Mack's Corner

This Week

This week 10-27-15

Halloween II

There was a time when I ran out of gas way more often than I should. Mostly I ran out of money. I was in High school  and driving mine and my brothers red 65 Ford Falcon. I think I was on Summer Ave way out in the sticks. There were no street lights, just a 2 lane road at midnight when I coasted to a stop. I tried to start it again but it was dry. I was trying to coast in to a closed gas station but I ended up about 150 feet from the pump. I thought if I could just get the car to the pump that maybe I could get enough gas to get going again. So I started pushing the car toward the pump trying to steer at the same time, mostly uphill... I'm not sure what I was thinking, like I said the gas station was closed, pumps were off, no lights no nothing! Did I really think there was a gallon of gas still left in the hose? This was dumb but I kept pushing. I tend to do things the brute force way instead of the smart way, especially back then. An hour later I had just about pushed the car 50 feet, back out in to the street almost to the driveway of the gas station when a police car drive up with the lights flashing. 2 young cops got out, I told them I ran out of gas and they said they had to get the car out of the road. I thought OK, great, they will help me push it the rest of the way. While I was standing there exhausted by their car they walked up to my car and quickly pushed it right back to where it was an hour ago (it was downhill, so it didn't take much). Trying to be positive about the whole thing I figured they were going to give me a ride to go get some gas. I started walking back to my car to lock it and they got in their car and drove off, gone, see ya! If they had stayed just a minute longer they would have seen me regain my strength and would have arrested me for assaulting an officer. I was really, really insane mad.. like the Hulk when he turns green... I started walking, I knew there was an open gas station about a mile away. When I got there I must have looked like a serial killer right out of Halloween II, because the guy just gave me a gas can and a couple of gallons of gas and acted like it was OK if I just kept it and never came back. Of course I did go back, paid for the gas, didn't kill anybody... Good thing the cops came or I might still be there, pushing that car to a pump with no gas..

God's like that: We have plans that are just dumb and God knows it. He puts stuff in the way, makes stuff not work, all kinds of things so we don't screw up our lives. If things aren't going the way you planned, maybe you need to re-think your plans. Maybe you're fighting God. That's a no win! Ask him to help, he will. Maybe he's trying to tell you something..

So if you were a cop in 1970 and pushed a red 65 Ford Falcon back off the road at midnight on Summer Ave, I'm sorry! I said some things I shouldn't have. But you were gone before I had a chance to apologize..      


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

Tuesday night is Parmigiano Reggiano Night

From Forbes Oct 2012:
In May 2012, the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy was shocked by two significant earthquakes, just 9 days apart. These leveled homes, damaged historic churches and buildings, and sent hundreds of thousands of wheels of Parmigiano-Reggiano, “The King of Cheeses,” crashing to the ground from the high shelves on which they are aged for over a year.

After the cheese was rattled, customers from around the world, but especially around Italy, rallied and proactively came forward to quickly buy cheese, both damaged wheels and those that no longer had climate controlled homes in which to be stored, helping to utilize thousands of orphaned wheels that would have otherwise been destroyed. The cheese loss was still very high, around €110,000,000 – but it would have been even worse. After all, every single wheel of Parmigiano-Reggiano weighs 85 pounds and has a street value of over $1500.

“After the earthquakes, we have seen a great many instances of solidarity with the cheese-makers affected and for our product,” said Riccardo Deserti, co-director of the Consorzio del Formaggio Parmigiano Reggiano, the official group responsible for  safeguarding and monitoring the production process, purity, quality control and applying strict government rules. “The internet played a special role in ensuring contact with the hundreds of thousands of people actively involved and in helping them understand what had happened, and the ways in which they could help and support us by buying online. So, we thought of using these same tools to thank everyone, starting with the almost 200,000 fans who follow us on Facebook. This led to the idea of promoting something unique which could, even symbolically, reflect the unity between people and stress the value of solidarity”.

That something is “Parmigiano-Reggiano Night,” on October 27, when the power of the internet and social media, as well as Italian press, will be harnessed to attempt to get all of Italy to have dinner together, at least virtually, by sharing the exact same meal. It is expected that some restaurants will offer the official menu as a special so that even diners eating out can partake, while the recipe developed for the night will be widely distributed in the hopes that most families eating at home will recreate the menu and share in the endeavor.

The Emilia-Romagna region is also home to what is widely considered the best restaurant in Italy, and one of the best on earth, Osteria Francescana in Modena. Because the owner, Massimo Bottura, is Italy’s hottest chef, and a native of Modena, where the earthquake damaged the old church on the main square just a few blocks from his flagship, he was chosen to create the night’s recipe – the equivalent of Thomas Keller making making a great duck recipe. To reflect the highly varied regional cuisine of Italy while staying true to the local cheese, he combined three distinct themes: Parmigiano-Reggiano, the rice eating culture of Northern Italy, and the flavors of a classic pasta dish most associated with Rome, cacio e pepe, or “cheese and pepper.” The result is risotto cacio e pepe, using rice instead of pasta, and Parmigiano-Reggiano as the cheese . Here's the recipe, go buy some cheese amd make it Tuesday night, that's what I'm doing.

Risotto Cacio e Pepe

Recipe from Chef Massimo Bottura for “Parmigiano Reggiano Night”

Serves 4

Prep time: 10 minutes to make the Parmigiano Reggiano Water (to be made the day before)

Cook time: 30-35 minutes

Ingredients – Parmigiano Reggiano Water:
35 ounces (992g) of freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano (ideally one that has been aged for 30 months)

2 2/3 liters of water

Ingredients – Risotto:
12 oz (330g) of Arborio rice (Chef Bottura uses “Vialone Nano rice”)

1 Tablespoon olive oil

Freshly cracked pepper mix* :black, white, green, and pink peppercorns. Chef Bottura uses a mix of white, Szechuan, Jamaican, Sarawak, and wild peppers. Use whatever you have.

Directions for the Parmigiano Reggiano Water
1.Mix freshly grated cheese with water.

2.In a pan, at low heat stir cheese and water mixture (if you have a thermometer, heat it up to 176°F (80°C). Note: do not go over 194°F (90°C). According to the original recipe “when the Parmigiano Reggiano starts to go into threads at the bottom, remove the pan from the heat and leave it to cool down to room temperature.”

3.Cover tightly with plastic wrap and leave overnight in the fridge.

4.The mixture will separate into a creamy solid and water parts. You will use the Parmigiano Reggiano water to cook the risotto, and the cream part towards the end to make the risotto creamy.

Directions for the Risotto

1.In a medium sized pan, heat the olive oil (at low heat) and add the Arborio rice and stir the rice to get an even coating of the oil. Sauté the rice in the oil for a minute.

2.Add some of the Parmigiano Reggiano water (enough just to cover the rice), and stir frequently until the water is absorbed (but the rice is not dry).

3.Keep adding the Parmigiano Reggiano water until the rice develops a softer consistency by taste. When it is nearly cooked, add some of the Parmigiano Reggiano cream and stir thoroughly.

4.If needed, add more of the Parmigiano Reggiano water, until the rice reaches your desired consistency in texture.

5.Remove from heat and add the remainder of the Parmigiano Reggiano cream.

6.Plate the risotto and sprinkle freshly cracked pepper on top.

7.Serve immediately.


Posted by Mack Oates at 10:29 AM