Saturday, April 20

FLOWER POWER

MORE flowers?
yup:

c'mon.
drawn-on lines on top of lines on top of lines-
yeah,
i'm tryin' to use up all the ink in a pair of marky-markers every time i draw.
and when the only guidelines are:
flowers. make them cool?
y'boi is ready to work those petals and stamens and whatnots, neighbors.
f'real.
i'm about to stuff my face with all the cookies, too.
why?
no.
not because i have the munchies, bro.
don't be dumb.
i'm on some other other sh!t.
that drug-free straight up X'd up expertism.
but, i enjoy stress eating and expanding my midsection in a vicious cycle of self-loathing
and self-medication.
food by my medicine, man.
and a spoonful of sugar helps it go down-
especially when there's chocolate-style chips accompanying each oaten dose of delights.
ha.
i do those tattoos.
i do that baking thang.
i am waitin' for this lil baby bop.
i do NOT get intoxicated or lifted or lit or whatever else-
i'm purely and truly what you see-
a mangy monkeyman;
a grievous sugriva;
an open-handed hanuman,
a calamitous clyde a la bustin' loose-
a zealous dr. zaius.....
you get the idea.
but i won't be devil-stickin' and hacky-sackin' today to the tune of some of that
sh!t-salad grateful deadly sonic suckholery.
sorry,
but i've only got tats and treats for y'all today;
never quiet, never soft.....

FOURTWENTY!

bro,
if you out there in those streets smoking weed?
lame.
but, i guess if that's your thing, y'all should go do that.
but as for me?
y'boi is out here in this woodsly goodness 100% NOT doing that.
word up.
...it just ain't me.
so, when I'M reppin' four-twenty it's not about marijuana.
nor is it about that buttnasty megalomaniac, adolf hitler.
it's his berfday today, and that's for sure weak sauce, too.
i might drink a little kombucha-
i'll definitely bake some right-handed cookies.
with dark chocolate chips, but no CBD, hemp-derived or otherwise.
i'm not euphoric.
i'm not elated.
it's rainy.
it's it's foggy.
and it's warm, which is pretty tight.
so, for me?
four twenty is maybe all about blackbirds, and possibly baking a pie.
y'know? like the rhyme?
yeah.
i did make gluten-free piecrusty dough, for eastery hottness.
i am making cookies, gluten-free and otherwise, as well.
it's rude to attend a party empty-handed, even if it's just for jesus's second berfday-
rules is rules.
and don't call it a comeback.
especially since he's been gone ever since...
*
i did a two big ol' black and grey flower tattoos yesterday.
here's one:

ROSES AND NARCISSUS AND ASTER!

oh my!
as usual, they're marky markered-on,
and as form fittin' as i could manage-
AMPERSAND TATTOO is where it happens.
soo many lines, and all the flowers that ever bloomed.
that's what we've got.
it's four twenty in the rain,
and i've got a big ol' fiery phoenix to draw on today.
unless this baby,
this slowpoke, take-forever, in-no-dang-hurry-at-all baby decides today is the day.
the name game is on again.
the back and forth of popular names is a real struggle.
there are about a hundred people i tattoo with sons named jackson,
and i've tattooed about a thousand kaylas in the last five years.
i'm very aware of the risks of naming a kid what seems unique but is really not.
we're gonna go simple, old, classic, and charming.
why?
because i'm all out of suggestions,
and mama has some top picks that i happen to like, too.
this is gonna be a good baby,
and a good time,
and if she ever shows up,
we'll all rejoice and give voice to how psyched we are.
i am a patient boy-
i wait i wait i wait i wait;
never quiet, never soft.....

Friday, April 19

LAST SUPPER?

thai thursday!
ha!
i made it all nicey-nice, and still it did me dirty.
hmm?
yeah.
the pineapple ate my mouth off,
the lime burn what was left of it,
and the spice lingered in the trashed ashes of my face.
yikes!
and i made more than i could eat!
aww, man- too much IS the right amount,
but this was even more than that, and it fought me with each and every bite.
dang.
look:

mmmhmmmm.
these noodles were supposed to make me feel better-
(i'm a little teeny tiny bit sick....little kids are good for providing that)
instead, i dissolved my whole head, and still stayed stuffed up.
awesome.
*
y'got coconut-oil fried golden tofu.
that's exxxtra-crisp exxxtra-firm 'fu, ready to rock your socks off.
if you cook 'em right, they'll never stick,
and you can tell when they're read to flip by the golden-brown skin that shows up
if you look closely at the side in contact with the hot surface.
i'm always using high heat, btw. coconut oil can handle it, the tofu appreciates it,
and your tastebuds will relish the righteous sealed-in flavor of these crissssssspy bois.
*
there's rice noods.
obvi.
i used the fat ones, but not those FAT ones, y'know?
i wish i had the FATTIES, but i had to make do with the fat ones instead.
you get it.
the chao fun jauns weren't in my pantry, so the flat and longs had to suffice-
i actually pan-fried them with some of the sauce after boiling and rinsing them.
i can't say that it was the best idea i ever had, but it was certainly not the worst.
so, there's that to consider.
*
the stir-fried veg?
well, to be honest man- that was a complicated affair:
starting with two slender wedges of cabbage, seared up and sizzled,
and half a carrot, a stalk of celery, 1 1/2 cups of mutlicolored grape tomatoes,
and a clove of sliced garlic-
all of that cooked for a few minutes, just sizzlin'-
then i added a scoop of coconut oil,
and a cup of mixed peppers- uh-huh slices of hot and sweet just tossed in.
i had pepper pieces, and i used 'em.
plus, half a sweet onion, in slivers,
and a head of chopped broccoli,
plus a huge handful of spinach,
and a punch of snap peas...
plus, minced cilantro stems, and a whole lotta torn basil.
yuuuuup.
alll the things that i thought i'd need.
and also, that SAUCE.
uh-huh.
it's all good to saute veggies, but without the saucy steam activation?
you're basically just effin' around.
*
THAT SPICY SAUCE:
2 cloves crushed garlic;
1 1/2" skin-on organic ginger root, exxxtra-finely minced;
1/4 tsp ea GPOP;
1/4 tsp ground coriander seed;
2 tsp chili-garlic paste;
2 T tamari;
2 T seasoned rice vinegar;
1 T agave;
2 tsp lime juice;
2 tsp sriracha;
a shake of black pepper;
a pinch of crushed basil;
2 tsp of crushed pineapple;
2 T water.
^^^^^^
have i ever made the exact same sauce?
nope.
but his one was still pretty flippin' elite.
if only the added fresh cut pineapple, and it's bromelain barbarian brutality
hadn't done me a mischief, i might've enjoyed it more.
instead, i had a literal face melting experience.
and on the ones,
the spiciness wasn't intense, at all,
until the dual-devastation of pineapple-lime did me in.
damn.
and that left me with scallion, basil, and cilantro sprankles all
almost totally unenjoyable.
bummmmmmmer.
*
is good friday a good baby day?
it might be.
breezy has another 'nother appointment today, to see just where the heck
this little baby thinks she's gonna be staying this weekend.
like, inside or outside the box.
i like today.
it's good.
it says so right in the name.
and it's a full moon.
which is some wild werewolfen warrior poetry in motion.
if ever you were to have a mixed-magic mountain-and-lake love explosion,
i'd say that today could very well be THE day.
and just like every day,
we won't find out until later on if this little lady is at all interested in arriving
and thriving in the warm embrace of SO many welcoming arms.
i have this bullsh!t cold to sniffle about.
i have NO appetite to speak of.
i have tattoos that may or may not get worked on today,
depending on the level of cooperation that this kid complies with.
it's ALL really happening, ready or not.
the decisions we've made have led us here-
and me and mine are all doing what we can to create a position of positivity
for the acres of kids, and the adults who overlap and intersect and form
the fractal of family for me and you and them and everybody we know.
is today the day?
i'll let you know tomorrow;
never quiet, never soft.....

