Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Hawaii Five-0 Searches For The Truth Take 2

What is it they say the truth will set you free, so lets search for it one more time....

Is there really a secret out there? Some mystery locked away looking to be found, After watching last week's episode of Hawaii Five-0 Ka 'Ola'I'O Ma Loko or The truth within, I had to sit and really ponder this one.  What truth is there to be had in cooking?   For certain it won't be locked away in the base of King Kamehameha.  

What truth is there in cooking, it is not the mystery wrapped in a boxed surrounded by an enigma  waiting to be purchased off of eBay  but then again there are so many thing you can pick up there who knows.  

Is there some secret, a symbol that is locked away? Well I have found cooking to be defined as a process to make food ready to eat by heating it. People can cook food with fire using wood or charcoal, with a stove that uses propane or natural gas, or with a stove that uses electricity. 

What exactly does this mean.... in the scheme of all things, maybe there can be some great mysteries out there, but letting cooking get the better of you should not be one of them.  You don't need a good cargument to set you straight either. 

So I thought for this collection I would just keep it simple, an eclectic assortment of dishes that can tantalize the palate and maybe leave you thinking you may be part Julia Child when it comes to the cooking creativity.   

Bean Soup

With the fall moving in, this calls for a quick, simple soup, this very simple soup will have them searching for more.

2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2  Pork Tenderloin, diced into small pieces
2- 32-oz. packages  Chicken Broth
15-oz. can Great Northern Beans, drained and rinsed
14.5-oz. can No-Salt-Added Diced Tomatoes
1 cup  Penne Rigate Pasta
2 cups S Baby Spinach, roughly chopped

  1. In a large stock pot, add the olive oil and turn to high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the pork tenderloin and cook almost all the way through.
  2. Pour the chicken broth, beans and tomatoes (including the juices in the can) over the pork tenderloin. Reduce to medium-high heat. 
  3. After 5 minutes, add the pasta. Cover with a lid and let cook according to the directions on the pasta box. 
  4. Once the pasta is finished cooking, add the spinach and let simmer another 5 minutes before ladling up the soup.

Roast Chicken with Balsamic 
Bell Peppers

This chicken dish takes a classic, takes it up a notch with balsamic bell peppers giving it an Italian flair .  Bringing a warmth and richness to your dinner all in about 40 minutes.

5/8 tsp salt, divided 
3/4 tsp fennel seeds, crushed
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, divided
1/4 tsp garlic powder 
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
4- 6 oz skinless, boneless chicken breasts 
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided 
Cooking spray 
2 cups thinly sliced red bell pepper 
1 cup thinly sliced yellow bell pepper
1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots (about 1 large)
1 1/2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

  1. Preheat oven to 450°.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Combine 1/2 teaspoon salt, fennel seeds, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, garlic powder, and oregano. Brush chicken with 1 1/2 teaspoons oil; sprinkle spice rub over chicken. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons oil to pan. Add chicken; cook 3 minutes or until browned. Turn chicken over; cook 1 minute. Arrange chicken in an 11 x 7–inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 450° for 10 minutes or until done.
  3. Heat remaining olive oil over medium-high heat. Add bell peppers, shallots, and rosemary; sauté 3 minutes. Stir in broth, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high. Stir in vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; cook 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Serve bell pepper mixture over chicken.

Vegetarian Mini Pizza

Everything is better on a pizza, now you can make the dough from scratch, but you can find dough at many markets, including whole wheat and herb.  You can purchase dough from your local pizzeria.   As for the topping, anything goes, these are just some suggestions, the only restriction is your imagination.   You can marinate the zucchini and eggplant and the tomato sauce is from scratch, it is the only concession I have made.  But it you have a favorite jarred sauce use it..

2 pizza dough rounds (either from your supermarket  or your local pizza guy) or feel free to make your own 

Tomato sauce:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic
2 tbsp capers (drained)
a pinch of dried chili 
1 1/2 cup/3,6 dl of canned tomatoes
1 tbsp fresh or 1 tsp dried oregano
salt & black pepper

4 pre boiled potatoes
250 g marinated artichoke hearts
100 g kalamata olives
1 zuchini (marinated)
1 eggplant (marinated)
4 brown mushrooms, cut in quarters
1/4 fennel, thin slices
300 g small tomatoes
2 small spring onions, divided in half
1/2 broccoli100 g goat cheese
salt & black pepper
fresh aragula, put it on after the pizza has been in the oven

  1. Put the dough in the bowl and drizzle it with olive oil. Work the dough until it’s completely covered in the oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set it in a warm place for 1 – 2 hours.
  2. Making the tomato sauce: Heat olive oil in a medium size pot. Add onion, garlic, and chili and saute  for 2-3 minutes. Add capers and fresh tomatoes and spices and cook for 10 minutes, lower the heat and let it simmer for half an hour more under a lid.
  3. Preheat the oven to the highest possible temperature (450-500°F). Remove the plastic cover from the dough and start working it with your hands on a slightly floured work surface. Make 8 to 10 small portions. Stretch and flatten the dough until you get the desired size and thickness that you prefer and move it to a baking pan covered with parchment paper. 
  4. Brush the dough with 2 tbsp tomato sauce. Cover them with topping of your choice. Bake for about 10-15 min until the outer part of the topping and the edges are slightly burnt. Sprinkle with fresh goat cheese, a bit of olive oil, fresh arugula, salt and freshly grounded pepper. Serve immediately.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

These spiced pumpkin cookies are soft, chewy, and dotted with chocolate chips! If you like pumpkin pie and chocolate, you'll love these cookies. It's dessert enough said! 

1/2 cup of shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 cup chocolate chips

  1. Cream shortening and brown sugar together.  Then add the pumpkin, egg and vanilla.  Mix until well incorporated.
  2. In a separate bowl mix together all the dry ingredients.
  3. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  4. Place rounded tablespoons of the gooey goodness on your greased cookie sheets a couple of inches apart and bake at 375 for 12-15 minutes – until the edges are golden brown
  5. Cool completely on wire racks

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