Wednesday, December 12, 2012

2012 Holiday Recipes: Sweet Potato Quick Bread And White House Turkey Sliders

Guests at the President and Mrs. Obama's holiday receptions and dinners are treated to dishes made from 'American Grown' recipes...
For this year's menus for President Obama and First Lady Obama's holiday parties at the White House, Executive Chef Cris Comerford is spotlighting recipes included in Mrs. Obama's Grammy-nominated book, American Grown, published last May.  The dishes are being offered alongside the annual staples on the Obamas' dinner buffet tables--roast beef, lamb, seafood--where guests are invited to serve themselves from laden silver chafing dishes.  At carving stations set up in the State Dining Room and the East Room, tiny muffins made from the American Grown recipe for Sweet Potato Quick Bread are being offered with sliced turkey and honey-baked ham.  The recipe is below.  (Above: Chefs working the East Room carving station)

"I love the sweet potato bread," Mrs. Obama said in one American Grown interview. "It’s really good, and it’s really moist."  (Above, the Sweet Potato muffins, right, with biscuits & stuffing balls, left)

Created by Executive Pastry Chef Bill Yosses, the recipe uses honey, Greek yogurt and lots of ginger.  It is designed to make loaves in the book, but foods are served in small proportion at the Presidential holiday parties because guests are not allowed to use knives due to security concerns.  Thus all foods are designed to be easily "biteable," or served in miniature.  Guests' plates are also small, but repeat visits to the buffet tables are invited.

At a recent reception, the carving station chefs were getting creative, making bite-sized White House Sliders by splitting the Sweet Potato muffins in half, and inserting ham or turkey in the center.  These were topped with gravy and fresh cranberry chutney, or spicy mustard.  The tiny biscuits and stuffing balls were also being split and turned into sliders.  Guests were enchanted by the savory mouthfuls.  To make these at home, use Comerford's recipe for White House Thyme-Roasted Turkey (Above, a Sweet Potato and Turkey Slider, right, with a Stuffing and Turkey Slider)

The buffet spread includes rare roast beef, cut into small chunks; tiny lamb chops to be eaten by hand; smoked salmon and crab from Maine; oysters from Fisher’s Island in New York; Gulf Coast shrimp (the holiday recipe); Latkes, tiny garlic potatoes (the holiday recipe); winter salads and Green Beans with Almonds, another American Grown recipe.  A variety of sauces and dressings--mint jelly, sour cream, lemon vinaigrette, cocktail sauce, fresh horseradish--and fluffy dinner rolls were accompaniments.

American wines and artisan cheese are also offered on the buffet tables, as are a wide variety of desserts, which are on separate tables (all the holiday dessert recipes are here).  The President and Mrs. Obama's guests dine at tables in the State Dining Room and in the East Room, and can carry their plates into the other rooms on the State Floor to enjoy the feast, too, as they view the beautiful 'Joy to All' decor.  About 14,000 guests have been invited to 24 dinners and receptions this year.  (Above: The buffet in the State Dining Room)

Despite its name, Yosses' Sweet Potato Quick Bread is not quick to make, with baking time at more than an hour.  A food processor or blender is needed to purée the sweet potatoes.  Muffin tins can be used to replicate the White House holiday buffet, but otherwise the recipe calls for two 8 x 4 inch loaf pans.  Parchment paper is needed to prevent sticking.

White House Sweet Potato Quick Bread

*2 medium sweet potatoes - about 2 pounds

*3 large eggs, at room temperature

*3/4 Cup honey

*1/2 Cup Canola or other neutral-flavored vegetable oil

*1/2 Cup plain Greek yogurt

*2 1/2 Cups All-Purpose flour

*1 Cup Whole Wheat flour

*2 Tsp baking powder

*1 1/2 Tsp salt

*2 Tsp grated fresh ginger

*2 Tbsp crystallized ginger, finely chopped

*2 Tsp ground ginger

*Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F

1.  Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into large chunks. Place in a medium pan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are tender, 25-30 minutes.

2.  Drain sweet potatoes and purée in a blender or food processor.  You should have two cups.  Set aside to cool.

3.  Grease two 8 x 4 inch loaf pans.  Cut parchment paper to the width of the length of each pan; the strips should be long enough to hang over the edge of each pan.  Line bottom of each pan.

4.  In a large bowl, mix together the puréed sweet potato, eggs, honey, oil and yogurt until well blended.

5.  In a medium bowl, sift together the flours, baking powder and salt.

6.  Add the flour mixture to the sweet potato mixture and combine. Add the gingers and mix until just combined.

7.  Spoon the batter into the prepared loaf tins and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Start testing the loaves at 60 minutes.

8.  Allow the loaves to cool in the pans for at least 20 minutes before turning out on to a rack to cool completely.


Above, the buffet table in the East Room.

Click here for links to all posts about the 2012 holidays.

Download:  The Official White House Holiday Tour Booklet {PDF}

*Photos by Eddie Gehman Kohan/Obama Foodorama