Monday, December 31

DUMP DUMP!

dumpz on yer face!!!
yeah, boi!
that's how we doo-doo that freaky sh!t at the end of the year.
on the real,
if you're the type of duder that don't eff around and get expert super hard
on some righteous vegan supersexxplosive dumplings?
you might be an A*-hole.
yup.
i said it. it's documented. i meant it.
dumplings are what you need, and they're where you wanna be.
hmm?
ew.
no. i mean asian dumplings, always.
floury soup blops or whatever the F* you think i'm talking about are NOT invited.
this is a plant-based activation sensation, neighbors,
and that only ever means luscious pouches of tofu-laden love.
word up.
i made 'em with the crinkler-pleats this time.
i think i need more practice on those wrinkle-dots,
but i still devoured the whole batch with gusto, bro.
check the teleport:

DUMPZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!!!
i love 'em so much.
this time around i went super-simple and they came out so super-good.
dough.
filling.
sauce.
if you got that, you've got everything.
*
the wrappers were über-simple, but also turbo-delish.
i made 'em in my stand-up mixer, with 1 1/4 cups of flour,
1/2 tsp salt,
and 1/2 cup warm water, kneaded using the dough hook for 11 minutes.
then i wrapped and rested that ball of dense delightfulness for another 11.
then, because you can't make dumps without cutting out the shapes, kids....
i rolled the whole ball out superthin on a floured cutting board,
and cut out some 3" circles, until i had about twenty of'em.....
i let those wait patiently while i was doing somethin'.
*
what was the somethin' i was doing for those 22 minutes?
umm, obvi, i was making the filling-
yup.
in a 8" pan, with a blop of sesame oil,
i had 1/2 cup tiny diced cubies of pressed exxxtra-firm tofu,
3 T minced red onion;
2 large cloves of garlic, crushed;
2 T shredded and chopped carrot;
2 T rice wine vinegar;
1 1/4 cup shredded kale;
2 T tamari;
1 tsp sesame seeds;
GPOP, dried ginger, crushed coriander seed, and black pepper,
all according to how nice you like 'em.
more of everything means stronger flavor....
that all got cooked down and browned and drowned in the juices it created.
yum.
high heat? sure. it cooks fast.
medium heat? if you don't wanna eat anytime soon go right ahead.
i'm cool with whatever, buddy.
but, y'gotta stuff a fattieboombattie scoop in each of thoe cut dough circles,
and the pleat-top technique is NOT what i'm 100% at, yet.
but i will be, boi.
believe it.
they look a lot like the money-bag icon from monopoly, huh?
yeah.
ANYway, i fried 'em for two full minutes in a hot pan with a blend of sesame and olive oil,
a drizzle of each, and all those dumps getting golden on their bumbums-
then i dosed the pan with a splash of hot water, lidded it, and let 'em steam,
with a handful of sossamon sesame sprankles, for another 'nother five minutes-
that had 'em fully activated, and ready to go.
*
so, really, all i had left was to make up a quick sauce:
1 T tamari;
1 T rice seasoned vinegar;
1/4 tsp two-tone sesame seeds;
1/2 tsp sesame oil;
1/2 tsp agave.
that's soooooo simple, but it tastes elite in these streets, b.
on the ones, when you dunk a dump in the sauce,
then streak it in the sriracha on the side?
expert is the only word that works.
i can't help but toss some green goodness garnish on top-
leaves and sprouts and what-have-yous on there, just to make it nicey-nice for my eyes.
i mean, you know that rules is rules,
and while i'm old and busted, my food is fresh and hot, y'feel me?
stay ugly, eat beautiful...that's my move.
***********
BYE BYE 2018.
i can seriously say, with confidence, that this one was a wild one,
and that it went to eleven, just as all eleven years do-
what's an 11 year?
man, it's math:
2+0+1+8 = ?
yup.
E.L.E.V.E.N.
that's no joke.
i loved harder, i worked harder, i lived harder, and fresher, and louder, than ever before.
i found my person.
we made a person (scheduled to debut in april)
we started a whole new thing,
and the things i already had underway really took off.
we're going into 2019 as a whole new and all-different batch of berserker barbarian battle-beast,
a warren of wild wintry wizarding warrior poets,
a savage storswept raging pack of lightning-striking virtuous virtuoso vikings and valkyries,
and as a team, a tempestuous overlapping whirlwind spirographic ven-diagramatically-correct
starburst of overlapping ghost rings and echoes of infinity.
it's ALL really happening,
and we're stepping into the new year with brave and confident footsteps.
i'm grateful for the time i have been given;
never quiet, never soft.....

THE SCONE ZONE!

i dunno about y'all,
but when i'm not sure what the eff is going on,
and the first step outside is the iciest and most slippery tricky trap ever,
and you're hungry like the wolf,
and it's cold as heck, what do you do?
i make scones.
yeah.
i like 'em a lot.
they're good for you, y'know?
and when you load 'em up with all the best things,
they're downright positive by all accounts.
uh-huh.
a good breakfast scone, maybe with a little sweet icing on top,
is a great way to activate a busy day-
neighbors, i tattooed my cousins.
more specifically my first cousin, kevin, and his oldest child, tim.
that's wild to me-
two generations of my actual DNA family,
up in the woodsly goodness for the day,
banging out the end of year with some tattzaps and family togetherness.
y'know what?
it turns out, it's kinda nice to span a little time
with a couple of somebodies from my old man's side of the family.
that's not a common occurrence, but it was pretty cool, for sure.
anyway, i couldn't have done it without a batch of from-scratch scones.
no jokes.
they had all the power in 'em, and it gave me all the power to pop off a pair of sweet zaps,
back to back, while doing what i do with those dudes.
true story.
it was all because of the scones-
check the teleport:

CINNAMON AND SPICE!
and a few things that're nicey-nice, too.
raisins in baked goods are only sorta sometimes a thing around here-
in this instance they work, and i like it when things work.
plus, there's dried cranberries, AND chopped walnuts,
and cinnamon and stuff like that-
that's pretty neat,
but there's a nother 'nother factor at work, making it even MORE awesome.
f'real. the liquid was something holiday-specific, too-
yep.
NOG, bro.
eggless holiday nog is in effect, and it takes these jauns to eleven.
that's real.
-
you want the recipe, don't you? alright. here it is:
-
*
CINNACRANRAISINWALNOG SCONES!
-
preheat your oven to 400℉
-
in a large mixing bowl, combine:
3 cups flour;
1/2 tsp salt;
1/4 cup sugar;
2/3 cup thick oats;
2 tsp baking powder;
1 tsp baking soda;
cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves, in that order of quantity, but, like, 'to taste';
-
cut it:
1 stick ( 8 T) vegan butter;
3 T vegan creamchee';
1 tsp vanilla.
-
once completely blended,
add:
1/4 cup non-dairy yogurt;
1/2 cup vegan NOG;
1/2 cup dried cranberries;
1/2 cup raisins;
1/2 cup chopped walnuts.
-
fold the mixture in on itself, give it half turn, a press, and another fold,
then another turn, so on and on, until you've got a mega-layered dough ready to go.
i press mine flat to around 1" thick, in a rectangle, which i cut into strips,
before slicing triangles out of each long length of dough-
you see what they look like, so you probably know what i'm talking about-
arranged on a baking tray, they get tucked up in the freezer for ten or so minutes,
then baked for twenty-five-ish minutes.
dudes!
they're flakyish, and burly, and hearty,
and when there's that thicccness of icing on top, too?
WORD.
they're just what you need to have a good day.
my saturday's success was wholly determined by these breakfast bomshells, bruh.
they don't take very long to make, and they don't take very long to bake,
and they sure as sh!t don't take more'n a few bites to eat!
a delicious oaty, cinnamon-sugar supersexxx exxxplosion is the right way to begin a day.
i'm glad i thought of it as i spun on my heel on the ice outside my dark doorstep.
*
the end.
the end of the year.
the end of the year happens at the beginning of the week.
that's just how it be sometimes.
and today there's just gonna be even more of all the same stuff i've been doing all year.
that's the thing of it, man-
it's all really happening, there's just not a lot of NEW hottness to go
with the regular hot fire that my life is made out of.
and also, for the next little minute i have so. many. tattoos.
for real.
hand-crampin' thumb-numbin' back-crackin' big bammers,
with a few sweet little taddy-toosies tossed in here and there.
it's gonna be feet-first jump-off for 2019,
with my days packed up tight and no light in sight.
it's heavy, and it's hectic, and that's good news, too.
mmhmmm.
a grand don't come for free, homie.
and these movie checks are much needed after a doo-doo buttery december.
that's for really-real,
and that's the new deal.
we're moving forward, we're not looking back, and our eyes are on the prize,
surprisin' the horizon,
and never sayin' dyin' while we're tryin'.
this is What is;
never quiet, never soft.....