JAGUAR

a jag-yoo-arr.
a jag-warr.
a catman, man.
that's what i did yesterday.
and i made it extra complicated.
mmhmm.
i had four separate spotted cat deity reference pictures to work from,
and i mixed them all together in a too-many-lines forearm zapper.
check it:
yeah!
i'm into it.
we're working on a large project, 
and each of these pieces gets a little baby bit more intricate with the lines and designs.
i like that.
if you need some, come get some, because i have some.
AMPERSAND TATTOO is just such a good place to get creative, neighbors.
f'real.
i feel it when i walk in, and i let it flow all dang day long.
i'm not comfortable in every environment, 
but i'm definitely nestled right at home in my expert avocado-colored den of dopeness.
that's where it all really happens, 
and that's where i've been drawing daruma and triceratops for our future freshness.
yup.
this is it, and that's that;
never quiet, never soft.....

Thursday, April 18

RED BIRD

i did a bird.

see?
it's pretty.
every tattoo isn't a great big giant one-
but a bunch of the little ones are cool.
is this picture blurry?
man, i can't even tell.
am i blind?
i might be.
but NOT when i'm tattooing.
so relax, and come get a pretty tattoo.
or a great big giant one.
whatever.
that's what we're there for;
never quiet, never soft.....

WORDIMUS PRIME!

more letters?
yeah.
it's addictive.
it's numbingly obsessively tough to get 'em right.
i'm no typographer.
and i'm no graphic designer.
but i made a square:
word up.
get it?
word up.
word.....up.
yep.
we're getting there.
slowly but surely, we're moving towards nicey-nice stuff for 
AMPERSAND TATTOO's merch parade.
we're not ready, yet-
but y'all'd better get ready;
never quiet, never soft.....

ESSENTIAL!!

and you know i got into some dough last night.
hmm?
yep.
that's right.
y'boi whipped up another 'nother expert rendition of a fancy pizza.
uh-huh.
that pee eye zee zee ayy was poppin' off from the jump-
big luscious doughy dopeness,
hearty, heavy-duty manly marinara,
mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, and basil all interacting with some of that 
so delicious dairy-free mozzarella chee'- MINCED, obvi; 
because that's how you do it right, dumdum- so do it right, like a smartie boi.
yeah!
dudes,
check the herb-activated gourmet sh!t right here:
WORD!
when it comes to pizza, the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress is the spot that's hot.
i mean, do you SEE that crust?
neighbors,
it was righteous!
-
*
HERB DOUGH!
-
in your stand up mixer with that heavy dough-hooker hittin', 
mix:
1 cup warm water;
2 T maple syrup;
1 pkg fast actin' yeast;
2 T fire-roasted tomato flakes.
-
give that 5 minutes, then add:
1 cup king arthur all-purpose flour;
1 cup + 2 T bread flour;
2 T olive oil;
1 1/2 tsp pink salt;
1/2 tsp ea GPOP;
2 T nootch;
cracked black pepper.
knead it up and keep in mind that it's a wet dough initially-
but after 11 minutes, it'll get good and gluteny 
and strand-bonded and smooth af.
man, it's good stuff.
covered and risen up all sorts of puffy and nice...
i always stretch it out with some olive oil on my super-seasoned steel tray,
which i will forever bake on my toasty stone at 485 convection fahrenheit degrees...
y'know?
did i add nootch and GPOP and fiery tomato sprankles?
duh.
c'mon.
before i freaked it off with that marinara manliness.
AND did i get it activated with fried garlic sprankles??
rules is rules...
the onions were caramelized.
the mushrooms were slimelessly dry-fried.
the tomatoes were juicy.
all that is just great.
really.
truly.
pizza makes me feel better.
and when you leaf it up with that fresh basil???
F* yes!
i ate it all, y'all.
too much is the right amount.
and i went hard on the shark-gluttony.
just eat more pizza.
that's the moral of the story.
*
it's thai thursday.
so i'mma need to get busy with some spicy noods, dudes.
for sure.
meanwhile, i've got mayan/aztec tattoos to do,
i've got a little baby girl who still hasn't even made any overtures towards 
her big debut outside of the box,
and i've got this damned dumb dog to walk.
btw,
he's F*ing fired.
his deaf A* slept through some loud bangin' against the Fortress last night.
no. i mean it.
i thought i had some personal space invaders trying to get IN here-
i heard the bang-bangin' around the house-
and crabtree just snorrrrrrrred.
meanwhile i jumped up and grabbed a pistol,
and immediately ran towards the noise.
jeez.
am i an A*-hole?
maybe.
also, it was a BEAR.
like, the animal.
i would never ever shoot a bear.
also, 
i only had that lil 9mm on me, which is inadequate for that in any event.
hahaha.
yep.
i got those vegan gunz, boi.
but, they're for defending the woodsly goodness and my beautiful family
from human invaders who probably aren't vegan.
really, i'm saving more animals by taking those dudes out.
ha.
c'mon.
that's not real.
but crabby is absolutely 100% comfort eagle,
and 0% guardian of the north.
so,
don't worry about getting bitten by that bummer bull terrier;
never quiet, never soft.....

Wednesday, April 17

DOUBLE DOPENESS!!

yoooo!!
taco tuesday.
and also,
FALAFELS!!!
yeah!
that's what the eff is going on, neighbors!
how excited can i be about creating and activating two top fives at the same time?
ummm, probably all the way to eleven.
for sure.
check it:

C'MON!!
soft flour tortillas!
rules is rules.
and then, parsley, cilantro, and lettuce, for that salad section.
that's good, guys.
roughage makes 'em smoother.
there's chopped orange and red sweeeeet baby tomatoes, to pretty it up.
pickles?
duh.
that's what's good, forever, on falafels, man.
and pickled jalapenos?
F* yes.
salty, tangy, spice is s'nice.
red onion is tight. and sharp. and really the best raw onion for this sort of thing.
white onion is traditional taco topping, but i don't really mess with that so much.
so red ones are what's poppin'.
i had verrry juicy lemon wedges.
i really like that.
and those pepperoncinis?
word the eff up.
three kinds of pickled jauns for that magic number hottness in every dang bite.
yeah!!!
-
i had tahini paste, thinned up with lemon and a little warm water, GPOP,
sumac, and plenty of black pepper.
creamy dreaminess in a sauce is where the wild things are.
hmmmm?
um, yeah.
that's sumac dust, and two-tone sesame seed sprankles on top.
SO many toppings for a little foldover flap of taco and falafel together.
too much is the right amount.
check it:

DOOOOOOPE.
and just look at those crispy falafel nugs, bruh.
so ferociously flavorful and feisty and amazingly awesome in my mouth.
what's in the nugs?
i thought you'd never ask.
-
*
FALAFZ!
-
in your food processor, mash together:
1/4 cup seared onion;
2 cloves browned garlic cloves;
1 T scallion greens;
2 T fresh parsley;
1 T fresh cilantro;
1/4 cup chick pea flour;
1 1/4 cup drained chick peas;
1 T lemon juice;
2 tsp olive oil;
cumin, ground coriander seed, GPOP, thyme, to taste...
and pink salt, black pepper.
coarsely chopped into a chunky paste, and formed up into little flattened nuggets,
and shallow fried in a sloppy glug or two of vegetable oil to get 'em crissssp on both sides.
damn.
that's expert af.
-
how many does this make? well, how many do you want? and how big?
i had a total of 16 chunky balls, y'all, and i loved each and every one.
that's the truth.
falafel and taco and tahini and all that vegetation.
what else do you even need?
love, probably.
i think that's probably a big help.
*
where is this baby?
she is NOT coming out.
we're coming in hot to a full moon,
and i can feel all my werewolfen warrior poetry preppin' in my blood,
and breezy has that howlin' hottness in her, too-
soooooo what the heck is going on with this little bitty ball of fire in her belly?
is she trying to be a good friday baby?
an easter bunny baby?
a last suppery bumper baby?
a passover blastover?
a rainshower splash?
man, we just don't know-
but we're coming into the full term, and we're coming to terms with the notion
that maybe she just lives in there forever....
it's like a dorm room for daughters, and mama is not havin' it-
so, i know she isn't reading this blog.
nobody is, really, but still:
BABY! WE'RE READY TO SEE YOU!
GETCHYO' A* OUTTA THERE,
AND COME SEE US!!!
ha.
that's not a joke.
*
nothin' is easy.
i know it, you know it,
and we don't need to explore it-
but these hard styles are very tiring and that daily dose of difficulty
really isn't making anybody feel more awake.
i can't imagine carrying a kicking little karate baby in me
while that all really happens.
my lightning-striking viking valkyrie vixen, with her flame-haired face
and her strong heart and powerful, intense emotions,
is doing just that.
so shoutouts to her for being more badass than i am;
and really, let's hope this teeny tiny baby girl is appreciative,
and maybe is sorta kind on her way from inside to outside.
the height of good manners is to know when to leave,
and the mark of true pro is to arrive right on cue;
never quiet, never soft.....

