Mack's Corner

This Week -


At 2:20pm I left the ground in Memphis. At 4:05pm I landed at O'Hare. At 4:46pm I checked in to the hotel. At 5:07pm I got on the "L". At 5:50pm I walked in to Wrigley Field with 40,000 other people to watch the Cubs. I've been to other Major League baseball games in different cities, St Louis, Pittsburg, San Francisco, but none were like this. In most cities you're going to see the game, you're going to watch the big boys play. Everything is bigger. The home runs are bigger, the field is bigger, the sounds are bigger. Not at Wrigley. Wrigley Field seems small, the players feel close, the people are happy, the game is going on but it's not the most important thing.. I bought a score card, I always keep score because it makes the game go faster and it keeps me awake. I bought 2 hotdogs and a Coke and walked up the stairs to the field. I was all ready for the Big Field experience, when you walk out of the gate and in to the stadium, lights are on, grass is really green, you hear the pop as the ball hits the player's gloves, the announcer booms over the PA.. I was ready for the chill bumps.. Then nothing. It didn't happen. It was very homey, it felt small, It was like a small town inside of a stadium. A little old lady with bright red hair and a yellow Cubs T-Shirt walked up to me and said "Honey can I help you find your seat?" I love when they call me "Honey".. I gave her my ticket. For a while I was sitting all by myself, I was only fifty feet from the dugout on the first base side, it was 65 degrees and the wind was blowing in, it was perfect. As I filled in the names on my scorecard and people started filling in seats around me I listened. 2 high school girls sitting behind me on the left were talking about their boyfriends. The 3 Little boys and a Dad behind me were talking about spending the night at middle boys' house. The 2 guys in front of me on the right were talking about the stock market. The women sitting 1 seat down from me were talking about the restaurant they were going to the next night. One girl and her brothers got a woman 2 rows back to take their picture. It was like that all night. Every once in a while the Cubs would get somebody on base and people would start watching the game and cheer, but mostly they visited. They loved being at the ballpark, the game was just an excuse to be there. It was a big party that just happened to have a baseball game goning on in the middle. At any given moment there were at least 10,000 people up walking around. The hotdog sellers and the beer sellers visited with people, it was like they all knew each other. When the seventh inning stretch came around all 40,000 people stood and sung "take me out to the ball game" as loud as they could. The Cubs lost, nobody cared. I didn't hear one person talking about how the Cubs couldn't hit or the pitching was bad or if they had just done one thing different they might have won the game. All they talked about was coming back again tomorrow night.. I would give anything to have season tickets.. 

God's like that: He surrounds us with people every day. God put us here to enjoy life and all that he created. I know you have to work, but don't miss the event because you're too busy worrying about the game... It's just not that important.

I wonder if the Cubs need an Older batboy?  Maybe I could sell Hotdogs on the side… I just want to be there..


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

Most of the recipes I make have several parts. Usually that's because it's a recipe from a restaurant and there's a sauce or a side or something that goes on top. Many times one of the parts is the best thing about the whole dish. So I keep the part that I like and add it to something else. This one came from Stephan Pyles' cookbook "New Tastes From Texas". It's from a marinated skirt steak. The steak is good, but this relish is great!
Stephan Pyles' other cookbook, which is one of my top 4 favorite cookbooks is The New Texas Cuisine  

Grilled Corn Avocado Relish

2 ears grilled corn, kernels cut off (about 1 cup)
2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded , diced
4 tomatillos, peeled & diced
2 cups drained canned black beans (Goya)
1 large Jalapeno minced
1 tbsp roasted garlic puree
Juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp minced Cilantro
1 tbsp olive oil
2 Avocados, peeled, pitted, diced
Salt to taste

For the corn: Peel back the husks, put some oil on the corn, fold the husks back over the corn, put it on the grill. Grill for about 20 min, until the corn gets tender. Shuck the corn. Holding the cob upright on end, cut down on the corn from top to bottom, slicing off the kernels.

For the tomatoes: Boil a pan of water. Cut an X in the bottom of each tomato. Get a bowl, put some Ice in it and fill it half way with water. When the water is boiling place the tomatoes in the water for about 20 seconds. Pull them out and put them in the ice water. When cooled, starting from the X, peel the skin off. Cut the tomatoes in half side to side (not top to bottom). Stick your thumb in each cavity and squish out the seeds... Dice.

For the Tomatillos: Peel using the same method as the tomatoes. Dice.

For the Garlic: Break off enough cloves of garlic for about 2 tbsp. Put them on a piece of foil. Pour a tbsp of olive oil on top, salt and pepper and fold the foil up around the garlic. You can put this in a 300 degree over or on the grill. Let it cook for 30 min. It can go longer, up to an hour. Remove the garlic from the foil and squish it out of the skin. Chop it in to a puree.

For the Avocados: To open the avocados slice from the top to the bottom until you hit the seed. Then run the knife around the avocado circling and cutting through all the way to the seed. Now twist the two halves and pull it apart. You'll have one half with the seed and the other without. The remove the seed chop your knife in to the center of it and twist. Scoop out the green pulp with a large spoon.  Dice..

To finish: Thoroughly combine the corn, tomatoes, tomatillos, Black beans, Jalapeno, garlic, lime juice, cilantro and olive oil in a bowl. Fold in the Avocados (so you don't smash them all up, be gentle). Season with salt. Let stand for 30 min. at room temp.

This is great on anything off the grill. Fish, Steak, Pork chops.. perfect for summer ..



Posted by Mack Oates at 9:38 AM