Saturday, December 29

WINDY!

that's windy-city pizza, pal.
yeah.
that deeeeeeep dish.
y'know?
it's like sausage and peppery lasagna pizza.
mmmhmmmm.
it's got BIG flavor, it's got BIG ingredients, it's got ENORMOUS appeal,
and it's all really happening,
right here at the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress test kitchen laboratory, neighbors.
yeah!
i'm not saying i'm the expert at pizza,
but i will boast a bit when i declare that i'm certainly AN expert at pizza.
real talk, y'boi gets down and dirty with the different doughs, bros.
that's right.
and when it's time to rock a funky pan? i'm the man.
when it's time to bake a funky joint? i'm on point.
etc etc.
you get the idea. now check the teleport:

ka-BOOOOOM!!!!
that's thiccc. that's luxxxurious. that's heavy-duty diabolically delicious dopeness, duder.
and that's no joke.
yeah, i used a springform pan. ...so?!
it works F*ing awesome.
yeah, i used some of my current-production-run cooked sauce on top.
that a problem? i didn't think so.
i went rogue on a sorta-focaccia-style semolina dough,
and it turned out exceptionally rad.
i'm so happy about pizza all the time.
seriously, i could eat it every single day of my life,
rarely the same one twice, and forever be content.
i mean LOOK at that hot fiery jaun!
it's the TRUTH!
the sauce recipe is here.
that's what you want, and it's what you need, homeboy.
you want dough like what you see there?
it goes like this:
-
*
 FOCACCIA-DEPTH!
-
in your most-necessary and magnificent stand-upright mixer, equipped with a dough hook,
combine:
1 cup a.p. flour;
1/2 cup semolina flour;
1/2 cup bread flour;
2 T vegan butter;
2 tsp salt;
1 pkg fast-actin' yeast;
2 T olive oil;
1 cup warm water-
beat it up on lower speeds for 11 minutes, then wrap and refrigerate it all day-
12 hours is good for you.
you're gonna wanna preheat your oven to 480℉ convection-style,
and you'll also probably want to grease up a 9" springform pan.
that's the move, friends, plus pressing the dough up the sides
in order to get that deeeeep cradle effect poppin'.
that's word.
*
i got a big handful of baby spinach on the bottom,
covered in minced daiya mozz',
AND grated miyoko mozz', too.
that's how you do it, if you care about doing it right.
topped with one caramelized red onion, and one sauteed green pepper,
cooked together with a glug of olive oil until all soft and sexxxy and oh-mami-umami!
that's IT!!!
then,
there's a couple of wheatless meatless gluten-free vega homemade sausages, crOmbled up,
with a few slabs of minced-up storebought baconish stuff-
browned and added all over the top of THAT.
it's a heavy duty stacks-on-stacks situation, son.
is there MORE?
yeah.
too much is the right amount.
there's MORE daiya and miyoko all over that meaty vegan hottness.
then the sauce is spooned in furious heaps over the whole thing,
and there's parsley sprankles, for added beauty,
and fried garlic sprankles, because rules is rules.
then,
there's even MORE miyoko mozz' grated on top!!!
HOLY SH!TS, buddy.
that's a megadose of delights, right?
look:

WOW WOW WOW WOW!!!!!
i'm not ever trying to have weak-A* pizza.
even if it's boutique pizza in the midwestern style.
no matter what, if it's called pizza, in any sense, i want it to go to eleven.
anything less is an insult to my general health and well-being.
no lie.
***********
i got tattoos to do.
and they're all composed of waaaay too many lines.
every last one of them.
i'm pretty sure that means i'm at fault, since i'm the one drawing them.
i'll take the blame, as long as they all look good.
that's what i'm most concerned with these days.
making it look good.
i tattooed a couple of kids i've know since they were waaaaaay too little to get tattooed.
that's always a wild experience.
i've know their parents forever,
i've been tattooing their dad for well over a decade, even.
i think that means i'm old.
as if the sparse grey hair on my head, and my creaky knees hadn't already confirmed that.
i'm grateful to be on a second generation of art-gettin' clients.
that means somethin' to me, and i appreciate the hell out of that.
spanning time and space, making and leaving marks,
and making connections with whole F*ing bloodlines of folks...
it's all really happening, and that's the whole point;
never quiet, never soft.....

SPRANKLES!

it's the sprankles that make or break these cookies, kids.
i mean it.
without those little glittery goobieblops on top, these'd be boring beige bummers,
and THAT'S not how i'm living my life, man.
nope.
i'm no fun. seriously, i'm not.
i freely admit to that.
but, i do eat some darn pretty food, dudes, and that's a fact.
you could say i'm weird.
yeah, yeah, everybody is weird. i know.
but, i mean, it's only because of my extreme aversion to conventional distractions.
really. i just don't wanna do any of that stuff.
no water slides,
no snowmobiles,
no parachutes,
no beachfront sandcastles,
no video games.....
no thanks.
hmm?
well, i'm sure it's all great, it's just not for me.
i'm SO much happier baking something than going somewhere.
i guess that's weird.
i feel more fulfilled creating vegan treats than i do tattooing, even.
and that's saying something substantial, as i tattoo every damned day,
and every damned week, and month, and year, and have for decades now.
yeah.
and i do love my job, compared to every other job-
but the best part of my day is making food.
-
so, when i have a chance to fire up the oven?
i'm already all over it, right away, quick-fast, and in a hurry.
these cookies have quickly become a gluten-free favorite around here,
and that means that i'll be making them often, for sure.
check the teleport:

...like i said, it's those sprankles that do it, right?
uh-huh.
breezy said she likes these the best.
what else could i do besides provide her with a batch?
i mean, c'mon-
what am i?
an A*-hole?
nope.
i'm a baker-man doing the best i can!
i mentioned a week or so ago that these remind me of anginettes.
they still do.
here's the recipe.
you're welcome to amend or adapt it as you see fit.
i'm just telling you what i did, and how.
guys,
we all ate a lot of these.
it'd be hard NOT to. f'real. they dissolve in your mouth.
that's some kind of amazing sweet sugary sorcery, son.
-
*
cookies are good.
you get a great many of them, and they go down really easily.
and this is it.
the last cookies of the year, i think.
we're down to the wire, down to the exposed steel in the treads of december-
the new hottness is headed our way in just a few days.
do you have a resolution yet?
i don't, but i need one.
yeah.
a decreed direction to delve deeper into self-improvement.
becoming a better version of oneself is very subjective, isn't it?
whatever it is you think you need is probably NOT what others see
as the imperative intervention that'll make you better to be around.
how wild is that?
you're over there trying to fix some sh!t you feel acutely needs your attention,
and your closest nearest and dearest have very different ideas
about what the F* is wrong with you.
ha!
it's probably accurate that you're both right, and you're pretty much a mess...
i don't think i'm perfect, or even close to it-
i DO think that every day is a shot at being better.
the last few days have had me back on that good diet and exercise drive-
walking in seriously strained snowy roadways
with my suicidal dog has added a degree of difficulty, though.
yup.
crabtree can't hear cars coming,
but he instinctively knows to try to step out into traffic
and get crushed to roadside confetti whenever one is headed our way.
ugh.
...and guess who looks like a maniac dragging his dumb dog
to safety with a savage snap of the leash?
that's right.
i'm the bad guy,
not letting his best four-legged homeboy get smooshed underneath oncoming tires.
what a jerk, am i right?
that's just the way it is sometimes.
if i was gonna give him some help with a resolution,
i'd suggest he learn about spatial awareness, and situational preparedness.
he's out here happily heading into harm's way,
and it's hard to watch while trudging through ice and snow.
literally, i can't see it happening, and i can't hear sh!t either.
we're a heck of a pair, headed outside with a metaphysical roll of the dice
determining if this'll be the day that we die.
today is the day, maybe;
never quiet, never soft.....

