Mack's Corner

This Week

The Wasp nest …

I was working at my brother's wine store a few years ago when I saw the girls next door at the interior design store outside pointing at something. They were always out there putting out new flowers or hanging something on the door, so I didn't think much of it. Then they started waving at me to come see. I walked out and they pointed to a wasp nest right outside their front door that was about the size of a large grapefruit. It looked like there were maybe 15 to 20 wasps on it, no big deal, at least it didn't look like a big deal. My brother came out and said they needed to go get some of that long range wasp spray and that would fix it... As we walked back in the store he and I looked at each other knowing that would never happen.. I said "Ok, I'll go get the wasp spray" .. I got in my truck and headed to the grocery store. If you know me, you know I come fully loaded all the time. The can said it was enough for 2 wasps nest, I bought 3 cans. When I got back I gave my brother one can and I kept two, I'm not stupid, at least I didn't think I was at the time. I got about 10 feet away from the nest and shot a stream of wasp killer right at it. All of a sudden 200 wasps fell out of the nest like rain and another 100 flew out from all sides. That was way more than 15. I started running.  I took 3 big steps and stopped. All the wasps were on the ground. I went from total fear, knowing I had done something really stupid, to acting like I was really smart, a great hero, protector of the community… So being the great wasp killer that I was, I started hunting for more. I was fearless, I was stupid, but I was still fully loaded.  I walked down to the pet store. The empty store next to them had a really big one. Same thing, about 20 wasps on the outside. I got both cans ready and hit it dead in the center… It looked like a World War II movie with fighter planes swarming around a battleship. 500 wasps came pouring out of it. I had both cans going full blast… I thought my luck had run out, I was going to be carried back to the "Mother" nest and used for wasp food, I was in a dead sprint, when they all fell to the ground like something had been yanked out from under them….  Fear, confidence, fear, confidence, fear, confidence … I went looking for more …. The Pizza place had a big one in the corner. I didn't move this time, didn't even flinch. I had plenty of spray and I knew what would happen..5 feet from the nest and down they went … I walked the whole shopping center. I thought about going up to the donut store in the front, but figured between them and the new cupcake place that they were too new to have any wasps… Plus my 2 cans of bravery were about out …

God's like that: We're not really sure if he's going to take care of us or not. Fear, confidence, fear, confidence, fear, confidence … "I had a bad day today. "I wonder if I did something to make him mad? Maybe he left?" … God doesn't leave. God doesn't get his feelings hurt. God doesn't back down. God doesn't run. God doesn't get mad and hit back. God doesn't abandon you. God doesn't do everything you want. God lets you be stupid and holds your hand while you recover….

I wonder if they make a Super-Soaker with wasp spray … I could be dangerous ….


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

Cooking at Home Continued …
I've gone back and started re-reading my old Bon Appetit magazines. I canceled my subscription because everything now is about TV chefs and recipes where pour jelly over cream cheese and call that cooking … That's ok, I've got 20 years of them. That should keep me busy… Here's one from 2003 from Karen Barker, one of the great unknown pastry chefs. She and her husband own the Magnolia Grill in Durham NC.

Coffee-Molasses Shoofly Pie  

For the crust:

1 1/3 cups flour

1 1/2 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1/3 cup Crisco

1/4 cup chilled unsalted butter cut in to 1/2 inch cubes

4 tbsp ice water

1 egg white beaten to blend

For the filling:

1 cup flour

1/2 packed golden brown sugar

1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter cut in to 1/2 inch cubes

1 cup hot water

1/2 tsp instant espresso powder

1 tsp baking soda

3/4 cup light corn syrup

1/4 cup mild flavored (light) molasses

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp salt

1/8 tsp cinnamon

Powdered sugar
Vanilla Ice Cream

For the crust:
Blend the flour, sugar and salt in a processor for 5 seconds. Add Crisco and butter. Using on/off turns, blend until course meal forms. Add 3 tbsp of ice water and blend for 2 seconds. Add more ice water 1 tsp at a time, blending each time,  until moist clumps form… Take the dough out and form it in to a fat disk.. cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour..

Preheat the oven to 400 ..
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a 13 inch round. Flour on top and fold in half and the fold in half again to form a wedge… Place the point in the center of a 9 inch pie pan/dish and unfold … Don't worry if it's not pretty, we'll fix that… patch any holes in the bottom of the crust with excess dough … Trim the over-hang to 3/4  inch and fold under to make a fat lip … With a fork, prick holes all over the bottom of the crust, this lets the air out when it bakes, no bubbles.  Freeze for 10 minutes… this freezes the water in the butter which will expand when it cooks causing a flaky crust … Line the crust bottom with foil (just lay it on top) and fill the pie (on top of the foil) with dried beans or pie weights or another pie dish or a small skillet , anything heavy that will hold the crust down, you don't want it to bubble up… Bake until crust sides are set, about 25 minutes. Remove the beans/pie weights/skillet and the foil and bake until the crust begins to color, about 10 minutes… Remove from oven and brush with egg-white to seal. This will keep you from having a soggy crust..

Reduce the oven to 350

For the filling:

Mix flour and brown sugar in a bowl in the processor, 5 seconds.. Add the butter and using on/off turns, blend until course meal forms. Don't overdo it, it's supposed to be crumbs…

In another bowl combine hot water and espresso powder. Then add baking soda and whisk in corn syrup, molasses, vanilla, salt and cinnamon … mix

Sprinkle crumb mixture (flour / brown sugar) over the hot crust. Then pour the molasses mixture over that. Bake pie until center is set (no wiggling), about 35 minutes… cool completely … The crumb part will float to the top .. cover with powdered sugar and serve with vanilla ice cream …

Standard rules apply: Best eaten between midnight and 2am while standing with the refrigerator door open (forks are optional) …



Posted by Mack Oates at 10:52 AM