There was an error in this gadget

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Groom's Cake....Made By A Man - For A Man

I know I've mentioned this before but.....NOBODY gets invited to as many birthday parties, weddings, baptism's or anniversaries as a baker.

When the baker gets his / her invite its almost always in person, reason being......the person issuing this audible invitation will most likely hop scotch an awkward silence and them throw the following question into the ring......

"So how much do you think it would cost me to get a cake for this event?"

When deep down, what they're actually trying to say is something more like.......

"Hey Brah, won't you do a solid and comp mas familia something for the sweet tooth?"

Often times a baker realizes this is their plight in life and if they don't want Karma Angels to drop Hate Bombs in their direction, maybe it would be best for all, if said baker learned how to work cakes expenses into their weekly tithe.

Wedding cakes are a little different.

Wedding cakes have higher ingredient cost.

Wedding cakes require more labor hours.

Wedding cakes need to be transported to their destination in the same fashion that Pa Ingall's delivered nitroglycerin with his buck board.

Wedding cakes are often times attached to 2 items that freak me out.....brides, and their mothers.

You've never been scrutinized until you set up a wedding cake.

No Lie - Popeye......I would rather move a piano.

In the few instances where I have been part of a "Cake Set Up" I've been chastized for talking to a little boy who was bored out of his mind. The pip squeak was forced to stay bundled up in his tux even though the wedding had been over for a couple of hours.

While the kid sat coloring tanks or helicopters I asked him what army the vehicles belonged to and his grandmother screamed at me in front of all the guests.....

"Hired help shall not interact with the wedding party!"

Geesh....she told me.

Then there was the time when I delivered a wedding cake into the church of our bakeries receptionist. Her father was (and is) the Office Manager of where I work to this day.

The deal was though, that my Office Manager is divorced, and his first wife didn't know who I was, but as I carried the cake towards the church kitchen, she took one look at me, assumed I was a hood, and sought out help because she thought I was STEALING her daughters wedding cake.

Sigh.

The one cake I actually do like to make however is a GROOM'S CAKE.

Not everybody is familiar with them, but if my trend reports are accurate....they should be main stream pretty soon.

Grooms Cakes are not just an "American Thing". but more specifically a "Southern" thing.

I think I've Blogged in the past how I spent quite a few of my summers in Dallas Texas during my youth.

My Uncle was a man of means, and I think...knowing that I didn't have a father, he took it upon himself to become a strong male presence in my life.

He taught me concepts like "Competition" and phrases like "Attack-Attack-Attack" and "Time Kills Deals."

As I've traveled in my adult life, I've noticed that many peoples perception of "Today's South" is less than flattering, but I disagree. I love the south and feel quite at home there.

But anyway, Grooms Cakes started down there.

Legend dictates that southern men felt it was emasculating to be seen in the presence of white-fluffy-floral delicacies.

So in turn, these gentlemen put together a "Guy's Cake".

Tradtionally, the requirements of what makes up an authentic grooms cake is simple.

It needs to be brown -

It needs to have booze -

Simple enough huh?

I have a recipe that I have been making for family members, and people who reside on the inner circle of KleckoNation and it's primary ingredients are.......

Black Strap Molasses

Cayenne Pepper

Black Pepper

Walnuts

Butter Milk

Jack Daniels Whiskey

This is it. This is what a guys guy wants.

It's funny because I've talked to my women friends who know more (much more) about conventional cake baking, and every-single-one of them are so intrigued by the Groom's Cake concept, and it's so cute....LOL

Hennessy thinks it should be rum-mango-jalepeno, and Ode swears to the Almighty that there should be some precious little fruit chunks...perhaps apricot.

LOL-LOL, I love girls....they crack me up.

I shouldn't lovingly pick on my friends though, I've done a lot of internet research on this topic and some very large concepts are getting it wrong too.

Recently I went on the web site of one of the highest end grocery store / bakeries in my state and they were offering up all kinds of "Foppish" flavor combonations.

I think the most masculine one I could find was Chocolate-Cherry...EWWWWW.

Another mistake that is common, is that many commercial bakers will offer a version that is akin to your typical Charles Dickens Fruit Cake.

This couldn't be farther from what originated from the south.

In their eyes, maybe the only thing worse than making a "Yankee Cake" might be to serve a "Brit Cake"

When Klecko makes a Groom's Cake, it simply isn't open to negotiation.

It is what it is, and that's that.

"But Klecko, my husband is allergic to walnuts and can't have them." or "My fiancee is in a 12 step program so the Jack Daniels isn't going to work."

I really don't want to offend, but that's when I send them to my competitors because.....

Grooms Cake is the one time when Klecko will freely admit that unlike the Christ....I can't be all things to all men. In fact...that's kinda the point. I have in my mind developed the Mona Lisa of all Groom Cake recipes.

What if Da Vinci had been constanly interupted by his admirers with......

"Can you please paint Madame Lisa with a scowl, or devil horns?"

Uncool huh?

women, if you really love your man, than let a man bake that sacred cake the way it was intended to be developed!

