Sean M Puckett

Portrait and fine-art photographer. Radical programmer. Culture activist. Passionate & opinionated, yet kindly. Mind the froth.

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There's no flour or dairy in this cornbread recipe.

  • 2 cups corn meal
  • 2 cups nut milk with 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tbs bacon grease
  • 1 tsp each baking soda & baking powder
  • 10" crockery or cast iron pan

How do

  1. Preheat oven to 425F. Put the cooking vessel in to pre-heat for about five minutes.
  2. Add milk and bacon grease to mixing bowl & heat (microwave, e.g.) until grease melts
  3. Add other ingredients and fold gently until uniform.
  4. Remove vessel from oven and gingerly coat with grease.
  5. Pour batter into vessel, return to oven
  6. Bake 18-25 minutes until nicely browned and toothpick comes clean
  7. Let it cool on a rack 5-10 minutes at least before cutting in.

This is a good "substrate" cornbread. It holds together well when cooled, and wants stuff added to it, like gravy or butter or honey or jam or what-have-you. I used nut milk + lemon juice because I didn't want to pay for buttermilk and we have a house mate who can't do lactose; we have a nut milk maker here so it's easy enough to produce for cheap.

I imagine you could start by substituting a vegan shortening for the bacon grease to make it 100% hippie-safe, but you'd also need to do something with the eggs which provide the glue to hold it all together.

Yummy looking recipe! A little bit of bacon fat can be magic. And I haven't cooked cornbread in a cast iron skillet in ages. :)

In place of the nut milk/lemon juice combo, another nice ingredient to sub is lactose-free kefir. I like to buy it not because I'm lactose intolerant but because I like the flavor—and it does seem easy on the gut. I also use it sometimes for pancakes or muffins. Of course, it's not available everywhere, but there's a VT farm that makes it somewhere around here.
I've heard of kefir but never tried it! Thanks for the tipperoo.
You can also make it yourself if you can find someone with a culture/scobie.

Also, I wasn't clear. Kefir in general is widely available; it's the lactose-free version that is harder to fine.

Also also, kefir is by nature pretty lactose-free to begin with. The active cultures gobble up most of the milk sugar.
Anne Mollo 5/12edited
IHNJ, IJLS “hippie-safe”

Enya's still making the same kinda music she made, what, 30 years ago. Not just song patterns, down to the same synth patches and chord changes. Pretty impressive. Most musicians evolve, but if you find a niche that makes bank it's kinda hard to abandon it. Especially when you own a castle.

Yes, Orinoco Flow was 1989. We're OLD, people.
I was on a catamaran snorkeling cruise in Key West in 1997. As we pulled away from the dock, the crew put on their fun-times-for-the-tourists music. Orinoco Flow came on, and was so abruptly cut off that everyone on the boat cracked up laughing.
I think when you're Enya, people just expect to get Enya on an Enya record... and if Enya gave them anything but Enya, there'd be worldwide revolt.

I don't know if I admire the hell out of her for being able to repackage the same breathy vocals and synth patches into "new"(?) ways for over 30 years, or if I feel bad.

What if she's a prog-head at heart?
As a starving artist myself, if I found a niche with a small gear shaft on it that I could apply a handle to, turn it once a day, and a bag of money would fall out of the wall, I would do it, though I would ALSO pursue other projects. I might get really tired of turning that crank but there's a lotta people who have to do much less pleasant things for their living.
I wholeheartedly empathize. Maybe Enya has a secret band somewhere that plays hardcore feminist polka.
Who can say where the road goes? Where the day flows? Only time. And a good solid business model.
Karen 4/5edited
Crank, thud, crank, thud, crank, thud....
Is Dark Sky Island the album we're talking about, or is she releasing something newer?
I listened to Dark Sky Island and had to check several times to see when it was made.

I had my wisdom teeth removed today.

I opted for twilight sedation, because why would I want to be awake for that if I had a safe alternative.

They put me on nitrous first. It did nothing for me. Annoying.

Then put an IV in my hand and started me on Fentanyl for pain, telling me I'd feel a hot flash. Which I didn't. Getting a little more annoyed. Dentistry without pain relief is kind of a nightmare for me.

Five minutes later I poked myself with a finger nail and didn't feel much so at least there was that.

Then they started me on Versed. I was having conversations like I don't feel anything, should I feel something? And they said Well you should feel like you've had a drink or two. And I'm like, nope. And they said, well, you get more before the procedure starts. And I'm like, I hope so!

Surgeon shows up at some point and says, "okay let's get started" and they up the sedation, finally I'm feeling a little less like I'm staring at a ceiling for 20 minutes and more like minutes are kind of sliding into each other. I still feel dude freezing up my gums though. 

And at some points there was a lot of yanking and whatever, but it is not very concerning, which is pretty much when I accept that I am going to get the sedation I paid for.

