Mack's Corner

This Week

Swirling and Slurping

PK and I went on a little 3-day vacation a few years ago. We had dinner in a restaurant that was supposed to be really good, 2 Michelin stars, it was OK, I know several places in Memphis that are better. The odd thing was that everybody was there to be seen. They were all swirling wine and slurping like they were great wine experts. There was one guy sitting next to us who did the whole routine. They poured him some wine then he would swirl it in the glass, then hold it up to look at it, then put it down, then pick it up and smell it, then put it down then hold it back up to look at it, then smell again, then taste and slurp it in his mouth, then put it down and start the whole routine all over again. This was going on all over the restaurant. It was like being on a different planet, all these people dressed in black swirling wine. I guess if they had been drinking $2000 bottles of wine from 1889 I would have understood, but they were drinking stuff you could buy in Memphis, anywhere, any day of the week, big woop. The Chef at this place was supposed to be really good but nobody was paying any attention to the food, they were all swirling and slurping, swirling and slurping. It was odd but very entertaining. Too bad the food wasn't better.

While on this vacation I was sitting outside on a bench while the girls were inside shopping and Garrison Keillor (sounds like "Keeler") walked by, he was all by himself. He's on public radio on Saturday afternoon and you see him on TV sometimes. He's easy to recognize if you've ever seen him. I sat there and said "Hey Garrison, how you doing?" just like I would with anybody else I know. I didn't get up or shake hands or ask for an autograph, just "Hey", like I see him all the time. He looked at me kinda funny and said "Hey" back and kept walking.  I probably should have taken a picture of his back as he walked away, then I would have had proof. It would have been funny if he had said "Hey Mack" and then kept walking.

God's like that: We think we need to go someplace special to meet God, like he lives at church. And then when we get there we start in on these strange routines(((I bet it's funny to him!))). It turns out that you can stay at home, go to work, or be in your car and still talk to God. You can also talk to him like you would anybody else and he'll understand, no special language or position. The cool part is that he knows your name and everything else, no need to make stuff up or talk funny.

Next time I go to that restaurant I'm going to take something that's bright green and sit there a swirl it and make faces when I drink it, do some slurping. Plus, I look good in all black.


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

Mediterranean Diet:  
(Keto: this is all keto)

I love Cauliflower! It's really good for you and it's easy to make a lot of different things. Here's several:

Pan-Roasted Cauliflower with Pine Nuts and Raisins

2 tablespoons raisins (not golden)

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 head cauliflower, cut into florets (4 cups)

1 teaspoon sugar

2 cups tomatoes, drained, peeled, seeded, and chopped

Pinch of crushed red pepper

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons pine nuts

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1. Preheat the oven to 350°.

2. In a small bowl, cover the raisins with water; let stand until softened, about 10 minutes. Drain.

3. Meanwhile, in a 10- to 12-inch Iron Skillet, heat the oil. Add the cauliflower and sugar and cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until the cauliflower starts to soften, about 10 minutes. Raise the heat to moderate and cook until the cauliflower is lightly browned, about 5 minutes longer. The sugar will brown too.

4. Stir in the tomatoes and crushed red pepper, season with salt and black pepper, and cook until the tomatoes have begun to soften, about 5 minutes.

5. Add the raisins to the cauliflower, along with 1/4 cup hot water, the pine nuts, and chopped garlic.

6. Transfer the Skillet to the oven and bake the cauliflower for about 30 minutes, until it is very tender.

7.Stir in the parsley and lemon juice and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Serve the cauliflower warm.


Cauliflower Gratin with Manchego sauce and Almonds

3/4 cup half-and-half

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 cup whole milk

Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

Salt and freshly ground pepper

One 2-pound head of cauliflower, cut into 1 1/2-inch florets

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped or sliced almonds (3 ounces)

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons finely shredded Manchego or other mildly nutty semi-aged sheep's- or cow's-milk cheese (3 1/2 ounces), such as Gouda

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1/4 teaspoon Pimentón de la Vera (smoked Spanish paprika)

1. Preheat the oven to 400°.

2. In a medium saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the flour and whisk over moderately high heat for 1 minute. Add the milk and the half-and-half and cook, whisking constantly, until thickened, 5 minutes.(((This is a Bechamel sauce now))) Remove from the heat. Add 3/4 cup of the Manchego and whisk until melted.(((Now it's a mornay sauce = Bechamel + Cheese))) Whisk in the nutmeg; season with salt and pepper. Keep warm.

3. In a large iron skillet, bring 1/2 inch of salted water to a boil. Add the cauliflower, cover, and cook over high heat until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Drain the cauliflower in a colander. Wipe out the skillet.

4. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in the Iron skillet. Add the onion and cook over moderately high heat, stirring until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.

5. Add the cauliflower and cook, stirring until lightly golden, about 2 minutes. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

6. Transfer the cauliflower to a 7-by-10-inch glass or ceramic baking dish and spread the Manchego/mornay sauce on top.

7. Sprinkle the gratin with the remaining cheese, the 2 tablespoons of chopped almonds, and the paprika and bake in the center of the oven for 20 minutes, or until bubbling and browned on top. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

MAKE AHEAD The gratin can be prepared through Step 4 and refrigerated overnight. Bring it to room temperature before baking.


Oven-Roasted Cauliflower Florets

One 2 1/2-pound cauliflower, cut into 2-inch florets

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper

4 lemon wedges, for serving

1.Preheat the oven to 400°.

2.On a large rimmed baking sheet, drizzle the cauliflower florets with the olive oil. Season them with salt and pepper and toss well. Roast for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cauliflower is tender and golden brown.

3.Transfer to plates, garnish with the lemon wedges and serve hot or at room temperature.


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 set up 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 online this weekend. It's going to be great!!!


Posted by Mack Oates at 8:36 AM