Saturday, May 10, 2008

Tending goal, don'tcha know, eh

No, that's not Ed Belfour; but, that is a one-of-a-kind Waco Wizards goalie mask that I borrowed. Watch yours truly make an enormous ass of himself in the latest edition of "The Adventures of Kandace and Aly"

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Good game, eh


The Stars played mighty clutch last night. I didn't stay awake for the third period like I said I would, subsequently missing the chance to hoot and holler with some liquored Lewisvillians (Lewisvillites or, sinisterly, Lewisvillains) at a pub. Stars' win, my loss. Brendan Morrow, you officially are a great captain, sir. My apologies for hanging on to the "you're-no-D-Hatcher" line of thinking.

In vaguely related hockey news, I gotta stop listening to old-ass music. Is it just me, or does anyone else have the following song runnin' through his or her head when they're watching hockey, bull riding or bass fishing on the worldwide leader of fringe sports, Versus?

I adore the early '90s video production sensibilities: This video is made entirely of clips from live footie and "Jeremy" snippets that were used in videos from "Ten."

Monday, April 21, 2008

Roberto, il bastardo pigro

This here is what we in the biz call getting more outta your bloggin' buck.

Lazy? You bet. But check it: I cooked up a big ol' meal, ate it and did the dishes. The way I see it, I had some well-earned slackin' headed my way.

Sure, you could argue I didn't grow the veggies or make the 'guine from scratch. Thanks for pointing that out. Really. Thanks.

No, I just bought the vittles at the Old Town Lewisville Farmers Market and Sprouts. Shoot me for being resourceful, Holmes. And now, shameless self-promotion of the ol' career blog! Right about ... wait. for. it. wait. for. it. wait ... NOW!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Words x 1,000 =

Damn! I love being back in Dallas. The spring view in front of the DMN.

Monday, April 7, 2008

The return

It's been too long, y'all. But I'm back and a whole helluva lot has happened. Too much, in fact.

Suffice it to say this transition hasn't been seamless and smoove like a well-poured C-ment pond. Nope. It's been about as warped as the Clown Ramp at Bachman Lake Skate Park (waaay back, back, back in the day).

No details about the drama. Sorry. I'm over it. Movin' on. However, I will tell you this: One suspicious, eco-friendly shopper carrying and filling a black canvas bag at Albertson's merits the dispatch of no fewer than three Lewisville squad cars. No produce, publishing employees or police officers were harmed. Just some cold embarrassment for all.

What else? Well, that's gotta wait. You can catch up on some schtuff at my profile on neighborsgo. You'll find a few posts from your truly. And truly, you should create your own profile ... if you love me.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Sound of silence

Awfully quiet around here, ain't it?

My apologies for neglecting the blog. Ending my time in Waco and preparing for the move to Lewisville has afforded me scant time for much else.

I'll be disconnected for a few days. Once I'm settled, better rested and perhaps less frazzled, I will fill ya in on everything.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Much more than a TV theme song


Y'know, the guy from "Step By Step": I got 20 bucks that says half of y'all pause the clip when a shirtless Bobby Ewing (Patrick Duffy) appears.

This intro holds a special place in my heart. As a young un', I used to dance to the intro of "Dallas" with my Mom. I never actually watched the show back then because it aired past bedtime. I just danced to it — a perfect way to wind down before slumber! It was among the highlights of each week. It's cool getting reacquainted with the song 20-plus years later because I never noticed the funk elements to this version of the theme song (they tweaked it each season; the later versions are rubbish).

Anyway, speaking of getting reacquainted, I'm returning to DFW. I accepted a position with The Dallas Morning News on Monday. I will be the assistant managing editor of the West Zone publications and editor of the Southern Denton County edition of neighborsgo. I am very excited and will keep y'all posted as I move, er, I mean dance to Dallas.

Monday, March 17, 2008

A few things on my mind & plate

Today’s a rocker. A quality state of mind and good weather (for now) can make Monday worthwhile sometimes.

I Finally Made It — I got around to making the V’con’s Coconut Lemon Bundt Cake (the tin rocks — thanks, Mom). These pics show it cooling before a powdered sugar blizzard. This cake is for coworkers, but the next one will make a suitable (barely) breakfast for me.


