras are actually requirements in this household.
-
y'see that AVO-F*ING-CADO?
that bad boy was here for the big show.
he's always invited. and he always gets this party turnt.
-
we got cilantro sprigs, lime wedges, baby sweetie tomatoes,
and scallion sprankles, too.
that's how you put the lusciousness to a simple salad,
and make it a turbo-elite taco bowl from the future...
believe it.
***********
there's no reason to dwell on february.
we're moving on.
we're headed forward,
into the waiting arms of marginally warmer weather,
measurably brighter days,
and much deeper connections with the wild, weird, waiting, waking world
or worthy warrior poetry.
i'm being for real.
it's ALL really happening,
and we're part of it.
march into it,
and make it magical;
never quiet, never soft.....

COFFEE BREAK!

decaffeinated.
that's what i have to do if i'm going to do it.
yeah.
i eff with coffee, sometimes.
and no, it's not usually a great idea.
but,
if it's had the caffeine content drastically reduced,
i'll get busy with that big business.
huh?
oh, i know, right?
the purists will all call bullsh!t on decaf, and that's cool,
because they can still use their preferred super-high test jauns they like.
i'm not the overlord of caffeine, man.
i'm just sayin' MY heart will exxxplode if i get too deep into the caffeine zone.
i still made a coffee cake though.
as in: coffee cake, not cake for having with coffee.
although a double coffee cake with a cuppa would be tiiiiiiiight....
here's the thing, guys-
coffee cake is burly, and it's thoroughly rich like rappers are, too.
this one has alllll the melty chocolate chips in there as well,
which is pretty flippin' expert in my opinion.
that fudgy chocolate really adds a powerfully mocha undertone,
and that ties the whole thing up in a neat little package.
i'm serious.
check the teleport:

COFFFFFFFFFFFFFEE BREAK!!
word.
it's SO moist, and it's sweet, of course,
and it's got an acre of coffee flavor all up in it to win it.
and it's winning, for sure....
you want the deets?
i got 'em for you.
here:
-
*
COFFEE CHOCOLATE CHIP CAKE!
-
preheat your oven to 350℉ on convection if you're so equipped,
or 365℉ if you're not...
-
in a mixin' bowl,
cream up:
1 stick (8T) vegan butter;
2/3 cup sugar;
1 tsp vanilla;
1 tsp coffee extract;
1/2 tsp salt;
1 tsp ground espresso-roasty beans;
2 T instant coffee.
-
whisk in;
2/3 cup non-dairy yogurt.
-
then sift in:
2 1/4 cups flour;
1 tsp baking soda;
2 tsp baking powder;
4 T tapioca flour;
2/3 cup mini dark chocolate chips;
1/4 cup strongly-brewed coffee;
3/4 cup non-dairy milk.
-
stir it all together, and spoon it into a greased 9" round springform pan.
bake it for 36 minutes like the chambers of wu-tang...
 -
it stayed steady on that fudge tip, b.
and that's dope.
the melted chocolate added a lot to the overall awesomeness.
but,
too much is the right amount,
and that meant we weren't done yet, man.
nope.
there's both of those drizzlers on top that really turn up the decadence to eleven.
real talk.
melted chocolate ganache is always tight.
coffee icing is hella thick, and rich, and sweet, and bold,
and that's exxxactly what we need to turn this into a thermonuclear supernova
of that new-new hottness.
yup.
it's just powdered sugar, instant coffee, coffee extract, vanilla, and coffee,
you know:
like how you make icing.
and you do make icing don't you?
no?
well,
then you're effing up and missing out and that's a bummer.
i'd recommend that you remedy that immediately/.
and what's MORE?
it tastes dooooooooooope.
that's real.
***********
anyway,
time is ticking,
and the days are racing past.
february was busy as heck, and that was good thing.
the studio was poppin',
the exercise regimen was on point,
the heart-shaped food game was tight and tilty af-
it was eleven times better than jaun-uary, for sure.
and yet, it all costs something.
it does, duders.
the big bummer was that i am holy hell on relationships-
yeah.
it sucks to say it, but true stories bear out in the telling.
between the absence of my sweet thang for the first two thirds,
and the epic disagreeable detour that comes from pitting wizened grisly wisdom
against youthful adventures.
i will eff up a good time quicker than hurry-up, b.
and it's SO foreseeable.
i'm just a creature composed entirely of infinite nature,
and precious little nurture.
it's the curse of the overachiever.
i'm not even kidding.
there's no time for fake ones, hair pets, coddling, and excuse making.
and there's no tolerance for wasting time.
i wanna work more,
i wanna do more,
i wanna be more,
i wanna love more....
too much is the right amount,
and everything else is pillow talk;
never quiet, never soft.....

Monday, February 26

BREADBASKET!

are you ready?
well, do you like bread?
because if you don't, then you're definitely NOT ready.
i take a picture of every loaf of bread i make, man.
i do.
i like to document what works and what doesn't, 
even though i have not weighed or precisely measured a batch of dough
in years of kneady bulking and proofing.
that's no joke.
sourdough is an organic free-flowing temperamental living thing,
and like us,
it changes with the day, the weather, the temperature, the mood, and so on.
i'm doing my best to stay tuned in to the needs of my counter top starters,
and i'm getting better at it every week.
i bake a LOT of bread.
i do.
i like bread.
and baking bread is a fantastic thing.
cakes are great.
cookies are cool.
but bread is the superstar of the show.
that's no joke.
if you can bake bread, you're the boss.
no interview necessary.
you're hired and promoted in one shot.
anyway,
i believe in bread.
and i believe in homemade tasting better.
here's another enormous photolog of my journey into sourdough.
teleport:
country. 
country. 
country 
country. 
country. 
country.
i like a long hearty country loaf, neighbors.
they're perfect when it's time for Tea 'N' Toast,
and every flippin' mornin', i'l all about that life.
sometimes, the starter gets carried away, and there's enough for a mid-feed single loaf, too.
i do that with as much excitement as my twice weekly double-bake, for sure.
and they usually look pretty great, i must say:
every.
time.
i turn.
around. (^this one was eaten bit by bit over two-thirds of the country)
there's more bread.
waiting for me.
i'm not complaining.
rye, sprouted wheat, oatmeal, wheat germ, wheat bran, spelt, whatever.
i'm a huge fan.
it's kind of my favorite homemade thing that happens around here:
GOOD.
BREAD.
MAKES.
BETTER.
PEOPLE.
and that's a fact.
think we're done yet?
we're not.
you know the score:
TOO.
MUCH.
IS.
THE.
RIGHT.
AMOUNT.
jeez, that's a LOT of bread huh?
well,
yeah, guys:
RULES.
IS. 
RULES.
and that's all there is to it.
sorry about all the flour power photos,
i'm just proud of what's poppin' in my oven.
there's no such thing as too much of a good thing.
and there's no such thing as enough bread;
never quiet, never soft.....

