Summer Garden Salad WhiteHouse-Style


A few weeks ago I find myself at the Whitehouse – on the OTHER side of the fence!  I was strolling through Obama’s fantastic new Whitehouse Garden on a sunny Saturday afternoon, walking amongst the rhubarb,the honeybees, nibbling on sorrel!  How did I end up in this modern day Garden of Eden?  It’s a story that starts many years ago in Chicago, where I grew up.  I went to high school with Sam Kass, (at the same school the Obamas attended). He was a nice guy that I’d say hello to in the halls between classes.  Fast forward more than 10 years, and I’m eating dinner at Avec in Chicago (one of my favorite restaurants!).  Little do I know, but Sam is working in the kitchen, and he sends out a surprise bucatini dish to our table – and we’ve been in touch ever since.  Sam would go on to be a personal chef for the Obamas in Chicago, and later move with them to Washington and take a position on the Whitehouse cooking staff.  He’d also play a major role in planning and implementing the Whitehouse Garden.

Following a cousin’s wedding in Washington, D.C., Sam stopped by to have a drink with me in the lobby bar of the Ritz-Carlton Georgetown, an old industrial site that was amazingly converted into a modern hotel.  He had only minutes to spare from his intense schedule, but next thing I know he offers a personal tour of the garden the next day (all i had to do was give him my social securtiy number and date of birth so the Secret Service could do a background check on me that night…) Continue reading “Summer Garden Salad WhiteHouse-Style”

Green Goddess Dressing Revamped


I recently had a request from a magazine to create some lighter versions of standard dressings. One of my favorite ways to lighten up dressings is to use pureed vegetables in the actual dressing to create a richer texture without the heaviness of cream or egg.

Here’s my lighter interpretation of a Green Goddess dressing. Typically you would use anchovies and eggs, instead I’ve used pureed artichokes (from the can). This gives a creamy texture without a mayonnaise base, suitable for vegans too! Invented at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco circa 1920 Continue reading “Green Goddess Dressing Revamped”