Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Inaugural Lunch

What I would make for Barak Obama's Inaugural Lunch

Inauguration ceremonies for the President and the Vice President have been part of American history for more than two hundred years. The first Inauguration of George Washington took place in New York City in 1789. Inauguration Day was March 4th, which was also the final day of the congressional session. At noon the Vice President-elect would take the oath of office, and then deliver his Inaugural address. The Vice President would call the Senate into extraordinary session, and then the Senators-elect would come forth and take their oaths of office. The procession would form and make its way to the east front portico of the Capitol for the President's swearing-in ceremony. In 1937, Inauguration Day was moved to January 20th, a change enacted by the 20th amendment to the Constitution. The Vice President's swearing-in ceremony also moved, from the Senate chamber to the Inaugural platform on the Capitol's east front. In 1981, the Inaugural ceremonies moved to the west front terrace of the Capitol, where they have been held ever since.
After Barak Obama takes the oath of office on January 20, 2009, he will deliver his Inaugural address and President Bush will depart. The new President will be escorted to Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol for the traditional Inaugural Lunch. The menu will often feature the cuisine reflecting the home states of the new President and Vice President and is kept a secret until served.
Abraham Lincoln was served Mock Turtle Soup, Corned Beef and Cabbage, Parsley Potatoes and Blackberry Pie. FDR request Chicken a la King, but the chef could not figure out how to keep the dish warm for 2000 guests. The menu was Cold Chicken Salad, Rolls, and Pound Cake. Harry Truman dined on South Carolina Turkey, Smithfield Ham, Potato Salad and Pumpkin Pie. Eisenhower’s lunch menu included, Creamed Chicken, Baked Ham and Potato Puffs. John Kennedy’s lunch was an elegant menu of Cream of Tomato Soup with Crushed Popcorn, Deviled Crabmeat Imperial, New England Boiled Stuffed Lobster, Prime Texas Ribs, String Beans Amadine, Broiled Tomatoes and assorted Pastries. LBJ enjoyed Grilled Texas Filet Mignon and Blue Lake String Beans. Ronald Reagan started with a California Garden Salad followed by Sautéed Chicken Breast with White Wine Sauce and Capers, Wild Rice Pilaf and Strawberries. Bill Clinton dined on Shrimp, Oysters, Scallops, Beef a la Mode and Quince Ice Cream. George W. Bush was served Lobster Pie, Beef Tenderloin, Vegetables (including broccoli), Biscuits and Toffee Pudding.
Here is my celebration lunch…I will probably make it for dinner though.

Parsnip Bisque with Smoked Paprika
by Penny Rich
Serves 6

2 tablespoons unsalted butter*
1 onion, coarsely chopped
2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 pounds parsnips, peeled and coarsely chopped **
4 cups vegetable broth
2 cups half-and-half*
2-3 teaspoons smoked paprika
Salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter in a large soup pot. Add onions and celery, cook 5 minutes until just tender. Add parsnips and broth and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. With an emersion blender, carefully puree the mixture to a creamy consistency. Add half and half, paprika, and salt and pepper.
*Vegan ingredients can replace dairy in this soup. Use olive oil instead of butter and unsweetened, soymilk instead of half and half.
**This soup can also be prepared with rutabagas or cauliflower.

Composed Baby Greens and Roasted Beet Salad
by Penny Rich
Serves 6

3-4 beets, about 1 pound, trimmed of greens and washed
6-7 cups baby greens such as Romaine
4 ounces goat cheese
½ cup walnuts
Place beets on a foil lined baking sheet prepared with oil spray. Drizzle with a small amount of olive oil and place in a 400•F oven for 20-30 minutes. Remove and allow to cool. When beets can be handled, slide peel off and slice beets.
To compose salad, place a handful of greens on each plate, fan out beet slices in a decorative pattern, crumble goat cheese on each salad and top with a few walnuts. Right before serving drizzle with Lemon Vinaigrette.

Lemon Vinaigrette
½ cup water
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey
1-2 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Couple of spring parsley
Salt and pepper to taste.

Place all ingredients in a food processor and whiz until combined. Store in an airtight jar in the fridge.

Pan Seared Skirt Steak
by Penny Rich

Serves 6

1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chipotle powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
2 ½ pounds skirt steak, cut in 4 inch pieces

Combine dry ingredients and pat into steaks. Pan sear on medium-high for 6-8 minutes per side. While steak is cooking make the garlic sauce. Turn a food processor fitted with the metal blade on. Drop 2 cloves of garlic in running machine. Process until finely diced. Add ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper, 1 cup of rinsed cilantro, ¼ cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, and whiz until combined and smooth. Drizzle over cooked steaks.

Butternut Squash Risotto
by Penny Rich

Serves 4

½ ounce porcini mushrooms
2 tablespoon olive oil
4 cups vegetable broth
1 onion, diced
1 ¼ cup Arborio rice
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup white wine
½ pound butternut squash
salt and pepper to taste
2 scallions, finely chopped
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese

If the porcini mushrooms are dried, soak in for 30 minutes before cooking. Drain and chop.
Warm the stock in a medium saucepan. In a larger saucepan, heat oil and add onion. Cook for 3-5 minutes. Add rice and stir to coat each grain with oil. Add the garlic, wine and squash and cook until liquid is absorbed. Begin to add ½ cup of hot broth at a time stirring the whole time until all the stock is absorbed. Repeat until all the broth is used. Turn off the heat. Stir in scallions and Parmesan cheese. Serve hot.

Fudgy Brownies

by Penny Rich
Server 10-12

2 sticks unsalted butter
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
3 eggs
2 tablespoons instant coffee powder
1 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
1/2 cups all-purpose flour,
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups walnuts, pieces (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9x13 pan

Melt together the butter and chocolate chips in the microwave for 2 minutes. Cool slightly. Stir together the eggs, instant coffee, vanilla and sugar. Stir in the warm chocolate mixture and cool to room temperature.

Stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the mixture. Toss the chocolate chips and nuts, if using, with 1/8 cup flour to coat. Then add to the chocolate batter. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake for about 30-35 minutes. Do not over-bake!

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