Celebrate Presidents Day with a special menu

Make foods that our leaders loved or just incorporate red, white and blue into your meal on Feb. 21

    President’s Day is Monday, Feb. 21, so why not set up your menu to reflect our leaders through the years.
    You could make favorite dishes of the presidents or incorporate ingredients associated with them, for example, cherries for George Washington.
    That might be especially apt considering Presidents’ Day is the official celebration of Washington’s birthday, although it also honors everyone who has served in the office of president of the United States.
    You could make meals based on the foods served at their inaugurations, or popular foods in their home states.
    There are plenty of websites with recipes associated with the presidents, whether they are for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks or desserts.
    Set your table in red, white and blue — or incorporate those colors in the meal. Add a few flags as centerpieces and you’ve got a perfect backdrop.
    After all, February is generally a drab month, so why not liven it up?
    During the meal, you could offer up trivia about the presidents or the era in which they lived.
    Use your imagination and have fun with it. And remember, even though it’s often said that Washington told his father he couldn’t tell a lie as he confessed to chopping down a cherry tree, that didn’t actually happen.
    Following are a few presidential recipes from cdkitchen.com.



Jackie Kennedy’s Beef Stroganoff

2 pounds boneless beef sirloin
Ground black pepper
3 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons butter
2 cups beef broth
1/2 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons tomato juice or paste
1/4 cup grated onion
Fresh mushrooms, sliced, optional

    Cut beef into strips, then season generously with salt and pepper. Cover and let stand two hours in a cool place.
    In large skillet, whisk flour and three tablespoons butter over low heat until mixture bubbles and forms a smooth paste. Slowly add beef broth, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens. Let boil two minutes.
    Reduce heat, then add sour cream alternately with tomato juice, still whisking. Simmer slightly one minute. Do not boil.
    In separate skillet, brown beef and onion in remaining butter over medium heat. Add contents of meat pan to sauce, then season with salt and pepper. Simmer very gently or cook over hot water in double boiler 20 minutes.
    Garnish with mushrooms when serving if desired.


Gerald and Betty Ford’s Blu’ Nana Bread

2 cups sugar
1 cup butter, room temperature
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 cups sifted flour
5 ripe bananas, mashed
3 teaspoons allspice
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups frozen or fresh blueberries

    Cream sugar and butter. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Fold in half of the flour and mashed bananas.
    Place all but two tablespoons flour in a sifter. Add allspice, baking soda, baking powder and salt to sifter. Sift and fold into banana mixture.
    Sprinkle blueberries with remaining flour and fold into batter. Divide batter into two greased and floured loaf pans.
    Bake in a 325-degree oven for 50 minutes. Test with toothpick to determine if bread is done.


Hillary Clinton’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

1-1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups oats, rolled, old fashioned
1 package semisweet chocolate chips

    Combine flour, salt and baking soda on waxed paper.
    Beat together shortening, sugars and vanilla in large bowl with electric mixer until creamy. Add eggs and beat until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in rolled oats, then chocolate chips.
    Drop batter by rounded teaspoonfuls onto baking sheets that have been brushed lightly with vegetable oil. Bake in a 350-degree oven for eight to 10 minutes, until golden. Cool cookies on baking sheets two minutes, then place cookies on wire racks to cool completely.


Thomas Jefferson’s Chicken Fricassee

3 pounds chicken pieces
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups water
1 cup dry wine
3 tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped
2 cups fresh small mushrooms
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 cup half and half cream
Hot cooked rice

    Dry chicken pieces. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, nutmeg and paprika.
    Brown chicken in hot oil in a Dutch oven over high heat. Remove chicken when well browned. Reduce heat to medium, add flour and cook until lightly browned, stirring constantly. Whisk in water and wine until smooth.
    Return chicken to the Dutch oven and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to simmer. Cook 50 minutes.
    Remove chicken, keeping it warm, and reserve broth in large container. Broth may be strained to remove particles.
    Melt butter in Dutch oven over medium high heat, then add onion. Cook until lightly browned. Add mushrooms, sage and parsley. Add broth, and chicken. Cook over medium heat, stirring until thoroughly heated. Served over rice.