MAKE-UPS!

i like makeup.
yup.
i said it.
i also like making up- stories, recipes, plans, etc.
i even like to make up- the kind that leads to making out,
even if it sort of has to be preceded by a falling out and/or falling apart.
mostly, though i like making up something to eat.
and if it can combine one or more of the other ones, too?
that's even better.
guys,
i'm an emotional baker.
ha.
i am.
like, the process is a meditative catharsis for my troubles and woes.
i'm not even a little bit kidding...
so whenever i'm unsettled, anxious, worried, or stressed,
nothing works better than baking up a little somethin' somethin',
to make sense and order using step-by-step creative problem solving.
y'know?
i made a single layer square cake,
and i used a big bucket of frosting to do it.
yup.
i really don't think i have anything i could write to really accurately measure
how much of each ingredient was in it-
in the moment of concoction,
i was busy as heck soothing the savage stormswept battle-beast in my heart, man;
adding up cups and teaspoons seemed a whole lot less important
than working out the kinks and bumps in my F*ing feelings.
jeez.
bake therapy?
is that a thing?
it might be.
after all,
what else should i be doing to deal with disappointment and despair, dudes?
it's harder to be dissatisfied with the WHOLE world with a slice of cake in your face.
word up.
making up something usable tangible to focus on and feel better about sounds good to me.
esoteric ideals are great, but have you ever HAD a terrific cake?
that's better in the here and now by a long shot.
woooooooooooord.
y'ever even seen a frosting based cake?
no?
well, let's remedy that right now- check the frosty-raspy-chee'-type teleport:

IT'S MOIST AND SOFT AND LIGHT!!!
neighbors,
i was accused of being gross for having a tub of failed frosting in the fridge.
which is fair, because i regularly make grandiose accusations of despicable doings
for far less, and far more often.
however,
i'm not sure i was wrong to hold onto it.
sure, i effed it up, and i couldn't recover anything usable from it for the top of a cake.
it was sloppy, gummy, and just too wet a batch of blops-
even with a baby bit of coconut that added nothing to the consistency.
(although the flavor benefited from it's inclusion.)
the thing is- it had a purpose.
i just had to think a little harder, under a little more pressure to produce something,
while i worked through my mixed-up feels about other other stuff-
i'm telling y'all: baking is my meditation.
here's how my brain worked-
butterish, sugarish, vanilla, milkish, and coconut are all things that go in cake,
so instead of creaming together the rough stuff,
we could just use up what's right there sitting around not contributing to much at all.
right?!
yeah!
and it worked.
one big tub of 'frosting', a few extra pats of buttery vegan replacement,
a few cups of flour, MORE coconut, a little salt and some baking powder and soda,
all just tossed into the experimental mixing bowl,
and thinned out with some non-dairy milk...
it looked like batter to me, man,
and when i dropped those goobieblops of creamchee' and raspberry jammie-jam
all over the top of the right-angled brownie-style baking pan,
i knew i was onto something.
i wish i'd been less distracted and mutteringly curmudgeonly while this was happening,
but,
as it stands, i still get to eat the thing,
and it's as expert as anything has ever been.
***********
i was up for forty hours straight.
i'm NOT bragging.
i've got strong feelings, bro-
and they're sometimes stronger than sleep.
however,
i did crash into a near coma, for eight actual in a row hours, afterwards.
guys,
it was an inevitable collapse.
all day from before the breaka-break o'dawn, through the darkest night,
and on through until the following jaun.
like,
i was so worn down and worn out and broken up that
even on half a pot of caffeinated coffee,
i was still subdued and softer-spoken than usual.
hmmm?
oh. do you not know about caffeine and me?
it's a terrible combination-
like baking soda and vinegar, with exxxtra piss, just to spice it up.
under normal circumstances volatility and vitriol are the expected results,
but paired with actual exhaustion?
i just sort of yawned through the day instead of exxxploding with frenetic frenzy.
who knew?
needless to say, after a straight eight of nightmarish nighty-night,
i will NOT be sipping on any light roast later.
no point in tempting the TNT with sparks on sparks.
and besides, without sleep, or with it,
nothing is different,
nothing is resolved,
but everything IS better with cake,
so we'll see where the day leads;
never quiet, never soft.....

Sunday, February 25

BLACK ON BLACK!

black currants.
black raspberries.
breakfast.
that's what's good.
yeah, dudes.
i made some scones.
i like scones.
scones are tasty.
so why wouldn't i whip up a couple dozen little round two-bite jauns
in the specific interest of brightening my day up?
right?
right!
...and it worked, for the most part,
especially once i stirred together the icing, and it made it's big debut on top.
yup.
exxxtras are always welcome on top of excellent expert vegan baked goodness.
i mean, c'mon-
if we all just stop for a second and consider the mandate i operate under:
too much is the right amount.
then it becomes a matter of principle.
really,
what else could i do besides go a baby bit overboard on my baby bite scones?
on the ones-
the fancy part is pretty much necessary if you're trying to take a decent photo.
damn, duders-
scones aren't exactly the most dynamic dose of breakfast nourishment,
so anything to sexxx 'em up a bit should be employed whenever practical.
i had two minutes to spare, and nowhere to be, so i did what i felt was right.
i've got a internal compass that points true north,
towards right thought, right action, and my best self's realization.
all three needles were headed in the same direction,
and that was to the scone zone.
here's what i ended up with:

BLACK CURRANTS ARE LIKE PRETEND MINIATURE RAISINS!
that's real.
ok.
so maybe they're no big deal,
but they're big in taste, and huge in texture, and gigantic in satisfaction.
here's a listing of the steps i took to turn some stuff into some other better stuff.
ready?
begin:
-
*
BLACKBERRY-ICED BLACK CURRANT BREAKFAST BISCUITS!
-
preheat your oven to 400℉
-
in a mixin' bowl, combine:
3 cups flour;
6 T vegan butterish;
1/2 tsp salt;
3 T vegan creamchee';
4 T sugar;
1 1/2 tsp baking powder;
1 tsp baking soda.
cut that all up like pastry dough,
then add:
2/3 cup vegan yogurt;
1 tsp vanilla;
1 cup black currants;
2/3 cup non-dairy milk.
stir gently,
then fold over the crumbly dough, turning 90° after every fold,
over and over until it become a pliable, cohesive one-piece dough.
on a well floured surface, roll it out to >1/2",
and cut yourself about 24-26 2 1/2 " circles,
and place them evenly on two cookie sheets.
bake those biscuits for twenty minutes,
and prepare yourself for a simple yet exceptional breakfast goodie.
oh, for the record-
once they've cooled a bit, the icing really does take them to eleven.
i recommend it highly.
here's what i used to make it all quick-fast and in a hurry:
-
*
CREAMYCHE' BLACKBERRY JAMMIE-JAM SAUCE!
-
in a small sauce pot, melt over low heat:
1 T vegan creamchee';
1 T seedless blackberry jam.
add to 1/3 cup powdered sugar,
and add a splash of non-dairy milk as necessary to create a dippable, smooth icing.
i dipped each scone in headlong and facefirst,
and then freaked 'em off with a few color-match sprankles,
and then, when that had all set up, and really just for the sake of overkill,
i also plopped a dollop or two of frosting on there, too.
like i said: too much, bro.
it didn't add a LOT, besides the visuals, but i'm a visual person, and a visual artist,
and a victual visionary, at least when i envision myself.
the fact is: i ate a ton of these.
so, i at least know my own palate's desires.
that's something.
***********
that compass, though.
the one that was pointing towards the scones in my heart, man.
it's important.
yup.
molto important.
that's the internal pure-being pathfinder,
calibrated to always indicate my infinite nature's polarized points of topsy-turvy,
inside out, and upside down, as well as right-side up-over-and-onwards.
that's no small task.
and that's no small piece of engineering.
here's the catch:
when you've got a clear sense of positive self-interest,
perpetual self-improvement,
and perennially participatory activated ambitions?
it is very VERY hard to deviate from the unerring finger-pointing that shows the way.
that's some very true storytelling.
if you know the shortest and most efficient way to get from average to expert,
it gets harder and harder to meander through the mediocre and middling muddle
of distracted diversions, doubtful determinations, dumb decisions, inconstant commitments,
and plot-twists that are so predictable they look more like long slow turns
on a four-lane expressway to disappointment.
does that make any sense?
man, take it easy.
if we're being up front with each other, even i don't know anymore.
...
what has become apparent is that what i find absolutely banal, boring, unremarkable,
and in some worse cases, frivolous, faulty, foul, despicable, and wholly unappealing
is worth a lot more to most other folks than i'm capable of translating
into equivalent transactional values.
and here i thought i was at the very least somewhat insightful...
after all, i'll take understanding in place of tolerance and acceptance any day.
i just don't get it.
i'm not wired to find a place on that map.
there's no atlas with these coordinates, yet they're indelibly etched on my infinite nature,
and aligned to SOMEwhere or someONE...
that kind of blind navigation kept me up alllllll night.
it's enough to shake faith in this Positive Mental Attitude,
and create a breach in my composure.
the thing is, i'm introspective like a sunovab!tch,
so the lack of clarity has got me moving forward, but with an unknown destination.
my intentional identity, my value-driven composite portrait is just a litany of principles,
arranged at 11 points on a circle.
y'get it?
it's a F*ing compass, pulled and pushed and spun 'round by an ultramagnetic
cast-iron meteor crashed and cratered and pumping molten ore from my core
to my extremities, extremism implied by the capillary tidal waves of circulation.
anybody else?
no?
the effort put into pleasurable pursuits is measurable,
and by comparison,
the lack thereof must also be a unit of calculable interest.
actions speak at deafening decibels,
and words become mumbles and whispers against the din.
i've got to do something different.
because there's more silence than i can stand in between the pronouncements
of purpose and intent,
and the leeway between promises and fulfillment is filled with nothing but noise;
never quiet, never soft.....

