Mack's Corner

This Week

Truck Rocking

Somebody was telling me about their mom, who lives up north somewhere, having a snow drift at the bottom of her driveway, made by the snow plow. She started backing down, thinking she could jump it or something and ended up with her car parked on top of it and the back wheels up in the air. That reminded of something stupid that I did once. I was working at a Young Life camp in Colorado for a month as a work crew boss. The camp is pretty high up on a mountain. After dinner one night somebody wanted me to go down to another camp below us and get something. The only transportation I had was an old truck, a really old truck, that we used to haul garbage. There's a big main entrance to the camp and there's a back road that goes down the back of the mountain to the other camp, of course it's totally dark and narrow and steep, not paved ….etc. I had never been down this road before, only seen it from the top of the mountain, but how hard could it be? I was going along, hugging the mountain, didn't want to drive off the road, it's a long way down before you stop. I came to a turn and the road got wider, I'm thinking "I'll drive in the middle, that would be better". But the reason the road gets wider is so 2 cars can pass each other, one going up, one going down. In the middle of this wide road is a little hill about 2-3 feet high, you're supposed to drive around it, not over it like I did…. Cccccccccrrrrrreeeeeeeeeeeeccccchhhhhhhhh!!!!!!! When the truck stopped all 4 wheels were off the ground and I was rocking back and forth, mountain wall behind me, 100 foot drop in front of me… I put it in reverse but the tires were not on the ground. There was no way I was walking back up the mountain to get help. You can't be a leader of a bunch of High School kids and do stupid stuff like that .. So I started rocking it and yelling at it, the yelling didn't really help, just made me feel better. I jumped up and down and got in the truck and hit the gas when the back tires hit the ground, more rocking, more yelling, more gas, more rocking, more yelling, all in the pitch black dark on the side of a mountain. It took me about a half an hour of this to hit it just right and crash the back of the truck in to the mountain. I didn't hurt the truck much, it had dents all over it already. I never told anybody. As far as they knew, I had simply driven down to the camp and back .. 

A few years later when I was doing Young Life at Northside High School I had a funny thing happen. When football season started I would go to games early and go sit with a bunch of kids. After about 15 minutes, I would be sitting by myself, I guess it wasn't cool to sit with an old guy? So I did something different. I told all the kids that I would be at the game, if anyone needed a ride home, I would take them. Then I showed up about 30 minutes late for the game, walked around the whole infield so everyone would see me, then sat all by myself in the stands, every kid in the place knew I was there and could see me, I always wore a white shirt. I would be all alone till about 15 minutes to go in the game and all of a sudden kids would start showing up. By the end of the game there would be 20 kids sitting all around me. We usually stopped at McDonald's and then went home. The funny thing that I found out later was that after that started happening, a bunch kids I didn't even know would do it, and the 20 kids I took home every week had no other way to get home. They were completely depending on me to be there. If I didn't show up, they were stuck, miles from home. Of course I always showed up, and they knew I would. It was one of the best things I ever did. It's amazing what affect you can have on people when you just do what you say.

God's like that: We're worried about going off the deep end, don't want to go backwards, but don't want to be a fanatic either. If I commit to this am I going too far? Will it change my life? Will I like the change? Can I go back if I don't like it? God's not asking you to be weird, he's asking you to show up. You'll be amazed at what God can do if you'll just show up…..

Maybe I can sell the "Truck Rocker" ride to Six Flags, people bouncing up and down on the front and back while some one guns the engine, "you never know when you'll go off the cliff!  …


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

Puff Pastry Super Bowl Party Food:

3 simple Recipes and you will be a Rock star when you serve it.

Crisp and Creamy Bacon - Onion Tart

1 sheet frozen puff pastry  (half of 17.3-ounce package), thawed - freezer section in the grocery store (Pepperidge farm) - get the sheets

4 oz sliced Applewood smoked bacon (Fresh Market) or any good bacon, about 6 slices.

2 medium onions (I like sweet onions) about 1 lb.

1/3 cup crème fraiche (crème fraiche = half sour cream and half whipping cream stirred together) ..

Preheat your oven to 400

Let one sheet of puff pastry thaw enough to unfold it. Unfold it and with a fork, prick the top all over. We're trying to let some of the air out of the pastry. Put it on a baking sheet and put it in the oven and cook till puffed and light brown (about 10 minutes). Let pastry cool. It should deflate and be pretty flat.

Cut across the strips of bacon to make 1/2 inch by 1 inch strips. Cook in a skillet till brown but not quite done. We'll finish this in the oven .. Set the bacon aside on paper towels and pour off all but 1 tbsp of the rendered fat.

Cut the onion in to slices.. Cut onions in half long ways, peel off outer layer. Then lay it on the flat side and cut off both ends. Now slice as thin as you can.

