Friday, February 22

BLACKBOTTOM...

flaky, crispy pastry crust.
deep dark rich chocolate.
tart mixed berries.
a little baby bit of vanilla.
that's how you multitask a hot oven.
what?
oh.
so, i baked a loaf of sourdough spelt,
and while it was in the oven,
i used the pastry dough i'd made a day or so earlier,
and fired up a rustic snow day galette.
yeah.
wanna see?
alright:

pretty grown-up lookin' if you ask me.
i baked it at a higher temperature than i normally would,
and i think it made a big difference for the better.
yup.
460℉.
that's hot.
i brushed the little snowflake cut-outs with s'milk,
and that gave it a really handsome glaze.
-
i need to bake.
i do.
i've mentioned it before, and it's the truth.
making things that i can use is important.
i mean, my whole real-life pay-the-bills career
is built on making something nobody needs.
it's all luxury.
and at the end of the day,
a painting of a skull, a drawing of a battle-beastly berserker,
a tatt-freakin'-too.....
i can't use any of that, directly.
and really, if we're being real, we don't need a beautiful tart, either.
but i can make excellent use of it...and i did just that.
i ate every single scrap of it.
crispy, flaky, magically elite and all mine all mine all miiiiine.
mmmmm.
-
the chocolate?
1/4 cup dark choco chunks.
1 T s'milk.
2 T powdered sugar.
1 tsp vanilla.
melted down on low heat, and spread on the dough.
-
the berries?
1 cup of mixed raspberries and wild maine blueberries,
heated up on low heat, in a small pot, with 3 T powdered sugar,
and 2 tsp vanilla, and 2 T organic non-GMO cornstarch to thicken it up
into a non-watery compote as the frozen berries melt apart.
-
and that dough, neighbors??
well,
in a food processor, i cut up:
2 1/4 cups flour;
3 T sugar;
2 tsp vanilla;
1/4 tsp sea salt;
11 T vegan butter;
3 T vegan creamchee';
2-4 T s'milk, enough to let it clump together when pressed.
y'add the s'milk a lil bit at a time, until the dough looks crOmbly.
that's when it's ready.
wrapped in plastic, y'gotta refrigerate it for an hour, or a day, or two.
yep.
cold butters, relaxed flour, and easygoing goodness are all essential
to making a dough that does what you want it to.
uh-huh.
i baked it for about twenty minutes,
and i ate half of it while it was still warm.
yeah!
***********
these days are feeling full.
or, maybe that's not the word.
busy.
yes.
they're feeling busy, and also kind of empty.
i guess that's to be expected when the nights seem seven seconds long,
and the early mornings arrive in what could be mere moments after i close my eyes.
it's a hard style, and it's cold, and there's nothing for it but to work,
and then work some more,
and after that?
try to maybe make sense of the day, and make the most of the morning-
dragging along in the wee hours really seems to slow down progress
while time speeds up in the absence of something to show for it.
there are tattoos to do.
superfancy unnecessary luxuried for all the people who want 'em.
that's what i do, when i don;t know what else to do.
that's how it is, and that's how it's gotta be;
never quiet, never soft.....

Thursday, February 21

MAKING HAY!

double back-to-back last-minute cancellations?
laaaaaaaame!
dudes,
don't do that. ....it's gross.
ANYway, i had surprise time yesterday at AMPERSAND TATTOO.
i stretched it out across self-improvement,
plant care,
enriching word-eatin',
real-time active listening and conversing,
candle appreciation,
and, or course, coarse and capable art-makin'.
yep.
that last one is mandatory.
i feel like i need to have something to show for the lost time,
and since i have a whole bunch of smaller frames hanging about,
i may as well fill them with some of my favorite things.
specifically, MORE SKULLS!!!
yep.
too much is the right amount.
i've said it before, and i'll say it many man more times-
i don't know the right way to make art.
i certainly don't know about painting in any formal sense.
i DO have some cheap brushes, and a lot of cardboard,
so i use what i've got, and i build on what i learn each time.
i did that,
and i'm not sad about it.
check it out:

HAPPY REAPER!!
making it up as i go, and trying to keep it fast and loose,
but also tight and bright.
i'm pleased, and i think this happy little guy would be fun to meet...
...until you ended up dead, i mean.
like, rules IS rules, and the reaper doesn't leave survivors, right?
ha.
it's 4" x 6".
small art is made to fit.
the space on the walls, the space on the schedule.
-
and if you think THAT guy is small,
you should see the other one....
oh, wait.
you can:

3 INCHES OF SKULL!!
it doesn't have to be big,
it just has to BE.
making more art is a good way to suck less at making art.
sure, it's just another 'nother couple of skulls......
but i LIKE skulls.
we all have one, and i'm fascinated by death.
not morbidly, i don't think.
but i definitely think about dead people a lot.
i guess i'm just making the best of it?
who knows?
*
it's a snow day.
again.
it snows a lot up here in the winter,
which makes things look better for a short bit,
but mostly just makes the days feel a lot longer.
which could be good, no?
longer days mean more time to do things,
and doing things is important,
relative io the alternative, of doing less.
that's not invited at all.
i'm gonna go shovel, which is necessary, but otherwise underwhelming.
uh-huh.
i need there to not be snow in my way,
but i also need to get out there with crabtree and give him the exercise he needs.
he's a high-power-and-intensity terrier, and he desperately needs to run and play.
(i'm busy doing everything else, and i'm feelin' hella guilty about it, tbh)
i can't be in all the places i need to,
and i can't even do half of what i want to.
it's all really happening, all around me,
and i'm sort of in an insulated semi-circle of snow and shovels,
trying to get where i'm supposed to;
never quiet, never soft.....

