Coming Soon: An Insider Report on The White House “Kids’ State Dinner”

by Bettina Elias Siegel on August 8, 2012

Followers of TLT’s Facebook page might remember a mention of a cooking contest co-sponsored by Epicurious, Let’s Move!, the Department of Education, and the Department of Agriculture.  “The Healthy Lunchtime Challenge” asked kids aged 8 to 12 to submit recipes for “a healthy, original, affordable, tasty lunch that contains the five food groups.”   The prize for the fifty-six winners (one from each state and U.S. territory) is pretty cool:  a tour of Michelle Obama’s garden as well as a “kids’ state dinner” at the White House!

Well, as it turns out, one of the lucky winners lives right here in Houston.  Michael Lakind, aged nine, won for the state of Texas with his recipes for Bunny Bisque and Secret Service Super Salad.  I’m told that in addition to being a budding chef, Michael is a big presidential history maven so he’s all the more excited for his upcoming White House visit.

Michael and his mom Toni Lakind, a professional baker, have kindly agreed to tell Lunch Tray readers all about their White House experience and even share some photos, so look for that post at the end of the month.  (As a side note, one of the contest judges was middle-schooler Marshall Reid, author of Portion Size Me!  My interview with Marshall and my review of his book are also coming soon on TLT.)  Meanwhile, Toni shares for us Michael’s two winning recipes, which you can also find in this week’s People magazine featuring Michael.

Secret Service Super Salad

  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • Garlic powder to taste
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 4 slices whole grain bread
  • 2 tbsp. melted butter
  • 1 tsp. parsley
  • 1/2 cup purple onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic salt
  • 1 pint strawberries
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta
  • 1 package prewashed spinach leaves

1. For the chicken, season with salt, pepper and garlic powder and have an adult place on grill for about 5 minutes on each side. Cut into strips.

2. For the dressing, mix oil, vinegar, salt and pepper in a blender for 10 seconds.

3. For the croutons, cut bread into cubes. Mix together with melted butter, parsley and garlic salt. Place cubes on a baking sheet and bake in a 300 degree oven for 20 minutes or until crisp.

4.  Slice strawberries. In a large bowl, add spinach leaves, chicken, strawberries, onions, feta and croutons and toss. Drizzle with the dressing.

Bunny Bisque

  • 2 cups baby carrots
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable stock
  • 8 ice cubes
  • 1 1/4 cups chilled vegetable stock
  • Sour cream to garnish
  • Green onion, chopped to garnish

1. Put carrots and vegetable stock into a saucepan and heat on medium high until the stock is bubbling. Turn down heat to medium and cook, uncovered for about 20 minutes. Stir into the carrots are soft and remove from heat.

2.  Add the ice cubes and stir until melted. Add vegetable juice and stir. Carefully ladle into the blender and cover with the lid. Blend until smooth.

3.  Return to the saucepan and heat on medium for about 5 minutes, stiring occasionally until hot.

4.  To garnish, add a dollop of sour cream and green onion.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Grandmim Lakind August 8, 2012 at 12:29 pm

This is just wonderful and Michael will make a terrific interviewee. He is self-assured, poised, well-spoken and a real delight. How do I know? ‘Cause I’m the luckiest grandmother in the world!!

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Bettina Elias Siegel August 8, 2012 at 12:39 pm

So sweet! :-)

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Erika August 9, 2012 at 10:09 am

How exciting for him! Congratulations Michael. Loved your recipes. They sound like a perfect healthy & yummy lunch!

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