All Hail the Ch(i)ef!

The geek in me loves Inauguration Day. I love the pomp, the ceremonies, the tradition and the history-in-the-making. I was completely glued to the tv yesterday watching all the goings-on. Washington, D.C. itself is just amazing to me….everywhere you go, history is beneath your feet and surrounding you. Everywhere you turn, there is a story, an anecdote, a piece of our nation. So many ghosts.

History is amazing. There’s just no doubt about it.

On my Bucket List…1. to go to an Inauguration (I’m secretly hoping that one of my daughters will become the first woman President so that I’ll get a great seat at all the festivities). Brave the crowds and the probable cold-weather, stand on The Mall to listen and watch history being made in person. And 2. be a volunteer one holiday season to help decorate the White House. Did you know that those are all volunteers who do that? I’d love to get my Martha on and decorate like a mad woman at the second most important address in America (first being my own address, of course). Call me a geek but I would love to do these two things at some point in my life.  Anyone wanting to join me, just let me know.

Back to the Inauguration. I’m not addressing the politics here, just talking people today.

I loved watching the First Family. I’m a big fan, especially of Mrs. Obama. She’s a Mom to emulate, by my estimations and the bits I have read about her. Mom first, First Lady second. I like that. Add to that, her programs to help kids in America become healthier and her garden initiatives…total win in my book. She’s also a pretty amazing dresser.

As absolutely silly as it sounds, I’d love to see inside the White House kitchens and watch the magic that they make. The dinners, luncheons, special events that they have to turn out masterpieces for…yikes. Talk about pressure. But what high-brow culinary fun. I also just love, love, love that they put a garden on the front lawn. How cool is that? And bee hives, too. Sets a good tone.

As a little ode to our newly inducted President, here is a Presidential recipe. Healthy and delish. This one is supposedly one of Mrs. Obama’s favorite healthy recipes. So long, Boston Market Creamed Spinach. Heres’s something leaner. Tomorrow I’ll have another recipe for you…

White House No-Creamed Creamed Spinach, courtesy of White House Executive Chef Cristeta Comerford

2 lbs. baby spinach
4 shallots
2 garlic cloves
2 Tb. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Wash and clean the spinach. Peel and mince the shallots and garlic. Place a large bowl of water near the sink, and put a few ice cubes in it. Place a colander in the sink.

Fill a medium-sized pot with water. Sprinkle in some salt. Place it on the stove and bring it to a boil over high heat. Carefully add ½ pound of the spinach (about ¼ of the leaves) to the water and let it boil for just 30 seconds to 1 minute (this is called blanching). The leaves will turn bright green!

Carefully pour the spinach and water into the colander to drain the spinach. Then immediately “shock” the spinach by putting it right into the ice water. Use tongs or a fork to handle the spinach—it will be hot. Let the spinach sit in the water for a minute or so, then drain it again in the colander. Squeeze the spinach with your hands or press the spinach against the colander with the back of a spoon to remove the excess water.

Place the spinach in a blender and puree. Set aside. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the shallots and garlic, and cook until the shallots no longer look white. Add the rest of the spinach leaves. Toss them with a spoon and sauté until the leaves are wilted. Add the pureed spinach and stir. Season with salt and pepper.


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