Tuesday, April 30

APRIL SHOWERS

rainy? maybe.
cold? usually.
this april was wild as hell.
and now there's this little itty bitty lilli baby out here.
and there's all these other other kids getting SO psyched about everything.
...that's no joke.
these kids are all good.
and there are a LOT of 'em.
ha.
i'll tell you somethin'-
seeing breezy surrounded by her masterpieces?
she looks so good.
i know i have a biased opinion, of course, but for real, though.
it's beauty like i can't even explain.
hmmm? yeah, i have a few strong feelings.
those're the only kind of feelings i'm interested in.
and spanning time with these good little girls and boy?
well,
it makes me nostalgic for those olden days when harvest and maple were teeny.
like i said-
i have ALLL the feelings.
and just look at what's happening here:

that's pure love.
also,
does she look unimpressed?
that's my move, man.
if you're a girl and you think i'm cool, i know you're not to be trusted.
i'm grateful for april,
i'm ecstatic for may,
it's ALL really happening,
and it might be more than my heart can handle;
never quiet, never soft.....

Monday, April 29

MEDITATION

i tattooed a whole bunch yesterday,
and i guess it was nice outside?
it wasn't when i was out there, but my clients told me it got better and better
while i was zippin' and zappin' at AMPERSAND TATTOO.
that's great.
i mean, it was cold when i went home, and it's cold right now-
but maybe there's warmth out there in the world around me just
waiting for me to be absent so it can show up and shine down and brighten up.
could be.
i'll take my high points where i can get 'em-
ma nature doesn't have to show me any favor-
i know better than to dispute or refute that fact.
nature wins.
that's just how it goes.
therefore, if nature wants me to miss out on the sun and the sky?
i'll make my own good times.
after all,
there's a lot to be happy about:
mama and baby are happy and healthy.
my older daughters are wrapping up their respective school terms.
heck, maple is gonna graduate in a few weeks.
that's a big deal.
and also, i have the will and the way to do the one thing that always helps.
yup.
you know it, you love it, you want it: 
pizza!
white pizza, no sauce, no problem, no worries.
my dough game is proper expert.
the toppings are absolutely on point.
and in between the crust and the stuff?
i have fire-roasted tomato sprankles,
dried shallot chips,
AND a dustin' of nootch.
yeah!
why? for flavor, neighbors.
c'mon.
my daiya is minced, 
because rule is rules and the dicey-dice is THE way to go, bro.
i have sliced two-tone tomatoes to sweeten the deal,
and caramelized onions,because i love 'em.
plus raw red onions for that ZAP! man.
dudes,
that blanched broccoli rabe is the TRUTH!
boiled for two minutes to the second, it was pure perfection.
rabe on pizza.
s'dope.
plus tempeh bacon.
that's that thiiiiiiin sliced homemade hottness for your face.
tamari, and agave, and liquid smoke, black pepper, smoked paprika, 
GPOP, and garlic oil all bubbled up with a splash of water
until it caramelized.
damn that's good stuff.
....and grated miyoko mozz' to take it to eleven.
double chee'?
obvi.
too much is the right amount.
one whole huge sexxxy pizza for me.
that's a single serving of awesome.
***********
i'm throwing heaps of stuff away.
i dunno where these heaps even came from,
but i've got bags on bags stuffed with stuff,
and they've gotta GO.
it's time to release the strangle hold on all the suffocating space invasion
i've allowed to accrue over the last decade.
ten years of living in the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress,
and all i've got are plants that only thrive on the side facing the sun,
and boxes of bullsh!t that nobody uses,
and an acre of craft supplies i don't ever make time to enjoy.
maybe i'm doing it wrong?
i'm not sure, but i bet i'll know better once all these things are out of here;
never quiet, never soft.....

Sunday, April 28

CRÊPES

i'll make whatever the heck i want to, man.
and if that means making better use of my oven,
and roasting potatoes while i bake bread?
so be it, bro.
and if i wanna make thin pancakes?
i'll do that too.
and if i think that breakfast would be better in a morning-glorious taco-type set-up?
you'd best believe i'm going to have to make some magic happen.
i don't know what i should be doing most of the time.
that's real.
i've got forward progress on my mind,
but that mostly involves lots of money.
so, without stacks on stacks on stacks, i try to occupy the anxious moments
with doing something somewhat fulfilling, and literally filling,
even though we all know i could be vacuuming or something instead.
that just doesn't taste very good, so i usually skip it.
i made crêpes.
i made tofu scrambo.
i made myself stuffed up in the center to match how stuffed up i am in the skull cavity.
check it:

