Mack's Corner

This Week

Head squeeze

I change a lot of light bulbs in the Sanctuary. To do that, I have to get on our scissor lift. Most people think that the dangerous part about being on a lift is being up high, or maybe having the thing fall over, or just falling off. But that part is easy. The dangerous part is moving it through a doorway or through any tight place. You have to concentrate so hard on driving it slow and at the correct angle and then backing it up 2 inches and turning the wheels some and slowly going forward….etc that you forget about yourself. If you're standing up in it you're 2 feet above the rail and as you're inching your way through a door you forget that the lift is going to make it but you're not. I've often had the lift all the way through a door way and then felt pressure on my face from the top of the door and wondering where that came from. Your instinct is to get the lift through and then figure out what the problem is with your head later … that won't work! Sometimes I'll be on the ground and stick my head around the corner while driving the lift only to realize that the space my head is in is getting smaller and smaller … I guess someone would find me eventually and point at me … :"There's Mack, he's the one with his head caught between the door and that big lift thing, I guess he knows what he's doing? His face is getting red but he's still moving the lift?" …

One of my wife's best friends, Ann used to teach Special Ed at Shrine school. She had the only class of kids who were mentally normal kids. They still had CP or MD and so they couldn't walk or had trouble speaking or they were all twisted up, but mentally they were fine. Of course that's a good thing and a bad thing because they know. She told me one day that they were all pretty depressed and didn't really see any future. I told her I had an idea. So I wrote a letter. It's amazing the response you can get from almost anybody if you write them a letter. When I wrote it I really never thought I would get anything back, but it only cost a buck or 2 to send it so I did. I told him about the class and that all I wanted was a picture so that I could show them someone who was important but that looked like them. About a month later I got a brown envelope from Oxford England with a picture inside. His secretary said he couldn't sign it because he couldn't write any more but that he was glad he could help. Ann put it up in her class room so that the kids saw it every day. She told them that Stephen Hawking ( Stephen Hawking's Picture ) was the smartest man in the whole world and that he was just like them, "See here's his picture!"

God's like that: He sees us for what we can be and not for what we're not. He's not looking for perfect people, they've always got problems. He's looking for real people who know they don't have it all figured out. That way there's no doubt that it's him doing it. He can do great things if we can just get our head out of the way…

I think I'm going to go practice driving the lift lying down. I'll probably hit stuff but at least I won't get my head stuck ….


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

This is from Michel Richard's cookbook "Happy in the Kitchen". His Restaurant is Citronelle in Washington D.C. He's one of the great chefs in America today. I was making this a few weeks ago and ran out of time. It was supposed to be on a crispy crepe, but that was going to take too long. So I pulled some puff pastry out of the freezer and used that for the crust instead. I always keep puff pastry in the freezer, it lasts forever frozen and it saves me on stuff like this. The hardest part of this is going to the grocery store. This is great for parties…

Crisp and Creamy Bacon - Onion Tart

1 sheet frozen puff pastry  (half of 17.3-ounce package), thawed - freezer section in the grocery store (Pepperidge farm) - get the sheets .. <>

4 oz sliced Applewood smoked bacon (Fresh Market) or any good bacon, about 6 slices.

2 medium onions (I like sweet onions) about 1 lb.

1/3 cup crème fraiche (crème fraiche = half sour cream and half whipping cream stirred together) ..

Preheat your oven to 400

Let one sheet of puff pastry thaw enough to unfold it. Unfold it and with a fork, prick the top all over. We're trying to let some of the air out of the pastry. Put it on a baking sheet and put it in the oven and cook till puffed and light brown (about 10 minutes). Let pastry cool. It should deflate and be pretty flat.

Cut across the strips of bacon to make 1/2 inch by 1 inch strips. Cook in a skillet till brown but not quite done. We'll finish this in the oven .. Set the bacon aside on paper towels and pour off all but 1 tbsp of the rendered fat.

Cut the onion in to slices.. Cut onions in half long ways, peel off outer layer. Then lay it on the flat side and cut off both ends. Now slice as thin as you can.

Cook the onions in the same skillet using the left over bacon fat. Cook till soft and starting to brown.  Transfer to a bowl … Let cool and stir in crème fraiche ..

Stop! At this point you are 15 minutes from being finished. If you're doing this for a party, it can sit this way for several hours.  When you are ready to serve:  Preheat the oven to 425. Spoon the onion/Crème Fraiche over the puff pastry. Then sprinkle the bacon over the onions. Bake for 12 - 15 minutes, till the puff pastry is golden brown and onions are bubbling. DON'T BURN THE PUFF PASTRY!!!! WATCH IT!!! …   

Cut in to squares and serve … Tell your guests that you worked for hours .. This is so easy, you could make it for yourself for dinner. All it needs is a salad … total time for the whole thing is 25 minutes and it's great!!!!! After you do it once, you won't even need the recipe ..



Posted by Mack Oates at 9:47 AM