Saturday, February 24

FULLY DRESSED!

man, 
i got the hot noods for the dudes.
that's right.
spicy noods,
for all y'all hot boiz-
because rules is rules, and y'gotta send 'em for freelook friday.
believe it, and recognize that these were especially expert,
and thunderously in full effect.
neighbors,
they had some elite lip tingling chili garlic ginger zing, zip, zap, 
and kapow-erful heat, 
and a deep, resounding sauce packed with leagues of flavor; 
that's what we've come to demand as the standard of operations 
here in the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress test kitchen.
yup.
wanna see?
alright, check the teleport:
NOODLE BOWLS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME IN MY HOME!
flat rice noodles are dope.
coconut-fried exxxtra crispy tofu is dope.
stir-fried florets of broccoli AND cauliflower are SO DOPE.
and when you add a healthy dispensation of boomfire thai SAUCE
you get yourself a monstrously satisfying appetite-sating, spice-saturated 
firsthand fantasy friday noodity demonstration for your FACE!
wooooooooord.
-
that tofu, though.
a crispity crusty crunch on the outside of that exxxtra-firm stuff, 
with the subtlety of that unrefined, but so-fine coconut oil.
damn.
i could (and often do) tune up a TON of it.
yummmm.
the secret?
don't flip it until you see the darkness creeping up.
y'know?
you can see how browned and tasty it's getting, so wait until it's really browned,
before you flip it, on all the sides, to give it all the goodness.
you'll be glad you did.
-
ok.
so,
we have:
1/2 diced onion;
2 cloves sliced garlic;
2 tsp minced fresh organic ginger;
2 cups chopped broccoli;
2 cup chopped cauliflower;
2 sliced carrots;
1/2 green bell pepper;
all of that, in a HOT pan, with a spoonful of sesame oil.
cooked whilst covered.
it gets steamy, it gets dreamy, it gets cooked but stays pretty firm, which is tight.
-
then, y'gotta hit it for a minute or two with some epic SAUCE.
here's the latest greatest version:
-
*
THAI CHILI GINGER SAUCE!
-
in a big mug, or somethin', stir up:
2 T rice wine vinegar;
2 T soy sauce;
1 tsp sesame oil;
1/4 tsp black pepper;
1 tsp minced fresh ginger;
2 T sriracha;
2 T mae ploy sweet chili jauns;
1 T oelek chili garlic paste;
1/2 tsp sugar;
1/2 tsp ea. GPOP;
1/2 tsp ground coriander seed;
2 T lime juice.
-
THAT'S WHAT'S UP, B.
and it goes great over those vegetables.
-
now,
you could just eat that without noodles.
and you could eat it as noodles and cooked veg.....
but,
too much is the right amount,
so you should probably activate all that exxtra hottness,
just to make sure you aren't missing out on some biiiiig fun.
yeah!
sweet red baby bell peppers;
jalapeno;
red onion;
spinach;
pea shoots;
cilantro;
paper thin purple carrot;
and scallion sprankles!!!!!
THOSE are the add-on upgrades and hot spots that turn it up to eleven, man.
***********  
heat and flavor.
spice and spices,
ginger and pepper and chilis and garlic.
guys,
i know i'm excited for food most of the time.
here's the thing, though-
i had heavy doubts i'd be able to conjure something up.
i wanted pitas and buffalo seitan, over slaw, with homemade ranch-
but,
between work and home,
the plan changed drastically,
and instead all of that thai-ai-ai went off like a bomb.
i'm not complaining, i'm just making a note for posterity.
i get so amped up for the big deluxxxe mealtime exxxplosion,
and i usually have something resembling a plan-
however, 
unlike almost every other aspect of my life,
i allow for the mutable freeform flow of creativity to instruct and redirect my energies
towards more positive outcomes.
yup.
making food is an organic process around here,
and as long as it tastes great and looks beautiful,
it takes as long as it takes,
and it wanders wherever it wants.
broskis,
that's precisely the attitude i wish i had everywhere else.
hey, who knows?
...maybe i will someday?
i mean,
plenty of people suddenly become calmer and more insightful,
more focused, less stressed and insistent, and masterfully monklike in their mindfulness 
sometime in their forties, right?
sure they do.
i'll stick to the spicy noods for now,
and see where that leads me;
never quiet,. never soft.....

Friday, February 23

MAXIMUFFIN!

she said: 'why don't you ever make big muffins?'
and i replied: 'because the object is MORE.'
did she get it? did she care?
was that an acceptable explanation for the baking of many medium muffins?
..............no.
check the teleport:

BIG MUFFINS. LARGE AND IN CHARGE MUFFINS.
MEGAMUFFINS. MAXXXIUMUFFINS.
and most of all:
lemon ginger oatmeal muffins!!!
dudes, i didn't work yesterday.
*gasp*
it's true.
aside from electronic correspondence, and appointment making, of course.
the thing is- i was physically absent from AMPERSAND TATTOO all day.
yeah.
it felt terrible, to be honest.
the muffins helped with ameliorating that.
for real.
it's difficult to be upset with a magnificently majestic, knobbly, sweet, spiced, oaten,
citrus-kissed single-serving softball of sexxxiness on your plate.
believe that, homeboy.
besides,
if my day-off companion wants the big ginger lemon jauns,
she GETS the big ginger lemon jauns.
pssssssh.
trying to insinuate that i can't make big muffins,
just because i want a lot of muffins.
maaaaaan, that's almost insulting.
except, these six meteors of powerful interwoven taste and texture dispel the idea
that i can't doo-doo the freakiest sh!t in a mixing bowl.
word.
we got what we wanted; to live in a house that is haunted...
by the ghosts of you and me.
here's how to conjure some spirits of your own:
-
*
LINGER GEMON SNIFFUM! (ha!)
-
preheat your oven to 350℉
-
in a medium mixing bowl, competely cream together:
1 stick vegan butter equivalent;
1/2 tsp salt;
1 tsp vanilla;
1 T minced skin-on organic ginger;
1 lemon's zest;
1/2 tsp lemon extract;
2 tsp ground dried ginger;
1/2 cup sugar.
-
next, stir in 2/3 cup non-dairy yogurt,
followed by:
1 1/4 cups flour;
2/3 cup oat flour;
4 T whole rolled oats;
1 tsp bakey powpow;
1 tsp bakey soda.
give it all a quick stir,
then pour in:
1/4 cup lemon juice;
3/4 cup non-dairy milk.
whip it up, combine the dry and wet so it's all one messy mass,
ans evenly scoop it into some greased big muffin tins/pan/tubs/.
bake those up for 35 minutes,
and get ready to get psyched, because they're doooooooooooope.
mmmhmmmmm.
and if you add the icing?
i mean, y'kinda gotta do that, y'know?
too much is the right amount after all....
dried ground ginger, lemon zest, lemon juice, and powdered sugar.
DAS IT.
four ingredients to increase the supersoul sabor de esprit?
do it-
immediately, and frequently for maxxxium maxxximuffin magic.
***********
a day away from the studio.
yuck.
there's SO much i could do,
and when the frailties of my humanity require hours of F*ing off
to build relationships and bonds and all of that stuff,
i do it, of course, because that's what is necessary.
i don't have to be happy about it, though.
if a tireless work ethic somehow translated to the leisure and pleasure
of interpersonal politics,
i can only imagine the success i'd have enjoyed before now.
as it stands,
i'll do what i must to get what i want,
and if a day here and there, throughout the seasons,
brings me closer to the people i care about?
so be it.
whether through absence or attention,
i strive to build bonds that'll adhere to the tenets and timbers, timbre,
pitch, and pace of worthy warrior poetry for me and mine.
that work ethic, translated through a filter and focus of P.M.A.?
that's that hot dookie rope chain sh!t;
and if, like me, you rep the fresh for 88 hiphop,
you already know that means that it's expert.
hell yes, kids.
where we're going, we won't need days off;
never quiet, never soft.....

