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Vegetable Soup

1-1/4 cups pinto beans, soaked overnight and drained
1 tsp. salt
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 lb. tomatoes, fresh or canned, peeled,
seeded, and chopped; juice reserved
2 ancho chilies
1 lb. mixed summer squash
4 ears corn (about 2 cups kernels)
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
2 tbsp. corn or vegetable oil
2 yellow onions, cut 1/4 inch squares
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp. red chili powder, or more to taste
8 ozs. green beans, cut into 1-inch lengths
4 ozs. jack or muenster cheese, grated
1/2 bunch cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
Whole cilantro leaves for garnish

Cook the pre-soaked beans for about 1 to 2 hours in plenty of water with the salt, bay leaf and oregano. Remove them from the heat when they are soft but not mushy, as they will continue to cook in the stew. Drain the beans, and save the broth. Prepare the tomatoes. Open the chili pods and remove the seeds and veins; then cut the chilies into narrow strips. Cut the squash into large pieces. Shave the kernels from the corn. Heat the oil in a large skillet, and saute the onions over high heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Lower the heat, add the garlic, chili powder, cumin and coriander and stir everything together. Add a little bean broth, so the chili doesn't stew for 5 minutes. Stir in the squash, corn, green beans, and chili strips along with the cooked beans and enough broth to make a fairly wet stew. Cook slowly until the vegetables are done, about 15 or 20 minutes. Taste the stew and adjust the seasoning. Stir in the cheese and chopped cilantro, and garnish with whole leaves of cilantro. Serve with cornbread or tortillas. A great one-dish meal if you have a garden or have just visited the Farmer's Market.

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Smoked Shrimp with Mango Salsa

24 shrimp (21-25 size), smoked or herb grilled, split lengthwise
2 diced mangos, very ripe
1 jalapeño chile, diced
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced

1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/4 red onion, finely chopped
1 Tbsp minced ginger

1/4 cup chopped cilantro
4 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp brown sugar

Dice all vegetables and fruit. Combine with remaining ingredients and adjust seasonings to taste. Puree 1/6 of the mixture to make spread.

Cut bread rounds and oven dry or toast. Spread puree mixture over bread rounds.

Top each round with 1/2 shrimp and some of un-puree salsa. Garnish with scallions and cilantro leaf. Makes approx. 48 tea sandwiches.

White House

Carrot Muffins

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 eggs (room temperature)
3/4 cup canola or sunflower oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup sugar

11/2 cup shredded carrot
1/2 cup coarsley chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12 muffin molds with paper cup liners. Combine flour, baking soda and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Place the eggs, oil, vanilla and sugar together in a mixing bowl. Whisk for about 5 minutes. Stir in flour mixture until combined. Stir in carrots and pecans. Fill cups 3/4 full. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean (approx 18-20 minutes). Cool in pan for about 5 minutes and invert the muffins into a rack. Makes 12 muffins.

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