Tuesday, April 16

WORDS!

i swept three times yesterday a AMPERSAND TATTOO,
and all three times,
somebody came in and tracked some crumbly, gritty, wet, mudbutt shoe-scuzz
onto the dang floor.
we STILL will let you leave your shoes on,
because i don't want anything to do with those crusty nubbins,
or your grey-bottom socks.
no thanks.
the thing is-
after i swept, i started writing words.
in fact, i wrote 'em on some scrap paper,
then i wrote 'em again, and again, slowly but surely making something
that i actually like.
that's right.
i drew words. i wrote 'em too, but like they were drawings.
and i did it more than once.
i'm not used to that, neighbors.
but, it's necessary.
it's time to open up the merchandising side of AMPERSAND TATTOO.
i mean, i've certainly given it enough of a buffer, bruh
anyway,
i just wrote the same 15 letters, stacked up, to look cool and say somethin':

pretty cool, huh?
i like it.
and really, it's just 10 letters, with several repeats, but you get the idea.
what's the point?
i'm not sure yet,
but i know that we'll be seeing this again in other projects
and now that the base level handstyle is done-
now we've gotta make even MORE.
too much is the right amount.
so get ready, or not, but there's new art coming.
i even started some triceratops, too.
yeah.
and not for nothin', but wipe your feet;
never quiet, never soft.....

RAVIOLI!

YOOOOOOOO!!!!!
hahahaha.
you ever had ravioli?
man, c'mon-
i don't mean those weak store bought jauns.
i don't mean those bummery frozen one, or those canned crapblasters.
no.
i mean, have you ever made the dough, and rolled it, and filled it,
and crimped it, and boiled it, and covered it all in custom sexxxy sauce?
no?
damn, dudes, y'all are effin' UP.
homemade from-scratch raviolis are where it's at.
they're better than almost all the pasta formats out here in these streets.
that's no joke.
i made some. ...and they made my night.
f'real.
check the teleport:

YEAH!
homemade just tastes better, bruh.
i had that majestic sauce from my ziti festival,
that recipe is here.
and then i added another 'nother 1/2 tsp GPOP and a big ol' bunch of torn fresh basil
to the remainder of that sauce, and then i added 15oz of crushed tomatoes-
yeah, i eff around with those tuttarosso jauns-
and a little baby bit of warm water to help it out.
ha!
oooooooooh!!!!
you haven't had anything this good.
...unless you've had some with y'boi over here at the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress.
dudes-
dry fried baby bella mjushrooms-
a little salty, a lotta umami thickness,and zero slime.
that's how you do it.
blackened orange sweet baby tomatoes?
you had better frickin' believe it.
those exxxtra bits on top are how you turn up the full-flavored fresh-to-death dopeness.
don't get me wrong- these were amazing all on their own,
but the stuff that freaks it off is how you turn it up to eleven.
fresh basil? WU-TANG!!!
when you've got three things that aren't even the thing that's already the best thing?

c'mon.
hell yeah.
but, what's IN the ravs???
we got onion, caramelized.
we got crushed garlic, browned.
we got shredded baby spinach, wilted.
we got that daiya mozzarella, MINCED. ...don't F* that up.
plus pink salt and GPOP and nootch.
how much of each?
i have NO idea.
like,
who can even measure spinach?
it reduces to like a spoonful when you have a wheelbarrowful.
so, who knows?
uh-huh.
so, i mean, that's not helpful.
sorry.
-
and the dough?
mmm.
i went too hard on the semolina at first,
and had to hit it with some king arthur all-purpz to help it out.
i had 3 T olive oil, 1 tsp sea salt, 1 cup of semolina, and 1/4 cup regular flour.
i freaked it off with 2/3 cup warm water.
and i kneaded the holy heck out of it in a stand-upright mixer, for 11 minutes.
then i rested it for ten more, just 'cuz.
my favorite part?
rolling the dough thin, and cutting little circles out.
i'm serious-
filling and crimping and all of that is very soothing...
i moisten the edges to seal the two circles, top and bottom,
around that dollop of deliciousness, before i fork those edges up.
-
look, man.
sometimes when you make some expert food often enough to get into a groove,
it's difficult to list all the steps again and again.
here's what i DO know-
homemade does tastes like the TRUTH.
and truth-tellers can never, and should never stop.
***********
don't sell yourself short.
you can do it.
make some pasta from scratch.
you'll see.
it's a whole other 'nother level of hottness.
make something from scratch.
heck, just make something.
it's good for you;
never quiet, never soft.....

TAX TOAST!

i wrote that tax check.
yeah.
that's what happens when you own a business-
sometimes, you gotta write that check.
and i did.
what'd i do to make myself feel better?
i had some avocado toast.
yeah.
sourdough bread helps almost any expense go down smoother,
and smooth avocado helps the rest go easy, too.
mmmm.
check it:

THREE SLICES!
crusty golden goodness, freshly baked, tightly toasted,
and activated from wildly-fermented from-scratch woodsly goodsly culture.
really, avocado is pretty F*ing expert all on it's own.
and when you got it spread over that tasty toast, it's even better.
so if you hit it with an upgrade, and add all that exxxtra stuff?
it just turns the hottness way up, to eleven.
for real.
i got two-tone sesame seed sprankles,
and fresh cracked black pepper and pink salt.
i got sliced tomatoes, mini cukes, and thin radish, for that crawnchy-crawnch,
and a bit of spiciness.
that's great stuff.
of course, that couldn't be all there was to it-
too much is the right amount.
so there's also microgreens, and some lettuce and pea shoots hangin' out.
and then we got that sweet and savory boomfire, bruh.
uh-huh.
sunflower seeds, toasted in a drop of exxxtra-virg' olive oil,
with a spoonful of fresh-tapped real new hamsphire maple syrup,
with a few kernels of crackin' black pepper...
neighbors-
there's cilantro, too.
damn that's tight.
tax toast is the only way to feel better about relinquishing those muh-fuhh'n movie chexxx.

see?
that helps.
F* yes!!
i need MORE of all of that.
so i made MORE of all of that.
what's the secret?
that toast, probably.
good bread makes better people.
***********
i wrote a check or two.
and then i went back to work.
rules is rules,
and movie checks don't come for free.
...do more work.
that's the big idea.
you don't get rich working, but it dos feel pretty freaking good to do what you do best.
for me, there's a few things that i can get into that make me feel very positive-
working on art in any form,
working on food for any meal,
and making that sweet thang do what it do.
sorry to allude to that lovely lovin', but those're my top three.
they don't all always happen in the same day,
and sometimes, y'gotta account for that debit accounting, too.
however,
i know what's happening, and all of it means something.
it's important;
never quiet, never soft.....

Monday, April 15

SMOKEHAWK!

man, it's hard to do light grey tattoos on dark purple stencils
of smoky not-really-outlined fire and smoke-
especially if there's also a hawk made of smoke in there, too.
but i took a picture, which was just as hard.

yup.
smoky firebird business is happening at AMPERSAND TATTOO.
this is what i'd call a painty tattoo.
like, it's way more like a painting that i had to put in an arm
than a tattzappin' bold-lined hawk.
it took a long time to do, too.
and we're gonna have to wait for it to settle in to even be the way it's s'posed to be.
y'like that shine in the center?
yeah.
that always helps make it easier to see what's going on.
dang.
anyway,
let's do more hard tattoos.
i clearly need a new degree of difficulty in my life;
never quiet, never soft.....

