Mack's Corner

This Week

This week 09-01-15

8am.. IHOP

I was talking to one of my good friends after church Saturday night and she introduced me to her friend. She said they were going to start coming to church together every week and that their job was to make sure the other one went. Church buddies.. That took me back to my freshman year at Vanderbilt and my friend Gordon. We were on the same hall together in the dorm, he was 3 doors down. Some how we found out that we had both grown up in the Episcopal Church, but that was the only thing we had in common. He loved German opera, Wagner, Das Rheingold. He would play it as loud as he could and sing along with it word for word in German. I liked Led Zeppelin. He was in Navy ROTC, loved wearing a uniform and planned to be a life long Navy man. I looked like a hippie with ragged jeans and didn't really have any plans past lunch. He majored in Physics, I majored in Computer science. The first thing he asked me was "Want to go to church Sunday?" And so it started. Every Sunday we walked out of our dorm rooms at exactly 8am and walked to IHOP for breakfast on the far east side of campus. He always had waffles and I always had bacon and eggs. He had his coffee black, I filled mine with cream & sugar. He always bought a paper, I didn't really care. He tipped 50 cents, I tipped a dollar. Then we walked over to the Episcopal Church on the far west side of campus. Services started at 10am. We liked to take it slow and we talked about everything from world peace to girls to date to basketball.. The Church was very small, maybe enough seats for 100. There was always some college kid playing a guitar leading singing, it was pretty bad. And the pastor gave a sermon, it was pretty bad too. We took communion every Sunday by the book, that was nice, hard to mess that up. We shook hands with people who wanted to shake our hand and started walking back to the dorm. We didn't really like many of the people who went to church there, so we didn't hang around long. The church experience always gave us something to talk about on the way home, Gordon hated the unstructured singing, and I didn't like anything except communion. But there we were every week, church buddies. I think we went because we didn't want to let the other one down. We both assumed that the other wanted to go. So we went every week, no matter what. When we read the creeds and sung the doxology and the priest did communion out of the prayer book it felt like home. And 2 ½ hours of conversation every Sunday made us close friends at home.  At the start of our sophomore year we lived in different dorms, didn't call each other, hadn't seen each other. That first Sunday I got up, got dressed and walked out of my room at 8am and headed to IHOP. Gordon was waiting for me just outside the dorm..

God's like that: He expects us to take care of each other. Jesus said "When 2 or more are gathered in my name..."(look that one up) He put us here for each other. Call your friend, come to church, be the good influence. Maybe your friend can be a good influence on you?

Cooking 220 - 2 pans, 2 burners, 20 minutes:

Ever find yourself sitting at home knowing lunch was 2 hours ago, it's not even close to dinner, but you are starving? Here's something you can make ahead, eat it anytime. It's a perfect combination of "Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet" .. say that over and over 10000 times. That's what you want in everything you make. If you do this your food will be great every time!
Quinoa Salad with Pickled Radishes and Feta this is from Giuseppe Tentori. His restaurant is GT Fish and Oyster        


1 cup red wine vinegar (sour)

1 1/2 tablespoons sugar (sweet)

4 medium radishes, very thinly sliced (hot)

1/2 pound thin green beans

1 cup quinoa, rinsed (((or any other grain, barley, farro .. etc)))

1 large English cucumber—halved lengthwise, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch dice

3 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley (optional - it's just for color)

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (sour)

6 ounces Greek feta cheese, thinly sliced
In a small saucepan, bring the red wine vinegar to a simmer with the sugar. Remove from the heat and add the radish slices. Let stand until cool, about 1 hour.(((Make the radishes nd anything else you want to pickle, slices carrots, peppers, cucumbers.. just add more vinegar and sugar in the same proportion)))   

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan of salted boiling water, blanch the green beans until they are crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain and rinse the beans under cold water until cool. Pat the beans dry and cut them into 1 1/2-inch lengths. (((same here. Blanch any veg you want. Cauliflower, Broccoli, carrots, etc.)))

In a medium saucepan, bring 1 3/4 cups of water to a boil. Add the quinoa, cover and simmer over low heat until all of the water has been absorbed, about 12 minutes. Uncover and let stand until cool, about 10 minutes.
(((Stop right here!!! you have pickled veg, blanched veg, and cooked grain.. all can be put in the fridge till you are ready to eat, several days if you want to make a big batch.)))        

In a large bowl, toss the cucumber and beans with 1/2 tablespoon of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Then add the quinoa, parsley, lemon juice and the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil; season with salt and pepper and toss. Taste! Taste! Taste! re-season. Add some radishes (keep the pickle juice and use it again) along feta. Toss well Taste! Taste! Taste! re-season. Do you get the Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet? If not fix it. Don't get stupid, add small amounts. Add some of the pickle juice you saved, maybe a pinch of salt, a pinch of sugar, 3 drops of Tabasco. IF you can't stop tasting it, you're done.

The quinoa salad completed can be refrigerated for up to 3 hours.

Posted by Mack Oates at 9:27 AM