Potato, Black Bean, Salsa and Cheese Taco — I don’t think I’ll ever go vegan. I just love cheese too much. This mix filled several corn tortillas this weekend. It’s my tribute to absurd “Tex-Mex” joints in the Midwest that pack tacos and burritos with potatoes. You know who you are.


Variation of a Favorite — With the end of soup/stew/chili season fast approaching, I made a different version of that righteous Black Bean Sweet Potato Chili I made in January. This time around I subbed sweet potato with plain-ol' potato. I also decreased the amount of cocoa, chopped more cilantro and added chipotles in adobo sauce, which I omitted from my sweet potato pot. Wow and damn! This bowl kicked my ass with its flavors and no-foolin-around heat. It would kill lesser men — y’know, modest teetotalers who wax their backs. Who needs conventional depilatory creams when you’ve got a bowl of chili that can singe unsightly hair?

Friday, March 14, 2008

Hey, revolver

There were a couple of remarkable moments yesterday that reminded me of, well, me. They mostly revolved around music and the stuff I dug in the formative listening years (roughly 10 to 16).

Sure, my tastes have evolved, but yesterday I was happy I spent some quality time "back in the day" with vinyl, cassette and CDs that came packaged in long cardboard boxes (what a waste of resources) ... in no particular order: The Clash, The Pumpkins, "The Moz". It's the stuff that got me here.


When I was 13, I wanted nothing more than to sound and look exactly like Chris Cornell. Was that too much to ask for?

I'm listening to Soundgarden right now ("Badmotorfinger," as I said I would last night), and lovin' it all over again. It's not really a classic, but it was/is important. Some things (music, jeans, Chucks) suit me anytime of day, everyday, no mater how old or uncool they are. They're enjoyable. I can't worry if something is popular or "right." I'll find faults if I look hard enough. I will trust my instincts and enjoy and move with life's curves.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Truer words have never been sung



Apparently, returning to Texas has awakened a long dormant appreciation for country, rootsy rock, folk and bluegrass — preferably the kind without field and stream mammals on jug, washboard or wash-tub bass. Still, don't expect to see me at Willie's upcoming Waco stop. I'm not that guy and I never will be. No, sir, right now I'm just playing a lot of Lucinda Williams, Drive-By Truckers and spinning this debut disc by the SteelDrivers, a promising Nashville group chockful of industry veterans with satchel of experience and accolades who just make good music. Props to my Pops for hipping me to 'em. I couldn't find a pro quality video to "share," but you can see more of them here and over here, too

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Crumby cake, crumbling city(?)

I was surprised yesterday when I :

1. Discovered a can of pureed pumpkin in the back-crack corner of the pantry.

2. Found this Pumpkin Crumb Cake Pecan Streusel in the V'con. (I've flipped through that book a ton, but I never saw it before).

It was an awesome dessert that filled my kitchen with the spices of late fall.

Yesterday also was a really good day for repairs. The TG crew finally fixed my sink (I didn't have a functioning hot water faucet for about a month). After several attempts (mine and the repairmen) they accepted failure and ponied up some coin for a new faucet (I'm easily excited — spray attachment!).

Speaking of TG, neighbor and Tribster J.B. has a blog dedicated to Downtown Waco living. Check it out.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Boobs from Bob

I made this chocolate with vanilla frosting "cake" for my friend Megan's friend. I employed an Easter egg tin to create the shape.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Wranglers: Real. Uncomfortable. Snakes.

This is The Snake Man, Jackie Bibby. That snake! That smile! That hat!?!

I checked out the Rattlesnake Roundup last Saturday at the Community Center in Oglesby. Two bucks worth o' entertainment captured digitally follows. I must admit that I debated whether to attend this oddity. I feared they would slaughter and supper-ize the snakes (unfounded, however there were plenty of snakeskin goods available). I'm glad I went. I used to see Western diamondbacks daily at San Angelo State Park, so it was nice to reconnect with them. And as far as I could tell, the wrangling show didn't harm the snakes. And I was exposed to a piece of Coryell County culture. A piece that I most assuredly will never experience again.

His record is 8 snakes. He's shared a sleeping bag with 109 and a bath tub with 81. Guinness recognizes his feats, and so should you.


Snakeskin — Not just for boots and belts, but for touchin', too.

He's lying in a cage with about 30 or so rattlers. Oh yeah, and one's on his effin' face.


An albino cobra. Yep.


