Menlo Park girl to lunch with Michelle Obama

A Menlo Park girl is among 54 children from across the nation who’ll lunch with Michelle Obama at the White House on Tuesday, having won a recipe contest that’s part of the First Lady’s “Let’s Move!” anti-obesity initiative for kids.

The contest, in cooperation with Epicurious and the departments of Education and Agriculture, invited parents to work with their children ages 8 to 12 to create lunchtime recipes that are healthy, affordable, original and delicious. One winner from each state plus three territories and the District of Columbia, culled from more than 1,300 entries, will join the First Lady for a healthy lunch featuring a selection of the winning recipes and a performance by singer Rachel Crow, followed by a visit to the White House kitchen garden.

Rose ScottRose Scott, 12, was California’s winner with her recipe for pork-and-tofu lettuce cups. She explained that her recipe was inspired by her family’s need.

“When my little brother Galen was a baby, he was allergic to a lot of foods. He couldn’t eat wheat, dairy, or eggs. That meant no pizza or macaroni and cheese. My mom spent a lot of time trying to find nutritious foods that he could eat,” she said. “She used to serve a pork and tofu dish over rice. I was inspired by that dish when I made this recipe. It can be served with brown rice, but I like to eat it with lots of veggies and sliced oranges on the side. You can also make this with ground beef or turkey.”

Read the recipe, after the jump…

Pork and Tofu Lettuce Cups

Makes 6 servings

3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons white or rice vinegar
2 teaspoons grated ginger
2 teaspoons sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 pound lean ground pork
1 block firm tofu, drained well and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 heads romaine lettuce, cleaned and separated into leaves
Toppings: 1 bag broccoli slaw (undressed), plus bean sprouts, fresh cilantro, fresh mint, and lime slices

1. Make the sauce: In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, sesame oil, cornstarch, vinegar, ginger, sugar, and garlic.
2. In a medium sauté pan over moderately high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the ground pork and cook, stirring to break up the meat, until brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain any excess oil from the pan then add the sauce to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, until thickened, about 3 minutes. Add the tofu and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes.
3. To serve, scoop several heaping tablespoons of the pork and tofu mixture into each romaine lettuce “cup” then top with broccoli slaw, bean sprouts, cilantro, mint, and lime slices.
180 calories; 22g protein; 5g carbohydrates; 7g fat (1.5g saturated fat); 283mg

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.