HANGING OUT!

what?
you don't think we'll eat pasta and homemade sauce and broccoli rabe
and non-dairy ice ream and italian ice in our sweats?
well, you're wrong about all of that, neighbors.
she'll be unhappy that i'm snappin' shots like this,
but breezy and i had a mid-april pre-baby lazy sunday nighttime kitchen party.
uh-huh.
you don't even know about yellow-light food photos, but you're gonna learn:

i got that ziti, boi!
and for the record, my man natron was right,
one heaped cup of uncooked noodles would've been plenty.
i did double that.
mmhmm.
MORE pasta has gotta be MORE awesome, no?
i'm not exactly sure that's a thing.
the broccoli rabe was blanched for two and a half minutes, to remove the turbo-bitterness.
the pasta was boiled up al dente,
and the lady's was gluten free spaghetti, prepared the same.
the sauce?
man, that stuff was heroic!
it was almost spookily meaty, for being 100% vegan hottness.
yeah.
-
*
MANLY MARINARA!
-
in a 1 quart saucepot, with 1 T olive oil, on high heat, saute:
1/2 cup finely minced sweet onion;
2 huge cloves of crushed garlic;
black pepper;
pink salt.
get the garlic browned, and the onions translucent, then add:
1 tsp ea.oregano, basil, sage, thyme, dried parsley, GPOP, sugar;
1 T ea. nootch, fire-roasted tomato flakes;
1/4 tsp ea. crushed rosemary, crushed red pepper flakes.
stir that around to toast the stuff up a bit,
then add:
2 tsp balsamic vinegar;
1 T tamari;
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes;
1/2 cup water.
bring it a hard bubblin' boil,
then drop it like it's hot, and simmer it while you boil the pasta water
and keep it going at a low slow bubb' as you cook that semolina business up.
WORD.
-
good sauce is where the real delights of this world reside.
weak sauce is NOT invited.
however,
dressing up like a jawa from star wars is ok with me.

s'kyooooot!!!!!
NObody likes candid photos, but i don't even care-
this little bitty lady probably would prefer i didn't capture our kitchen moments,
but i love 'em the most and i'm not sorry about it.
that's the thing, man-
we've got electricity in our skin and it's arcing like lightning when we touch and stuff.
wearin' jammies and eatin' pasta and doing regular stuff is definitely always invited.
in fact,
that's my favorite stuff.
i'm easy to please, but had to handle?
is that a thing?
is it even true?
i dunno.
but i'm grateful for the time we span and how we share it.
i don't need or want a super big deal explosion of entertainment and spectacle.
i want and need that interconnected spirit and memory.
that's what's up;
never quiet, never soft.....

STRAWBERRIES!

you know i have the skills to make an expert vegan chee'cake, right?
that's no joke.
i've got that gluten-free dairy-free strawberry magic,
straight from my oven, live and direct to my face!
yup.
look at this thing:

TIERS OF TRIUMPH, TEARS OF JOY!
that's that multi-layer player right there.
a gluten-free vanilla cocon'oat almond crust to hold it tight,
a layer of o.g. vegan chee'cake, a layer of strawberry-laced chee',
and a layer of gooey strawberry jammie-jamboree jauns to keep it at eleven.
no, but, like, f'real though:

i mean, that's pretty sexxxy, right?
that's coconut whipped cream,
and freeze-dried ground strawberry sprankles, as well.
uh-huh.
too much is the right amount.
so that's how it's got to be.
you want somethin' this amazing in you mouth?
i don't blame you.
here's how you can make one of your very own-
-
*
STRAWBERRY STACKS!
-
preheat your oven to 350℉.
-
get yourself a high-walled fluted tart pan. one of those with the slip-out bottom.
9" with the tall sides is what you want.
-
in your food processor, pulverize:
2/3 cup oats;
1/3 cup unsweetened dry coconut;
1 tsp vanilla;
1/4 cup sugar;
1/2 cup mama's almond flour blend;
5 T earth balance vegan butter;
2 T agave;
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut/almond blend s'milk. (or whatever kind you like better)
...pulse that up into a crOmbly dough, and evenly spread it out across that tart pan, man.
bake it for 15 or so minutes, and set it aside while you whip up the interior action.
-
in the same food processor,
combine:
1 1/2 tubs tofutti vegan creamchee';
1 tsp vanilla;
1/2 tsp lemon extract;
2 T lemon juice;
1/3 cup powdered sugar;
1/4 cup tapioca flour;
3 T non-GMO organic cornstarch;
1 pressed block of silken tofu.
pulp that into a smooth whipped paste,
and divide it in half.
-
add 2-3 T powdered ground freeze-dried strawberries to the 1/2 still in the food pro',
and whip it reaaaaaally well, so that you've got a luscious pink puree ready to go.
evenly spread it on the crust,
then add the plain white stuff over that, being careful to keep it in distinct layers-
you want it to LOOK dope and taste dope, obvi.
don't eff it up, so your eyes will light up when you cut into it.
for sure.
bake that on a stone, on the middle rack of your oven for 35-40 minutes,
or until it gets those pumpkin-pie cracks that let you know it's done-
let it cool an hour on the counter, and refrigerate it for at LEAST another 'nother hour-
i did mine overnight, just to be sure it was perfect.
-
that's when you hit it with the strawberry hottness from the future of good food, guys.
yup.
2 cups of sliced frozen strawberries;
3 T powdered sugar;
1 T maple syrup;
1 tsp vanilla;
2 T lemon juice;
1/4 tsp lemon extract;
2 T non-GMO organic cornstarch;
2 T powdered freeze-dried strawberries-
all that, whisked together in a small pot, and brought up to thickening boil,
then simmered for a short spell to keep it all cohesive-
that's expert af.
and on top of the 'cake?
it's righteous activation from april's most magnificent midsection.
ha!
-
and MORE powdery berry dust is great to have on hand,
because it upgrades the coconut cream,
and pretties up the plate.
no foolin', it has to look good or i'm not havin' it.
that's the truth.
*
i wasn't gonna make one.
but then again,
i can absolutely repurpose a tradition, right?
right!
just because i'm not sharing it with the old crew of dudes i used to hang around with
doesn't mean i'm not out here with the skills and the know-how
and the elbow grease to create amazing vegan delights
for the new worthwhile and powerful people in my life.
so i did that, and on the day that i'm used to doing that, too.
making treats, celebrating, eating, being excited-
that's what i DO, dudes.
there's no good reason not to.
therefore, i've GOT to.
it's all really happening, and that's the whole point;
never quiet, never soft.....

Saturday, April 13

BITING!

i drew on a tattoo from a very specific reference,
almost certainly originally drawn by a girl tattooer on an ipad-
why do i say that?
because i saw the drawing on the screenshot on the phone
taken from whatever pinterest board it came from,
and that's what it looked like.
i didn't trace it-
i drew it on with a marky-marker,
but i was definitely lookin' at somebody else's hard work while i did it.
here's the thing-
i don't know if i'm an A-hole if i do that.
honestly.
and of course i didn't keep the reference to show you any and all differences-
but, i did take a picture:

BAT!
she even insisted on the moon on the head that was totally on the other one.
i'm not making fun.
not one bit.
this client always brings cool tattoos that other people have already.
and i always draw them up on my own,.
i'm just sayin', twenty years later i'm still doing fancy street shop tats.
y'know why?
because a grand don't come for free, neighbors.
i've noticed that there are a LOT of vegan tattooers
doing their thing in southern new hampshire...
heck, there's three or four doing it in this town up here in the woodsly goodness.
what i'm wondering though is if half of my repeat clients even know i can draw.
hahahaha.
i'm mostly serious.
i mean, they sit there and watch me draw right on them,
but it's usually from a picture of somebody they'll never meet's tattoo.
unless it's those trees on a forearm.
half of the chainsawin' boot-boogers up here want that one.
and that's cool too.
i guess i'm just the dude who doctors-up the recipe
whenever it comes to premade pinterest zips,
and it's left to me to go freestyle in the kitchen only for now....
that's What Is, so that's what's up;
never quiet, never soft.....

