Howard’s Calendar

May 22, 2012

You may recall, Dear Reader, that I featured Howard’s Cafe in my latest novel, “Free Me From This Bond“. But did you know they also made a calendar, featuring Jesse Balmer‘s insanely hilarious cartoon sketches…as well as birthdays and factoids of their most loyal patrons?

I didn’t, thus was delightfully flabbergasted to discover this latest Howard’s Masterly Triumph of Goodwill! Annie (one of the waitresses there; and the sweetest person you could ever hope to meet) presented me with their last remaining copy, as a gift for my online praise of this most excellent Inner Sunset eatery. Designed and assembled by the loving hands of several customers and employees, this unique calendar comprises 29 pages of Howard frivolity to keep a big smile on your face each and every day of 2012.

According to Annie, the calendar was created in the old-school style of pure hard copy: not a single digital image or character to be found. I decided then, it would be awfully nice to share this calendar with the world via my blog, as well as preserve it for posterity long after the original templates have grown yellow and crumbly over time.

My apologies for the amateurish results, but my scanner is broke (as I am likewise, quasi-starving author that I be), so I had to resort to digital camera snapshots. Of course, you will need to click on each image, to get a better view. Enjoy your journey through 2012, with Howard’s Artistic Angels at the helm!

Zeke’s Amazing Red Lentil Soup w/Avocado

April 4, 2012

Place 1.5 cups red lentils into a wire strainer, and set the strainer in a large bowl of cold water for one hour.

When lentils have soaked for 40 minutes, slice up 8-12 mini sweet peppers into bite-size portions.

After one hour lentils soaking, rinse them under cold tap water, then dump them into a 5-quart sauce pan, add 3 cups water and three tablespoons virgin olive oil.

Place lentil-filled sauce pan on stovetop burner, keep lid off, and set the burner to highest temp, until the lentil water starts to boil. While waiting to boil, chop up one large Russet potato into bite-size chunks.

Once the pot comes to a boil, lower temp to medium heat, and add the sweet peppers and potato. Cover partially (leaving just a thin crescent open to the air).

After 20 minutes or so, lower temperature to medium-low, and let the soup finish simmering until the potato chunks are soft enough to easily pierce clean through with a fork. This should take around 20 more minutes or so (therefore total cooking time is around 40 minutes). Remember to stir every few minutes!

Note: this recipe is intended for a very thick soup: though you should add a little more water if needed, to prevent burning.

When the soup is almost done, crush and slice an entire, small bulb of garlic (or equivalent). Add thinly sliced, chopped, or mashed garlic when soup is done. Keep sauce pan covered for another ten minutes, so the garlic oils may infuse.

You now have your basic red lentil soup that serves 3-4 hefty portions. Ladle soup into one or more bowls, and add the following to each bowl:

A few splashes of Tamari sauce

1-2 scant tablespoons of brewer’s nutritional yeast flakes

1 scant teaspoon (more or less, to taste) dried cayenne pepper (or your favorite chili sauce)

Stir the above ingredients a bit, then garnish with:

1 or 2 chopped scallions

Some sliced tomato (heirloom is best; shown above are grape tomatoes sliced in half lengthwise)

An entire small to medium fresh avocado, sliced into small chunks.

Rib-stickingly delicious! This is a purely vegan recipe, though you may add any sort of cheese, meat or fish if you like. I enjoy a small dish of cracked green olives on the side.

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