White House Recipes 

On Inauguration Day I can’t help but think about all of the “changing of the guard” details that are being put in to motion in preparation for the Trump Family occupying the White House.  I had opportunity to meet a former White House Chef, Sam Morgante, during the Fabulous Food Show this year.  He and I have stayed in contact and he was gracious enough to share some of the favorite recipes among the many Presidents he has served.  

Cowboy Steak

Three-peppercorn sauce

• 1 1/2 teaspoons oil

• 1/3 cup peeled and diced carrot

• 1/3 cup diced Spanish onion

• 2 tablespoons thinly sliced leek (white part only)

• 2 tablespoons chopped shallot

• 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped garlic

• 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed mixed peppercorns (black, green and pink)

• 2 sprigs fresh thyme

• 1 small bay leaf

• 2 tablespoons Cognac

• 2 tablespoons red wine

• 1 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

• 2 cups low-sodium beef broth

• Salt

• Freshly ground black pepper



1. Heat a small, heavy-bottom saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the oil, then the carrot, onion, leek, shallot, garlic and peppercorns and sauté until the vegetables are tender, 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the thyme and bay leaf and cook for 30 seconds.

2. Stir in the Cognac and red wine. Bring to a boil and cook until reduced by one-third, about 3 minutes.

3. Add the vinegar and broth and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer until reduced by one-third, about 30 minutes.

4. Strain the sauce through a fine-mesh strainer set over a bowl and discard the solids. Season to taste with salt and pepper and keep covered in a warm place until needed.


Grill the beef and assembly: Recommend ONE TEMPERATURE ONLY

• 10 -16 oz. (size optional) Cowboy Steak, Trimmed and seasoned

• Salt

• Freshly ground black pepper

• 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided


Three-peppercorn sauce

1. Begin with steaks at room temperature.

2. Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Season generously with 1 teaspoon salt and one-half teaspoon pepper, or to taste.

3. On a large in-fired broiler, brown the steak on one side, criss-cross, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat.

4. Place the beef on a rack in a roasting pan; Roast the beef until desired temp, roughly 20 minutes, longer for well-done. Remove beef to rest.

5. While the steak is resting, gather a sauce pan to the stove top over medium-high heat. Ladle one-half cup of the sauce and cook, gathering any flavorful bits of Au Jus from the resting meat. Heat the sauce over high heat and boil for 2 minutes. Strain the liquid through a fine-mesh strainer into the rest of the sauce.

6. To serve, dress the beef onto or aside your choice of starch. Spoon sauce over each serving and pass any remaining sauce alongside.

 I got ambitious and tried the “Freedom Chocolate” recipe he sent me. Evidently a favorite of President George W. Bush’s.    Worth.  Every Calorie.

Chocolate Freedom (911 Memorial Dessert)

President George W. Bush’s favorite

• 6 (1-ounce) squares bittersweet chocolate

• 2 (1-ounce) squares semisweet chocolate

• 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 stick) butter

• 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

• 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

• 3 large eggs

• 3 egg yolks

• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

• 2 tablespoons orange liqueur


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Grease 6 (6-ounce) custard cups. Melt the chocolates and butter in the microwave, or in a double boiler. Add the flour and sugar to chocolate mixture. Stir in the eggs and yolks until smooth. Stir in the vanilla and orange liqueur. Divide the batter evenly among the custard cups. Place in the oven and bake for 14 minutes. The edges should be firm but the center will be runny. Run a knife around the edges to loosen and invert onto dessert plates.


• Betty Crocker Lava Cake Mix 1 Box

• Vanilla Ice Cream 1 pt

• Fresh Raspberries 1 pt

• Fresh Black Berries 1 pt

• Fresh Blueberries 1 pt

• Raspberry Coulee 1 bt

• White Chocolate 1 bt

• Bittersweet Chocolate Chips 2 bags

• Wafer 1 flat

• Cooking Spray 1 can

• Cocoa Powder 1 co

• Tin or regular soufflé dishes

 South West Chicken (1-3 Servings)

• Chicken Breast​​​​1 lb

• Garlic Minced​​​​1 tbsp

• Cilantro Fresh​​​​¼ cup chopped

• Olive Oil​​​​​¼ cup

• Kosher salt​​​​1 tsp

• Black Pepper​​​​¼ tsp Grinder

BBQ Sauce

• Brand name w/ honey​​​½ cup​​

• Brown Sugar​​​​¼ cup

• Apple Cider Vinegar​​​4 tbsp

• Liquid Smoke​​​​1tsp

• Molasses​​​​2 tbsp

• Dijon Mustard​​​​1 tsp

Pico de gallo

• Tomato Fresh Diced​​​1 each

• Roasted Sweet Corn​​​1 ear

• Jalapeño Fresh Diced​​​1 pepper

• Red Onion Diced​​​​1 tbsp

• Cilantro Fresh Chopped​​​3 tsp

• Olive Oil​​​​​4 tbsp

• Lime Juice​​​​2 tsp

• Kosher salt​​​​Dash

• Black Pepper​​​​Dash


• Monterey Jack Cheese​​​1 Slice

Toast Points

• French Baguette​​​​3 slice


Step #1 Take chicken breast and marinade with chopped cilantro, garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Step #2 Prepare modified BBQ sauce by adding all ingredients together and stir. Hold.

