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Mack's Corner

This Week

Close your eyes and push off.

I was going home this week and there on the side of the road in one of the fields by the Agricenter, people were ice skating. The field had been flooded and had frozen. It was a little winter wonderland. Some people had skates, some were just sliding around. One kid had Skates, a hockey stick and a puck and was skating around like he was in the NHL. A girl was doing spins .. It looked like Rockefeller center in the middle of a cotton field. Where did these people come from? People don't ice skate in Memphis. When I was in college they would set up and ice rink at the fairgrounds for about 2 weeks in January and you could rent skates. For some reason girls kinda know how to ice skate, I don't know why, it's just something they seem to know how to do. Men don't, especially me. But that was the best part. It took at least 2 girls and sometimes 3 to keep me up. It would have been ok with me if it had taken 12 girls and my skates had never touched the ice. I loved ice skating. I was a Memphis style ice skater … But then there were these people who could really skate, who had their own skates, every winter at the fairgrounds. Where did they come from? Not Memphis …. As I watched the people skating in the cotton field last Sunday, I was wondering how they knew the ice would be there. Did they plan it? Did they figure it was cold and they would just ride around until they found a big frozen place, thinking there had to be one somewhere. Kinda like hunters do with deer in deer season. Or do they keep their skates in the trunk of their car, all the time hoping for someplace that looks like home, that looks like Michigan or Wisconsin or Vermont? I'm betting it was unplanned. There were people making split second turns and running to the ice, laughing and jumping … They couldn't wait to get on the ice and feel the freedom, and the speed and the cold wind in their face, to have the sense of gliding and the safety of home and the smell of youth …. Just close your eyes and push off….

God's like that: He stays with us no matter where we go, waiting for that moment when we'll see him, when we'll know that he is our home…

I wonder if the Rockettes know how to skate? I bet they could hold me up and I know they have ice.


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

Claire Clark used to be the Pastry Chef at The French Laundry. She makes very fancy deserts. But like everything at The French Laundry it's not so much about fancy as it is about concentrated flavors. One spoonful of carrot soup is like 100 carrots in one slurp. This dessert is chocolate times 100 and it's easy… This is from Claire's cookbook "Indulge - 100 Perfect Desserts"

Baked Chocolate Mousse

5 ¼ oz good dark chocolate finely chopped (this doesn't have to be exact)

3 1/2 oz unsalted butter (7 tbsp)

1 large egg

1 oz Caster Sugar (2 tbsp) - regular sugar works too

Preheat the oven to 325

If you don't have caster sugar and want to use it, just put regular sugar in your food processor and let it run for a few minutes. Don't go too long or you'll have powdered sugar. The reason for caster sugar is that it dissolves faster.

I make this in small ramekins but any baking dish will do. You can also do it in ring molds by making a bottom out of foil…. Whatever you use, spray it with Pam or double butter it and put it on a baking sheet…

Put the chocolate and the butter in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water. I put water in a sauce pan, bring it to a simmer, then put a mixing bowl on top of it. Don't let the water touch the bottom of the bowl…Let it melt, stirring occasionally. Keep it warm..

In another bowl whisk the egg and sugar until it is pale and thick and increased in volume. This is a small amount, so you can probably do this by hand if you want… a mixer works too.

Fold the warm chocolate/butter mixture in to the egg/sugar mixture with a rubber spatula. Fold means run the spatula around the side of the bowl and fold the mixture over and in to the middle, over and over. Never stirring… The idea is to keep the air that you whisked in to the egg/sugar mixture to stay.

Don't over mix! When the mixture is well combined, spoon it in to the prepared ramekins and bake for exactly 8 minutes, No more!!

When they are done they will look wobbly and soft… Cool completely, then put them in the fridge to set. They should be very firm and hard before you try to unmold them (if you plan to unmold them). 

About 4 hours before you want to serve them unmold them. The cool chef way to do this is by heating the outside of the ramekin with a blowtorch (don't hold the torch in one place too long or you'll break the ramekin. Plus remember: the ramekin is hot! Don't pick it up with your bare hand). The other way is by setting them in a roasting pan with about 1/2 an inch of hot water in the bottom (run a small knife around the inside of the ramekin and slam the ramekin on a cutting board).

When you do unmold them put them on the plate you plan to serve them on because you won't be able to move it again without messing it up. Leave them out at room temp. You don't have to unmold them, you can serve them in the ramekins. You can actually serve them still cold too…. Either way, get a big scoop of ice cream on the side and it will take you to a wonderful place ..

Standard rules apply: You don't have to share if you don't want to. This is best at 2am in your PJ's with the refrigerator door open …



Posted by Mack Oates at 09:39