Friday, December 28

GF CINNABUMMERS!!

ummmm,
so, i made gluten-free cinnamon rolls.
were they nearly as good as my epic gluten-full cinnamon rolls?
nope.
not even mostly as heroic.
they were good, for sure.
maybe if i'd never had an expert vegan sorcerous cinnamom bun, 
i'd likely have been delighted.
actually, if it'd been a while, instead of less than a week since my last cinnaroll,
i might've had more objectivity and receptivity to what i made-
regrettably for my mouth, i had the vision of my superlative success still fresh in my mind,
and as such, these largely went underappreciated.
however,
now i know i can make 'em, and while they're sort of a pain in the bum,
i will be revisiting this to make them even better, and better,
until the level of expertism goes to eleven,
with or without the presence of gluten.
that's a tall order, but i'm no shortchangin' chump, y'know?
dudes,
take a look at what i had going on over here:

yeah, they look good, right?
i thought so too.
breezy asked for these, too,
so,
i got into some new creation magic, and made it happen.
the recipe is wild as hell, and i dunno if i was doing it right,
but the flavor was on point, and the texture was pretty frickin' good.
the filling was gooey, and traditional...
1/2 cup of brown sugar;
1 tsp vanilla;
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon;
1/2 stick (4 T) vegan butter;
1/4 tsp ginger.
mashed up into a pasty paste, ready to spread out.
mmmm.
-
the rolls themselves were a little tricky.
they take a bit of work, but they do the trick.
-

GF CINNABUNZIES!!
-
preheat the oven to 375℉
-
in a sauce pot, on low heat, melt 4 T vegan butter into 1 cup non-dairy milk,
with 1 tsp vanilla, and 3 T chia/flax meal.
you really want it to be about 100℉, so it won't kill the yeast in these rolls, bros.
-
in a medium mixing bowl, combine
2 cups arrowhead mills organic heritage blend gf ap flour;
1 cup mama's gf almond flour blend;
1/2 tsp salt;
1 tsp baking soda;
1 tsp baking powder;
1/4 cup brown sugar;
1 tsp cinnamon;
1/2 tsp xantham gum;
1 T tapioca starch;
1 pkg fast-acting yeast.
stir it alllllll up, adding in the s'milky buttery wet stuff,
and get it all kneaded into a sticky dough.
you should be able to roll it out on parchment or some other non-stick surface,
without having to cover the top too.
it's pliable, but not so sticky that it doesn't wanna roll out.
make a rectangle, slightly thicker than the wheat version- like more than 1/4" for sure-
spread the filling, leaving one edge 1" unsugared, and roll 'em up.
cut your log of cinnamon majesty in half, and then those halves in half,
then all four of those pieces into thirds, and place them in a greased brownie pan,
covered, to rise for between forty and sixty minutes-
they won't double in size, but they will fatten up.
bake them for twenty-five - thirty minutes, or until they look golden and firm and crisp.
yeah!
look:

WORD!!
they look legit, right?
i know!!
they're sorta soft.
they're very sticky.
and of course, they need glaze like crazy.
powdered sugar, non-dairy milk, and a lil bit of vanilla, thiccc af, is the way to go.
mmmmmmm.
-
i'll make them again, maybe.
although, i'm gluten-activated like a wild wheaten warlord these days.
i don't even be carin', kids.
if there's wheat to eat, it's going in my mouth.
it's just a personal preference for the late-year snowy cold weather times.
a good glutenous gorging of shark-bitin' barbarianism never hurt me none.
however, it's nice to know that if i've gotta make the considerate kind of cinnamon sweets?
i totally can.
shoutouts to only knowing how to express myself through food.
ugh.
***********
snow day!
that's right.
snow snow snow snow snow.
winter times are here for a while,
and i've got to go out and get that bread.
....figuratively.
i made a fat crusty lusty loaf of oatmeal sourdough already this morning.
so i got the actual bread ready for toasting an' that.
but, those movie checks?
i gotta give somethin' to get to hold somethin'.
and after the epic endeavor i invested in for X & XI-mas?
i'mma have to hustle harder than ever.
hey!
you've got a good tattoo idea?
please come through.
you've got a terrible tattoo idea?
even better.
bad ideas cost exxxtra.
that's a thing.
hmm?
well, yes, that IS subjective, but, i mean, c'mon man-
just because i do the thing doesn't mean everything is the same amount of awesome.
i'm still gonna hook it up,
but i'm also gonna need to get those movie checks in stacks on stacks on stacks.
it's cold outside, and i gotta get that heat bill covered, kiddo.
hahahaha.
i'll be out in the storm, waiting for the poopie-pick-up-truckers
to come through for name tattoos and america crosses and sh!t.
nothing makes me more excited than chippewas and carhartts and camouflage hats.
i'm ready if you're ready, north country neanderthals;
never quiet, never soft.....

LINGUINE!!!!!

nate came through with the linguine.
what?
what do YOU mean what do i mean?
dudes,
i've been teasing him about how he hasn't invited me over to his new place yet-
y'know, to make me some linguine or somethin'....
he still hasn't.
but he did get me some fancy pasta jauns to make for myself at home.
and i'm down for grabbin' wins wherever they're handin' 'em out, holmes.
so, i got this nicey-nice pasta for X-mas, and i wasn't about to let it sit for even a second.
i got home and i got to cookin'.
mmhmm.
check the teleport:

TRONGUINE ALBERTO!!!
ha.
y'all might act like you don't be creamy, but y'all be creamy.
i know it.
heck, i made it.
and i ate it alllllll.
which was a LOT, but then again, it's holiday time,
and too much is the right amount during every season
f'real.
cream, son.
get the money.
dollar dollar bill y'all.
uh-huh.
i made the pasta in salty water.
duh.
it says how on the package;
what are you? an A*-hole?
c'mon.
don't be dumb.
and i dry-fried those thick-cut baby bellas with a lil salt on a hot pan,
until both sides were brown,
and there was 0% sliminess on those sexxxy funghi chips, boi!
yum.
i had the broccoli florets gettin' steamy next to those tomato halves,
and i had that whole pan lidded to steam a little hottness into all of it.
yep.
olive oil, salt, and a splash of water had me like: whoah.
and that's good stuff.
is that fried garlic on there?
OBVI.
rules is rules, and besides, what is pasta without garlic?
bullsh!t, that's what.
parsley and crushed red peppery sprankles?
yes and yes.
i want the maxxxximum hot fire on my food,
and if i'm eatin' pasta, i want more activation than the pan can handle, man.
wu-TANG, that's my muh-fuh'n word.
*
the real star, though?
i mean, besides those hella thiccc 'guine ropes?
the SAUCE!
yep.
vegan alfredo alberto magic, for your face.
creamy as hell.
rich and savory and comforting like hugs and kisses, kids.
no joke.
i needed it, and i had it, and i lapsed into a lazy languorous food trance right afterwards.
mmmmmmmm.
-
*
CREAMY SAUCE!!!
-
in a 1 quart saucepot, create a roux-
2 T vegan butter;
2 T olive oil;
1 clove crushed garlic;
2 T minced onion;
2 T nootch;
1 tsp ea GPOP;
3 T ap flour-
get that flour hella toasty, and combined with the fats and the roots,
then add:
1 1/2 cups non-dairy milk;
pink salt;
lots of black pepper;
2 T minced parsley;
1 T lemon juice-
stir on medium-high heat, and watch that bihhhh get thickened and luscious.
when it's thick af, turn the heat down to low-low, stir it up,
and mabe even add a splash of pasta water if it's too gloppy.
guys!
it's so creamy, and it's so GOOD.
that's the truth.
as always,
i tossed my perfectly al dente pasta in with a big ol' glug
of that off-white delight before i plated it,
and i tossed the veggies in too-
MORE sauce is better, forever and ever.
that's just the way it is.
*
if nothing else is going right,
i know i'm literally nourishing my body properly, at the very least.
i eat well, whether or not i'm living poorly.
that's important to me.
being vegan isn't something i decided in order to inconvenience others.
in fact, i'd rather stay home than be a nuisance to folks who are indifferent to the
dilemma of diet and ethics.
i'm not trying to be the catalyst for recalcitrantly dug-in heels,
and exxxtra helpings of roast beef as a defense mechanism
to the feeling of being judged for things some folks don't consider an issue at all.
y'know?
i've seen it happen, and it makes me sad-
the oppositional attitude of doing something even harder, to reinforce your own belief
in the face of an alternative viewpoint.
that's gross.
and i want no part of it.
the thing is:
i get literally nauseous at the sight and smell of cooked animals.
i'm serious.
i was never one for the sight of blood and guts,
but i've gotten especially sensitive as i've gotten older.
twenty something years of meatlessness has eroded my tolerance
for the idea of muscle tissue and organs as food.
i mean it.
i just can't do it.
so, i'm here at home, eating fancy pasta, and adding extra sprankles to the top,
and doing my best to eat well, mostly by my lonesome.
in my Folk Life & Liberty Fortress,
i have my own weird little bubble-world.
mealtimes are a source of comfort here.
i know what i've got,
i know what i'm doing,
i know what's up.
truly, i don't wanna be in charge of how other people live.
that's no good for anybody,
but i also don't want to half-puke about what's on someone else's table.
it's 100% my issue, and as such, i'm holed up here in my house,
gettin' wild with the vegetables,
making certain i don't inflict my code of ethics on anybody else.
i love food,
i just don't want anybody to have to die about it,
and that includes me;
never quiet, never soft.....

