This Week

Mack's Corner

This Week

I'm still shaking

Several years ago Paul Reed Smith came to Hope. You wouldn't know him unless you're a guitar player or collector.  He makes very expensive electric guitars (PRS Guitars). He talked for about an hour, played several of the guitars that he brought (about 20 different models), and then spent the last 2 hours signing guitars that people had brought. There about 150 - 200 people, and 150 of them had guitars to sign. They were all PRS guitars, some $300 guitars and some $50,000 guitars. One woman found hers in a pawn shop for $200, now it's worth $4000. One guy had changed several parts on his. Some were very new, some old. A fun thing for me was introducing him to people as they walked in.  I acted like we had been friends for years (I had just met Paul 20 minutes before the thing started). Most of them had never seen him or even a picture of him before. So there I was standing there with this normal looking guy. We walked up to people holding their guitar and I said "Hi, I would like you to meet Paul Reed Smith." Paul smiled and shook their hand. Most stood there with this dumb look on their face. The conversation went : "What?... Who? … You're kidding! .. Really? … Paul Reed Smith? .. Really? … Hi Paul …." They were all awe struck. One guy, after he met him, walked over to a friend of his and said "I'm still shaking. I never dreamed I would actually get to meet him." As he was signing the guitars he would spend several minutes with each person, asking where they got the guitar, if they played in a band. stuff like that. Sometimes he would take the guitar and plug it in to his amp and play it, and talk about how good it sounded. Sometimes he would notice something wrong with a guitar and tell his sales guys to make a note and to have it fixed. Most of the people not only had him sign their guitar but also had their picture taken with him holding the guitar he had just signed. I guess it authenticated the signature. He did this with everybody, some 50+ year old rockers, some kids that looked like they were 12, some men, some women, some beginners, some pros that had played for years. They all had part of him in the guitar that they owned and he wanted to know all about it. There they were, all lined up down the center isle of the sanctuary, holding their guitars waiting to meet Paul.

God's like that: I was standing out in the parking lot Sunday watching people come to church, a man and his handicapped son, a young woman carrying her new baby, an older couple, a family of 4, a high school kid with 2 different colors of hair, a man in a nice suite and tie, an interracial couple with their kids, a woman in cut-off overalls, several AA people walking in together, 2 guys on Harley's. I could picture them all lined up down the center isle of the sanctuary, holding their lives in their hands,  God wanting to know all about their lives, where they had been, how they got there,  then having his picture made with them. I really like the idea that God would stand with us and have his picture made, validating our lives. We all have part of him in us ….

Maybe I'll go visit a few pawn shops today and reclaim a lost masterpiece …


Cooking 220 - 2 pans, 2 burners, 20 minutes:
A friend of mine came up to me and said "I need to be able to cook dinner for my date coming over. You got something good and simple that I could make that doesn't take a long time? I'll just be getting home from work and she'll be there about 30 minutes after that…. " I said sure and I told him to do something I had seen at the men's BBQ contest.. Pan seared Tilapia and pan roasted Asparagus … Tilapia is so thin that it cooks quick… So first put you Asparagus in boiling water till it turns bright green, then throw it in a bowl of ice water, take it out and drain on paper towels.. Put two plates in a warm oven ….. Go change clothes …. When she shows up: Hot skillet. Add tbsp. oil. Salt & pepper fish. Fish in pan. 2 min on each side. Put it on a warm plate… Add 2 tbsp butter to the hot skillet. Add asparagus, salt & pepper. Cook till hot through. Put on warm plate … serve … Less than 10 minutes and you look like a master chef …. She says "I didn't know you could cook???" and you say with a shy look on your face "I made it special just for you…" Romance abounds  …  Husbands this works for you too… your wife loves this kind of stuff, trust me …

Rick Tramonto is one of the great Chefs in Chicago. His restaurant is Tru. This is from his cookbook American Brasserie.

Stilton & Corn soufflé 
This amounts to 3 things: making a roux, Whipping and folding egg whites and cooking in a Bain Marie … All very simple . 20 min.. all you have to buy is cheese and frozen corn. You've got everything else..

1 1/2 cups of whole milk

6 tbsp butter

1/4 cup flour

5 oz grated sharp cheddar cheese 

2 oz crumbled Stilton or any blue cheese

4 large egg yolks
6 large egg whites , so you need 6 eggs all together .. (I'll tell you how to do this)

1 cup frozen corn (thawed)

1 tsp brown mustard

Salt & pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 400 …. Butter & Flour a large soufflé dish or 4 - 6 smaller ones  (that means rub butter all over the inside of the dish, then put about 1/4 cup of flour in the dish and roll it around in there till the inside of the dish is covered in flour. Dump the excess flour in the sink).. 2 min

For the eggs: get 2 bowls. Crack an egg on a flat surface (if you crack it on a sharp surface (edge of a pan) it splinters and you get egg shell in your eggs) .. With your hand over the bowl that will hold the whites, dump the whole egg in your fingers. Let the whites fall through your fingers in to the bowl. Move the yolk from hand to hand. When all of the white is in the bowl, put the yolk in the other bowl.. If you break a yolk pitch the whole egg in to the sink… you don't want any egg yolk in your whites or they won't whip.. do this with each egg.. 6 whites..4 yolks .. 2 minutes

In 2 pans… heat milk in one, melt butter in the other. Add flour to the butter and whisk. Whisk and cook till it turns light brown.. This is a basic roux, equal parts of butter & flour and cook for 3 min… then cook until it gets as dark as you want. In this case only light brown…… Add the hot milk and whisk till smooth. (Note:with a little salt & pepper this is a Bechamel sauce at this point) …. 5 min

Remove from heat and stir in the cheeses, egg yolks, corn, mustard, salt & pepper to taste… set aside to cool 5 minutes

Whip the egg whites in a mixer bowl… start off slow so you don't sling stuff all over the kitchen, then speed up … you want soft peaks.. That means when you take the whisk out it should form a peak of egg white that flops over …  4 min..

Add the whites to the corn mixture and fold it in. That means with a rubber spatula scrape around the outside of the bowl and fold it over in to the middle till it is mostly combined… it should be puffy from the air in the egg whites … 2 min

Pour the mixture in the soufflé dish and place the dish in a roasting pan or any pan or skillet that is large enough for it to fit in to, at least 2 inches extra space around the outside. (AT THIS POINT YOU ARE DONE WITH EVERYTHING BUT COOKING IT. THIS WILL HOLD FOR SEVERAL HOURS..) Then fill the roasting pan with Hot water till it comes halfway up the sides of the soufflé dish … (this is a Bain Marie. It protects the soufflé from getting burned on the outside while the inside is getting cooked)  … put all of this in the oven and bake for 35 - 45 min till it has puffed up and firm in the middle …

20 min for the whole thing… this is very fancy…

Serve with Pork tenderloin: Slice the pork tenderloin across in to rounds that are about 1/2in thick.  When you are 10 min from pulling the soufflé out, salt and pepper the pork, melt some butter in a hot skillet and add the pork. Brown on both sides, about 2 min per side …. Hot plates … serve with soufflé …  Just  call me Dr Love…



Posted by Mack Oates at 10:57 AM