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Mack's Corner

This Week

Aspirin Please

One Sunday morning at church a man came up to me and asked if I had any aspirin for his son who had a headache. Of course I did, I just had to go up to my office to get it. On a normal Sunday morning church service I'll have 40 people ask me a question, or ask for something. They might be asking how to get to a room. They might tell me it's too hot or too cold in in the Sanctuary. They might be dropping off something and need to know where to put it. OR they might be asking for aspirin… I said "Sure, no problem.. I'll be right back.".. It's about 200 feet to my office, but in that 200 feet I got stopped at least 10 times for more questions: How do I get there?.. This doesn't work, can you fix it? … How do I turn on the air in room 303?... etc .. So 15 minutes later I was back with the aspirin and a glass of water. There they were sitting in the back right where I left them.. "Here you go". I said.. "Sorry it took so long"  ….. To me, no big deal. This was a simple, easy request. I would do this for anybody. But to the Dad it was amazing. He was shocked. He just knew that I had blown him off. He just knew I didn't care at all about his kid's headache. He just knew how churches were .. He had very low expectations. And when I didn't come back he said to himself: "Yep, just what I thought.." ..Then there I was, aspirin in hand. I wish I still had the 4 page letter he wrote saying how great our church was and how amazing the people were, especially that guy who gave him the aspirin. It was a simple thing for me, but a big deal to him…

God's like that: He makes the small things we do amazing. All we have to do it show up.. Here's a fun thing to do.. Pray this prayer: "God use me today."  .. Then see what happens .. Remember 90% is just showing up. 

Maybe I'll do that today.. "God use me today" Might as well … don't be scared ..


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

I cooked Dinner for 20 of my Inside ConeHeads one time (one of the perks to being an inside Conehead). It was all Thomas Keller food from his Ad-Hoc cookbook. One of the cool things about cooking his recipes is that there are parts that are really easy and really good. Usually there are 4 to 6 parts that are put together. This is standard stuff from big time restaurant chefs, they can get their cooks to do all of the parts early in the day and then put stuff together when it's time to make the dish .. This is part of Fig Stuffed roast pork loin.. it will go on anything and work for breakfast, lunch or dinner..

To Start:

Fig And Balsamic Jam

2 pounds of figs, black mission, stems removed, coarsely chopped (or any dried figs)

1 1/2 cups of sugar

1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar

1 grind of fresh black pepper

Juice from 1/2 of a lemon (not too much)

Combine figs, sugar, balsamic vinegar and pepper in a large saucepan and attach a candy thermometer to the pan (every cook needs a candy thermometer. You can buy them at the grocery store for $2). Bring it to a simmer (small bubbles, not a boil) over med- high heat, then lower the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook, stirring to break up the larger pieces of fig, keeping chunky consistency until Jam reaches 215 - 220 degrees (no hotter than that or it will be hard when it cools… DON'T STICK YOUR FINGER IN THIS!!! IT IS VERY HOT AND WILL STICK TO YOUR FINGER).. Remove from heat and add the lemon juice, stir in… Put in a container and refrigerate for up to a month…..

You can stop right here if you want.. This is great stuff.. Fig & balsamic jam.. Yummmmmm

Now it gets better!!!!!!

Fig Stuffing:

1 fennel bulb (top cut off, outer layer removed, sliced in to half-moon slices)

Olive oil

1/2 cup 1/2 -inch cubes of good sweet bread like ciabatta - even plain old wonder bread will work - better bread is better (not sourdough)    

1 tsp minced garlic - 1 clove

1 tbsp finely chopped shallot
1 cup Fig & Balsamic jam (The stuff we made above)

1/4 cup chicken stock

1/2 tsp thyme leaves (dried or fresh)

Salt & pepper

Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add bread cubes and cook tossing to brown on all sides - 1 to 2 minutes. Remove cubes to a plate.

Add the fennel to the pan. Cook till tender - 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the garlic and shallot and cook for 1 minute

Stir in the Fig Jam and warm through..

Add the bread cubes back in then the chicken stock, thyme, salt & pepper (to taste).. stirring till combined

Transfer to a bowl and cool

Taste, taste, taste … re-season …. try to keep from eating it all, at least put it on some crackers …

This simple thing is one of the best things I've ever tasted, ever! … IT is stunning. You could serve this with anything from pork roast to peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to fingers… This is Thomas Keller food, amazing!!!


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 8:05 AM