Time stops telescoping around when they remove the IV, and I get sat up and walked to the recovery room for a review of Teh Rulez which include not drinking hot fluids until the freezing is gone -- that one I am ignoring, like seriously, I need my fugging coffee. Also gauze pads to chew on until I stop bleeding so much. Which I have changed a few times. 

And now I'm having oatmeal, just pouring it down my throat, because the last food I had was about 24 hours ago with one thing and another.

There's antibiotics and Tylenol-3 to pick up at the pharmacy later. Apparently I will look like I got in a fight and lost in a day or two.  Whatever.

So that's how I spent my early afternoon. I'll probably spend the rest of the day reading or whatever. I'm sure the pain will kick in at some point, but if it never really does that's fine with me. 

Be well!
Dude. Rest more than you think you need to. When I had mine out I rested less than I needed to and I regretted it.
I am impressed that thus far I am feeling no pain on just a couple ibuprofen. I've got an acet/caff/codeine cocktail pill, but unless something blows up I don't see needing it. There are four dark red clots, which is perfect, unless I fuck them up somehow. I'm hoping healing is fast. Fingers crossed.
My horror story is opting into a medication study, which randomized assignment of new-fangled study medication, old-fangled proven medication, or non-fangled placebo medication. Guess which one I got?

Another false fire alarm last night. According to our condo newsletter, it's caused by people seeking refuge from the cold in the parking garage stairwells and smoking / lighting fires to stay warm. I mean, understandable to take refuge, but it's not like one can stay if the alarm goes off. So not ideal.

So I guess we'll probably have another one or two over the weekend as temps drop to -20.

The board says they've gotten approval from the city to instal maglocks on the doors so they can't be forced at night. Certainly have mixed feelings about it, but apparently every time fire trucks roll it costs us a not insignificant amount of money so...

As someone who is easily disturbed by something as simple as even car doors slamming, this would drive me crazy. Hope it improves.

Stay warm this weekend. PA is getting a bit of snow after a fairly mild winter. (And now I've gone and jinxed us. )
Karen 1/18
Everything is really quiet here, despite being in the middle of Toronto. Poured concrete walls and floor, triple glazed windows. It's quieter than any house I've lived in, that's for sure. Except for the spurious fire alarms. Sigh. Being awakened by them is really tedious.

Temps here are predicted to fall to -20C over the weekend. We'll be warm inside, but going out is going to be fraught. Y'all stay warm too!

Tonight the condo's book club did an annual thing they do, which is check out a bunch of play scripts from the library and do a reading. Sounds interesting, but not much information provided, least of all _which play_.

So I go down because how bad could it be? And it is about 10 people, mostly older, and we're all sitting around around a table (there's no designated readers OMG 1) and everyone takes turns reading, switching roles scene by scene (OMG 2) and I've already done the social niceties and kind of committed, and then discover that it's a fucking Woody Allen play and by then it's too late to back out. 

So for two and a half hours I read different roles from _Don't Drink the Water_, trying not to turn the obvious Allen character into a whiny schmuck when I get him, but the language is just so exactly that ... and there's all the misogynistic bullshit, the toxic masculinity, the casual racism, the colonialism, the physical sexual assault (that she later says she hoped he'd do), the terrible plot that doesn’t even have the most obvious and interesting twist, the unnecessary rape/suicide references, the ... just ... OMFG 

Anyway, everyone was super nice, I met some new people in the building, I made some folks laugh, and got compliments on my cold reading, so it wasn't a total loss. 

It could have been worse, said d -- it could have been a hobby script. 


This building is so warm. It's bizarre. Even at -10 outside, it's 22 in here. The air handler hasn't come on in a couple months despite a colder than normal month. I'm not sure where the heat comes from. I guess I could walk around with an infra-red thermometer and figure it out.


I did walk around with a thermometer and there's no obvious source of significant heat. The little wall in the laundry room with the hot water pipe in it is 4C higher than ambient but everything else is all within 1C of the floor and walls.

I guess a pie-wedge shaped dwelling design in a circular building with a lot of insulation on the exterior wall is just really efficient (duh), and at least on the south side where we are, exposed to the angled winter sun, it's enough. The cats sure like the sun.

We'll see how it goes in three months though.


It's certainly a pleasant change from multi-hundred dollar heating bills in the old house.  

There are other bills, though. The condo fees ($630) pay for all utilities except electricity, along with exterior and common area maintenance, amenities, staff salaries and property tax on the building. Our electric bill is about $70 a month, with $40 of that a constant connection fee, which kind of sucks. And then there's city services tax, and contents insurance. Under $1K a month all in, with not much chance of a sudden disaster/emergency expense, which is really what you want for a retirement situation. Sure, we're a few years away from that, but it's good to be settled early.