BREAKFAST TACOS!!
shredded spinach.
ribboned raddicchio.
raw red onion wedge slivers.
blackened baby grape tomatoes.
AVO-F*ING-CADO!
scallion sprankles.
with roasty toasty smoked-paprika activated redskin-on homeboy potato wedges,
and tofu majesty,
all on those supple succulent slaps of better battery flaps.
mmmmmmm.
what's in the batter?
1/2 cup flour;
2 T garbanzo bean flour;
1 T wheat bran;
1 T ground flax/chia blend;
1/4 tsp salt;
1 cup s'milk;
3 T warm water.
that's it.
runny, wet, slippey sauce, spread in circles on a superturbohotttt pan.
on the ones- the top gets dry, you flip it over for fifteen seconds, and you're in business.
also, for the record, if you have ever read this blog before,
you'll know that the potato and tofu recipes show up three times a month.
just look. you'll find them if you really want to.
if not, then just look closely at how expert this was:

WORD.
a good breakfast is key to managing a big day.
and i had a very complicated, very intricate, very detailed tattoo to do.
so it's lucky i munched up these jauns beforehand, for certain.
did i take a picture?
of course not.
hmmm?
no, not because it was derivative of existing imagery.
i do a lot of that, so i can't never capture the evidence.
i just had baby/linework/timelapse/coffee/rainstorm brain,
and spaced it.
i focused ON the tattoo,
but my whole mind was used up immediately after.
i'm sure i'll see it again sometime, and i'll get some snaps then.
until then,
these truncated records of what's been going on are all i've got to offer.
it's more obligation to keep up with this thing
than any true excitement about eating and explaining that has me typing this morning.
the truth is that my thoughts are an hour and half away,
and they're focused with pinpoint intensity on life, and love, and little ladies;
never quiet, never soft.....

AMORA

my heart is bursting:

AAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!! AWWWWWWWWWW !!!!
i mean, c'mon neighbors-
we've all seen cute babies before,
but have y'all ever seen one who was as precious as HER?
what a perfect pair of synergistic snuggglers lilli and breezy are.
i'm sayin'-
moms are pretty rad, and they do more than they might normally get credit for-
but after all our wild-ridin' rough and tumblin' times leading up to this moment,
mama pajama is in her utmost epic element with this baby.
she isn't just a mom,
she's a comprehensively concentrated conscientious communicative creator
of home and heart and unified family and financial management to the max.
but holy smokes,
as a multi-mega-mom she's suuuuuuch a F*ing good one.
and that baby is pretty awesome, as well.
turns out, mama bear has a system for making good babies.
nurture over nature, for now, at least.
and it works...
rules is rules, and you know i'm with that.
i apologize if you're just here to read about cakes and stuff.
somehow i doubt that's the case-
these people are way more interesting and important by far.
what?
no.
my eyes are just a little wet.
it's fine;
never quiet, never soft.....

PRE'Z

friday was national pretzel day.
yeah, that's a thing.
and i was ready for it:

i mean, those're good lookin'.
and pretty pretzel piles are kind of expert at any given moment
let alone on their own special day
dudes,
pretzels quickly became one of my favorite things to make.
and while they all pretty much come out the same way from the pretzel process,
i was especially excited about these because there were even MORE than usual.
yup.
i dunno how it works- all these same-sized swizzly-twists
multiplying their numbers with each batch,
but i'm glad for it, since i wanna eat one hundred percent of these carbs.
and those sea salt sprankles?
man.
c'mon.
that's how you do it right.
i think i'm onto something here with these wheat and oat bran bad bois.
-
i toasted up some dill and caraway seeds, and i minced up some green onion, too.
yep.
and i activated them with vegan butter and vegan creamchee' for dippin'.
seeds and leaves and fatty boombattie spreads?
y'gotta.
anything else is just plain lazy,
and that's not cool at all.
the recipe for pretzels is HERE.
easy easy.
it's not fast....nope.
it's also kind of messy- but it ain't hard, at least.
that's positive.
***********
and speaking of positive-
keeping these eyes lookin' forward is a priority.
i've got heaps of bill-payin' tattoos lined up for the next few weeks.
yeah.
april had a few super-high points,
culminating in that daughterly zenith last tuesday...
but in practical terms, it kicked my A* off my body.
ooooof.
it was a had one, and it evaporated months of work in moments.
the schedule was wild, waiting for lilli, who took her sweeeeeeet time, i might add.
and the day-to-day-to-month-to-seasonal expenses
all sort of showed up at once- a full quarter's dues payable all at the same time,
and the short-time supply chain short-circuited, too.
too much is supposed to be the right amount.
but, not when it's debited instead of credited, man.
ugh.
so, i've got to work way more at AMPERSAND TATTOO
to attempt to recoup some of those large losses;
and at home, i've got SOOOO much work to do to make sure that this
Folk Life & Liberty Fortress isn't such a hard-style haunted house;
and above all that, i've got to be a real person; a calm person; a regularish person,
for all the girls and one little boy who all give a sh!t about me
and need me to do the same for them.
so, it's eyes forward to the future, and even though i can't barely keep 'em open.
(btw, constant thinking about everything all at once is tiring af)
i need to do something.
and something has to be done;
never quiet, never soft.....