MOLTISSIMO!!

i thought about dinner all freakin' day.
truly, it was at the forefront of my thoughts-
as soon as i admitted to myself that the odds of me making a sexxxy pastry tart
in the morning were so nearly non-existent as to just not be a thing...
that was when i knew for sure i was gonna have to make something special later on....
really, though,
i didn't know what to make until i saw that i'd been accidentally stockpiling semolina.
uh-huh.
i have bags on bags, and the best way to make room in the pantry is to use it up, obvi.
and that's what i did.
neighbors!
a good tortellini, in a well-appointed broth is pretty damned expert.
uh-huh.
and a LOT of 'em?
well, too much is the right amount, so you know it's even better.
check it out:

c'mon, c'mon, C'MON, C'MON!!!
there's broth in the bottom, there's sprankles all over the top,
and there's exxxtra excellence all over the flippin' place.
mmmmmmmmm.
for real, though-
get a look at all that flavor, bruh:

WOW.
i surprised myself, and i think very highly of myself in this kitchen, kids.
real talk.
that's slices of garlic, crisped up in olive oil,
and dry-fried mushrooms, browned with a bit of pink salt,
and fresh parsley spranks coupled with fire-roasted tomato sprankles, too.
yeah!!
....and i know you see those blistered baby tomatoes, dudes.
that's an added bonus of dopeness to stimulate your hungry head-hole.
uh-huh.
i had three -quarters of a cup of broth,
with 1 T dried tomato flakes, and black pepper, and those tomatoes,
all skin-bursty and hot.
WORD.
that's so expert,
you'll wonder out loud where these tortellini have been hiding all your life.
-
the pasta portion?
1/2 cup flour;
1/2 + 3 T semolina flour;
1 1/2 tsp sea salt;
2 T olive oil;
2/3 cups warm water, +/-.
i naturally used my stand mixer, and beat it all up for 11 minutes.
rules is rules,
and at the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress the dough goes to eleven
or else it doesn't go anywhere at all y'all.
-
i've made a lot of pasta over here,
and i think regular readers will know that you wrap and rest it for a bit,
then roll it out on a floury surface, and cut some three inch circles....
like, thirty.
yep.
that's a monstrous mountain of tortellini.
which is exxxactly what's necessary to activate the maxxximum level
of satisfying shark-gluttonous overindulgence.
(my favorite)
-
what's inside of 'em?
1/4 block of xxxtra-firm tofu, with 3 T caramelized minced vidalia onion,
and 2 T nootch, and a healthy shake or three of GPOP, and pink salt.
finished with smoked paprika, for a rich, hearty, manly flavor.
that's right.
i just saute the sh!t until it looks done.
how long?.
i dunno, man.
i'm cooking by feel, not by the clock.
ha!
*
i'm sure you already know all about this, but-
i LOVE food.
and when i'm sittin' around in the snow, in the dark,
and the bright bright bright moonlight is hidden by clouds,
and i have emotions bubbling up,
there's only one way to direct those energies into something nourishing,
and nurturing, and healing, i guess.
mmhmm.
making food.
the process is like meditation.
the results are like affirmation.
the entire method, and the cause and effect are all what i need to make
some sense of what happened, and what needs to happen,
and all of it is certainly gonna, whether i'm read or not.
yeah.
so, the meal is the destination,
and the active participation in the progression from idea to fruition if the journey.
i'm a travelin' man, in the kitchen,
even though i don't really go anywhere else;
never quiet, never soft.....

Wednesday, February 20

COOKIES.

gluten free rock bloxxx?
sure thing:

yup.
i can't leave breezy out of the loop.
y'know?
like, if the reason she isn't eating cookies right now is that she can't have gluten?
i'll just make something that works just as good.
that's my forte.
adapting recipes to veganism, or reimagining food, without a recipe,
as compassionate, considerate, and conscientious was a wild ride,
twenty somethin' years in the making.
adapting those skills to wheatlessness?
well,
that was a much sharper leaning curve, for certain.
once you can make all your old favorites from scratch, but all vegan always....
well,
finding a way to remove gluten sort of comes naturally, to be honest.
so, i did that.
and i used allllll the different flours, because that is how it's done
when you want gluten-free vegan baking to be successful.
y'want the recipe, don't you?
alright.
it's different every time, in the interest of finding the right one.
-
*
GF ROCK BLOXXX!
-
preheat your oven to 380℉
-
in a large mixing bowl, cream together:
8 T (1 stick) vegan butter;
1/2 tsp salt;
2 tsp vanilla;
1 cup sugar;
1/4 cup freshly-ground unsweetened coconut;
1/4 cup coarse ground gf quick oatmeal.
mix that into a paste,
and add in:
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut yogurt;
1 cup bob's gf all-purpose flour;
1 tsp xantham gum;
2 T tapioca flour;
1/2 cup bob's 1:1 gf rice flour;
1/2 cup mama's gf almond flour blend;
1 tsp ea. baking powder and soda;
1 pkg gf mini choco chips.
-
mix it up,
and slightly flatten out golf balls of dough, bro,
on a tray or two, until you've used up all the bowlful of hottness.
i baked these for 13 minutes,
and cooled them on a wire rack-

nice.
really, that's pretty simple aside from all the flours.
rock bloxxx are where it's at, and they're what's up, too.
if you aren't into a good cookie?
you're probably an A*-hole,
and i'm all set with you.
*
cali and i ate all the chocolates.
diabetes doesn't mean it's never chocolate time.
in fact, sometimes, when you're low....it's really chocolate time.
so, we snugged it up, and choc'd it out,
and spent our time being buddies together.
it's SO cute.
she's smart, and articulate, and i'm excited to hear what she has to say.
an almost-three-year-old has a unique perspective, for sure.
her brother and her sister are great. no doubt about it.
but, they're more like people already, so i kow what to expect.
this little wild thing has a whole other outlook.
and i'm a big fan.
eating chocolates,
cuddling on the couch,
eating sandwiches,
taking a drive,
splashing in puddles at the greenhouses......
we all like our time together, a lot.
she just sees it so much clearer than the res of us;
never quiet, never soft.....