JFK’s Favorite Waffles

1 tablespoon sugar
8 tablespoons butter, softened
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup sifted flour
1 cup milk or buttermilk
2 stiffly beaten egg whites
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon

    In a mixing bowl, combine sugar and butter. Beat on medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. With the mixer running, add egg yolks, one at a time. Beat well. With the mixer running, add salt and flour alternately with milk. Scrape down the sides as needed.
    Fold in the egg whites, baking powder, sugar and cinnamon by hand.
    Add the batter to a greased and preheated waffle iron as recommended by the machine manufacturer. Close the waffle maker and cook two minutes or until done.
    Serve with toppings such as butter, syrup, jam, honey, fruit sauce and chocolate.


Laura Bush’s Cowboy Cookies

3 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups butter, room temperature
1-1/2 cups sugar
1-1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 cups sweetened flake coconut
2 cups chopped pecans

    Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in bowl.
    In 8-quart bowl, beat butter on medium speed one minute, until smooth and creamy. Gradually beat in sugars, then beat two minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each. Beat in vanilla extract.
    Stir in flour mixture until just combined. Add chocolate chips, oats, coconut and pecans.
    For each cookie, drop 1/4 cup dough onto ungreased baking sheets, spacing three inches apart.
    Bake in a 350-degree oven for 17 to 19 minutes, until edges are lightly browned, rotating sheets halfway through.
    Remove cookies from rack to cool.

President Reagan’s Favorite Homemade Chili

1/2 cup bacon drippings
2 cups chopped onions
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 pounds coarsely ground beef
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 cups red wine, optional
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon beef base
4 cups canned whole tomatoes, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon sugar
4 cups cooked pinto beans

    Using a 1-1/2-gallon heavy pot, melt bacon drippings. Saute onions and garlic cloves in drippings. Add ground beef and chili powder and brown, stirring. Add red wine, salt, beef base, tomatoes, bay leaf and sugar. Simmer chili meat, covered, for 20 minutes, stirring often.
    Add pinto beans. Simmer one hour, covered, over low heat, stirring gently from time to time. Test for flavor.


Mamie Eisenhower’s Marble Cookies

12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
2 cups chopped pecans
2 cups unsalted butter
1-1/3 cups sugar, plus more for sprinkling
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
48 pecan halves

    Melt chocolate chips in microwave on the defrost setting (30% power) for one to two minutes. Stir. If needed, microwave one to two minutes more, just until chips are melted. Stir in chopped pecans. Set aside.
    In a large bowl, beat butter until smooth. Add sugar gradually, beating until mixture is fluffy. Beat in vanilla.
    In a separate bowl, stir together flour and salt. Add flour mixture gradually to butter mixture. Add chocolate and pecan mixture in thirds, streaking it through the batter with a long-pronged fork. Be careful to keep the two colors as separate as possible, thus marbleizing.
    Scoop or spoon dough onto ungreased cookie sheets. Press a pecan half into the center of each cookie. Sprinkle lightly with sugar. Bake in a 375-degree oven for 16 minutes, until cookies begin to brown around the edges.


Eisenhower’s Beef Stew

1 tablespoon oil
2 pounds stewing beef
2-1/2 pints beef stock
1 pound small Irish potatoes, whole or cut in half
3 small carrots, peeled and sliced
1/4 pound small onions, peeled and chopped
2 fresh tomatoes, cut into wedges
Assorted spices such as thyme, bay leaves and garlic, tied in a cheesecloth bag
Black pepper
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water

    Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add beef and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned on all sides. Add stock, potatoes, carrots, onions, spice bag, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook 45 minutes, until the beef is cooked and the vegetables are tender.
    Remove spice bag from the stew. Combine cornstarch and water and mix until smooth. Stir into the stew. Let cook another 15 minutes, until slightly thickened.
    Serve hot.




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