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Mack's Corner

This Week


Every year Men's Ministry has the "Beast Feast.. A.K.A Grill and Chill". In the past, I have been the head judge. I would usually go around and scout the teams. If I found something good I would tell them to be sure and save it for judging, and if I found something bad, I warn the judges. I've been the head judge for years and usually, there will be 2 or 3 things that are really good and a bunch of stuff that's backyard quality BBQ, that's OK. Some years there was no middle, great BBQ, really great, and terrible BBQ, the gag reflex was working overtime. One year I think a team had BBQ Yak that I think they found in the street on the way over. There's a strange "man" thing that happens when 6 to 8 guys stand around a grill for over an hour, everything begins to taste good or is perceived to. It goes like this: the guy cooking wants it to taste good because he's been working at it for 4 hours and telling everybody how good it's going to be and how great he is on the grill. He says (no matter how it tastes) "Wow this is really good". Then another guy gets some, he thinks it's pretty awful, but he's been standing in the smoke for an hour and smoking a cigar the whole time.. everything tastes pretty awful, so he says "Yeah that's pretty good". Neither one of them pass out so the other guys try some too. They all assume that everybody thinks it's good and that they are the only ones who think it tastes like fertilizer.  At this point they're all eating it like it's the best thing they've ever had, really thinking "Does this really taste as bad as I think it does? Maybe I'll try another piece and it will get better" (it never does). Here's where I come in on my scouting run: "Hey Mack come here, you've got to taste this! It's great!" (this usually comes from the first guy who's doing all the cooking. He's trying to convince as many people as possible in hopes that he to will soon believe it himself) .."OK, what is it?" .."Smoked Yak from Zambodia.. it's really great!" .. (it smelled like a burning tire) My line, knowing this could be dangerous, is always the same: "just give me a little piece, I've still got to go around to everybody else, so I can't eat much." The other good thing about a real small piece is that it's easy to hold in your hand and just pretend to put it in your mouth. Then you walk by a garbage can and let it go.  

God's like that: We keep doing the same thing over and over even though it's sometimes painful. We all convince each other it's good because everybody else says it is and we really want it to be. But, it never gets better. God really wants us to enjoy life, really he does. He's got all kinds of things planned for you if he can just pull you out of the smoke...

I wonder if there's any way to make good BBQ Yak... I kinda doubt it…


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

It was cold riding in this morning and all I could think of was a warm bowl of soup and a big hunk of cheesy bread. This first recipe is the best tomato soup I've ever tasted. Nothing else is even close. This is from Bistro Jeanty in Yountville in Napa Valley, one of the great restaurants in Napa Valley. For years this recipe was a secret. I guess they had so many requests for it that they gave up and published it. This is the best tomato soup you'll ever eat!!

Bistro Jeanty  - Cream of Tomato Soup in Puff Pastry
Makes 6 servings

2 1/2 lb. tomatoes - ripe, cored, and quartered

1/2 cup butter - unsalted

1/2 lb. yellow onions - sliced

6 ea. garlic cloves

1/4 cup tomato paste

1 ea. bay leaf

1/2 tbl. whole black peppercorns

1 tsp. dried thyme

1 cup water (use only if tomatoes are not ripe and juicy)

4 cups heavy cream

1-2 tbl. butter

salt - to taste

1/2 tsp. ground white pepper

1 lb. puff pastry sheets - defrosted if frozen

1 ea. egg - beaten with 1 tbl. water

Melt the 1/2 cup butter in a large stockpot over medium-low heat. Add the onions, cover, and cook for about 5 minutes. Do not let the onions color.

Add the tomatoes, garlic, tomato paste, bay leaf, peppercorns, thyme, and water if needed. Simmer over low heat for 30-40 minutes, until the tomatoes and onions are very soft.

Puree in a blender (working in batches) or use a hand-held immersion blender; STRAIN. Return the soup to the pot. Add the cream, salt, white pepper, and the remaining

1-2 tbl. of butter to taste. Bring soup back to boil.

Let the soup cool for 2 hours or overnight (in the refrigerator).