Saturday, April 27

PEETZ

before the baby was born, i indulged in a homemade pizza.
i had to.
it calms me down, and sets me up for success.
does that sound dumb?
maybe.
it's still true, though.
it was a sourdough crust, and that was F*ing expert.
y'wanna see it?
check it:

PEE EYE ZEE ZEE AYY!
and unbaked, it looked every bit as good:

right?
that's two cups of flour in the stand mixer;
two teaspoons of sea salt;
1 tsp bread flour yeast;
1/4 cup white mountain sourdough starter;
1 cup warm af water;
dough-hooked for a looong time, like 15 minutes,
until it was shiny, solid, slippery, and soft.
i gave it an hour out in the world before i refrigerated it for the rest of the day-
like, 10 hours i think.
i had my oven preheated to 485 fahrenheit degrees, eventually-
with my trusty olive-oiled seasoned steel tray ready to rock.
stretched and risen and covered with cooked marinara.
yeah.
cooked.
y'feel me?
the sauce was cooked.....
like, crushed tomatoes, with oregano, basil, rosemary, thyme, sage, parsley,
nootch, GPOP, a pinch of sugar, pink salt, black pepper, and crushed red pepper.
y'know?
just bubbled around for a while, i dunno how long, until it feels right.
-
i had caramelized onions.
and raw red onion slivers.
and orange and red sliced sweet grape tomatoes.
and semi-steamed broccoli.
and minced daiya.
and grated miyoko mozz.
and fried garlic sprankles.
and homemade tempeh sausage crOmbles.
yeah.
those are goooooooooooood.
half a block of tempeh, cubed up,
with a tablespoon of onion, and a clove of crushed garlic
with fennel and thyme and sage and smoked hot paprika and liquid smoke
and GPOP and black pepper and tamari and rosemary and agave,
plus 3/4 cup of water, to absorb into it, and get it poppin' over high heat.
look, man.
i made a pizza.
i make a ton of 'em.
it thought it'd help me get ready to see that baby show up.
but THAT blew my mind.
pizza is my favorite thing to eat,
but it doesn't do SH!T to prepare you for witnessing a woman do the thing.
holy crap.
and meanwhile, i'm trying to get excited about a pizza from almost a week ago.
*
there's somethin' happening.
i mean, i've got a BIG tattoo to do,
and my mind is elsewhere, and will likely remain that way,
right up until i get to work.
that's just what's going on.
i'll play it cool, because i gotta,
but i'm anything but.
i might need more pizza than the pan can handle to prep myself for the week.
ha.
unlikely;
never quiet, never soft.....

LILLI

i dunno, man.
i make a lot of pretty great food.
...and that's cool as hell, if you're the sort who really, truly likes great food.
however,
i made a baby with a willing collaborator who happens to always make great babies,
and she cooked up something so much better.
someone so much better.
yeah.
look at this baby:

i have heart-eyes for miles about her.
her ma knows all the secrets to good-babying.
and as a result little lilli is pretty dang good.
who knows how much of me is lurking in that baby girl?
i'm not worried, realy.
whatever latent albieism is creepin' in that DNA, breezy will fix it.
she has those right instincts and real education about babies.
*
i've got SO many feelings.
i want my big kids to see their sister.
i want my correct-steppin' stepkids to meet them, too.
i want everybody to feel something good together.
i knew this was gonna happen.
uh-huh.
deep down in the war-forged cast-iron cage of my heart?
i'm sensitive.
ha.
that's a thing.
the mash-up remix mix-up of overlapping blood, love, and rhetoric is a LOT.
and i feel like a jerk about it:
i didn't just powerfully push out a baby.
i didn't instantly become the sole food source of a soul-sister.
i'm not the warden of a warren of wild single-digit daughters and son.
so who the eff am i to have any feels about ANYthing?
i can't sleep? shuuut up.
i coughed all night for two days straight, choking half to death? shuuut uuuuuuup.
and for all the great big giant happy i have,
i'm also kind of sad??? ha. F* offffffffff.
so, what do i do about it?
i'm just gonna work harder and harder and harder,
and bury those feels deep into my interior vaults.
this was it. a hint in print.
*
i have love exploding out of my eyes.
it's really watery.
and dripping.
and salty.
i guess that's just what that looks like;
never quiet, never soft.....

Thursday, April 25

SHE'S HERE!!!!

she's here.
the most eagerly-anticipated collaboration of the year.
our beautiful bouncing bundle of baby joy:

ok, ok, maybe not bouncing yet, but twice as beautiful, for sure.
allow me to introduce little miss Lilli Amora Hilton.
born april 23rd, 2019, at 7:02 pm
weighing in at 7lbs 9.2 oz.
measuring 21"
she's alert.
she's eating, a LOT.
all of her parts are there, and all of them work,
and she's just the snuggliest lil bitty biscuit, to boot.
she does all the things that babies do-
which is to say: not a whole lot.
however,
her mom is a F*ing miracle, and that's no joke.
holy sh!t.
breezy was about as impressive and as strong and as powerful as a superhero.
f'real.
no pain meds.
no compromises.
no surrender.
she handled her business like an absolute badass bosslady,
and it was all i could do to bear witness without crying my whole eyes out.
....which, if the true story is being told, i SO cried them right off my face.
also,
she LAUNCHED this little girl out in one and a half pushes.
no joke.
from transition to squalling squealing stormy baby cries was almost instantaneous.
like, the doctors were barely ready.
like,
one yell, one squeeze, one baby, just like that.
...and if there's one thing i respect, it's efficiency.
what a woman.
i know i'm biased, but she really is tough as nails,
and she looked GOOD the whole time.
-
this little brown haired bambino bears a striking resemblance to both her biggest sisters.
that's harvest and embry, for those who know how that works.
it's wild to see a kid who looks SO much like her siblings.
and anyway, all breezy's babes are the most-related lookin' group you ever did see.
it's practically a cookie-cuttin' diecast mold in the there, fro cryin' out loud.
i cut the cord, i held her and swaddled her,
i whispered the first true stories in her ear she'll ever hear.
my heart is bursting.
my eyes are verrrry wet.
my feelings are getting felt,
and it's ALL really happening.
family.
family.
family.
family.
overlaps and interlocking intersections of spirit and memory are all converging around
this wonderful woman and child.
lilli amora.
pure love.
and that's the truth;
never quiet, never soft.....

Monday, April 22

LINEWORK

also,
i sometimes still do tattoos.
like, nearly every day-
as often and as numerous as i can fit into the hours of operation.
this one was one HECK of a good start:

sooooooo many lines,
drawn on with my marky-markers first,
then activated with ink and blood and joy and pain,
for a LOT of hours.
that's what it takes to do what needs doing.
time.
and that's the thing in shortest supply.
of course.
if it was all easy, languid, and laid back?
then nobody would give a single solitary sh!t about any of it.
instead, i'm under the gun,
and on the clock,
and ready to make the most of all the minutes.
AMPERSAND TATTOO is gonna have to alter it's schedule,
as there's a baybay on the wayway...
but that's okay-kay,
because today is not quite the day-
but tomorrow is.
*
i can't wait to share this moment with the most magnetically-charged
lightning-striking love-deluxxxe dame of dopeness,
with whom i've helped made this miniature human.
breezy has some kind of something wonderous and werewolfen and womanly
in all the ways that activate parts of my body that i didn't know would ever
care about people at all.
ha.
and also the obvious ones, too, bro.
take it easy.
so,
we're sharing something amazing, and getting prepared for the future that's unfolding
along the paths that the secret universal plan has in store for us.
i'm feeling excited and i'm feeling love and i'm feeling all the feels,
and i'll be at work today waiting to channel that into SOMEthin' useful,
until tomorrow arrives, and my focus shifts 100% to accompanying mama
in whatever ways she decides are most useful.
it's ALL really happening, and that's a really F*ing big deal;
never quiet, never soft.....

