Its not very often that my wife and I are off together during the week with nothing to do. Presidents day is one of those holidays that she gets off and I don't have school so it provided us with the perfect opportunity to have a nice meal. At my wife's suggestion we decided to cook something from some of our cookbooks about the presidents.
Over the years I have collected several cookbooks, some I have gotten on trips some from relatives and others as gifts. The two we were going to use for this meal came to me from my grandmother and my wife. My grandmother gave me an old book called The First Ladies cookbook that she had picked up along the way. It gives great detail about the meals and china ware that all the first ladies had at the white house. From Martha Washington to Patricia Nixon the book gives several of the first ladies and Presidents favorite recipes. The second book was given to me by my wife and is called White H
ouse Chef By Walter Scheib and Andrew Friedman. This book is a memoir of the White house chef that served under Presidents Clinton and Bush. The book tells many stories about the Chef's experiences with both presidents and has a lot of recipes that both presidents enjoyed.
For our Presidential meal My wife picked from The First Ladies Cookbook one of President Kennedy's favorites Poulet a L'Estragon which is a chicken simmered in white wine and chicken stock with shallots and herbs that quite frankly was incredible. For a side I chose from White House Chef the Acorn Squash Gnocchi browned in butter and Asiago cheese. I had no doubt that as a whole it would turn out delicious. What I wasn't prepared for is how well the sauce that accompanied the chicken would go with the gnocchi. They both had a good amount of taragon and asiago cheese in them but combined it really did blend perfectly. I haven't perfected my gnocchi making skills so they are always a pain to make but the end result was worth it.
I had read once that Jacques Pepin was offered the job as White House chef under Kennedy but turned it down to take a job in the test kitchen of Howard Johnson's. I am sure Mr. Pepin had his reasons but I think I would have chosen differently. In celebration of the meal my wife even used our good china. I know that I will never be the President (for many reasons) but on Presidents Day I at least got to eat like one.