The tofu and asparagus were marinated in some olive oil, soy sauce, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, and a dash of balsamic vinegar. Then I grilled them on the grill pan. I know. It’s complicated.
For the potato salad, I had about a half cup of leftover homemade walnut-basil pesto that I mixed into a quick dressing with olive oil, white wine vinegar, and a little water to get to the desired texture. This was tossed with big chunks of boiled red potato, a healthy handful of FRESH peas (I’m the only one in this house who cares, but I tasted one at the market and became obsessed), and some steamed baby kale. Easy peasy.
I did my research: our president digs healthy food, or at least knows enough to say so for the press (you can’t be all, mmm, McDonald’s! when you’re married to Michelle). He digs green vegetables, healthy fats, and spice. Other than the salmon, I think Barack and I could get along fine at a dinner table… but I’d really need to hire people to clean my house before he arrived. We are messy, lazy people. Bike gear on the Ikea dining table and errant piles of rabbit hay and fuzz doesn’t exactly scream “Hail to the Chief.”
Regardless, here’s my State Dinner menu, featuring local California purveyors:
Peanut sauce and pea shoots are intended to evoke Southeast Asian cuisine – not quite Indonesia, sure, but making it my own. Plus I don’t want to over-complicate the cooking if the president’s at my house. Surely I’d have something to say to him, too, and not just about the veggies. Presidents don’t really go eat random citizens’ cooking without some ulterior motive, do they? What’s the big idea, here?!
But does it matter? It’s all a fun hypothetical, anyway. Really I’m just cooking this for myself and for my boyfriend; these are foods we already enjoy, and we wouldn’t turn away someone we generally like without good reason. Now, if the prompt suggested hosting Donald Trump or Ted Cruz, this would be another story…
And for me, this is a pretty damn good weeknight dinner. I mean. Those grill lines on the tofu! Damn, that is a lot more attention to detail than your average meal in my house.
The peanut sauce could be spicier/tangier–and that would be easy enough to adjust, even now–but the veggies and tofu turned out well. The tofu marinated in dish of red curry paste before hitting the grill. I stir-fried a fresno chile, minced ginger, yellow onion, broccoli, purple cauliflower, green cabbage, zucchini, sweet red peppers, and a handful of fresh oyster mushrooms in coconut oil with a splash of soy sauce; the pea shoots were *just* wilted in a separate pan with six cloves of garlic and toasted sesame oil.