FUDGY BOI!

when breezy asked for a gluten-free chocolate brownie,
and specified that she wanted it the way i made it the first time....
well,
that meant a lot.
y'know?
because i mess with recipes, and i amend and edit them often-
but she has a preference, so that's the way i do it, now.
uh-huh.
y'gotta make it the way they like it, neighbors, or else, what the eff are you even bothering for?
f'real.
don't make the sh!t that they hate,
unless you're lookin' to feel badly about the response you get.
i'm not about that life, buddy.
not even once, and not even a little baby bit.
so, without a recipe, but with my creative recall on high alert,
i recreated the fudgiest, moistest, softest, richest, most righteous brownie
to ever exist without wheat inside it's essence.
that's no joke.
check the teleport:

FUUUUUUUUUDGGGGGGGGGE!!
yeah!
this jaun is thiccccc, and it's hella rich,
and it's F*ing expert as heck, too.
i used a 10" pan to bake it in, lined with parchment,
because that gluten-free mud it's composed of is supersticky and wants to ruin itself.
fancy paper cures that, so fancy paper gets used for that.
word up.
-
is that chocolate ganache drizzle AND chocolate frosting on top?
hell yes it is-
too much is the right amount.
that's the way it has to be.
overdone and activated with esxxxcess and exxxtras or else 'no thanks, skanks'.
the drizz' is just tempered dark chocolate with s'milk and powdered sugar and vanilla-
a splash of everything on low heat, and a pastry bag with a missin' tip and blah blah blah.
the frosting is easy, too-
2 cups of powdered sugar, 6 T vegan butter; 1 tsp vanilla, a tiny pinch of salt,
3 T cocoa, and 1/4 up s'milk, whisked on high speed in a stand-up mixer.......
it's all what i always do, because those moves always deliver the dopeness, duder.
yeah.
but, the actual brownie?
that's what you need, nerds.
-
*
GF CHOCOLATE FUDGE BROWNIE!!
-
preheat your oven to 350℉
-
line a pan of your choice with parchment
-
in a small sauce pot, melt 1 stick vegan butter with 1 cup non-dairy milk,
and 2 tsp vanilla, on low heat, until it's all melty and nice.
-
in a medium metal mixin' bowl, combine:
1 cup brown sugar;
1/4 cup sugar;
1/2 tsp salt;
1 cup bob's ap gf baking blend flour;
1 cup mama's almond flour blend;
3 T tapioca starch;
1/4 cup chick pea flour;
1/4 cup cocoa;
1/2 cup vanilla soy yogurt;
1 tsp baking powder;
1 tsp baking soda.
add the melty liquid to the mushy dry stuff,
and stir enough to make a wet, sloppy batter-
spread it into your parchment'd pan,
and bake the whole thing for 25-30 minutes-
it should still feel soft.
if it gets cakey, that's okay, but it's NOT the way breezy likes it.
maybe you do, though?
bake it longer if that's the case.
i dunno how you wanna live your life, kid, so do what feels right.
ANYway,
it's one heck of a treat, and i have eaten a whole lot of it.
interestingly, i don't think she had even a single wedge of this masterpiece.
isn't that the way it goes though, bros?
we do what we think is right, and it goes largely unnoticed.
alas, i'm over here stuffing it in MY face, so all is not lost, boss.
yeah.
*
the last weekend of 2018 is here.
and it's snowing.
that means that tomorrow is gonna be a sh!t-salad sandwich
stacked with skiers and second-homo'wners who'll be clogging up all
the thoroughfares and restaurants with their privilege and prerogatives.
neat.
i can't wait.
i guess that means that today is the day.
and it's friday, which is even better-
i've got long-time friends coming up top get their kids tattooed-
that's wild, btw.
when the little dudes you remember are now big dudes in the tattoo chair?
crazy, right?
i KNOW.
so, it's a snow day, and anything can happen-
as for me, whatever comes at me today is gonna be exxxactly what was supposed to,
so i guess i gotta take the ride regardless of where it leads.
anything, something, everything- it's ALL really happening;
never quiet, never soft.....

CHRISTMAS CREME!

mousse? creme? puddin'??
man, i got you covered on all accounts-
yup.
christmas-style soft and silky sexxxiness is ON the menu.
that's real.
it's crazy easy to make,
it's super rich and decadent and dope,
and it's got all the holiday appropriate sprankles on top, too.
that's how you do it right, and how else would you do it, anyway, right?
right!
so check the teleport:

CREAMY DREAMS, DUDES!!
seriously, though- this is a huge win in the pie department,
and it's so quick and awesome you'll be making one a week
until you feel all your pants fitting exxxtra-snugly in the middle, man.
haha.
guys,
the crust is some new-new...100% gluten-free oatmeal chocolate crumbles!
-
*
GF CRUMB CRUST!
-
preheat your oven to 375℉
-
in a small sauce pot melt 3 T vegan butter
-
get yourself a pie tin, and get it read to fill
-
in a medium mixing bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups quick gf oats;
1/4 tsp salt;
1 tsp vanilla;
1/4 cup gf oat bran;
3 T cocoa;
1/4 cup rice flour;
1/4 cup brown sugar-
dd the melted butts, and 2-4 T s'milk, until the mixture holds firmly together when squeezed-
press and shape it into your pie pan, and bake it for 11 minutes.
bingo, broski. just like that, you're the crustiest!
...
and the filling?
it's expert. ...and it's super simple.
-
*
CHOCOLATE CREME!
-
in your food processor, combine one pressed and drained block of silken tofu;
2 T cocoa;
1 tsp vanilla;
1/4 cup powdered sugar.
-
in a small sauce pot,
temper/melt 1 pkg vegan dark chocolate chips,
with 3 T s'milk, on low heat, until totally lava-esque,
and add that into the processor as well.
whip it all up in there until it's one smooooooth consistency,
and pour it into your piecrust-
level it out, give it a few shakes and a tap or two,
and let it set in the fridge for a few hours, or overnight-
i hit it with a triple shake of all the X-mas spranks at this point, pre-refrigeration.
i like when they sink in just a little teentsy tiny lil bit.
but that's just me.
-
after it set,
i lit it up with those chocolate frosting stars.
uh-huh.
...as if there somehow wasn't enough sugar in that muh-fuhhhr, y'know?
c'mon-
too much is the right amount.
that's a thing.
the frosting is a nice touch though,
and the new frosting gun that patti and dennis, my great northern stepfolks got me,
has already made itself useful for days on end.
tight.
***********
the big presents and the big family fun and all that sh!t are all over, now.
it's almost time for a new year, and with it, a new calendar,
and with that, a transfer of all the birthdays i've written on each and every one,
for years-
i edit 'em, neighbors-
i add some, i remove some, i cross some off, i circle some others.
it's a hard style, honestly.
a tally and total, cross-checked and amended, for all the folks who've come and gone.
yeah, it's a yearly ritual, and yeah, rules is rules,
but it's tough to leave off those names,
it shouldn't matter.
it's just me, over here, looking at this calendar, thinking about endings.
years and friendships, loves and lives-
it's all really happening, and without the bitter, the sweet's just not as sweet-
i know there's new stuff coming.
that's the whole idea of that new calendar- it's like a setlist for a whole new cycle.
that's cool.
i s'pose i could just leave everybody Off The List?
no, that defeats the whole purpose of having a list.
i'm juts gonna wait a day or two before i get out the pen and start writing;
never quiet, never soft.....