Sunday, February 24, 2008

The future's so bright

Word of the day kiddoes: Obsolescence.
It’s an exciting time to be alive when:

1) Your industry — journalism, papers specifically — is gasping for air, grasping at straws, etc.

2) Your society’s way of life is doomed. Cars: oil; planes: oil; food: oil, chemicals, unfair labor and trade; electricity: coal ...

3) I’m angry, outraged and determined at times (right now, for instance). In an hour, I’ll probably be content, driving 5 miles to get a cup of coffee. This is a problem.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Kerbey can't hang

I know when I've got something good. Whether it's friends, clothes that fit well or a sweet stack of pancakes, there's stuff in life that's real simple to appreciate. So I'm throwing modesty out the door today. These are the greatest pancakes. Sorry, Kerbey.

I might be willing to make 'em 24 hours a day. You just need to tip generously.

GINGERBREAD PANCAKES
Just mix the wet, then the dry and combine. Cook on oiled skillet. Flip when edges brown and bubbles decrease. The following recipe yields about 4-6 cakes depending on how large you wanna go. I doubled it and made 10 massive cakes.

1-1/3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1TBSP Flax, 2 TBSP water
1-1/4 cups soymilk
1/4 cup molasses
1 tablespoons vegetable oil

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The white stuff

You can just smell the cinnamon, can't ya?

I can't remember where I got this recipe for Cinnamon Raisin Waffles, but it's a winner. Normally I use whole wheat or whole wheat pastry flour, which yields darker, more filling waffles. But I opted for all-purpose flour as recommended and did not have any regrets. Very light and very good.

CINNAMON RAISIN WAFFLES

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg (subbed out with ground flaxseed slurry, 1 Tablespoon flax seeds plus 3 Tablespoons water )
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup raisins
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
vegetable oil for brushing the waffle iron
maple syrup as an accompaniment

Preparation
In a small bowl whisk together the flour, the sugar, the baking powder, and the salt. In a bowl whisk together the egg (or flax slurry), 2 tablespoons of the butter, 1/2 cup water, the raisins, and the cinnamon, add the flour mixture, and stir the batter until it is just combined. Heat a waffle iron until it is hot, brush it with the oil, and pour half the batter onto it. Cook the waffle according to the manufacturer's instructions, transfer it to a baking sheet, and keep it warm, uncovered, in a warm oven. Make another waffle with the remaining batter in the same manner. Serve the waffles with the syrup.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Water and wheels

Peruvian Stew: Dig that quinoa and all of those carrots!

I am about three weeks away from getting back into serious cycling and becoming sick of soup. I can feel both quickly rolling near. So, while it’s still brisk, I’ll stick to my current routine — running, lifting, Moosewood stews, chilis and soups — before I go back to my old routine — dirt and road rides and lots of grains, pastas and breads.


Spanish Potato Onion Soup: A variation — fewer spuds and onions (recipe said 4!) and the addition of celery.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Real Slim Shady

Robert, Bobby T, Bob, R. Eugene Wellington, Pancake, The Nefarious B.L.O. ... I’ve been called a lot of names. But today a new one emerged:

E M I N E M

I guess it’s my fault for wearing a bandana when I worked out at the rec center today. My thanks goes out to the girls basketball team for callin’ it like they saw it.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Can I pass me some more salt?

Word on the street is that today's a really big day. I'll say. Boy, and how! I'm defrostin' a bucket of Moosewood's Peruvian Stew. Table for one. Aw, hell. That sounds pathetic. ... Pffffff.

I haven't taken any pics of the S. American stew yet, but I do have an old shot of some gnarly green Sweet Pea Soup. ...


... And some Oatmeal Raisin Cookies I brought to work last week.

What else? Changes, new theories and stimulating thoughts! All yours at a later date. Gotta jet. My table is ready.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

No holes in my 'doughnuts'

Mmmmmm ... Jelly Doughnut Cupcakes. ... The way the jam "sinks" is genius — no need for "Twinkie" holes. Another great idea from the “V’con.”


The cake portion is very moist and any type of filling can work. Strawberry jam is one of my favorite spreads for toast, but I don’t think it's the best choice for these cupcakes. Next time I’ll opt for lemon or grape preserves for this dessert. A lemony jam or cream would make a more authentic “Dunkin’-style” cupcake. And y’know Boston Creme Cupcakes would be insanely good. Maybe I’ll take those to the folks at WPD.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Modifications

There’s nothing better than reviving an old fave by making it veggie. Some recent experiments:

Taco soup: TVP (texturized vegetable protein — sounds yummy, yes?) provides some power-packed chunks instead of ground meat or chicken breast. I dig the blue corn chips because they hold up better in the "soup."

