Mack's Corner

This Week

This week 01-20-15

Underwear and Boots

For almost 20 years we've never had a problem with freezing pipes in our house. In the few places where pipes are exposed I've got those wires that you plug in and wrap around pipes that keep them warmish.
And the most important thing we do is always remember to leave water dripping if it's going to be below freezing. We remembered that until 3 weeks ago when it was 14 degrees. I got up about 5am walked in the bathroom and turned on the shower.. NOTHING!!! I looked to where the water was supposed to be dripping and there was no drip. Either the water was turned off (impossible) or the pipes were frozen. The only place they can be frozen is in the attic by the hot water heater. I hate going up in the attic because not only is it 14 degrees but I have to put my boots on to go up the ladder to get there, it kills your feet if you don't.
I have this fear of somebody seeing me in my underwear with my boots on, just underwear is ok, but boots and underwear is too much. Of course worst-case scenarios are running through my head: "I go up there with a pan of boiling water to pour on the pipes, it turns out to be a much bigger deal than I thought so I'm up there for hours, my wife gets worried and calls 911, the police come and pull me out of the attic in my underwear and boots, holding a pan of frozen water, the local news hears about it on a police scanner and comes to take pictures, I make the front page of the paper, somebody calls and wants to make a movie and then there I am standing in my underwear and boots looking down from the attic stairs in a Super Bowl commercial for the movie while 50 million watch, better than the halftime show!!!" (My mom would be so embarrassed.)......... Then there's a big burp from the shower head and a slow trickle of water, then it shutters and grunts and burps and more water, then more. I feel it, still pretty icy. But then warmth and life is good. No attic, no boots, no police, no front page, no Super bowl, just a warm shower and a normal day .

Gods like that: We worry and worry and blow things up until we can't think of anything else. Sometimes we even make up events that will never happen and worry about that. God says he's in charge! That's all we need to know. As he says, worrying about it won't add another minute to the day. Think about and remember good things, you'll live longer... 
I wonder if anybody would pay to see a movie about me in my underwear and boots in the attic? Maybe a documentary?


Cooking 220 - 2 pans, 2 burners, 20 minutes - Living Well - Mediterranean Diet:

Stew part 2 .... Here's the second part on Stew. 

Beef-and-Farro Soup from Hugh Acheson

2 tablespoons canola oil
1 1/2 pounds beef chuck, cut into 1-inch pieces
Kosher salt
9 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1 head of garlic, pierced all over with a knife
3 thyme sprigs
3 bay leaves
1 cup farro
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 leek, light green and white parts only, thinly sliced
2 celery ribs, thinly sliced
3 small carrots, chopped
1 small bunch Tuscan kale, chopped (3 cups)
2 tablespoons white miso
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for garnish

In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the oil. Season the meat with salt and pepper, add half to the casserole and cook over moderate heat, turning, until browned, about 5 minutes; using a slotted spoon, transfer to a large plate. Repeat with the remaining meat.

Pour off all of the oil from the casserole. Add 1 cup of the stock and stir, scraping up any browned bits. Add the remaining 8 cups of stock along with the meat, garlic, thyme and bay leaves and bring to a simmer.

Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the meat is tender, about 1 1/2 hours.

Stir in the farro and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over moderate heat until the farro is almost tender, 20 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, leek, celery, carrots, kale, miso and paprika. Cover and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Discard the garlic and herb sprigs. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls. Garnish with cheese and serve.


Pork And Squash Stew With Chiles
This stew calls for water instead of stock to be added. The pork shoulder will create a rich cooking liquid on its own.

3 pounds boneless pork shoulder (Boston butt), cut into 2” pieces
1 tablespoon ground coriander
10 cloves garlic finely chopped, divided
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more
Freshly ground black pepper
½ cup raw shelled pumpkin seeds
6 dried New Mexico or guajillo chiles
2 chiles de árbol or ½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 large yellow onions, cut into ⅛”-thick wedges, divided
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 sprigs oregano
½ kabocha squash (about 1 lb.), peeled, seeds removed, cut into 1” pieces
1 delicata squash, seeds removed, cut into ½”-thick slices
½ small red onion, thinly sliced
¼ cup fresh lime juice
Cilantro sprigs (for serving)

Combine pork, coriander, half of garlic, and 1 Tbsp. salt in a large bowl; season with pepper and toss. Cover; chill at least 4 hours.

Preheat oven to 350°. Toast pumpkin seeds on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing occasionally, until golden, about 5 minutes; set aside.

Toast chiles on a clean baking sheet until slightly darkened, about 5 minutes. Let cool slightly, then remove stems, and seeds, if you prefer less heat. Place chiles, half of yellow onion, remaining garlic, and 1 cup hot water in a blender; let sit 10 minutes to soften chiles. Blend until smooth; set chile purée aside.

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Working in batches, cook pork, turning occasionally, until browned, 8–10 minutes; transfer to a plate.

Pour off fat from pot. Cook chile purée in pot over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half, 8–10 minutes. Add pork, oregano, remaining yellow onion, and 10 cups water to pot; season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, partially covered, skimming occasionally, until pork is very tender, 3–3½ hours.

Add squash to stew and cook, uncovered, until pork is falling apart and squash is soft, 30–35 minutes; season with salt and pepper.
Toss red onion and lime juice in a small bowl; let sit, tossing occasionally, 30 minutes.

Serve stew with red onion, cilantro, and reserved pumpkin seeds.

Do Ahead: Pork can be marinated 2 days ahead; keep chilled. Stew can be made 3 days ahead; let cool, then cover and chill.


Posted by Mack Oates at 12:00 AM