Friday, November 06, 2009

White House Recipe: Zucchini Quesadillas

From the Official White House Cookbook...
At the Healthy Kids Fair held on the South Lawn of the White House, guest chefs joined the White House chefs in demonstrating how to make simple, tasty, nutritious recipes. Koren Grieveson, of Chicago's Avec restaurant, demo'd Zucchini Quesadillas, which First Lady Michelle Obama pronounced "so delicious!" after tasting a sample. The gang of visiting school kids liked them, too.

Mrs. Obama's ongoing campaign, the Healthy Kids Initiative, promotes better eating, and during the event, she challenged America's schools to join the HealthierUS Schools campaign, a joint project with USDA that asks member schools to develop better lunch programs, get rid of junk foods from campuses, and add nutrition education and physical activity to the curriculum. (Above: Grieveson, in toque, at work on a quesadilla, while Mrs. Obama and Sec. Vilsack sample her work with visiting kids).

Of course Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack was at the Healthy Kids Fair, because USDA runs all the federal feeding programs in America, and he's a big healthy eating proponent too. At the event, he joined Mrs. Obama in discussing food initiatives and eating better. The recipes demo'd highlighted their campaign; all were easy, low fat, and packed with nutrients. (Mrs. Obama holding up a star fruit; she was quizzing kids on veggies)

Guest chef Grieveson currently cooks at Avec restaurant in Chicago, the Obamas' hometown. White House Food Initiative Coordinator Sam Kass, who is running Mrs. Obama's health and nutrition campaign, cooked at Avec, too, back in the old days before he started working with the Obamas. At the event, Mrs. Obama worked off the extra calories from all the foods she had to sample at the Fair by engaging in some hula hooping on the South Lawn. Other guest culinary professionals at the event included chef Todd Gray of DC's Equinox Restaurant, Ellie Krieger of Food Network; and DC's chef Art Smith, of Art N' Soul, who wasn't doing any demos, but just visiting, because he's taken to hanging out at the busiest and funnest kitchen in America, which happens to be at the White House.

White House Zucchini Quesadillas

Ingredients
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 medium zucchini, diced
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp dried parsley (optional)
1/2 cup mild salsa
1 15 oz can of beans (white or lima)
1 1/2 cups shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese
6 8-inch corn or flour tortillas

Method
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil a non-stick baking sheet and set aside. Heat oil in a non-stick pan on medium heat. Add zucchini, onion, beans, cumin, chili powder, parsley and cook until onions and zucchini are soft. Add half the cheese, and cook until cheese is melted.

To assemble the tortillas, place half on baking sheet. Spread the filling on each tortilla and top with the salsa. Place another tortilla on top, and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake in oven until the tortillas are crisp and cheese is melted. Cut into quarters and serve warm.

*Related:
More recipe from the Healthy Kids Fair: White House Baked Eggs is here; the recipe for White House Baked Apples is here. This week, Kass and Comerford appeared on NBC's The Biggest Loser TV show, and the recipe for the salad they created with cast members is here. Kass's recipe for Baked Chicken, which was served at the Spring Garden Harvest event, is here.

*Photos by Obama Foodorama