OK, heres the deal. I am going to tell you a story that has nothing to do with food, baking or any industry stuff, but it is a story that has turned my life upside down and it must be purged from my finger tips or my mind will simply crash.
If you indulge me just this once, I will not only return to my usual platform topic next posting, but I am also going to treat you to Kim Ode's brownie recipe.
You might say....
"But Klecko, I already have dozens of brownie recipes."
Oh yeah....how many EMMY's for Baking have you won?
Ode practically brings hers everywhere LOL, in fact there are strong rumors that it was spotted in the passenger seat of her Lexus as she was making haste in the Taco Bell drive-thru line.
THE MASSACRE OF THE INNOCENCE -
Ten years ago me and Tydus were at a Petco store doing something, I don't remember what, but we were walking by the cages that imprisioned the cats. Tydus was 10ish at the time, and he instructed me to join him over by that feline compound.
My son has never exhibited reactionary, or compulsive behavior, so on this occasion I was kinda startled when he said that we needed to bring one of these cats home.
So I ask if he meant one in particular, or one in general.
Here was his response....
"Look at the fat one over there. They named him Matt. Who would ever do something like that. It's cruel, Let's adopt him right now so we can change his name."
Within minutes the 2 of us were outside crossing an ocean sized parking lot. I asked my kid what we should name the newest addition to our family, and he assured me that problem was solved....
"We're going to name him Jeter, thats a real name for a cat."
I should have known right there, at that very moment that nothing good could ever happen by naming your cat after a New York Yankee.
Now we are going to fast forward a decade to the winter of 2011.
It's the Year of the Rabbit. Since I was born in 1963, this is my year. The plate mat at Golden Chow Mein assured me that the rabbit is the luckiest of all signs.
After counting on my fingers and toes, it occurs to me that I won't get another special year until I am close to 60, and lets face it, by that time Klecko won't even care anymore, right?
If you've followed this blog at all, you've heard numorous references to record snowfalls in Minnesota this past winter. Even for those of us that have spent lifetimes in this climate, Lasting out this years snowfall took some extra effort.
The one thing that I did this year was to spend time out in my yard watching the birds. I'd feed them and adjust the water levels on their heated bird bath.
Sometimes I'd spend hours just whistling and doing whatever I could to draw the Cardinals, Blue Jays and Woodpeckers my way.
During this courtship, I started to become aware that there was a warren of rabbits living under a Japanese shrub in my back yard.
As the winter wore on, I spent less time with the birds and more time hanging out with "Brother Rabbit".
As mentioned previously, Saint Francis would greet all animals with a salutation which included him refering to them as "brother" or "sister".
Over the years I adopted this philosiphy if for no other reason than it really pissed off my son.
Klecko would lift up his arm, extending the pointer and middle finger like the Pope does when blessing people, and call out to the small creatures in his neighborhood.
Tydus hated me for this, so as a father....it had to continue, so eventually it became routine.
After what seemed like a thousand years the snow finally melted away and Sue McGleno and I were about to plant some annuals in the cottage garden when Lo and Behold, Sue McGleno shouted out....
"OMG-OMG-OMG, look at this over here, there are 9 tiny baby bunnies burrowed into our garden."
We have 6 gardens, and technically I am in charge of the cottage plot. So I suspended planting and told Sue McGleno that we would have to wait until the rabbits grew up and left.
Neither one of us really knew how long that would take so from that point on, I was dedicated to launching these furry souls into the world.
During the spring we had some monster rain storms, when this happened, I'd run out to the cottage plot and construct crude tarping systems to make sure that no flooding would drown the rabbits on my watch.
In the early evenings, Brother Rabbit would come out on patrol and do what ever it is that adult rabbits do for their little ones.
I'd talk to him, and he would hop over and hang out within feet of me, and the 2 of us would stand there in silence.
One day Sue McGleno saw that Jeter had walked by me and our new tenants and exhibited a curious eye. Jeter has a history of attacking and torturing small defenceless creatures.
Sue McGleno asked if this concerned me at all....but like usual, my vanity got in the way and I said something like......
"Jeter has no jurisdiction here kid, its the year of the rabbit and Klecko commands that-that cat and all other preditors stay away!"
Sue McGleno smiled asking if it was really that simple, and I replied (and Klecko now reveals this to you under a cloak of shame).....
"You've gotta learn to command your surroundings kid. Yes it is that simple. I have willed it!"
In my defence, I wasn't being cocky, I was just being optimistic and trying to drag my desires across the finish line.
The bunny growth process continued for a couple more weeks, and then came that fateful night. It was Thursday, and I had just come home from suffering the worst Little League defeat in 15 years of coaching.
We lost 27 to 1.
There was steak, green peas and cottage cheese on the table. Typically these are the componants of a Klecko celebration.
So after wolfing down my food, Tydus darted out of the kitchen and Sue McGleno had "that look" on her face, and I didn't know what was coming, but I knew I didn't want whatever it was.
"Jeter killed all your bunnies, I'm really sorry."
Then Sue McGleno looked as if she was about to cry, and by now...you know thats not her style, but I can tell you for a fact, her tears were not shed for the slain.
They were for me, because she knew how effected I was, and was going to be.
The one thing I have learned from her that I never knew was how impressionable I can be.
I really didn't have anything to say.
Sue McGleno left the room and I started a dialogue that nobody else would hear.....
"Curses unto you Jeter, I should of named you Herod! Thanks for inflicting your stupid little massacre on my 9 rabbits."
Then I went outside and sat on the back steps to commiserate with Brother Rabbit, but he never showed. He hasn't since.
When that got boring, I sat on the couch until I passed out. At 4:30 I woke up to let the dogs outside to pee. When they came in, Jeter joined them.
As I turned the TV to ESPN and slumped back into my couch for 45 more minutes before the alarm would go off.
That stupic Jeter came up and used cat launguge to brag about his conquest from the day before. he was practically beating his fat cat chest.
Then who knows, maybe I have lost my mind, but it appeared to me that Jeter looked befuddled, as if he couldn't understand why I wasn't high fiving his cat paw.
Then it appeared to me that his sadness had matched mine.
So I rolled over grabbed the stupid jerk and spooned with him (as much as a human and cat can spoon) and told him that he was a good cat and he began to purr, and both of us fell asleep.
Here it is, as promised....KIM ODE'S BROWNIES
1/2 cup of butter
1/2 cup shortening
3 sqaures (1 oz each) unsweetened choclate
1 1/2 cups of flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup chopped walnuts.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Melt Butter, shortening, and chocolate in a pan over low heat, then remove from heat and cool slightly.
In another bowl, beat 4 eggs. Beating briskly, ideally with a whisk, and add the eggs one 1/4 cup at a timeuntil they are combined.
Use a spoon to stir in the sugar and vanilla, then add the dry ingredients, mixing until they are well combined, and then add the nuts last.
Scrape batter into ungreased 9x13 inch pan. Bake 15-20 minutes, but don't overbake. Cool on a wire rack before slicing.