According to Groom's Cake lore, when the cake is picked up (90% of the time a woman from the wedding party will get it)after the groom eats a slice, the remainder is to be parceled of in small pieces (perhaps placed in plastic clamshell or wax envelopes) and sent home with unmarried female wedding guests.

When the women gets home, she is supposed to place the cake under her pillow and some kind of Love Fairy or Sprite Trickster is supposed to plug her into the man of her dreams.

I've never been all that fond on forcing men on women...whose kidding who?

The fairer species is better off without us huh?

But all kidding aside, I like to have one area, one arena of baking that can't be jerked with, or negotiated over.

When Klecko puts together a Grooms Cake recipe, I simply wonder what James Garner or Steve McQueen would want.

It's that simple.....

Then I go and bake it. Most of the orders come in the spring and summer months, so often times I like to put the Twins game on while the cake is in the oven....call me goofy, but I think if that grooms cake can be attached to a baseball game, i'm just putting an additional jewel in the grooms crown.

When the cake is baked and cooled off, I simply wrap it in butchers paper, tape it shut, and scribble the following with a permanent marker........

GROOM'S CAKE

MADE FOR A MAN

BY A MAN

Who knows, for some guys.......this cake may be the only masculine influence that will participate in their wedding.

Spring is just around the corner kids......lets get those cakes ordered today!



Sunday, February 26, 2012

Chow Mein & Tears

Of all the people I have baked with throughout my entire life, nobody-nobody-nobody has made this craft more enjoyable than the Widow Lundeen.

During the 5 or 6 years that we hung out together, I'd be willing to bet that a couple hundred bottles of wine were emptied, ten digits worth of scones were made, and over 100 religious trinkets were handed over to me as a sign of gratitude.

The widow was on a fixed budget, and I'd often get nervous that she was spending money on me that she didn't have. One night she stopped by my house unexpected and as I opened the door...she was holding a huge portrait of Pope Leo the XIV or XVth....I don't quite remember, but it was framed in a gaudy gold plastic frame that gave one the sense that it may have been purchased at the Vatican gift shop around a 1/2 a century ago.

"Widow Lundeen" I smiled "You can't go around wasting your cash on these beautiful trinkets. This sure is lovely, but not enough where I'll be able to enjoy it if I think that you might be siting at home eating cat food for a week."

The Widow just grinned, then stood silent w/o crossing the threshold into my house....and finally issued a confession that I couldn't tell if it was sincere or complete bull**** ....

"Who said I paid anything for this. Nobody ever expects that an old woman would steal objects related to Christ."

At that point she didn't stick around to see my response. Instead she just stormed past me, headed straight for the kitchen, and parked herself on whichever wooden chair sat closest to my wine rack.

Throughout our friendship, I experienced joy like I have never felt with anybody else.

I'm not saying it was better or worse, but it was different because everyday I hung out with the Widow, it was like God was smiling or something, because just like a Disney movie or a religious postcard from the 1950's the sun was always shining, and our dispositions were pristine.

It is my most sincere belief that providence had brought us together.

But....But, every story like this usually has a "But" huh?

Every time we popped a cork, or pulled something from the oven.....there was always a 50 pound weight of trepidation on my heart.

As our friendship grew, and I received the privilege of meeting the members of her family, I realized that her life's journey came attached with some peculiar intangibles, starting with her deceased husband.

Very seldom would the Widow bring him up, but one evening after pouring a few bottles of Chianti out by her garden, I asked what the Father of her children was like. Her response was shocking, because a couple things that you need to know about the widow (and I mean this quite respectfully) is that she looked like, and talked liked the stereotypical "Old Lady".

She always wore modest-floral pattern dresses that were covered with long sleeve / pastel sweaters, and much like the "Old Women" that frequent church basements across the globe....foul speak was never an option in terms of her vocabulary.......

"He was an evil sadistic bastard!" she blurted out "And it should come as no surprise to anybody that knew him that he would take his own life.....he was crazy!"

So there was an anger there the came to the surface with the same speed that helium baloons hit the clouds when released on windy days.

The Widow continued........

"The thing that terrifies me the most is that my children have half of their DNA coming from his bloodline......and that is a concern to me."

I won't comment on the Widow's only son. I've met him several times, and I sure did like him, but I just don't know him well enough to add to this story.

The oldest daughter, whose name escapes me...maybe because it appears that it is too hard for the remaining family to speak about her, died of a drug overdose several years back.

As all of you know, people deal with grieving in different manners, but sometimes I think how we grieve may be affected by how our love ones are lost.

Some people choose to bring drama into their life, but other folks (like the Widows eldest) simply inherit it.

Then there's one more kid in the family, her name in Nico, and I'll bet she's about 10 to 12 years younger than me.

Like her sister, she pursued a life of punk rock-art.....and heroin.

It hasn't been pretty, Nico "Fell Off the Horse" pretty hard and has spent the last 5 years doing everything in her power to stay clean. In addition to making daily visits to the methadone clinic, she talks to a therapist and doesn't ask a single thing from this world.

Nico just strives to stay clean and smile once or twice a day, but all the chemistry that lives within her body wears her out, and often times when I've had conversations with her, she'll nod out in mid sentence.

