Mack's Corner

This Week

The Best thing I've ever eaten..

I used to be the self proclaimed head judge at the Men's BBQ contest here at Hope. I'm not offical enough any more, they have real Memphis in May guys now(I still think I was better than they are, offical or not). A funny thing happens to men in the woods. They go hunting of fishing all day, they're tired, they're hungry, they stink… They've been standing in a boat for hours or sitting in a duck blind … They get back to camp that night and someone builds a fire, they finally get to sit down in a normal position, the stars are out, a cool breeze blows through, you can hear the river off in the distance, then the clang of and Iron skillet …. You wait for it… wait ….wait …. Ssssssssssss …. The sizzle of something wrapped in bacon, then you smell it ….. From this point on whatever was wrapped in that bacon is going to be great. It could be toad frogs, rattle snake, road kill, Duck from 2 seasons ago, anything…. The thing that most men don't understand is that it will only be great at that moment, at that place, because really, it's awful…. Then, to make it even worse, they remember it better than it was and decide to cook it at the men's BBQ and I get to eat it …. "Mack come taste my squirrel wrapped in bacon…." There is no bacon in the world good enough to make that taste good… I usually eat the bacon and throw the stuff in the middle on the ground… "Hmmmmm that's really good…"    When I was a little kid my Grandfather always took us camping. We called him "E". To my brother, my cousin and me everything he did was magic. His pickup was magic, his dog was magic, the camp site was magic, the fire was magic, everything was a wonder .. Every time we went he only brought 4 things for dinner: bacon, an Iron skillet, spoons, and a can of beans for each of us. The skillet got hot, the bacon went in, the beans went from the cans into the skillet, then the beans went from the skillet back in to the cans. Everybody got a can of beans and a spoon = Dinner … Pretty awful.. But with my Grandfather there it was pretty amazing.  I told my grandfather: "E this is the best thing I've ever eaten.."   He laughed, he knew the beans had nothing to do with it…

God's like that: We see our lives as just a can of beans, all we see is what we don't have.  We ask God "Why me? Why can't I have what other people have?"… God never said that your life by itself was anything great. But your life with all the things he adds is amazing. Think of all the people around you right now. God uses you to change their lives. Think of all the people in your family. Those people are connected to you for a reason. Think of all the new people you meet every day. God put you in their path .. God's got plans that you don't even know about, plans just for you… Wait and see what he will do …. Wait and see who you become .. Pretty amazing…

I wonder if I can enter a can of beans, still in the can, in the BBQ contest next year. It sure was good when I was 7…


Cooking 220 - 2 pans, 2 burners, 20 minutes:
The New South …
The Lee Brothers are not really cooks, they're writers. But their Cookbook "The Lee Brothers Southern Cookbook" has become a classic in only a few years. One woman wrote "This Book Makes Me Want to Drink A Whole Glass of Buttermilk" …. There was a story on them in Food & Wine. Here's their Double-Peach Tart…

Double-Peach Tart

For the Pastry:

1 cup flour
1/4 cup confectioner's sugar
Pinch of salt
1 stick butter cut in to cubes
3 oz cream cheese cut in to cubes

For the filling:

10 small ripe peaches (about 4 pounds)
1/3 cup butter (5 tbsp. + 1 tsp) softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp cornmeal
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg

For the Pastry:
Spray a 10 inch tart pan with Pam or double butter it .. i.e butter it once as good as you can, then do it again. (A removable bottom tart pan makes it easy to get out or you could use a spring form pan)

In a food processor pulse the flour, sugar and salt until blended, 5 or 6 times …. Add the butter and cream cheese and pulse until moist crumbs form, about 1/8 inch little balls … Scrape the crumbs in to the tart pan and press over the bottom and up the side (kids can do this) .. Refrigerate for 20 min…. Preheat the oven to 325 …. Put a layer of foil over the pastry down into the pan and put beans or pie weights on top of the foil. You could also use a baking dish that will fit inside the tart pan. Anything that will hold the pastry down while it cooks, you don't want it all bubbled up. Bake for 25 min … remove the pie weights and foil and bake another 15 min to brown it.

For the filling:
Peel the peaches the same way you peel tomatoes: cut an "X" on the bottom. Then put them in a pan of boiling water for 10 seconds, then transfer them to a bowl of ice water. With a knife grab one of the corners of the "X" and pull away the skin… Cut 6 peaches in quarters and slice the other 4.

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter, with 3/4 cup of sugar until creamy. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth. Then beat in the flour, cornmeal, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Spread the filling in the crust and arrange the peach quarters in circles over the filling.


Sprinkle with sugar and bake for 1 hour and 40 minutes . Until it is firm and lightly brown … transfer to a rack to cool …

Remove the tart from the pan and slide on to a plate. Top with sliced peaches, sprinkle with sugar. 


Serve with Ice cream or whipped cream or have it for breakfast …

Standard rules apply: best eaten at 2am while standing in the refrigerator door in your PJ's … Fork is optional ….



Posted by Mack Oates at 11:11 AM