JADE RAMEN!

bamboo rice ramen noods?
they've got 'em, i had 'em, and i enjoyed 'em, too.
neighbors,
check the teleport:

NOODZ!!
a big ol' bowlful of ramen.
i actually made double that quantity-
too much is the right amount after all.
out here on that gluten-free gourmet version of the cheapest meal going.
yep.
i caramelized a quarter cup of sweet onion, in strips.
next, i added slices of white carrot, and a stalk of sliced celery.
two cloves of crushed garlic went in on top of that,
and i let it all saute for a few minutes, in a glug of veggie oil.
following those moments of sizzle, i added:
2 T tamari;
2 T rice vinegar;
1 T texas pete ho'sauce;
black pepper';
1 cup of red and orange baby grape tomatoes;
2 cups of warm water;
a little salt, a shake of GPOP;
a handful of baby spinach;
and a dash of umami powder from trader joe's,
and the broth was happily slowly softly simmering from there.
-
and i browned up a cup and a half of those mushrooms,
and added half the reduced, non-slimy, firm results of a hot dry fry-up
to the broth, and reserved the others for spranklin'.
mmmm.
plus,
i steamed and seared a handful of small brussels sprouts in that order,
with a dash of tamari to turn 'em up to eleven.
-
the ramen gets boiled separately.
rules is rules.
and then, once it's all ready, you make it exxxtra expert.
how?
with radish!
and pea shoots!
and cilantro!
and MORE spinach!
and two-tone toasted sesame seed sprankles!!
i mean, c'mon:

that's pretty flippin' fresh, no?
i don't want regular, super-fast, ready-made convenience.
i want relatively quick but super flavorfully rewarding upgrades to ordinary average meals.
ramen is pretty cool,
but radical vegan gluten-free noodle bowls are better.
that's real.
it looks more awesome.
it tastes more awesome.
it IS more awesome.
and MORE is what we need, dudes.
MORE of everything excellent, right away.
i'm on it, because that's just what i DO.
*
the moon, though.
did you feel it last night?
the snow moon, man.
a wild, blue light beam casting long shadows on all this snow.
the whole of the woodsly goodness was lit up in cold glowing beams
from the lunatic circle in the sky.
i could feel it pulling at my thoughts and stirring up my feelings.
that was weird.
but, then again, maybe i'm weird, and it's just in keeping with the theme.
there's savage stormswept windy woodsly white mountainous warrior poetry
being composed, and prose being posed as exposure to the moon makes
the magic happen, and the werewolfen wildness rise to the surface.
in the time i've been given, the hours are unfolding along a lightning-strike pathway.
it's non-linear, but it moves forward always;
never quiet, never soft.....

Tuesday, February 19

DOPPELGÄNGER

sometimes,
some schools aren't closed for president's day.
which makes sense when the office of president is such a F*ing joke this term.
however,
if there is school, but it's also school spirit week,
that means it's time to get expert every damned day, right?
right!
day one?
role model monday.
that's the one where you dress like your role model.
i'd guess that means a hundred braydens and brantleys dressed as tom brady right?
and maybe a spider man or wonder woman somewhere in the mix....
so,
imagine how flattered and impressed i am that my favorite six-year old on earth,
embry marie,
dressed up as an exact miniaturized replica of your main man
from way up here in the woodsly goodness.
yup.
check the teleport:

holy sh!!!!!!!!!t!
dudes,
how loud, fresh, and hard did breezy bring the noise?
the boots! the tiiiiiiight pants! the AMPERSAND on her shirt?!?!
painty artsy accessorizing, the sweatshirt, and that peanut-head hat?!
that's ME, bruh.
like, the most.
with a crabtree in tow, too?
too much is the right amount, and this is too much fun!
it's perfect.
and from the back?

wow.
that could actually be me!
i'm built like a six year old girl.
ahahahahhhahahha.
neighbors,
c'mon, though:

the neck and hand tattz!!!
hilariously accurately excellent.
how frickin' adorable is that kid?
how frickin' adorable is her ma??
if y'all don't appreciate how sweet that is,
you need to go to whoville and grow your shriveled hearts up a size or three.
*
...and here's the thing.
i want to be a positive force for goodness and growth in the world.
i definitely want to be a positive and motivating guiding light for these kids.
i mean, there's six of 'em.
that's a LOT.
big ones down to soon-to-be-born ones, they need love and affection and attention.
i wanna be worthy of the title.
i want to have great relationships with all these kids.
i wanna roll out in force, rollin' deep with a bunch of dudes who all like and respect
each other and genuinely enjoy spanning time and space together.
i'm impressed by this impression.
the attention to detail shows that these people are watching closely,
and that's a big heart-feels kind of thing.
i am grateful to be considered at all,
but i'm bursting with happiness that i'm considered something valuable.
thanks, kiddo, and mama, y'all some really real ones;
never quiet, never soft.....