Black Beans and Rice: This was good, but it lacked the carne seca flavor.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Pick yer poison


Death by caffeine: Are you an energy fiend?

I like coffee. A lot. Still, I cut myself off at 90.58 cups.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

An imperfect perfect plate

As much as I like waffles (L’Eggo My Eggo tattoo on my stomach — Garamond CAPS, sucka), there’s nothing more satisfying than pancakes.

An incredibly wise man informed the masses earlier this week of a high holy day for fans of the P-Cake (you’re welcome, Mike D).

Sure waffles are great, but there’s nothing to making ’em. Waffle iron is to skillet as tricycle is to Triumph Scrambler. It’s fairly difficult to screw up waffles. Pancake makin’, however, is a different story. There’s nothing more humbling than burnin’ a misshapen, imperfect pancake. It’s glorious, yet, no less delicious.

I had a satisfying pancake dinner Tuesday and breakfast rocked this morning. The V’con’s Cornmeal Blueberry Pancakes recipe is easy enough to augment for chocolate-chocolate chip, gingerbread, banana, etc. A new staple is born.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Mardi Gras tastes terrible

I don’t care what you say — Mardi Gras is garbage. Be it a pseudo-celebration like last Saturday’s rich-folk fun ($100 tickets!!!) in downtown Waco or the real deal New Orleans bash, it’s all bunk. Rubbish. Hogwash. F’real. Why, why, why do we celebrate Mardi Gras when we could be celebrating Shrove Tuesday, aka, PANCAKE TUESDAY?!?!

That’s right, folks. Pan-freakin-cake Tuesday. It’s the greatest thing I’ve learned about all year. It’s magnificent. It’s hands down the tastiest holiday ever. Period.

Sigh. ... Sadly, I won’t be celebrating Pancake Tuesday in style this year. I desperately want to be a part of this grand day that I knew nothing about 4 hours ago. I do, I do, I do. However, I must practice restraint. I need to be practical. I need to get my freezer off my back. It’s screaming at me to plow through some wobbly stacks of Belgian waffles. Defeated. By a demanding kitchen appliance.

Wait a minute. How about this: Is it possible Ash Wednesday and Waffle Wednesday can coexist? Sure. Why not. I like it. Check it: I’ll hold off on the waffles for a day. That’ll work. And, don’t cancel your Mardi Gras plans. You can be in flapjack heaven and all boozy today, too. You bring the Stolichnaya syrup 'cause we’re gonna make a mean ol’ pile of alco-rific potato pancakes.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Thank you, thank you very much

Dusting off a Foreman grill might be the greatest thing that’s happened in my kitchen all year. Silly me, I relegated the “lean- mean” mutha to the cupboard for years. I neglected it because I no longer lived on burgers and dogs. Sure, there are faux alternatives, but I'm lazy — that bastard grill is never a joy to clean.

Inspired by my father's grillin' successes, Jorge and I are back in business, and I’m making all kinds of ridiculous grilled sandwiches and burgers. It really helps for black bean burgers and chickpea cutlets I normally would fry (gross) or bake (time consuming). On a lark, I even made an Elvis-style grilled PB and Banana sandwich. It goes straight to the top of my guilty pleasures list.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Don’t do drugs

While you’re at it, don’t suffer from schizophrenia, don’t be subjected to shock therapy and don’t grow up in a wildly disturbed family. Don’t take my word for it. Check out the 2005 film “You’re Gonna Miss Me.”

It might be the hundreds of acid trips, his time spent “being treated” or just an effed up family life, but Roky Erickson, psychedelic rock pioneer and banshee-voiced singer of Austin’s 13th Floor Elevators, is proof that you’re not completely doomed if you do the aforementioned. You will, however, have issues.

I just checked out this docudisc, and it’s fantastic. It’s a peek into the twisted life of a musical genius and his bizarre family. Of course, there’s about as good an ending possible for Roky. Since coming under the care of his youngest brother and attending therapy, he’s played festivals nationwide (Dig it: Thurston Moore opens for Roky), and a bunch of articles have documented the stages of his return.