Thursday, December 27

CINNAMON BUNROLLS!

do y'all call 'em buns or rolls?
huh?
yeah, the swirlie jauns that you bake up for everybody on special days-
i guess i call 'em both.
is that weird?
that's okay.
i made 'em for my ma.
i did.
that's what i do.
i bake.
and when i'm tryna make sense of the world around me,
there's no better meditation and centering source of process,
and then, you get to munch up on the results, whether or not you've solved your problems.
that's pretty neat.
ANYway, i made 'em, and they were exceptional, honestly.
i'm not even bragging, i was impressed with the end product,
and i enjoyed more of them than was digestively advisable.
ha.
take a look:

YEAH, I KNOW, RIGHT?
but, like, loooooooook:

WU-TANG!!!
that's that cinnamon sexxxiness, son.
perfectly risen, perfectly baked, totally expert.
that's how you doo-doo that freaky sh!t.
what was the secret?
man, i have NO idea. i didn't use a recipe, obvi, and i didn't really focus on any one thing.
i just let 'em make themselves,
like a cinnamon brown sugar force from beyond time and space.
that's real.
here's how much of everything i used-
maybe that'll help you help yourself to a batch of these bad boys?
here's the info, use it how you'd like:
-
*
CINNAMON BUNROLLS!
-
preheat your oven to 375℉
-
line a cast-iron pan with parchment.
-
in a medum mixin' bowl, mash into a paste:
1/2 cup brown sugar;
1 tsp vanilla;
1 T cinnamon;
1/4 tsp dried ginger;
dash nutmeg.
set aside to fill in the rolled dough in a moment-
-
in a small saucepot,
warm up 1 cup of non-dairy s'milk,
with 4 T melted vegan butter, and 1 tsp vanilla, on low heat, to about 100 degree?
i dunno how to measure that, but estimate, i guess.....
-
in your stand-up mandatory mixer, with the dough hook attached, knead together:
3 cups flour;
1/4 brown sugar;
1/2 tsp salt;
1 tsp cinnamon;
1 pkg fast actin' yeast;
that cup of warm s'milk you just made-
beat it up for 11 minutes, let it rise, covered for ten minutes,
then roll out a rectangle,
and spread the filling to 3 out of four of the edges,
leaving one long rectangle edge with a 1" margin-
roll 'em up, and gently moisten that blank edge to stick it together-
cut your roll in half, then those halves in half, then those quarters into thirds,
and you'll have a dozen spirals of pure hottness on hand.
allow them to rise, lightly covered, for 20-30 minutes, until they all touch,
then bake those little spincakes for twenty five minutes,
or until they're perfectly golden and luscious-
now, when you ice 'em,
and you've GOTTA ice 'em- rules is rules.....
they should be warm enough to softly slip around and soak up that sweet icing,
but not so hot that it turns clear and sucks.
that's word.
you'll know what to do. i believe in you.
btw,
the icing is just powdered sugar with a lil baby bit of s'milk, and a dash of vanilla.
easy.
bunrolls are expert.
i love 'em, and i eat a lot every time i make 'em.
i can't help myself, and i don't even try.
gooey, cinnamony, stick, fluffy pull-aparty magic!
*
dang. i was gone for days.
i mean, yeah, i just wrote like, four blogs in a row, but still,
i'm waaaay behind in my real-life documentarianism.
it happens when you're out there in those streets, making, and baking,
driving, striving, surviving, and thriving-
sometimes you're just so busy livin', there's almost no time to savor it.
i've got a backlog of photos to stir my thoughts,
and we'll get there before year's end, i promise.
it's ALL really unfolding and expanding,
and that's great news, because what else would it be doing?
that's the whole point;
never quiet, never soft.....

MAS XMAS!!!

two christmases?
obvi.
i got harvest and maple to take care of,
and then, cali, cohen, embry, and breezy, too.
yeah.
two individual holiday scenarios.
for now, anyway.
in the future, who knows what'll be the norm?
not me, but i'm moving forward in time and space, in an effort to find out.
that's no joke.
the thing is:
that's a LOT of christmas, man.
and all these kids have grandparents,
and multiple families set up in separate sections of several states.....
neighbors, the modern archetype of christmas is like a map of the london underground.
it's complicated, and it's convoluted, but it's also very effective.
that's a balance that needs maintenance, which is totally worth it.
i couldn't hep but feel a pang of pain as i packed up all the presents for my oldest two,
and brought them down to connecticut for the first time ever.
yup.
we'd had XI-mas for fifteen years, one louder than X-mas, and one day after.
now, here we are-
celebrating early, and down in my old hometown away from the woodsly goodsly
Folk Life & Liberty Fortress and all the fixin's that follow our trio's traditions.
we did early crimbo, bro-
before they go off on their own, to do all their own grown-A* teenage girly things,
for winter vacation wild'n out, without their weird old dad around.
ugh!
i'm officially the father of big adult kids.
damn.
i still piled up their presents for a picture tho-
rules is rules.
teleport:

yeah.
we had a good one, but we always do.
are those packages crisp-edged in metallic foil thicccness?
obvi.
did i dominate the wishlists?
of course.
did i then double all the everything, so they'd have even MORE?
guys, too much is the right amount,
and presents are what i DO.
here's the thing-
we had a whole other 'nother ON-CHRISTMAS christmas,
for the little-littles, who wake up to see if santa came an' that.
yep.
and we blended up our whole family, including their dad, naturally,
into one big three-adult three-kid brady bunchy matchy-pajammie-jamin' big morning.
yep.
MORE christmas, for six people,and it looked just like THIS:

DAAAAAAAAAAMN!!!!
that's wild, right?
i know!
it definitely went to 11, even though it was destined to put the DMX in Xmas!
whaaaaaat!!!
hahahaha.
everybody had big fun, and everybody got what they wanted.
that's pretty much the only way how you make it expert.
and we made it SO much so,
including gluten-free panniecakes and real maple syrup.
that's right.
we did it the way you're s'posed to.
-
all-inclusive.
that's the plan, for me and mine.
that means my old-A* big-A* kids,
and my teensy-weentsie step kids,
and their mama who happens to be my sweet little baby mama,
and those little kids' father, richard (who is terrific btw).
all of us, everybody, whenever, and always- invited and delighted and welcome to all of
the interactive participation of this weird wild wonderful woodsly life of mine;
as much as they want, as often as they can stand it-
everybody is welcome to span time and space together.
that's important.
that's called family, i hear.
i saw all my remaining people in coonecticut, and we had a great time-
and i saw the core group of people in new hampshire, and we had a great time, too-
next year,
i'm sure we'll overlap even MORE grandies and aunties and everybody.
but, make no mistakes: this was one heck of a good start.
i'm grateful for the overloaded overdose of dopeness that we concocted for all these kids.
i'm grateful for the blood and the mud and the interlocking intersections of spirit and memory
and family and togetherness that have created the last whirlwind week of warrior poetry
and city-livin' and forest-dwellin'.
i know i lucked out, and i appreciate every last second;
never quiet, never soft.....

CRIMBO!!

one creature was still stirring on the night before santa.
in fact,
after a loooong car ride from connecticut all the way back up to new hampshire,
my little krampus was all sorts of fired up!
yea.
the milky boi, a.k.a. crabby, officially known as crabtree,
commonly regarded as crimbo, which in itself is an abbreviation of christmas,
and occasionally called crimby by cali the current youngest kid in our life,
was all naughty, and zero nice, whilst he roamed the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress
in eager anticipation of a jolly holiday.
uh-huh.
look at this dude:

he don't be carin' about nothin', man.
he was such a good boy in connecticut, though,
it almost made up for what a whiny doo-doo baby he was when we got home.
almost.
-
we walked all the old haunts of my hamden, ct, hometown,
and we trudged and tromped and tread through all the old spots.....
it's a beautiful neighborhood, if you walk up the hills.
no, for real.
i was so busy going downwards, i think i missed all the beauty i could've had
just by simply looking up.
there's a metaphor in there, i'm sure, for my youth and my perspective.
crab-man always looks down, but he's hella happy about it.
that way, he can find all the half-eaten awfulness on the roadside,
and get himself good and sh!tty, literally,
so we can all enjoy the aroma of a real grinchy limburger sauce for hours afterwards.
yeah.
he does his thing, and nobody is gonna get him to do otherwise-
we walked for hours, and it did us both some good,
although i was sick the whooooole time, and he was indifferent to my discomfort.
dogs're gonna dog, neighbors, that's their infinite nature,
and nature wins.
i know it, you know it, and there's no getting away from it.
me and my milkman are gonna walk the walk today, in these woodsly goodsly foothills,
and immerse ourselves in something that passes for family togetherness,
me and my terrible terrier, doing our thing, in the cold, like a team;
never quiet, never soft.....

