Mack's Corner

This Week

Walking on Water: Grace

I read a book once called "Walking on Water". It's about an elite Pediatric Surgical Unit. They mostly do heart surgery. The head surgeon is Roger Mee. These guys are doing heart surgery, bypasses, transplants, fixes on week old babies. So everything is smaller, and faster and more precise. In one part of the book they ask one of the surgeons if his goal is to do everything perfectly. He said :

"A surgeon's quest is not for perfection but for grace. Grace is a moment of clarity. You're not yourself, you're an instrument of something else."

You're better than perfect, you're doing something better than you can do it. The cooks I've talked about it in the past call it "The Dance", others call it "The Zone". If you're in it, everything works, your timing is right, nothing is wasted, you're relaxed, you don't really think about it, you're ON. A friend of mine who was a brain surgeon, one of the best in the world, said "It's like watching someone else do it but you know it's your hands that you're watching."  There's always a rhythm to it. It sounds like the start of "We will Rock you" or "Sweet home Alabama" or one of those Rap songs that has such a good beat, that the words are lost. It's there but you can't quite hear it. Like one of those cars with a kicker box playing really loud music pulling up beside you with the windows rolled up, all you can hear is the beat, but you can't make out the song.  Sometimes it happens with something you're good at and sometimes it happens with something you can't really do. I was playing basketball with some guys one day and I could have beaten anybody, anybody.  All I had to do is throw the ball near the basket and it went in. I even bounced it off the rafters of the gym and it went in. That was my first and last great day of basketball. This kind of thing is really amazing when it's a team or a group of people that are all ON together. Somehow everything works together, their timing is right, everyone's effort is concentrated in the same place, nothing is wasted.

God's like that: God uses everything. A lot of times we hear people say "God has a reason for everything". That's supposed to make us feel better when something bad happens. They say: "I know you broke your arm, but God has a reason for it, you'll thank him for it later." No you won't! You'll think: "for some reason God broke my arm? Why couldn't he just tell me?"   That's a bad way to think about it. The best way to think about it is "I broke my arm, but God can use that." Maybe he will put me in a place where I help someone else or maybe he'll teach me something? Maybe I'm supposed to meet somebody? Who knows? The point is that nothing is wasted, even the bad stuff. God is always ON. God uses everything. What should you do? Watch, and wait, pay attention!  And see what God will do. The Adventure starts today!!

I got next game!  I think I'm feeling it again……


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

To me the best cookbooks in the world are the ones from great chefs that have the recipes from their restaurant. It's like someone said to them "I need you to come up with recipes for a cook book!" and the chef said "The only recipes I know are the ones we cook every night at the restaurant. Is that ok?" So you get cookbooks like "The French Laundry Cookbook" from Thomas Keller. "Three star Chef" from Gordon Ramsay. "New Texas Cuisine" from Stephan Pyles. "Louisiana Kitchen"
from Paul Prudhomme. "White Heat" from Marco Pierre White. Most of them were written in the early 90's before there were celebrity chefs and most of the chefs still worked in the kitchen of their restaurant.

Because most of the cookbooks I like are old, I find them and put them on my "wish list" on Amazon. Then I go check it once a month. I sort by lowest price to highest and see what rises to the top… So today how about this (** all cookbooks from the restaurant):

**Mesa Mexicana by Mary Sue Milliken for $0.04
**Sweet Stuff: Karen Barkers American Desserts for $1.13
**A Great American Cook by Jonathan Waxman for $3.37
**City Cuisine by Susan Feniger $0.01
**Chef Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Tastes for $1.00
**In the Hands of A Chef by Jody Adams for $0.32
**Not afraid of flavor by Ben Barker $3.87
**Fiamma: Italian Cooking by Michael White for $0.08
**Cooking with Daniel Boulud for $2.40

These are some of the greatest chefs in the world. Michael White for 8 cents! Jody Adams for 32 cents! Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger together for 5 cents together… It's stupid. 

Here's one "Jean-Georges: Cooking at home with a Four-Star Chef" by Jean-Georges Vongerichten .. One of the great chefs in New York.. $1.12 on Amazon.

This book is straight out of his Restaurant "Jean-Georges" but you can do it!! You just have to read the recipes and skip the ones that are too hard. Here's a great one.. sounds hard but it's not.. 2 pans & about 45 min.

Scallops and Cauliflower with Caper-Raisin sauce

1/3 cup capers, drained of all but 1 tbsp of their liquid

1/3 cup golden raisins

8 - 12 cauliflower florets

4 tbsp butter (1/2 a stick)

4 tbsp canola oil .. any neutral oil works

Salt & pepper

2 tbsp minced parsley .. flat leaf. Not that curly stuff that cheap restaurants put on your plate as garnish.

12 large sea scallops, cut in half through their equators..  (See Scallop 101 below)

1/4 tsp grated nutmeg (Penseys spices by Swanky's Taco Shop .. It's worth the trip just to walk around and smell everything)

1 tbsp sherry vinegar

Scallop 101: The big deal is #1 they should not be floating in that white liquid. That's yucky.. #2 They should smell sweet and like the sea, not like ammonia. #3 They should be kept on ice not in a plastic bag or in a tray full of that white liquid junk.  Don't buy bad Scallops. You don't owe the store any favors, if they have bad fish, let them keep it. You don't buy spoiled milk or cracked eggs, why buy bad fish? Especially $12 - $16 per pound.

On with the recipe…

Preheat the oven to 250

Combine the capers and raisins in a small saucepan and add 3/4 cup of water. Simmer gently until the raisins are plump, about 10 min. Don't cook rapidly; you don't want to reduce the liquid .. Let the mixture cool for 2 min then puree in a blender or food processor. Return to the pan..

Meanwhile, use a sharp knife to cut the cauliflower into 1/4 inch slices.. You need 24. Place 1 tbsp of oil and 1 tbsp butter in a large skillet (Iron skillet works great). Sauté the cauliflower over medium heat till brown, about 10 min …. Do this in batches, don't crowd the skillet. Add more oil and butter if you need it .. Remove to a bowl and keep warm in the oven..

Deglaze the pan by heating 1/4 cup of water in it and stirring and scraping the bottom over high heat for 1 - 2 min. Add the parsley and pour this juice over the cauliflower.. return cauliflower to the oven to keep warm.

Place 1 tbsp oil and 1 tbsp butter in the same skillet over medium high heat. When butter foams add the scallops and COOK ON ONE SIDE ONLY! .. until nicely browned, 2 to 3 min. Do this in batches, don't crowd the skillet. Add more oil and butter as needed. REMOVE SCALLOPS FROM THE PAN AND SEASON WITH SALT AND PEPPER. Keep warm in oven..

To Serve: Spoon a little of the raisin sauce onto each of 4 plates. Place 6 scallop pieces, brown side up, on each plate. Top each scallop with a piece of cauliflower. Finish with a tiny sprinkle/grating of nutmeg…

There's only one hard part: cutting up the cauliflower. Don't worry about it. If you screw it up, it will be fine. Cook it as is. It will still be great!!! This recipe is straight from a 4 star restaurant in New York.. When it comes from a restaurant it has to be fast and you have to be able to do the hard part early.. So you could actually make the sauce a day ahead.

You could have the cauliflower already cut up.. Then to make the dish all you do is heat the sauce, sauté the cauliflower, cook the scallops and put it together.. 2 pans + 10 min = spectacular dish…. You too can be a four star chef!! 


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 10:30 AM