Also, for those of you in the south who celebrate the harvest well after those of us in the north have typically already several days of frost in the morning, happy Thanksgiving. (We do it in early October in Canada. Because we like to eat more fresh things than potatoes.)

11/22 '18 2 Comments
It’s 22 degrees outside right now where we are in the Philadelphia suburbs. I turned off the heat throughout the house because it’s 67 indoors.
This house is shockingly warm. What the thermostat says is actually true in every inch of it. New Swedish style construction by someone who's not a criminal in a hurry will do that I guess.
Thomas Boutell 11/23 '18

I find this recipe necessary because most home-prepared syrup recipes rely on baker's chocolate or chocolate chips, and not only are those more expensive than cocoa powder, they add unnecessary fat. This recipe has little fat and yet won't granulate or set up in the fridge because of the corn syrup and xanthan gum.

I am not down on fat, but I don't see that it's necessary here; the xanthan gum in addition to helping avert crystallization adds a nice bit of unctuousness to the texture. This is really good on ice cream, which is what it was designed for.

Chocolate Syrup (cocoa powder base)

  • 2 C white sugar
  • 1 C cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/16 tsp Xanthan gum (seriously do not add too much)

​​​​​​​Stir dry ingredients thoroughly together in a saucepan, then add

  • 1.5 C water
  • 1 Tbs corn syrup

And bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, over medium heat and clip on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat when temperature passes 220F and let cool somewhat. To finish, Stir in: 

  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract

Then decant into a serving container, e.g. squeeze bottle or glass jar, whatever. Refrigerate. Will keep at least a week in the refrigerator without granulating.

11/18 '18

Decided to repack the four remaining bins (reminding we ate two and lost one) to put in the fridge and stop fermentation. Just seemed wise after two months. Threw one of them out as after rinsing they were a little slimy and very mushy. The other three were fine. I put them in fresh bins submerged with a bit of salt, a splash of vinegar and a trace of sodium metabisulfite. And into the fridge. 

I tasted them all, very nice. The batch with the split chile pepper was excellent, just a step above. Not obviously hot, but leaving a few tingles on the tongue. 

I doubt they’ll last out the year until next pickle season. But I also doubt we have a place to ferment and store a whole bushel next time. Half a bushel is kind of pushing it. 

By any measure, it was a successful experiment. I brought some to a party last night and those that tasted them were keenly delighted. It was cheaper to make them than buy finished pickles, even with the losses. The only downside is storage. 

So that’s where we leave the pickle story.

11/4 '18 1 Comment
I bought myself a jar of pickles in anticipation of your unveiling. :) I plan to kill it shortly. Glad you had a successful venture. Yay!
Karen 11/6 '18edited

By request!

Dry Ingredients

  • 1/2 C sorghum flour
  • 1/2 C brown rice flour
  • 1 Tbs tapioca starch
  • 1/2 C cocoa (be generous)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • Optional mixins up to 1/4 cup: choc chips, nuts, etc

Wet Ingredients

  • 5 Tbs butter, melted (86 grams)
  • 1 & 1/4 C granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cold espresso (or 1 tsp instant coffee in 1 tsp water)


  1. Preheat oven to 350F; lightly grease a 9" baking pan
  2. Mix dry ingredients in one bowl
  3. Mix wet ingredients in another bowl
  4. Fold wet ingredients into dry, only until combined
  5. Turn into baking pan
  6. Bake 25-35 min, until toothpick in the center comes out clean
  7. Cool on rack under a cloth, don't cut until room temp.
  8. Keep covered in the fridge, if any survive the day.


The vanilla and coffee flavours make these extra yummy. Also mad wack chocolatey. They don't need frosting, but you could drizzle a little melted chocolate (melt 1/4 C chips in microwave, e.g.) on top once they're cut up. I've been using a 9" round springform pan; you get less of that yummy brownie "edge" but it's easier to cut them up when you can take the sides off.

NB recipe was modified by my partner from an Alice Medrich non-GF original. 

10/15 '18 8 Comments
You and your mixins. You and your topping.

Any recipe with all rice flour, especially brown rice flour, is too gritty. Sorghum adds loft and a touch of sweetness.
There's no point in using a tasty starch like arrowroot in these, though arrowroot starch is excellent in more delicately flavoured baked goods to provide the structure GF non-mix flours don't have. I have always tried to avoid guar and xanthan gums (common in commercial baked GF food and some GF flour mixes) in baking due to their weird texture effects.
Dawn Keenan 10/16 '18
This looks yummy. I wonder if it'll work with the Earth balance baking margarine.

Re: beans, ymmv, but black beans are notably low in FODMAPs as beans go. Which could make them a better bet than others for those who are fluent in flatulent.
Thomas Boutell 10/17 '18