Mack's Corner

This Week -

Muhammad Ali

When my son Macky was about 4 we went to see Muhammad Ali. It was my Lifelong best friend's (Eli) birthday and I wanted to get him a signed picture of Ali for a present, we were big fans when we were growing up. Ali was going to be at Dillard's promoting his new cologne "The Greatest". So I thought I would go get a picture of Macky with Ali. When we got there, several hundred people were already waiting, so we got in line. Macky was everywhere, he wanted to get up, he wanted to get down, he wanted to get on my shoulders, he wanted to hug, he wanted to go home...etc. But we stayed. 2 hours later we were about 4 from the front and the guy behind me says "What did you buy?". I said "What do you mean?". He said the deal was that you buy some cologne and then Ali signs 2 things. Oh! ... "OK, hold my place" ... I went to the counter and told the girl "OK, sell me something" ... She said "we're all out " ... "OK, sell me a rain check"... We're not doing rain checks" ... Back in line ... we'll see what happens. This was in September and Macky had on shorts and his AFO's (plastic casts that hold your foot in place) that went up to his knees. When I got to the front of the line there was this big black guy that looked like a movie star or pro football player wearing a suit that costs more than my house. I think he was one of Ali's body guards, but he was running the line. To see Ali, you had to get past him. I told him what happened and then I said "But I can't believe the Champ would turn down a crippled kid just because his daddy didn't buy anything". He nodded and went to talk to Ali. I know this was a cheap shot, Macky had no idea who Ali was but I had to give it a chance. He came back and said "OK". So I put Macky down and held him up by his hands over his head and let him kinda walk to Ali. Ali swooped him up and went and sat down with him. The first thing Macky did was take all of his pens. By now the whole crowd is watching, the Champ with a little crippled kid. I got ready to shoot their picture and the camera wouldn't work, the whole place went "Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh". Then the picture popped out (Polaroid ) and everybody cheered. I took 2 pictures, he signed them both while Macky sat in his lap. He handed Macky back to me and started shaking my hand (his hand is at least twice as big as mine) and then he said "Thanks for coming .... It was really nice of you to come .... I'm so glad you came .... Thanks a lot for coming .... I'm really glad you came ... thanks a lot ..." You would have thought it was me signing autographs. I couldn't talk. I just held his hand....  Here's the most recognized athlete in the world and it was like he had been waiting for me and Macky all day. He wouldn't let us go, he kept thanking me and shaking my hand and rubbing Macky on the back. Finally I threw Macky over my shoulder and walked out smiling while Macky and Ali waved at each other. It was quite a day.

God's like that, he waits for us a lot. He waits for us to figure out that we can trust him, that he's really on our side. He waits for us to ask him for help when he sees us trying to do it on our own. He waits for us to listen when he tells us how great life can be if we do it the way he designed it. The cool thing is that even though we see him as unapproachable in reality he's more happy to see us than we are to see him. I guess he's been waiting a long time ...

I like hanging out with Macky, you never know who you'll meet.


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

One of my favorite chefs is Mary Sue Milliken. Her restaurant is Border Grill in Santa Monica. Here's two recipes that that work great together and are easy to make .. Start the steaks the day before ..
Skirt Steak
6 Servings

1/2 cup cumin seeds -- (about 1-3/4 oz... Penzey's)

1 cup olive oil

1/2 cup fresh lime juice

6 tablespoons coarsely chopped seeded jalapeno -- (about 4 large)

5 large garlic cloves -- peeled

2 tablespoons cracked black pepper

2 large bunches cilantro with stems -- (about 6 oz.)

3 pounds skirt steak, excess fat trimmed -- cut in 6 pieces

Sauté cumin in heavy medium skillet over medium-low heat until lightly toasted, about 6 minutes (shake skillet often, DON'T BURN IT!!).  Transfer seeds to a blender. Add 1/4 cup oil, lime juice, chilies, garlic and 2 tbl. black pepper to blender. Blend until cumin is finely ground. Add cilantro and 3/4 cup oil. Puree until smooth. Season with salt.

Transfer marinade to large glass baking dish. Add steaks; turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate, turning occasionally, at least 6 hours and up to 1 day.

Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Remove steaks from marinade. Grill steaks to desired doneness, about 4 min. per side for med. rare. Cut steaks diagonally across grain and serve.   


Smoky Bean Salad

1 1/2 pounds of green beans (frozen works)

1 15 - 16 oz can of black beans drained (Goya)

1 15 -16 oz can of red kidney beans drained

9 bacon slices cut into 1/2 inch pieces

6 tbsp white wine vinegar (any white vinegar will work)

1/4 cup veg oil

1/4 cup minced seeded jalapeno (This always seems like a lot to me.
Be sure to scrape out all of the seeds and white veins inside. That's where all the heat is.) .. I think 2 or 3 jalapenos would be plenty especially if you're naming this for kids.. maybe even 1

3 tbsp Dijon Mustard

2 tbsp packed golden brown sugar

Cook green beans in a large pot of boiling salted water (about 4 tbsp of salt to 1 gal of water) until crisp- tender .. about 4 minutes.. if you use frozen it will take longer because you'll cool the water when you put them in. Taste them … when they start turning bright green they should be done ..  Drain beans and transfer to a large bowl.

Add black beans and kidney beans to green beans and chill till cold .. overnight is fine ..

Sauté bacon in a medium skillet until crisp, not burnt.. Drain on paper towels .. Put 2 tbsp of the bacon drippings in a bowl (discard the rest) and add the vinegar, Jalapeno, Dijon Mustard, brown sugar. Whisk together. Now add the veg oil while whisking ..

Stir the dressing in to the beans and refrigerate. Up to 8 hours.

Sprinkle bacon over and serve.. 



Posted by Mack Oates at 8:03 AM