Mack's Corner

This Week

Ricky and Hal - One day in the life of Hope

One of my favorite movies is "Regarding Henry" (Harrison Ford, Annette Bening).  It's the story about a big time lawyer (Harrison Ford = Henry) that everyone hates. He goes into a store to buy something and gets shot in the head by a guy robbing the place. When Henry wakes up in the hospital he can't remember anything, can't walk, doesn't recognize his wife or his kid and mostly has to start all over again. He turns out to be a much better person after getting shot than he was before.

I was thinking about events that change our lives. Most life changing events appear to be bad things, someone dies or gets sick, you lose all of your money or your job, stuff like that. I think there are just as many happy events that change our lives but we forget those for some reason, getting married, children being born. The good thing is that they change our lives, they build character, they teach us things, they bring people together, they make us see things differently, they make us think of ourselves differently.

A few years ago a bunch of people from Hope went to Berlin and a strange thing happened. Two of the guys on the trip (Ricky and Hal) were doing something when they saw an older man crossing the street fall down. They ran over to help. They did everything they knew to do, but the man died, right there in Ricky's arms. Ricky prayed for him as he died. Ricky and Hal didn't know the man or his wife. They didn't build any lasting relationship with the man's family. They probably will never hear anything else about it from anyone in Berlin. But for some reason they both decided to go on the trip, got off work, raised the money to go, flew across the ocean, etc … and walked to the place where the man was to die.   Then it Happened! A life changing event! If they had been doctors or EMT's or ER nurses and then someone died in their arms then you could say "well that kind of thing just happens. It's part of the job". But not this, this wasn't routine. They had been planning this trip for months, they just didn't know that they were going so that the old man could die in Ricky's arms. So why did God have them there?  To show Germans that Americans are nice guys? So Ricky could practice his CPR? No! God put them there to change Ricky and Hal's lives. What was changed? I don't know. But something changed. 

I've got a new experiment to try. "A day in the life of Hope". Here's how it works.

Pray this prayer right now!: "God use me today and change my life"

Then let me know if anything happens. Don't try to manufacture anything or try to see something that's not there. If something happens, you'll know. If nothing happens, it's OK, you can do it again tomorrow or next week.

This doesn't measure your spiritual growth or anything. And don't tell me about something that happened 10 years ago, God doesn't need any help on this. Just pray and then go do normal stuff. I only want to know about Today, Saturday June 8 2019. or whatever TODAY is for you when you're reading this. one day in the life.   Email me at


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

I get "The F&W Daily" from food and wine magazine. Here's two I really like. Both use only 2 pans and both are perfect for your Iron skillet that I hope you've bought by now.. you can cook almost anything in it.

Hot Niçoise Salad

1/2 pound green beans (Fresh or frozen, either is fine)

1 cup grape tomatoes, halved

1/2 cup pitted Niçoise olives (3 ounces) - any black Olive that you like or leave it out.

1 cup red or yellow or green bell peppers (they all taste the same. Green are cheaper, red & yellow are prettier), cut into strips (cut in half from top to bottom. Pull out the seed pod and stem in the center. Then with the shiny side down cut in to strips.

Two 2-ounce cans flat anchovies packed in olive oil, drained and chopped (optional)

1/2 cup torn basil leaves

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

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Four 6-ounce, 1-inch-thick tuna steaks (salmon would work too)

4 large eggs (optional)

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 400°.

Put the beans in a pan of boiling water and boil for 4 minutes or until they turn a bright green. Don't overcook. Bite in to one. It should be crunchy…. Drain.

Get your iron skillet hot. Add 2 tbsp of olive oil and the bell pepper strips. Cook for 3 minutes. 

Add the tomatoes to the pan. Add the olives, anchovies and basil, toss with 1/4 cup of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Brush the tuna steaks with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Set the tuna on the vegetables.

Here's the cool part about the iron skillet. Take it from the top of the stove and put the whole thing in the oven. Roast the tuna, vegetables.

After 10 min break the eggs in to the pan around the fish, one in each corner. I know there's no corners, but you get what I mean. Or fry the eggs in a separate pan, or poach the eggs, or soft boil the eggs - 3 minutes --- and serve with the dish ---- or leave them out!)

Continue to roast the tuna, vegetables, and eggs in the center of the oven for 5 more minutes(15 min total), until the fish is slightly rare in the center and the egg whites are set, but the yolks are still runny. (THE SKILLET IS VERY HOT WHEN YOU TAKE IT OUT!!)

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk the remaining 1/4 cup of oil with the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle the dressing over the vegetables and tuna steaks. Transfer to plates and serve immediately.

Clean-UP = Water in the skillet, use a spatula or a spoon to scrape any bits that stick.. No soap, no steel wool, no dish washer! Then wipe it out with a paper towel. Just get it mostly clean, it doesn't have to be perfect. Then get a second paper towel, put 1 teaspoon of oil in the skillet and wipe it around all over, inside and outside. You're done!

If you will oil your iron skillet every time you finish and first get it hot every time you start, you will be constantly re-seasoning.


Creamy Baked Orzo with Goat Cheese

1 1/2 cups orzo (Small pasta. Almost looks like rice)

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon chopped thyme

6 ounces fresh goat cheese, at room temperature (I think they sell this in 5oz packages.. 5oz is fine)

3 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature (They sell this in 8oz packages. So use a little less than half)

1/2 cup milk

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons grated Pecorino/Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano - Romano is much cheaper

Preheat the oven to 375°.

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the orzo until al dente 10 - 12 minutes (read the box for best cook time). Taste it after 8 minutes to see if it's ready. It should have some bite but not crunchy .. don't overcook it  … Drain.

Meanwhile, With your iron skillet, first: Because this is going to go up the sides of the pan, wipe a little olive oil all over the inside of the skillet, especially up the sides. Then get it hot.. 

Add the tbsp. of olive oil. Add the onion and cook over moderately high heat until softened, about 5 minutes.

Add the thyme and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add the goat cheese, cream cheese and milk and cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until the cheeses are melted, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Add the cooked orzo to the skillet and season with salt and pepper.

Taste!, Taste!, Taste! … re-season with salt & pepper..

Sprinkle the Romano on top. Put the skillet in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes, until lightly browned.
See Clean-up above. This one may need to soak in the water for a while. Soaking in pure water is fine. NO SOAP!!! .. Wipe oil all over it when you finish. Keep your iron skillet well-oiled and it will last forever..


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 9:05 AM