BIGNESS

i didn't NEED a big ol' breakfast.
nope. not one bit.
that didn't stop me at ALL, y'all.
i mean,
i was feelin' kind of like maybe i should treat myself to a potato or two.
is that weird?
maybe.
the rest is just window dressing and accessorizing to those red skinned spuds, bud.
check it:

PANNIECAKES just because?
yeah.
i doo-doo that brekkie effectiveness,
and i overdo it always because: too much is the right amount.
the radishes are crawnchy, and that was a nice little exxxtra bite-
-
the tofu scrambo was different this time-
a little onion, GPOP, nootch, turmeric, black salt, pink salt, black pepper,
and then: dried tomato spranks. sesame seeds, and dried shallots-
with olive oil to sear it, and a slow and low cookin' time, to get the edges burnt a bit.
simple, with some fanciness in the form of specks and flecks of veggies and seeds.
if you've never made tofu scramble, i've gotta wonder why not?
it's freakin' great.
half a block of exxxtra-firm tofu, crOmbled-
and then a shake or two of those seasonin's, and that onion and oil,
all sizzled up together.
it's crazy easy, and i don't measure a freakin' thing.
do it, and be delighted, or do somethin' else and lose out.
i'm not the boss of you, so decide what you want, and get going
ha.
-
the pancakes were absolutely straightforward and simple-
2/3 cup flour;
1/4 tsp salt;
2 T sugar;
3 T melted vegan butter;
2 T vegan sour cream;
1 tsp vanilla;
1/4 cup ground dry unsweetened coconut;
1/4 cup oat flour;
1 tsp baking soda;
1 tsp baking powder;
3/4 cup almond milk.
^^^^ stirred, rested, and fried up in my traditional circle forms on a HOT griddle.
i mean, that's not complicated, is it?
they're great, too.
hearty and thick and MANLY-
with fresh-bubbled local real new hampshire maple syrup,
because rules is rules, and that tree-blood from my 'hood is essential.
and it's flippin' sweeeeeeeeeeeet, in a couple of ways.
-
i like breakfast, but i always feel like a bloated blarp-orc afterwards.
therefore, if i'm gonna be a gluttonhog,
i'm gonna go hard, and get crackin' on that potato game like a champ.
word up.
-
in my oven, rising up to 450℉, i had tow wedge-cut red skin-on potatoes,
coated in a little olive oil, with Garlic Powder and Onion Powder and black pepper,
and pink salt, until they're golden and roasty and crisp at the tips.
that's how i like 'em, so that's how i make 'em.
.and y'gotta take 'em to leven immediately, man.
vegan butter, sweet onion, smoked hot paprika, and more of that GPOP and pepper.
mmmmmmm.
when they're coated in all of that,
there's very little that improves my mornings more.
no joke.
i LOVE potatoes.
i've heard some paraphrased old north country mountain idiom about 'em-
i dunno the real quote, but the gist is that they will make you happy forever.
i believe it.
***********
i scheduled only partial days this month.
with this little baby coming in hot at some point that seemed wise-
however, since she's clearly in NO hurry to show up,
i mostly have free time every day to do non-profit studio assessments.
i'm not sayin' i DO that,
i'm just saying that i have time to,
but more importantly, most days i also have time to do another tattoo.
that's real.
heck, i'll even do all the lame ones, too.
i don't care, man.
i'm lookin' for a few exxxxtra movie checks to make some necessary improvements
to all the places i span my time,
and those bam-bam bum-bummers make that possible.
if you know somebody who needs somethin' cool,
definitely send 'em over to AMPERSAND TATTOO.
if you know somebody with a totally generic tattoo idea?
send 'em over to AMPERSAND TATTOO.
creative or otherwise, we do what you want.
and i can fit 'em until this little baby girly makes her big debut.
this is it.
i'm ready for you;
never quiet, never soft.....

PURPOSEFUL

exxxtra pastry dough?
i have no idea when i made it,
or what recipe i used,
or why i didn't use it all up the first time,
but i had enough to make one hell of a crusty rustic galette.
so i did.
i had half a cup of frozen raspberries;
a quarter of a cup of mini chocolate chips;
a splash of vanilla;
3 T powdered sugar;
a handful of bloobs;
and 2 tsp non-GMO organic cornstarch,
all tossed together in a bowl, and tossed some more after that with the aim
of coating everything in itself-
the oven was already running at 450℉,
so after i rolled out a one-foot circle of pastry, and dumped the berry blend in the center,
and crimped up the edges,
and then froze it for fifteen minutes?
i baked it until it was crissssssspy.
yup.
i like it when the pastry is flaky and buttery and snaps off when you bite into it.
check it:

C'MON!!!!
hmmmm?
well, yeah.
then i hit it with a little MORE powdered sugary sprankle magic.
what do you think i am?
dumb?
no way.
too much is the right amount!
and sexxxy sugar dust takes the whole thing to eleven.
what kind of pastry dough do i normally make?
this kind.
is that what this is?
maybe.
i know it's delicious, but that's mostly all i know about it.
mystery pastry? sure.
berries and chocolate? definitely.
using it up and wearing it out and making do?
mmhmmm.
doing without? NO.
that's not invited.
i want ALL the treats, all the eats, all the art, all the magic, all the alchemy of activating
some dubiously-nutritious majectic radical vegan edible hottness all the time.
anything else is just food,
and that's not good enough;
never quiet, never soft.....

SALTY

man,
it doesn't matter how salty you are as a person-
salty pizza is the way it's s'posed to be.
but, it's not how salty your chee' is,
or even how salty you make the toppings-
because if you forget to put salt in your dough?
that sh!t tastes flat as F*-
i'm not sayin' it's bad, but you never notice it until it isn't there.
that's real.
and guess what i did?
yuuuuuuuup.
i effed it up.
which especially sucks because i made one epic pizza pie,
and blew it in the beginning before i ever really got all the way started,
and didn't notice until it was already in the oven.
damn.
check the teleport:

SAUSAGE AND PEPPERS PIZZA!!!!
i'm so salty about that fancy dough, bro.
f'really real, it was all set up to be somethin' special.
-
i had two kinds of king arthur flour:
a cup of all-puprz and a cuppa bread specific,
autolyzed in 3/4 cup of warm water, with 2 T fire-roasted tomato flakes,
and 1/2 tsp black pepper, and 2 T exxxtra-vigin olive oil....
meanwhile i had 2 T real fresh-sapped maple syrup in 1/4 cup warm water,
bloomin' outta control with 1 pkg fast-actin' yeast-
and i kneaded all of that up in my bread mixer WITHOUT 2 tsp of sea salt.
ugh!
what am i?
an A*-hole?
jeez, i might be.
...
it rose like you wouldn't believe.
and i was as excited as i could be about the prospects of my spongy circle
of puffy perfection as i set it out on my seasoned and oiled steel tray for assembly-time.
mmhmmmm.
i had crushed tomatoes ready.
and chopped baby spinach (that's blue-collar kale, for all you eitists).
minced so delicious brand mozzarella chee'.
always minced, no matter what brand i get, because rules is rules, fools.
if you ain't mincin' your mozz', y'all must not like things to get better in your life!
ha!
anyway, i also had caramelized red onions,
with a clove of garlic in there for exxxtra oh-mommy umami magic.
that's right.
and seared sweet peppers, too, because it isn't sausage and peps without the peps-
OR the sausage for that matter-
i took two sliced links of my custom red-lentil seitan sausages,
and simmered them with a spoonful of fennel seeds in a bath of GPOP, black pepper,
and tamari in half a cup or so of warm water, with a glug of olive oil added in,
until it all absorbed and made 'em plump and luscious.
that's some serious gourmet sh!t right there, buddy.
-
i dusted it with some NOOTCH, too;
and freaked it off with those obligatory fried garlic sprankles
because too much is the right amount.
and whenever it's time to make pizza it had better go to eleven.
i am not even kidding-
homemade pee eye zee ze ayy is a perfect time to go way overboard,
and load up your dough with megatons of dopeness....
i mean, do you see how fresh that F*er looks?
the crust is dark (maple magic caramelization i'd presume)
and fluffed at the edges, with bubbles internally adding lightness to the whole thing.
it was like a focaccia from the future, with a blue-ribbon fair-food exxxplosion on top.
yum.
oh, and parsley at the end, just to turn up the prettiness.
i wanna see it lookin' so sexxxy before i cut it up.
y'eat with your eyes first, neighbors.
good thing too....
because without salt in the dough it was a beautiful-lookin' experience
that fell flat by the last bite of crust in every slice.
awwwww, man.
that's what happens when you're thinking of baby names and baking
and writing and scheduling and doing nine things at once the instant you walk in the door.
i should've taken a minute to collect myself and my thoughts,
but i was racing against the setting sun,
and i STILL lost because my overtaxed oven couldn't keep the pace.
womp womp.
i had mostly-expert pizza.
that's not enough.
it never is, even when it's totally amazing, it could always use a little bit more.
that's a thing.
now i know to be more present in whatever i'm up to.
less than that is too costly to the overall experience.
pizza is a universal totem for life and love.
if you're doing it right, it's always the best thing going-
and if you're doing it wrong, it's still not the worst thing.
there's room for improvement,
and for more salt;
never quiet, never soft.....

