Mack's Corner

This Week

Building Dams

We built a climbing wall on stage one year for a sermon.  It was small as far as climbing walls go but it was pretty big as far a moving it around and getting it up on stage. It was 8x16 feet and weighed a few hundred pounds.  Some guys made it. It was one of those all day / all night projects.  The rock looking stuff on the front was painted foam rubber and the climbing rock things that stick out that you are supposed to grab a hold on were just glued to the foam rubber. It looked great, but you couldn't climb it. So they called me Saturday morning and told me that they spent all night working on it but that they needed to move it up about a foot higher. I told him No Problem, I'll take care of it. So I started looking for something to put under it to raise it up a foot. I found 2 old black speaker cabinets that were real heavy and the right size and got them up on the stage. I put the first one behind the wall, lifted the wall and dropped in on the speaker… perfect! … now the other side … put the speaker in place to side it under the wall, picked up the wall, started sliding the speaker and started losing the wall. I rushed over and got in front of it to hold it up, but it was bigger than me, I couldn't stop it. I had to let it fall, right on its face, right on the glued on rocks, Bammmmmmmmm!!!!!! … Ooooooooooooooops. It lay there rocking back and forth on the choir riser. At least it was easy to put the 2nd speaker in place.  I got on the other side and after several tries I got it back upright, standing on the speakers, didn't lose a single rock. I tied the whole thing down so it wouldn't fall again. I never told anybody  …

Several years ago we were expanding the kitchen. I was putting some ice cream back in the freezer and I noticed that there was water running under the door from outside. It had just started raining and the new slope of the floor had the water running back in to the kitchen. This wasn't a problem because the part getting rained on was going to be covered, it just wasn't covered that Saturday. So I was thinking we would have a river running through the kitchen and in to the rest of the building pretty soon, time to build a dam out of something?? I found a big piece of pipe and put some weights on it. That made most of the water go another direction before it got to the door of the kitchen, but it was still coming in. Then I found some big bent iron plates and lined them up in front of the door, that helped some, but it was still coming. I found some plastic baseboard stuff and stuck it under the door and closed the door on it and pulled it tight. Of course by then I was soaked, but the kitchen was dry ….. just call me Bucky Beaver… after that I smelled kinda like Bucky too…

God's like that: he does all kinds of things to keep our heads above water, he's building dams all around us. But we keep getting in to things that we can't hold up, things that are bigger than us. If we would let God hold them up, maybe he could get out of the dam building business ….

How do beavers know how to do that anyway??  ….


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

I love fish! Almost any fish if it's fresh.

Rant on fish: If you can smell it, don't eat it!!!!! If you smell ammonia, Don't eat it!! If it's floating in white milky stuff, don't eat it! Fresh fish smells faintly like the ocean, not like dead fish. ALWAYS, ALWAYS ASK TO SMELL IT AND ASK HOW LONG THEY HAVE HAD IT OR HOW LONG IT HAS BEEN UN-FROZEN. (several types of fish (Black bass) are frozen at sea.. i.e. no such thing as fresh.) .. If they say anything more than 2 days, don't eat it!! (really should be 1 or less. You don't buy rotten eggs or old milk or moldy vegetables at the grocery store, why are you expected to buy old smelly fish at stupid prices. If you're going to pay $15 - $20 a pound for fish, it better be good. If it smells bad, go buy a steak….. Rant over…   

Here's one of my favorite most healthy ways to cook fish: en Papillote. Preheat oven to 350. Get parchment or aluminum foil big enough to wrap the fish (about 12"x 18" ). Put the fish on the parchment/Foil, salt & pepper, olive oil. Then add herbs, spices, vegies, dried fruit, apples, oranges, lemons, olives, capers, cherry tomatoes, red pepper flakes, white wine, vinegar, Tabasco, whatever you like, or just fish and salt & pepper & a little olive oil. (if you want something that takes longer to cook like potatoes, beets, corn, just do that separately in another packet and cook it longer), pull the parchment/foil up to a tent and roll it down to seal the fish in, then roll up the edges to form a nice sealed packet. Put that in to a 350 degree for 20 - 25 min, go change clothes, turn on the TV, relax. Cut the packet open and have one of the great meals of the world. This dish is routinely served at great restaurants in Paris, New York, London, and San Francisco.

Here's a sample: This one is a little more complex because everything gets pre-cooked. I mostly want you to see the combination of vegies, spices, vinegar…etc .. If you want, you can put everything in the foil, skip all the pre-cooking and cook it for 25 min instead of 15.. 

Halibut and Vegetables en Papillote

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon thyme leaves

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

Four 6-ounce halibut steaks, about 1 inch thick (note the 1 inch = takes longer to cook… Any fish will work. Get one you like, any thickness)

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 lemon, thinly sliced into 12 rounds

1/4 cup Niçoise olives

5 baby zucchini, quartered lengthwise

1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds

Preheat the oven to 350°.
On a baking sheet, toss the tomatoes with the oil, vinegar and thyme. Arrange the tomatoes cut side up and season with salt and pepper. Bake the tomatoes for 45 minutes, until slightly dried.

In a large skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Season the halibut with salt and pepper and add to the skillet. Cook over moderately high heat until lightly browned on one side, about 3 minutes; transfer to a plate.

Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to the skillet and cook over moderate heat until it just starts to brown, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.

Lay four 15-inch-long sheets of parchment paper on a work surface. Arrange 3 lemon slices in the center of each sheet and top with a halibut steak, seared side up. Scatter the tomatoes, olives and zucchini evenly around the fish, spoon on the butter sauce and sprinkle with the coriander.

Fold the parchment over the fish and vegetables and fold the edge over itself in small pleats to seal.

Transfer the papillotes to a baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Snip the parchment open with scissors and serve.


Here's a great sauce for any fish: Sauce Gribiche

3 large pasteurized egg yolks

1 medium garlic clove, minced

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1/3 cup vegetable oil blended with 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup cornichons, finely diced

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons minced parsley

2 tablespoons minced chives

1 hard-cooked egg, finely diced

1 medium shallot, minced

1 tablespoon minced tarragon

Salt and freshly ground pepper

In a food processor/ Stand mixer, combine the egg yolks with the garlic and lemon juice. With the machine on, gradually add the blended oils until a thick mayonnaise forms. (Yes you just made your own Mayo!!!) Scrape the mayonnaise into a bowl and stir in the remaining ingredients; season the sauce with salt and pepper.


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 9:25 AM