The whole Lundeen Clan started off in Manhattan, so on several occasions Nico would call me last minute to say that her and the Widow had found reasonable air fare and the 2 of them would head out to NYC if only they could find somebody to take care of her Pomeranian Quee - Queg.

As much as I hate not sleeping at my house, I'd often times agree to pack a bag and move into the Widows estate (Nico and the Widow live together)where I would spend 10 to 12 days with a dog that pissed on more hydrants,fence posts and telephones poles in the history of the entire K9 pissing nation.

I most certainly wouldn't provide this service for anybody else, but for Nico....I didn't mind it because she is like a little sister to me.

Well......now enters the boy, a guy Nico's age named Matt.

Matt is a good looking guy, maybe 5' 9" 170 pounds with long brown hair (not hippie length, but Brad Pitt length) and he is shy, sweet and madly in love with Nico.

Now I usually don't describe any guy as sweet, but Matt is, and that's that.

He's lived in NYC his entire life and like many people is struggling with issues of his own.

The Widow explained to me that he suffers from level 10 O.C.D., ya know....to the point where he can burn through a bar of soap in one visit to the bathroom.

But when he and Nico get together......Sweet Polish Christ, it's about as sweet as a fuzzy bunny and a happy duckling falling in love.

However.....there disabilities have isolated them from the world.

To make matters worse, from the time I first met the Widow Lundeen until today, she has suffered from memory loss, dementia, Alzheimer's....something like that, so for the last few years.....

Poor Nico would do her best to take care of her, but then she would crash (or worse yet...relapse with "stuff") and the failing minded Widow would almost instinctively care for her offspring.

Sometimes in life evidence smacks us in the face. For me.....the Catholic in me, the "Born Again" in me, or whatever strands of compassion that God weaves into our heart.....all of these features wanted to find absolute resolution for this situation.

Over the years, every time we got together and celebrated life....in the back of the mind I felt as if I knew the outcome even before it was played out, ya know, it was liking kicking it with Romeo and Juliet during chapter 4 of their romance.......you know the conclusion, but do they?

So lets get to now.

Not to long ago the Widow lost the remaining mental faculties that one needs to be able to exist in the world w/o supervision.

People got together, choices had to be made, and the Widow was taken to a convalescent home to live out the remainder of her years.

As much as I love this family, I decided to back off and let them decide how things were to be worked out. In addition to her children, the Widow also has sisters in state, and that's that.

I was told that Matt was flying in from NYC and moving in with Nico, but what next......I'm guessing that the Widow stock piled massive debt, surely the house would be going into foreclosure...but who knows?

Well, I called Nico for the first time in months last week, but Matt picked up her phone.

He informed me that she was in treatment and the sheriff had served papers and the 2 of them will have to be out by July.

Klecko sat speechless, the day I had always dreaded had transpired and I felt helpless.

I so badly wanted to cushion the impact of Matt and Nico.

It's bad enough that she has to remain in a place where all she can do is pray that her med's will get balanced, but then you have Matt, a guy who knows virtually nobody in this city, sitting alone in a run down house, without any resources trying to concoct an idea that will bring even the slightest amount of security to the woman he loves more than himself.

"Dude....this sucks" I said in a soft voice "How bout I swing by tomorrow night and take you out for some chow mein?"

It was agreed upon.

So when I showed up, I just kinda let myself into the house, Nico's new puppy-Pom named Deedle (after my Chihuahua) bumrushes me licking my ankles until Matt enters the kitchen walking off balanced and zombie like.

From the look in his eyes, I can tell he is nothing more than freaked out, overwhelmed, despondent, terrified and probably 1000 other adjectives as well.

Their home has become a series of piles that are beginning to take over the interior of every room in the house.

Matt grabs a hoodie and the 2 of us jump into the bread truck.

As I pull away, neither one of us has thought of anything to say, but there still are some noises taking place.

First off, my companion hasn't buckled his seat belt, and as I'm driving down West 7th, my little breadtruck-seatbelt alarm is blaring........

BEEP-BEEP-BEEP-BEEP-BEEP.

I've never had a passenger push these boundaries of seat belt non compliance before, and I begin to wonder if the alarm would eventually realize it's just wasting sound. My passengers eyes are glazed over, but he's staring straight ahead.....I think he hears the alarm but simply might be using this medium to alert me that he just doesn't much care about much.

So we drive down the street, past the steak house, past the brewery, and then finally up to the door of Golden Chow Mein where I pull over.

As I unbuckle my seat belt and move my left hand towards the door handle....Matt spoke......

"Is that Lou Reed's "Magic & Loss" playing?"

I answered "Yes" and explained how for the last several months I've only been listening to Lou Reed and Velvet Underground CD's, and then I began to open all the honey holes a bread truck provides and within seconds Matt had a pile of Discs about a foot tall sitting on his lap.

CLICK..........CLICK..........CLICK............CLICK

He slowly examined each and everyone of them and gave a running commentary as to how each one of these projects placed on his personal rank list.

Now a smile began to form, it was just a momentary reprieve from all the stress he'd been dealing with, but reprieve none the less.....

"You know, I don't have my record collection anymore. Its good to see these. I saw Lou in concert, but that was about 10 years ago."

