Mack's Corner

This Week

Can you count to 4???

Several years ago there were a bunch of tornadoes that went through Dyersburg. It tore the town up pretty bad so my buddy Jack and I drove up there with a packed van load of stuff from Hope for the Red Cross center. Neither one of us had ever been to Dyersburg, but we had a Google map and phone number to call. We were supposed to go right at the "Y" but we went left instead, and got lost… We were looking for the First Methodist Church. We stopped at a gas station to ask directions, the guy looked at us for a few seconds and said "Well go down this street and when you get to the 4th stop light, turn right and the church will be right there on your left." OK … off we went counting stop lights. We drove about half a mile, past several streets, 1st stop light… the road made a big right turn, again going past several streets, 2nd stop light … then another right turn, more streets, 3rd stop light … another right bend in the road and there it was, the 4th street light… turn right, church was right there on the left ….. There was the pastor and a couple of volunteers waiting for us. We followed them to the Red Cross, about 2 blocks back from where we came and unloaded the van. After all the right turns we didn't really know where we were any more so we asked directions on how to get back to Hwy 51…. "Sure, go back past the church 3 blocks and turn right."  We went to the street where we were supposed to turn right and something looked familiar. We were 3 streets back (closer to the gas station) than stop light #1. We were 100 yards from the gas station to our left and 100 yards from the First Methodist Church behind us. Jack and I looked at each other thinking the same thing "That guy at the gas station must have thought we were really stupid." Remembering how he looked at us, I guess he was trying to figure out which would be easier for us, counting to 4 or reading the street sign. Must have been counting to 4. Sure enough each time we went through a stop light Jack held up the next finger … 1…2….3….  So what if it took us 15 minutes to circle the city, we got there …  maybe that was the only way the gas station guy knew how to get there … I almost went back to tell him "you know if you turn right at the 2nd street the Methodist church is right there" but I was afraid he might say "I thought that was too complicated for you two" … We did find our way home ….

God's like that: Sometimes he has to give us directions we can understand instead of directions to the quickest route. We have a hard time accepting things: God loves us, God will always take care of us, God hears all of our prayers, God loves our kids more than we do, God knows everything we do and think …. Etc. So he takes us through a series of events until we get to the place where we understand. It usually takes most of your life.

I wonder if they make a GPS that gives you directions based on your IQ… here's directions if you can count to 5 … here's another set of directions if you can spell …. I need to get one of those …


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

Mediterranean Diet:
As you know if you read this, Thomas Keller is by far my favorite chef, Nobody else is even close. His food is not just good, it's magic. If you follow the recipe exactly, you'll see what I mean. Usually it takes several days just to get ready for his cooking. His recipes require other recipes, that require other recipes. Usually this goes several levels deep.. BUT!!!!! Here are some easy ones.. This is from the Los Angeles Times… OK, so it's not that easy. But you can do this! 

Ratatouille fits right in with our Mediterranean Diet. Its bell peppers, olive oil, onions, eggplant, zucchini, garlic… lots of great stuff. Don't like eggplant?.. Trust me and follow the recipe exactly and you will love it.. I promise!!!  I'm getting light headed just thinking about it.. I may have to take a day off and do this.. If you make this, you will taste greatness…

(Keto: this is great Keto)


4 hours. Yields about 16 (1-cup) portions

3 large red bell peppers, quartered, stem, seeds and ribs removed

3 large yellow bell peppers, quartered, stem, seeds and ribs removed

2 cups olive oil, preferably French or other buttery and rich flavored oil

4 1/2 pounds plum or Roma tomatoes (15 to 18 tomatoes)

9 sprigs thyme

9 sprigs parsley

3 fresh bay leaves

3 cups finely diced onions

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

3 tablespoons finely minced garlic

1 pound yellow zucchini (2 to 3 zucchini), cut into ½-inch dice

1 pound green zucchini (2 to 3 zucchini), cut into ½-inch dice

1 1/2 pounds eggplant (approximately 1 eggplant), cut into ½-inch dice

Balsamic vinegar, to taste

(((• To further control the evaporation, use a cartouche, or a paper lid. It's easy to make: Fold a square of parchment paper that is larger than the diameter of the pot in half and then in half again. Now fold the folded edges of the square together to form a triangle and repeat this process one more time. Hold the center of the triangle over the center of the pot and cut the parchment following the diameter of the pot. Snip the very tip of the triangle, then unfold the parchment. You should have a circular piece of parchment paper about the diameter of the pot with a small hole in the center.)))

1. Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Coat the peppers with a thin film of olive oil (about 2 tablespoons), then place the peppers, flesh side down, on a foil-lined baking sheet. Roast until the skin begins to loosen, then remove from the oven, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer the peppers to a plastic bag, and set aside to steam until they are cool enough to handle. Peel the peppers. (As an alternative to roasting the peppers, you can use a blowtorch to char the skins of the peppers while they are still whole, and then gently scrub the charred skin off under running water to remove the skins.) Dice the peeled peppers into one-half-inch pieces and set aside. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.

2. Bring a small pot of water to a rapid boil. Stem the tomatoes and score the skin on the bottom into an X (((cut an X on the bottom))). Plunge one tomato at a time in the boiling water until the skin begins to loosen, about 15 seconds. Immediately transfer the tomato to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Repeat this process with the remaining tomatoes. Remove the tomatoes from the ice water and peel the tomatoes. Dice the tomatoes into one-half-inch pieces, saving all the juice, then set them aside.

3. Cut the thyme sprigs, parsley sprigs and bay leaves into approximately 1-inch lengths. Place the herbs in the center of an 8-inch-square piece of cheesecloth. Gather the ends of the cheesecloth around the herbs, and twist them to form the herbs into a sachet. Tie the sachet securely with a piece of butcher's twine. (((Or just very finely chop some thyme, parsley and skip the bay leaves)))

4. Heat a wide, shallow pot or roasting pan over medium heat and add one-half cup oil. Add the onions and the sachet of herbs to the pot along with a good pinch of salt - this will help release the liquid inside the onions and allow them to sweat without coloring. Sweat the onions until they are soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and sweat until it is fragrant and the raw flavor has subsided, about 2 minutes.

5. Add the tomatoes and peppers to the pot along with another pinch of salt, and bring them to a gentle simmer. The tomatoes will begin to release their liquid. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the sides of the pot clean.

6. Place the cartouche or paper lid on top of the surface of the tomatoes, taking care to press out the air pockets and transfer the pot to the center rack of the oven. Bake the ratatouille base in the oven, periodically removing the pot from the oven and giving it a stir. Continue to bake until almost all of the liquid has evaporated but the tomatoes are still moist, 1 to 11/2 hours. If needed, remove the cartouche toward the end of baking to help the liquid reduce more quickly.

7. While the ratatouille base is baking, heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add approximately one-half cup oil and the yellow zucchini (the zucchini should cover the pan in a single layer; if necessary, cook the zucchini in batches). Lightly season the zucchini with salt and pepper, and cook until the zucchini is lightly caramelized and just barely cooked through, 6 to 10 minutes per batch. Transfer the cooked zucchini to a baking sheet, then repeat this process with the green zucchini and then the eggplant, adding more oil each time (you will use approximately one-half cup oil for each of the vegetables).

8. Once all of the vegetables have been cooked, remove the cartouche from the ratatouille base and fold the zucchinis and eggplant, their juices and oil, into the base. Stir to incorporate all ingredients evenly, then clean the sides of the pot with a rubber spatula, re-cover with the cartouche and return the pot to the oven. Bake until the vegetables are very tender and the ratatouille thickens, 45 minutes to an hour.

9. Adjust the seasoning with salt, freshly ground pepper and a couple of drops of balsamic vinegar. You can either serve the ratatouille right away or let it sit overnight and let the flavors further meld. Serve the ratatouille as a side dish to seafood, poultry or meat.

Calories 315
Protein 3 grams
Carbohydrates 17 grams
Fiber 5 grams
Fat 28 grams
Saturated fat 4 grams
Cholesterol 0
Sugar 9 grams
Sodium 159 mg


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 9:30 AM