BERFDAY!

so, i was in connecticut for the pre-holiday weekend,
celebrating my youngest (so far) daughter's seventeenth birthday!
yeah.
that's right.
my little girl is seventeen years old!
maple star, the senior-year artist and dramatist, had a heck of a berfday,
and we spanned it together...
damn, i love that kid.
she's clever, and she's incisively selectively observant,
which means she acts like she doesn't pay attention,
but she's just quietly collecting information.
she pulls it off because she's a good actor.
that's a thing.
and she's big now, dudes.
seriously.
a grown-A* woman, taller than her big sister, even, which isn't hard, to be fair.
ha!
look at this lady:

YEAH!!!!
and what kind of cake is that?
well, it's a F*ing BERFDAY CAKE, bro.
obvi.
alright, alright, also, it's a chai-spice cake, with lemon-maple frosting.
look:

WORD!
how do you make one?
well,
if you're in an unfamiliar kitchen,
using unfamiliar equipment,
and baking it in an unfamiliar oven,
then you make it mostly with crossed fingers and good vibes.
also, you use the following ingredients:
-
*
CHAI-CAKE!
-
preheat the oven to 350℉
-
grease 2 8" round cake tins
-
in a stand-mixer (yeah, my ma has one too, duder), cream together:
1 stick vegan butter;
3/4 cup sugar;
1/2 tsp salt;
1/2 cup light brown sugar;
2 opened bags of 'bengal spice' caffeine free chai tea;
1 5oz vanilla soy yogurt.
whip that all up until soft and sloppy, the add:
2 2/3 cups flour;
2 tsp baking powder;
1 tsp baking soda;
1 tsp vanilla;
1/2 pkg instant vegan vanilla pudding;
1 cup bengal spice chai-soy-latte-
that's 1 teabag warmed in soymilk,
squeezed, and removed to leave just that spicy milk for mixin'.
whisk that up until it's as fluffy as can be,
and spoon it even;ly into your cake pans.
bake it all for 25-30 minutes, and let 'em cool completely,
before making the icing-
which consists of the following:
3 cups powdered sugar;
1 stick (8T) vegan butters;
1 tsp vanilla;
1 tsp lemon juice;
1/4 cup soymilk;
2 T maple syrup;
1 tsp lemon zest-
whipped in your mixer with the wire whisk attached-
i brought my new super-icing cake decorator maker i got for Xmas from patti and dennis,
and i worked F*ing great.
yeah.
one expert iced two layer berfday deluxe, ready with ease, and in a flash,
in connecticut, for a site-specific instructional birthday exxxplosion.
i like that.
*
so we did berfday stuff.
and we had a berfday party.
and we hung out all dang day.
i'm so happy those girls are so good.
seriously, my daughters are good people, and they're fun to span time with,
and i am grateful for the time we share-
it's never enough, and as they get older, there's only ever less of it,
so we've gotta make what we've got count for MORE.
...and we do.
it's all really happening, and that's the whole point;
never quiet, never soft.....

Friday, December 21

BANH BANH DILLA!!

SANDWICHES!!!!!
yeah.
sandwiches, neighbors.
you know they're dope.
i know they're dope.
i want 'em, you want 'em,
we want 'em,
and guess what?
i GOT 'em, b.
yup.
and not just some sad sammie, either.
no way.
what do you think i am?
some kind of an A-hole?
c'mon.
i'm a sandwich wizard from the sarnie army, and i'm here to WIN at sandwiches.
do you know what sandwich is always a flawless victory?
hmm?
what's that?
YUP.
good guess- a mutha-'ucking BOMB BANH MI!!
mmmmmmmmmmm.
i doo-doo that freaky sh!t.
check the teleport:

BANH BANH DILLA OH MI OH MY!!!!
if you know, you know, yo.
the bread is important.
that's real.
then again, each individual component is essential.
without any one piece, the whole things comes up short.
the pickles? key.
the rice vinegar/pink salt/sugar pickled carrots and radishes? mandatory.
jalapeno rings and cilantro sprankles? rules is rules, fools.
you don't like coriander leaf, booboo? go get a bummer hoagie at the deli, then;
you're NOT invited to my submarine s'guini party.
dudes, i got spinach, red cabbage, red onion, and safe romaine on the bottom.
yeah.
greenery improves the scenery, and overall digestion, too.
uh-huh.
that's a LOT of stuff, but there's also AVO-F*ING-CADO!!
yum.   ...avocado makes the idea of pâté officially just for F*ing A*-holes.
that's right, i wrote it because i mean it.
coconut oil fried tofu? that's that sexxxy stuff. soft inside, with a crisssp skin.
expert.
and then vegenaise and sriracha, as well.
holy sh!t, you say?
well, yeah.
too much is the right amount.
f'real, tho-
get in there:

WORD.
the homemade bread was, as usual, the defining hottness.
that's a thing.
a. homemade tastes better.
b. good bread makes better people, AND sandwiches.
truth.
i thought i had some of that green sriracha.
i was mistaken.
i don't think i suffered overmuch without it, beyond the obvious XI-mas visual deficit.
eh.
i lived, and i ate, and i enjoyed.
-
*
BANH!
-
preheat your oven to 375℉
-
in your stand mixer, with a hook attached, combine:
1 cup flour;
1 tsp sea salt;
1 cup bread flour;
3 T vegan butter;
1 T fine cornmeal;
1 T fast-actin' yeast;
1 cup warm water-
knead it for 11 minutes,
rest it, covered, until doubled, divide into thirds, form sub roll shapes,
1/2 " apart, on a baking tray, and allow to rise for 30 minutes, again.
- i softened a few pats of vegan butter, and i spread 'em on top of the loaves-
which i then baked for 20-somethin' minutes, until golden.
guys, fresh bread is what you need.
the whole sandwich was elevated to art with a little pan-toasted and buttered big action.
for serious, this is the power move.
-
*
heroic hottness?
yeah, i'm about that life.
winter solstice?
i effs with that, too.
long drives in the rain?
i guess, if i've gotta.
today is the day, and it's ALL really happening-
that's the whole point;
never quiet, never soft.....

SOLSTICE!!!

it's officially winter, dudes.
i mean it-
today is the day!
the solstice-
the darkest day of the year-
what?
no.
...it's not the shortest (they're all twenty four hours long, bro).
but, it's now f'really-real wintertime.
and that must mean it's time for a winter wonderland, right?
fluffy, freshly-driven white christmassy snowfall an' that, yeah?
c'mon.
what are you?
an A*-hole?
now way.
naturally, it's raining and turning into doomsday ice everywhere around me.
why would mama nature do us dirty like that?
because rules is rules, and there are two rules that always apply-
number one: nature wins. that's just how it is.
and number two: if i've got to drive somewhere far,
the weather will always find a way to try to kill me.
yep.
-
but, it's the solstice, and that means ley lines and axis-rotations,
and relative dimensions of time and space,
are all aligned to take us on a quick descent into lightless night sooner than any other day.
that's dark, literally, and figuratively-  like, grim, even.
but, there's the good news:
starting tomorrow, everything gets a few minutes bright bright brighter.
and besides, all the holiday illumination will heavily light pollute the skies,
and through XI-mas, there'll be MORE lumens than nature can compete against-
in fact, the darkest darks make the shiny shines MORE expert.
it's all just a study in contrasts, neighbors-
without the bitter, the sweet's not as sweet.
and speaking of wintertime sweets, look at this:

uh-huh.
i'd never made a gingerbread house before.
they got all the varieties, man,
those are three separate hobby kits, for three unique personalities.
embry, cohen, and cali.
s'kyoot!
and as for me?
i mostly shivered and shook and convulsed and convalesced.
uh-huh.
you do the right thing, because it's the right thing, even when you're sick af.
that's real.
and look:

yup.
sweater buddies.
we do that.
*
investing time and building relationships and hopefully creating strong bonds between
hearts and minds? i think that's called making a family.
the time we span, and the space we occupy is warm, and bright,
and together, the ever-increasing number of bodies, big and small,
with their unique skillsets, are interweaving and overlapping and lacing up
into a great big connected knotwork web of spirit and memory and love.
it feels pretty bright, even on the darkest day,
and i'm grateful for these dudes, and for our time together;
never quiet, never soft.....

