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Mack's Corner

This Week

The "L"
For a Memphis boy the idea of getting on a mass transit train that appears to have no driver is a little scary. The "L" in Chicago is way different than anything here. There really is a driver up there somewhere, you just can't see him, at least I never did. If you want to get off, you can't go up to the front and tell the guy to let you off. When I was growing up we rode the city bus to school every day. My Dad rode it all the way downtown to go to work. It picked us up 200 feet from my house. You said Hi to the bus driver, dropped your money in the slot and had a seat. I always liked the idea of being able to live in a city and not having to own a car. I guess you can still do that in Memphis today, but I would hate to try. I just never could figure out what the street names on the front of the bus meant. If I had to catch a bus from my house to go all the way downtown, I might get there by Thursday. I wonder how many transfers you have to make? What does it cost? Do you have to have change? $10 worth of dimes? I don't know. I can't really imagine living in Memphis and not owning a car. In Chicago it's a  different story. The "L" has 8 lines that run in spokes. At the center of the spokes is downtown Chicago. You can go almost anyplace on the "L". You can fly in to O'Hare, get on the Blue line under the airport, ride in to the city, switch to the Red line, get off at the Grand-Red station and walk 2 blocks to the Chicago Marriott on Michigan Ave, then ride the same Red line up to the Addison station to see the Cubs play at Wrigley, or ride the red line back to the city, switch to the brown line and get off at the Armitage station and walk 2 blocks to have dinner at Charlie Trotter's, at least you could when it was still open. It's endless and simple. All that for $10, and if you miss the train, it's no big deal, there will be another one in ten minutes….. The first time I rode the "L" I was going to a Cubs game. Everybody on the train was going to the Cubs game. It was really crowded, but that was good because I just followed them right in to the stadium, I stood the whole time. The Second time I was by myself and I had to pay attention so that I got off at the right station. This time I got to sit down. There were students with backpacks and men in suits with brief cases. There was an older woman that was dressed in peasant clothes with several sacks of groceries. One woman was reading a book while the man next to her worked on his computer. One man that had on grease stained mechanics overalls sat across from a tall thin pretty girl dressed like a model. One student was oriental, the mechanic was white and the model was black. The peasant woman looked Russian. The letter "L" is short for elevated train. The tracks either run in the center median between two sides of the expressway or 3 stories above the street. When it gets in to neighborhoods everything is below you. You can see houses, people walking. It's easy to tell when the neighborhoods change, when the houses get more expensive or less. The strangest thing is the way the tracks run right next to buildings. There are places where you can reach out and almost touch a building at the 3rd floor. People's 3rd floor apartments were 10 feet from the train. I looked right in to a bedroom as we went by. Imagine living there. I guess it would be easy to know when it was 10 after and 20 after… Maybe you could time eggs by the train? I'm sure people get used to it after they have lived there for a while. And even though it's so close and so big, they don't really notice it anymore. It becomes part of their life, just another ever present thing. I wonder if they ever open the window …

Gods like that: We forget he's there. Big, close, ever present, reliable …. Open the window…

Maybe I'll take 2 days off and see if I can get downtown on the bus. Sounds like a field trip …..

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

Cooking at Home Continued …

Anthony Bourdain's cookbook "Medium Raw" is from Les Halles (pronounced le al), the restaurant where he used to work. This has everything you need to know about making a great
meal easy.

Salade d'onglet

12 oz onglet steak (this is hanger steak or and cheap steak) cut in to 1 1/2 oz pieces.. bite size

For the marinade:
½ oz fresh ginger, grated
2 garlic cloves finely chopped. No garlic press
4 tbsp soy sauce

For the sauce:
Salt & pepper
2 tbsp butter
1/4 C white wine
1/4 C dark chicken stock, beef stock or just water
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/8 oz fresh ginger grated
1 clove of garlic thinly sliced
1 sprig of parsley chopped

For the salad:
4 oz mixed greens
1 shallot thinly sliced
1/4 C red wine vinaigrette

Red Wine vinaigrette:
1/2 C red wine vinegar

1 clove garlic crushed (put the clove on your cutting board and lay your knife on the clove sideways with a flat side of the knife on top of the clove. Then hit the top flat side of the knife with your hand.)
Salt & pepper
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
1 C Olive oil

Prep: Mix all of the marinade ingredients together and put it in a Ziploc bag. Add the steak and leave it overnight or at least 3 hours.

Make the Vinaigrette: combine the vinegar, garlic, salt & pepper in a bowl and let it sit for 30 min. Remove the garlic. Add the mustard and slowly whisk in the oil..

Remove the steak from the bag and pat dry. Season lightly with salt and pepper (not too much salt, the soy is already salty).

Place a sauté pan over high heat and add 1 tbsp of butter. When the butter had melted and foamed add the meat. You want it to sizzle not boil so do it in batches, don't overcrowd. Sear about 3 min on each side so the meat is nicely browned. Remove the meat to a warm plate.

In the same pan (just without the meat), over high heat add the wine scraping the bottom to get any brown bits in to the sauce. Cook until the pan is almost dry. Then add the stock/water and the soy and reduce by half. Add the remaining 1/8 oz of ginger and the sliced garlic and cook for 30 seconds, then whisk in the remaining butter. Return the meat to the pan and cook for a minute more. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and remove from heat. Leave everything in the pan ..

To serve: place the greens in a bowl and add the sliced shallot. Season with salt & pepper and add the vinaigrette. Toss well. Arrange the salad in the center of a plate and put the meat around the sides. Spoon the sauce over the meat.

So you've made a marinade, cooked meat in a pan, made a sauce from the juice in the same pan, made a vinaigrette, and a world class salad. The whole thing took you about 30 minutes of real time and you only got one pan dirty and it only costs $6 - $8. Way better than that junk you had last night … Who said you can't cook!!!




Posted by Mack Oates at 11:41