Need another tale of a tragic Austin pariah? Check out “The Devil and Daniel Johnston.”

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Separation of church and stage

Blessed are the bassists, for theirs is the kingdom of awkward facial expressions.

So I went to a “U2charist service on Sunday. In a word: meh. OK, so that’s not officially a word. But all in good time. C’mon, if Meriam-Webster recognizes “w00t,” I get to validate meh.” Besides, U2charist is quite a little buzzy pseudoword, ain't it.

Anyway, my thoughts. I think the service I attended with my friend and coworker Wendy really lacked atmosphere. In a fairly small and bright room that formerly served as a library, the U2charist failed to move me (toe-tapping and swaying aside), wasn’t uplifting and it didn’t bring me closer to God. Not that I expected all or any of that. It was just flat.

I imagine in a dark, old chapel with dimmed lights and candles, a U2charist could be really cool or — even better — a powerful experience. A huge screen for projecting the DVD footage, a media person controlling the media (the pastor at St. Alban’s was doing double duty) and a gaggle of die-hard U2 fans — all would help the experience. I'd even suggest not using old "Rattle and Hum" and recent concert footage. I think U2 songs playing over projected, powerful images of faith, humanity, strife, etc. would be preferable to performance footie of Bono and Co.

As a musician and fringe member of the ADD generation, I was too focused on what kind of bass The Edge plays on "40" (one of Adam Clayton's Lakland basses, for the record — Clayton plays one of "David Howell Evans' " 1970s era Strats to complete the switch in roles on the "War" track).

So, I think the U2charist is too much entertainment, not enough God. It might be OK for others, but it’s not for me. However, the offering does go to a good cause, so I don't feel like I wasted an hour. It's worth checking out.

For more info on the phenomenon, check out my friend and former coworker Mike Plunkett’s write-up at The Norman Lear Center.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Fácil o difícil

I try to practice restraint and focus on keeping life basic. However, I drift back into the clutches of irrelevant cluttering crap just like everyone. I used to be content with an artificial existence fueled by pursuing material things and further disconnecting from life and pure joys. I gotta admit I’m starving for more change. Not the kind that presidential hopefuls are throwing around. I’m ready for an existence that relies on compassion not consumerism. I’ve made some steps in the right direction (downsizing, getting rid of “stuff” and learning a lot from people willing to share and books). I’m not even close to where I’d like to be. But, I’m renewing my subscription for this new way. This slow, satisfying way. It’s just that simple.


Hmmm. Well, yeah. Anyway, I just had to get that out there. Back to complex life (work shift approaching), and sure, why not a complex bowl of chili. There are too many flavors in this recipe, so it’s a chore recognizing and appreciating all the spices. I am particularly pleased with how great the sweet potato works with the chili powder and cocoa. Sit down. Chew slowly. Smile.

Black Bean Sweet Potato Chili (from vegweb.com)
2 onions, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
2-3 tablespoon olive oil (more if onions start to burn)
2 cans (4 oz) diced green chiles
2 tablespoon spices (cumin, chile powder, cinnamon, cocoa powder to taste)
1 large lime (or 2 small), zest and juice
1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped into 1/2 cubes
28 oz can whole tomatoes, chopped
4 cans (15 oz) black beans, rinsed
2 chipotle chiles (canned chipotle in adobo sauce), chopped
1 bunch cilantro, chopped leaves
1/2 - 1 cup water as needed

Saute garlic and onions in olive oil on low-medium heat till limp.
Add lime zest, sweet potatoes, 1/2 lime juice, and spices and cook covered for 15 min (add a little water or olive oil if the mixture starts to stick to the bottom). Add tomatoes, black beans, chipotle chiles, cilantro and cook until sweet potatoes are tender. Add remaining lime juice and more spices to taste if necessary, and simmer covered for 10 min, adding more water if needed.

Serves: 8

Preparation time: 1hr

Sunday, January 20, 2008

When I live alone, is there some toast in my house?

One-half of a good weekend is in the books. So, what did I do? Uh, not much really. That’s not true, but the rundown isn’t that interesting.

I blame, in part, the weather. It’s a cold one, which means I’m looking for warm places. That means my choices are bars, stores and coffee shops. Checks on all but the bars.

Back at 615 N. 4th, the best places to stay warm are the kitchen and bedroom uno. Weatherstripping, spaceheaters and window treatments can only do so much for a 90-year-old building.