Thursday, February 22

BUFFSTUFF!!

okay, lemme begin with this:
every truly self-respecting vegan spicy food enthusiast
has got their own custom tried-and-true take
on the classic original buffalo-style hot sauce.
for sure.
because butter and louisiana pepper sauce is good,
but really-real vegans can't just use margarine and call it good.
they have to have that freak-it-off freak'um sauce.
i'm being very serious.
rules is rules,
and the worthy ones all get busy with their own big buff business.
but,
if they're claim they're spicy, vegan, and professionally appreciative of that new hottness,
yet they don't have their very own variation?
do NOT under any circumstances trust that mincey, minky, sneaky sunovab!tch,
because they ain't about that radical expert vegan life, b.
real talk.
now,
your boy albie rock (that's me) continuously goes deep into the sauce.
in fact,
i'd go so far as to say that i'm preternaturally predisposed
to perpetual perfectionist performance of some powerful SAUCE MOVES.
mmhmm.
i'm not even bragging, neighbors.
my buffzies are the TRUTH.
and y'know where a real display of savvy saucin' comes into play?
on the best complete perfect circle of LIFE,
a.k.a. a mutha-effing pee eye zee zee ayy.
yuuuuuuuuuuuup.
buffalo pizza is the top-level-megaboss of the sauce game.
and if you can rock that, you're a verified official buffalord of the fire, man.
i actually made two pizzas, on two nights, with two different sauces,
just to flex hard,
show off how i hold somethin',
and provide a little big-timey pizza pie lovin' to my people.
that's right.
i get so tilty, and i go so hard that one buff style can't contain all my flavor.
check my pizza-proselytizing-type teleport:

REAL REAL BUFFALO BOOM BOOM BAZOOKA!!
dudes,
i think i might be a magician.
that's a buffy-bottomed long proofed sourdough crust,
positively packed to the limit with fried buffalo seitan,
shredded celery, sliced red onion ring, sweet tomatoes, cilantro,
scallion sprankles, fried garlic sprankles,
AND homemade vegan ranch sauce.
WU-TANG!!!!
guys,
y'wanna know about the SAUCE?
alright.
here's how it happened:
-

THICK BUFFALO FATTY SAUCE!
-
in a small sauce pot, heat up:
2/3 cup frank's red hot;
3 T sriracha;
2 T nutritional yeast;
2 T flour;
1 tsp ea Garlic Powder Onion Powder;
1/2 tsp black pepper;
1 tsp paprika;
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper;
3 T earth balance buttery spread...
it melts, and then it thickens, and then it gets niiiiiiiiice.
mmmhmmmm.
i spread half on the bottom like it was tomato sauce,
and i dumped the other half on some still hot seitan, to really pump-pump-pump it up!
and the seitan?
so much hot fire for your F*ing face.
-
*
BUFF SEITANIC!
-
hand tear some seitan into chick'n'ish hunks,
and dredge those wet slabs in a blend of:
3 T cornstarch;
1 tsp ea GPOP;
pink salt and black pepper;
1/4 tsp cayenne;
1 tsp paprika;
1/2 tsp ground mustard.
-
pan fry them until crispy in hot hot olive oil, and toss them with that sauce above^^.
that's some ferocious fuego, friends.
-
the rest is pretty straightforward,
although that pizza dough was on some NEXT LEVEL NEW NEW!
-
*
SOURDOUGH GLUTENATION!
-
in your brand new stand mixer (or your old one),
combine:
3 cups flour;
1/2 cups warm water;
2 T sugar;
2 tsp salt;
1 tsp wheat gluten;
1/2 cup active sourdough starter;
1 T bread machine yeast.
( + flour for adding, and kneading, as needed)
-
pounded with that dough hook for eight minutes on low-low speed,
and rested for a preliminary rise for thirty minutes,
before being refrigerated all damned day, or two, or three-
yeah.
this one was hand-stretched and baked at 480℉ convection,
but only after a 48 hour cold proof.
damn, duders... the crispy bubbly burliness was incomparable.
no joke, it might've been the best crust i've ever made.
and that was the dopium legitness even BEFORE i dipped that sh!t
in my homemade vegan ranch activation, son!
-
*
QUICK COOLIO RANCH!
-
get a lil plastic container, and put this in it:
1/2 tsp dried parsley;
1/4 tsp dried dill;
dash of paprika;
1/2 tsp ea GPOP;
pink salt and black pepper;
crushed red pepper;
1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar;
2 T non-dairy milk;
1/2 cup vegan sour cream (i used tofutti because that's what's available around these parts);
1 large clove fresh crushed garlic.
legit, stir that up and refrigerate it in the morning,
and by pizza o'clock in the evening,
you'll wonder out loud why all these non-vegan A*-holes use dairy at all.
it's gross, it's bad for you and the planet, and it's downright cruel,
even though they only kill the boy calves,
and just incarcerate the females for a life of loveless parasitic teat-suckery.
y'all wrong for that.
sh!t, matter of fact- F* y'all milk using jerks.
yup. i said it. do somethin'.
-
ANYway,
the chee' wasn't milk based either, OBviously,
but the dairy-free blend of cheddar and mozzarella,
minced for maxxximum nmeltability,
was still daiya-nomite!
oh, cmon.
even with dad-puns intact, this pizza was ridiculously TIGHT.
huge flavor, high spiciness, magnificent diversity of texture,
and a high quotient of satisfaction from crust to cream....
that's how you do classic buffalo like a master blaster, bro.
if it doesn't go to eleven, it can go F* itself.
believe it.
***********
the thing is,
the first night i had some buffalo jauns,
i went in a totally different direction,
but i still arrived on time and in full effect at luxurious deliciousville.
that's no joke.
buffalo was only one component of a larger more eclectic pizza,
but it was not one lick less expert.
believe it.
i do what i do, and i do it as hard as i can, man.
check the teleport:

