"Recipes from the Chef's Kitchen"

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Russell Cronkhite is an accomplished chef, pastry chef and baker.
Through his remarkable twelve year "tour of duty" and Blair House Chef,
he served three presidents, four secretaries of state, and six chiefs of protocol.
His articles appear on a regular basis in the weekly Food section
of the Washington Post.  This is his cookbook.

(Serves 6)

This thirst-quenching soup is the perfect starter for any summer luncheon or Sunday
brunch especially when garnished with melon balls, fresh mint leaves, and a
dollop of sour cream.  For a sensational flavor surprise, add
freshly chopped basil with diced cucumber and chives.
Or, serve as a dessert topped with a scoop of fruit
sherbet – raspberry is outstanding!

1)   cup Sugar
2)   2 tbs. Honey
3)   1 tbs. Lime Juice
4)   1 cup Water
5)   cup fresh Mint Leaves
6)   4 cups peeled, seeded, and diced Cantaloupe, from a 1 pound Melon

1)    In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, honey and the lime juice with
        the water.
2)   Cook over a medium heat until the sugar is dissolved.
3)   Add in the mint leaves and simmer for 1 minute.
4)   Remove the pan from the heat and let the mint leaves steep in the liquid
       until the liquid has cooled to room temperature.
5)   When the syrup is cooled, strain out the mint leaves by pouring the syrup
       through a fine sieve, pressing the leaves with a rubber spatula to extract
       the flavor.
6)   Meanwhile, cut the melon in half and remove the seeds.
7)   If melon balls are your choice for a garnish, use a melon ball cutter for
       perfect round balls and reserve them refrigerated in a small covered bowl.
8)   Using a thin sharp knife, cut each half into 3 slices, carefully cut away the
       rind and cut each slice into chunks.
9)   You should have about 4 cups of melon.
10) Put the melon in a stainless mixing bowl and pour the strained syrup over
       the melon.
11) Allow the melon to stand in the syrup for 20 minutes when the sugar from
       the syrup will pull some of the liquid from the melon and infuse the melon
       with the mint flavor.
12) Puree in a food processor and chill, covered, in the refrigerator.

(Serves 6)

Salmon is the perfect choice for poaching, and poaching ahead, because the rich
oils help it to stay moist and full of flavor. Shallow-poaching fish in the
oven is simple and easy. And this bright summer succotash offers this
dish that incredible balance of color, texture, and flavor.

For the Salmon Mousse
1)   4 oz. Salmon Fillet
2)   2 tbs. White Wine or dry Vermouth
3)   2 thin slices White Bread - crusts removed
4)   1 Egg White
5)   3 tbs. Cream
6)   Pinch of Salt and ground White Pepper

1)   To prepare the salmon...cut the ends of the salmon to use for the mousse.
2)   Carefully slice the fillet through the center and into 2 thin pieces.
3)   Lay each thin fillet onto a clean work surface lined with plastic wrap.
4)   Place a second piece of plastic wrap on top of the fillet and pound it out
       evenly with the smooth end of a meat tenderizer or flat side of a cleaver.
5)   Season the salmon fillets with a little salt and sprinkle with fresh dill.
6)   To prepare the mousse...grind the ends of the salmon in a food processor.
       Then season with salt and white pepper and add in the wine or vermouth
       and blend.
7)   Cut the white bread into pieces and moisten with the egg white.
8)   Blend the bread mixture with the salmon until smooth.
9)   Then, with the motor running, slowly pour in the cream until fully

For the Roulades
1)   One 16 oz. Salmon Fillet
2)   2 tbs. freshly chopped Dill
3)   1 Leek - white part only - sliced
4)   1 Rib Celery - sliced
5)   1 Bay Leaf
6)   1 cup White Wine or dry Vermouth
7)   Salmon Mousse (see recipe above)

1)   Evenly spread a layer of the mousse on the fillet and roll tightly in the
       plastic wrap.
2)   Seal the ends and roll in foil.
3)   Place into a ceramic dish with the leeks, celery and bay leaf...then pour in
       the white wine or vermouth.
4)   Tightly cover the dish with plastic film and then with aluminum foil.
5)   Bake the salmon in a 325 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes.
6)   The top of the foil will puff up as the salmon is steamed or shallow-poached.
7)   To check for doneness...remove the salmon from the oven, carefully lift away
       the edge of the foil and check the temperature by inserting a thermometer
       into the center the roulades.
8)   It should register between 130 and 135 degrees for fully cooked and moist
9)   When the salmon is done, allow the steam to escape and cool to room
10) Re-seal and refrigerate.
11) Remove the salmon 20 minutes before serving and allow it to return to
       room temperature for the best flavor.

For the Dressing
1)   cup Salad Oil
2)   3 tbs. Dijon-style Mustard
3)   3 tbs. Cider Vinegar
4)   3 tbs. Sugar
5)   tsp. Celery Seeds
6)   tsp. Salt

1)   In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine all the ingredients.
2)   Bring to a simmer.