Then Matt stopped and gave the "Blue Mask" C.D. a double take while commenting......

"I'm not sure I know this disc....do I?" he asked himself.

I chimed in that it is not only the worst Lou Reed disc ever, but simply one of the worst discs ever!

For the first time Matt laughed out loud...."Yeah, he sure can record some great throw away songs huh?"

So we go in, I order chicken almond ding, and my guest decides to get some tofu low mein that Nico had recommended to him in the past.

There's a huge billboard sized menu on the wall of the dining room of where we were eating, Matt's giving it the once over, he still seems lethargic, but at least he's had a few reasons to smile tonight.

"I've never had chow mein in my life, can you imagine that? he boasted without boasting. So I ordered a "To Go" order so we could cross that off his bucket list.

And while our food was being prepared Matt began to explain the rules of where Nico was getting treatment, and how her cut loose date was scheduled for a week from then, but he was hoping the goverment might show mercy and extend her stay until there was a little more certainty that her chemistry had been leveled off.

We discussed the house being taken away. We discussed the fact that the Widow Lundell still has a matted 19 or 20 year old cat living at her home, and how if and when he and Nico move together it would be an added pressure to find a place where an untrained - yappy Pomeranian would be tolerated.

These were all key components that will affect the mindset of his girlfriend, so as he throws these options out into the air, I get it.....he's simply talking out loud, hoping maybe some karma-angel will be flying by, and who knows? Karma angels have been known to volunteer for lost causes before right?

As I drove Matt back to the Widow's estate, it was agreed upon that I would join him on the next evening that Nico was allowed to have visitors.

As we pulled in front of the house, he thanked me profusely, grabbed his Chinese doggy bag and prepared to hop out.

Forcefully I grabbed his arm and said......

"Aren't you forgetting something?"

He look puzzled and I pulled Lou Reed's "Blue Mask" CD off the dashboard and handed it to him.

Once again....there was a smile.

"Ah Klecko, I can't take your Lou Reed CD."

Then I began to laugh and replied....."After you hear the track called THE DAY JOHN KENNEDY DIED you'll trudge through snow banks to make me take that thing back."

We both shared one last laugh, and I thought to myself.....how bizarre, this guy is in the midst of his life, and his girlfriends life free falling. Everything is falling apart at the seams, and logic would dictate that this story might not conclude with a butter fly kisses and monkey hugs ending, but even with that said....when people try to survive, sometimes it's the strangest things that will keep them afloat.

Things like Chow Mein and Lou Reed.

Polish Christ......Please Hear Our Prayers.












Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Irish Soda Bread Recipes (McGleno Version)

OK.....let's get to it.



We are less than a month away from Saint Patricks day and I'll bet you a dollar to a monkey, that in 2 weeks time, The Last American Baker will get flooded with questions from his L.A.B. Rats concerning soda bread.



First off, yeah-yeah-yeah, I get it.....The Irish traditionalist's will discredit me since I add caraway seed to my recipe, and therefore it loses it's "pure" classification, but I'd rather have the people at my table enjoy flavor more than history.



With that said, Irish Soda bread spreads fear into bakers, professionally or home enthusiests alike.



Why?



Its a technology that is employed seldom by cooks and bakers.



So for most of us, once a year we pull out Granny McGleno's recipe and do our best to remember how we made this sacred delight in the previous years.



The actual ingredient list for soda bread is pretty basic, and to be honest, it only takes minutes to mix up a batch and toss them in the oven.




That's why I always encourage my true Mick friends and relitives to push out a batch towards the end of February so they won't have to serve guinea pig loaves on the sacred day.




The "McGleno Version" is as follows...........




1 pound of white flour (the higher the protien level the better)
1 teaspoon b-soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 handful of caraway seed
12-13 ounces buttermilk (depending on the kitchen/flours humidity)
4 ounces (or 1 big dollop) of whipped cream



HOW TO MAKE?




Start off by preheating your oven to 425 degrees. (Some peeps swear by 400)



While the oven is heating up, put the dry ingredients into the bowl first, then add the whipped cream, and then add the buttermilk in increments.



You don't want to overmix this recipe, just incorperate the ingredients until they come together.



When the dough is mixed to your satisfaction, scale it into 4 somewhat equal pieces.



When that is done, round 3 of them up, push down a bit, and then score the top with a fairly deep "X".



By cutting the crumbwall, you'll be expending the gas.



This is good, because if you don't cut it, the energy will push upward, and your crumbwall will pull away from the base.



Bottom Line, if you don't score soda bread....the final piece will look like a mushroom or a "personal part" of the male anatomy.



Now with the 4th piece, divide that one into 2 equal pieces. These little guys are going to serve as sacrificial lambs.



Doing the loaf thumping method, to find out if your peice is done is alot harder with soda bread than most yeast breads.



How many times did that stupid "THUMP-THUMP" lie to me, forcing me to sit in the "Humiliation Room" where all the Saints from Gods favorite island mocked me because there were multiple gum limes throughout my soda bread interior.



Are you getting it yet?



Those 2 little rounds are going to be guide posts,that way you don't have to be totally ignorant when removing the bread from the oven.