BUFFALO CAULIFLOWER POWER, BIHHHHHHH!!!
crushed tomatoes, spinach, caramelized onion, sliced sweet baby grape tomatoes-
all of those things are good for pizza partying.
minced daiya mozzarella chee'? it might be the only way to go with carmies, man.
they're best friends.
fried garlic sprankles are mandatory, and it's been that way for years now.
a decree is a decree and there's no getting away from that, kiddo.
mmmmmmmmmm.
the thing is, the standout sexxxiness ab-so-LUTEly those florets of buffzly cauliism.
no question.
and the prep on 'em was a super-simple two-parter.
-
*
CAULIFFALO BUFFLOWER!
-
heat up a pan and sear some chopped cauliflower (about a cup and a half);
drizzle in a little bit of olive oil and salt, and give it  another couple minutes to brown a bit.
here's the key to successful doneness pre-oven-bake:
splash a spoonful of broth on 'em, and cover it for another 'nother minute.
NOW they're ready for a buffy blastoff into spiced nicey-niceness..
yeah!
-
4 T vegan mayo;
1 T sriracha;
1/4 cup louisiana/texas cayenne pepper sauce;
GPOP;
1 clove crushed garlic;
1 tsp nootch;
black pepper;
1/4 tsp hot paprika.
kaBOOM.
so simple, so easy, so buffalicious
you'll wonder why you kept it at just two ingeredients
when clearly the depth and breadth of heroic yumminess
is activated to it's fullest by observing the path of the shark-glutton-
too much is the right amount, guys.
that's non-negotiable.
when you toss the cauliflower in this stuff, there will of course be exxxtra.
save it for drizzlin' over the top of the 'za'za post bake.
a little ho'ho' sauce up is always a good idea.
and then,
arugula and radicchio for some tart notes in with the tang and the sweet and the acidic tomato
and creamy chee' palette for your palate.
if you're not this committed to pizza,
maybe you need to examine yourself psychologically.
no. i mean it.
you might be stoopid if you can't comprehend this much seriously sorcerous sauciness.
***********
i drank coffee.
and now, my heart might exxxplode.
i don't know what possessed me to sip on that stuff.
probably the coconutty nuance to the nose of it.
for realsies, a powerful bouquet will lure me in every time.
only,
now i'm vibrating, and i look blurry to the casual observer,
as i buzz and hum at velocity,
waiting to munch up a bug ol' ginger-lemon muffin.
yup.
i'm wide away, and wide-open on some full-throttle caffeine jauns,
which has me headed into today like a runaway train.
it's all really happening, and there's NO telling where i'll end up.
hopefully, not in the hospital.
however,
i'm too finely-calibrated to take this much high-test stress,
yet here we are, hurtling into the infinite unknown at nine in the morning;
never quiet, never soft......

Wednesday, February 21

TUESDAY!

honestly guys,
taco tuesday is sort of my thing.
it's not mandatory,
but, i mean, if you're unsure where to go with dinner,
and it's also tuesday-
y'don't have to look very far to conjure up a tight and tilty suppertime 'stravaganza.
for realsies.
now, with that being said,
and since kayla was gone for a couple of 'em-
she insisted that we get our soft flour fold-up on.
....and then,
in a predictably fickle fashion,
she actually opted to eat a grand total of zero F*ing tortillas,
and instead made a taco salad, sans chips or anything else.
which, i think, i just a salad, with taco fillings on top.
damn.
and that was after informing me that taco pizza was a no-go non-starter,
because it is the proprietary territory of mexican monday,
and therefore we were a day too late for it to be an option.
yeah.
......a real warm welcome home, for sure.
whatever, neighbors.
i still brought the heat,
and we feasted on the sabor de expertismo like conquistadors.
or something like that.
check the teleport:

OLÉ and sh!t, man.
seitan asada never disappoints.
oregano, smoked paprika, GPOP, thyme, cayenne, cumin, and crushed coriander seed,
plus poblano, green bell, orange sweet, and jalapeno peppers,
sweet onions, minced garlic, lime, cilantro leaf, pink salt and black pepper.....
i prefer my homemade seitan to all others.
i don't know if i've slowly refined the recipe so well
that i am spoiled beyond open-mindedness and soiled and soured on storebought,
but MY from-scratch stuff is the TRUTH!
here's the >> recipe << again.
word.
-
i did a thing with some sweet corn.
mmhmm.
it's simple, but it's dope.
and sometimes, that's what we need.
corn, jalapeno, red onion, cilantro and scallion,
with black pepper, lime, and cayenne.
little salad pants loves corn.
who knew?
and then i was like "get that corn outta my face"....
buuut, i still made it anyway-
because when you know your audience, it's foolish not to make a crowd pleaser,
right?
i'm sayin'.
-
the fresh veggie portion was right on it, as well.
crunchy cukes. firm paper-thin carrot slices. spicy radishes.
all dope.
bitter radicchio ribbons. cool cilantro leaves. sharp scallion sprankles.
all the stuff you know you need,
and all the stuff i knew i wouldn't feel good about omitting.
-
fresh rainbow baby sweet bell peppers are good.
pickled jalapenos, with full spicy heat, are better.
BOTH were invited to the party,
and was the hero of the day: AVO-F*ING-CADO.
that's my fave.
and when you top 'em off with some tag-team salsa fresca??
duders,
that's what's UP.
-
smashed sweet baby grape tomatoes,
cloves of crushed garlic, minced red onion, scallion greens,
chopped jalapeno, ripped cilantro, squeezed lime, salt and pepper.
simple. straightforward. magnificent.
it's hard not to like that stuff because it's rad AF.
-
taco tuesday.
or salad with sssexxxican sexxxellence on top.
either/or.
it's what happened and it's what we needed.
wordimus prime.
***********
lemon ginger.
how do i do that?
cookies?
cake?
muffins?
lemme know, bro.
i could use a suggestion if you've got one.
don;t be offended if i don't use it-
i'm pretty much a recalcitrant contrarian.
but,
your ideas might stimulate me to come up with competitive ones of my own.
then again, who knows?
maybe you've got the inside insight,
and i'll have to give credit where it's due.
only one way to find out-
lemon ginger somethings.
what's up with that?
you tell me;
never quiet, never soft.....

COOKIEBERRIES!

cookie pie.
because cookies aren't always gonna be sexxxy enough on their own,
sometimes y'gotta make 'em much much bigger to be much much better.
that's real.
and cookie pie is a fan favorite around these parts, anyway,
so it's an easy win to make just one reallllllly large and in charge jaun,
and cut everybody a slice off that superior circle.
mmhmmm.
my favorite combo lately has been raspberries and chocolate.
i decided to keep that pairing going strong,
and put a whole mess of both in my most recent baked greatness.
guys,
it's pretty flippin' expert.
take a look for yourself:

