Mack's Corner

This Week

The Can Crusher

My wife used to be convinced that our garage door was haunted. When you closed it sometimes it would go all the way, sometimes it would go half way then open back up, and sometimes it would go about a foot and open back up. I assumed that it was getting resistance from the rails and was going back up as a safety thing. I read the manual. It had a dial that you could set that sets the amount of resistance it would take before it went back up. So I had it set so high that we used it to crush cans. Still haunted. I could actually hang from the door as it went back up (my wife looks at me funny when I do that). I also put so much WD40 on the rails that it was starting to flow down the driveway. OK, had to go google it to see what I could find. After several hours of reading about everything there was to know about my garage door opener, I saw one little sentence: "If you can hold the button down and the door will close all the way, then your electronic eyes are not seeing each other." Garage doors of course have little electronic eyes that look at each other across the opening of the garage. If for some reason the path is blocked, i.e. you put your foot in front of it, the door opens back up. I think they put this there just to make us look stupid, so that if you forget your garage door opener and you have to close the door but still need to leave through your garage door, you push the button and as you run out of your garage you have to jump over this invisible string. Otherwise if you just run through it, the door opens back up.  They looked like they are looking at each other, but I guess not. So I fixed my electronic eyes. I put them up on the wall looking right at each other about 6 inches apart. Worked like a peach, I didn't even have to jump over the invisible string any more. I guess the garage door police will get me some day, just don't tell them, OK?

God's like that: We try to fix things through brute force but don't really understand how it all works. Then it turns out that what we thought was a small thing that wouldn't make any difference was the thing that made it all work. Our relationship with God seems much less important than being someplace on time, but it's not.. We help somebody and think nothing of it, but it turns out to be a really big deal to the person.. small actions have big effects.

I wonder if I can use my garage door to crack walnuts???


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

This is one of those things that I could eat every day, every meal. This is from Thomas Keller's Bouchon Cookbook. It's full of stuff that most normal people can cook, like this:

Crème caramel

Servings: 8

This recipe calls for 8 (7- to 8-ounce) ramekins. You can also do this in a baking dish, just has to cook longer…


1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar

3 tablespoons light corn syrup

3 tablespoons water

1. Arrange 8 (7- to 8-ounce) ramekins in a baking pan lined with a piece of parchment paper and set near the stove.


2. Combine the sugar, corn syrup and water in a very clean, small nonstick saucepan and stir to combine (the corn syrup will help keep the caramel from crystallizing). Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly with a heat-proof spoon or spatula. Continue to simmer and stir until the caramel is a rich, deep amber, about 13 minutes. If any sugar crystallizes on the side of the pan, brush the sugar down with a pastry brush that has been dipped in water. If the caramel begins to foam or browns too quickly, move it off the heat briefly to let it rest and allow you to regain control.

3. Remove the caramel from the heat. Pour some of the caramel into the bottoms of two of the ramekins and immediately pick them up and rotate them to coat the bottoms evenly with a thin layer of caramel. (If you don't work fast, the caramel may solidify too quickly.) Coat the remaining cups two at a time; if the caramel in the saucepan gets too thick, place it over low heat to remelt. (The caramel cups can be held at room temperature for 2 days; cover the cups with plastic wrap.)



4 cups milk

1 1/4 cups plus 3 tablespoons sugar

5 eggs

3 egg yolks

2 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1. Combine the milk and sugar in a medium nonreactive saucepan and bring just barely to a simmer over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool until just warm to the touch.

2. Whisk the eggs and yolks in a large bowl to combine. Whisking constantly, slowly add the warm milk mixture and then the vanilla. Strain into a pitcher or large measuring cup with a spout (Can refrigerate for up to a day).

3. Put a rack in the middle of the oven and heat it to 300 degrees.

4. Place the prepared caramel ramekins in a baking pan on a baking sheet. This will provide a double layer of insulation so the custards cook slowly and evenly. Pour about three-fourths cup of custard into each cup. Add enough very hot tap water to the baking pan to come halfway to two-thirds of the way up the sides of the cups. Use a wooden skewer to burst any bubbles on the tops of the custards so the tops will be smooth.

5. Cover the baking pan with two layers of plastic wrap, sealing it tightly, and place in the oven. Begin to check the custards after 30 minutes. Gently shake them (still in the plastic wrap): The custard should be set but still jiggle slightly, like gelatin. It will probably take 40 minutes for the custards to set, or longer if the mixture was cold when it went into the oven.

6. Remove the baked custards from the hot water and place them on a cooling rack. Cool, then refrigerate for at least 24 hours. (The custards can be refrigerated for as long as 3 days.)

7. To serve: Pour about 2 inches of very hot water into a bowl. Set a crème caramel cup in the hot water to let the caramel soften for a few seconds, then run a paring knife around the edge of the cup to loosen the custard. Invert onto a serving plate. If the custard sticks, hold the cup firmly against the plate and shake to loosen the custard. Repeat with the remaining custards.



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 9:18 AM