But note that if you follow these instructions, your 3 main pieces are going to weigh off at around 8 ounces (pre bake).



This is good, once you start getting into 1 1/2 - 2 pound loaves......WOW, the ability to understand your interior grows 10 fold.



It wouldn't be all that hard to form a "Union" with this process, but like I said.....most peeps make this bread once or twice a year.



As a pro baker, and as an Irish-Pollack.....I'd love to lie and tell you I can make this stuff in my sleep, but then you'd get discouraged when you muffed this up because I gave you false hope.



This bread takes practice....and then a little more.



So in closing......yeah baby, this bread is worth the extra hassle.



I wouldn't want to eat it everyday, but on those special occasions.....it is like manna from the angels.





God bless the Irish -

Monday, February 20, 2012

Tattoo's,Corndogs and the 10 most popular Wedding Cake Flavors

When its birthdays, baptisms and weddings.......nobody has as many friends as the village baker.

Of all the events that take place in ones life, it appears to me that nothing can throw a level headed person off of center as quick as a good old fashion wedding.

Weddings have been taking place since the begining of time so you'd think that peeps would have a handle on them by now.....NOT!

Wanna extract every ounce of neurosis out of a family member?????

Plan a wedding.

Wanna spend money that you don't have?????????

Plan a wedding.

Weddings don't discriminate either.......

Rich Man - Poor Man, doesn't matter......when it's time to say "I Do", people go mad, even the coolest kids on the block.

Not to long ago, I was at the tattoo shop getting some ink pumped into my flesh, when out of the blue, my tat-man Jason announced that he was going to get married.

I smiled and was happy for him, his girlfriend is really nice, and I'm gonna predict that these two kids will have a wonderful future together.

With that said.....when I looked at my boy, I could sense some trepidation.

"Whats up daddio?" I asked "Are you getting a little nervous?"

Tat-Man reminded me not to upset him, after all he had a drill full of ink that was capable of leaving perminant reminders.

Jason continued...

"Nah, it's just that she wants to have a circus wedding. She wants it to be outdoors, with a band, but she really has her heart set on corn dogs, cotton candy and traditional fare....dude, my budget is pathetically small."

Now Jason gives me a "I know it will work out no matter what smile" and then announced...

"Do you know how much it cost to rent a portable Port A Potty? I had to rent the truck version. The cheapest one was $1000, but that one was booked on our date, so I got pressured into getting the $1200 version.

Its like I'll have to **** at least 4 times that day if I want to feel like I got my money's worth?"

Then we got into cakes, wedding cakes that is.

I asked if he was thinking outside of the box on this topic. The tattoo gun coincidentially had more pressure applied to it at that point LOL.......

"I'm NOT thinking at all brah....I'm reacting, but to be honest, nah, I don't think she's got any specific plans for that. what are the most traditional flavors?"

I get that a lot, people desiring expert advice on a topic that I can only speculate about at best.

When your heart is having difficulty, do you go the podiatrist, just because he / she has a M.D. after their name?

As we finished up our appointment, I assured my friend that I would talk to some of my peeps and get some ideas together for his wife.

Whenever I look to fill trends I start with a national perspective and after get that information tucked away.. then I place it next to a more regional list of whats hot, and then proceed from there.

Just for kicks, I did a Google search on "Top 10 Wedding Cake Flavors" and the results were interesting. I read one column...a posting which had receaved a ton of traffic, and it listed the following as top 10 most requested cake combo's.......

10. Chocolate-almond cake, chocolate ganache, and mocha buttercream

9. Banana cake and chocolate buttercream

8. Coconut cake and lime buttercream

7. Hazelnut-almond cake, chocolate ganache, and raspberries

6. White cake, lemon buttercream, and raspberries

5. Chocolate devil’s food cake, chocolate ganache, and praline buttercream

4. Lemon cake, lemon curd, and vanilla buttercream

3. Yellow butter cake and chocolate buttercream and/or chocolate ganache

2. Chocolate devil’s food cake, vanilla buttercream, and raspberries

1. Chocolate devil’s food cake and vanilla buttercream

These selections seemed in line, but afterall....what do I know? I'm pretty much a bread guy.

But thank God this baker is an anal Pollack, because I decided to cross check this list against others, and when I did....guess what I discovered?

The site which listed these as trends in 2011, actually took this list from the NEW YORK WEDDING GUIDE listing of 2005.

Word for word.

So in addition to vamping somebody elses data, and not giving props to the original host....this current host didn't tell you that they were peddling fads that were 7 years old!

O-M-G....I don't suppose much has changed in 7 years huh? Why not put pictures of George W or Pokeman on the flippen cake????

People, I do-do my best to entertain you guys, but occasionally I do like to impart a little wisdom.

How many times have you heard me say "Recipes are not meant to be followed to enth degree, they are merely guidelines?"

Well I'd also like to add on to that with.....

"Never put your comeplete trust in recipes or advice that you get from the internet!"

I don't want to sound like a hater, of course I use the internet for assistance, all I'm saying is there is so many pitfalls that can derail your project, so proceed with caution.

With that said, let me leave you with some ideas from a Blog entitled "Wedding Planning Tips."

This was their posting for the most unconventional wedding cake flavors that still work.

