This Week

Mack's Corner

This Week

Dry Ice

A few years ago the big walk-in freezer at Hope went out, the compressor died. Of course there was about 4 tons of food in there and we had to do something quick. We got some dry ice from Kroger but that didn't last very long, it just disappears. The next day we had to go get some more, a lot more, enough to last through the weekend. The place we had to go was way out in an industrial part of town, 20 miles away. We got 300 pounds of it loaded in the back of my pickup and I was ready to go but the guy at the place said we needed to cover it otherwise it would all be gone by the time we got back. That sounded strange, but I figured he knew what he was talking about so we covered it the best we could. He also gave us some small blocks of dry ice to put on the top to hold the cover down. I guess our cover wasn't very good because when we were driving back on the express way it looked like the whole back end of my truck was on fire, lots and lots and lots of smoke. It was really frozen CO2 evaporating, like you see at concerts when there's fog on the floor of the stage. We had people pointing at us and looking at us like we were totally crazy. We didn't really care till I had a flat tire. We stopped to fix the tire. I've always got 5 cans of fix-a-flat in my truck, and the smoke really helped. Maybe they thought it was going to blow up, but most people drove way around us. I got the tire mostly fixed, but there was fix-a-flat coming out of the puncture, so we headed to a gas station. We got to the gas station with the same looks, except a lot more fear. They weren't real happy to see a truck that was on fire pull into the gas station. The guy kept waving his hands at us to leave. I finally explained to him what was going on and he quickly fixed the tire. He just wanted me and the smoking truck gone. When we got back the blocks that the man had given us to put on top were gone, disappeared, nothing left. Most of the covered stuff was still there … I guess dry ice doesn't keep well at high speed.

God's not like that. He's the same all the time no matter what we do. He does not change. He always loves us. And God doesn't go away, he doesn't disappear no matter what we do or what happens.

I'm working on some dry ice insoles, like AC for your feet. It looks cool too because you've got smoke coming out of your shoes. I'm going to tell everybody I'm really, really fast.


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

A few weeks ago I told you I would give you Thomas Keller's Sweet Potato Hash with Bacon and Melted Onions. This is from his cookbook "Ad Hoc at Home"

8 cups sliced onions (3 large ones)

Kosher salt

4 sprigs thyme

Fresh ground black pepper

1/2 garlic clove minced

1 stick unsalted butter, in 8 pieces

12 ounces best-quality Bacon, sliced about 1/2-inch thick

3 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled, cooked (boiled, roasted or microwaved) and diced

1 tablespoon minced chives (optional)

Poached or sunny-side-up eggs, for serving (optional).

Put onions in a large skillet, place over medium-low heat, and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, uncovered, reducing the heat to maintain a low simmer, about 20 minutes, until onions are soft and swimming in liquid.

Pull leaves off of 3 thyme sprigs. Add thyme, pepper and garlic to onions along with butter, stir and cover (not too tightly, some steam should be allowed to escape). Cook slowly 30 to 35 minutes, until onions are meltingly tender and coated in butter. The mixture should look creamy at all times: if butter separates or if pan looks dry, stir in cold water 1 teaspoon at a time. Season to taste with salt. (Onions can be made up to 3 days in advance and refrigerated.)

Cut bacon crosswise into thick matchsticks. Pour 2 tablespoons water into a medium saucepan and set over medium heat. Add bacon, reduce heat to low, and cook for 30 minutes. Bacon will render its fat and become golden, but not completely crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels. Pour off excess fat from pan, leaving a thick film on bottom to cook hash; reserve the extra fat.

Heat oven to 200 degrees. This is to keep things warm.

Spread half of potatoes in the pan that you used to cook the bacon, sprinkle with salt and add half the leaves of the remaining sprig of thyme. Cook undisturbed, over medium-low heat, until crisp, about 5 minutes.

Add 1/2 cup melted onions and a quarter of the bacon and gently fold together until heated through. Transfer to an ovenproof serving bowl and keep warm in the oven.

Repeat with remaining potatoes, a quarter of the bacon, another 1/2 cup onions and remaining thyme leaves.

Sprinkle hash with chives (if using) and remaining bacon. Serve hot, topped with eggs if desired.

See, even Thomas Keller has easy stuff to cook. ..



Posted by Mack Oates at 9:31 AM