Mack's Corner

This Week

"I'm a car thief and all my children are ugly!"

I went to a wedding in New Orleans a few years ago. It was one of those 4 day event weddings where there's a party of some sort every night. Of course it's all the same people and mostly the same kind of thing, it just moves around to different places. One of the things I noticed is that there's never any place to sit down. Next time I'm going dressed as an old lady, so I can sit in one of the 4 chairs they have out. You know how these things go: first you get a drink then you stand around for an hour then you get a little bitty plate and stack it as high as you can with food so that everything runs together. The big trend now is "wraps". Everybody has wraps cut on a bias. The cut looks nice but it also makes it so that everything falls out before you can get it to your mouth. I hate wraps, you can't see what's inside, they always taste like they've been sitting in the fridge for a week and they leak. I always have this stream of stuff going down my arm. How about a taco or an egg roll or a sandwich, even a hotdog would be better than a wrap. So I'm walking around with this stuff going down my arm and everybody I see asks the same 5 questions. It's like being on Wheel of Fortune …. "Mack, tell about yourself." … "Well Pat, I work for a large accounting firm in the Midwest, I have a lovely wife and 4 beautiful children. I have 2 late model cars and lots of trees in my yard where my children all play on the tire swing."  I always want to tell them I'm a car thief and all my children are ugly and they're trying to break in to your car right now…….. I kinda have a bad attitude about standing around doing small talk…..  Most people accomplish it by talking about all the other people at the party. But if you don't know anybody, that's hard to do. I need to go to these things with a mission, so that I have a plan of attack as soon as I walk in the door. It could be anything…. Find and Talk to 5 people from Nebraska …. See if I can give out 2 trays of drinks or wraps before the wait staff makes me stop…. Make a toast to somebody that nobody knows…. Smuggle in a box of moon pies and see how long it takes to give them out…..  Come as the old lady and see how many times I can get 2 people to walk me out to the car. Then run back in and do it again …. There's all kinds of things I could do if I just had a plan. Plus the time would go by fast and I would have great stories to tell… I'll let you know when I go again, I can hardly wait…

Gods like that: He's not much on standing around and talking about other people. He's got a plan, stuff to do. Either you're part of it or you're not. It's easy to get in….

Maybe I'll go to a several weddings and practice my small talk plans, so I'll be ready…. They'll never recognize me if I come as the old lady? If you see me, don't give me away …. Wonder if I can get a deal on Moon Pies if I buy a case?


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

Mediterranean Diet:

So I did my Amazon cookbook thing. Here's how it works: Every time I see a cookbook I want I add it to my wish list on Amazon. About once every 3 months I go through my wish list and buy every cookbook that costs less than $5. Usually they are used, but who cares. If it's more than $5 I just keep waiting. At some point there will be enough used copies that the price will go down. They all cost $3.99 shipping.

Here's what I bought:

"Kitchen Simple: Essential Recipes for Everyday Cooking" by James Patterson $3.54 This is a great book if you are a beginning cook and want to step up a notch. James Patterson has written some of the great cookbooks ever.
One called "Sauces" ($1.61) is the sauce Bible. 

"How to Roast a Lamb: New Greek Classic Cooking" by Michael Psilakis $4.91 Michael cooks Greek!! If you want to follow the Mediterranean Diet, this is THE cookbook.

"American Flavor" by Andrew Carmellini $4.83 This book is a little harder, but still a great cookbook. Andrew Carmellini is one of the great New York chefs.


This is from Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman at Andrew/Michael. A sandwich that just keeps on going with a filling of crispy, cheesy grilled ham-and-pimento-cheese. Then topped with creamy three-cheese sauce and a fried egg. A very fancy Croque-Madame.  This is my kind of samich!

Grilled Ham-and-Pimento-Cheese Sandwiches with Fonduta and Fried Eggs

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons minced leek

1 1/3 cups milk

1 small thyme sprig

Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

4 ounces Fontina cheese, shredded (1 1/4 cups)

2 ounces Taleggio cheese, rind removed and cheese cut into chunks

2 ounces freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1/4 cup finely chopped piquillo peppers or other roasted red peppers

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (1 cup)

8 large slices of country bread

4 ounces thinly sliced serrano ham or country ham

4 fried eggs, for serving

In a medium saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter with the flour and cook over moderate heat, whisking, until bubbling, about 3 minutes.

Add the leek and cook, whisking, for 2 minutes.

Whisk in the milk until a smooth sauce forms. (((This is a Béchamel sauce so far)))

Add the thyme sprig and nutmeg and cook, whisking, until thickened, about 5 minutes.

Discard the thyme sprig. Remove from the heat and whisk in the Fontina, Taleggio and Parmigiano until melted. (((Now since you added cheese (usually Gruyère cheese) it's a Mornay sauce if you are cooking French or a Fonduta if you are cooking Italian. Usually a Fonduta will have egg yolks in the sauce also.))).

Scrape 1/2 cup of the Fonduta/Mornay sauce into a medium bowl and freeze just until no longer hot, about 10 minutes.

Stir in the piquillo peppers, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, cayenne, black pepper and cheddar.

Spread the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter onto 1 side of each bread slice. Lay the bread buttered side down on a work surface. Top half of the slices with the pimento cheese mixture and the ham. Close the sandwiches.

Preheat a griddle/skillet.

Griddle the sandwiches over moderate heat, turning once, until the bread is golden and crisp and the cheese is melted, 3 to 4 minutes.

Rewarm the remaining fonduta. Transfer the grilled cheese sandwiches to plates and spoon the fonduta on top. Top with a fried egg and serve right away.

*** Pretty hard for a pimento cheese sandwich??? You can always come to Hope and buy some pimento cheese out of the Hope Shoppe.
It's really good and takes about 30 seconds to make a sandwich… Won't quite be the one from A/M..


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 online this weekend. It's going to be great!!!


Posted by Mack Oates at 8:18 AM