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Monday, April 22, 2013

EPISODE - LAST

While most of you did what you do, during this last weekend......

Klecko crossed the wasted plains of Iowa...............

To get to Nebraska -

To visit his daughter -

And her husband -

Not to mention my granddaughter -

But truth be told, the main reason I made this trip was to dump off a Tonka Dump Truck to my newborn grandson -

Bennett Daniel !

Some people suggested that i would like this kid more than my granddaughter, just because he was a boy.

I considered this (wisdom?) some what stupid and unwarranted, but after sitting with my namesake, I think what those people were saying is not so much that I would love him more.....but perhaps I would understand him more.

They may be right.

I am married to a woman that I have known most of my life, what is she....45?

Dude, I still don't have a clue what is in that head of hers....LOL, but Benny-D, I so get that kid.

It's hard to be in the midst of a moment, a moment that tells you......"You are on the brink of greatness, you are staring directly into the face of God."

I don't mean that to come across sacrilegious, I get it. The kid will be human, faulted....and possibly high maintenance.

After all, he has me for a grandfather, and lives in Nebraska (insert laughter).

But I just sat there, my daughter and her family are busy preparing to sell their house, and i sat there.

I sat there holding Benny - D.

And i felt connected in a way that only a grandfather can feel when he holds his grandson.

Within seconds, this little babies life flashed before my eyes.

Within the editing room of my mind, the kid turns out great and has a wonderful life, but................

When you are 50, you know what the price of happiness is, and then I just sat there and enjoyed that kid and his pressed steel Tonka Dump truck for that fleeting moment.

It might sound weird......but I crossed some sort of finish line that second.

I think I'm done talking to you guys.

I think theres not much left more me to say.

Who knows? Perhaps in the future I will make a surprise post, but even that will be different.

The bottom line is I think baking has dropped several rungs.

I'll talk bread all day long if you want to send me a big paycheck, but I am not sure I want my free hours in this camp anymore.

I guess I must be going through the same phase Bilbo Baggins went through when he left the Shire to pursue adventure.

However.......I think I just want to write poems, discuss love and spend as much time with my family as possible.

It's been a wonderful ride, and thanks for all the input you crazy L.A.B. Rats have contributed.

I can't thank you enough.

If I've said it once.......

I love most of you.

Dannu Klecko - The Last American Baker

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Bread Mutiny / Seaweed Loaves (contains recipe)

It's already been established.....

When Klecko competes for the Senior Mr. Universe competition....and the emcee asks Klecko...

"If you had to live in a different period, future or past.....which would it be?"

The Last American Baker wouldn't even wince....

"I'd be a salt dog sailor. I'd sail the sea's on a Yankee Clipper."

Funny....the only 2 things I have pictured myself doing other than baking have been sailing and being a priest.

the only downside to my 2 other dream vocations is they don't encourage "close time" to women, and that would be awful.

Anyways, lets get back to the 7 Seas of Rye...so to speak.

Often times Klecko has infused ingredients from the "Orient"...so to speak in his bread and peeps from both the east and west seem to be intrigued.

We've baked with squid ink.....

We've baked with miso paste.......

We've baked with plum wine........

We've made nori loaves baking with sushi rice.........

Several years, many years ago while passing through Vegas for a bread show I picked up a couple of stellar books. One of which was.............

SPECIAL AND DECORATIVE BREADS

by

R. Bilhuex, A. Escoffier, D. Herve, and J.M. Pouradier

SEAWEED BREAD

50 grams of nori (seaweed)
5 pound 5 oz of AP Flour
2 pounds 3 oz starter
1 oz salt
1 oz yeast

Soak the nori in 3 liters (101 fluid oz's) for 10 minutes, then simmer for 15 minutes over moderate heat.

Cool the mixture, drain the nori and place it on a dry towel, and save the infused water.

Pull out 1.4 liter (47.5 fluid ounces) of nori water and moisten your dough.