"There are several wedding and reception cake essence ideas which are purely refreshing in relation to taste. Are you currently prepared to taste them? Here we go

Chocolate Mint

In circumstance both of you just really like the chocolate-mint flavored ice-cream then you definately are specific to love this flavor as very well. When you are unaware about its taste then in your data it taste someplace such as the Woman Scout cookies.

Orange Creamsicle

You might have cherished numerous instances tasting the orange creamsicle pops as the baby. What about which include precisely the same taste in your ceremony cake? A wonderful option with the spring/summer wedding that becomes each of the a lot more appetizing together with the addition of product cheese or vanilla frosting. What helps make this exceptional flavour will be the refreshing orange juice in addition the orange rind.

Cherry Chip

Among the wedding and reception cake flavors that’s again incredibly yummy for the spring/summer weddings. It truly is nothing at all than a concoction of vanilla cake and cherry chips. An awesome 1 which is well-known for doing nicely together with the buttercream filling and frosting.

Nutella Marriage Ceremony Cake

Earlier than heading ahead further together with the information about it, its time to know much more about nutella. Nicely if you’re mindful nicely and great. And if not then it is a delectable chocolate-hazelnut spread that may be utilised in many means to add taste to any sandwich thereby transforming to not lesser than a dessert. So when you like its flavoring it can be gonna mesmerize you un-conditionally.

Raspberry Cheesecake

It really is on the list of delicious abnormal marriage ceremony cake flavors that can be selected by those who just cannot manage to defy traditions entirely. Because the couples for prolonged have been generating the selection of the cheesecake as a wedding centerpiece but if you’d like to have one more story then this really is what to take a look at.

Mexican Dark Chocolate

It’s the cake that may be identified for being moist and comprising of 3 kinds of chocolates having a dash of cinnamon and smooth-milk dark chocolate frosting. A must-consider for those who need to spice up their reception aided by the spicy wedding cake.

Tiramisu

It is one of many good Italian desserts that is exceptional because of its out of your ordinary wedding and reception cake flavoring strategies. In truth a lot of people immediately after tasting it really do not seem to appear away from its magic for prolonged. So in circumstances the flavor just appeals for you why really do not you infuse espresso into cake?

Apple Caramel

If the candied apples charm to you then what about the apple caramel flavor cake? Once again a various one that is positive to please you as possibly.

Dulce de leche

The time period that signifies the “sweet of milk” is one of the broadly popular flavors within the America that’s only a sort of treat for the many caramel lovers all more than the planet. Guess what exactly the same flavored cake was opted by Jenna Bush at her nuptials. Do you nevertheless need testimonials because of its fondness from us?

Dark chocolate Cappuccino

An excellent alternative for each of the coffee lovers and trust us you might be really appreciated for creating the selection of this one particular.

At final earlier than winding up we wish to emphasize that you can find outside of the shadow of doubt many wedding cake flavor suggestions for consideration. But when it comes to decide on the a person that is extremely peculiar and distinct the strange wedding cake flavors are what deserve your attention.

Having said that just before doing the selection of 1 taste, be sure that it need to not simply enchantment to the style buds of yours but the company as nicely. Following all wedding and reception reception is all about getting the friends as the married couple so how can you be so indifferent to their likings and disliking. Consequently doubtlessly the above talked about flavours are peculiar yet it will probably be far better in case you examine it earlier than finalizing the one particular.

Even when you arent able to acquire consensus regarding any one particular sort then to be able to be around the safer facet you may possess the two flavored cake. A single with the favored a person for your guests while the uncommon one as a wedding centerpiece adopted by cutting it at the very first marriage ceremony anniversary. What say?"

OK L.A.B. Rats.......as usual, I'm always interested in hearing your take on styles and trends. If you get a free sec.....tell me about the cake you served on your wedding day.

I hope it wasn't the Nutella....LOL

Klecko

Friday, February 17, 2012

Anchovies & Love

So its Valentines night, I'm sitting in this high brow Italian Ristorante with Sue McGleno.

Who's kidding who....in the world of romance, is there anyplace sexier than an Italian joint?

I love the white linen table cloths, and if made properly...there is no better food on God's planet.

The only downside to dining Italian is they always seat you at those little cafe tables, and more often than not....they cram those suckers together.

As we sit down, I pulled a bent up envelope out from under my jacket, slice the end open with a box cutter, and then "plop" it on my dates side of the table.

Sue McGleno is curious.

She looks at the package, then at me....and then she carefully slides the contents out of the envelope and onto the table.

Its a small white box that boasts...... GOOD WOOD NYC.

So then she removed the lid and sees two beaded bracelets, one black and one pink. They both have a wooden hearts that bares our initials "S&K" and on the flip side is the date "2-14-12".

Nothing says "I LOVE YOU" quite like Hip Hop jewelry huh?

My next step was to have both of us put our trinkets on so I could take a photo with my Droid, and then declare my love universally with some assistance from Facebook.

But the lovefest got put on hold because "Kate" our server interupted and asked if either of us would like to start with a Caesar salad, when I answered in the affirmitive....I was asked the obligitory follow up question.....

"Are you going to want anchovies on that?"

