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This Week

Zero percent body fat

There used to be a show in the 70's where NFL stars and NBA stars and other athletes would compete in the summer. One of the things they did was the 50 meter swim, one length of the pool. Joe Frazier, the famous boxer and one of the greatest athletes in the history of the world, lined up ready to jump in. He looked great. They said he had zero percent body fat. They blew the whistle to start the race and he dived in just like he knew what he was doing. As soon as he hit the water he went straight to the bottom, arms moving, legs kicking, chest flat on the bottom of the pool. He never moved more than 3 feet from where he was standing when he jumped in. He was swimming as hard as he could go. They eventually jumped in and pulled him out even though he could have just stood up, it was only 4 feet deep. They asked him after if he knew how to swim and he said no, but he had seen other people do it and "How hard could it be?". I guess sometimes zero percent body fat is a bad thing….

We used to host a thing at Hope called CPAC. It was a week- long boot camp for people wanting to be church planters. They would ask a bunch of hard questions, see how you react in different situations, and then tell you if you were cut out to be a church planter, most people were not. One of the things we did when they came to Hope was feed them really well. We did it for several reasons.  1. It's a very stressful week and we wanted dinner to be a relaxing time for them. 2. We wanted them to see that you can be excellent, even at a church and even with volunteers. 3. We wanted them to see what servant leadership looks like. All 3 nights we served 5 to 6 course dinners to 28 people. That required a lot of work. People would show up all day to help, some for an hour, some for several hours. Pastors, Staff and spouses came later to wait tables and clean up after. The first night we had a couple that wouldn't eat anything, wouldn't even taste anything. They turned down our Cream of Garlic soup (Thomas Keller's recipe), they turned down our Portabella on Phyllo salad (Rick Tramonto), they turned down our halibut with onion sauce (Thomas Keller), but they said they wanted to try the watermelon sorbet (Charlie Trotter). I guess they figured they could eat watermelon, like there was something un-Christian about everything else. They liked the sorbet. They really liked It!!! We took the plates away and you could see it on their faces..they're thinking they messed up, "never had watermelon sorbet before. It was way better than plain old watermelon". Maybe they would share a pecan soufflé (Stephan Pyles) but no sauce, sauce would be way too far out there. They ended up having 2 soufflés each. And double the sauce. The next 2 nights they ate everything. Sharing was over, holding back was over, Life was good!

God's like that. He's got a lifetime of great things waiting for us and we keep turning him down. We think we've got it all figured out because we've seen other people do it and "How hard can it be?" … once you taste it, you'll wonder what you've missed…

I wonder if I can get down to zero percent body fat?  After all, how hard can it be? … Pass the sauce please…


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

This is from "Paul Prudhomme's Louisianna Kitchen", one of the greatest cookbooks of all time  … His restaurant is K-Paul's in New Orleans on Chartres Street ..

Cajun Seafood Gumbo with Andouille sausage

2 cups chopped onions

1 1/2 cups chopped bell peppers

1 cup chopped celery

Season mix:
2 bay leaves
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried oregano

3/4 cup veg oil

3/4 cup flour

1 tbsp garlic minced

5 1/2 cups seafood stock or shrimp stock (recipe follows)

1 lb Andouille sausage ... any good smoked sausage will work

1 lb peeled shrimp  (or you can do this with 2 1/2 lbs of just shrimp if you want.. leave out the oysters & crab. This also gives you plenty of shells for the stock)

1 doz oysters Plus liquor

3/4 lb crabmeat

2 1/2 cups cooked rice (recipe follows)

For the roux:
Combine onions, bell peppers, celery, in a medium bowl Combine seasoning mix in a small bowl Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat, about 3min. turn the heat down and Gradually add flour, WHISKING CONSTANTLY!!! Continue cooking and whisking until the roux is dark red-brown to black. This takes time, go slow ...(Don't burn it.. If it smells burnt or any black spots appear, throw it out, wash out your pan and start over!!! .. it's a cheap mistake so far, just flour and oil) As soon as it gets to the right color add half of the onion, bell pepper, celery mixture .. 
Stir and cook for 1 min.

Then add the remaining Onion, bell pepper, celery mixture and stir and cook for 2 min..

Stir in the seasoning mix and stir and cook for 2 min..

Add garlic, stir and cook for 1 min and remove from heat.

For the gumbo:
Place the stock in a 6 qrt sauce pan or pot and bring to a boil. Add all of the roux mixture by spoonful's stirring until dissolved between each addition.  Bring mixture to a boil. Add the Andouille and boil for 15 min.
Reduce heat to a simmer and cook 10 more min.

Add shrimp, oysters, and crabmeat. Return to a boil over high heat stirring occasionally. Shrimp will turn pink ..

Remove from heat and skim any oil from the surface .. Serve immediately

To serve:
Mound 1/4 cup of rice in the middle of a bowl and spoon 1 cup of gumbo over the top.... serve with lots of bread.

Shrimp stock:
Buy your shrimp with shells.. Peel the shrimp and use the shells for stock.

Shells from all of your shrimp you use for the gumbo recipe

6 - 7 cups of water

1/2 cup shrimp/crab boil .. (Penzey's works great - in the Carrefour center off Kirby ... 6641 Poplar Ave # 107,  737-7898)

1 onion cut in qtrs.

Bring to a boil and simmer for an hour .. should be light orange... pour it through a strainer

Cooked rice:
2 cups of rice in a 2 qt sauce pan. Jasmine rice is best.. Enough water to cover by 1 inch (one knuckle) Bring to a boil, cover and put on the lowest heat you can get .. if you don't have a heat diffuser put a skillet on the burner and put the sauce pan in the skillet .. cook for 18 min or until rice is fluffy and tender .

Stir in 2 tbsp of butter and a little salt and pepper ... taste it .. great isn't it ..


See you this weekend. Bring a friend. It's going to be great!!!



Posted by Mack Oates at 11:50 AM