Mack's Corner

This Week

This week 02-24-15

Pick your feet up and ride it out!

I took my wife to dinner downtown, nice restaurant, great food. It's one of those places where the chef who owns it actually cooks there too (ownership makes you try a little harder). She even came out later and walked around greeting the people in the restaurant, I always think that's a nice touch, makes you feel like you really are a guest. It was much smaller on the inside than it looks on the outside, I guess that's because it's on the first floor of a large building, which is fine.. smaller is better, that means the chef is actually seeing every plate that goes out. But, smaller also means closer tables. We sat at a table that had a long booth bench on one side (several tables along the bench) and a chair on the isle side, I was in the chair. The guy at the table behind me was very close and he was a "Chair mover". He didn't like being confined, he wanted to move around. Back and forth, side to side, everywhere. He was very animated, telling stories to the other 3 guys at his table. I don't know if my chair was attached to his, but every time he moved, I moved. At first I tried holding my chair down, but the bigger the story got the more he moved. I finally put my feet on the rungs and rode it out (he was telling some pretty good stories). At the end of one story he decided it was time to go to the restroom, so with one big push he shoved his chair back from the table and got up. Let's just say I was extremely close to my wife when he did that, sharing desert was not really an option, we were pretty much sharing everything, it was very romantic..

God's like that: He tries to help us but we fight to hold our ground, trying not to give in, moving in the direction that we want to go.. But God's got the big map, he knows where you need to go.  The best thing to do is to pick your feet up and enjoy the ride..

I think I'll write a letter to the restaurant and suggest that they put wheels on and connect all of the chairs that are back to back. Think how interactive and network forming that would be. The ultimate business lunch. Or if you did it boy/girl, you could call it ", The Restaurant" .. "how did you two meet?" .. "we rode together at the restaurant.. We feel very connected.... we go every place together.."


Cooking 220 - 2 pans, 2 burners, 20 minutes - Living Well - Mediterranean Diet:

I was helping a friend cook yesterday. She was having party for a friend. One of the things we did was little triangle sandwiches. Of course we cut the crust off . She was about to throw the pieces in the trash and I stopped her. "Don't throw that away. I'll make bread pudding or croutons or bread salad." So I got a ziplock bag full of bread crust. If you really cook every day there is never a reason to throw scraps away. Left over carrots and chicken bones = stock. Left over steak = Stew. Left over fish = soup. Left over pasta = chicken noodle soup. Left over rice = rice pudding .. This is one of the advantages that restaurants have, they cook every day. So anything left over from the day before is used for something else today even if its just part of the staff meal. Here's a great example of a staff meal. Filling, healthy, cheap, easy, fast and no cleanup. If you want to raise it up pan fry several pieces of salmon and add to each serving, or just a nice salad.  

Parmesan Bread Pudding With Broccoli Rabe And Pancetta

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 medium bunch broccoli rabe (rapini), trimmed, cut into 1/2-inch pieces or just plain broccoli
2 teaspoons kosher salt plus more
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper plus more
6 large eggs
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 pound country-style white bread, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 8 cups) or left over crusts
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan
6 thin slices pancetta (Italian bacon) or bacon

Preheat oven to 350°. Heat oil in a large iron skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes. Stir until garlic is softened, about 30 seconds. Add broccoli rabe; sea-son with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing, until wilted, about 2 minutes; let cool slightly.

Meanwhile, whisk eggs, milk, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoons pepper in a large bowl to blend. Add broccoli rabe mixture, bread, and 1/2 cup Parmesan; toss to combine.

Transfer back to Iron skillet. Top with pancetta and remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan.

Bake pudding until puffed, browned in spots, and set in the center, 45-55 minutes.


Posted by Mack Oates at 9:48 AM