Mack's Corner

This Week

Crying over dinner

If you've been in the Hope Kitchen in the last few years then you know that it runs full out, all the time, it's a busy place (1500 - 5000 meals every week). What you wouldn't know is that when it was first put in it was really just an afterthought. We didn't really think we would ever use it. It had a big stove and 2 ovens, a big commercial dish washer, a walkin freezer and 2 refrigerators. For some reason we also had plates and bowls and glasses and knives and forks and spoons for 100 people. No sauce pans, no skillets, no oven pans, no knives, no cooking spoons, nothing. We couldn't actually cook anything and for the first few months it just sat there….. Craig used to be in a thing called CPAC. It was a 4 day boot camp kind of thing where pastors, who thought they wanted to plant a new church, came and got grilled to see if they had the right stuff to pull it off. They were usually asked to bring their wives too. Church planting is not for sissies. Most church plants fail and it's hard on your family and you get yelled at and it's just hard work. So for 4 days you get worked over pretty hard and graded on how you do. In the end maybe 1 out of 10 will be asked to plant a church. The others get rejected. Of course these guys come with their heart set on being told they are the perfect person for the job.. Usually they held CPAC at a church camp with church camp food…. Craig invited them to do it at Hope and asked me to do the food. It was such a stressful week for these guys that he wanted dinner to be a relaxing time where the food and the atmosphere took their minds off situation…. I started telling people what we were doing, I said "Here's what we're doing.. Want to be part of that?" .. I told everybody ... The first day I packed up everything in my kitchen at home and brought it to church. Then I headed to the grocery store … I was only cooking for 20 people so I got pretty fancy. The first day was Paul Prodhomme food. Day 2 was Rick Bayless. Day 3 was Shephan Pyles and day 4 was Thomas Keller, best for last. Each day I had more and more people coming to help. People came to wash dishes, set tables, chop onions…. we were rolling. By the last day they had all kinds of ideas of things to do so I let them run with it. They put out linen table cloths, place settings, candles, and table decorations. I don't know where any of that stuff came from. They even printed up little menu's. Here's the last one - Thomas Keller:

Shrimp with Avocado Salsa

"Caesar Salad"
Parmigiano-Reggiano Custards with Romaine Lettuce, Caesar Dressing, and Parmesan Crisps

Sautéed Atlantic Halibut with Summer Succotash and Honey Onion Glaze

Strawberry Sorbet with Sweetened Crème Fraiche Sauce

"Yabba Dabba Do"
Roasted Rib Steak with Mushrooms, Pommes Anna, and Bordelaise Sauce

Whipped Brie de Meaux en Feuilletè with Tellicherry Pepper and Mixed Greens

Bittersweet Chocolate Soufflé with Mocha Sauce      

I never left the kitchen, too much to do. I had artistic people plating the food and people with outgoing personalities serving, super picky people cleaning plates …. The last 2 courses were finished. The brie just had to be plated and the Soufflés were in the oven so I stepped out to take a look and see how it was going…. Holy Moly.. It looked great. All the servers were dressed up, the tables looked great, people were laughing, the food looked great… I ran back in to the kitchen, I didn't really fit in out there …… When we served the Soufflés the guy sitting next to Craig started to cry. His wife had not come with him, she didn't want to be a church planter. He wished his wife could have been there because she thought everything in a church was cheap and poorly done and that's how it was going to be the rest of her life ….  The thing he didn't know was that we really didn't spend much money, people just came and gave everything they had. It was expensive….

God's like that: A friend of mine called me yesterday and told me that he bought me something special, but that he liked it so much that he decided to keep it and he was just calling me to let me know he was thinking about me. That's what we do, we keep it and tell people we're thinking about them. God gives us everything we have so we can give it away. Don't be cheap…. 

Anybody want to go for dinner tonight????


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

The New South …

If you haven't had dinner in Atlanta in the last 10 years, you need to go now. One of the great Chefs there is Joshua Hopkins. Here's his Shrimp with Saffron Rice and Fennel Salad. It was on the cover of Food & Wine a few years ago … Don't get scared away by all the stuff in this recipe. Most of it is for shrimp stock….

1 cup Arborio rice (you can use any rice for this and it will still be good)

1 tbsp vegetable oil

16 large shrimp, shelled & deveined (keep the shells)

1 large fennel bulb quartered. 1/4 finely chopped, the other 3 thinly sliced (use a mandolin if you have one.. .. super thin)

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 celery rib, finely chopped

1 medium carrot finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, smashed, skin off

1 tsp fennel seeds (Penzeys)

1 tsp crushed red pepper

1/2 cup semisweet white wine (Riesling)

3 cups chicken stock

1/2 cup heavy cream

Pinch of Saffron threads (optional)

Salt & Pepper

5 tbsp butter

1 scallion (green onion) thinly sliced

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 tsp thyme leaves

To start the Rice:
Bring a large pan of water to a boil (water should be at least 1 inch above the rice), add the rice and cook on low for 16 minutes. Drain well …

For the Shrimp Stock:
Heat the veg oil in a medium sauce pan. Add the shrimp shells and cook for 3 min. Add the chopped fennel, onion, celery, carrot, garlic, fennel seeds, crushed red pepper and cook over high heat… stir, stir, stir …. About 6 min … Add wine and boil until almost evaporated. Add 2 cups of chicken stock and simmer over medium heat for 12 min… Strain through a fine strainer …

Finish the rice:
In another pan combine the cream, saffron (optional), 1/2 cup shrimp stock, and the remaining cup of chicken stock. Bring to a simmer. Add the cooked rice and stir until the sauce has thickened and the rice is tender .. About 3 min.. Season with salt and pepper, cover and set aside, keep warm.