ALMOST EVERYTHING!

homemade bagels?!
yeah, dudes.
i'm on it.
i haven't had a bagel in a little minute,
so i figured the best way to remedy that was to make some for myself.
and that's exactly what happened.
since the boily water thing that i do for the pretzels works so well,
i went ahead and applied the same idea to the bagel scene, too.
now,
i wanted some fully loaded superseeded salty sexxxy circles,
but i did NOT want to stink my face off with onions and garlic,
so,
i went all out on the up-top sprankles,
but not before i went hard on the interior flour blend as well.
neighbors, you know the story already:
too much is the right amount,
and while they're not *technically* everything bagels,
they've got MORE than your usual jauns ever do.
check the teleport:

HOMEMADE TASTES BETTER!!!
daaaaaaaamn.
how expert do these even be lookin', man?
i'm sayin'.
that's the right way to make the magic happen.
you want the recipe?
you are welcome to it-
-
*
FANCY BAGELS!
-
preheat your oven to 420℉, convection style.
-
prepare a pot of water, for boiling, with 1 T baking soda/ 2 cups water.
-
mix 2 tsp bread machine yeast with 1 T sugar in 1/4 cup warm water,
and allow it to bloom for five or so minutes.
set that aside,
and in the metal mixing bowl affixed under your upright stand mixer,
with the dough hook ready to go,
combine:
2 2/3 cups flour;
1 1/2 tsp sea salt;
1/2 tsp bread machine yeast;
1/4 cup wheat bran;
3 T quick oats;
1/3 cup dark rye flour.
on low speed, get that going, and add the yeasty sugar-water,
and 3/4 cup MORE warm water, plus 1-2 T exxxtra if necessary
to make a sticky, soft dough ball.
beat it up for 11 minutes, and moisten the exterior of your dough lump.
cover it and let it rise until doubled.
punch it down, hard, and stretch it out into a thick uniform cylinder.
divide the dough in half, then half again, then slice each quarter into thirds.
you want even chunks, which you can weigh or measure or do whatever
to make sure they're pretty damned close.
i eyeballed it.
that's all i ever do.
i rolled each one into a ball,
and poked my finger through the centers and twirled 'em around to make those rings.
i let 'em rise another two or three minutes,
then boiled 'em up in that wild water bath for a full minute on each side.
bagel skins are the key to making bagels that are worth a sh!t.
i learned that decades ago at one of my many many many jobs prior to tattooing.
mmhmmm.
i pulled the out of the soak with my spider, and set 'em on parchment on a pair of trays,
and liberally doused them with my custom expert sprankle blend.
yeah!!
next time? i'm gonna dunk 'em on BOTH sides, and really overload the seed situation.
but this time, i used restraint.
take one is always traditional.
take two is where we get freaky-diki, boy.
rules is rules.
what's the blend, btw?
oh.
it's like this:
sesame seeds.
black sesame seeds.
poppy seeds.
caraway seeds.
dill seeds.
coarse sea salt.
that's sorcery, son.
f'really really-real, all those tasty little bits and bobs are what makes these so great.
-
y'gotta bake 'em, tho, don't forget...20ish minutes or so,
or right up until they look golden and shiny and sexxxy as hell.
i switched the racks from top and bottom
and rotated those trays 180° at 11 minutes, anyway.
that's the move.
buttered, creamchee'd, as is,
or even better, with a skin-searingly scalding-hot americano, maybe?
our buddy dylan came to AMPERSAND TATTOO,
and we did just that.
.....delicious.
***********
i'm never bummed out to be at work.
that's for real.
and even though yesterday was kind of a snow day,
it didn't feel like ANYthing was gonna happen.
and that was the truth.
sometimes, there needs to be a little baby minute to rearrange and repair yourself
and your stuff.
i'll take whatever i can,
and i'll give nothing in return.
it's pirate time at the tattshack, i guess, and it's all leading to a great big X,
and then from there it's just a step further, to XI.
HA!
never quiet, never soft.....

Monday, February 18

MATCHIES!

ken and tonya came up to AMPERSAND TATTOO.
who?
they're folks i've know for twenty years,
who actually got tattooed when i was an apprentice
two decades ago at darkside tattoo...
they came through for their fifteenth-year wedding anniversary,
and got a couple of matchie tattz.
they did, and that's kyoot, and romantic, and it was great to see 'em,
and talk about all the wild sh!t that went on at the turn of the century in connecticut.
that's what's cool about nostalgia.
we all remember different highlights about who and what-
but, they all overlap and make a ship-shape storyline that really emphasizes
all that interconnectedness that spirit and memory support.
ANYway,
i did some thistles, and i like 'em:

hers.

his.
awwww.
it's all really happening, time moving forward, time marching on,
and wherever we all are, there's parts of us traveling along the others' paths as well;
never quiet, never soft.....

BETTER!!!

guys,
pretzels.
soft, salty, super-sexxxy pretzels.
yeah.
i think i got it, now.
for really-real.
check the teleport:

WOOORD!
multi-grain perfectos!!!
damn, i'm psyched about these.
i mean, i figured it out, neighbors,
and now i'm gonna make ALL of 'em all the time.
on the ones, they taste authentic as hell,
and they're not really all that difficult to conjure up.
......and how about those spreads??
man,
these jauns are the TRUTH.
*
vegan butter. that's my favorite choice.
earth balance soy-free smoothness is what's up.
*
sexy dijon.
toasted mustard and caraway seeds, activated with malt vinegar,
in a smoothish dijon? expert.
*
vegan creamchee' deluxxxe!
that's cashew creamchee', with scallions and toasted dill seeds, dudes.
mmmhmmmm.
y'all ain't ready for a triple threat spread-up like that.
...
the real improvements came from understanding the dough better the second time around.
yup.
i get it now.
i also flipped the flours around a little, to try a new thing,
and that heirloom grainy goodness did me proud.
you want the recipe?
you can have it!
-
*
SOFTIE PRETZEL TIME!
-
preheat your oven to 450℉
-
line a baking tray with parchment paper, set aside.
-
prepare a big ol' pot of water, ready to boil, with 1 T baking soda per 3 cups water
-
combine:
2 T real new hampshire maple syrup;
2 tsp yeast;
1/4 cup warm water, stir and bloom for ten minutes.
-
in your manly metal mixer, with the dough hook attached, add together:
2 cups flour;
1/4 cup quick oats;
3 T vegan butter;
1 tsp sea salt;
1/3 cup spelt flour;
3 T what bran.
now add the yeast/syrup blend,
and 3/4 cup warm water,
and knead on lowish power for 11 minutes.
gently, lightly wet the dough, cover it, and allow it to double in size-
it'll take a bit, so get yourself a book or somethin', and wait about 40ish minutes.
get that water boilin', bro.
you're gonna need it in a second.
now that your dough is puffy?
that's when you punch it down.
yeah.
and divide it in half, and the again, and then again.
eight pretzels is perfect.
roll each dough hunk out to about a foot- foot and a half?
and make a U-shape, twist the ends over once, and fold 'em down.
y'know-
to make a flippin' pretzel shape, duh.
c'mon.
don't be dumb.
dunk each of 'em in the water, and let 'em float in there for about 30 seconds at a hard boil,
and remove 'em with a spider,
to be placed twists-up on that parchment tray.
hit 'em with coarse sea salt, and don't be cheap with it.
too much is the right amount.
ha!
bake those little baddies for 12-14 minutes, until they've got that pretzel LOOK.
you see it, you know it, so be vigilant, and do it right.
-
i'm impressed with these, for sure.
no jokes, they taste 100% expert.
i must admit, i ate most of them, again.
it's almost like i want to be a big blarpity old man.
hahaha.
(i don't, but i cannot resist a soft pretzel, for real)
***********
all the people.
that's who is up here skiing.
all of 'em.
i can't hate on it.
more people means more income for everybody who works up here,
and more income means bigger tattoos.
it never means better ones, though.
in fact, the folks who usually get a bump in pay for the exxxtra hours available?
terribly ordinary ideas for tattoos.
y'know what's awesome about terrible ideas?
they cost the same or more than good ones,
but they never cost less,
and that's what's gonna finance all these muh-fuhh'n pretzels, bruh.
that's right.
movie checks come from all the tattoos,
not just the good ones.
so, hope fully, come march, the big bummery bam-bams will be rollin' in like thunder,
and i'll be up to my eyes in ingots and doubloons.
i'm SO ready to cry about how hard it is to get paid to draw pictures;
never quiet, never soft.....

Sunday, February 17

L.A.M.B.🍞

🍞
hahaha.
neighbors,
i bake a LOT of bread.
MORE than i could reasonably be expected to eat, even.
i love bread.
i specifically love sourdough bread.
i even MORE specifically love white mountain sourdough fresh-baked in
the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress test kitchen laboratory.
yeah.
good bread makes better people.
that's no joke.
and i make enough bread to improve myself ever so slightly,
even if all i'm doing is gifting loaves of naturally fermented freshness to my friends.
uh-huh.
here's my latest occasional progress update.
you ready?
ok.
here we go.
look at my bread:

oatmeal.

oatmeal.

oatmeal.

oatmeal.

oatmeal.

oatmeal.

oatmeal.
guess what my favorite kind of sourdough is?
ha.
too much is the right amount.
that's my premier flagship bread, it seems, but that'snot all.y'all.
not at all. check it:

sandwich loaves are tight.

sandwich loaves are lovely.
and good bread makes better sandwiches.
that's a fact.
and it isn't just loaves, dudes.
i F* with a heck of a boule, too:

round bread!

rounder bread!!

roundest bread!!!
good crusts, wheat bran, oat bran, dark rye flour, spelt flour, bread flour,
i use all the things.
lately, i've been autolyzing my flour, with water, prior to adding salt and starter.
my friend travis told me about it.
he's a meticulous breadbaker himself.
i take his advice and eliminate most of the math from it,
then just do things exclusively by instinct.
i'm eating the toasted and buttered positive results.
wanna see a bunch more?
alright:

there

is

no

such

thing

as

too

much

bread.
so,
thanks for lookin' at what i baked;
never quiet, never soft.....

STEWING.

lentil soup is mental fruit, dudes.
lentils are good for you-
that's what they tell me.
they taste pretty freakin' good to me, so i'll believe they are good for me,
and i'm gonna go ahead and eat a lot of 'em, so we'll see where that takes us.
guys,
hearty, smoky, spicy lentil stew?
yes, please:

C'MON!!
this stuff is maxxxed-out expert hottness for your face!!
that's for sure.
the lemon?
it's exxxactly the right tangy brightness to turn the taste up to eleven.
my homemamde sourdough is pretty tasty,
even when it's got very light, tight, regular crumb.
i mean it- every loaf is a new delight.
so, when it's flame-grilled, buttered, and dunked into some sexxxy soup?
you know that's that good goodness, f'really-realsies.
mmhmmm.
*
the lentils, tho.
this one was better than usual,
and the usual is really muh-fuhh'n good already.
neighbors, too much is the right amount.
i believe it.
i have red and green lentils in there,
and two kinds of tomatoes,
and three different hot peppery additives,
and a lot of sprankles.
that's the only way to doo-doo that freaky sh!t.
alright, ok, ok, ok......
here's the recipe, friends:
-
*
MENTAL FRUIT!
-
melt three pats of vegan butter in a 3 quart saucepot;
add 2.3 cup minced sweet onion;
1 sliced peeled purple carrot;
2 cloves crushed garlic;
1/3 cup red lentils;
1 T nootch;
1 tsp ea. GPOP, thyme, sage, dried parsley, crushed red pepper flakes.
toast the lentils and brown the garlic and when it all gets aromatic,
and the onions are see-through,
add:
2 T red wine vinegar;
cracked black pepper;
1/2 tsp DILL SEEDS! (this makes it SOOOOO elite)
1 15oz can petite diced tomatoes, with the juice;
2 tsp better than bouillon veg base;
2 bay leaves;
1 15 oz can drained organic lentils;
1/2 cup orange sweet baby grape tomatoes-
get that all bubblin', then add:
dash liquid smoke;
1 T ho'sauce of your choice (i used a green one)
1 tsp smoked hot paprika;
1/4 cup wild red rice;
1/2 lemon's juice;
32 oz warm water.
cover, bring it back up to a boil, lid it, and let it simmer thirty more minutes.
while it's doing it's thing, go do something else, man.
don't waste time.
-
when it's ready, and the red lentils have dissolved to dal,
and the red rice has exploded out of it's husks,
y'gotta freak it off with some spranks.
rules is rules, and it isn't finished until you add some dazzlers on top.
parsley, scallion, and radicchio ribbons are where it's at.
if you somehow don't have a second bowl, you're probably dead inside.
it's too good, and too warm, and so smoky, and a little spicy,
and that's real.
*
and then i fell fast asleep.
uh-huh.
saturday night in the woodsly goodness had me ready to stop being conscious.
the roads were so packed with cars i was mad even when i wasn't in my car.
i blasted out six tattoos, and there are folks trying to stack up our days
for vacation week magic SO hard this week.
turns out, that makes me sleepy,
so after three bowls and a few exxxtra spoonfuls of this soupy stew,
i was saturated with spice and warmth,
and i was also quite sleepy.
did i miss out on anything?
i might've.
did i sleep soundly?
for the first few hours, i was practically dead, as a matter of fact.
i must've needed it, because it happened without me even knowing.
i started a movie, i woke up in the dark way later.
and today there's more where that came from;
never quiet, never soft.....