All this means I’ve made a lot of food in the kitchen. Friday night and Saturday morning were very productive. I’ve baked Almond Quinoa Muffins, Banana Nut Waffles and Chocolate White Chocolate Chip Cookies.


And finally, I made the No. 1 must-make recipe from V’con: Chickpea Cutlets. Every blogger who owns the book makes and loves ’em. I think somewhere in the back of the book there’s a notice in tiny type that says V’con will self-destruct in 90 days if you don’t make the cutlets. Then Dr. Claw’s henchmen will kidnap Penney and Brain. ...

I upped the recipe by a quarter and paired the cutlets with Herb Scalloped Potatoes and some standard spinach. The meal was excellent. Next time I will make the mustard sauce that everyone gushes about, which, will definitely help the “meat.”

So, today’s Sunday. I’m back to church “shopping.” I took a break after a decent run of trying out places. I am very grateful so many of the churches around here have Web sites. It’s incredibly helpful. I’ve crossed off a few places, which is great ’cause the task of finding the right place would be practically impossible — there must be a thousand churches here. And I’ve only got so many Sundays in a lifetime.


I might even check out the U2charist next weekend. I learned about the concept about a year ago. It’s intriguing and probably the first time it will be done in Waco. At least the music is familiar; but, it seems too gimmicky for me. I’m out if they hand out fly shades.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Let's go bowling this weekend

I’m gonna call this my Saturday/Sunday Soup. It’s lunch and dinner for what used to be my weekend (Wednesday/Thursday) and a celebratory soup for my return to normal weekends.


You might know Saturday/Sunday Soup better as Creamy Tomato Basil (its V’con-given name). I prefer substantial soups (beans, tons of veggies) so I usually would pass on a seemingly just-liquid soup. But this bowl is far more satisfying than a typical bowl of pureed tomatoes. Four potatoes, pureed nicely with the standard crushed tomatoes and flavorful sun-dried variety make this champ a filling cold-weather meal that's perfect for a drafty cottage like mine. Paired with some crusty bread I baked (loose interpretation of a Moosewood biscuit recipe), and I'm set for a weekend of refining my ladling technique — sloppy Holmes, sloppy.

Friday, January 11, 2008

More minis and FU tofu

I’m a better human being in the morning ... well, post-coffee, of course. After that, I’m good to go. I’m more productive and generally happier when the sun’s out. But, who isn’t.

I mention all of this because I am filling in today on the morning desk. It should be just breezy. It’s not like I have to negotiate 30 to 45 pages (tab, but still) today. Nope. How ’bout two fronts and a few inside broadsheets. Cake.

And muffins. Moosewood Restaurant has a bunch of recipe books, and this recipe for basic muffins (I added the blueberries and some lemon juice to make ’em more sunshiney) comes from a book I got for Christmas (thanks, Anne). These freeze OK, but they are great the next day.

Not being a grump in the morning? Sunshiney? What’s goin’ on? Who is this guy? Don’t worry, y’all. It ain’t all “Shiny Happy People” and fluffy bunnies ’round here. There’s still a bit of moody piss-n-vinegar in me. Exhibit A: The worst tofu meal ever. The orange glaze rocked. The couscous was as bland as expected. BUT, the “meat” of the meal was no good. I messed up. Bad. Undercooked? Check. I also effed up by freezing and thawing the ’fu. Also, I most definitely could have done a better job pressing the water out of the stuff. Pictures? Oh no. No chance. Too depressing. I’m not defeated, just deflated. I will try it again. Still, I have reason to believe tofu just isn’t for me. We shall see.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Apples and a twister

Who can resist a muffin? I hope my coworkers can’t, ’cause today I’m taking in some mini muffins — Apple-Oat Bran from the V’con.

First, my kitchen now smells like Apple Jacks, so I couldn’t be happier ... unless you’ve got a bowl of Apple Jacks on ya. No? Damn!

Second, this is a culinary tribute to Edwards Apple Orchard in Poplar Grove, Ill. A tornado recently hit Boone County, which is the home of one of the best traditions in Northern Illinois. I hope everyone affected by the storm gets back on their feet soon and that the community supports each other in this tough time ... and maybe, just maybe, the home of the best apple cider and apple cider donuts will be back in business come fall.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Fake it up

My meat-eating evolution hasn’t been easy or pretty, folks. Days before I decided to give up the goat (or more precisely cow), I was throwin’ back multiple patties at Wendy’s with great regularity. Oooooh, how I loved ’em. But, I always regretted chowin’ on cow (even in moderation) cause it made me as lethargic as ________ _______ (fill in with your favorite rehabbin’ celebrity) for the rest of the day. Not worth it.

