Mack's Corner

This Week


I was hooking up phone lines at Hope a few years ago, really just one phone. It was supposed to be easy, at least that's what I told everybody. The electricians pulled all my wires for me, one from where the phone was supposed to be to the 1st wiring closet, then a 50 pair (100 wires all in one big cable) from there to another wiring closet, then another 50 pair back to where all of the phone connections are, then I had to patch into the phone system. Anybody that does this for a living is thinking they know everything I did wrong. What they don't know is how many things I did wrong. I wired it all up, connected the phone, nothing. Went to the 1st wiring closet switched wires, went back to check it…nothing. I did this about 20 times from one closet to the next, to the next…still nothing. So I gave up and had to start at the start. I had to go find some place that was good and go from there. I started at the phone system, connected the phone, it was good. Then the first connection after that, bad, switched wires, good. Then to the second in the wiring closet, then the third…  By the time I got back to the phone I was hooking up I had found 5 different things that were wrong. The assumption I made was that I had only messed up in one place and that I almost did it perfectly. That was a bad assumption. I started changing things that are right, hoping they're wrong and making it worse. If I hadn't gone back to the start, to the last known good connection I would have never gotten it right. I wish I could tell you that all 5 things were very complex, but they weren't, they were all dumb (white wire goes on the top, Blue wire goes on the bottom - Solid color wire goes on the top, Striped wire goes on the bottom.. Orange, Blue, Green, Brown). If I had had a 4 year old watching me, he would have caught most of them. The best part was that I learned it. And that was  good because I had to do it 30 more times  I got smarter each time.

PK and I have been married since May 20 1978. When our Wedding Anniversary comes around I always wonder what to do. It's kind of a combination of Valentine's Day and her birthday. The Valentines part is easy, roses, champagne, fancy dinner, I could do that every week. It's the present that's hard. After going to San Francisco a few years ago,  we talked about doing that again but we've got to save up for that. So I'm thinking I don't want to blow a bunch of money on something she doesn't really want and set us back another year going on a trip again. But at the same time I don't want to be a no-show either. So I wait, act like I've got it all planned (dinner, roses…etc are all planned out)…. There one thing I know after being married for so long: She will always buy the gift early and she will always give it to me the day she buys it. She can't hold a gift for more than a second.  So I wait to get mine before I buy hers. Then all I've got to do is come up with something just as good and we're on the same page and everything is peachy . Of course if you get stuck, you can always be romantic, that works every time, wives never expect that, it always throws them off, they're confused for a few days and that gives you time to recover. 

God's like that: Our life is not going like we planned and we think there's only one thing wrong, if we could just figure out that one thing, everything would be great. We run back and forth trying new things, returning to old things, but it doesn't work. The things we try might be fine, but they don't fix the other stuff and the thing we thought we fixed just messed up something else. The mistake is thinking that there's only one thing wrong and never really finding a real problem. God says "Come to me and I'll give you some rest, we'll start at the beginning and we'll be sure you're connected all the way to the end". Sometimes you just have to wait till you see what God has to give you, then you'll know what to do…

Think my wife is going to read this???? I might have to be romantic next year, …. I might have to be romantic tonight. Maybe I'll just go home and clean the house, then she'll be confused for months ….


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

Did you ever make something measuring everything with a scale instead of adding a cup of this and a teaspoon of that. A scale makes it really easy and quick if you have the recipe by weight… Here's how it works..Suppose you're making a Vinaigrette and it calls for 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar (57grams).. 2 tsp brown sugar (10 grams) .. 1 tbs chopped garlic (11 grams) .. 1/2 tsp salt (3 grams) .. 1/2  tsp pepper (1 gram).. ¾ cup Olive oil (170 grams)… All good scales will "Zero" with something on them. They have a "Zero" button.. You put your bowl on the scale and the scale says some weight, lets say 800 grams. Then you hit the Zero button and it says zero (it knows that 800g is where zero is now)… Then if you were making the Vinaigrette above you would add 57 grams of balsamic vinegar to the bowl. The scale would say 57.. Then hit zero again and it says zero (now 857g is zero).. then you add10g of brown sugar, zero.. 11 grams of garlic, zero.. 3 grams of salt, zero.. 1 gram of pepper, zero.. 170 grams of olive oil .. whisk it together = Balsamic Vinaigrette. All you got dirty was the one bowl and a whisk. You didn't have to measure anything or wash any measuring spoons while you were doing it and it's much more accurate.