Cook the onions in the same skillet using the left over bacon fat. Cook till soft and starting to brown.  Transfer to a bowl … Let cool and stir in crème fraiche ..

Stop! At this point you are 15 minutes from being finished. If you're doing this for a party, it can sit this way for several hours.  When you are ready to serve:  Preheat the oven to 425. Spoon the onion/Crème Fraiche over the puff pastry. Then sprinkle the bacon over the onions. Bake for 12 - 15 minutes, till the puff pastry is golden brown and onions are bubbling. DON'T BURN THE PUFF PASTRY!!!! WATCH IT!!! …   

Cut in to squares and serve …


Tomato tart:

Puff pastry - freezer section in the grocery store (Pepperidge farm) - get the sheets .. <<>>

8 large plum tomatoes

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp parsley - chopped

2 oz fresh parmesan, shaved with a peeler - this has to be real cheese, we need slices.

4  oz mixed greens

1 - 2 tbsp classic vinaigrette ( see below - make this first!!!)

Salt & pepper
Thaw and roll out pastry to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut in to rounds or squares.( I cut the sheets in to 4 squares. It makes a 4 inch by 4 inch pastry. But if you were making this for dinner for just you, you could just cut it in half and then put the rest back in the freezer.)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees… bake pastry in a baking sheet for 10 min. It will start to puff up. Then put another baking sheet on top to keep it from rising and bake another 8 min, until just golden. Remove to a wire rack to cool.. (you could also just put them on the plates you're going to use and use the same baking sheet for the tomatoes.)
Slice tomatoes and arrange on a baking sheet in overlapping circles the same size as the pastry. This is going to go on top of the puff pastry you just cooked so be sure it will fit .. Brush/drizzle the tops of the tomatoes with balsamic vinegar, and oil, season with salt and pepper. Top with parsley.  Lay shavings of parmesan on top, making sure they connect so that the cheese will hold the tomatoes together. (Use a vegetable peeler and shave long pieces of cheese. Overlap the cheese pieces over the tomatoes. This will hold everything together when the cheese melts.)
Preheat the broiler..
When the broiler gets hot, put the tomatoes under the broiler … watch it!!!, don't walk away!!! .. cook till cheese melts and browns some. Take it out and let it cool a little..
Get a flat spatula and transfer the tomato rounds on to the pastry rounds/squares..
In a large bowl mix the greens with some of the classic vinaigrette and pile on top of tarts .. serve. You want to this to be warm on the bottom with a cold salad on top. So have your salad ready …

The kids can help with all of this…
Classic vinaigrette:
Whisk together: (you can also put the lid on the container and shake or use an immersible blender like I do = really fast)
1 cup olive oil

1 cup veg oil

1 tsp salt

3/4 tsp pepper

Juice of 1 lemon

1/4  cup white wine vinegar

1/4  cup sherry vinegar - if you don't have one or either of these 2 vinegars, any mild white vinegar will work.. 1/2 cup total
Store in a screw top jar or sealed top container and shake well before use

Makes 2 1/2 cups


Caramelized Apple Tart

3 large apples

Puff pastry (get the kind that has 2 sheets in the box)

3 tbsp butter

1/2 cup of sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

Preheat your oven to 400

Get a 9 to 10 inch skillet that will go in the oven (no plastic handles).

Get out your puff pastry and let it thaw. Remove one sheet. Cut the corners enough so that the square sheet will fit in the round skillet, but don't put it in yet..

Cut up the apples, peel them if you want. Cut in to quarters from top to bottom and cut out the core. Then cut each quarter in half lengthwise. Then cut across in to small slices.. you should have pieces about 1/2 inch thick and as big around as a nickel. You can make them bigger if you want.. Don't worry about them turning brown, it's no big deal, they're going to turn brown anyway…

In the skillet add the butter, then the sugar, then the cinnamon and nutmeg. Let that cook until it starts to get brown.. i.e. caramel  … don't touch this or taste it, it is really, really hot and will burn you …  add the apples. As the apples cook the juice will come out. Let it cook until the juice is mostly gone and its like syrup  .. 

Now, spread the apples out evenly in the pan take your puff pastry sheet and lay it on top of the apples. Then put the skillet in the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until the pastry is brown crisp.Remove the pan and let it cool. When you're ready put the pan back on the stove for a few minutes, just to heat the sugar back up a little so it won't stick in the pan. Then on a cutting board flip the skillet over and slam it on to the cutting board. The whole thing will come out in one piece.  Slice and serve with ice cream or a little powdered sugar … If you spread the apples out evenly it will be very pretty and elegant looking ….  Here's the cool part: you can also do this with bananas, peaches and strawberries (leave out the cinnamon & nutmeg), anything that will sauté  ..


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 (1 1/2 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 9:15am.

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



Posted by Mack Oates at 8:25 AM