Wednesday, December 19

PAPPARDELLE!!!

i'm just eating alllll the pasta,
and trying to feed this cold into submission...
uh-huh.
i've got complications crushing my cranium with congestion,
and that's a savage interruption of XI-mas festivities.
uh-huh.
that's no joke.
i feel terrible: my once-a-year rotten rhinovirus is in full swing,
and taking great pleasure in my tremendous discomfort and discomfiture.
yuck.
so, i'm just over here wrapping presents until way too late at night,
hunched over on the floor, using up ALL the fancy paper-
(f'really real, i went through six rolls last night- i guess boxes take up a lotta paper!)
and i'm chilled to the bone next to a little high-powered exxxtra-heaterizer.
which is another way of saying: i'm a man with a cold,
which is another 'nother other way of saying: 
i have the most deadly cold anyone has ever had
in the whole entire history of human immune systems.
right?
it feels like it.
but, as i said up top, i'm also feeding this F*er alllllll the pasta.
yup.
you ain't taking me down on an empty stomach, bro.
that's my word, y'heard- teleport:
HOMEMADE FIRE-ROASTED TOMATO SEMOLINA PAPARDELLE!!!
boiiiiii, you already know; and if you don't know?? 
...y'all's had best start askin' somebody.
but, like, i'm serious, neighbors-
i came through with the homemade expert pasta POWER for supper,
and it's probably the only thing that kept me from completely ceasing forward progress,
seizing up, and shutting down...
it worked pretty damned well, too.
i mean, i wrapped up presents for four hours without falling apart,
and i credit it to this super-thiccc pasta and sauce.
first off- i gotta have arugula.
well, rules is rules
and besides, nothin' goes better with italian food than arugula, man.
-
parsley sprankles? heck yes.
exxxtra little bitsies are always a good idea.
-
and fresh basil?
dudes, that's the MOVE.
the activation level is steadily at eleven, and that's where it belongs.
-
those miyoko mozzarella shreds? exxxactly what this jaun needed 
to exceed all the greatest expectations.
s'tight.
just a little melty magic for your face, just for MORE awesomeness!
-
the sauce is becoming a staple of this brutally bitterly cold season, kids.
that thickfreakness is fully operational, and it's made like this.
don't be cheap with it, use a LOT, and then add some MORE.
mmmmm.
too much is the right amount
and that's the only answer i'm tryna hear.
-
now, let's chitchat about that pasta.
superfat noods of semi-semolina dough,
with dried tomato sprankles throughout-
yeah, friends, that's the sort of stuff that makes dreams come true.
at least, that's what i dream about, anyway.
here's the ritual you can perform at home:
-
*
FIRE-ROASTED TOMATO SEMOLINA PAPPARDELLE!
-
get yourself a big potful of salty water, and a lid, and turn it up to make it boil
-
now, remember that your stand mixer is a hero of unrivaled necessity-
put the dough hook on it, and knead up:
1/2 cup + 1 T flour;
1 tsp salt;
1/2 cup semolina flour;
1 T olive oil;
4 tsp fire roasted tomato flakes;
1/2 cup warm water.
beat it up for eleven minutes, until it's a firm, stretchy ball-
roll it in a dusting of flour, and rest it for another 11 minutes.
divide it in half, and roll each piece into a thin, flat rectangle.
now, here's the secret: gently flour the thin dough, and roll it up into a loose log,
then cut 1/2" chunks off, and unroll 'em to reveal big, fat sexxy noods, bruh.
that's what's good at the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress my friends.
let those wide ribbons dry for a short spell, 
then slide them into your bubblin' pot of hot water.
they only need like four minutes to be ready, too.
that's quick-
you want some inside info?
aight- i always add my drained pasta to a bowl with a scoople of sauce in it-
yeah, i like 'em all tosssed and coated,
before i blast a big blop of family-style tv commercial dollopy sauce over all of it.
that's right.
MORE sauce, on top of MORE sauce- i told y'all already.
the basil truly blows your mind in this configuration, 
with it's accentuation of the burly sauce with such a light, crisp bite...
s'fresh and s'clean-clean...
*
i even almost felt a baby bit better after i ate.
but, i ate too much, of course, 
in keeping with my shark-gluttonous infinite nature.
i can't help myself, anymore than i could become a no-present-wrappin' warrior 
of holiday cheer.
i wrap, and i box, and i tape and i stack.
it's what i do.
five times the fun?
don't mind if i do, dudes;
never quiet, never soft.....

Tuesday, December 18

HEALTH FOOD!!!

what do y'all eat when you're feeling unwell?
soup?
yeah, i did that.
but, then, i did something even better.
yup.
what is the cure for everything?
c'mon-
you know what it is-
go on......say it-
that's riiiiiight-
PEE EYE ZEE ZEE AYY!!!
and y'boi still gets fresh to death on a pizza pie even when he feels
like hot death-breath carrying the scythe along on the reaper's wings-
uh-huh.
pizza is medicine for what ails you.
look at what i'm speaking on, bruh:

TWO-TIMERS ARE MY THING.
....ummm, wait.
that came out wrong.
double styles on one pizza, i mean-
it's like having two pizzas, without making two pizzas-
and when you're sick, that's the most expeditious way to cure
whatever is attacking your immune system.
yessir.
my homemade stretchy tapioca-siken-tofu mozz' is the TRUTH, neighbors.
for really-real.
and with those wheatless meatless sausages,
and spinach and caramelized onions, AND fried garlic and parsley sprankles?
dude, by the time i hit it with the basil?
i was already on a sensory-overload exxxplosion-
and that's just with simple crushed tomatoes on top.
i can't imagine what i'd be doing if i'd had exxxtra cooked sauce.
probably passing out with delight, i bet.
ha!
-
and the other side?
a classic, too often neglected despite being my favorite for so long-
soy-kissed seared brussels, faux baconishness, and caramelized onions,
with miyoko mozz' grated alllllllll over the dang thing-
this jammie-jam was my savior, man.
thin crispy crust, light sauce, fat chee', protein power, and leafy greens-
that's everything expert in one spot.
and it's pizza, which is always necessary.
-
huh?
the crust?
oh, it's a nine-hour bulk, buddy-
2 1/4 cups flour;
2 tsp salt;
4 tsp yeast;
1 1/4 cups warm water-
11 minutes of kneading and a covered cold-proof rise,
before a casual hand-stretch on an oiled steel tray,
and that hot 480℉ convection oven with the stones in there to keep it dope.
you know the drill by now-
pizza, pizza, pizza, pizza, pizza everywhere.
that's all i want,
and that's what i've got.
*
there's no time to do anything, and all i'm capable of is being totally beat-up
and busted at the moment.
it's not the physical discomfort of a cold that infuriates and aggravates me-
it's the lack of efficiency in my actions as my body fights the invaders,
and the war withing my blood,
germs and viruses versus white blood cells and werewolfen vitriol,
leaves me furrowed and furious with biological blasts of blight and battle.
i don't like it,
and besides, a snotty snot head is NOT who i would want breathing
into my open-wounded tattoo skin,
on some bifrosty bridge of pathogen passageways live and direct into my whole body.
but, then again, what do i know?
who is getting tattooed right before XI-mas, anyway?
people who already HAVE something wrong with them, prolly.
ha.
what's a little bioweapon incursion added on between friends, right?
i guess that's how we're livin', kids;
never quiet, never soft.....

