Monday, December 17, 2012

An Obama White House 2012 Holiday Recipe: Winter Greens Salad

Bringing 'Joy to All' to White House party guests with recipes from the First Lady's book, 'American Grown'...
For President Obama and First Lady Obama's 24 White House holiday dinners and receptions this year, Executive Chef Cris Comerford is spotlighting recipes included in Mrs. Obama's book American Grown:  The Story of The White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America.  Published last May in a gorgeous hardcover and an "expanded" digital format, and some of the recipes created by the White House chefs for the book only appear in the e-edition.  That's the case for the Winter Greens Salad that's being offered on the holiday buffet tables, and the recipe is below.  The President and Mrs. Obama will welcome 14,000 guests this season for their parties. (Above: The First Couple heads for a holiday party last week at the White House)

This year is first time recipes from a book by any First Lady are being used for the holiday receptions, because Mrs. Obama is the only Presidential spouse to publish such a book while her husband is still in office.  Comerford is tweaking the recipes for portion size, of course, and changing things a bit because guests are allowed no knives at the parties, in the interest of Presidential security. (Above, the East Room buffet)

"It's always a challenge keeping things new after cooking for so many events all the time, " Comerford told Obama Foodorama, adding that of course the salads and vegetables are made fresh  daily.

Comerford's salad is made with bitter winter greens, pomegranates, walnuts with Cajun spice, crumbled blue cheese, and an apple cider and honey vinaigrette, and pays homage to Mrs. Obama's Kitchen Garden and the White House beehive.  Other recipes from American Grown served on the buffet tables include Green Beans with Almonds and Sweet Potato Quick Bread.  (Above, the salad and green beans on the East Room buffet) 

The dinner buffet is served in both the East Room and State Dining Room, and also 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, and tiny garlic potatoes (the holiday recipe); as well as a variety of sauces and condiments.  There's a carving station beside each buffet that offers turkey and honey-baked ham, with the Sweet Potato Quick Bread in tiny muffin form, biscuits, and "stuffing balls."  Artisan cheeses are also offered, served with crackers and fresh and dried fruits and vegetables.

Executive Pastry Chef Bill Yosses' dessert buffets are equally enticing; click here for a post about the menu with recipes.  Guests at the parties include Members of Congress, Supreme Court Justices, "White House staff, Secret Service personnel, White House reporters and Americans from across the country," the East Wing said, including religious and lay leaders, and advocates for the Let's Move! campaign. They are invited to roam the White House halls and view Mrs. Obama's 'Joy to All' decor theme, in between partaking of the beautiful buffets.   (Above, a chocolate Yule log on the dessert buffet)

Check the sidebar for all White House recipes.

White House Winter Greens Salad

For the Salad
*1 pound assorted crisp bitter winter greens, well washed and spun dry with a salad spinner

*Seeds of 1 large pomegranate

*1/2 Cup crumbled blue cheese

*6 fresh chives, chopped

For the Walnuts
*1 1/2 Cups walnut halves

*1 Tbsp honey

*1/ 1/2 Tsp brown sugar

*1 1/2 Tsp melted butter

*1/2 Tsp Cajun spice mixture

For the Dressing
*1 Cup apple cider

*Juice of 2 lemons (about 1/4 cup)

*1 shallot, finely minced

*2 Tblsp clover or wildflower honey

*1/2 Cup extra virgin olive oil

*1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil

*Salt and freshly ground pepper

1.  Make the nuts: Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.  Line a cookie sheet with foil and spray the foil with cooking spray.

2.  In a small bowl, toss together the walnuts, honey, sugar, butter and Cajun spice mix.

3.  Place on the cookie sheet.  Bake for 30 minutes, tossing the nuts every ten minutes.  Set aside to cool.

4.  Make the dressing:  In a small bowl, whisk together the cider, lemon juice, shallot, and honey.

5.  Slowly whisk the olive oil and canola oil into the mixture until emuslified.  Season with salt and pepper.  Set aside.

6.  Make the salad:  Tear the greens into bite-sized pieces and place in a large salad bowl.  Add the pomegranate seeds, walnuts, blue cheese, and chives.

7.  Toss with enough dressing to lightly coat the salad, and season with salt and pepper.  Serve immediately.  

*Serves 6 to 8, depending on portion size.

Above, another view of the East Room buffet, with Latkes and smoked salmon.   Click here for links to all posts about the 2012 holidays.

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

*Top photo by Pete Souza/White House; all other photos by Eddie Gehman Kohan/Obama Foodorama