This Week

Mack's Corner

This Week

The Problem

I was thinking about friends that I haven't seen in a long time and I remembered my buddy Vernard. He is a very smart guy. He was the valedictorian of his class in college. I'm sure I was in the bottom third of my class but I majored in computer science. One day he came over to my house and asked me to tutor him in a computer class, he didn't know anything about it, it was the only one he had to take, and he didn't want to mess up his GPA. So I did. The 2nd day of class the professor put a problem on the board and told them that anyone who could work it would get an "A" in the class.  He knew nobody would ever figure it out. It was like having an English professor say anyone who wrote a New York Times best seller would get an "A" in English. He just wanted to show off so his class would see how smart he was. Nard told me the story and showed me the problem. I just smiled. The problem was right out of my favorite text book from my favorite class from my favorite professor. It was from a series of books called "The Art of Computer Programming" by Donald Knuth. The book was "Fundamental Algorithms", not really a book you take to the beach. The class was a graduate level class on data structures. So, not only did I have the book, I also had all the notes… We had covered this problem for several days, I knew everything about it. I spent the next 6 hours explaining it to Nard so he would have his own notes and his own words and really understand how it works. When the class began the next day the professor started teaching, he had forgotten about the problem. He would cover it at the end of the semester if he thought the class was worthy of his time to explain it… Nard raised hand "I think I've got that problem worked out if you want to see it" …. "You've got what?" .. "That problem you gave us yesterday, you said if we could work it out, you would give us an "A" for this class .. I've got it"… "Sure you do??" … "No really, I've got it. I'll put it on the board. I'll show you." …. "OK, great, this should be good, sure put it on the board…."  Then Nard spent the rest of the class explaining the problem down to the smallest detail. The professor asked questions, Nard knew it all. The class asked questions, he explained everything so that they, a Computer 101 intro class, understood .. He was brilliant.. The professor was stunned, "couldn't remember his name" stunned …. "Yes, that's... the right ...answer??…. That's... how it works??… How did you?..." So I get an "A" right?" .. "Yah, I guess????" … "How did you do that?" ……The professor just stared at the board.  As Nard was walking out he stopped in front of the professor and said "That Knuth is a pretty smart guy…huh?"

God's like that: We think we have to figure everything out on our own, but we don't. We just need the book with the answers. God gave us the book, he already knows the answers … he's a pretty smart guy….

Nard made an "A" in that class, he made an "A" in every class. I think the class where I learned that problem was the only "A" I ever made.. So who's smarter? The tutor or the student?... This story just makes me laugh!


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

I have several friends who are vegetarian, so I'm always looking for something vegetarian that's also good. 

Baked Yukon Gold Potatoes with Grilled-Vegetable Ratatouille and Goat Cheese
…. 6 servings

1/2 plus 1 tbsp of olive oil

1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs .. thyme, tarragon, cilantro.. whatever you like as many as you like … anything leafy .. Not rosemary

2 large zucchini, trimmed and cut length wise in to 1/2 inch slices

1 1- lb eggplant, peeled and cut length wise in to 1/2 inch slices - - You can use a regular vegetable peeler to peel it..

2 shallots , chopped

3 cloves of garlic chopped

6 medium Yukon gold potatoes

1 tbsp olive oil

1 lb tomatoes chopped

1/4 cup thinly sliced basil - - to do this stack all the leaves together, then roll them up like you were making a basil cigar. Then slice across from one end to the other as thin as you can … this is called Chiffonade.

3/4 cup crumbled goat cheese

1 lemon or 2 tbsp vinegar … for dressing

To Cook:

Bake the potatoes .in a 375 oven, about 45 min

Prepare your grill (you can also do this on the stove in a skillet)..

Mix 1/2 cup of olive oil and the chopped herbs in a large plate.

Roll the zucchini & eggplant in the herbed oil and grill until lightly charred but still firm about 2 min per side … Keep the herb oil ..

After the vegetables are grilled cut in to 1/2 cubes..

(you're finished with the grill .. not much to it.. that's why I told you you could do this in a skillet. Unless you're cooking something else on the grill, it's not worth it..)

In a large skillet heat 1 tbsp oil. Add the shallots, and garlic and cook for 3 min.. don't burn the garlic, it will be bitter .. add the cubed vegetables and sauté until soft, 4-5 min.. set aside and wait for the potatoes to finish. 

For the dressing:
While you're waiting for the potatoes, add enough oil to the herbed oil mixture to get back to1/2 cup. Whisk in the juice of 1/2 a lemon lightly squeezed  or 2 tbsp of vinegar … add salt, pepper, 1 tbsp sugar … taste it!!!! Does it need more lemon or vinegar? Salt? Pepper? Sugar? Tabasco?

When the potatoes are almost done re-heat the vegetable mixture. Add the tomatoes and the basil and cook for 2 min. This is now Ratatouille .. season it with salt and pepper ..

Split the potatoes in 4th's and open it up like a flower. Then spoon the Ratatouille over the top in to the middle. Spoon some dressing over that, then the goat cheese, then the sliced basil… 2 grinds of fresh pepper over that and a sprinkle of coarse salt… You're done..

You've got something very pretty with the green zucchini and basil against the red tomatoes and white cheese. And you've got something very healthy ….. If you're coming home from work, throw the potato in the oven, change clothes, heat a skillet, chop everything, cook, mix, plate it and you got a great meal that you actually made!!! Cleanup= 1 skillet

Next time add some avocado or use cherry tomatoes or yellow squash or cold fresh cucumber on the side or add some raisins or sliced almonds .. eat what you like…


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 9:45 AM