From the New York Times:

Rustic Sugar Plum Crostata with Lemon Thyme

Time: 1 hour 20 minutes, plus 2 hours' chilling

1 cup (130 grams) all-purpose flour

1/3 cup (40 grams) whole-wheat flour (or just use this much more all- purpose flour)

1/2 cup (100 grams) plus 1 tablespoon (15 grams) sugar

1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) plus a pinch fine sea salt (or regular salt)

1 large egg

Heavy cream

6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

3 cups sliced and pitted ripe sugar plums or mix of other plums (about 1 1/2 pounds before pitting)

1 1/2 tablespoons (22 grams) cornstarch

1 small bunch lemon thyme (or use 1 teaspoon lemon thyme leaves).

1. (Measure flours on the scale then dump into a food processor.) In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, pulse together the flours, (measure in bowl on scale)1 tablespoon sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt until blended. In a measuring cup, lightly beat the egg, and add just enough cream to get to 1/3 cup. Lightly whisk the egg and cream together.

2. Add the butter to the flour mixture and pulse to break up the butter. Do not over-process; you need lima-bean-size chunks of butter. Drizzle the egg mixture over the dough and pulse until it just starts to come together but is still mostly large crumbs.

3. Put the dough on the counter and knead to make one uniform piece (only knead 2 or 3 times and quit) . Flatten into a disk, wrap in plastic and chill for 2 hours or up to 3 days.

4 Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Roll the dough out to a 12-inch round (it can be ragged). Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet and chill while preparing the filling. (put parchment paper on the baking sheet and you won't have to wash it. $11 on Amazon for 100 sheets. It will last you 2 years)

5. (in a big bowl add plums, zero scale, then add sugar - zero,salt - zero & corn starch) Toss together the plums, all but a tablespoon of the remaining sugar, a pinch of salt and the cornstarch. Pile fruit on the dough circle, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border. Gently fold the pastry over the fruit, pleating to hold it in (sloppy is fine). Brush pastry with cream. Sprinkle remaining sugar on top, with the thyme.

6. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the crust is golden and the fruit is tender. Cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Remove the thyme branches (some leaves will cling; you want this). Serve warm or at room temperature.

Yield: 8 servings.

Of course you can do this with any fruit, apples, berries.. anything. A simple easy way to make a quick fruit pie. You only get 2 bowls, a measuring cup and the food processor dirty.. and it looks great and tastes great …


How about saving a kid's life!!

When you give Platelets it's like giving St Jude $700 - $1000. If we don't give them, they have to buy them.

Giving Platelets is like giving blood, it just takes longer (1 1/2 hours) and you get all of your blood back (so you can do it every week if you want) . I know it's a long trip to go all the way down to St Jude, but you may be saving a kid's life . plus you get to watch a movie while you're there. Call Kim at 901.595.2024 and she'll setup an appointment and treat you like family. Just tell her you're from Hope.

Directions: From Poplar, turn north on Third Street, then right on Lauderdale/Jackson Ave (first right after you go under the expressway). Enter through the north guard gate (you'll see the Danny Thomas Pavilion. Gold top).

Tell the guard at the gate that you are here to donate blood. The guard will instruct you where to park. You will then enter the hospital by the red side door closest to the blood donor parking lot. The Blood Donor Center is in the southwest corner of the hospital on the ground floor.

Appointment times are generally available Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 4:00pm. Except on Tuesdays they start at 9:15am.

See you this weekend. Bring a friend. It's going to be great!!!



Posted by Mack Oates at 10:34 AM