EASTER BUNNIES!

holy sh!t.
that's a lotta kids:

sooooooooooo many little bunny babies.
and it's about to be plus two next year
with the verrrrry-impending addition of a couple MORE little girls.
yep.
too much is the right amount.
i had a beautiful afternoon.
also, plot twist:
i made two bags of gluten-free panniecake mix,
for makin' into a brunchy munch-up in the late mornin',
and i fibbed about one being wheat and one being not wheat.
guess what?
at least one person totally thought they could tell the difference.
ha!
i know, i know....
i'm a tricky loki-kokopellicoyote, right?
no.
stop.
i'm not that.
but we all ate vegan gluten-free pancakes from scratch,
and that was an easter miracle for certain.
also,
i didn't tell 'em, and they aren't blog-readers,
so i'm pretty sure it's safe to say that my secret is safe, neighbors.
*
and in twenty four hours?
the big enticing inducement is scheduled to start.
the journey to babyville is in the home stretch.
that's somethin', huh?
the biggest kid is prepping for finals.
the next largest is coming home from a european tour today.
the littles are getting into their fresh april vacation with a midweek sister arrival,
and don't they look SO kyoot in their easter-fresh gear?
i never thought in a billion centuries that i could have such a widely diverse spectrum
of people who are all vital and important to me.
maybe that means that 43 years is how long it takes to incubate a real big heart,
with real big feelings?
beats me, like my heart beats me,
like my feelings beat me up and i beat feet to the corners
of new hampshire and new england for all these special ladies,
and this one special young man.
my heart is bursting, but not under attack,
it's just a chrizzmizz grinchy alteration in size.
bigger and better,
and twenty four hours away from meeting the next contestant on
'give albie allllll the feels'.
ha.
it's time, and that's a fact.
ready, set, GO;
never quiet, never soft.....

WHY YES,

i'd LOVE some pie.
when mama says she'd like an apple pie?
mama gon' get an apple pie.
i mean,
honestly, the small number of requests i get for treats is so manageable
that i'd be a real jerk if i declined.
and i mean, c'mon.
what do you think i am?
an A*-hole
don't be dumb.
easter east star apple pie is where my head is at,
and even if cinnamon doesn't scream spring,
it screams delicious, and that's no joke.
check the teleport:

WORD.
no resurrection necessary, neighbors.
you can just have pie without the prayers.
no prob.
gluten-free crust ain't easy, but i'm not some simple chump using bummery box mix.
nope.
i'm an innovator, or at least a creator, of delicious unscripted wheatless hottness.
that's what i DO, dudes.
y'wanna know how to make one?
ok.
-
*
EASTER APPLE PIE!
-
*
first, you gotta make that dough:
in your food processor, combine;
10 T vegan butter;
2 T vegan creamchee';
1/4 tsp salt;
2 tsp vanilla;
3 T powdered sugar;
1 T sugar;
1 cup bob's all-purpose gf flour;
1/2 cup bob's 1:1 gf flour;
1 cup mama's gf almond flour blend;
3 T/ 4 T non-dairy-milk- depending on how crOmbly it is...
pulse it all up.
you're gonna want it sticky, but not wet.
wrap it up, refrigerate it, and give it at least an hour to set up.
i gave mine half a day.
it doesn't hurt, especially with glutenlessness.
that absorbs a lotta moisture and gets better with time.
-
*
and you'll need to get the apples all nicey-nice, too-
four macintosh, and three granny smiths, peeled, cored,
and simmered with 3 T powdered sugar;
1/4 cup brown sugar;
1/4 tsp salt;
1 tsp vanilla;
1/4 cup real maple syrup;
1 T organic gf non-GMO cornstarch;
3 T quick gf oats.
cook 'em low and slow until they're soft, and let that syrupy mixture cool.
*
while it cools, preheat your oven to 420℉.
-
roll out your cool dough with some of that gf flour,
and press it up all the sides.
reserve 1/3 for makin' shapes and stuff.
then overlap and stack them, to hold in all the moisture while it bakes.
is that it?
nope.
raw sugar sprankles, bro.
duh.
too much is the right amount.
without a lil baby bit of that crystal mystery, you're not having easter miracles, man.
you're just having pie.
and we can do better than that.
***********
i like making eastery baskets.
i like making celebration treats.
i like making time for all the people who also like experiencing those things.
i sent out six baskets.
one for harvest,
one for maple,
one for embry,
one for cohen,
one for cali,
and one combo for breezy and baby.
mmhmmm.
rules is rules, and if the bunny doesn't bring you a basket?
i think it means nobody likes you.
i didn't get myself one, although i had to help myself to some candy beans.
i did get crabtree some special cookies, and an exxxtra carrot.
i think that counts.
-
BTW, that pie was expert af.
i'm a pie guy.
not as much as i'm all about cookies, but easily as much as cake.
ok.
that's not entirely true.
i loooove apple pie, and i'll tolerate some fruit pies,
if there's chocolate or maybe some fancy nuts in there,
and i think of linzertorte as pie, so i guess i don't actually know
what the eff i'm even talking about at all.
but i DO know that that glutenless crust was off the charts.
crisp and tasty and F*ing awesome.
that's what's up.
holidays with the family.
with a family,
with MY family.
a part of the whole,
and part of a great big complicated intricate portrait of real life.
i'm grateful for the time and the pie that we enjoyed;
never quiet, never soft.....

