Hail to the Chefs

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We all have our dreams. If we are wise, we have goals.

Dreams may or may not come true.

Goals depend on ambition, hard work, persistence, dedication, discipline, parents. And maybe a little bit of luck.

"It really helps to have your family on the side, cheering you on like my mom at the White House beside me, or in swimming they sit on the bleachers and cheer me on in a race"

Kyle Moore has his dreams and goals:

  • Become a better swimmer on his swim team (goal).
  • Break Michael Phelps’ record number of Olympic medals (dream).
  • Meet President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama during lunch at the White (fantasy).

Oh, wait, about meeting the president and first lady. Been there, done that.

Kyle Moore

Kyle Moore tastes his creation.

So watch out, Michael Phelps. And Steve Raichlen (chef, BBQU). And Mario Batali (Iron Chef, owns five restaurants worldwide), and a few others perhaps.

Phelps swims. Raichlen and Batali cook. Kyle Moore swims and cooks.

Pop quiz: Which one of these three is a junior high student in Lebanon?

The answer is Kyle Moore, whose healthy chicken spinach pasta earned him a trip to Washington and and a power lunch at the White House. Each of the 54 winning student recipes was chosen for its taste and healthy ingredients, part of the First Lady’s campaign to encourage a healthier diet for young people.

Moore read about the contest on the Internet, and entered the recipe he created for lunch one day at home when he didn’t want just another sandwich. He credits his mother and grandmother for helping him learn the cooking basics. He also watches the occasional cooking show.

While there’s a well-equipped kitchen at Lebanon Junior High School, there’s no cooking club for budding young chefs.

"No cooking club," says Kyle. "However, I was a part of the 4-H cooking group last year," says Kyle. "We made cookies and cupcakes. We also took field trips to T’s Redneck Steakhouse and Mazzio’s to learn more about how restaurants are run."

We interrupt this missive just now to lament that our public schools have lost their way when it comes to teaching young people the basic skills such as boiling water, cooking pasta, making a good white sauce, and sawing a board. But that’s another column.

"I don’t have a favorite spice, but I do enjoy cooking with whole chickens," Kyle explains. "I also like trying new things and often find an ingredient I want to try and find a recipe to use it in."

Here are two of his recipes:

Chicken Spinach Pasta
1 box linguine pasta
1 box fresh spinach
1 large tomato (4 roma tomatoes)
3 Tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp. basil
1 tsp. oregano
3 chicken breasts
Parmesan cheese
Cook pasta according to instructions on the box. Place fresh spinach in a large serving bowl (do NOT spinach). In large skillet, heat oil and garlic on medium heat. Sauté diced tomato with basil and oregano and remove from heat. When pasta is done, drain and place on top of spinach in serving bow; top with olive oil, tomatoes and grilled chicken. Mix lightly and top with parmesan cheese to taste.

Kyle’s Winter Soup
5 turkey bratwurst
8 fingerling red potatoes
1 box beef broth
28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
One white onion,
One clove of garlic
Dice onions and garlic; sauté in frying pan. Microwave bratwurst four minutes. Slice bratwurst and brown in frying pan. In a stock pot, simmer beef broth, crushed tomatoes, sliced potatoes, garlic, and onions; add spices to taste; add bratwurst when potatoes are about half cooked; cook until potatoes are tender. Top with basil, cheese, and parsley.

George Freeman is a veteran journalist and photographer. An award-winning writer, editor and columnist in Springfield, Mo., with more than 50 years experience. His preference is for positive and uplifting stories about people, places, traditions and trends that make the Ozarks one of the most livable regions anywhere. A member of the Garden Writers Association of America, he is a past-president of the Society of Professional Journalists of Southwest Missouri, the Kansas and Ohio AP societies; a board member of Friends of the Garden and a member of the Rotary Club of Springfield. In 1976, he traveled to India as a member of a Rotary Foundation Group Study Exchange Team.

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