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Mack's Corner

This Week

The Roar

When I was in college 2 friends and I decided to go on a raft trip down the Obed river. It's a small river outside Crossville. We had been down several other rivers with groups in canoes and figured we were experts. The difference was that those rivers were really slow. Most of the time they were like being in a lake. The Obed on the other hand had level 3, 4, and 5 rapids. If you don't know rapid levels, a level 7 is like Niagara Falls. We were going over a Level 5 rapid… Hummmmmm… This was the kind of thing you read about in the news: 3 guys went on a simple raft trip and were never found!!!! … But we were young and stupid and thought "How big can it be?" .. As soon as we got in, we hit a Level 3 rapid, mostly flat, straight, and fun … Ok, we were good.. we could do this.. we weren't going to get killed after all.. we didn't even lose any of our stuff or fall out of the raft .. nothing to it!!! And so it went. We would see a rapid up ahead, maybe a level 2 or 3, and hold on, paddling as hard as we could and slide through. It was great fun, we were laughing and splashing each other, falling out of the raft and climbing back in… We stopped and had lunch and were ready for the last part. One of the guys had been talking about this one level 5 rapid called "The devil's breakfast table" .. He talked about it so much that it was starting to be mythical. Every time we went over another rapid we wondered if that was it and said "If that was it, that was easy!!" … He also had a map that we were supposed to use so we could get out and walk around this monster level 5 rapid, but we were so lost that we had no idea where we were on the map, so we just kept going … Then I looked at one of them and said "Do you hear that?" .. I could hear a dull roar from way far off. I was very faint… Probably nothing.. We kept going. But I kept hearing it. I tried listening harder. Then it would go away. Several times I told them to be quiet so I could hear, but I just couldn't make it out. Maybe were near a train track? We were floating along and I looked down and noticed that the water was moving faster and the Roar was getting louder. They could hear it now.. But it was still hard to tell what direction it was coming from. The water kept getting faster and I told the guys maybe we should get out and scout up ahead. After a few minutes they agreed, but it was too late. We were being sucked down the river. We were going really fast now and the Roar was really loud, we just held on. I was looking ahead and all of a sudden I couldn't see the river in front of us any more….. wooooooooooosh …. And there we were, 20 feet above the river, screaming like Jr High girls. Like the raft had taken flight… Splash.. as we hit the pool. No raft, no friends.. When I came up I saw the raft on the rocks and my friend's heads sticking up out of the water. I looked up I could see where we had come from. There was a big rock that jutted out and the river ran off the tip of it, below was large pool… We were still alive, nothing to do but laugh.. We walked out with the deflated raft on our backs..

God's like that: He's hard to hear. He's the dull Roar way far off.. You have to listen really hard. You have to be really quiet.. Please God let me hear you….

Maybe the Nantahala next time. In a barrel…


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

One of the great restaurants in Napa Valley is Bistro Jeanty.  It's on Washington Street in Yountville. 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 rounds egg-wash side down over the tops of the cups, pulling lightly on the sides to make the dough tight like a drum.

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. … Rent "Moulin Rouge" and you'll feel like you're in Paris at Maxim's on Rue Royal …


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 10:32 AM