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Mack's Corner

This Week


We were cleaning some of the air conditioner vents that are way up near the ceiling of the gym one week and we had to get the lift out to get that high. It seems that no matter how stable the lift is, everybody still gets scared when they get on it. I guess it just looks scary when you're up that high with such a small platform. Before we had the lift we used to set up scaffolding. It was also very stable but it rolled and shook and creaked and scared people. One guy that was supposed to be helping me couldn't get more than 2 sections high (about 12 feet) before his knees started shaking and the scaffold started shaking and I started shaking and he had to get down. Of course, to get to the lights at the top of the gym, you had to be twice that high, 24ft or 4 sections high. This is the same guy who went to St Louis and bungee jumped off of the St Louis arch, he thought that was fun, but 12 feet up on a scaffold was terrifying. I don't really get that, but every time we had to do something high it was me alone. We couldn't have turned that scaffold over if we had been trying to, I guess if there were 10 guys picking up the bottom on one side while 2 or 3 of us hung off the top, maybe we could have turned it over, maybe. He just didn't trust it. If he had to get up on it every day, in 2 weeks he would have been fine. Just something you have to work in to. But I'm not jumping off the St Louis arch, I'll never work in to that!!!!

Years ago I used to get on the roof every Sunday to direct the Coneheads to where empty parking places were, I could see the whole lot from up there. That's how they always knew that there was one single spot that just opened up or when the lot was full. It's wasn't magic, it was me. One Sunday one of my ConeHeads kicked me off of roof duty and said she wanted to do it. I said OK, I guess somebody else needed to have that experience. So she was up there, one leg hanging over the edge like I always did, only she had shorts on and all you could see of her was her leg. I bet I had a hundred people tell me what great legs I had and asked me if I was a swimmer???...otherwise why did I shave my legs?? … It's funny that people made the leap to "Mack with shaved legs" instead of just something simple like "that's somebody else". I guess it's about what you get used to ….

God's like that: We grow up not really thinking about God, always assuming that the reason that one thing happened was because something else happened that caused it and something before that  … and so on, God wasn't really part of it. Then we get asked to believe in God and to trust him when we never have before and it makes us nervous. We go back to assuming things happen as if God was not there. But he is, he's in everything we do, he hears everything we say, he knows everything we think, he sees everything we do, he's totally wrapped around our lives. So how do you trust him?  A little every day, trust him with something … ask him to help you trust him … try easy stuff… say "God I'm trusting you to get me to or through work safely today." Then find something else a little harder after that. If something bad happens, then you have to trust that he's there with you. That's the hardest one …..

Maybe I can make a new thrill ride called "Scaffold". Make it about 18 feet high, put people on top and shove it around the parking lot. The whole thing would cost about $100 and it would scare bungee jumpers to death. I could make the cover of Rolling Stone … "The creator of the scaffold craze". Maybe they would make a reality TV show "Scaffoldmaina" ….. What do you think????


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

Mediterranean Diet:
Mario Batali is kind of an odd person, but he's the real deal when it comes to Italian cooking and being a world-class chef. Here are 2 of his recipes going along with the Mediterranean Diet idea.

Tortilla española exists in almost every corner of Spain: as a tapa in fancy city restaurants; as a filling for bocadillos(sandwiches) at gas-station cafés; as a main course served on worn metal plates in home kitchens. Mario Batali's version, based on one he tasted in the Ribera del Duero wine region, is baked until golden brown and offers an especially high ratio of potatoes to eggs.
(Keto in the notes)

Tortilla Española

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 1/4 pounds red bliss potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/8 inch thick (Keto: slice cauliflower. Use a whole head and slice 1/4 inch steaks.Then cut into 2-inch squares.)

1 onion, halved and thinly sliced

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

8 large eggs

Preheat the broiler. Heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil in a large cast-iron skillet. Add the potato and onion slices, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until the potatoes and onion are tender but not browned, about 15 minutes.

In a large bowl, lightly beat the eggs and season with salt and pepper. Scrape the potato mixture into the bowl, being sure not to leave any in the skillet.

Return the skillet to the heat and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the egg mixture, spreading it out in an even layer. Cover and cook over low heat until the tortilla is set on the bottom and the edges, about 10 minutes.

Transfer the skillet to the oven and broil 8 inches from the heat just until the top is set, about 1 minute longer.

Set a large plate over the skillet and carefully invert the tortilla onto the plate. Let stand for 5 minutes.

Cut into wedges and serve warm or at room temperature.

MAKE AHEAD The tortilla can stand at room temperature for 3 hours before serving


Very Soft Polenta with Rock Shrimp Ragout

1 tablespoon sugar (Keto: use a pinch of sugar substitute)

1 cup quick-cooking polenta (6 ounces). This is Yellow Cornmeal plain and simple. Don't let the word polenta scare you. (keto: this is probably fine, but you could also cut up and blanch some cauliflower in a big pot of boiling water. Drain it, then run it through a food processor till smooth.)   

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (just plain olive oil works)


4 scallions, thinly sliced .. green onions

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

3 tablespoons tomato paste

1/2 cup dry white wine or water or chicken stock

1 1/2 pounds shelled rock shrimp … Any fresh shrimp or any fish

1/4 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest

Freshly ground pepper

In a medium saucepan, bring 5 cups of water to a boil with the sugar. Whisk in the polenta in a thin stream.
(Keto: use hot cauliflower)
Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Stir in 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and season with salt. Press a piece of parchment or wax paper directly onto the surface of the polenta and keep warm.

In a large skillet, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the scallions and crushed red pepper and cook over moderate heat for 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, until slightly darkened, about 3 minutes.

Add the wine/water/stock and 1/4 cup of water and simmer over moderately high heat for 1 minute.

Add the shrimp and simmer, stirring, until just cooked through, about 2 minutes.

Stir in the parsley, lemon juice and lemon zest and season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat.

Rewarm the polenta over moderately high heat, whisking constantly. Spoon a pool of polenta in the center of 8 shallow bowls. Spoon the shrimp and sauce over and around the polenta and serve right away.

Simple and great … you too can cook like an Iron Chef.


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


Posted by Mack Oates at 9:19 AM