Mack's Corner

This Week

The Transformation

My favorite cook as a person and as a cook is Thomas Keller. His restaurants are The French Laundry in California and Per Se in New York. There is a book, "The Soul of a Chef" by Michael Ruhlman, that has several chapters at the end, Actually the last 1/3 of the book, about Keller and The French Laundry (it's a great book). I'm really interested in Keller for 2 reasons. 1st, I like to cook (its therapy) and I've done a bunch of things out of his cookbook "The French Laundry Cookbook".
It takes forever to make things because they are so involved, but I like that..  And 2nd I want to know what those guys are thinking that work there. They work really hard, really long, and do very detailed things. They can't do anything halfway, it has to be perfect, that's all Keller will allow. His favorite saying is "It's all about finesse". That means small things done right. So I started looking for Ruhlman's email address. I found it and asked him "Could you have been a cook there, or was it way over your head?"  This guy has been to culinary school and worked in several really nice restaurants. Here's what he said: "I could have been a prep cook at the French Laundry, and a line cook if I worked hard at it, but to be a cook at the mythic place, which is really what interests me, I'd have to change who I am at my core." So I asked him "Do people come in with the right "Core" or is there a transformation? He said "there's a transformation".

There are so many things I like about Keller, He wants his cooks to work slow, but never quit moving. He wants them to do it right the first time, but if they do it wrong to start over, that's hard if you've worked several hours only to find that you have to start over. He wants his cooks to never settle for something that they can do better. He wants them to always be thinking how they can do it better, with less movement, more care, better planning. He wants them to "Own" the restaurant to the point that it's important to them that the floor is clean, and there's no trash in the parking lot. They usually start off peeling carrots till they do it perfectly, then they can do onions, till they do that perfectly. It's just being a prep cook. But a prep cook at The French Laundry is a bigtime cook, a world calss cook, because everything is done perfectly.

God's like that: He does that with us. He wants us to "Own" it, he wants us to always be thinking, always watching, always listening. There's a Bible study kind of a thing that one of my best friends went through it a few years ago. What they want you to understand is that you are a "Child of the King", so act like it! If you're in a hard place, understand who you are: A Child of the King … in a hard place. "Own it" like you are one of the heirs, listen to God like there's something you need to know, watch what God does so you'll know what to expect, think his thoughts so you'll know what to do. Remember you are a child of the King. To get to that point you'll have to change who you are at your "Core". There will be a transformation. It may take a long time. Start small, do it perfectly, move up. Go slow, but don't stop. Prayer would be a great place to start, but not prayer like you're preaching or something. Prayer like you're having a conversation. Then maybe read the book of John, maybe read it 3 or 4 times, get it perfect. Then move on. Volunteer to help someone in a ministry, but keep returning to the first things you have to learn, keep talking to God, keep listening to God. If the ministry doesn't work start over on another one. Keep trying to do it better. Build your life around who you are (a Child of the King). Go slow but don't stop. As my Grandfather would tell us when I was a little kid visiting him in Haskell Texas (pop 4000, he owned the only drugstore) "Just tell em' who you are son, Just tell em' who you are"

Carrot anyone????

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

I love Brunch dishes because you can pretty much eat them for any meal of the day. Eggs, bacon, Potato, salmon. That's hard to beat, plus it's so simple.

It is simple to cut this recipe down by half..

Salmon, Bacon and Potato Hash

2 pounds baking potatoes


4 thick slices of bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 onion, cut into 1-inch dice

1 small Granny Smith apple, cut into 1/2-inch dice

4 - 6oz pieces of Salmon

1/4 cup Dijon mustard

1/4 cup prepared horseradish

2 tbsp honey

Freshly ground pepper

6 fried eggs

Put the potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Add a large pinch of salt and bring to a boil over moderately high heat. Cook for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are barely tender; drain. Peel the potatoes and cut them into 1-inch pieces.

In a large nonstick skillet, cook the bacon over moderate heat, turning once, until crisp, about 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Pour off the fat.

Add 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil to each of 2 large nonstick skillets. Add the potatoes and cook over moderate heat until they are browned on the bottom, about 10 minutes. Turn the potatoes, cover and cook over low heat until the potatoes are tender, 10 minutes.

Stir the onion and apple into the potatoes. Cover the skillets and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the apple is tender, about 7 minutes.

In a small bowl, mix the mustard, horseradish and honey.

Arrange salmon filets, flat side down (skin side down). Season to taste with salt and pepper .
Heat up your Iron Skillet and add a little oil. Cook salmon until dark golden brown and medium rare, 2 to 3 minutes per side.

(Notes on Salmon: If you bought it with the skin on it, leave it there. It's like Chicken skin, if you get it crispy it's great. Scrape the scales off if there are some. Just use your knife to shave against the scales and they will come righ off, wash them off after. If you don't want to mess with the scales and skin, leave it there anyway. It will protect the fish and it's easier to get it off after it's cooked. When you take out your salmon feel for bones. There are small white bones all in a line about an inch from the center (if you by a whole side). They will feel like little nubs in the meat.  Just pull them out with your fingers or tweezers. They slide right out.. When you finish, feel for them again all over.  Don't buy Salmon "Steaks". That's where they cut the fish crossways instead of filleting it from head to tail. You can't get the bones out and it's ugly. And I don't get why you would ever cut a fish like that. Usually you want salmon to have a little RED in the middle after it's cooked, but feel free to give it a minute longer if you don't like it that way. Salmon is cooked when it gets to 119 degrees. If you do have skin on it, cook skin side down first. It will protect the fish and if it sticks to the grill/pan all you lose is the skin. Plus this way the skin cooks longer and gets crispy. So 3 min on skin side, 2 min on other side, finish back on skin side. If the skin gets burned, just pull it off and throw it away, your fish is still safe. DON'T OVERCOOK YOUR SALMON!!  Last: salmon is cheap compared to other fish, plentiful and loaded with great healthy stuff. You should eat it often..)

Spread  1 tbsp of the Mustard, horseradish, honey mixture on each piece the salmon.

Add the salmon to the skillet with the potatoes, cover and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Stir in the remaining horseradish glaze and the bacon pieces and season with salt and pepper. Transfer the hash to plates, top with the fried eggs and serve.

Now that is a meal!  I could live off of that. Toast and jelly on the side for breakfast, Chips and pickles on the side for lunch, Salad on the side for dinner .. Of course Tabasco for every meal. Make this on 4th of July morning, reading the paper, a little coffee on the back porch. That's America.. Come on over to my house that morning. I'm doing this. can't wait ..


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 9:57 AM