Saturday, February 13, 2010

White House Recipes: Turkey Lasagna with Spinach; Winter Green Salad with White House Honey-Apple Cider Vinaigrette

President's Day Special: White House Chefs share recipes on The Martha Stewart Show
White House Executive Chef Cris Comerford and Executive Pastry Chef Bill Yosses joined Martha Stewart on The Martha Stewart Show for a special President's Day episode. It was their first joint appearance on a TV show as President Obama and First Lady Obama's White House chefs, and they prepared an entire President's Day meal. (Above, from l: Yosses with Martha and Comerford)

Right now, in the winter, with the help of protective hoop houses, Mrs. Obama's South Lawn Kitchen Garden is growing sweet winter spinach, and Comerford showed Martha how to make Turkey Lasagna with Spinach. The lovely White House salad that Comerford shared, Winter Green Salad with White House Honey-Apple Cider Vinaigrette has an ingredient that grew to monster size in the Fall garden: Fennel. It also uses that favorite Obama fruit--the apple--for both the salad and in the dressing. Bowls of apples are all over both the East Wing and the West Wing in the White House. Yosses shared his recipe for Yogurt Orange Cake with Baked Apples.

As the chefs demonstrated the recipes, it became clear that Martha was a little dubious about President Obama's status as a healthy eater, and she ribved the chefs. She's seen film clips of the President at places like Five Guys Burgers and Fries.

"Come on, I’ve seen him eating a lot of hamburgers…I’ve seen him eat fries!" Martha said.

"That’s an exception…it’s rare," Yosses said, chuckling.

The Obamas are healthy eaters, Comerford said. The Turkey Lasagna is a First Family favorite.

"You make one of these or lots of these?" Martha asked about the lasagna as they cooked.

"One of these is more than enough," Comerford responded. "You’ve got to watch your portions."

"I know why Cristeta is still the chef at the White House!" Martha said. "Because you watch their portions. You’re a chef policeman in a way!

White House Turkey Lasagna with Spinach
Executive Chef Cristeta Comerford

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 Cup chopped yellow onion

4 Cloves garlic, minced

1 Pound fresh ground turkey

1 (28-ounce) can plum tomatoes, crushed

1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

1 Tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 Tablespoon chopped fresh basil

16 cooked lasagna noodles

15 ounces low-fat ricotta or low-fat cottage cheese

3/4 Cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1 large egg, beaten

2 pounds fresh spinach, washed, but not dried

1 pound low-fat shredded Mozzarella cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add ground turkey and cook for about 10 minutes. Add plum tomatoes, tomato paste, and season with salt and pepper; let simmer until thickened, about 20 minutes. Stir in basil and parsley; set aside.

3. In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, 1/2 Cup Parmesan cheese, and egg; season with salt and pepper and set aside.

4. Place damp spinach in a large skillet over medium heat; cook until wilted. Remove from heat and set aside.

5. Ladle one-quarter of the turkey mixture into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish; spread to cover. Add a pasta sheet, one-third of the mozzarella, one-third of the ricotta mixture, one-third of the spinach mixture and another quarter of the turkey mixture. Repeat process two more times; top with remaining sheet of past.

6. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 Cup Parmesan over top; transfer to oven. Bake until bubbly, 25 to 30 minutes.

7. Let stand about 5 minutes before cutting; serve.

Servings vary depending on portion size.

Winter Green Salad
White House Honey-Apple Cider Vinaigrette
Executive Chef Cristeta Comerford

1 Pound mixed winter greens, such as chicory, frisee, tatsoi, spinach, or arugula

1/2 fresh fennel bulb, thinly sliced crosswise

1 Granny Smith apple, julienned

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

1 Cup Spiced Walnuts (recipe follows)

1/2 Cup White House Honey-Apple Cider Vinaigrette (recipe follows)

Place greens, fennel, apple, and walnuts in a large bowl; add vinaigrette and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Serves six.

Spiced Walnuts

1 Cup Walnut halves

1/2 Cup Confectioners’ sugar

1 Teaspoon store-bought Cajun spice mix

Toast walnuts in a medium skillet over medium heat until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add confectioners’ sugar and cook, tossing nuts, until sugar is melted. Season with Cajun spice; remove from heat and let cool. Makes 1 cup.

White House Honey-Apple Cider Vinaigrette

1/2 Cup honey

1/4 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar

Juice of 1 lemon

1 shallot, minced

3/4 Cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

In a small bowl, whisk together honey, vinegar, lemon juice, and onion. Slowly whisk in olive oil to form an emulsion. Season with salt and pepper.

Makes 1 1/2 cups.

Photo credits: Nick D./The Martha Stewart Show. Photo of lasagna courtesy of Country Living magazine, when the recipe was released to the publisher.