Divide among six 8-ounce soup cups or bowls. Roll out the puff pastry to 1/4 inch. Cut 6 rounds slightly larger than your cups or bowls. Paint the dough with the egg wash and turn the circles egg-wash side down over the tops of the cups, pulling lightly on the sides to make the dough tight like a drum. The egg wash is the glue that holds the pastry to the cups/bowls. 

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Lightly paint the top of the dough rounds with egg wash without pushing the dough down. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the dough is golden brown. Do not open the oven door in the first few minutes or the dough will fall. Serve immediately.

This is another one of those things where you could cut the puff pastry and re-freeze it. Freeze the soup in 1 or 2 serving containers. Now you're set. Any time you want some great soup. Pull out a container, heat it up in the microwave while you're pre-heating the oven.  Put heated soup in a bowl, frozen puff pastry on top, put it in the oven. 10 min later you have Bistro Jeanty tomato soup. ... Watch the movie  "Moulin Rouge" and you'll feel like you're in Paris at Maxim's on Rue Royal ...


**********The next 2 are examples to show you how you can make anything into a creamy soup. TASTE! TASTE! TASTE! TASTE! TASTE! After you finish the soup RE-SEASON... Pepper or hot sauce, Vinegar, Salt, Sugar or Hot Sour Salty Sweet... If you have these 4 things in balance, you will have a great soup!! Did you get that? Hot Sour Salty Sweet... If you have these 4 things in balance, you will have a great soup or a great sauce. ***********

Sweet Pea Soup with Majorero Cream and Roncal Crisps

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 large shallot, thinly sliced

1 thyme sprig

1/3 cup dry white wine

3 cups water

5 cups frozen peas (25 ounces)


1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

1/2 cup coarsely shredded Roncal or semi-aged sheep's-milk cheese

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/3 cup coarsely shredded Majorero or other mild, buttery, semi-aged goat's-milk cheese

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the shallot and thyme and cook over moderately low heat until the shallot is softened, about 5 minutes.

Add the wine and simmer over moderately high heat until reduced by half, about 3 minutes.

Add the water and all but 1 cup of the peas and bring to a boil. Add a pinch of salt, cover, and simmer over moderately low heat until the peas are tender, about 8 minutes.

Add the remaining 1 cup of peas and simmer for 1 minute, then remove from the heat.

Discard the thyme. Stir in the parsley.

Working in batches, puree the sweet pea soup in a blender.

Strain the soup through a coarse sieve into another medium saucepan. Season the soup with salt and keep warm.

Set a medium nonstick skillet over moderate heat. Spread four 1-tablespoon mounds of the Roncal in the skillet and flatten slightly.

Cook the cheese over moderate heat until bubbling and set on the bottom, about 3 minutes; do not brown.

Using a spatula, transfer the crisps to paper towels. Let cool until firm. Repeat with the remaining cheese.

In a small glass bowl, heat the heavy cream in a microwave at high power until boiling, about 30 seconds.

Add the Majorero and heat until the cheese is just melted, about 20 seconds. Stir until blended.

Ladle the soup into small bowls. Swirl in the Majorero cream and serve with the Roncal crisps.


Creamy Carrot Soup With Scallions and poppy seeds

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 large onion, coarsely chopped

1-quart low-sodium vegetable broth

1-quart water

2 pounds carrots, sliced 1/3 inch thick

6 large scallions, thinly sliced crosswise

2 teaspoons poppy seeds

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup milk

Salt and freshly ground pepper


In a large pot, melt the butter in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.

Add the onion, cover, and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.

Add the broth and water along with the carrots and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and simmer over low heat until the carrots are tender, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

Add the scallions and poppy seeds and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until the scallions are softened, about 1 minute.

Working in batches, puree the carrot soup in a blender until smooth; transfer to a clean saucepan.

Stir in the cream and milk and simmer over moderate heat, stirring. Season the soup with salt and pepper and ladle it into bowls.

Garnish with the scallions and poppy seeds and serve.


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 set up 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 9:29 AM