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Mack's Corner

This Week

Simple is better

Every summer when it gets hot my wife makes me cook everything outside. She says "I don't care what you cook, you just can't heat up the house. You've got to do it outside." Most guys, if they cook, cook everything on the grill. That's not me. I don't like grills, small stuff falls through, it makes grill marks on the meat, and things burn. There's no control. I like control. The only thing I like is the smoke. So I was watching "No Reservations" and Anthony Bourdain was in Australia with a great chef who cooks everything over a wood fire. He has created grills that he can raise and lower so he can control the heat. Then I saw Anthony in Vietnam where street people were selling food also cooked over an open fire, but they had a big heavy sheet of metal over the fire and cooked everything on that. I could do that I loved the idea of cooking over a fire. It brought back the days when we used to go camping with my Grandfather. Of course one of the biggest things going in restaurants now is wood burning ovens. Plus it's natural, it's simple and it tastes better. There's a reason people have cooked over fires for the last billion years I went out and looked at my Weber and I had an idea. How about a cast iron skillet on top of the grill? And not just any cast Iron skillet, a big cast Iron skillet, a 17 inch cast Iron skillet. That would cover the whole top of the grill with just enough room around the outside to keep the fire going and let the smoke out. Nothing would fall through, I could put bricks under it to lift it up off the heat if it got too hot and no grill marks, I hate grill marks. To me grill marks imply fake cheap food. I could cook steaks, burgers, chicken, veggies, pizza, pan fry pasta, fish, meatloaf, anything even bacon & eggs like I was camping out. I could use Boy Scout cooking to make bread, cobbler, pies. Just raise it up, foil over the top, put the lid on the Weber and bingo bango instant outside oven.  If I needed to make a sauce then I would just put the sauce pan in the big iron skillet, like a big hotplate. Who needs that Viking range I've been drooling over for years. I figure I could buy 25 Webber/Iron skillet combos for what it would cost to buy one Viking. Simple is better.

God's like that: We get caught up in to Theology and what one church believes verses what another church believes. People worry about which translation of the Bible they are reading, do I need to only read the King James or is a paraphrase ok? Who cares? God made it simple.. Quoting from Deuteronomy 6:5  Jesus said 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind ; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself." Everything else is just details. Simple is better.


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

In the summer a light tomato sauce is a great thing to have. You can serve it on pasta, use it for pizza, put it on pan fried fish, garnish an omelette, serve it over veggies, or just eat it with toast. I really like this recipe because it's light and easy:

Sicilian Sauce:

3 tbl Olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 tsp dried or fresh Basil, chopped or crumbled

1 tsp dried or fresh Oregano, chopped or crumbled

3 cloves of Garlic, minced

1 small can of Tomato paste (I think they are 4 oz?) about 4 tbls

1 28oz can of crushed tomatoes - or 5 fresh tomatoes chopped

Salt & Pepper

Heat the oil, add the onion, basil, & oregano. Cook till onion is soft.

Add the garlic, cook 2 min..

Add tomato paste… cook 3 - 5 min.. spread it out on the bottom of the pan… don't let it burn, but also don't stir it too much.. you want it caramelize and get sweet..

Add tomatoes and crush with a spoon…simmer for 45min

Season with salt and pepper..

This will keep in the fridge for a week or freeze for a month. Be sure to buy a Baguette of French Bread while you're shopping. As usual the sauce is best served out of the pan, still on the stove, standing up. Serve by dipping hunks of bread in it no reason to dirty plates. Simple food served simply.




Posted by Mack Oates at 10:50