Mack's Corner

This Week

"In the weeds"

Valentine's Day, it can be lots of fun or lots of stress, especially if you forget. I hated Valentine's Day growing up because we always had to get those little valentines for every kid in the class. Teachers thought it was cute, but giving a valentine to some kid that wanted to fight every day at recess didn't seem right to me. Then there was always some girl that thought you were in love with her, maybe my mom was in love with her, she wrote all the valentines, not me. I was thinking I would send a letter to Hallmark and suggest some more stressed-out holidays that they could create. How about a card for your favorite girlfriend/boyfriend that you never married, call it "almost day".  Or a day for your least favorite relative that keeps calling and coming over because you're "family" …. We could call it  "just kill me now day". How about "I wish I had a different boss day" or "Honesty Day" where all the cards start out "I love you, BUT". I'm making a list, if you've got some more send them to me I'll send them in for you. If you forget Valentine's Day and you're sleeping in the garage, don't worry, it will be over soon, just go to the grocery store and buy about 8 dozen roses  and come home looking as pitiful as you can, maybe work up some tears and say you're sorry. She already knows you're pitiful because you're too dumb to remember Valentine's Day ….

A few years ago we were cooking dinner for a Valentine's night. When we planned the meal the plate was supposed to have sautéed green beans on the side mostly as a garnish, maybe 6 or 8 beans at most, so we made that many. It got to be time to serve and we were sending out plates. Everything was working fine and I noticed that the first pan of beans was gone, but we had only served ¼ of the plates. I only had one more pan of beans. The chef looked at me and said "I think you need to go cook some more beans….." OK, green beans for 200 people in 15 minutes. I ran back to the kitchen, turned every burner on the stove up to high, had big pots of boiling salted water going, big sauté pans getting white hot, oil smoking and 40 pounds of frozen green beans. I looked like a mad scientist doing bean experiments. The beans blanched in the boiling water, then I scooped them right from the water into the sauté pan. When the water hit the hot oil, flames flared up and my eyebrows were gone, no time to stop, every time I had a pan of beans ready, there was somebody there to take it out and saying they needed more ….. In the restaurant business they call this "in the weeds". It's when you're so far behind that you can't catch up, and the harder you try, the more mistakes you make and the further behind you get. The only way to catch up is to tell yourself to "Go Slow and think about what you're doing". That way you quit making mistakes and you get more efficient, which makes things go faster. I finished when the plates finished. The last 50 plates had green beans were less than 2 minutes from the freezer, they were hot and they were good.

God's like that: We get "in the weeds". We try harder and harder and nothing works. We just seem to get further and further behind. God's got a non-stress card for you: "Come to me …. My burden is light … Go Slow and think about what you're doing …. I won't leave and we're not in a hurry."

There ought to be a place where you can pay a yearly fee and they send out cards and flowers to everybody you're supposed to send cards and flowers to, whenever you're supposed to do it. Then when your wife calls or your mom calls and tells you what a sweetheart you are because they just got your flowers, all you have to do is figure out what day it is. Just be sure you don't say Happy Birthday on your anniversary.


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

I love things cooked with bread. The bread becomes the pasta/rice for the dish.

Pan-Roasted Salmon-and-Bread Salad


Eight 1-inch-thick slices of ciabatta (from a 12-ounce loaf), cut into large chunks.. or any crusty bread

5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 pints grape tomatoes, halved

2 large garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons salted capers, rinsed and coarsely chopped

1 lemon, halved lengthwise and very thinly sliced

1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

2 pounds center-cut skinless salmon fillet, cut into 2-inch chunks

1.Preheat the oven to 450°. In a large roasting pan (or iron skillet), toss the ciabatta chunks with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Roast for about 5 minutes, until the bread is lightly toasted.

2. In a large bowl, toss the tomato halves with the garlic, capers, lemon, parsley, crushed red pepper and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Stir the tomatoes into the toasted bread. Roast for 10 to 12 minutes, until the tomatoes begin to soften and break down.

3. Meanwhile, in the same bowl, toss the salmon with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Nestle the salmon into the bread and tomatoes, spooning some of the tomatoes on top. Roast for about 6 minutes, until the salmon is just cooked through.

Serve right away.


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 10:25 AM