But before I even responded, Kate actually lowered her arm, the one holding the order ticket. It was as if she was certain I would answer "No!"

But I didn't, Klecko loves the Anchovy.

So now I ask how often people go with the anchovy option, and she said about 20% of the time.

Her response was pretty consistant with the the replies I've fetched from the plethra of servers that have sqauwked salads with me in the past.

Typically the answer I most often hear is 25%.

Although the anchovy has been around forever, sometimes Americans forget that in their country....to them its a relitively new food source.

Ever since the Nina - Pinta and Santa Maria were trolling the United States coast line......Sardines were the fish staple of choice.

As this fledgling country grew, and embraced the industrial revolution...canned sardines were simply everywhere.

Why wouldn't my forefathers embrace this option?

Each resident of the Roman Empire used Anchovies every day in a fermented fish sauce (was it called Garum?) or the higher up muckity-mucks simply ate them raw in hopes that it would act as an aphrodisiac.

When you eat anchovies raw, fresh out of the ocean....they actually don't have a super intense taste. That comes from how it is handled, or preserved.

If you weren't aware, the anchovy family has as much diversity as humans, or dog breeds....they simply are not all the same.

In Russia, I think they call them Napoleon Anchovies because they are 9 inches long, and if you share a little vodka with a comrade...often times you will hear a remark like.....

"Yes, this Anchovy may in fact be an inch or 2 taller than Napoleon himself."

At that point it is polite to laugh...and then pour another shot.

Another thing about the Russian's that make them cool is that they smoke their anchovies....yum.

The English and Americans however soak theirs in a white vinegar, brine like thing, and that's what gives it such a powerful flavor that can viewed as contreversial to the palate.

But I'm regressing again, like I was saying...the sardine was the big deal in America for a long time, but after the industrial revolution and in the midst of WW2 (a time when canned foods hit an all time high)...the sardine numbers just about vanished.

Some science experts said the species were over fished, while other bright minds said that the Sardine lost a turf war to the Northern Anchovy.

So I'm guessing thats why when I was a kid, growing up in the 60's...anchovies were such a "Buzz Ingredient."

It was replacing a staple that had been deposed.

Anchovies share the same Yahtzee cup with other foods like Vegemite or Cilantro, foods where you simply are not allowed a neutral opinion, you either love them or hate them.....end of discussion.

With that said......I'm going to leave you with a recipe for the quintessential Caesar Salad.

I found it on all reicpes.com and props should be given I guess to Karen Weir....at least her name is next to it, but this is pretty much just how I'd throw this bad boy together.

6 cloves garlic (peeled)
3/4 cup mayonnaise
5 anchovy fillets (minced)
6 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Dijon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
pinch / salt
black pepper / ground to taste
1/4 cup olive oil
4 cups of day old bread / cubed
1 head romaine lettuce, torn into bite size pieces

Directions -

Mince 3 cloves of garlic, and combine in a bowl with mayo, anchovies, 2 tablespoon of parmesan and worcestershire sauce, mustard, lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper, put in fridge until ready to use.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat, cut the remaining 3 cloves of garlic into 1/4's and add hot oil. cook and stir until brown and then remove garlic from the pan. Add bread cubes to hot oil. Cook...turning frequently, until lightly browned, remove bread cubes from oil, and season with salt and pepper.

Place lettuce in a large bowl, toss with dressing, remaining parmesan cheese and seasoned bread cubes.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's - Bleeding Bread and Holocausts

Tonight's the night......Valentine's, and of all the romantic holidays (New Year's Eve, Wedding Anniversary and this Cupid Day)this may be my favorite.

Over the course of a year, I'll give Sue McGleno dozens of reasons to hate me, but so much of that can be rectified over the course of this one evening.

Another reason Valentine's is such a great holiday is because religous standards cannot be applied to it.

Love is a universal theme that can be shared on any part of the planet.

Being that I come from Catholic roots, and Sue McGleno grew up Jewish. It has always made certain holidays kinda weird for me.

Sure, Sue McGleno has befriended the Polish Christ, but with that said....you are what you are.

Zebra's look stupid with spots....its an unwritten rule od nature.

Sometimes when you tell people of your own faith, that you don't agree with their doctrine, they will shun you, or at best....remove you from their "fast lane", but none the less, my wife was molded in many ways by a group of people that followed customs that I am ignorant to.

With that said, Sue McGleno is proud of her Jewish hertitage, and because this makes her proud....I am in the Hebrew nations debt.

Often times when we think about the persecution of the Jews, we think back to the Holocaust during the 2nd World War, but if you study food, or more specifically bread, you know that the Jews have been under heavy persecution long before that.

During the Middle Ages countless Jews were annilhated by the Christians for corrupting their Holy Eucharist.

These "Holy" wafers were often times made with grains that still contained bran that hadn't been stripped of its germ.

As these wafers sat in piles (often times in dank conditions) the grain became rancid.

When that happened, a red gelatinous goo would ooze forth. Being that the Christians held true that this bread product was the Christ incarnate, it was just kinda supposed that the red goo was blood.

Somebody had to be stabbing the eucharist, some evil force was doing blasphemous deeds to the holy host......well you know what they say...