ERF DAY!

shoutouts to the planet we keep effing up!
i'm a big fan of this great big wet sphere full of habitable elements.
and by the way,
all this radical expert vegan  magic?
it's good for the planet.
so, really, being a plant-based barbarian of brutal truths and uglier lies
makes it so every day is earth day.
yep.
it's not just hippies and environmentalists who care about the earth.
oh, and again- if you're not vegan, but you think you're an environmentalist?
nooooooooope. you're not. you're just a person with a recycling bin.
ha.
ok.
but anyway,
in addition to being psyched about earth, i am also psyched about cookies, too.
yeah.
that's real.
check these out:

YEAH!
cookies aren't the biggest most elaborate and most beautiful bunch on the block,
but they're among the best every time-
these?
they're white and dark chocolate chip oatmeal hot fire,
and they're absolutely essential to overindulge in.
for real-
too much is the right amount.
i made chocolate-covered gluten-free chocolate chip jauns,too,
but there's no pictures to prove it- so y'all can believe me or not as you choose-
but i can give you the recipe for those spring sprankle babies up there right now.
-
*
DOUBLEBLOXXX!
-
preheat your oven to 375
-
in a medium metal mixin' bowl, for maxxximimum aesthetic, cream together:
1 stick vegan butter;
2 tsp vanilla;
1/2 tsp sea salt;
1 cup sugar;
1/4 cup brown sugar.
stir in:
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce;
2 T agave.
next add:
2 cups flour;
1/4 cup oat flour;
1/4 cup ground unsweetened coconut;
1 cup whole oats;
1/2 pkg vegan white chocolate chips;
1/2 pkg mini dark chocolate chips.
-
word.
stir it, smoosh it, and make four dozen golfy balls arranged on a couple of baking trays,
and put 'em in the oven for 12 minutes.
you could leave 'em like that, and let 'em cool, then eat 'em up...
OR
you could ice the tops and take them to eleven with all that exxxtra candy topping.
you can see what i chose.
1/2 cup powdered sugar, plus 2 T non dairy milk a drop of vanilla,
and the spranx of your choice.
that's how you make Folk Life & Liberty treats, neighbors.
and that's the right way, really, to activate that next-level taste.
-
i'm a cookie guy.
of all the treats out there, simple circles of super-elite excellence are my favorite.
i prefer them to most other forms of single-service sweetness.
i make a lot, i eat a lot, and i do both often.
i think it's a good plan, honestly.
***********
if everything is aligned, and circumstance is cooperating,
tomorrow is the beginning of baby time.
yup.
finally, this little girl is gonna be enticed to emerge.
or induced to accept eviction.
something like that.
breezy is pretty frickin' tough, and a natural at momming,
and while i'm sure she'll be fine,
i'm only really concerned that she might not like me after squeezin' out a little
baby rock.
or boulder.
or pebble.
i think we'd both be okay with a little bitty bitty baby coming down the line.
no matter what, i'm impressed by and determined to be supportive of,
this fire-kissed ragnarokin' redhead as the events unfold along the prescribed path
that spirit and memory have assigned.
fast, furious, passionate, rationally self-interested superheroics
are scheduled to start tomorrow.
it's ALL really really happening,
and that's what it's all been leading up to;
never quiet, never soft.....

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.....