In closing, whenever I make this version....I pop in a little wasabi powder....but you kids do what you like.

Ahoy Mates.....

Klecko

Thursday, April 4, 2013

French Women and Quick Breads

Last night I was talking to a French woman........

I truly wish I could start every Blog post off by saying that.

Anyways, I was actually on Facebook when I noticed my friend Yvonne had posted that she was so pleased that chocolate had returned to her diet.

She had given it up for lent.

I went on to explain to her that God was certainly glad that she didn't give up Scotch or bread....after all, we are not expected to turn savage are we?

Then I remembered how just a few hours earlier we had made chocolate truffles (thanks Hennessy) earlier that day at work.

So now Yvonne asks if I have the recipe, and I do...at work, but now as I am typing this, my mind flashes back to my last French "Girlfriend" named Vanessa.

Have you ever noticed French woman never have plain names like Beth or Sue?

I mean look....Yvonne - Vanessa

Vanessa - Yvonne --------------LOL.

Vanessa turned me on to maybe one of my top 5 recipes of all time, and i swore I had posted it to you Lab Rats earlier but.....................

The recipe is for a Banana - Chocolate / Curry - Pecan quick bread, and I swear to the Saint of Paris......this recipe is to die for.

So Yvonne, submitted to you is a gift that was bestowed unto me by a fellow French colleague.

I hope you enjoy this 1/2 as much as I do.........................

BANANA CHOCOLATE - CURRY PECAN

2/3 CUP AP FLOUR

2/3 CUP WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR

1 TSP B-SODA

1 TSP CINNAMON

1/2 TSP GROUND GINGER

1 TSP CURRY (this really depends on strength and preference)

4 OUNCES OIL

2/3 CUP GRANULATED SUGAR

2 LARGE BANANAS (RIPE AND MASHED)

2 EGGS

1 CUP CHOPPED PECAN

1 CUP CHOCOLATE CHUNKS

GLAZE (OPTIONAL)

1/2 CUP OF POWDERED SUGAR

3 TBSP OF LEMON JUICE

Klecko mixes together all the dry ingredients, and then he throws in the wet. I just "incorporate" the ingredients. I don't want to over mix this. It will create unwanted gluten.

Then I pour it into a foil form, usually 66%-75% full.

Then here is the bonus clue..........

Forget everything you have ever heard about quick bread baking temps. Most cookbooks advise you to bake at 325 or 350 degrees......Cretans I tell you.

Quick breads are best baked at 400 degrees for the first 8 to 10 minutes and then after that.....drop the oven temp to 350.

How long does it bake?

Until it's done.....ba-bum-bum......

But seriously, you can use a cake pin and poke the middle of the cake at or around the 40 minute mark (400 for 10 minutes and 350 for 30) if it pulls out wet....place it back in.

Also when a loaf is about to be done...you will notice it pulls away from the foils walls. Their will be a little gap.

OK enfants, c'est tout ce que j'ai le temps pour aujourd'hui, mais nous allons tous en mémoire ..... quand vous arrivez à parler avec une femme de la France, vous pouvez très bien parier qu'il va être une bonne journée.

Klecko est outta ici en trois-deux-un


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Watergate Cake Recipe (Worst Cake Ever)

If you are old enough to remember when President Nixon was impeached, you might remember that all king of "Watergate" recipes started to surface.

I was a kid (maybe 9) when Tricky Dick got the hook.

I remember it like it was yesterday.

I was spending the summer in Richardson, a suburb of Dallas Texas with my cousins.

My Aunt Jeanine (God Rest Her Soul) made some Watergate salad that had Pistachio's in it. I had never seen one up until that point.

I'm not certain what qualified a recipe as a Watergate recipe.....some have speculated it was any recipe with 5 ingredients.

I guess I could go onto Google.....but I hate when people do that, it's as if they are skipping the puberty of process.

The 70's were surreal.

At least in the 60's people got baked on the blunt......

But in the 70's.......my elders slammed Harvey Wallbangers and Greenies.

