Mack's Corner

This Week


A few years ago I was putting out parking lot signs, jumping on an "EXIT" sign, trying to get it in the ground, and the cross bar that I was jumping on broke. I turned my ankle and went rolling across the wet grass. It's one of those things where you have to recover fast because you know CNN is going to be right there reporting to the whole world "A man escaped today, he was found rolling in the grass and putting up strange signs. He's been taken in for further study." You don't want that!  That was Saturday, Then Sunday, 6:30am, I was putting out parking lot cones and I went to pick up a Coke can and stepped in a hole and down I went again, same ankle, same wet grass, same quick recovery. Later that same day,  9:30am, church going on, people all around, I walked around the hole, I knew it was there, and stepped in a little ditch, down I went, same ankle, same grass, no recovery, people stared. Just some crazy guy rolling in the grass…who knew… strange things happen. Just one of those days. Felt like my brain was disconnected.

The next day, Monday, the "Tugs" for the trams showed up. They were nailed to the floor inside an 18 wheeler with 2x4's blocked around all of the wheels. They weigh 5200lb, I guess they were afraid they would roll around. So I'm in there with a hammer breaking up these 2x4's so I can get the tugs out. Have you ever noticed that when you are hitting something with a hammer that you can get in positions and bend more than if you're just standing there like a normal person? My hamstrings and leg mussels will stretch much farther if I'm hitting something with a hammer. Give me a hammer and I make Cirque Du Soleil look like amateurs. I got the tugs out, but the next day I could barely walk. I looked like I had been in a fight.

God's like that, he gives us stuff to do that's hard, it puts us in strange positions and it stretches us, maybe to the point that it hurts. Sometimes when I get in places ike that I feel like I'm stepping in holes everywhere, always falling down. It's all part of being disconnected. God's still there, I'm just not paying attention.

Maybe I'll get some snow shoes so I can step on top of a hole without falling down. I would still walk funny and people would point at me.

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

One of the great breads of the world is Irish Brown/soda bread. There's no yeast. So all that "Art of making bread" junk goes away. The rising is done by baking soda and baking powder combined with buttermilk or yogurt or something acidic like that. When baking soda is combined with something acidic it fizzes and releases CO2 which makes the bread rise. Baking powder is baking soda and an acid salt, cream of tartar, and some potato starch all combined. So when you get it wet and it fizzes because it comes with its own acid. I never have understood why most recipes use both, but they do. Here's 3 recipes that are very simple. Mostly all you do is mix everything up, put it in a pan and bake it. This is "Easy-Bake-Oven" stuff..

Irish Brown Bread - This is from Cathal Armstrong.  

3 cups whole wheat flour

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups buttermilk

1 large egg, lightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 375°. Butter an 8-by-5-inch metal loaf pan.

In a large bowl, whisk both flours with the baking soda and salt. In a small bowl, whisk the buttermilk with the egg; stir into the dry ingredients with a wooden spoon until a rough dough forms.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth. Form the dough into a loaf and put it in the prepared pan. Bake for about 50 minutes, until the bread has risen about 1/2 inch above the rim of the pan. Once unmolded, the loaf should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Let cool to warm or room temperature, then slice and serve.


Pull-Apart Cheesy Onion Bread

1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, 1 stick cubed

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 tablespoon poppy seeds

Kosher salt  and freshly ground pepper

1 cup coarsely shredded Gruyère cheese (3 ounces)

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 425°. Butter a 9-by-4 1/2-inch metal loaf pan.

In a large skillet, melt the 1/2 stick of uncubed butter; pour 2 tablespoons of the melted butter into a small bowl and reserve.

Add the chopped onion to the skillet and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until it is softened, about 8 minutes.

Stir in the poppy seeds and season with salt and pepper.

Scrape the onion mixture onto a plate and refrigerate for 5 minutes, until cooled slightly.

Stir in the Gruyère.

Meanwhile, in a food processor, pulse the flour with the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the cubed butter and pulse until it is the size of small peas. Add the buttermilk and pulse 5 or 6 times, just until a soft dough forms.

Turn the dough out onto a well-floured work surface and knead 2 or 3 times. Pat or roll the dough into a 2-by-24-inch rectangle.

Spread the onion mixture on top. Cut the dough crosswise into 10 pieces. Stack 9 pieces onion side up, then top with the final piece, onion-side down. Carefully lay the stack in the prepared loaf pan and brush with the reserved butter.

Bake the loaf in the center of the oven for about 30 minutes, until it is golden and risen. Let the bread cool for at least 15 minutes before unmolding and serving


Chocolate Chip-Zucchini Bread

2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

2 large eggs

1 cup sugar

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 medium zucchini (about 7 ounces), finely shredded

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 cup sour cream

1 cup mini bittersweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350°.

Coat a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with vegetable spray.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cardamom.

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs with the sugar, oil, zucchini and vanilla.

Add the flour mixture and stir gently with a spatula until the flour is just incorporated. Stir in the sour cream followed by the chocolate chips.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake in the middle of the oven for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until the top is browned and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. If the loaf browns too quickly during baking, cover loosely with aluminum foil.

Let the loaf cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning it out onto a rack to cool completely.

See, nothing to it! If you can stir stuff in a bowl you can do this..


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 9:48 AM