Anyway, that’s all in the past and I don’t miss it. My meatless revolution is a comfy, experimental place (how 'bout we call it Frigginrighteousvania? Huh? huh?). This place has got a boatload of “who-the-hell-needs-meat” sammiches.

I used to shell out serious coin for Morningstar Farms and Boca’s variety of meat substitute. Not anymore. There’s so much you can do with lentils, chickpeas and black beans (my fave). Truthfully, it’s a mess mashing and kneading the ingredients, and the words “vital wheat gluten” don’t make anyone salivate quite like “double-bacon cheesebruger.” Still, after all the fuss, you end up with something great, like this Black Bean Burger from the Veganomicon. It probably woulda been even better if I were better at frying, but it’s cajun and I’m cool with that. And a thick layer o' cheese and generous mustard (great name for that Reel Big Fish tribute band you've been dreamin' about forming) make every burger a li'l better in Frigginrighteousvania.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Two things that matter today

Music: Talent is great, but what really matters is passion. It doesn’t get purer than furious ’80s punk. I’ve got Black Flag, Minor Threat and Fugazi in my brain, and oddly, it all started a few days ago when I overdosed on Rancid (less furious ’90s punk).

Life: I won’t be satisfied until I’m making a difference in people’s lives, contributing to the improvement of my community and feeling a sense of accomplishment (in that order — money is not even close to being a part of the equation). I am hopeful I am on the right track in realizing all of these.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Cornbread strikes again

Monday couldn’t have been a better day for rolling up the sleeves and rolling out new recipes. I was feeling better but not well enough to get to the gym or run, so I had some time to kill in the kitchen

For those of you not up-to-the-minute on my health (you can follow it on the Headline News ticker, ESPN’s scrolling bottom line and the sign of that dude at Cesar Chavez and I-35 in Austin), it stumbled a bit last week. Just some bad crud, y’all. And, since I’m a guy (read: stupid) I didn’t rush to the doc immediately for a pill-based solution. No, that would belie my stubbornness (charming, ain’t it). Instead I’ve gone through a health roller coaster, a wellness waterslide if you will. For those familiar with the best place to spend a preteen summer afternoon circa 1988 — Wet ‘n’ Wild — you’ll no doubt know what I mean when I say one minute I was all “Pirate Ship” chillin’ and the next I was totally “Atlantic Panic.” Totally.

Anyway, I’m feeling better (don’t let my rambling fool you) so I finally got around to making a really good PPK-approved Potato and Black Bean Soup.

Potato and Black Bean Soup
6 cups vegetable broth, canned or made from bouillon cubes
10-12 medium mushrooms, quartered
1/2 cup shredded carrots
4 medium potatoes, cut into 1" cubes
1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14.50 oz) can whole tomatoes, cut up
1 Tbs fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 tsp cajun seasoning

In a large saucepan, combine broth, mushrooms, onion, carrots, and potatoes.
Cook over medium high heat until mixture comes to a boil.
Reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally until potatoes are just tender; about 10-12 minutes.
Stir in beans, tomatoes, cilantro, and seasoning.
Cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through.

There’s a whole lotta good stuff in there already, but you can add more veggies if ya like (you need to clean out your fridge anyway, right?). I added celery cause that’s how I roll and I said nay to “cajun seasoning.” In it’s place I pinched cumin, chili powder and wee pinched cayenne to taste. And the timing for this soup couldn’t be better. I’ve got a few more servings that will make the recent drop in temperature a bit more tolerable.

Alongside a brave new bowl of soup, I kicked out some kickass Vegan Cornbread straight from the “Veganomicon.” What makes this batch the best is simple — it’s the skillet. In fact, henceforth, I will never again make cornbread without a skillet. It’s the baking equivalent of a broken-in biker jacket or blue jeans. It’s just a classic that works. That said, I’m not a big fan of pie slices (‘cept actual pie, pizza pie and Trivial Pursuit pie). However, it’s not a deal breaker. The bread’s only gonna get crumbled in the soup any damn way.

Happy New Year, y’all.

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