The upholstery on airplanes was plaid....and earth tone.

Every kids grandma had kitchens that were mustard, golden or avocado in color.......

Yeah the 70's were a trip.

  

Watergate Cake

 1 Box White Cake Mix

1 Cup Club Soda

1 Box Pistachio Pudding Mix

1 Cup Oil

4 Eggs

Stir all of the Watergate ingredients until mixed, put in a pan.

Bake at 350 until springs back, approximately 35 to 40 minutes.

LOL......back in the day.....this was actually considered a legit cake recipe. When you where finished baking it.......more often than not you'd frost it with canned frosting.

In closing, I think I did a Pat Nixon meatloaf recipe / demo at the Minnesota State Fair several years back. If I recall...the 37th Prez was fond of midnight snacks.......my kinda guy.

OK....Klecko has one last fireball to throw at you in 3-2-1.....

Straight from the archives of the Smithsonian......dude, if I'm not value added.


When Elvis Met Nixon

A bizarre encounter between the president and the king of rock and roll

Elvis Presley and Richard Nixon
"I'm on your side, " Elvis told Nixon. Then the singer asked if he could have a badge from the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. (Ollie Atkins / Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum)


The image looks like a computer-generated joke, or maybe a snapshot from some parallel universe where the dead icons of the 20th century hang out together—even Elvis Presley and Richard Nixon.
But the picture is genuine, an official White House photograph of a bizarre encounter that occurred in this universe, in the Oval Office on December 21, 1970.
The story began in Memphis a few days earlier, when Elvis' father, Vernon, and wife, Priscilla, complained that he'd spent too much on Christmas presents—more than $100,000 for 32 handguns and ten Mercedes-Benzes. Peeved, Elvis drove to the airport and caught the next available flight, which happened to be bound for Washington. He checked into a hotel, then got bored and decided to fly to Los Angeles.
"Elvis called and asked me to pick him up at the airport," recalls Jerry Schilling, Presley's longtime aide, who dutifully arrived at the Los Angeles airport at 3 a.m. to chauffeur the King to his mansion there.
Elvis was traveling with some guns and his collection of police badges, and he decided that what he really wanted was a badge from the federal Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs back in Washington. "The narc badge represented some kind of ultimate power to him," Priscilla Presley would write in her memoir, Elvis and Me. "With the federal narcotics badge, he [believed he] could legally enter any country both wearing guns and carrying any drugs he wished."
After just one day in Los Angeles, Elvis asked Schilling to fly with him back to the capital. "He didn't say why," Schilling recalls, "but I thought the badge might be part of the reason."
On the red-eye to Washington, Elvis scribbled a letter to President Nixon. "Sir, I can and will be of any service that I can to help the country out," he wrote. All he wanted in return was a federal agent's badge. "I would love to meet you," he added, informing Nixon that he'd be staying at the Washington Hotel under the alias Jon Burrows. "I will be here for as long as it takes to get the credentials of a federal agent."
After they landed, Elvis and Schilling took a limo to the White House, and Elvis dropped off his letter at an entrance gate at about 6:30 a.m. Once they checked in at their hotel, Elvis left for the offices of the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. He got a meeting with a deputy director, but not approval for a bureau badge.
Meanwhile, his letter was delivered to Nixon aide Egil "Bud" Krogh, who happened to be an Elvis fan. Krogh loved the idea of a Nixon-Presley summit and persuaded his bosses, including White House Chief of Staff Bob Haldeman, to make it happen. Krogh called the Washington Hotel and set up a meeting through Schilling.
Around noon, Elvis arrived at the White House with Schilling and bodyguard Sonny West, who'd just arrived from Memphis. Arrayed in a purple velvet suit with a huge gold belt buckle and amber sunglasses, Elvis came bearing a gift—a Colt .45 pistol mounted in a display case that Elvis had plucked off the wall of his Los Angeles mansion.