COOKIE PIE!
that's a cutie, isn't it?
i know!
there's dried raspberries all over the place,
and they really turn the chocolate up to eleven, man.
i'm guessing it's the tartness of the fruit that activates the smooth richness
in those dark droplets of delight.
i don't know for certain why it works so well,
i'm just certain that it does.
there's nothing to it but to do it, and when it comes to doo-dooin' that kind of
burly, bigger-than-average, barbarian baked beauty,
i'm y'boi!
two kinds of frosting? of course.
too much is the right amount!
plus,
there are exxxtra chips and crushed berry sprankles on top too.
that's how it's done when it's done like a F*ing expert, kids.
believe it.
here's what i did; just in case you're ready to get into some of this grown-A* serious stuff.
-
*
RASPBERRY CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE GIGANTE!
-
preheat your oven to 375℉.
-
line a 9" cast iron pan with parchment paper.
-
in a medium mixing bowl, cream up the standard base:
1 stick (8T) vegan butterish;
1/2 tsp salt;
1 cup light brown sugar;
1 tsp vanilla;
-
stir in 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce;
mix well, then add:
2 large handfuls (approx 1/2 cup?) crushed freeze-dried raspberries;
2 large handfuls mini dark chocolate chips;
2 1/4 cups flour;
1 tsp ea. baking powder and soda.
stir, then knead all that into a wet dough,
and press it into the lined pan.
i always leave a rim a little higher before baking-
it melds together without doming when you do that.
press a few MORE chips onto the top.
heck, press a bunch MORE on there.
chocolate is good for you, dude.
-
bake it for 25ish minutes,
or until the top looks goldenized a little tiny baby bit.
let it cool, or the next step will be a real bummer.
-
*
FROSTING a & b!!
-
in your trusty brand new cherry red valentine stand mixer, (oh, wait, that's just me)
combine:
1 stick softened vegan butter or 8 T tub butts;
3 cups powdered sugar;
1 tsp vanilla;
1/3 cup non-dairy milk.
^^^^
that's whipped into the best frosting.
but if you add a teaspoon or two of powdered freeze dried berries into it?
you get the even betterest frosting, neighbors!
that's right.
vanilla and raspberry creamy dreams,
and then the exxxtra dusty spranks over that!
-
that's how you make the magic without even conjuring up a sweat.
real talk,
the thick, soft, rich, sweet crumble of this bad baby,
and the smooth, tart, fluffy forsting,
and the sharp berry zap of the crushed toppin' jauns are all working in unison to
really take the experience off the charts into some stratospheric orbital awesome times.
that's a thing.
***********
cookies are great,
but whole days of drawn-on tattoos are even better.
yup.
AMPERSAND TATTOO is ready to make you unique in ways you previously were not.
ha!
seriously though-
i've had stacks on stacks of dudes,
but they best ones are getting custom one-off one-shot hot spots,
courtesy of me and my marky markers.
the weirdest part?
they're not even the tax return clients, yet.
i know! that's crazy.
these guys are spending their own regularly-hard-earned movie checks
on some one-of-a-kind marky makey artsy zipzaps.
i love it,
and i'm savoring every second before the rank-and-file doo-doo butter returns.
i'm not too good to do anything.
that's gross.
but,
i also don't necessarily like everything that comes through the door, either.
sure, there's compensation for all of it.
does that mean i can't have preferences?
of course not.
and while the internet has provided thousands of local ladies with their own unique tattoo
ideas, that just happen to be identical in every way to each other,
some of the more creative types are getting the bigger and better ones,
and we're co-creating them as a tandem tag-team of artistic expressionists.
that's a lot more rewarding for all of us.
we've still got plenty of banal, budget, bummers in stock, though,
so don't feel like we can accommodate you if you're lame.
in fact,
we'd love to see you, so stop on in and get some fresh, hot, tasty tattz if you're up for it;
never quiet, never soft..... 

Tuesday, February 20

ACTIVATED!

activated charcoal from coconut.
y'know the stuff?
people are brushing their teeth with it.
it's superfine exxxtra-dusty dark black burnt stuff,
and it doesn't taste like anything, really.
it does turn frosting a weird blue-grey though, and that's pretty cool.
no, but, really, it looks good.
i went in on another 'nother single layer cake for the second day in a row,
only this new hottness was a coconut overload.
yup.
check it out:
SO MUCH COCONUT!
...it's almost more than you need, 
only too much is the right amount, and that's a fact.
there's coconut all up in it to win it,
and somehow, it's still soft and moist.
that's expert.
i'm going to tell you what's what, and if you're so inclined,
you can make one of your very own.
here goes:
-
*
COCONUT ACTIVATION!
-
preheat your oven to 350℉ convection-style.
-
in a medium mixing bowl, thoroughly combine:
1 stick (8T) vegan earth balance butter substitute;
1/2 tsp salt.
1 tsp vanilla.
1 tsp coconut extract;
2/3 cup demerara sugar;
1/2 cup medium flake unsweetened coconut.
-
stir in 2/3 coconut yogurt, and mix well-
add:
1 cup coconut flour;
1 cup flour;
1 tsp bakey soda;
1 1/2 tsp bakey powder;
1 cup coconut milk (the carton kind) or any other non-dairy milk.
mix until combined, and chunky, and thick.
spoon it evenly into your reliably awesome single layer 9" springform pan,
and bake for 35 minutes, or until golden af...
word.
then, y'gotta ice it up like trap rap.
mmhmmm.
-
activated charcoal added to an already very tasty coconut-packed frosting attack
is basically an exxxplosion of aesthetic excellence.
i mean,
c'mon.
two-tone double coconut swirls??
AND flaky sprankles???
that's that oh-my-gooooooodness good-good, you guys.
for serious.
reppin' on one thematic flavor, 
extrapolated in several forms,
to build complex layers of taste and texture?
all in a one-story stack of packed powerful palm-seed sexxxiness?
F* yeah, man.
that's IT, and i doo-doo that freaky sh!t.
***********
girl is home. that's good.
weather is warm. that's good.
tattoos are scheduled. that's good.
rain is falling......and that's something.
it's ALL really happening,
but that rain's not cool, 
because all the remaining ice is slick as heck.
i'll be carefully half-steppin' with crabtree through the ice-floes 
and luge tracks that compose
the defrosting dog-walk route.
i'm confident i'll take the gold,
but there's always the chance that vacation week 
second-homers could complicate the journey.
it's forever those out-of-town clowns that wreck the routine, neighbors.
let's hope that the rain keeps them in, 
while it keeps me watchin' where i step.
i can live with looking lame 
as long as i'm not also looking at some dude who doesn't say hello,
jogging past to tempt the terrier as some sort of bait....
nobody likes that.
i s'pose we'll have to wait and see;
never quiet, never soft.....

Monday, February 19

GINGERLY!

duuuuuuuuuudes!
the snow day got me.
it did.
like, it got me with the anything can happen clause,
and it was a real drive-thru situation, y'know?
oh yeah, that's SO a thing.
(they F* you in the drive thru, man.)
and just so we're all on the same page here:
ANYthing doesn't imply that it's only good stuff we're getting for options,
far from it-
so,
while at first i had high hopes that i was gonna get a magical mystical monumental
sentimental spectacle reunion and reignition after a prolonged and unwelcome absence....
SIIIIIIIIKE!
secret universal beta testing came into play,
and instead of an effortless ,
it was pretty much what i've come to understand is a perpetual test of my mettle
and my resolve to solve choose-your-own adventure times with reason.
yup.
i had to pull out my big-boy work pants,
and activate my oft-overlooked clear-headed responsible adult behavior;
the implementation of P.M.A. as a liaison between disappointment and disgust;
and yet another 'nother opportunity already for my year of the dog resolution
to be put to work in a practical application.
composure was called for in the face of MORE missed flights,
deferred fights for being always right;
delayed departures,
and late night rendezvous after midnight, and therefore technically
a whole 'nother 'nother exxxtra day longer apart.
neighbors-
that was some worst-coast poorly-planned-and-chosen underinformed bullsh!t.
but,
if you read my prediction yesterday,  then let's give some shoutouts to the $3 rule.
if you know, you know.
and if i had a buck for every time my distrust and skepticism
were proven incorrect and unwarranted?
well, you see where i'm going.....
***********
on the brighter side,
everything and everyone is back where they belong-
2 am returns are still returns, and we do what we mus to get what we want, right?.
right.
the thing is,
i made a very specific treat,
in the faint hope that events would unfold in sublime alignment,
and we could enjoy a custom-tailored favorite flavor profile and smile away the evening.
well,
that wasn't how it went down,
but holy sh!t, me and the crew over at AMPERSAND TATTOO took down 80%
of that 111% expert ginger on ginger cake.
yup.
waste not, and wait not, and waist knot.
check the teleport:

THIS JAUN WAS SO MOIST IT WAS ALMOST WET!
hahaha. that's the truth, buddy.
-
ginger in a cake is pretty tight.
but the subtle secret savory undertones that came for a teabag of turmeric ginger tea,
courtesy of trader joe's,
really took the taste to eleven+.
guys, on the ones,
this cake was the saving grace for an unsavory day of doo-doo buttery complications.
you wanna know how to make one for yourself?
ok.
it's pretty simple, really.
here's all you've gotta do:
-
*
GINGIE-GING-GINGER BAKER!
-
preheat your oven to 350 (convection of course, if you're nasty)
-
in a medium mixing bowl,
cream up:
1/2 cup demerara sugar;
1 tsp vanilla;
1 T ground dried ginger;
1/2 tsp cinnamon;
1/2 tsp salt;
1 stick (8T) vegan butter;
1 T fresh grated ginger.
-
next, stir in
2 T molasses;
2/3 cup non-dairy yogurt;
and the contents of 1 opened turmeric ginger teabag-
the very delicate notes of orange peel and black pepper are tip-top-notch, nerds,
and if you think for a second that that sounds bad, you're dead wrong.
-
mix well, and sift in:
2 cups flour;
1 tsp ea. bakey powpow and soda;
and add 2 T minced candied ginger.
lastly,
quickly fold in 1 cup non-dairy milk,
and add the muddy contents to a greased 9" springform pan/.
kids, i know i eff with single layer cakes a LOT,
but, i also make and eat a LOT of cakes,
so bear with me on the short stacks of everyday gourmet cake time. ok?
ok!
bake it for 35 minutes,
and let that bad mama-jamma cool on a wire rack.
y'see how i have two kinds of decorative sugary icing and frosting on there?
that's because i was excited as hell to share this tasty piece with my tasty piece.
and also because too much is the right amount.
awwwwwww.
cinnaginger icing has four ingredients.
cinnamon, ginger, powdered sugar, and water.
the creamchee' frosting has five.
butterish, not-creamchee', powdered sugar; vanilla, and non-dairy milk.
when you've got an almost ginberbread/almost carrotcake sponging around
in all of it's buttery glory,
y'can't wait for stragglers... if they're late, they're beat.
if you snooze you lose, and once you've snozt, you've lost, bro.
that goes for anyone, and everyone.
rules is rules.
i'm not a piece of sh!t, kids.
i saved a hunk for my honeybun,
and maybe she'll get a slice.
or, maybe i'll munch it down this morning.
it's not a snow day,
but i'm pretty sure that on presidents' day ANYthing can happen, too.
i mean, just look at the president.
***********
i'm ready to span a little time in comfortably close quarters;
i'm ready to stoke embers into infernos;
i'm ready to see what sort of fondness this absence has germinated;
i'm ready for whatever, now that i'm not night-riding and waiting.
the day will surely drag, the jetlag will totally add to it,
and somewhere in the middle, or maybe, with any luck at all, at least by the end of it,
we'll get a real moment to breathe in and out,
and soak up the solace of a face-to-face embrace....
if nothing else,
i'm going to bring the BOOMFIRE to suppertime,
so i'm not going to bed disappointed in the whole day no matter what.
P.M.A. means making opportunities for yourself,
and making the most of opportunities as the pop up.
it's ALL really happening,
and i'm grateful for whatever's next;
never quiet, never soft.....

Sunday, February 18

HOMECOMING QUEEN

well,
it was sort of warm outside yesterday,
but today it's a snow day.
yup.
that means that the drop in temperature really just created opportunities.
man, c'mon,
rules is rules- and on a snow day anything can happen.
so i'll add another layer of clothes to my bendy bandy body when i dress for success,
and then i'll forge a new path into the future with the realm of possibilty open before me.
and all because of a little wintry precipitation.
i'm cool with that.
sure,
i've got dudes on dudes to tattoo, with trucks and cover-ups;
and lovely vacation lady walk-ins to turn away all day while i'm working on those XYs,
with that accent heavy on the whY...
(because movie checks, bro. a grand don't come for free)
ANYway,
today is that day,
and i feel good about it.
i even went to bed early.
i did.
i was asleep by 11, neighbors; which does not GO to eleven, btw.
sure i still was awake way before sunrise, but that's sort of my thing.
there's no point in stockpiling sleep, you don't have much to show when you're done.
word.
before i head out into the freshly fallen and gently driven powder
covering the whole of the woodsly goodness,
i'd like to say a little something about compulsion, obligation, and determination.
sometimes, i couldn't give any less of a sh!t about cooking.
that's right.
i just don't F*ing feel like it.
except, i still do it.
y'get it?
like, i have to.
i've mentioned this many times, but i don't think it's possible to overstate it,
anymore than it's possible to circumnavigate the urge to make things.
if only my obsessive infinite nature wasn't the overriding determining factor
in all of my daily routine, i could've maybe skipped a day somewhere.
guys!
it's been a loooooong time since i didn't have something delicious to show
for every. single. flippin'. day.
i didn't do much in the way of cooking in the morning-
though i did bake a couple of loaves of sourdough, but that's different.
so, by nightfall, after an excruciating day of tedious, tiresome tattooing,
while tired and downtrodden,
i came home with no intention of doing anything.
it was a free day. the first break in the cycle. the first step in taking it easy on myself.
.....
...and then i started cooking.
awwwww man.
check the teleport:

CREOLE CHILI!
it's sort of gumbo, but without fish, obvi.
and it's sort of jambalaya, but without the rice.
the seasoning is on point;
the mirepoix is deluxxxe;
the sausagishes are tight;
the tofu was a wild card, but it worked.
i mean, it's not exactly going to overpower anything, y'feel me?
word up.
and the sourdough dippin' slices?
fresh baked in the morning, and soft, supple, and super-spongy in the evening?
c'mon, kids-
good bread makes better people,
and great bread is what you dip in your chili.
that's no joke.
i'll give you the rundown, and you decide where to take it from there:
-
*
YUMBOGUMBALAYA!
-
in a big saucepot (the shallow kind)
saute in 3 T olive oil:
1 sweet onion;
1/4 cup scallion midsections (the thick greenish whitish part);
1 diced green bell pepper;
2 stalks chopped celery;
1 bias-cut and halved carrot;
3 cloves crushed garlic.
when they soften somewhat,
add in:
GPOP; 1 tsp oregano; 1 tsp thyme; 1/2 tsp rubbed sage; 2 bay leaves; 1/2 tsp ground mustard;
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper; pink salt and black pepper, heavy on the fresh-crack'd black peps;
1 tsp red pepper flakes;
allow those to fully bloom, then drip in:
3 T green sriracha;
1 T red wine vinegar;
3 shakes liquid smoke;
1 cup chopped baby sweet grape tomatoes;
1 can (15 oz.) small red/colorado beans.
let that all marry for a moment,
then pour in 1 cup vegetable broth;
1 handful of minced parsley;
1 small punch of cilantro;
1 punch of scallion;
1/4 cup rainbow sweet baby bell pepper;
2 T pickled jalapeno;
one large handful baby spinach.
boom.
that'll boil for five-ten minutes, then simmer while you sear your tofu and sausagishes.
yup.
one homemade vegan seitan sausage, slivered,
and one quarter block of cubed tofu, sizzled on all sides in olive oil,
and tossed on top with plenty more scallions,
and a few slices of that expert AF bread.
kaBOOM.
just like that,
you're the hero of the evening.
or,
if you're me, you've just averted the anxiety attack of incompletion.
damn, dudes, i make it out of self-imposed obligations to my infinite self,
but damn damn damn, dudes, i never regret it when it hits my palate.
this sh!t is DOPE.
it's crazy how much pressure dissipates into nothing
as soon as the finished product hits my tongue, and that rich deliciousness activates
the reward receptors everywhere in my brain, and my mouth, and my guts.
it's never not worth the effort once the effort is over.
there's something to that, and i'm sticking with it.
there will never be a good enough reason to take the easy way,
even with something as unlucrative as the daily documentation of my culinary creations
that may seem stupid to the self-care means-doing-nothing-sometimes crowd-
but too much is the right amount.
and nobody ever got more awesome by doing nothing.
if y'all ain't making anything, you're kind of  a bummer.
***********
today is not just a snow day.
nope.
it's bigger than that.
it's better than that.
it's a homecoming, and if things go well,
it'll be one heck of a reuniting and igniting of the hot fire,
with heart-shaped hugs and kisses, x's and a LOT of o's...
yuuup.
unless another 'nother bullsh!t last-minute plan-change occurs,
today is the day that kayla returns to the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress.
yup.
after being absent, and farther and further across the country in increasing increments
for all of february thus far,
(....which, for the record, without her company, seemed like a long, lonely year,
rather than the first half of the shortest month)
she's coming home to the snowy, wet woodsly goodness.
strangely enough,
weeks and weeks' worth of a return to my solo hermitage,
with only crabtree accompanying/hindering my efforts,
was so damned familiar, if unwelcome,
that i easily assimilated back into my old mode.
really, there's always so much to do that there wasn't enough time to dwell on the
lonely aspects of living singly in a haunted mansion.
nope.
i still had a shop to run, a dog to walk, cakes to bake, paintings to brush up on,
books to read, words to write, stories to tell,
and epic efforts in all aspects of every day's active participatory really real life
that demanded and commanded and commandeered my attentions-
but,
my affections remained with my insightful and delightful,
funny, endearing, engaging, enraging adorable doll of a partner.
i have hours and hours to wait, yet.
and a whole exxxtra other 'nother half a day of surprise plan-changes popped up
to further postpone the reunion.
(is it still considered a surprise if it happens often?)
but,
unless this snow day really takes a plot-twisting off-script ad libitum lunge towards
effing up my sh!t with even MORE layovers and delays.....
finally,
the warm embrace and beauteous face of my compañera will brighten my night,
and we'll be together like we're s'posed to be.
i'm hopeful,
but i have a healthy respect for the unpredictability of both a snow day
and the secret universal untranslatable diagrammatical blueprints.
it's ALL really happening.
we just might need a little distance to gain advantageous vantage,
a little elevation to improve perspective,.
and some time to decipher what we're looking at.
i'm ready to see somethin', and i'm on the lookout for the big arrival;
never quiet, never soft.....