"A protagonist is only as good as their antagonist makes them."

And for years nobody had filled the role of "Bad Guy" quite like the Jews.

As a free thinking God Squad guy, I gotta tell ya that the thing that scares the Bejesus out of me is when mysticism is placed a mile ahead of science.

Before long, there was a psycologic epidemic that seized the world.

In 1253, there was a town called Beelitz (just outside of Berlin) where the entire Jewish community was burned alive. This happened again, for pretty much the same reason in Paris around 1290.

Why? Because some bread became rancid.

Eight years later.....genocide occured once again Korneuburg (a suburb of Vienna)for the identical reason.

Burnings, burnings, burnings one after another. The atrocities that the 3rd Reich employeed were nothing new....

Ratisbon
Cracow
Gustrow
Deggendorf
Posen
Prague
Breslau
Segovia

All these cities were sites where unthinkable torture took place.

Because of our recent history, often times its just the Germans who have been viewed as having contempt for the Jews, but even my own Pollack Nation contributed to a list of horrific acts that I'm to ashamed to list.

When terror came to Warsaw, the Polish Sovereign - Casmir said that there was no such thing as a "Bleeding Wafer" but his clergy and people screamed out......

"Torture and the Stake!"

Have you ever been around politicians?

If so, you shouldn't be too suprised that Casmir did his best Pontious Pilate impression while the Pollacks soiled their cobblestones with blood as well.

Food never changes my friends -

Religion never changes either, and why is that?

Because people never change.

Often times we move forward a step, but then 9 out of 10 times this is followed by moving 2 steps backwards.

So maybe that's why its a good idea, if only one night a year....that you understand that not only is the world flawed, but maybe you are too.

And if you have been blessed enough to have a companion that has stood by your side, and declared their love for you publically.......

I think that may be a the greatest reason of all to celebrate.

My name is Danny Klecko....and I love a Jew.

Have a great night my little Valentines.

Klecko

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Mostest Romantic Moment Was...

"Klecko,you make a big deal out of Valentine's right? Have you had one specific incident that was more romantic than the others?"

R.S. Waco / TX

Yes R.S., I have stated it in several different posts. The 3 most important days of the year are those which I refer to as "The Romantic Holidays."

Wedding Anniversary, New Year's and Valentines are the 3 days in which a man can raise the trust and love levels in his relationship with his wife or girl friend.

I remember years ago, when I was a young man, I remember one particular February when I was quite depressed.

I really-really used to work very hard, physically that is. I'd work 60 hours a week, but after paying my bills, I had something like $318 left in my checking account.

Don't get me wrong, I was grateful that I was able to support my then Live in Love interest Sue McGleno while she was going to nursing school, but I was so-so-so in love with her and I secretly wished I could take her to France so I good drink Champagne with her,eat cafe bread with her, walk with her on cobblestone and buy her Parisian underwear.

But planning romance on 300 bucks is like pushing a camel through the eye of a needle.

So Klecko was quiet.

For days I pouted.

People wondered what had made my usual demeanor shift so dramatically, but I wouldn't tell them.

But I did come up with a plan. I guess you could call it "Love on a shoestring budget".

I went out, bought her a gift, and was determined to give it to her first thing on Valentines morning.

So the big day finally came and I ran down to the basement to fetch the present which I had hidden carefully, and then I ran back upstairs and paused in the doorway of our bedroom.

Sue McGleno was laying stretched out across the bed with a look of abject joy on her face.

Over the years I have known this woman to love many things, but Sue McGleno is never fully in her "True Element" unless she is asleep.

It was a very bright morning, and the sun slammed hard against the frosty window on the north side of the bedroom. So in a way, these rays of muted sun formed a mystical kind of spotlight that bounced off of Sue McGleno's face.

I remember I just stood there holding my gift and watching her sleep.

In a way, I kind of felt ashamed that I felt I needed to depend on the French (or any other romantic venue for that matter) to define our love.

Then, as if angels whispered in her ears.....her eyes slowly opened and I could tell she was trying to focus her vision to the brightness.

One......Two......Three.......her eyes made the nessasary adjustments, and when she saw me, and what I was holding, she shifted her body into a more comfortable position and just smiled....and refused to speak.

There in the doorway stood this big Pollack lout, holding a large cage which contained a canary that I had taken the liberty of naming Cecil.

I really don't know how much time passed....20 seconds, 15 minutes?

But I think both of us were afraid to talk, because if we did, words would have completly deflated the moment.

Does that make sense?

Then......then my boy Cecil began to sing, and I will tell you in the presence of the Saint's that it was the most glorius sound I had ever heard.

At this point I set the cage on top of the dresser and closed the bedroom door because Jeter the cat was lurking about.

when I turned my attention back to Sue McGleno, she had a soft tear rolling down her cheek.

So that's when I crawled into bed with her and the both of us just laid there and fixated on a singing canary.

Years have passed since then, and I have been blessed to take my wife to different parts of the globe, but truth be told......Paris is really just buildings-people and food.

But if theres one thing I've learned in my lifetime, nothing is quite as special as when greatness visits you.

Valentines is around the corner peeps, get busy.