Flickr/RJL20
Back Next

Purple Nixon

Food: Eggplant
Looks Like: Richard Nixon

The eggplant's owner swears it bears a striking resemblance to the United States' 37th President. The owner submitted a shot of the botanical fruit to totallylookslike.com.

Recipes for eggplants that are simply eggplants.

Wanna Know A Secret?????

As those of you, I mean most of you.....ranging from those I covet...to those who actually annoy me, but I talk to anyways, just because I get bored of be alone..................

The Last American Baker has a new Grandson.

So as you can imagine, I haven't put much thought into "you guys" these last couple of days.

But....but......but, there really isn't anything worst than some lame-a** blogger that makes excuses for why they are not doing their job.

I get it....you guys.... don't come to Klecko for world peace.......

You don't come to him for compassion -

And you better not come to him for money.

There are pretty much only 4 topics Klecko can really speak about with limited confidence....

Dogs -

Baseball -

Girls -

And baking......

I've noticed that this site has been getting flooded by viewership from Latvia as of late, and even though I don't know what to attribute that to, I'm guessing it's time to man up and give you guys a relevant post.

As I digress, I'm going to use this moment to do what the big corporations do and outsource high end talent.

Earlier this morning I read an on-line version of Modern Baking.

If you have never heard about these kids.......verily-verily, I say unto you, have ye not eyes to see?

I'm telling ya kiddo, Modern Baking is the #1 periodical concerning baking on the planet.

If you have eyes to see and ears to hear.....you'll check this "ministry" out.

With that said let me introduce you to the brilliant mind of my friend Katie Martin.

Katie is basically the QB for this publication, and being that they office out of the Windy City....I still remain friends with her even though she is a Bears fan.

Alright kids, buckle up your seat belts and prepare for greatness in 3-2-1

Do you know your customer?

That customers are the driving force of business is a fact, but who your particular customers are and how to attract them to your business is not as cut and dried. According to Nielsen Perishables Group (all data in the article is supplied by Nielsen Perishables Group), 94 percent of U.S. households buy from the in-store bakery.
It comes as little surprise that essentially the entire population is a potential bakery customer or that the customer base is made up of singles, couples and families. And they are looking for everything from value products to premium products to fit lifestyles that range from those that are on-the-go to foodies to healthy living.


“Know who you’re after as customers,” suggests Jonna Parker, director of account services, Nielsen Perishables Group. “If you’re after multiple types of customers, be sure to use different types of products.”
While the data gathered was specific to in-store bakeries, retail bakers also should understand what shoppers are looking for since all bakery segments are competing for the same consumer dollars.

When do consumers shop?
Consumers, on average, make 13 trips to the in-store bakery in a year and spend about $59 annually. This number is relatively low when you take into account that consumers visit supermarkets 46 times a year on average. So bakery is only drawing customers about a quarter of the times they shop the store.
Somewhat surprisingly, they are doing the bulk of their shopping during the week, with 65 percent of bakery sales occurring Monday through Friday, and one-third of total bakery sales take place after 5 p.m. Knowing when your customers shop can help in-store bakeries figure out staffing needs and retail bakeries determine the best hours to be open.


Two demographic segments–premium, healthy living couples and on-the-go quick cooking families–account for 20 percent of total sales. The healthy living couples are generally purchasing crusty or artisan bread, bagels, smaller cakes and specialty cookies. This group is particularly engaged with food. The quick cooking families often are shopping for celebrations as well as small packages for daily treats. Products that appeal to them are cupcakes, decorated cakes, iced cookies and donuts. Both demographic groups are shopping for muffins, pies and sweet goods.
But another 80 percent of the population is made up of other demographic groups, and they may be looking for other types of products. “There are a lot of different consumers that drive bakery sales,” Parker says. “There isn’t one magic bullet. In-store bakeries should be thinking about all sorts of households.”

--- the end ---

Alright, I hope that holds you over, I gotta get back to looking a grandson pics on Facebook.

Isn't it kinda creepy how babies start off looking like martians?

I'm O-U-T................