Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Barack Obama, the 2010 Super Bowl Champions, and Gulf Coast Cooking at the White House

Last April, President Obama welcomed the New Orleans Saints in an East Room ceremony where he congratulated the owners, coaches, and players on their electrifying 31-17 win over the Indianapolis Colts in the 2010 Super Bowl The President then made a few remarks on why so many Americans had a soft spot for the Saints:

Look, I’m a Bears fan. I’m not going to lie. But this was a big win for the country -- not just for New Orleans -- because five years ago, this team played its entire season on the road. It didn’t have a home field. The Superdome had been ruined by Hurricane Katrina. The heartbreaking tragedies that unfolded there when it was used as a shelter from that terrible storm lingered all too fresh in a lot of people’s minds.

And back then, people didn’t even know if the team was coming back. People didn’t know if the city was coming back. Not only did the team come back -– it took its city’s hands and helped its city back on its feet. This team took the hopes and the dreams of a shattered city and placed them squarely on its shoulders. And so these guys became more than leaders in the locker room -– they became leaders of an entire region. And the victory parade that we saw earlier this year made one thing perfectly clear, that New Orleans and the New Orleans Saints are here to stay.

After his remarks, the players took a tour of the White House kitchen, where offensive tackle Zach Streif gave White House chef Sam Kass a few pointers on "Gulf Coast Cooking" while whipping up a zesty batch of Gulf Shrimp with Honey Mustard Bourbon sauce. If you're looking for a great dish to make this Super Bowl Sunday, you can't go wrong with this simple and simply delicious recipe for Zach's Gulf Shrimp and Andouille Skewers from the legendary New Orleans restaurant Commander's Palace.

For the mustard:

1/4 cup Creole mustard or other whole grain mustard
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons bourbon
1 teaspoon chipotle Tabasco sauce

Shrimp and sausage:

1 pound large Gulf shrimp peeled, deveined and tails left on
12 ounces andouille or other hot sausage cut to the same thickness as the shrimp
2 tablespoons + 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon Creole seasoning

Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl. Prepare a medium high fire on a grill or grill pan. Alternately thread the shrimp and sausage on the skewers. Rub both sides with oil and season with Creole seasoning. Place skewers on the grill and cook for 2 minutes each side until shrimp are pink and cooked through and sausages are browned. Baste the skewers with the spicy bourbon mustard during the last 30 seconds of cooking. Serve warm and enjoy!

FOOD FACT: Shortly after his inauguration in 2009, President Obama hosted a Super Bowl party in the White House Family Theatre, where he and his guests tried out special 3D effects glasses as they watched the Pittsburgh Steelers narrowly defeat the Arizona Cardinals by a score of 27-23. And when it came time for Super Bowl snacks, the president rolled up his sleeves and personally served healthy Oatmeal Raisin cookies to his invited friends and guests.

FAST FACT: More than 110 million people are expected to tune in to the Super Bowl this Sunday. When they're not busy watching the game between the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers, viewers will be bombarded by more than a hundred commercials for everything from Dr. Pepper, Doritos, Taco Bell, and Bud Light to life insurance, clothing, and cars. But these commercials don't come cheaply: each thirty second ad reportedly costs a whopping $3,000,000!