My husband is FINALLY going to do something about his weight.
Last night he asked for two changes.
1. NO DESSERTS FOR HIM.
2. NO SECONDS.
He said, if it is not offered, he won't take seconds. And WHEN it is offered, he does take seconds.
Thank you, Mrs. M.
Note on the Mondale's Kitchen bulletin board .
Being vice president of the United States doesn't make you immune to creamed dishes on the banquet circuit. Which may account for the snack Walter "Fritz" Mondale chose when he visited the basement kitchen of the Second Family's official residence the afternoon of the Super Bowl -- cottage cheese. He followed that with a piece of chicken cooked Filipino style, left over from lunch made by the Navy stawards who do all the cooking and take care of the Victorian mansion high above Massachusetts Avenue on Naval Observatory Hill.
Later that evening, Vice President and Mrs. Mondale would entertain at dinner for the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian, of which he is a member.
"I wish I were having this for dinner," he said as he leaned against the kitchen counter in his blue jogging suit, indicating a preference for chicken over the filet of beef that was marinating in a soy sauce-garlic mixture.
"As I get more sophisticated," about the food, he said, "I don't like beef as much." And then kidded: "It's part of the president's anti-inflation program." Not only does Mondale grill steaks in the "back yard," he likes to experiment with Italian dishes and has cooked both Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners for the last several years.
The large kitchen is the center of activities for the Mondale's, the first vice presidential family to live in the house. Almost every day after work, Mondale visits the kitchen for a snack. The family eats breakfast there, from time to time. It's where Mondale goes to cook when he gets the urge. And it's where Joan Mondale spoons out the food for the family cats.
"See," she joked, as she carried the cats" supper to the upstairs pantry, just before the dinner, dressed in a long wine-colored gown, "I do do things around here."
The banter and the interruptions don't deter the cooks (officially called Mess Management Specialists) because they have been working together in the residence for two years. There are six of them and along with Sherley Koteen, special assistant to the vice president, they manage the house. Koteen and the chief mess specialist, Elias "Rod" Rodriguez, plan the menus.
Koteen is also responsible for all of the functions held at the house -- a combination of two White House positions, social secretary and chief usher. Before she was hired in 1977, the house was run on a catch-as-catch-can basis with staff from Mrs. Mondale's office and some volunteers.
The 1891 Victorian mansion (owned by the Navy) looks looks enormous, partly because of its wide sweeping south side porch, its turrets and towers. But the rooms for entertaining are not particularly large as official Washington goes. The dining room can accommodate no more than 40 -- which is the most the kitchen can handle for a sit-down dinner. It contains a commercial stove, but only two ovens, a small speed dishwasher, three refrigerators (one for the Mondales' personal food), two freezers, a standard size sink, a large work table in the middle of the room and two microwave ovens.
Access to the dining room is a problem. A small dumbwaiter and a narrow staircase make it difficult to provide efficient service and piping hot food. Both lead to a small butler's pantry, which is so close to the dining room that the butlers have to whisper.
The less than ideal working conditions for the Naval personnel (all of whom volunteer for the duty) do not seem to affect the quality of the food: reputed to be some of the best in twon.
And it looks attractive -- like the green beans in "napkin rings" made of carrots. The staff figures they've made about "two million carrot rings" since they've been on duty with the Mondales. And probably "a billion rolls." "Ed's rolls," another regular dinner feature, are named for their creator, Emilio Edora.
Said a first-time observer of the kitchen scene during preparations for the dinner: "The hand work is just staggering. I wouldn't even do this for my best friends."
The dinner for the Regents involved 30 persons, and was rather simple, Rodriguez insisted, because it was Sunday. Dinner began with a shrimp and carrot bisque, using the centers and leftover carrot pieces from the rings, plus chicken stock Koteen had brought from her freezer at home. The main course was the filet of beef. It was wrapped in bacon and had marinated in the soy-garlic-lemon mixture all day. The green beans in carrots rings, cheese-stuffed baked potatoes and Ed's rolls were served with it. The salad of greens and avocado had a mustard dressing.