Friday, April 12

FRIDAY!

this is it.
uh-huh.
the last one.
....for now.
i'm out of circles to paint on,
so the next thing is probably gonna be back to working with corners an' that.
meantime, though, before i have somethin' to show you about that?
maybe just CHECK THIS GREENIE BOY!!

i like it.
neighbors,
thirty circles of the saaaaame thing, but different.
y'know?
the triceratops project had better feel good to get into,
because this skull monomania was F*ing expert.
***********
everybody is having babies.
but my baby isn't here yet.
she's gotta be here soon....maybe today?
it seems like she's in NO hurry to arrive.
y'know what worries me about that?
i really like an aries human being,
but i have had acres of friction with a taurus, bro.
i don't even believe in that sh!t,
but maybe with a little bit of overlapping coincidental occurrence,
i see some archetypal similarities.
star-sky predictions don't mean anything....
or maybe it does, tho.
that's such a capricorn way to look at it.
hahahah.
c'mon.
but in real life-
this baby might be here ANY minute.
that's very exciting.
we're doing our best to be better than ever,
so that this baby shows up to a whole group of happy hearts and hands.
that's a lot to manage, with a million kids and a hundred miles
and obligations and appointments across the universe, or at least new hampshire.
it's ALL really happening,
and one of these days, there's gonna be another 'nother sweet little lady baby
here to be part of it;
never quiet, never soft.....

Thursday, April 11

SECOND TO LAST

am i blue?
i sure am.
blue in the face, blue of mood, blue like i haven't a clue.
and is this guy blue, too?
he is:

another end of the batch blast of acrylic boneheadedness, from me to you.
there's only one left to show you.
and i've already begun the preliminary triceratops hottness.
there's sketches started, references at the ready,
and i'm thinking at LEAST three, like those horns,
and all those magic numbers we hear about sometimes.
mmhmmm.
i made a lot of skulls.
thirty, all told, so far.
they all look a little bit alike,
but they're all pretty different for being the same.
i think that's true in my whole life.
the same and different,
different and the same.
there's overlaps of spirit and memory, gratitude and generosity,
and lightning-striking viking berserker barbarian battle-beastliness
all across the full-spectrum of warrior poetry and folk liveliness.
yep.
that's what this woodsly goodsly vault of feelings is made of,
and that's what i keep in my heart next to the big fat heaps of love
for SO many little ladies under 5' 3" and a small boy or two, too.
ha.
there's art and then there's artistry.
i make art in the form of wooden circles with faces on them,
but i employ artistry in every aspect of my day,
from breakfast to bedtime.
if only i had better words to work with,
or clearer visions of tomorrow.
instead, it's one day at a time, one foot in front of the other,
falling forward into an uncertain future with more sentient sentiment
than sapient syllables;
never quiet, never soft.....

DOWN IN THE DUMPS

i ate candy beans and cookies and a leftover pretzel,
and gummy fruit squares and i had a kombucha and a coffee.
y'know why?
because i do awful things to my insides when i feel awful inside.
my dad taught me that horrible counterattack back in the day.
f'real.
if he had a stomachache,
he'd eat the spiciest spicy wings to blow out a backdraft extinguisher
like how we used to put out oil derrick fires back in desert warfare.
hahaha.
in this case it didn't work.
but then i had an idea-
DUMPS, dudes.
yep.
dumplings.
homemade sesame on sesame jauns, from the future.
i mean it.
check it:

DUMPS ON YOUR FACE!!
with three sauces, and a whole lotta sprankles.
word!
i made sesame magic tofu hottness for the filling-
-

'FU-FILLED!
-
in your food processor, chop up-
1 1/2 cups brussels sprouts;
2 large cloves garlic;
1 medium carrot;
1/2 cup onion;
1/4 cup pea shoots-
in a very hot pan, with a splash of toasted sesame oil,
fry up 1/2 block of crOmbled exxxtra-firm tofu with all that veggie stuff...
add 1/2 tsp GPOP;
black cracked pepper;
pink salt;
sriracha flakes;
2 T tamari.
it's tight and it's expert.
-
once you've got fillin', you need to start wrappin',
and to do that you need dumpers, duders.
-
*
SESAME DUMP-FLAPS!
-
in your trusty stand-up mixer, mix up:
1 cup + 2 T flour;
1/4 tsp sea salt;
2 T two-tone toasted sesame seed;
1/2 cup warm water-
kneaded up for 11 minutes until it's a smooth shiny ball of badassery.
mmhmm.
rolled out on a floured surface pretty thin, and with a 3" steel circle cutter,
twenty-or-so circles should be able to be cut, all told.
-
y'ever make dumplin's?
a scoop of the stuff, folded in half, crimp the top, and rested for a minute....
then you fry 'em up in a blend of sesame and olive oil, arranged in three rows
on a wide af pan for a few minutes.
then you gotta splash the pan with a coupla tablespoons of hot water,
lid it,
and steam 'em until the water is all absorbed-
at that point i always turn 'em over one time, and sizzle one other side, too.
yup.
crisssssp fried skins is how you make real dope dumps if you're dope but not a dope.
that's no joke.
look:

YUMMMM.
i added a few scallions and a bit of minced fresh cilantro to the pan, man.
that's a nicey-nice touch for sure.
plated up with supernutrient-dense microgreens?
wordimus prime.
that's how you make it magical, neighbors.
*
and then there's the sauces!
too much is the right amount.
anything less is sh!t-hot lies, bro.
-
we've got mae ploy sweet thai stickiness,
with cilantro and a dab of rice wine vinegar,
plus a drop of sesame oil.
-
we've got a sesame sriracha and soy sauce special, with seeds, and fresh garlic,
and a drop of liquid smoke.
it's hot.
and it's thick.
that's the way i like my dumps and their drip to be, buddy.
-
and the customary custom supersexxx dumpling douse-
2 T tamari;
1 T rice vinegar;
1/2 tsp sesame oil;
1 clove crushed garlic;
1 tsp agave;
1/4 tsp GPOP;
black pepper;
sesame seeds;
scallions.
-
F* YES!
and even my chopperstixxx are the TRUTH:

c'mon.
thanks to my berserker baby-mama breezy
for those signature sexxxy stems, for sure.
***********
i got three winks of sleep before i was awoken at 3am.
and i've been up since.
and i'm feelin' it, for sure.
the phone is ON and it's loud and i keep it near my head,
to make sure i hear it when it bingbongs...
guys,
when competent communication is kind of your thing
but you can't find the right words when they count the most?
well, then there's a lot to talk about when nothing makes much sense,
and also, not a lot to talk about, when nothing much makes any sense.
that's called a balanced imbalance.
symmetrical all-wrong alrights and lefts, so to speak,.
oh, stop.
it's wordplay, but it's not a game-
it's a series of feints and defenses,
thrusts of trust and sleights of honor and ego.
y'know?
how much is enough?
how often is the bitter got to happen to make the sweet appreciated?
how hard a style do we need to rep to prove we're tough?
how soft a touch and how soft a head and how soft a heart do we need to have
to prove we care?
these are the questions i don't know the answers to,
and my insides are rebelling against me while ponder upon 'em.
there's bound to be a backlash backdraft against the backsplash
if much more of this continues.
i've got a gut feeling,
but it might just be the bubblin' trouble of a misspent day of eatin' feelings.
i'll know more after the break;
never quiet, never soft.....