Saturday, February 16

PARTY SLICE!

you know i rep those grandma pies, bro.
yeah.
that sicilian square magic is what you need,
if you're feeling needy for some fatty-boombattie pizza pie for your eye, man.
and i was.
and i made a deeeeeep dish version that brought down the house.
f'really-realsies, i made it thiccc af.
check the teleport:

DEEP DISH DOPENESS LIKE NONA, BOI!
mmmmhmmmmm.
the sauce is cooked first.
the daiya is minced, always.
the fried garlic sprankles are heavy.
dudes,
rules is rules, and you can't bring that weak sh!t up in here.
burly, manly, majestic, masterful beautiful pizza is what i DO.
PEE EYE ZEE ZEE AYY for days.
uh-huh.
with caramelized onions to keep it real,
and halved orange sweet baby grape tomatoes,
and fresh basil in with the sauce,
and cracked black pepper everywhere,
and parsley to freshen it up,
and arugula on top to make sure it goes to eleven.
neighbors-
the bitter brightness of the arugula, with the rich taste of those umami onions,
and the hearty sauce full of onnions and garlic and slow-cooked tomatoes,
plus that chee'????
it's F*ing expert, and that's no joke.
the dough was exceptionally awesome.
i made it like this:
-
*
DOUGH!
-
1 cup king arthur flour;
1/2 cup  king arthur bread flour;
1/2 cup bob's semolina flour;
1 pkg fast-actin' yeast;
2 tsp sea salt;
2 T olive oil;
3/4 cup warm water.
kneaded up by a stand mixer with a dough hook to beat it all into submission,
and slapped around for 11 minutes to develop strong gluten chains, boi.
yeah.
left in the bowl, wrapped, and allowed to rise 12+ hours in a cold bulk/proof fridge.
that's key, honestly.
the flavor develops so much more that way.
and then,
while the oven preheats to 480℉ on convection, and the stones get hot etc etc etc,
i formed it into a well-(vegan)buttered brownie pan,
to make damned sure it was gonna be thicker than thick.
the dough was a triumph of taste and texture to be sure.
it really turns up the enjoyment to another level.
-
the sauce was what i used for my meatless balls the other night,
heated up with 50% crushed tomatoes for exxxtra goodness.
that's a thing.
add MORE crushies, and make it MORE awesome.
-
everything came together like a puzzle-
every element was necessary,
and all of it, including two layers of daiya,
worked in unsion and harmony to produce
a real showstoppin' stellar slice of sicilian sexxxiness.
y'can't beat that for delight and delicious, and i stand by that statement.
*
in other news,
it's vacation week,
and every A*-hole from elsewhere is clogging every avenue, intersection,
side street, and driveway...
not to mention clearing out the grocery store, and mobbing each seat at every restaurant,
and everywhere else for that matter.
they're on vacation, bruh.
normal rules for civility and society need not apply.
it's great.
bad drivers, on terrible roads, with every turn hidden behind a mountain of snow,
and none of my regular haunts accessible in under double the normal time?
yup.
it's one of the pleasures of woodsly goodsly living, i guess.
we're already where everybody else wishes they were,
and when they get here,
they make us wanna leave!
ha;
never quiet, never soft.....

Friday, February 15

XOXOXO

valentine's!!!

yeah!!
y'gotta make 'em all fancy.
that's a thing.
i told you the recipe yesterday.
make MORE,
and make 'em exxxtra pretty.
i was up and at 'em early, using my consternation, frustration, and exasperation
to conjure up a superheart-attackin' sensation to still the raging stormswept
savage white-water rapids of my beating heart.
heart cookies to make heart magic?
i do that.
-
flowers? ✔
...and not just any flowers- a 24 blaster, boi.
that's 2 dozen red rose hitters, neighbors.
that's pro-work.
one rose? t.w.p.p.d.
one dozen? bush-league amateur hour.
three dozen? that's a don't divorce me hail mary long shot, bro.
but two dozen is that 24 hitter.
it's the sweet spot.
chocolates? ✔
and not just the dark darkness, with and without fruits and whatnots-
but that special order heart-shaped box magic, kids.
speedy delivery and all that, with the assortment inside.
that's word.
candles? ✔
allll of 'em, all sultry and sexxxy and super-aromatic-
for that romantic ambience tha'll activate your olfactory reserves of good feels.
candy? ✔
not just chocolates, dudes.
y'gotta come through with the sweeties, for your sweetie.
that's how it's done.
somethin' nice? ✔
i added a few gluten-free sundries to the mix, to keep up with that attentive nurture-type jauns
that i'd like to perpetuate for the future an' that.
cards? ✔
F* yeah.
three cards.
that's a magic number, friends.
a fun and funny one.
a cute one, handmade like how you do when you're sweet and stuff.
...and a really real one, with the right words from your heart to theirs.
rules is rules,
and a one card valentine is bullsh!t.
too much is the right amount, and if you aren't going hard,
you should probably just be going away.
-
there was lace and doilies and things for the kids, too.
and restaurant pizza, and movies, and stories and tuck-ins and all the things
that unfold unexpectedly from a pop-over.
***********
i'm sentimental.
it's a weakness and it's a strength.
i also LOVE holidays, and that gets me all worked up.
i was wearing red from head to toe, like how you're supposed to,
and i was out here with stuffed animals and x's and o's and all that lovey-dovey stuff.
it's all really happening-
the happenstance avalanche of spirit and memory,
and we're all a part of it.
valentine's day is expert.
and we kept it that way;
never quiet, never soft.....