For dessert there was an orange custard with Grand Marnier and rolled lace cookies dipped in chocolate and nuts. Before dinner the guests were served a white wine from Italy. A 1976 Burgundy accompanied the main course. Toasts were made with French champagne. (A complete record of every menu is kept so guests don't get served the same thing twice.)
While the staff were putting the finishing touches on the preparations -- rolling lace cookies and dipping the ends in chocolate, scooping out carrot rings, stringing beans and wrapping filets in bacon -- Koteen was arranging the flowers on each of the three round tables and putting down the place cards.
The tables were set with the silver, china and crystal Betty Ford had chosen, but never used; place plates in Castleton china with gold rims and a wide blue border, the vice-presidential seal in gold in the middle of the cream colored plates; gold rimmed Lenox crystal, etched with the official seal; Gorham Strausberg flat silver. The tables were covered with white linen floor-length cloths with overlays of navy chintz. The ubiquitous gold ballroom chairs were rented from Ridgewell, which also supplies butlers as needed.
By 5 p.m., the kitchen was quite, all advance preparation had been completed. It didn't get busy again until 6:30. By 7 the Secret Service was in place; an Army Band pianist was playing background music. At 7:30 the first guests were arriving.
The soup was put on to warm at 7:40 and Koteen was switching around place cards when two guests called to say they couldn't come. By 8 o'clock, when the guests were ready to sit down to dinner, four still had not arrived. The kitchen was concerned that the main course would be overdone. Eventually the missing guests arrived. Two had locked themselves inside their hotel room. The other couple had been robbed as they walked from their train through Union Station.
Following the dessert and toasts, coffee was served in the drawing room and shortly thereafter the guests were on their way home.
(Makes 48 to 60 rolls)
1/4 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
1 package dry yeast
1 cup milk, scalded
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
4 cups flour
2 or 3 egg whites, lightly beaten
Fine, dry bread crumbs
Dissolve yeast in water and let sit for 3 to 5 minutes. Meanwhile, scald milk. Stir in butter until it is melted. Stir in sugar and salt and cool. Then stir in yeast. Combine mixture with flour and eggs in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Cover and allow to rise in warm place until double in bulk, about 2 hours. Punch dough down and allow to rise again until double, about 30 minutes.
Oil hands, punch down down and gather it up. Place on floured board and knead until smooth, just a few minutes. Shape into ball and cut dough into eight equal pieces. Roll each piece into a long strip and cut each strip into 6 or 8 pieces.
Dip top of each piece in beaten egg white and then in bread crumbs. Place, crumb-side up on greased baking sheets. Cover and allow to rise again, 30 to 45 minutes. Bake at 400 degrees in the middle of the oven for 10 to 12 minutes, until bottoms are golden and tops are lightly browned.
These freeze well and may be reheated before serving.
GREEN BEANS IN CARROT RINGS
It's easier to buy the ingredients for this recipe by the piece rather than by the pound. Allow 3 carrot "rings" and 12 green beans per person.
8 large carrots, approximately
70 young fresh green beans
Boiling chichen stock
Salt and pepper to taste
Scrape the carrots. At the top, slice off a piece 3/4 inch thick and depending on the diameter of the carrots at the top, slice off one or two more 3/4 inch pieces. Using a melon baller or slim vegetable peeler, remove the center of the carrot piece. Make the hole as large as possible without breaking the ring. Make 18 carrot rings. Cook them in boiling salted water 2 or 3 minutes; drain.
Meanwhile, wash and cut off tips of green beans. When carrot rings have been parboiled, fill the center of each with four green beans. Cook these green bean packages in boiling chicken stock to cover, partially covered with lid. Reduce heat and simmer until green beans are tender, about 15 minutes, depending on size and maturity of beans. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
MUSTARD VINAIGRETTE SALAD DRESSING
(Makes 1 cup)
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3/4 cup olive oil (scant)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
5 teaspoons white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon or more pressed garlic
1/4 teaspoon each dried basil, thyme or 1/2 teaspoon fresh
1/8 teaspoon dried tarragon or 1/4 teaspoon fresh
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in blender and work until well blended.
