Chef Jennifer Johnson on How to Cook a Presidential Meal This Weekend (Recipes)

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Chef Jennifer Johnson of Hip Chicks Farms you could say knows food. Her current gig as head chef for Ann and Gordon Getty, calls for her to craft exquisite meals for celebrities, public figures and most recently, President Barack Obama.

Johnson, who personal innovative recipes and brand can be found at www.hipchickfarms.com, began her career at Berkeley's renowned Chez Panisse, the original home of "California cuisine", infusing creativity and intuitive methods into everything she cooked.

Here’s a sample meal you can make in your own kitchen this weekend:

First Course

Even your youngest, pickiest eaters' palates will be delighted by the starter course: a crab, orange and avocado salad with citrus vinaigrette.

From the chef: “It's such a fresh and light salad, even my pickiest eater at home enjoys it!”

Second Course

Next, dive into the second course with a simple flank steak.

From the chef: "Utilizing natural but flavorful ingredients is always my goal, so I prefer to marinate with the basics – good old salt, pepper, oregano, and horseradish!”

Third Course

With a creamy potato puree and quick glazed carrots, the third course is sure to impress even the most skeptical eaters!

From the chef: “At home, when I’m cooking for my daughter, I try to sneak in veggies in an appetizing way. Dinner for the president is no different!”

Dessert

Finally, cap things off with a dessert that will please both the eye and the sweet tooth.

From the chef: “I make chocolate mousse when I'm really trying to impress. It's a quick process to whip up the mousse, and the bold chocolate flavor will have your kids asking for seconds and thirds.”

Full recipes are listed below. Follow them closely, and before you know it you'll have a delicious spread that's just as colorful and delicious as the one Chef Jen presented to President Obama!

Dinner Fit for the President

Crab, Orange and Avocado Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons plus 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 large shallot, finely diced

2 tablespoons champagne vinegar

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon orange juice

¼ teaspoon lemon zest

¼ teaspoon orange zest

½ pound fresh crabmeat

2 tablespoons chives, thinly sliced

2 large navel oranges

2 firm, ripe avocados

1 cup watercress

****************************************************************************************************

Combine shallots with champagne vinegar, lemon and orange juices and pinch of salt. Macerate 10 minutes. Whisk in 3/4 cup olive oil and zest.  Season with a few pinches of salt and set aside until needed.

In a small bowl, toss the crabmeat with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, 2 teaspoons lemon juice and the chives.  Season to taste with salt and set aside until needed.

Using a sharp knife, cut the skin and all of the bitter white pith off of the oranges.  Then slice the oranges into thin rounds.

Cut avocados in half lengthwise, and remove pits. Leaving skin intact, cut avocados lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Scoop out slices with a large spoon, and arrange on 4 individual dishes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Arrange the orange slices over the avocado on each plate.   Divide the crab into 4 portions and place a mound in the center of each plate.  Drizzle each plate with the citrus vinaigrette, garnish each plate with a few leaves of watercress and serve.

Flank Steak with Horseradish Salsa Verde

1 skirt steak cut into four pieces

Salt and freshly cracked black pepper

4 cloves of garlic, smashed

3 tablespoons olive oil

For the Salsa Verde:

1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 cup parsley, finely minced

1/3 cup marjoram or oregano, finely minced

1 cup olive oil

½ cup prepared horseradish

2 Tbsp drained capers, coarsely chopped

1 small clove garlic, smashed or pounded into a paste

Salt and freshly cracked pepper.

****************************************************************************************************

Season each piece of skirt steak with salt and some freshly cracked pepper.  Toss with the garlic and 3 tablespoons of olive oil and chill in a covered container, for at least 2 hours, or until ready to cook.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Working in batches, if needed, sear steak until nicely browned, approximately 3 minutes per side for medium-rare.

To make the salsa verde:

Mascerate the shallot and lemon juice in a small bowl until needed.  Whisk together the remaining ingredients in a medium bowl to blend. Stir in the shallots and lemon juice just before serving and season to taste with salt and pepper. Can be made 3 days ahead.  Return to room temperature before serving.

Transfer steak to a cutting board and let rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing.  Slice the steak across the grain, thinly, otherwise it will seem tough.  Serve with salsa verde.

Creamy Potato Puree

1 pound yukon gold potatoes, peeled and quartered

Salt to taste

½ cup milk

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes

****************************************************************************************************

Boil potatoes in a medium saucepan of salted water until tender and easily pierced with a knife tip. Drain potatoes and set aside to let cool slightly.

In a separate sauce pan, combine the milk and butter and set over low heat.  Pass the potatoes through a food mill directly into the saucepan containing the milk mixture.  Remove from heat, stir to combine and season to taste with salt.  

Glazed Carrots

1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into ¼ inch rounds

1 cup water

2 tablespoons butter

Salt

****************************************************************************************************

In a medium saute pan add the carrots, water and butter.  Cover the pan with a lid and bring to a boil over high heat.  Cook the carrots covered, stirring occasionally, until tender.  Using a slotted spoon, remove the carrots from the pan and set aside until needed.  Continue to reduce the carrot cooking liquid until syrup-like.  Return the carrots to the pan, toss with the liquid and season to taste with salt.

Chocolate Mousse

2 ounces bittersweet chocolate

2 ounces semisweet chocolate

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons water

4 eggs, separated

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

Unsweetened whipped cream, for serving

**********************************************************************************************************

Chop the bittersweet and semisweet chocolate into small pieces. Melt the chocolates, vanilla and water in a double boiler, stirring constantly, until smooth and glossy. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.  Whisk in the egg yolks, one at a time, until completely combined.

Cut the butter in pieces and whisk until smooth. If necessary, set the Bain of chocolate back over the water to help the butter melt.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites to soft peaks.  Gently fold them into the slightly warm chocolate mixture. Pour into 4 serving bowls or glasses and chill for 6 hours or overnight. Serve with whipped cream.

Bon Appetit!

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