Wednesday, April 10

TWENTYEIGHT

i made it!
no.
for real.
yesterday was a snow day,
and a bummer day,
and a no-nothin' day.
but it was also a painting day.
yeah.
what do you do when you aren't doing what you thought you'd be doing?
i'm genuinely curious.
i am so definitely derailed when a plan or purpose is abruptly ended.
i get lost in my thoughts, and stilled in my progress.
it's like an involuntary pause button gets pressed.
so, i do what i'd do if i didn't know what i was missin'.
i mean, i DO know.
but i can only do dwell in the swamps for a little minute-
otherwise, i'll be stuck in those depths for a season or three.
it's happened before, and it's NOT invited to my days and nights.
instead,
i stay busy doing things that occupy my hands and my head,
while my feelings and my fears and my hopes all falter and fail to some degree.
ummmm.....is that positive?
man, i have no idea,
but if i can't work out what's wrong,
and i can't work on the problem,
then all that's left is to work through it.
the key ingredient is work.
i have to, or i'm done for.
what's my point?
beats me.
i was just trying to tell you that i painted some MORE skulls.
yeah.
i wasn't making money.
i wasn't making tattoos.
but i was making SOMEthing.
check it:

number twenty eight.
dirty.
darkish.
dreary.
that's my dude.
spoiler alert.
i finished my whole stack of wooden circles yesterday.
yeah.
i'm gonna pace myself with over the next couple of days,
revealing the last couple.
it's just more of the same, of course.
that's me, isn't it?
a lot of the same sh!t, every day.
i think these circles look a lot better in person.
i think i'm more enjoyable in person, too.
these are just words and pictures,
but in person, they're so much more.
i finished the project, for now.
i spanned the day the best i could.
i solved nothing, i cured nothing, but i didn't DO nothing.
that's the best i had, and sometimes, that's the best it's gonna be;
never quiet, never soft.....

KNOTS

pretzel knots.
y'know?
that's a thing.
i made 'em smaller than my usual softies.
and while they're truly verrrry pretzely-tastin',
they're also different on the inside, too.
there's MORE of 'em, and that's really what we all want, anyway.
soft, different, and numerous.
i can definitely enjoy that.
that's basically a lot like the stepkids, after all.
ha.
i have gotten a little obsessed with soft homemade pretzels this year.
i admit it.
they're good.
they're really good.
they're the kind of treat that practice perfects and rewards
with better texture and softer crumb and balanced brownness.
mmhmm.
look:

SIXTEEN KNOTS IS A LOT!
after boilin', they bloomed up to be bigger than i thought they would.
that's not terrible news.
but, four big bites is more than i imagined i'd have to use with my teeth for.
whatever, i ate a great many of these fresh out of the oven,
and then a few extra at the studio.
it was a sourpuss suckbomb snow day, again;
and while anything could have happened,
and for all i know might have elsewhere,
the only things going on in my immediate area were low visibility
and shivery temperatures.
so the pretzel knots were kind of the highlight, man.
is there anything especially notable about these??
yeah.
oat bran.
that's great stuff.
and vegan butter by the buttload.
that makes them soft.
tell you what, i'll give you the recipe:
-
*
PRE'Z'KNOTZ!!
-
i already had my oven up to 465 bread-baking degrees,
but i turned it down to 450° when i put my pretzels in.
-
line a cookie sheet with parchment.
personally, i lined my seasoned steel baking tray with parchment.
-
combine 1/4 cup very warm water with 2 T real new hampshire maple syrup,
and 1 tsp bread machine yeast....stir it and let it bloom for 5 minutes.
-
in your trustworthy assistant, mr. stand-upright mixer, with the dough hook attached,
combine:
3 cups king arthur flour;
1/2 tsp sea salt;
1 tsp baking soda;
1/4 cup oat bran;
1/4 cup vegan butter;
1 pkg fast-actin' yeast;
3/4 cup + 1T warm water.
let that soak, undisturbed while the maple/water/yeast activates.
combine both and knead for 11 minutes until it's a sticky, soft shiny ball.
cover it and let it get BIG, boi.
-
bring 8 cups of water, with 2 tsp salt and 3 heapin' T of baking soda to a rolling boil,
while the dough rises.
divide that fat heap of dough into quarters, but like, do that four separate times.
roll 'em out long, double twist the tips,
and let 'em puff up again for another 'nother 5 minutes.
yup.
-
dunk 'em four at a time into that alkaline boiling water,
and give 'em fifteen seconds per side.
remove them with a spider, drain 'em, and arrange them on the parchment,
liberally spranklin' them with coarse big crystal sea salt.
-
bake them  for 14 minutes,
turning the tray halfway at the halfway point.....
and you'll have these magnificent glorious golden goodies.
you'll feel better if you have a couple of these.
unless you hate carbs,
or you're sensitive to salt or gluten,
or if you just don't like pretzels.
i s'pose those are legit reasons to refrain...
but everybody else will get a brief boost of joy with every bite.
they don't solve many problems,
but they don't cause any, either.
and being smaller so you can eat MORE for the same level of fullness
is kind of freakin' awesome.
i love that.
too much is the right amount, as you are all already well aware.
and MORE pretzels might be what i'm all about.
*
the sun is half out.
the ice is half melted.
the snow is slippery,
the clouds that remain are darrrrrrk.
the woodsly goodness is a weird place, neighbors.
yesterday was a total bummer in a lot of ways,
but hot soup, fresh-baked bread,
and a sh!theap of salty knots all helped a little.
i did all the pull-ups, and that worked well for a little bit-
being sore and spent is a good way to occupy your mind and body.
i did that.
and now?
well,
unless i hear otherwise, i'm gonna be tattooing a little.
and likely i'll be dwelling on the unfolding events and additions, exclusions,
exceptions, and exemptions that compose april in the mountains.
there's everything and nothing all really happening,
and i've been assured that that IS the whole point.
i'm gonna keep on keepin' on, and see where the eff i end up;
never quiet, never soft.....

Tuesday, April 9

SOPA!

yeah-
when i'm frickin' freezin',
and i'm feelin' maybe a little sniffly,
and i need something to warm me up and fill in the blanks
that are echoing around my organs in the hollow of my chest cavity,
what i make is soup.
mmhmm.
soup, dudes.
i like a wet bath of vegetables in flavorful water.
i went a little spicy (just a baby bit),
but i also went hard on the vegetable content.
check the teleport:

SOPA!!!
that's what's up, neighbors....
a vat of thickfreakness for my freakin' face.
i truly needed it.
although possibly not after a batch of way too burly tacos.
ugh.
if overdoing it is a good thing, then i'm the best.
ha.
what's IN this beautiful bowl of hottness/
i'll tell you all about it:
-

SWEE'POTATO BLACKBEAN RED LENTIL SOUP!
-
in a two quart sauce pot, with a glug or two of olive oil, on high heat, saute:
1/2 cup chopped onion;
1/2 cup each red and green bell pepper;
1 peeled medium carrot, sliced into 1/4" discs;
2 cloves crushed garlic;
1/2 sweet potato, chunked;
1/4 cup red lentils-
get that going, and add in:
1/2 tsp smoked paprika;
1/2 tsp GPOP;
1 T nootch;
1 tsp oregano;
1/2 tsp cumin;
pink salt and black pepper;
2 bay leaves;
1 cup sweet cherry tomatoes;
swirl that around, then pour in:
2 cups warm water + 2 tsp better-than-bouillon broth base,
and half a can of black beans WITH that sopa in there.
-
THAT is a lot of good stuff to be messin' with.
i also added a little cayenne and some jalapeno pepper, too.
like i told you, it's a little spicy.
i got it boilin' then simmered it for half an hour,
and what i ended up with is the new hottness for soup situations
by which all future soups will be compared.
that's no joke.
i know you see those cilantro sprankles on top.
that's just how i do things, dudes.
mmhmm.
soup is like a deep-tissue hug, with that soothing liquid flowing
to all the extremities of your physical and metaphysical soul, bro.
***********
what's in store for today?
man, i don't know.
i had the day off, but i now i think i have the day ON.
there's springtime work to be done both at AMPERSAND TATTOO,
and at the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress.
of course, it's a damned cold and snow-covered slippery mess of a day, too.
and it's my friend shawn's berfday, too.
so happy berfday to him, for sure.
it's also an ex-girlfriend's b-day-
and i wish i had the kind of brain that didn't remember those things.
really, it only takes up a little space, but i could be using that for something better-
like the thread counts of different napkins or whatever.
i keep count.
i'm not even trying.
it's a passive action that's constantly ongoing in the way back of my processor.
i can't remember all sorts of things these days.
maybe i'm just aging, maybe it's something more sinister, i really don't know.
i AM effin' with those tocopherols, and omega-3's, and turmeric,
and those fatty-bonding adaptogens and so on.
that stuff can regrow brain cells.
did you know that?
it can't regrow memories, obvi, but it makes more room for new ones, probably.
i'm not a nutrition-based neuropathologist or anything.
maybe there will be space for something better than birthdays.
i barely remember what i say from time to time after time-
i repeat myself when i'm feeling down.
i repeat myself when i'm feeling down.
friends don't keep score.
a former friend who literally treated me right just once
said that immediately after i said thank you for the (frankly) giant surprise
of him catching the tab for a change.
now,
i dunno what the final score was in our friendship,
but i clearly recall that he posted up just that single digit,
so even though i am unsure of any exact tally,
i know his assessment was definitely working in his favor.
ha.
what am i even saying?
i'm saying that my recollection is as selective as my collections.
i don't remember what we ate, just that i was surprised that he paid
(i'm almost positive it was a buffet)
but i know what day somebody i haven't spoken to in years was born.
what's important to one person isn't necessarily actually important to anybody else.
heck, most of what i know isn't even actually important to me.
but it's in there, for better or worse, whether i try to hold onto it or let it go.
maybe these flax seeds are gonna help fix some of that,
or maybe they're just gonna make me poop a lot;
never quiet, never soft.....