SHRIMP AND CARROT BISQUE
(6 to 8 servings)
2 pounds shrimp cooked in chicken broth to cover with celery stalk, onion slice and lemon squeeze
2 pounds chopped carrots
1/4 cup sliced mushrooms
2 tablespoons butter
4 cups chicken stock
3/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup heavy cream
Salt to taste
Cook the shrimp only until they boil; drain. Chop shrimp, reserving a few whole for garnish. Saute carrots and mushrooms in butter until carrots are tender. Add chopped shrimp, chicken stock and cook 2 or 3 minutes. Add the wine, cream, salt, cayenne and lemon. Adjust seasonings and serve hot garnished with whole shrimp.
BAKED ORANGE CUSTARD
(5 or 6 servings)
1 cup heavy cream
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup orange juice
1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange rind
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
Grand Marnier, orange segments and crystallized violets for garnish
Combine the cream, eggs, orange juice and rind, sugar and salt and blend well. Pour mixture into 5 or 6 individual greased oven proof dishes, like custard cups, and place cups in pan of hot water. Bake at 325 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes, until knife insterted in center comes out clean. Refrigerate until well chilled. Using sharp knife, loosen custard from cups and invert on serving plate. Drizzle each with Grand Marnier, decorate with orange segments and a crystallized violet.
1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/3 cup melted butter
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 tablespoons white corn syrup
Melted semi-sweet chocolate for dipping
Chopped nuts for dipping
Sift together flour, baking powder and sugar. Add oats, cream, butter, vanilla and corn syrup. Mix until well blended. Drop slightly heaped 1/4 teaspoon of batter onto ungresed baking sheets. Drop cookies to allow 4 inches between them (they spread.) Bake at 375 degrees for about 4 to 6 minutes (check after 4 minutes) until lightly browned. Let stand about 30 seconds before removing from pan and rolling up like cigarette.
If cookies become too hard to remove or roll, return to oven briefly to soften jut for a few seconds. Dip both ends of rolled cookies in melted chocolate and then in nuts.
A recipe from the Vice President's personal file for his favorite kind of food -- Italian.
FETTUCINE A LA PIEMONTO MON DALE
1/4 pound whipped butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup freshly grated imported parmesan cheese
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
1 tablespoon pimiento, finely cut
6 to 8 quarts water
1 tablespoon salt
1 pound fettucine noodle
1 canned white truffle, sliced very thin or finely chopped (optional)
Cream butter by beating vigorously against sides of a heavy bowl with a wooden spoon until it is light and fluffy. Beat in the cream, a little at a time, and then, a few tablespoons at a time, beat in grated cheese. Now add the garlic, parsley and pimiento. Cover the bowl and set aside -- in the refrigerator if the sauce is not to used at once. If you do refrigerate the sauce, be sure to bring it to room temperature before tossing it with the fettucine.
Set a large serving bowl or casserole in a 250 degree oven to heat while you cook the fettucine. Bring the water and salt to a bubbling boil in a large soup pot or kettle. Drop in the fettucine and stir it gently with a wooden fork for a few moments to prevent the strands from sticking to one another or to the bottom of the pot. Boil over high heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 8 minutes, or until pasta is tender. (Test by tasting: it should be soft but al dente -- that is slightly resistent to the bite.) Immediately drain the fettucine into a colander and lift the strands with 2 forks to make sure it is thorougly drained. Transfer at once to the hot serving bowl.
Add creamed butter-cheese mixture and toss with the fettucine until every strand is well coated. Toss and season generously with salt and pepper. Stir in the optional truffle. Serve the fettucine at once. Pass extra grated cheese in a separate bowl.