Last updated: May 14. 2014 11:18AM - 1274 Views
By Joe Sylvester

Meadows cook supervisor Christine Reed and resident Margie O'Bell demonstrate their cooking skills last week in anticipation of today's Chefs Challenge.
Meadows cook supervisor Christine Reed and resident Margie O'Bell demonstrate their cooking skills last week in anticipation of today's Chefs Challenge.
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3 ½ cups all-purpose flour

6 eggs

extra flour for dusting dough

In small mixing bowl, crack eggs and beat with fork. Place flour into large mixing bowl and make a well in center of flour. Mix in eggs until incorporated.

Place mixture on a flour-dusted tabletop. Ball up and knead dough well-mixed. Portion dough, cover and keep at room temperature.

Dust a rolling pin with flour (so the dough won’t stick). Roll out dough to approximately ½-inch thick on a floured surface. Roll dough through pasta machine, starting at the highest number first then working the dough through the machine to the desired thickness. (Keep dough well floured.)

Once desired thickness is achieved, cut sheets of dough to desired length. Attach the cutting attachment and cut the dough into desired pasta shape. (For this example, fettuccine.)

Place fettuccine onto sheet pan dusted heavily with flour, mixing the fettuccine in with the flour, then freeze. Once frozen, transfer to Ziploc bags for storage or cook the amount desired.

Bring large pot of water to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon of salt and one ounce of oil to boiling water. Add fettuccine to boiling water. Cook approximately 5-6 minutes. (Fettuccine will float when done.)

Pour fettuccine into a strainer and rinse quickly with hot water, top and serve. Or cool with cold water, coat with oil and store in refrigerator, covered, until service.

To reheat pasta, bring pot of water to a boil and add a pinch of salt and oil. Drop cooked pasta into water and heat 1-2 minutes. Toss the fettuccine with the tomato concassé in a pan over low heat until pasta is well-coated.

— Serves 4



1 pork tenderloin — trim silver skin and fat.

2 ounces oil

2 tablespoons minced garlic

2-3 tablespoons oil for browning the pork

salt and black pepper

Rub the tenderloin with the oil and minced garlic then season with salt and black pepper.

For pan frying:

Heat a medium- to heavy-gauge frying pan over medium heat. Place the oil in pan. When oil is hot, place pork tenderloin in pan (it should start sizzling) and sear on all sides (2-3 minutes per side depending on temperature of oil). Rotate tenderloin until all sides are evenly brown.

Remove from pan after browning and place on sheet pan. Finish in an oven preheated to 350 for 10-15 minutes. (“We cook to an internal temp of 155 degrees; you can go as low as 145 degrees, which is accepted by the USDA,” said Arnie Black, The Meadows’ director of dining services.)

Transfer the pork to a covered holding plate and let rest for 10-15 minutes.

Slice pork across the grain and shingle across the kale, which is placed on the plate as a half moon.

— Serves 4-6


1 ½ pounds young kale, with center vein and stems removed, chopped into bite-size pieces

1 tablespoon garlic, diced

2 ounces butter, olive oil or margarine to sweat garlic

salt to taste

pepper to taste

4 ounces beef stock

dash of vinegar

Place garlic in a pan with oil and sweat for 1-2 minutes over medium heat (do not brown). Add kale and cook over medium heat, mixing frequently until kale starts to wilt.

Add the beef stock, salt and pepper to taste. Continue to cook over low heat until all the kale is wilted and the stock evaporated. Add dash of vinegar if desired, then serve.

Place the kale across the plate in a half moon and shingle sliced tenderloin across.

— Serves 4

DALLAS TWP. — Looking much like a chef in a white chef’s hat and coat, Margie O’Bell spread the chopped garlic in the melted butter in the sauté pan.

Working over the portable stove in the kitchen of The Meadows Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, she added kale and stirred it around as, nearby, cook supervisor Christine Reed stirred tomato concassé, tomatoes that were peeled, seeded and roughly chopped. She was making the base for her homemade fettuccine, which, with the sautéed kale, would be side dishes for the roasted pork loin.

O’Bell, 66, an independent-living resident at The Meadows, and Reed worked well together, but this was only a demonstration, a practice session, of sorts. The two will compete on opposite teams in the center’s first “Iron-Style” Chefs Challenge this afternoon.

The competition is based on the Food Network’s “Iron Chef” show. Each team of chefs and residents will have 90 minutes to prepare a plated appetizer and a main entrée using a secret ingredient that will be revealed at the beginning of the 2:30 p.m. show, which is free and open to the public.

“The secret ingredient will be announced that day,” Arnie Black, The Meadows’ director of dining services, said during the demonstration last week.

He said the mystery ingredient would be kale, 72 percent dark chocolate or pomegranate. Rebecca Sims, dietitian at The Meadows, said kale is known as a powerhouse of nutrition, with beta-carotene, antioxidants, potassium, twice the daily recommended intake of vitamin A, a day’s worth of vitamin C and almost seven times the recommended amount of vitamin K, plus fiber, iron and calcium.

With the competition, the residents also are helping to celebrate National Nursing Home Week’s 2014 focus on team building by competing with the chefs from Cura Hospitality, which operates the dining service at the facility. Grace Zarnas-Hoyer, spokeswoman for Eat’n Park Hospitality Group, Cura’s parent company, said the competition also demonstrates Cura’s commitment to nourishing the bodies and spirits of its seniors.

Participants also can bring one secret ingredient and one tool, Black said. He pointed out Reed’s pasta machine and said she would bring that.

Sims said Cura has done chef challenges at other facilities.

“This is the first time here,” she said, noting some initial hesitancy among the staff.

But then interest grew among staff and residents.

“We had so many who wanted to (participate), we had to draw names,” Sims said.

A panel of judges — WBRE and WYOU news reporter and anchor Brittany Sweeney, Paul Reinert, principal of Wycallis Elementary School in the Dallas School District, David Pembleton, a certified executive chef and culinary educator with Luzerne County Community College, and special resident judge Phyllis Blockus — will judge the two teams’ appetizers and entrées.

“If there is a tie, they have to do a dessert,” Sims said.

The residents of The Meadows, which includes a nursing home, assisted living and independent living, will get to enjoy the winning dish as an alternative to one of their meals, she added.

O’Bell is looking forward to the competition. The Buffalo, New York, native and graduate of The Cleveland Institute of Art loves to draw and paint landscapes, but she also loves to cook, especially fresh vegetables.

“I’ll steam the cauliflower and the broccoli, then I’ll throw some cheese on them,” she said.

Black said a stage would be set up in the therapy room to accommodate the steel chef’s table, portable stoves and display of fruits and vegetables. He said the contestants would work with the portable burners, but an oven would be available and he’ll have a grill outside in case either is needed.

The teams for the competition are:

Team Armadillos — Josh Ford, a dietary aide and prep cook; Derrick Ellard, cook supervisor; Margie O’Bell, special resident chef; and Leon Anton, special guest executive chef from Peter Becker Community in Harleysville.

Team Chris Squared —Christine Reed, cook supervisor; Christine Simon, day cook; Irene Mike, special resident chef, and Eileen Goos, special guest chef and director of dining services from Phoebe Richland, Richlandtown.

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