Mack's Corner

This Week

Quite a Day

My favorite part of the movie "A River runs through it" is right at the end. The older brother tells his family that he's moving to Chicago to teach. So to celebrate the two brothers and the father go trout fishing. As they're going down the mountain to the river the older brother tells the younger that he's also going to get married. The younger brother says "Well, well, this has been quite a day, quite a day". I remember when I had "Quite a week". Monday a good friend told me she was getting married, so excited. Tuesday another friend told me he had 6 months to live, then Wednesday a different doctor said he could cure the sickness and that he had 5 years to forever to live. Thursday I got an invitation to another wedding that I didn't know about. And Friday I found out another good friend had a new baby, but that it would be handicapped in several ways.

Several years ago the Adopt-A-School people were hear at Hope, 800 people. We all stood and said the "Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag", they had a color guard and everything. I hadn't done that in 35 years. We used to do it every day at school. We also used to read a Bible verse every day. Every morning one of the students in Home Room had the bible on their desk when they walked in. I hated doing it. You had to stand up in front of the whole class and read from the King James Bible… lots of thee's and thou's and begets. You always knew when it was your turn because it went around the room, if the person in front of you did it today, you had it tomorrow. You could skip school to get out of it, but the next time you showed up, it was yours, so you might as well do it and get it over with. The teacher made us read a whole verse. So I set out to find the shortest verse. I used it every time, I didn't even have to look it up. I just opened the bible so it looked like I had taken the time to find it and quoted it from memory John 11:35 "Jesus wept". That's it. I closed the Bible and sat down. It always made the teacher mad, but that's all she was going to get out of me... If you read the story around that verse, it's the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. I always wondered why he wept. It wasn't because his good friend Lazarus was dead, he knew he was getting ready to go bring him back to life, why cry over that? I think he cried because he was so emotionally connected to Lazarus's family and they were all very upset.

God's like that: He knows the outcome. He's not happy or sad about that. He's happy because we're happy or sad because we're sad. He feels our emotions, he's that close.  If your life changes, he's right there. He may not change it back, but he won't leave you alone. He even cries with us … See John 11:35

I think I'll go find a Rodney Dangerfield movie and see if I can make God laugh….


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

One of the great french chefs in America is Jacques Pepin. I feel like I've almost grown up with him from all the times he was on Julia Child's show. Boeuf bourguignon-beef cooked in Burgundy red wine sounds hard doesn't it? It's not!! All you need is an iron skillet or some type of big skillet or pot. This dish is all prep work. It's cutting up onions and garlic, cleaning mushrooms.. stuff like that. Other than that it's really easy… And talk about great football game, at home in front of the TV or at the game, this is as good as it gets.

Jacques Pepin's Boeuf bourguignon

2 pounds beef from the flatiron part of the shoulder or stew meat (Don't work too hard on finding this. It's not a big deal. Any cheap cut of beef will work. You will need to cut it up in to 2 inch square pieces. 

1 tablespoon butter

2 tablespoons olive oil



1 cup finely chopped onion

1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic

1 tablespoon flour

1 bottle of red wine (drinkable. If it's not good enough to drink it's not good enough to cook with) or (3 cups water and 3 tblsp Lee & Perrins Worcestershire sauce)

2 bay leaves

1 sprig fresh thyme

15 cipollini or pearl onions

15 cremini mushrooms (baby portabella's)

15 baby carrots

5-ounce piece of pancetta or 4 slices of bacon

1/4 cup water

Dash of sugar

Chopped fresh parsley (optional - it's just for color)

If you buy beef from the flatiron part of the shoulder remove the skin or sinew from the top.  Cut it up in to 2 inch square pieces.

Preheat the oven to 350°.

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter with 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a cast-iron pot.

Arrange the meat in one layer in the pot, and season it with salt and pepper. Cook on top of the stove over high heat for about 8 minutes, turning and browning the meat on all sides.

Add 1 cup of finely chopped onion and 1 tablespoon of finely chopped garlic. Cook over moderate heat for an additional 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add 1 tablespoon of flour. Mix in well so that the flour doesn't form lumps. This will thicken your sauce. (This is also why you will bring it to a boil. With flour, the sauce will get its max thickness when you boil it.)

Stir in 1 bottle of red wine (or the water & Worcestershire sauce)..  (Any red wine will work. BUT don't ruin this with bad wine. Taste it! Why would you do all of this and then ruin it with junk wine? ).   Add 2 bay leaves, a sprig of fresh thyme, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Stir well and cover. (if you don't have a lid, just put some foil over the top. You are just trying to keep the moisture in the pan)

Place the pot in the oven and continue to cook for about 1 1/2 hours; the meat should be soft and tender and the liquid properly reduced. The recipe can be prepared to this point up to a day ahead. (This is one of those dishes that really does get better after it sits for a day.)

==This is where you can stop

For the garnishes, peel 15 cipollini or pearl onions (for pearl onions, put them in boiling water for 15 seconds and the skin will pull right off), wash 15 cremini mushrooms and peel 15 baby carrots(buy them already peeled).

For the lardons (bacon), you will need one 5-ounce piece of pancetta (or 4 slices of bacon). Bring the pancetta and 2 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan and simmer for about 30 minutes; drain. Cut the pancetta (bacon) into 1/2-inch slices and then cut the slices into 1-inch-wide lardons. (if you use bacon, cut it across in to 1/2 inch pieces.)  … this is to get rid of some of the fat.

Combine the onions, mushrooms, carrots and pancetta/bacon in a skillet with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1/4 cup of water and a good dash each of sugar, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes; at this point, there should be practically no water left. Uncover and cook over high heat, sautéing the vegetables until nicely browned on all sides, about 4 minutes.

To serve, mix some of the vegetables and lardons into the stew and sprinkle the rest on top as a garnish. Add a little chopped fresh parsley and serve.

Get  a big hunk of bread and this will make your back leg kick! 2 hours total. I can make the first part this morning and let it sit in the fridge for severla hours (or overnight), then finish it 30 min before you serve it …. Yummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!


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 9:01 AM