TACO TUESDAY!

today is the day.
taco tuesday.
yup.
and i know that my brutally berserk baby-mama, breezy,
is a dedicated hard shell heroine,
so i tried to be accommodating,
and fire up some of those crawnchy bummers for us both.
uh-huh.
with an attitude of gratitude, as she was my comfort as i chilled myself silly
with sickness,
the least i could do was bundle up and activate some tacos, y'know?
-
check 'em out:

WORD.
mine have softies wrapped around 'em like group hugs, bro.
yeah.
i'm a forever soft flour taco man,
so a double corn double-deckin' is out of character, but not wholly out of line-
the soft white corn suppleness supports those sh!t-A* snap-aparts perfectly,
essentially saving the day, and turning the whole thing into a manageable mess.
yeah.
that.
they had a LOT going on, too-
see:

too much is the right amount,
and if you're starting with too many tortillas, you're already on the right track.
so,
there's my signature refried beans,
with peppers and onions and nootch, GPOP, and a sh!tload of ho'sauce-
and seared soft sweet potato wedges-
long grain white rice, romaine, red cabbage, white onion, sweet tomatoes,
AVO-F*ING-CADO,
cilantro sprankles, radish, scallion, jalapeno, and salsa.
duders,
they're heavy-duty-
and by taco numero quatro?
they're just plain heavy-
feed a cold, though, am i right?
i dunno if that's really a thing, but feeding my face is definitely what i wanna do-
we toasted the crunchers first-
rules is rules apparently,
and got busy getting expert from there.
-
*
we did our thing, and then she snugged me up while i sweat and shivered at the same time,
locked-up in my limbs with hard-style chills under three heavy blankets.
neighbors,
if you like being sick, you're a F*ing A*-hole, and that's no joke.
however,
when you're as sensitive to ingredients as i am?
two ibuprofen is basically the 'venom' that bane uses in batman comics-
i was fired up and ready to spin-kick the universe after thirty minutes.
...is that bad?
maybe.
but do i want to be collapsed in a small ball of beat-up bummerism?
nope.
so, it's two ore of those before work today, for sure.
it's tuesday, and time is running out for XI-mas preparations, bro.
i STILL haven't wrapped a damned thing,
and with five kids to care about this year, and MORE on the way,
the heaps and piles are impressively intimidating.
there's nothing left to do but to do it,
so as soon as those low-dose over-the-counter pain-relievers kick in,
i'mma have to get activated and get after it, huh?
yeah.
big chrizmiz is ON the menu, man;
never quiet, never soft.....

NOBAAAAAAAAKES!!

the only cookies you only cook,
and almost everybody loves 'em-
gluten-free, good to go, and exxxtra-especially activated
with MORE stuff than the average jauns.
yeah.
i'm sicker than a dirty dog,
so just check the teleport:

YES.
and here's how y'all are gonna doo-doo these dark blarpity blops:
-
*
NO-BAKING!
-
in a small sauce pot, on high heat, melt and bring to a boil:
1 stick vegan butter;
1 cup sugar;
1 tsp vanilla;
dash of salt;
slightly heaped 1/4 cup cocoa;
1/2 cup natural peanut butter;
1/2 cup non-dairy milk (i used coconut almond unsweetened vanilla, it was perfect);
-
boil it for exactly one hard bubblin' minute,
then add it to a large mixing bowl filled with:
2 1/2 cups gf quick oats;
1/2 cup unsweetened unsulphured shredded coconut flakes;
1/4 cup vegan chocolate chips;
1/4 cup vegan white chocolate chips;
1 tsp vanilla...
-
stir allllll that up, all together,
and when it cools just a little tiny baby bit,
add another cup of gf cocoa crispy rice cereal.....
then y'just blop it however you want 'em to look,
and hit 'em with those ka-POWdery sugary sprankles if you like that sort of thing.
you should, because too much is the right amount,
so obvi, MORE tasty bits always make it MORE expert.
...that's a fact.
these slide down so smooth-
the key is to wait to add the crispie rice, so it stays that way-
otherwise, they get gummy, and nobody enjoys a soggybottom bummer no-bake, bro.
that's not invited.
so be patient, and be rewarded for it with these decadent cooked-up bakelessnesses.
*
it's so windy that limbs are snapping outside,
and cold fronts are bringing all the arctic frostiness with 'em-
meanwhile, crabtree is barking (which he hardly ever does) at 4am every day,
because he's not getting exxxtra-lonmg walks
because my sinuses have me halfway to crippled,
with head pressure, drips and drops and coughs and chills,
and aches and agues for acres and ages......
i'm all effed up,
and it's all really happening,
and even if that's the point, it currently feels more like a dull, throbbing, mallet-strike
on congested kettle-drums,
and i feel a million miles away from present and accounted for.
.....i'll be the guy bundled up in four sweatshirts under my coat out there
walking the dog who isn't behaving,
so if you see, do me a favor and just run me over;
never quiet, never soft.....

Saturday, December 15

DEEEEEP SICILIAN!!!

PEE EYE ZEE ZEE AYY!!!!!
i don't know if anybody told y'all,
but i F*ing LOVE pizza more than every other food-
that's real.
i could eat pizza every day.
in fact, i eat pizza so often that i skip out on whole huge swaths
of cuisine from around the world that i could be making-
except, none of that worthy mealtime magic is as powerful or compelling as
another 'nother other slice of terrific homemade sorcerous sauce, chee', and crust.
real talk.
pizza rules the roost, and all other food sits below it.
and when i get an urge to splurge?
man, y'all ain't ready for how much heroic hottness is gettin' baked up in here.
mmhmm.
i took a big ol' brownie pan, and i activated the depth charges.
uh-huh.
that's electrifying expertism at it's best, deep-dish-style.
check the mf teleport:

YOOOOOO!!!!!
that's hittin' your eye like amore, right?
right!
two pizzas in one?!
uh-huh....i doo-doo that freaky sh!t.
thiccc crust deepy-d jauns, with superior dough,
and a double-dose of delicious,
dispensed with barbarian brutality across the whole effin' thing.
yes. yes. YES.
it's the best.
- yeah, those are homemade wheatless meatless sausage balls.
- yep, that's slow-cooked manly sauce.
- yes, that's my custm stretchy vegan mozz'.
homemade tastes better, bro.
that's the truth.
-
so,
what's what on this bad boi?
i'll tell you ALL about it-
-
*
DEEPY-D-OUGH!
-
in your dough-hook equipped stand mixer, combine:
1 cup ap flour;
1/2 cup semolina flour;
1/2 cup bread flour;
2 tsp salt;
1 tsp sugar;
3 T fine cornmeal;
3 T olive oil;
1 pkg fast yeast;
1 T bread machine yeast;
1 cup very warm water.
knead all of that up for 11 minutes, wrap it, and refrigerate it for 12 hours.
mmmhmmm.
that's good.
it'll be bulked af. and still ready for more rising when you remove it from the fridge-
i pressed mine into a 9" x 12" well-greased brownie pan,
and let it warm up and get active while my oven heated to 480℉ convection-style.
*
cooked sauce?
yessir.
i'm ON one with that these days.
any decent deep dish needs cooked sauce-
it's kind of a thing.
so, i made that, and it was superb.
-
*
PIZZA SAUCE!
-
in a 1 quart saucepot,
blacken 1 1/2 cups baby grape tomatoes on high heat.
next, add 1 T olive oil;
3 T finely minced onion;
2 cloves crushed garlic.
let the tomatoes burst and the onions gently caramelize in medium heat,
and then return the heat to high, and add 2 T tomato paste;
cook for just a few minutes, and stir in:
2 T nootch;
2 T red wine vinegar;
2 T tamari;
oregano, basil, parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, to taste,
plus pink salt, black pepper, and lots of Garlic Powder & Onion Powder.
dump in 1 1/2 cups crushed tomatoes;
1/2 cup warm water;
1 T agave,
bring to a boil, then simmer for at least 1 hour on low low, longer is better,
adding water by the T if it gets too burny and thick too quickly-
guys- y'all are gonna get excited about tomato-paste-activation.
it's so flippin' good on a fat pizza pie like this one.
real talk.
sicily and detroit are over here having a baby, and she's a beaut.
wordimus prime.
-
the meatless balls are made like this.
-
the tapioca-tofu chee' is described here.
-
what else?
well,
there's baby spinach and caramelized onions under everything.
on the half with balls,
the tapioca chee' is UNDER the sauce, and there's grated miyoko mozz on top,
with those halved balls over that.
mmhmm.
too much is the right amount.
-
side two is a derivative margherite jaun, only, upgraded to epic burliness.
look:

C'MON.
that's expert in every way.
fresh basil turns it up.
fried garlic and parsley sprankles take it into the future.
rules is rules,
and we can't have be havin' no lame-A* pies produced on my watch, man.
that's real.
***********
i've written about days and days more meals than i've posted to other forms of social media.
i guess that means i just made time to wrap more presents.
that's good news.
december has been a great month for food, duders.
and i'm grateful for that, for sure.
good food makes everything better,
and good pizza takes that a step further....
it's all a big feast, fete, and festival of nourishment over here,
and i'm glad for it;
never quiet, never soft.....