For the Succotash
1)   2 cups freshly cooked Corn Kernels
2)   2 cups freshly cooked Lima Beans
3)   2 cups sliced Summer Squash
4)   cup thinly sliced Sweet Onions
5)   1 tbs. chopped fresh Dill
6)   1 head Bibb or Butter Lettuce - cleaned (optional)
7)   The Dressing (see recipe above)

1)   In a large bowl...combine the corn, lima beans, squash, sweet onions, and
       the chopped dill...as well as the lettuce.
2)   Reserve 4 tablespoons of the dressing to drizzle over the finished dish,
       and pour the remaining warm dressing over the succotash.
4)   Toss well, and let stand at room temperature until service.

To Serve
1)   Arrange the succotash in the center of chilled places.
2)   Place the fillets on top of the succotash and drizzle with the extra dressing.

(Serves 6)

I often made shortcakes at Blair House for special guests that I knew would
enjoy a true all-American treat—these are very special.  They are tender,
buttery, scrumptious and homey—uncomplicated and sublime when
served with the fresh strawberry sauce and mounds of sweetened cream!

Strawberry Sauce
1)   1 dry pint Strawberries
2)   cup granulated Sugar

1)   Wash and then hull the strawberries...slice into halves.
2)   Bring the berries and sugar to a simmer in a saucepan over medium heat
       and stir continuously until the sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes.
3)   Simmer undisturbed until the berries begin to fall apart, about 20 minutes.
4)   Then remove from heat and strain through a sieve into a small stainless
5)   Use a wooden spoon to press on the berries, scraping hard to extract all
       of the pulp...leave the solids in the sieve.
6)   Scrape the pulp from the outside of the sieve and add to the sauce, then
       cover and refrigerate.

Poppyseed Shortcakes
1)   1 tbs. Poppyseeds
2)   1 tbs. pure Vanilla Extract
3)   1 cup all-purpose Flour
4)   1 cup cake Flour
5)   1 tbs. Baking Powder
6)   tsp. Salt
7)   10 tbs. (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted Butter
8)   6 tbs. superfine Sugar
9)   1 large Egg
10) 1/3 cup Heavy Cream

1)   Warm the vanilla extract over low heat in a small stainless pan or in a
       glass dish in the microwave.
2)   Add the poppyseeds to the warm vanilla and soak them for 2 hours.
       This will soften the poppyseeds and allow them to absorb the vanilla flavor.
3)   Preheat the oven to 425F.
4)   Sift the all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder and salt into a mixing
5)   Slice the butter into 1-inch pieces and scatter the pieces over the top of the
       flour mixture.  Sprinkle the superfine sugar and vanilla-soaked poppy seeds
6)   Cut all of the ingredients together with a pastry cutter until the mixture
       resembles coarse crumbly meal.
7)   Combine the egg and cream in a separate bowl and whisk until frothy, about
       1 minute.  Then add to the crumbly mixture and stir until the dough holds
       together and attains the consistency of moist biscuit dough.
8)   Knead gently until smooth, about 1 minute.
9)   Dust the dough with a little flour and form into a log that is about 6 inches in
       length and 2 inches in diameter.
10) Place the log on a clean, lightly floured work surface and cut into 6 even slices.
       Then gently reshape into flat rounds and pat smooth.
11) Brush the tops with a little heavy cream and sprinkle with a little granulated
12) Finally, transfer the shortcakes to an ungreased baking sheet and bake until
       fully risen, 12 to 15 minutes—they should double in size and be light and
13) Cool completely before serving on the baking sheet.

Shortcake Filling (Whipped Cream)
1)   1 dry pint fresh Berries
2)   Granulated Sugar to taste
3)   1 cups Heavy Whipping Cream
4)   6 tbs. granulated Sugar
5)   Powdered Sugar for dusting

1)   Rince the berries, then place in a stainless mixing bowl and sweeten to
       taste with sugar.
2)   Allow the berries to rest at room temperature for 20 minutes, so that the
       berries absorb the sweetness of the sugar and the juices combine to form a
3)   Combine the cream and the sugar in the chilled bowl of a mixer fitted with
       a balloon whisk.
4)   Mix on medium speed for 3 to 4 minutes to dissolve the sugar, then whip on
       high until stiff peaks hold.

To Serve
1)   Use a thin serrated knife to split each shortcake horizontally in half.
2)   Place the bottom layers on dessert plates and spoon a little strawberry
       sauce over each, letting it run onto the plate.
3)   Follow with a dollop of whipped cream.
4)   Divide the sweetened berries between the shortcakes and drizzle a little
       of the natural syrup over each.
5)   Mound with more whipped cream, then gently place the biscuit tops over
       the whipped cream.
6)   Drizzle the remaining sauce around the assembled shortcakes and dust
       the tops with powdered sugar.
7)   If desired, garnish with rosettes of the whipped cream a whole fresh
8)   Serve immediately.

Good Eating!!!