Mack's Corner

This week

Cooking 220 - 2 pans, 2 burners, 20 minutes - Living Well - Mediterranean Diet:

Grilled Bread and Marinated Tomato Salad

This is called panzanella (bread salad). This is one of those things I always wish I had done after I sit down with a salad. Something as simple as tearing up some bread and mixing it in makes all the difference. It soaks up the dressing, clings to salt crystals, and adds texture. It just makes everything better. 

This is from Ethan Stowell. His Restaurant is Anchovies & Olives in Seattle

1 garlic clove, smashed


2 pounds heirloom tomatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing

Freshly ground pepper

1 loaf country bread (12 ounces), sliced 1/2 inch thick

2 bunches arugula (6 ounces each), stems discarded

5 ounces ricotta salata, crumbled (1 1/4 cups)

1. On a cutting board, using the flat side of a chef's knife, mash the garlic clove to a paste with a pinch of salt; transfer to a large bowl. Add the tomatoes, onion, vinegar and the 3/4 cup of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Let the mixture stand at room temperature, stirring a few times, for at least 1 hour or up to 2 hours.

2. Light a grill. Brush the bread with olive oil and grill over high heat until toasted and lightly charred in spots, 1 minute per side. Let cool slightly, then cut into 1/2-inch cubes.

3. Add the bread and arugula to the tomatoes along with the ricotta salata and toss to combine. Serve right away.


Baby Luttuces with Feta, Strawberries and Almonds (((This has a nice Vinaigrette)))

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon honey

1 small shallot, minced

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, preferably Banyuls

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil


Freshly ground pepper 

2 cups packed assorted baby lettuces (about 6 ounces)

1 quart strawberries, hulled—small berries halved, large ones quartered (((Blueberries, blackberries, raisins, grapes.. all work)))

4 ounces feta (preferably French), crumbled (1 cup)

1 cup smoked almonds, chopped (((or Pecans, or Walnuts)))

In a small bowl, stir together the mustard, honey, shallot and vinegar. Stir in the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Put the lettuces in a large bowl. Add the strawberries, feta and almonds. Drizzle the dressing over the salad, toss well and serve.


The Ankle Jump

I was putting out cones last week and I stepped on a rock that was just big enough to turn my foot sideways. I could feel my ankle start to go out. Over the years of having a weak ankle, especially the right one, I've learned to dive for the ground when I feel ankle about to give. I've probably avoided 5 broken ankles doing this. The only problem is the diving part. If it's my right ankle I dive right, left ankle I dive left. The conditioned response is so ingrained that it doesn't matter what's on my right, if I feel my ankle give, I'm going. I've rolled down hills, landed in mud, and jumped in front of moving cars. That's one reason I don't like walking on the edge of gravel roofs or the Grand Canyon. So last week I'm putting out cones and stepped on this rock. I did the "ankle break jump" in the middle of the parking lot. I hit the ground and rolled. I looked around and didn't see anybody. Good nobody saw me, no broken ankle. I popped back up and got the rest of the cones. then it started again. One lady drove up "Mack are you alright?"... "Yeah I'm fine." ....  Next person "Mack, you OK?.. I thought you got shot, you went down so fast".. "I'm OK" … "Mack, are you OK? Did you break your hip?"... (here I thought I was being agile and she's asking if I broke my hip.. do I look 90) ... That went on for the next 20 minutes. About 15 different people asked me if I was OK .... I guess I wasn't really alone. I'm surprised I didn't get applause…

God's like that: We think we're all alone when things get hard, but God's there. We think we can hide stuff, but God saw it. We think we can't tell anybody, but God knows. God is always there, he always hears, he always sees, he always knows. So tell him you're scared, tell him you know you screwed up, tell him you feel all alone. God shows up in the strangest ways...

Maybe I can turn the "Ankle break Jump" in to a dance craze like the "Twist"?…Me and Chubby Checker…Come on baby, lets do the ankle break jump. Come on baby…

(If you find yourself in the elevator doing the twist, don't blame me…


Posted by Mack Oates at 12:00 AM