New Canaan boy dines with First Lady
Updated 6:34 pm, Tuesday, July 9, 2013
WASHINGTON -- John Breitfelder, 9, of New Canaan, had lunch at the White House with First Lady Michelle Obama on Tuesday as the Connecticut winner of the First Lady's 2013 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge.
John won with his recipe for quinoa risotto with shrimp and kale.
He joined the winners from the other 49 states to celebrate at the Kids' "State Dinner" at the White House.
The Healthy Lunchtime Challenge invited families to create an original lunchtime recipe that is healthy, affordable, and delicious, following the nutritional guidelines of MyPlate. The winners were chosen by a panel of judges from Epicurious, the Department of Education, and the Department of Agriculture.
Mrs. Obama welcomed the winners to the East Room of the White House and told them that the lunch closely resembled an official state dinner.
"You guys should really know that this is what it's like to be a part of an official state dinner,'' she said. "We set this event up and we mirrored it exactly to what people experience when we host world leaders. We were in this very room -- that receiving line you had to sit through -- stand through, we do that. So it takes a little patience, being at the White House. But you guys are phenomenal. We are so proud of you all."
Later, President Obama dropped by the "Kids' State Dinner" and told the young chefs that he and Mrs. Obama "could not be prouder of you."
"Food can be fun, it can be healthy," Obama said. "You are setting up habits that are going to be great your entire life."
The president joked that he's not much of a cook. "(In) my family, when they cooked vegetables, they were all boiled." He has since learned that healthy food can also taste good, he said.
Earlier, Mrs. Obama had given guests permission to eat food, which included spring rolls from North Carolina, with their fingers.
"Michelle never said to me I could just pick up something with my fingers at a state dinner. That's not fair," the president joked.
Breitfelder gave this explanation for his cooking interest: "My mom's side of the family is Italian and we all love cooking together. For years, my mom has been hiding vegetables in our risottos. Now that I've caught on to her sneaky ways, I've kicked it up a notch and added quinoa in place of rice. This is now one of my favorites -- and it's gluten-free, too!''
For dessert, John recommends a bowl of raspberries and blueberries swirled around vanilla Greek yogurt as "a fun red, white, and blue treat!"
Rep. Jim Himes, D-Greenwich, saluted John for being one of the winners in the contest.
"It is so important that our children eat the nutritional meals they need to become healthy and strong, and I am pleased to see the next generation of young chefs making their own healthy choices," Himes said, in offering his congratulations.
Breitfelder's winning recipe:
John's recipe calls for 3 tablespoons olive oil; 3 cloves garlic, minced; 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined; salt and freshly ground black pepper; 1/2 yellow onion, diced; 1 cup well-rinsed quinoa; 2 1/4 cups chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth; 1 cup chopped kale; 1/2 cup frozen peas; 1/2 cup frozen corn; 1 medium plum tomato, chopped; 1/4 cup grated Parmesan.
1. In a large saute pan over moderate heat, warm 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the garlic and shrimp, along with a pinch of salt and pepper, and saute, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp turn pink, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Do not clean pan.
2. In the same saute pan over moderate heat, warm the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the onion and saute until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the quinoa and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 1 minute. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
Add the kale, peas, corn, and tomato and cook until the quinoa is tender, about 5 minutes. Add the cooked shrimp and gently stir to combine. Add the Parmesan, and season with salt and pepper. Serve hot!
(317 calories; 21g protein; 30g carbohydrates; 12g fat (2.6g saturated fat); 383mg sodium)