Mack's Corner

This Week

Is it too late?

A few years ago (2010) on the Front page of The New York Times Dinning section there was great story about Thomas Keller. What the Last Meal Taught Him  ... It's about his father, who he had never really known, coming to live with him in Yountville to live out the last few years of life.. But it's really it's about Keller trying to figure out what's really important. Thomas Keller is the greatest American Chef ever. He's the only American chef to have 2 restaurants with 3 Michelin stars (the highest rating). He runs a multi-million dollar business and he's trying to figure out what his legacy will be. If you died and the only thing you ever did was be a great chef, would that be enough?  Did you ever have an effect on anybody? Did you change anybody's life?.. One of my good friends who ran Target House, where families stay if their kids are at St Jude Children's Hospital for more than 3 months, once told me that they did a survey asking the people there, what was the most important thing that got them through the ordeal of their kid being in cancer treatment. Was it the doctors? Was it the nurses? Was it the medicine? Was it the building? Was it the personal care?..  No.. "Acts of kindness from strangers" was by far the answer. Nothing else was even close..  Do you have to be famous to make a difference in someone's life? I don't think so. If you read the story you'll see that maybe the most important person in Keller's father's life is Keller's wife Laura, who took care of him the last years of his life. She didn't have to do that..

I always wonder if I will change somebody's life today. Will I know it when it happens? Will the person know it today or will the effect take place years from now.. Keller was 53, is he too late? Maybe your kids are moved out and gone.. is it too late?..  Keller's dad waited till he was 86 to start a relationship with his son ... 

I met one of my best friends in the whole world when he was 68, our friendship lasted 4 years when he died.

When my mom died I was holding her hand. When my dad died I had been in his hospital room all week, we talked about a lot of things. Were we close? Not really..  Maybe I missed out on something there..

God's like that: He put us here for a reason and he put the people we know around us so that we could have an effect on their lives.. you know who they are.. 

God use me today..  somewhere! .. It's never too late..


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

Two of my favorite restaurants in Napa Valley are Terra and Cindy's Backstreet. Cindy Pawlcyn is the chef at Cindy's and Hiro Sone in the chef at Terra… Both of these a great with any meat or fish, especially grilled pork or chicken..

Hiro Sone's Pickled Red Onions from the Terra Cookbook:

2 red onions cut in to 1/4 inch rings
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/8 tsp minced jalapeno
2 tbsp sugar

In a bowl separate the onions in to rings and sprinkle with the salt. Toss gently for 30 seconds and then let rest for 30 minutes. Then put the onions in a clean towel and squeeze tightly to remove as much moisture as possible.

In a clean bowl (wash out the same one you used for the onions) whisk together the vinegar, jalapeno and sugar. Add the onions and toss. Marinate in the fridge for at least an hour..


Cindy Pawlcyn's Onion Jam from the Mustards cookbook:

1 tbsp olive oil
2 cups sliced onions
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp soy sauce
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp red wine
2 tbsp water

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for 5- 8 minutes, until tender and translucent. Add the sugar and cook, stirring occasionally for 15 - 20 minutes, until golden brown. Add all of the remaining ingredients and cook, stirring often for 20 more minutes, until thick and jam-like…if you want you can turn the heat down and cook it longer. The slower you do this last part, the richer the flavor. Store in the fridge for up to  week (that's in a restaurant, it will probably keep longer than that at your house)... serve chilled..

Standard rules apply: eating with your fingers with the refrigerator door open is best..



Posted by Mack Oates at 1:13 PM