Step #3 Prepare Pico de gallo by dicing all vegetable uniformly. Roast corn in oven with oilive oil and salt until golden brown. Take diced tomatoes, jalopenos (W/O Seeds), onions, cilantro, corn, olive oil, lime juice, kosher salt, and pepper and combine in a bowl and let set for a few minutes.

Step #4 On a in fired broiler or sautee pan brown chicken with olive oil on both sides until desired temperature. Finish with BBQ sauce as a glaze. Hold for a least 5 minutes to let chicken rest.

Step #5 Slice chicken bias . Take pico de gallo and cover the chicken slices. Place a small slice of monterey jack cheese over the Pico de gallo.

Step#6 Place finished chicken under a broiler for a few seconds until cheese is golden brown, or if using a sautee pan place back into the pan an cover until the cheese is melted.

Step #7 Arrange chicken with a grilled bagette and serve on desired plate.

The dreamer in me thinks of all the important and influential conversations that have taken place over meals just like these prepared with precision, care, patriotism and love.    


































The Fabulous Food Show

My favorite food event of the year is always the Fabulous Food Show, at the I-X Center.  It shines a national spotlight on all that the Cleveland food scene has to offer, to 30,000 people over the course of a weekend.  Vendors, purveyors, artisans, chefs, foodies, students and avid eaters gather for three days celebrating all things FOOD.


This year they offered new things like a Baking Pavilion, Cocktail School and Friday night fund raising event, Savor Cleveland, to raise money for No Kid Hungry.  It was a fun evening attended by some of the celebrity chefs in town for this dynamic event.  The floor was also peppered with samples, and special offers for everything from salsa, to knives, to artisan cheese.  The neighborhood stage was a great showcase for local talent to demo techniques and recipes.  And the main stage offered presentations and Q&A from celebrity chefs like Aaron Sanchez, Daphne Oz, Michael Symon, Damaris Phillips and Melissa D’Arabian.

Once again I was honored to participate on a main stage event.  CLE Cooks for a Cause was expanded this year to include 8 teams of two, a local celeb and a local chef-going head to head in a “Chopped” style cooking competition.  Each team selected a charity to compete for.  The show itself donated $500 to each of our charities, plus donated the proceeds from reserved seating.  I was playing for the Hunger Network of Greater Cleveland.

It was a rematch.  Chef Matt Mytro, of Flour, and I went back at it against Matt Fish, of Melt Bar & Grilled and Jeremiah Widmer of Q104 FM. We’d been ribbing each other for the better part of the year since the last time we cooked against each other at the Fabulous Food Show last year.  But Mytro and I wanted to take the title away from Team Melt.

We were given beef as a protein and the chefs set about rapidly raiding the back stage pantry for something they could pull off in 30 minutes, and still impress judges like Damaris Phillips, and former White House Chef, Sam Morgante.

Chef Mytro conceived, executed and plated a beautiful sirloin steak with a celeriac puree and a punchy salad on top.  He tasked me with making a perfect meatball, and braising it in some marinara.  His bold flavors and my comfort zone worked in our favor.  WE WON!  The judges were very complimentary of Mytro’s flavors and my ability to get the meatballs done in such a quick amount of time.  It felt good to win!  (especially because Matt told me his partner threatened to take his chef’s coat away if he lost a second year in a row!)


To watch the entire competition from the perspective of the stage, click here for my Facebook Live broadcast.

I also scored, with some one on one interview time with three of the biggest celebrity chefs featured in the Fabulous Show.  It’s always an honor and a blast to talk to Cleveland’s own Iron Chef, Michael Symon.  Great to catch up with him about plans for Lolita, progress at Mabel’s and his yearly opportunity to show off the CLE culinary scene.  To watch my entire one on one with Chef Michael Symon, click here for my Facebook Live broadcast.


Chef Symon brought in fellow cast member from The Chew, Daphne Oz.  I loved visiting with her about tempting toddlers with healthy food, and her new cook book, The Happy Cook.  She is stunning in person and remarkably relatable.  To view my entire interview with Daphne Oz, click here for my Facebook live broadcast.


And one of the newest members of the Food Network family, Damaris Phillips was also in town.  Phillips, of Southern at Heart, is as sweet as pecan pie and a ton of fun.  She is a great resource for those trying to please a variety of dietary needs, especially come holiday times.  She’s a southern meat-eatin’ gal who married a vegetarian!  My entire interview with Damaris Phillips can be viewed here.

The Fabulous Food Show is my happy place (one of them) it combines the energy of the Cleveland food scene, with incredible talent, learning opportunities, cutting edge products, fan favorites and delicious food.  Mark your calendar and get there next year!