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Mack's Corner

This Week

Stacking Chairs

We were stacking chairs after Wednesday night dinner last week and I was in a hurry to get it done. One of the guys helping was watching me and asked "Mack, How many chairs have you stacked before?".. I said "Can you tell?" … "Yeah I can tell." … "Let's just say I've had a lot of practice" … Before we moved in to the main sanctuary in 2008 we used to setup 2000 chairs every Saturday afternoon in the gym and the stack them all back up every Sunday after the last service. Saturday afternoon was the scary part because it was hard to get volunteers and it had to get done or else we weren't going to have church. Somehow it always worked out. One week I would think I only had 2 people coming and 5 more would show up saying they just thought they would come help. One Christmas Eve it snowed on setup day, nobody came. Two of us started about 8am that morning and finished just in time (I think church was starting at 3pm that day).  With my regular team we were always going for the "World record". We would have all the stacks in place so that as soon as we ran out of chairs on one stack, another was right behind you ready to go. Everybody brought their kids and they pushed the chair dollies back to the closet.  Our best time for 2000 chairs was 26 minutes. There were about 20 of us that day... I always thought they should have chair Olympics. Fastest team setup, fastest team breakdown. And individual events: fastest single stack (25 chairs on a stack), fastest 10 stacks(250 chairs), longest chair throw to a 20 chair stack (has to land and stay on the stack), most artistic stacking move (I had a great spin move). If there were Chair Olympics, I would be the greatest athlete in the world. That longest throw to a 20 chair stack, I can hit that ever time, every time.  Stack 25 chairs, less than a minute….. I once figured out how many chairs I had stacked and unstacked since I've been here at Hope. The last count was between 250 and 300 thousand…. I guess you can call that practice, but really, I just had to get it done….

God's like that: He's got stuff for us to do every day, a lifetime of stuff. If God is using us every day, it will be obvious to other people. How does God use you? By sitting with a friend when they're in pain. By buying someone a meal when they're hungry. By taking a neighbor to church.  Practice, Practice, Practice …..

I wonder if they have chair throwing at the "Y"? 

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

Cooking at Home Continued …

A friend of mine gave me a bunch of butternut squash. I know that's usually something you eat in the fall, but there it was. So I thought I would make it in to something to go with last week's Pork Chops. The cool thing about this is that you can stop at any point and have a totally different thing…. I've done this recipe before as a soup, but I didn't tell you all the places where you could stop. This is from Thomas Keller's Bouchon Cookbook

1 butternut squash - about 3 lbs

2 tbsp canola oil or olive oil

Salt & Pepper

2 sage sprigs
(Stop here for roasted butternut squash)

1 cup of thinly sliced leeks (white part only)

½ cup thinly sliced carrots..

½ cup thinly sliced shallots

½ cup thinly sliced onions

6 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

2 tbsp honey
(Stop here for mashed Squash, like mashed potatoes)

6 cups of vegetable or chicken stock

(Stop here if you want a light, low cal soup)

4 tbsp unsalted butter

½ cup crème fraiche (1/4 c Sour cream + ¼ c cream whipped together)

For the squash:
Pre-heat oven to 350
Cut the squash in half long-ways and scoop out the seeds. Brush the inside with oil. Salt and pepper, and place a sprig of sage on the inside.

Cook face down on a baking sheet. Roast for about an hour…. Let the squash cool enough top handle, then scoop out the inside = Roasted butternut squash….. This is as good as it gets for roasted vegetables.

Continue… For mashed squash (this is what I'm making to go with the pork chops from last week… squash on the plate, pork chop on top, sauce on the pork chop)

To clean the leaks cut off most of the green part. With the root still on cut the leek long-ways in half. Wash each layer, the root will hold it together. Now cut off the root end and slice….

Put 1 tbsp of oil in a stock pot. Add leeks, carrots, shallots and onions and cook, stirring for about 6 minutes. Add the garlic, 1 ½ tsp salt, ½ tsp pepper, honey, and the roasted squash. Cook for 10 minutes….. If you are making mashed squash all you have left to do is puree this in a food processor and you're done… adjust salt & pepper, serve with butter on top… (If you're making soup don't puree it yet)

Continue … for light soup

Add the stock and simmer for 30 minutes, then puree. Strain the soup through a fine strainer.. Adjust salt & pepper. (maybe a light salsa corn relish on top. You could even serve this cold)

Continue ..for cream soup with browned butter.

Stir a pinch of nutmeg in to the crème fraiche.

Heat a medium skillet over high heat. When it is very hot add the butter and rotate the skillet around to cook the butter evenly, scraping up any bits that settle on the bottom. As soon as the butter has stopped foaming pour it in to the soup. Don't burn the butter! Better to stop early..

Stir it in …

Put the soup in a bowl and add a tbsp of crème fraiche. With something pointed (knife, chop stick, meat thermometer) swirl the crème fraiche in to the soup. Drizzle olive oil over the top.. This is as good as soup gets…




Posted by Mack Oates at 09:33