Ray and Spike are among the many chefs helping First Lady Michelle Obama with her national childhood obesity campaign. Both were at the launch of Chefs Move To Schools, and Ray stars in a White House video for Let's Move!. She's also lobbied Congress about child nutrition initiatives. Spike was among the very first chefs to be invited to guest cook at the White House--he demo'd healthy, kid-freindly recipes at the 2009 Easter Egg Roll. Together, the two chefs made Spike's The Michelle Melt and the President Obama Burger. (Above: Ray and Spike on her show)
"A life without burgers and fries is really depressing," Mrs. Obama said recently, as she gave a speech about the importance of learning to eat in moderation.
Spike couldn't agree more; his Good Stuff Eatery in DC specializes in burgers, and he's enjoyed two visits from Mrs. Obama and her staff--as well as filled take out orders from the President. The Michelle Melt is a healthy turkey burger, and has a dose of fruit and veg incorporated into it. It's topped with South Lawn Herb Garden Mayo, as a nod to Mrs. Obama's Kitchen Garden. (Above: Spike with Food Initiative Coordinator Sam Kass at the White House, when he was demonstrating healthy recipes)
Spike created The President Obama Burger during campaign season, and it features bacon, blue cheese, red onion marmalade, and Horseradish Mayo--because the President (usually) likes things very spicy.
The Obama burgers are perfect for your own Independence Day picnic--especially if dessert is Executive Pasty Chef Bill Yosses' White House Apple Pie, or his Birthday Party Shortcake with Strawberries and Cream, from his new cookbook The Perfect Finish. Yosses himself is recommending his special Blackberry Buttermilk Bundt Cake. Those are as All American as it gets. Enjoy!
The President Obama Burger
30 ounces ground sirloin
6 potato buns, cut in half
1 pound applewood-smoked bacon
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound crumbled blue cheese
Red onion marmalade
1. To make the patties, roll six 5-ounce sirloin balls and form each ball into a patty. Arrange on a tray, cover, and refrigerate.
2. Toast the buns and set aside.
3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and just add enough oil to cover the entire bottom. Line a plate with paper towels. When the oil begins to smoke, add the bacon and cook until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon. Drain on the paper towels. Drain the fat from the pan but do not wipe clean.
4. Reduce the heat to medium and place the patties into the skillet. Season the patties with salt and pepper and cook for 3 minutes. Flip, and cook on the other side. Distribute the crumbled blue cheese equally among the patties and continue to cook 2 minutes more for medium-rare doneness. Cover with a lid for the last 30 seconds to melt the cheese. [Ed. Note: In the interest of food safety, cook until well done, and use a meat thermometer: 180 degrees should be the internal temperature].
5. To assemble burgers, place 1 patty on 1 bun bottom. Top the patty with Horesradish mayonnaise, red onion marmalade, and bacon. Cover with bun top. Repeat with the remaining ingredients. Serves six.
2 cups mayonnaise
4 ounces prepared horseradish
1 tablespoon cayenne
1 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
To make horseradish mayonnaise, add the basic mayonnaise, horseradish, cayenne, pepper, and salt to taste to a food processor or blender. Purée until smooth. The mayonnaise can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Makes 2 1/2 cups.
Red Onion Marmalade
2 red onions
1 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup sugar
Slice both red onions 1/2 inch thick. Add the vinegar and sugar to a pot over medium heat. Bring to a simmer. Once the sugar is completely dissolved, add the onions. Cook, stirring constantly to prevent burning, until the onions are translucent and the liquid is reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced scallions
2 green apples, cored and diced
1/2 cup canned chipotle chilies in adobo sauce
1 cup store-bought mango chutney
2 pounds ground turkey
1/2 cup grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 slices Swiss cheese
6 leaves iceberg lettuce
6 ruby red tomato slices
Multigrain potato buns, cut in half
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 cups thinly sliced Spanish onions
1. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the celery, scallions and apples. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 15-20 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
2. Add the chipotle and 1/2 tablespoon of adobo sauce from the can and the chutney to a blender. Puree until smooth. Transfer to a bowl.
3. Add the celery mixture and stir until well combined.
4. Add the turkey, lemon zest, salt, and pepper and stir until well combined.
5. To make the patties, roll six 5-ounce turkey balls and form each ball into a patty. Arrange on a tray, cover, and refrigerate.
6. To make the caramelized onions, heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onions – don’t worry if they’re piled high; they will cook down. Turn with a spatula so all the onions are evenly coated in oil. Continue to cook, stirring the onions every 8 minutes, until the slices have turned a dark, rich brown color, about 25 minutes. If the onions begin to burn, reduce the heat to medium-low and add more oil. Remove the onions and place them in a bowl.
7. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add enough just oil to cover the entire bottom. After 2 minutes, reduce the heat to medium and place the patties into the skillet. Season with salt and pepper, and cook for 3 minutes. Flip, and cook on the other side for 1 minute. [Ed. note: Use a meat thermometer...]
8. Place 1 slice cheese on each patty and continue cooking for 2 minutes. Cover with a lid for the last 30 seconds to melt the cheese.
9. Toast the buns and set aside.
10. To assemble the burgers, place 1 patty on a toasted bun bottom. Top the patty with a tablespoon of caramelized onions, 1 lettuce leaf, 1 tomato slice, and a heaping spoonful of the South Lawn Herb Garden Mayo. Cover with the bun top. Let rest 2-3 minutes before serving. Serves six.
South Lawn Herb Garden Mayo
2 cups mayonnaise
2 bunches parsley
2 bunches cilantro
1 bunch dill
1/2 cup fresh rosemary
1/2 cup fresh thyme
Juice of 8 lemons
1 tablespoon minced garlic
4 ounces salt and pepper mix, or to taste
1/4 cup olive oil
Add all ingredients except for oil to a food processor or blender. Process for 30 seconds in the food processor or 10 seconds in the blender. With the motor running, add the oil in a thin, steady stream until all the oil is added and the mixture is smooth. Stop the motor and taste. If the sauce it too thick, thin it with a little hot water. if too thin, process a little longer. Add lemon, thyme, salt, and pepper. The mayonnaise can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
*Spike has a swell new cookbook that features his burger recipes: The Good Stuff Cookbook, just published from John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
*Photos from Rachael Ray; Kass and Spike photo by Obama Foodorama