TRICERATACOS!

if you know me, then you already know my favorite dinosaur.
and if you really know me, then you know about tacos.
they're in my top five faves.
so, if i have the opportunity to have BOTH?
c'mon, kids.
you gotta doo-doo that sh!t or else your sauce is weak as heck.
i did it, and i'm glad about it.
check it:

TRICERATACOS!
yeah!!!
taco-holdin' dinnersaurus dopeness.
i got that escabeche in effect.
i got that fire-roasted tomato salsa poppin' off.
and i got those limes sliced up for exxxtra juicy-juice.
those are important upgrades.
the soft flour tortillas are toasted, for superior suppleness.
rules is rules, fools-
softies are the way, man.
they stretch for fittin' MORE of everything in 'em.
every one of those things is good.
but what's INside is what's really F*ing expert:

WOOOOOOO!!!!
what's going on in there?
AVOCADO, for starters!
that's what's up.
and cilantro.
and minced onion.
and mixed red and green lettuce.
...and turmeric red lentil quinoa, bro.
yup.
-
*
YELLOWSQUIGGLERMASH!
-
that's 1/4 cup of red lentils;
1/4 cup tricolor quinoa;
1/2 tsp ea. GPOP
1/2 tsp turmeric;
1 T fire-roasted tomato flakes;
1 T dried shallots;
1 1/3 cups water.
all together and brought to a boil in a one-quart pot,
lidded, and simmered for fifteen minutes.
kaPOW!
you will probably love this if you love things that are good.
-
and also spicy black bean stirfry.,
stirfry?
i mean, i guess that's wha it is.
that's how i made it, anyway.
-
*
BLACK BEAN PEPPER THANG!
-
in a medium pan, on high heat, with a little olive oil, sizzle up:
1/2 can rinsed black beans;
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper;
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper;
1 large clove crushed garlic;
2 T chopped cilantro stems;
1/3 cup diced sweet onion;
1/2 tsp cumin;
1/2 tsp ea GPOP;
1 tsp dried oregano;
1/2 tsp dried basil;
1/2 tsp ground coriander seed;
1/4 tsp black pepper;
1/2 lime juice;
pink salt to taste.
sizzle it all until the stuff is still bright, and firm, but not totally raw.
you'll know when.
the onions and the garlic get a baby bit golden, and you'll be good to go.
-
and when you add those quick-mixed pickled carrots and some salsa?
f'real, neighbors-
these are the TRUTH, and they tasted even better for being backpacked into those
tricerataco holders, for sure.
four was excessive, but that's no surprise.
i have a lot of feelings to eat.
am i more nourished for the effort?
literally, i s'pose i am.
*
the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress test kitchen laboratory smelled fantastic.
i also had some soup bubblin' simultaneously,
so there was a whole lotta mexican monday poppin' off,
in anticipation of the week.
feeling full is great,
but feeling fat afterwards is not.
i should probably rein in the consumption of my creations,
and increase the physical activities i undertake.
i had a LOT of those chocolate cookies yesterday, in addition to all that mexican magic.
i know better,
i s'pose i just needed to feel badly.
sometimes, feeling badly helps you feel better.
if you don't believe me, i'm jealous of your naivety.
and also, congratulation on your emotionally well-adjusted reality.
i'll just be over here hip-deep in fresh baked bread,
slogging it through a trench of vegan butter,
getting ready to icily slide down the hillside by my house.
shoutouts to these april (snow)showers;
never quiet, never soft.....

ROUGH

i broke all my brushes.
i'm not making excuses, either.
i really did- all that loose, rough, sloppy paint,
over the course of twenty seven separate skulls,
has taken a toll on their bristlin' little paintcatcher hairs...
that's ok.
the project evolves into whatever it's supposed to.
they're getting even less refined, which i like.
coarse art is what i like, after all.
here's one more:

yup.
monsters and skulls and circles and all the things i always and forever repeat
over and over and over and over.
in between tattoos,
and before i left early to sleep a hundred hours, not in a row,
with my stupid phone turned ON with the volume UP,
i painted a flippin' skull, because i am reassuringly/disappointingly predictable.
i started another 'nother one, too-
that's the way i like it.
...always doing somethin' that does't really matter, probably.
art is cool and all, but we'd probably be fine without it?
i mean, i wouldn't, i guess, since i need it to pay for the water in my shower,
and the high heat tab in the house, and that propane in my oven...
so, i hope you at least think you need it, even though you literally do NOT.
ha.
that's what makes it so good-
it's fancy and unnecessary and therefore you HAVE to have it.
uh-huh.
AMPERSAND TATTOO has all the circles in between all the right angles.
the walls look cooler and cooler and that's a good thing for the two people
who have ever taken a seat on that side of the space.
come be one more of those professional art appreciators.
it's good for you, even if it isn't essential;
never quiet, never soft.....

APRIL 8TH

cold.
wet.
snowy.
icy.
grey.
dismal.
miserable.
yep.

shoutouts to april 8th.
the day before, it was magnificently springtime freshie-fresh-
sunny and warm and bright.....
the weather up here in the woodsly goodness is unpredictable.
one minute, it's calm, light, lively, and lovely....
the next it's a sh!t-hot mess of hard-styles, harsh skies, deep darkness,
and dour, sour, powerlessness.
no wonder i love livin' here.
that's a compatible temperament and temperature combination.
what's happening?
i'm cold.
also,
i took a bath.
yup.
like, in the bathtub in my bathroom.
dudes,
wait for it:
.....with a bathbomb.
hahahaha.
neighbors, i swear to gosh that's true.
i even fired up a few small tealights.
look- i have seen enough internet content suggesting that's the right way to do it.
so i did it like that.
i turned on a space heater for more hottness,
and i soaked in that damned dumb tub for about five minutes.
guys. guys. GUYS.
F* that bath sh!t.
i was instantly cold and wet and not psyched.
for real.
i'm too long and lanky and weird shaped for that floor-level bucket of water.
it was green from the fizzy bomber,
i was also cold from the ambient atmosphere where the rest of my body didn't fit,
and that little heater circulated the air to make it colder anywhere
that wasn't gettin' blown on by that metal mouthbreather.
man,
it just wasn't what i'd hoped.
i'm gonna give it a 3/10, and that 3 is only because the candles were scented.
it'll be another ten years before i dunk in a vat of my own soup.
*
i worked, of course.
people always need tattoos when the weather sucks.
it's a north country tradition, it seems.
so i did my thing over there, too.
that was warmer and more rewarding than the bath, but barely.
crabtree was pretty annoying, too.
why?
because he can sense frustration, and he is NOT helpful in those scenarios.
some people say their dogs snuggle them when they're sad.
not mine, bro.
he turns up the bastardism to eleven and runs around chewing stuff and whining
and generally doing his part to distract me from what's bothering me
by bothering me in all new ways.
so thanks, little terrible terrier.
in your own uncomfortable way, you're trying;
never quiet, never soft.....