Mack's Corner

This Week

Excuse me bartender, can I have another shot of Robitussin.

I've gotten to a point where I go to the doctor sooner rather than later. I really don't mind the doctor or shots or pills or taking off my clothes. I just hate sitting in the waiting room with a bunch of sick people. When I was growing up there was one Doctor that everybody in east Memphis went to. Every time we went to see him we sat in the waiting room for 4 hours, every time. Not some times, not most of the time, every time. The only time I ever saw him quick was when I cut my foot in a neighbor's yard and she rushed me to him like I was going to die or something. She was crying and shaking, she was totally crazy and it scared the doctor, so he saw me just to get her out of there. Maybe I should have gotten her to take me every time. My mom had a little crush on this doctor, I think she actually liked to go. He looked kinda like Robert Redford and had a calm soft voice, plus he always held her hand if she was upset, she loved that. The problem was that all of his appointments were 5 minutes apart but he spent 15 or 20 minutes with each patient, just like he had nothing else to do the rest of the day. Like we were all going fishing as soon as he finished with me. Of course there were 100 people in the waiting room, the next person in line behind me had been there 4 hours too.… It seems like every time we went to see him I came home with Robitussin.  Why does Robitussin have to taste so bad? Was I being punished?  It tastes like some failed Hi School chemistry experiment involving yak sweat and rotten cantaloupe, but it works. I still take it. I've noticed that I always watch myself in the mirror when I take it, like there's some subconscious part of me that wants to see when my head gets bigger, or I grow a 3rd eye. I always make terrible faces.  Sometimes I find myself losing my balance and hopping across the bathroom floor on one foot like some crazed pogo stick person, wondering if I'll remain conscious. I'm afraid if I pass out I'll look in the mirror again find out I've turned into a super hero, Robitussin-Man who fights crime with bad after-taste, you can tell the criminals because they're all trying to wipe off their tongue... If I'm sick I can't go to sleep without a bad taste in my mouth.
God's like that, he's got all the time in the world for us. I have people tell me "You can take me off the prayer list, there's more important things to pray for", as if God can only handle 50 prayers a day, so you better pray for just the big stuff. When you're talking to God, the most important thing to him is whatever is the most important thing to you. He's really interested, he really wants to know. He doesn't have 100 people waiting for him who have bigger problems, it's just you. Sometimes you'll have yuky stuff to get through, but he won't leave. No matter how bad your breath stinks, he'll still love you.
I wonder what cat litter tastes like, maybe I can chew on that before bed?


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

Ok, here's something good for your next football party. It's very fancy and very simple and cheap. Guys, women love this. You could even serve this as a starter for a romantic dinner or just make it for yourself as a different kind of salad. Once you see how to do this, you can make it without the recipe and do a bunch of variations. Keep a few packages of puff pastry in the freezer and make enough salad dressing to last for a while. Then when you want to make this all you need at the grocery is tomatoes, parsley and greens = $3 .. Variations: chopped bacon, red onions, cucumbers or zucchini instead of tomatoes, rough mustard instead of balsamic & oil, any melting cheese, smoked salmon on top of the tomatoes, etc … This is from Gordon Ramsay..
Tomato tart:
Puff pastry - freezer section in the grocery store (Pepperidge farm) - get the sheets .. <>
8 large plum tomatoes
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp parsley - chopped
2 oz fresh parmesan, shaved with a peeler - this has to be real cheese, we need slices.
4  oz mixed greens
1 - 2 tbsp classic vinaigrette ( see below - make this first!!!)
Salt & pepper
Thaw and roll out pastry to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut in to rounds or squares.( I cut the sheets in to 4 squares. It makes a 4 inch by 4 inch pastry. But if you were making this for dinner for just you, you could just cut it in half and then put the rest back in the freezer.)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees… bake pastry in a baking sheet for 10 min. It will start to puff up. Then put another baking sheet on top to keep it from rising and bake another 8 min, until just golden. Remove to a wire rack to cool.. (you could also just put them on the plates you're going to use and use the same baking sheet for the tomatoes.)
Slice tomatoes and arrange on a baking sheet in overlapping circles the same size as the pastry. This is going to go on top of the puff pastry you just cooked so be sure it will fit .. Brush/drizzle the tops of the tomatoes with balsamic vinegar, and oil, season with salt and pepper. Top with parsley.  Lay shavings of parmesan on top, making sure they connect so that the cheese will hold the tomatoes together. (Use a vegetable peeler and shave long pieces of cheese. Overlap the cheese pieces over the tomatoes. This will hold everything together when the cheese melts.)
Preheat the broiler..
When the broiler gets hot, put the tomatoes under the broiler … watch it!!!, don't walk away!!! .. cook till cheese melts and browns some. Take it out and let it cool a little..
Get a flat spatula and transfer the tomato rounds on to the pastry rounds/squares..
In a large bowl mix the greens with some of the classic vinaigrette and pile on top of tarts .. serve. You want to this to be warm on the bottom with a cold salad on top. So have your salad ready …
The kids can help with all of this…
Classic vinaigrette:
Whisk together: (you can also put the lid on the container and shake or use an immersible blender like I do = really fast)
1 cup olive oil
1 cup veg oil
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp pepper
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4  cup white wine vinegar
1/4  cup sherry vinegar - if you don't have one or either of these 2 vinegars, any mild white vinegar will work.. 1/2 cup total
Store in a screw top jar or sealed top container and shake well before use
Makes 2 1/2 cups



Posted by Mack Oates at 9:46 AM