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This Week


When I was a little kid my grandfather had a garage. It was separated from the house and it had a big wooden roll down door. I thought he was the strongest man in the world because he could lift this door. Then he said I could try it. It was light as a feather. How could that be? Turns out it had all these weights and pulleys inside the garage. When the door went up the weights went down, it would almost open by itself.

My wife called me one day and told me the garage door won't open. No weights and pulleys, a garage door opener. It's easy, it's automatic, all you do is push a button unless it's broken. The first question is: are you trapped inside the garage or outside. Inside means I have to go home and get the door open so she can get her car out. Outside means she has to use the front door, which is the way it goes until I get the door fixed. I ordered parts. When they came we were on our way out to dinner. She wanted me to fix it right then ...  No … she didn't understand garage door opener repair, you'll see later. I told her I would do it when we got back. We had a "Screw-type" garage door opener. It had a motor, a long arm that goes across the ceiling, a long screw inside the arm, and a piece that glides along the arm while holding on to the screw. This piece is attached to the door. When the motor runs it turns the screw which pulls the piece which opens the door. The problem was that part of the screw had come apart. The screw is in 3 parts with little rings at each connection to hold it together. One of the rings had broken. This part cost $1.25 for 2. BUT to get to the ring you have to take the screw out, and to take the screw out you have to take the arm down and take it apart. The arm is filled with grease and connected to the motor which is bolted to the ceiling. Ladder, grease, hammer, grease, screwdriver, grease, clamp, grease, socket, more grease…. By the time I got finished I had black grease covering my hands all the way up past my wrists. I had it on my face where I scratched my nose, I had it behind my ear, on my neck, on my pants, everywhere! See why I wanted to do this after dinner? I got it all back together and working and went in trying not to touch anything. I washed my hands 87 times that night. I went through a whole bottle of Dawn, and then went and took a shower. I still had black stuff on my hands a week later …

God's like that: We think God is too clean or too holy, he won't want to mess with our dirty messed up lives. But God is up to his elbows in it, he's got it all over him. He says "Come on like you are. You don't have to clean up or change your life. We'll do it together."      

Whatever happened to Lava soap, I looked everywhere for it. I had dirty hands for month.

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

This week we're going to make a chocolate Souffle and add a little extra to it. One of the great cookbook series is the Silver Palate series. I've got 3 of them. Most of the recipes are easy and really good. It's a great beginner cookbook if you're looking for something for a wedding present. This is from the Red "Good Times" cookbook. There's also the white one (the original) and the fat one(New Basics)… I'm also going to add Stephan Pyles Mocha sauce. This will make you cry…. (Guys, I don't give away many of my secrets but this is one of the biggies.. this is one of those things you can make for Valentine's day and no matter how bad you've screwed up or how much trouble you're in, this will fix it! …. If you're not in trouble, you're on your own…)

Rich Chocolate Soufflé with Mocha sauce

For the soufflé:
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour (all purpose flour)
1 1/2 cups milk
1 lb bittersweet chocolate broken in to pieces
3/4 cup of strong coffee
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar
5 egg yolks
7 egg whites (7 eggs all together)
Pinch of cream of tartar

For the Mocha sauce:
2 cups of heavy cream
2 tbsp Tia Maria (coffee Liqueur, Kahlua works too)
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp coffee extract or 2 tbsp of very strong coffee (espresso works)

Powdered sugar

Butter a 2 qt soufflé dish really well, then butter it again. Put about 1/4 cup of sugar in the dish and roll it around until you've coated the inside of the dish. Dump the rest in a bowl, we'll use it in a second ..

Separate the 7 eggs keeping all of the whites in one bowl and only 5 of the yolks in another..

Preheat the oven to 375

Melt the 3 tbsp of butter in a sauce pan over low heat until foamy, then whisk in the flour and cook for one minute(this is a roux, so far = equal parts butter & flour)).  Now Gradually whisk in the milk. Cook, whisking constantly until thick and smooth (this is a béchamel sauce, so far = roux + milk).

Add the chocolate stirring constantly over low heat until the chocolate melts. Stir in the coffee and REMOVE FROM HEAT. Stir in the vanilla and 1/4 cup of sugar. Add the egg yolks one at a time, whisking in after each addition. Transfer to a large bowl to cool ..

Whisk egg whites with cream of tartar until foamy. (Cream of tartar is an acid. It reacts with the egg whites causing them to foam when whipped. A copper mixing bowl will do the same thing) Whisk in the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar 1 tbsp at a time. Whisk until the peaks are stiff and glossy (stiff means when you put a spoon in and lift it out the whites will form a peak that will stand straight up and not flop over.)

After the chocolate base has cooled fold in the whites. Start by adding 1/4 of the whites to the chocolate and stirring it in with a rubber spatula to lighten the mixture. Then add the rest of the whites and fold them in by scraping around the edge of the bowl and folding the mixture over in to the middle over and over. Don't over mix it, the idea is to have it light and have lots of air in it.  Pour batter in to the baking dish and smooth the top. Same trick as last week, with your thump slightly in the batter move it around the outside rim of the dish to form a small trough in the batter around the outside. It's ok to lick your thumb.

Bake for 40 minutes. It will rise up out of the dish. Show it to your guests or wife as soon as you take it out of the oven, the rise won't last long …. You can also do the same thing using ramekins instead of the soufflé dish. It will probably only take 30 minutes to cook..

For the mocha sauce:
You can do this while the soufflé is cooking or way before, it will keep several days … (I usually make a double batch, it's good on anything)

In a sauce pan bring the cream and Tia Maria and vanilla to a simmer. Then take it off the heat and set aside.

In a mixing bowl (this can be the same one you did the egg whites in, don't even have to clean it) whisk the egg yolks while gradually adding the sugar. The yolks will become pale yellow. Gradually pour the hot cream in to the yolks while whisking, then pour that mixture back in to the sauce pan and cook over medium heat until the mixture coats the back of a spoon (remember don't let it get past 160 degrees. Go buy a candy thermometer at the grocery for $1.50 so you don't screw it up. At 170 degrees it turns to scrambled eggs) …

Pour this through a strainer then whisk in the coffee and let it cool.

To serve: put some of the sauce on the plate and spoon out the soufflé on top. Or if you used the ramekins, break the top of the soufflé and spoon some of the sauce in to the middle …. Dust with powdered sugar ..
Standard rules apply, this is best when eaten in your PJ's with the fridge door open at 2am …



Posted by Mack Oates at 12:22 PM