Mack's Corner

This Week -

This week 4-19-16

Extreme tech support!

A few years ago several of our video guys went to NAB. That's where all the big video people come every year to show off all of their newest latest greatest stuff. Sony, and Adobe, and Dream Works, and everybody who does video or movies was there. The really cool thing is that everybody brings all of their main people, not just a bunch of salesmen.
They bring the guy who invented the lens for their new camera, or the programmers that nobody gets to talk to if you have a problem. They got to talk to the main engineer for one of the switcher/converter things that we use. One of the guys, Brian, was sitting outside drinking a cup of coffee and started talking to a guy at the table next to him. "Hey, how you doing? What do you do you do?" .. "I'm here with Adobe, I'm the head programmer for "After Effects" ... "You are kidding! We use "After Effects" every day." ... Then you realize you're not just talking to any old body, you're talking to "The Man", the guy who wrote the program, the guy who knows more about it than anybody in the whole world, anybody! Not really anybody famous, but a person who was thought to be unreachable. You can't call Adobe and get this guy on the phone.. But there he sits right in front of you drinking coffee. Then an even more amazing thing happens. Brian starts telling him about some of the problems we had been having with "After Effects" and the new Apple computers and the guy pulls out his business card and writes his cell phone number on the back and says "Call me next time it happens." Call him???  Call him direct! Talk straight to The Man. Bypass everybody else, 1st level tech support, 2nd level tech support, 3rd level tech support, everybody... This is not the video guy at a major motion picture studio, this is Brian at Hope Church and he gets to call the head programmer at Adobe on his cell phone... Extreme tech support.

God's like that: He made us, knows more about us than anybody in the whole world. And we get to talk to him any time we want. Don't have to get permission, don't have to know the password, all you have to do is ask... Extreme tech support!

I need to meet some unreachable people...


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

I was still thinking about that Jamie Oliver thing from last week and found this in the New York times:
Things You Should Make, Not Buy. From marinara to mustard, more than 30 recipes for dishes and pantry staples that are so much better homemade.

We're all killing ourselves by eating processed food. It has all this stuff in it to make it last a long time. But we could make it better and fresher every time we need some..  For Example:

Classic Marinara Sauce

Homemade marinara is almost as fast and tastes immeasurably better than even the best supermarket sauce — and it's made with basic pantry ingredients. All the tricks to a bright red, lively-tasting sauce, made just as it is in the south of Italy (no butter, no onions) are in this recipe. Use a skillet instead of the usual saucepan: the water evaporates quickly, so the tomatoes are just cooked through as the sauce becomes thick.

1 28-ounce can whole San Marzano tomatoes, certified D.O.P. if possible
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
7 garlic cloves, peeled and slivered
Small dried whole chile, or pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large fresh basil sprig, or 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, more to taste

(((Notice Hot = red pepper flakes, Sour=garlic, Salty=salt, Sweet=tomatoes)))

Pour tomatoes into a large bowl and crush with your hands. Pour 1 cup water into can and slosh it around to get tomato juices. Reserve.

In a large skillet (do not use a deep pot, iron skillet works) over medium heat, heat the oil. When it is hot, add garlic.

As soon as garlic is sizzling (do not let it brown), add the tomatoes, then the reserved tomato water. Add whole chile or red pepper flakes, oregano (if using) and salt. Stir.

Place basil sprig, including stem, on the surface (like a flower). Let it wilt, then submerge in sauce. Simmer sauce until thickened and oil on surface is a deep orange, about 15 minutes. (If using oregano, taste sauce after 10 minutes of simmering, adding more salt and oregano as needed.) Discard basil and chile (if using).


Mustard-Shallot Vinaigrette

Store-bought salad dressings are an automatic shortcut for many cooks. But with their sweeteners and stabilizers, they aren't worthy of a well-made salad, whether your tastes run to iceberg and romaine or mizuna and mesclun. And, revolutionary idea, they aren’t really more convenient than a basic vinaigrette like this one, made in big batches from real ingredients, which can also live happily and indefinitely in your refrigerator door.

1 shallot, minced
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 heaping teaspoons Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil, more to taste

(((There's nothing sweet in this. So if you're missing that, add a tsp of honey or a tbsp of Mirin .. That would give you he Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet combination you're always looking for in any sauce. )))

In a container with a tight lid, preferably a glass jar, combine shallot, vinegar and mustard. Close tightly and shake well to mix. Add salt and pepper, and shake again.

Add olive oil 1/3 cup at a time, shaking very well after each addition, until smooth and emulsified (you may want to wrap a kitchen towel around the container, just in case). Taste and add more olive oil, 1/4 cup at a time, if dressing is too tart.

Use immediately or refrigerate up to 3 weeks. The chilled olive oil will form a lump, so remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before using to allow it to liquefy. Shake well before serving to re-emulsify.


Posted by Mack Oates at 8:59 AM