LOVE ATTACK!!

rules is rules,
and on valentine's day,
i always make a heart monster.
yup.
it's kind of a tradition- the creation of another 'nother skull-morphin'
vascular pumplestilstkin, with that look in it's eyes.
mmmhmmmm.
i have the same small bottles of pain,
and the same tired-A* brushes,
and a new piece of recyclable cardboard,
and that's when it get to work.
later and later each year, by the way.
that's possibly a good thing, though, right?
i'm sayin',
that means i'm busier and busier and there's less and less time
to sit down and draw and paint and think about weird teeth and wonky eyeballs.
i'm encouraged.
ANYway, here it is:

valentine's hearts are good for you.
and this guy is talking about love.
if you ain't lovin', you'd better start.
and if you're hatin'? cut it out.
here's different picture, with slightly different exposure.
i just can't seem to photograph anything worth a sh!t anymore.
eh.

but, that's a wet tongue, huh?
yep.
the better for big, fat, juicy lickery kisses, bruh.
the kisses better be the way i like my toast, y'heard?
...french.
yeah.
so,
there you have it.
the thing that happens in mid-february.
heart art.
one more in the books;
never quiet, never soft.....

Thursday, February 14

HEARTS!

it's valentine's day.
that means treats.
cookies are great, and great cookies are even greater.
i make some pretty frickin' alright treats, and i'm looking to share.
that's what valentine's is about, right?
i mean, when you're little anyway, y'know?
everybody gets a little somethin'.
rules is rules.
i made a LOT of cookies for the big day.
here's the first batch:

HEARTS ON HEARTS AND HEARTS!
sugar cookies, bro.
that's what you want.
that's what i got.
and they're crisp-edged and soft-centered and powdery sugared sprankles.
plus, those little dollopy blops of icy sugary pink dots!
s'kyooooooot!
-
i love the notion of love,
i love the idea of romance,
and i am the biggest fan of the heart shape.
we all know what it means, and we all use it to express a whole range of positivity.
man, i'm with that.
you want a recipe?
i got a recipe.
here it is:
-
*
HEARTS!
-
preheat your oven to 350℉
-
in a medium mixing bowl, combine:
12 T of vegan butter;
1 cup sugar;
2 tsp vanilla;
1/2 tsp salt.
add in:
2 fat cups of flour;
1 tsp baking soda...
stir it all up, and start kneading-
add 4+ T non-dairy milk, and 1 T agave,
and make sure it's all doughy and soft and pliable-
wrap it up in plastic, and keep it in the fridge for half an hour-
roll it out, cut some shapes, and arrange 'em on a tray or two.
y'gotta freeze 'em for eight-ten minutes,
so they stay nice when you bake 'em for eight-ten minutes-
yeah.
they're good, guys.
-
and you can decorate 'em however you want, of course-
i went for uniformity and relative simplicity, and i'm a fan.

however,
i have a second round ready, and THOSE go to eleven.
but, you'll have to wait for tomorrow to see that.
in the meantime,
get some hearts,
give some hugs,
get a few kisses,
call your exes,
maybe have an O first to clear you head first, to prevent dialing,
and generally be nice.
*
it's romantic today.
or, it's not.
or, it might be.
i dunno.
i DO know that i've got chocolates and cards and flowers and all of that.
i said it already: rules is rules.
i do the things, even when they don't do a thing.
i wouldn't know what else to do anyway;
never quiet, never soft.....

ARTS.

i tried to take the new hottness,
and add it to the old approach to bobotronic art making.
i think it turned out okay:

COLLAGE PAINTING!
i doo-doo that.
yep.
5" x 5".
not huge, but big enough.
i also framed up this dragonman:

he's tiny.
and that's cool.
little lines are what i'm into.
i'm doing as much as i can fit into my workdays at AMPERSAND TATTOO.
i can't stand doing anything else.
there's art in me-
i don't know if it's a backlog of words that need to come out,
or if it's just a bunch of small pictures,
but i know it's IN there, and i've gotta let it out.
it's happening, slowly, but surely,
and it helps a lot, so i'm glad for it;
never quiet, never soft.....

AMORÉ

homemade sauce is the star of the show.
always.
if you got a powerful sauce, everything else falls in place.
jar sauce is not invited, and that's a fact, because homemade tastes better,
and really,
if you make enough, you'll have sauce for days,
and for more meals, and it'll only get better and better.
check the teleport:

LINGUINE!
my pasta was al dente, because that's the right way to have it.
the wheatless meatless balls were perfect,
because i'm devoted to making gluten-free vegan alternatives to those dead bodies
some folks think are not horrifying to eat.
i make the nicey-nice stuff, because i care, man.
that's no joke.
and with fresh basil and arugula?
neighbors, c'mon.
that's love.
-
the meatless wheatless ball recipe is HERE.
-
the sauce however was created as follows:
in a 2 quart saucepot, with a tablespoon of olive oil, fry up:
2 cups baby grape tomatoes, allowed to blacken and burst;
next, toss in:
1/2 sweet onion, minced;
2 cloves crushed garlic;
1/2 tsp ea. GPOP;
1 T nootch;
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes;
oregano, basil, sage, black pepper, pink salt.
soften the onion and gently brown the garlic,
and toss in 2 T tomato paste.
stir all that up, and cook the paste for a minute,
then deglaze the pan with 1 T tamari, and 1 T red wine vinegar.
add 1 cup pureed chunky fire roasted tomatoes,
and 1 T fire roasted tomato flakes.
stir it up,
and add 1.2 cup warm water-
simmer that pot of hottness for as long as you can, with a wooden spoon still IN it.
it'll bubble, it'll thicken,
it'll darken,
and it'll be molto molto expert.
that's true.
-
it's NOT the fanciest meal, but it's among the most satisfying, for sure.
i needed the comfort, and the heartiness of a massive plate of home cookin'.
and when i say home, i mean new haven,
and all that magical nostalgia that a hot pot of sauce conjures came with it.
-
arugula is fantastic. fresh, bright, and bitter.
...just like me.
ha!
and whenever i can add fresh basil to boost up the profile of my dinner?
i'm gonna.
it's too good not to,
and besides,
MORE sprankles is never a bad idea.
*
i'm not sure that i can catch up.
i am running behind on everything,
and i'm feeling the push and the press and stress of time ticking away.
i'm not wasting time,
but damn, dudes, i'm feeling wasted.
like, worn out and worn thin and worn down.....
yeah.
i need a day, or two, to regroup, but who the heck knows when that's gonna happen...
meanwhile,
today is the day,
the first and the last and the worst,
and the romantic day of st. valentine's, too.
...which also had it's own massacre, if my recollection serves.
that's feels about right;
never quiet, never soft.....

Wednesday, February 13

SPOTS!

the pizza slice.
yeah.
the triangular space between the top of your forearm and the inner forearm.
it's a weird place to fit tattoos when there aren't tattoos on the big panels already.
i mostly-freehanded a little 4" seahorse, yesterday,
and did all of it with a thin little needle.
yikes.
it's cool tho, huh?

i thought so.
what else?
how about the ditch!
ugh.
good luck getting a good picture without swelling.
the front of your elbow is a thin-skinned and delicate spot,
and tattoos there look great when they are healed.
but, in between getting it done and being healed,
it's usually all bumpy and red and rashy.
yeah.

see?
ouch.
the all-seeing eye, aye.
fun tattoos are what i'm into whenever possible.
that's the plan, man.
making tattooing fun again in 2019.
if you have good ideas, i want to tattoo 'em.
to be fair, i have bills to pay, so if you have regular, or semi-lame ideas,
and a pile of movie checks to spend, i want to tattoo those, too.
that's no joke.
AMPERSAND TATTOO is where ir happens,
and we hope to see y'all soon;
never quiet, never soft.....

Tuesday, February 12

FRENCH STYLE!

oatmeal sourdough from scratch.
that's already a F*ing triumph.
naturally-leavened fermented homemade baked burliness,
live and direct for the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress.
mmhmm.
good bread makes better people.
that's a fact.
also,
it makes waaaaayyyyyy better french toast.
that's right.
radical vegan french-style toast for breakfast means radical vegan hottness
is coursing through my veins all damned day.
and that's expert af.
f'real.
check the teleport:

MAPLE VANILLA STRAWBERRIES??!
wooooooooooord!
guys,
there's glug upon glug of real new hampshire maple syrup in EVERYthing.
mmhmm.
it's gotta be the real stuff- rules is rules.
and i put it EVERYwhere,
because too much is the right amount.
that's the truth.
three fat slices of thick oaty burliness,
soaked in the eggless exxxcellence of a custom cinnamon-nutmeg-maple syrupy sauce,
and sizzled up in coconut oil  for a few minutes on each side,
topped with a pat of vegan butter,
those strawbs,
powdered sugar sprankles,
AND cinnamon spranks just to turn it up a little louder.
if your french-style toast doesn't feel like a french-style kiss that goes to eleven,
i don't know what the eff you're even bothering for.
like, c'mon,
if you aren't gonna do it right, just have cereal you big baby.
*
i had one cup of sliced frozen strawberries,
a tablespoon of maple syrup,
a teaspoon of vanilla, warming up in a small pot.
that's that sexxxy sauce.
*
and the batter?
man, THAT'S the big action.
how's something like that happen?
like this:

SO MUCH HOTTNESS ON ONE PLATE!
and now, here's the way to do it at your house-
-

FRENCHY B!
-
in a shallow pan, whisk together:
1/2 cup almond/coconut-blend milk;
2 T maple syrup;
3 T chick pea flour;
1 T nootch;
1 T ground chia/flaxmeal;
cinnamon and nutmeg to taste...
^^ guys, it's super delicioso.
i soaked my slices in it until they were thoroughly saturated, and most of the s'milk
was absorbed.
i also used a HOT pan, with a full tablespoon of sizzlin' coconut oil,
and gave those slabs a few minutes on each side to get good and golden brown.
and the i plated 'em up with all that good stuff.
i even syruped the bottom of the plate,
to make sure the bottom slice got as much sweetness as the top one.
i've got a system for eatin' breakfast, neighbors.
***********
it's so bright out,
but it's no degrees outside.
the light is a trick, and the absence of heat is a rude truth.
the storm is coming, and it's ready to bury us alive, again.
i'm ready.
to shovel.
to hibernate.
to freeze.
whatever is headed our way, there's nothing for it but to endure it.
that is the only path in front of us, right?
nature wins, and she doesn't care about kindness or convenience.
cold and bright,
dark and stormy,
long nights, hard styles, tough times-
that's what's happening.
all of it, and somewhere underneath the surface
there's a bigger picture waiting to be pieced together;
never quiet, never soft.....