Saturday, February 17

GRATITUDE!

tax season is upon us.
yup.
everybody who got an early return,
which is to say most of the local populace, who otherwise live paycheck to paycheck,
have been reimbursed, with their own money,
are currently strong in the wallet,
so they are doing everything they can to change that as quickly as possible.
mmmhmmm,
i can totally help with that.
uh-huh.
because if there's one thing i like,
it's making those sweet moolah movie checks.
ha!
so, i'm busy busy, and that's good news.
also,
i'm tattooing almost exclusively dudes with very dudelike ideas for the next week.
if there's anybody out there who doesn't have male genitals,
and also wants a cool tattoo,
i'd love to hear from you.
just sayin': i'm grateful for what i'm getting, but it's not all i want to have.
tax season.
i haven't gotten a return in forever, so i like to think of theirs as partially mine.
i give 'em the zipzaps, and those help me pay my fair share.
*
last night was cold and windy, and that's always a bummer.
wind ranks least among weather for y'boi,
and i can't hang out with gusts and gales for anything.
so, it was a night IN, with crabtree,
and we made some serious dinner jauns,
in honor of the year of the dog.
he got carrot, and banana, and calcium-rich yogurt for his face,
and i got dumps all over mine.
yikes!
check the teleport:

RED OIL DUMPZZZZZ ON YOUR FACE!!!
dudes,
sesame sossamon tofu, with broccoli, in garlic sauce!!!
and those boomfire dumplestiltskins, too!
what a satisfying supper.
the tofu was thin-cut.
like, one half block, in thirds and quarters, to make twelve triangles.
seared on each side i sesame oil, and covered in toasted sesame seeds
to really activate the flavor of the thing.
there's grilled cabbage, and broccoli, with just a little oil,
and a clove of sliced garlic,
covered in some serious sauce-
-
4 T soy sauce;
4 T rice wine vinegar;
1 T agave;
1 tsp sugar;
1 tsp GPOP;
1/4 tsp ground mustard;
3 cloves crushed garlic;
1/4 tsp ground black pepper;
1/4 tsp ground sichuan peppercorn;
4 dried red chilis;
1/4 tsp cayenne;
1 T non-GNO organic cornstarch.
-
could that be simpler?
with some rice,
and some scallions, and cilantro sprankles, too??
c'mon.
i know what's good, and i know what's not.
this is that good-good.
for realsies.
*
really, though, it's all about the dumplings.
always.
dumps are the TRUTH,
and red oil is the FIRE .
-
*
DUMP DOUGH!
-
in a mixing bowl, combine:
1 cup flour;
1/4 tsp salt;
1/3 cup + 1 T warm water.
knead it for five full minutes, and rest it for fifteen.
the sequence is as foolows:
roll it cut it, fill it crimp it, fold it, rest it, and boil them until they float.
-remove them with a spider, and coat them in that luscious red oil.
-
*
RED OIL!
-
1/4 tsp black pepper;
1/4 tsp sichaun pepper;
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes;
1/4 tsp hot paprika;
1/4 tsp cayenne;
1 clove crushed garlic;
1 tsp sesame oil;
2 T garlic oil;
1/2 tsp paprika.
stir it well, and get ready to fall in love with flavor, neighbors.
-
*
FROM SCRATCH SEITAN FILLIN'!
-
in a hot pan, with 2 tsp sesame oil,
saute 1/4 minced sweet onion, and 1 bunch green onion bottoms;
3 cloves chopped garlic;
2 tsp minced skin-on organic ginger;
1 1/2 cups homemade seitan, shredded.
add a splash of soy, black pepper, and a dash of rice vinegar,
and when it's all browned,
add the scallion green in and let it all cool.
hot filling totally F*sup dumplings, dudes.
that's no joke.
but cool filling is the hottness, so be advised, and act accordingly-
***********
i'm ready for a long day of burly up-north bearded barbarians.
uh-huh.
i've got a whole day of guys who do especially manly stuff alllllll the time.
we'll have lots to talk about, i'm sure.
the thing is,
they're great clients.
for real.
it's just harder to get excited for ultra-woodsman day on zero sleep.
ew.
i'm tired af after a loooong night wondering and worrying
and generally being both suspicious and angry in alternating tsunami waves
of incredible disappointment in myself.
...and we all know that after a few hours of that,
there's no turning back.
y'ever get mad about something you know you can't do anything about?
at least, not in that moment, but you still just can't let it go?
so instead you dwell, and steep, and stew in discontent, resentment, and vitriol,
until you're so bitter, and sour, and pressurized with pent-up frustration
and powerlessness that might just burst a seam,
and spew your rotten, twisted guts out all over the floor,
where they'll writhe and roil and boil and sizzle and dissolve down into the earth
as if they're alive with snakes of pure acid?
damn, dudes- you diiiiiiid?
jeez, that's probably pretty bad for you.
don't do that.
seriously, what are you?
that's not healthy, buddy.
i mean, i'm not saying that wasn't me,
i'm just saying i'd hoped i was alone in that,
since it feels so flipping awful i'd hate to have that experience in common with anybody else.
the specifics are almost never important.
the symptoms always stem form the same cause-
knowing better but not doing better which means not getting any better-
and that's a waste of time..
ok, so in the future, how do we avoid that?
besides just being all alone always?
.....oh.
well, man, i don't know either.
but if you get any inside info, pass it along.
i'll be sure to do the same;
never quiet, never soft.....