Mack's Corner

This Week

Cornbread & Lawnmowers

It's hard to eat cornbread and drive at the same time. I love cornbread for breakfast. One day I was driving to work with my cornbread and coffee. I was a little sleepy …. I looked down and I had cornbread crumbs all over my lap, so I started breathing in every time I took a bite so that I sucked in all of the crumbs. I breathed in too many and started choking. I looked down trying to brush off the crumbs, breathing in, looking down, choking, running red lights, going over curbs …. Eating cornbread… who knew it was a life threatening event. People were talking on their cell phones pointing at me like they were  calling 911 … Why not let the crumbs pile up and just be a slob, it's not like I was expecting company. I guess it was so early that the police were in a shift change or something, but nobody gave me a ticket or stopped me. There probably should be a Cornbread law …

Used to be every spring my wife would ask me to "Lower the wheels on the lawnmower". If you think about it that's the same as "Raise the wheels on the lawnmower".  I never knew what that meant. And we would always have a big discussion about it. Did she want the grass shorter or longer? It's the same as when somebody tells you to "turn down the AC".  What does that mean? How about "Turn up the AC"? Is that the same? Does that mean colder or hotter?  I Don't know!! 

God's like that: he knows we get distracted, screw up, have bad days. He knows we don't even understand the question, better yet the answer.  But he's not there to punish us when we do bad things or to make us rich when we do good things, it doesn't work that way. He's just there. He not nearly as interested in the conclusion as he is in the conversation. It's the relationship not the result.  

Maybe I'll try eating waffles while I'm driving to work tomorrow, fewer crumbs.. maple syrup? Hummmmm ….


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

I thought I would do a totally American dish: Jambalaya. I was reading the Wednesday Food section of the New York Times (you can get it at Starbucks Wednesday morning, it's great) and some guy from New York said Paul Prudhomme's food wasn't "True Cajun". Of course he was trying to build up Donald Link and his New Orleans restaurant "Cochon", so it was ok. Donald Link is a great chef and one of the great people who fed people out of his restaurant during Katrina for free.. But still, to say Paul Prudhomme is not True Cajun is like saying Memphis BBQ is not true BBQ … So here's a True Cajun Jambalaya from Paul .. all in 1 pan:

3 pounds of chopped Chicken (skinless, boneless breasts works best)

Seasoning mix:

1 tsp salt

1 tsp white pepper (black pepper will work too)

1 tsp garlic powder

1 / 2 tsp red pepper (cayenne)

1 / 2 tsp black pepper (if you used black above, add this to it)

4 tbsp margarine or butter

1 1 / 2 cups chopped onions (1 big onion)

1 1 / 2 cups chopped celery (1 head of celery - cut the top and the bottom off)

1 1 / 2 cups chopped green bell pepper (1 bell pepper)

1 / 2 tsp Tabasco

2 cups of chopped smoked ham or any ham will work

1 14oz can of tomato sauce

2 cups of rice

3 cups chicken stock or water will work.

Cut all the chopped stuff in to 1 / 4 inch pieces. Don't get crazy about the size, just cut it up.  Put all of the seasoning mix in a small bowl and mix it up.

In a big skillet, medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onions, celery, bell pepper, seasoning mix, ham and Tabasco. Stir and cook till onions get brown, don't burn it … add tomato sauce and cook for 5 minutes, stir, stir, stir .. don't stop …. Add the chicken… 15 more minutes… stir some.. don't let it burn (tomatoes will it) …add the rice, turn the heat down and cook for 10 minutes (this will toast the rice and add flavor) stir… add the stock, bring it to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cover for 15 minutes, till rice is done (check it and stir it after 5 min and 10 min)..

You're Done!!! Too Easy …


If you really want to make this meal great add Chef Paul's Potato salad:

Emulsion is when you mix 2 things together that normally don't mix: Vinegar and oil for a vinaigrette, water and cold butter for Beurre Monte, or Eggs and oil for mayonnaise. The main thing you have to do is add the thing being emulsified (usually the fat = Oil, butter) slowly and whip it in till it's gone, before you add more. So we're going to make mayo.

1 whole egg + 1 egg yolk

1 ½ cups of vegetable oil

This works best in a mixer with a whip, or a hand mixer or just a whisk by hand. You can do it in a blender or a food processor but it tends to not work very well… whip the eggs till frothy. If you're doing this in a mixer, just keep it running. Slowly add the oil. Make sure it's all blended in before you add more (if you have a mixer you can do this in a steady stream). It will get thicker as you add more oil…now you've got "base mayo"(it won't be near as thick as store bought Mayo). From here you can flavor it anyway you want: garlic and lemon or garlic and French mustard for aioli, whatever …. We're going to make green onion salad dressing for the best potato salad in the whole world (adapted from Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen)….

To the mayo add:

1 1/2 tbls Creole mustard (brown mustard works too)

1 tbls white vinegar (any vinegar will do if you don't have white)

1/4 tsp salt

1/8 tsp white pepper (regular black pepper works too)

1 small bunch or green onions chopped (white & Green parts both) Mix it up … that's your dressing…

For the salad..

4 medium potatoes, baked, peeled and cut in to 1 inch cubes (do this just like you would bake a potato, let it cool, peel it, cut it up.. Don't worry too much about peeling it super clean. A little skin and the brown part is good.)

6 hard boiled eggs chopped (start with 6 eggs in cold water, bring to a simmer, don't boil.. let it simmer for 13 minutes, put them in cold water to cool. As soon as they are cool enough, crack them and peel them. Don't let them sit for a long time or they will be hard to peel)

1 onion chopped (cut in half lengthwise, cut off the top of each half, peel, let the root hold the half together. Lay one half down on the flat side, make downward cuts lengthwise, the cross cuts lengthwise, then cross cuts till you get to the root .. do the same with the other half)

1 head of celery chopped (cut off the top and the bottom and chop)

1 green bell pepper chopped (cut it in half and take out all the seeds)

1 tsp cayenne pepper or any red pepper

4 tbls of French's yellow mustard

1 1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp white pepper

Green onion salad dressing

Put all of this in a bowl, but don't mix it till just before you want to serve it. It's best 2 seconds after you mix it.. Just pile it all in and let sit till you're ready…..When you're ready, scoop it up from the bottom and fold it over the top to mix it. Try not to mash up the potatoes too much, but mix it well. Taste it, you may need more salt or more yellow mustard. You'll know its right when you can't make yourself stop tasting it. (have all you want! This is why you're the cook and they aren't)…


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 8:20 AM