For the shrimp:
In a large skillet bring the remaining shrimp stock to a simmer and add the shrimp. Cook until pink and curled, about 3 min. Remove from heat and stir in 4 tbsp of butter, 1 tbsp at a time (we're making sauce) .. Season with salt & pepper ..

For the fennel salad:
In a small bowl toss the sliced fennel and scallion with the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper..

To finish:
Re-warm the rice and stir in the remaining tbsp. of butter. Transfer the rice to small bowls. Spoon the shrimp and sauce over the rice. Top with Fennel salad and garnish with thyme leaves.

The only hard part about this is the stock and the only hard part of that is the shrimp shells. I always buy shrimp with shells so that I can make stock. My standard shrimp stock is Shells, 4 tbsp of shrimp/crab boil seasoning (Penzeys), 1 onion quartered, 2 carrots rough chopped. Enough cold water to cover everything.. Bring to a Simmer (never boil) and cook for 1 hour. Strain through a fine strainer. Freeze it… From here you could make the whole thing in 20 min…


Want to be a ConeHead or a Tram Driver? 
Email me ...


How about saving a kid's life!!

When you give Platelets it's like giving St Jude $700 - $1000. If we don't give them, they have to buy them.

Giving Platelets is like giving blood, it just takes longer (2 hours) and you get all of your blood back (so you can do it every week if you want) . I know it's a long trip to go all the way down to St Jude, but you may be saving a kid's life . plus you get to watch a movie while you're there. Call Kim at 901.595.2024 and she'll setup an appointment and treat you like family. Just tell her you're from Hope.

Directions: From Poplar, turn north on Third Street, then right on Lauderdale/Jackson Ave (first right after you go under the expressway). Enter through the north guard gate (you'll see the Danny Thomas Pavilion. Gold top).

Tell the guard at the gate that you are here to donate blood. The guard will instruct you where to park. You will then enter the hospital by the red side door closest to the blood donor parking lot. The Blood Donor Center is in the southwest corner of the hospital on the ground floor.

Appointment times are generally available Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 4:00pm. Except on Tuesdays they start at 9am.



2 Chronicles 7:14 . if my people, who are called by my name, will pray then I will hear from heaven.

So I need everybody to pray. If you don't pray much, do it one time. You can just say "God help these people. I pray in Jesus's name". That will be good enough. Let's see what God will do. Do it right now!

Christiana, Brian, Brent, Tracy, Craig, Alexis, Joni, Russ, Andi, Emily, Carol, Ronnie, Jack, Brady, Amanda, Smith, Terri,  Miracle, Hutch, Cheryl, Craig, Thomas, Wade, Dalton, Morgan, Brady, Tracy, Pierce, children of St.Jude, Louanne, Jason, Hatley, Cam, Chet, Judy, Addyson, Jay, Greg, Mitzi, Matt, Grace, Jennifer, Scott, Cristen, Alexandria, Cole, Jerry, Ron, Jeremy, A Dillon, Rev Cole, Samuel, Morgan, Terry, Kaz, Lauren, Allison, Christian, Marilyn, Ken, Ashley, EJ, Lora, Paige, Kyle, Franca, B- Family, Dylan, Gary, KJ, Cliff, David, Billie, Julie Ann, Jessica, Pam, Doug, Martha, Jason, Nolan, Hayes, Bennett, Joyce, Layla Grace, Joe, Tina, Chris, Daniel, Jacob, Tyler, Don, Charlotte, Heather, Margaret, S- Family, Kavious, Wayne, Raymond, Cody, Judy, Laura, Sue, Eden, Tammy, Mike, Ron, Ed, Jaxon, TM, Kelsey, Blake, Charlie, Brad, Kirk, Will & Ben, Pat & Tracy, Kimberly, Brooke, Gary, Raymond, Michel, Jimmy, Mike, Carol, Karen, Robin, Joe, Forrest, Metis, Ben, Genie, Walt, Sheri, Lisa, Brooke, Yater, Barbara, Don, Rick & Barbara, Ana & Will & Mary Margret, Jonah, Kay, Jim, Freddie Mae, Meredith, Ron, Saeed, Laurie, Sean, Susie, Phillip, Arnell, Lauren, Will, Carla, Martha, Cara, Luahn, Ljuliana, Max, Parker, B Family, Jane, Graham, Grason, Mary , Bill, Mike, Verne, Livi, Kenny,Angela, Lynne, Mike, Edie, Todd, Danny,  LO, Kenny, Ricky, Suzan, Mike, Jimmy, Sarah, C-Family, Polly, Cassy, Kathy, Jerome, Betty Lou
, JM, Edie, Kathy, Melinda, Joe, May, Jim, Mandy, Teri, Roe, LG, Melanie, Mike, Will, Lynne, Bob, Steve, Don.

See you this weekend. Bring a friend. It's going to be great!!!



Posted by Mack Oates at 11:34 AM