Mack's Corner

This Week

Pick any 3

A few years ago I ordered one of my favorite cookbooks. I waited for it from November to March. I'm not allowed to buy cookbooks on my own, especially in November, because that's what I get for Christmas and Birthday. The cookbook was "ad hoc at home" by Thomas Keller. If you've been reading my stories for very long you know that Thomas Keller is by far my favorite chef and his cookbooks are the ones I cook from over and over. He is probably the greatest American Chef ever and in the top 5 ever in the world. He is the only chef in America who has 2 restaurants with 3 Michelin stars. Most of his recipes are very complex and precise. He has very exact ways to do things. When he makes chicken stock he has an exact weight of bones, exact number of carrots, exact weight of onions, an exact number of peppercorns … stuff like that. I've made recipes out of "The French Laundry Cookbook" that have taken 2 days for one small plate of food. But here's the deal: If you make it like he says to, it is spectacular!!! It will be a life changing moment. To think that you can make something that good….. And you will learn more about cooking just making one recipe than you ever imagined. You have to actually read his cookbooks, which is a pure pleasure because Michael Ruhlman writes all of the text…. This cookbook is not about cooking French Laundry food, it about cooking normal food at home. Keller is pure American and grew up with a single mom. She made all the same things my mom made, green bean casserole, tuna helper, sweet potatoes with marshmallows on top, grilled cheese sandwiches, pot roast, "Shake and Bake" chicken … stuff moms made in the 60's and 70's. He still loves all those things and loves to eat simple good food. But he is Thomas Keller and there are ways to do things, and even though he has a recipe for a grilled cheese sandwich, it is still made with homemade Brioche (Bread) and Gruyere cheese…  The great thing about this cookbook is that it is simple and easy and best of all, you will learn how to cook. Pick any 3 recipes and cook them over and over until you know it by heart, until you don't have to look at the book any more. Then pick 3 more and do the same thing. By the time you get past 15 you will be one of the best cooks you know anywhere, trained under the best chef in the world. You will be making world class food made from stuff you can get at Kroger. Who knew vegetable soup could be so good?

God's like that: He's very complex but loves simple. The stuff he wants us to know is simple. If you do things like he says you get spectacular, life changing moments. You can learn from him, just read his book. Pick any 3 chapters and read them over and over, until you know them, then pick 3 more and do it again. You will be amazed at the things you'll learn…

I'm making grilled cheese "samiches" tonight. Come on over and bring some marshmallows, we'll have smores for dessert ….

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

First: Penzeys spices is open again!!!  418 Perkins Extended 440-8377 across the street from Booksellers(formerly Davis Kidd book store) by Cook and Love Shoes.. Yaaaaaay Go shop, keep them open in Memphis.

Wings Continued

Here's my last Wings recipe from my favorite Thai cookbook "True Thai" by Victor Sodsook.

BBQ Chicken Issan Style

15 - 20 Chicken Wings

1 small bunch of Cilantro

3 tbsp chopped garlic

1 tbsp black pepper

2 tbsp plus 1 tsp minced, peeled fresh ginger

2 tbsp golden brown sugar (light)

2 tbsp vegetable oil


Sweet and Spicy dipping Sauce:

1/2 cup distilled white vinegar

1 cup sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 tbsp Chinese-style Chili-garlic sauce, preferably Lee Kum Kee Brand (also at Asian market on Ridgeway… this is by far the best!!)

For the chicken:

Cut off the roots of the cilantro and chop, stems and all. You should have about 3/4 to 1 cup.

Combine the cilantro, garlic, pepper, ginger, sugar, and oil in a food processor and puree.

Put the wings in a large Ziplock bag and pour the marinade in on top. Marinate in the fridge over night. Turn occasionally…

Remove the chicken and discard the marinade. You can grill the wings or you can roast them in a 425 degree oven on a baking sheet for about 40 minutes, then put them under the broiler to crisp the skin.. (Don't leave if you put them under the broiler, they will burn quickly. Watch!)

For the Sweet and Spicy dipping Sauce:

Put the vinegar, Sugar, salt, Chili-garlic sauce in a pan and bring to a boil for 2 min. Turn the heat down and simmer for 5 minutes. Let it cool and serve at room temp. This will keep for several weeks. You can double this easy. This is great stuff and works on almost anything. I keep some in the fridge all the time …

This also works with any chicken parts, even whole chickens, just cut them up first.

Now that you've got all 3 recipes, next time you have a party, do all 3 and serve with the dipping sauce.



Posted by Mack Oates at 12:37 PM