On Tuesday I had the opportunity to attend a beautiful luncheon in Washington DC. It was a special luncheon hosted by the Congressional Club, a bi-partisan organization of spouses of members of Congress, both past and present. It also includes spouses of Supreme Court Justices and the President’s Cabinet. In 1912 the Congressional Club had a breakfast, served around noon, in honor of the wife of the President of the United States.
The breakfast now has become the First Ladies’ Luncheon and has been held almost every year since its inception. It is always beautiful, with over 1000 women in their pretty spring dresses, some even with hats, and a few brave men attending! I was so happy to take my sisters, daughters, and granddaughter Caroline.
We were all disappointed that Melania Trump was unable to come this year, but we were thankful for her successful surgery and prayed for her speedy recovery.
Mrs. Pence represented her well, and talked about the First Lady’s dedication to children. She told us touching stories about Mrs. Trump meeting with children at children’s hospitals, and visiting with children after Hurricane Harvey. She said she watched as children flocked to Mrs. Trump, and how she witnessed her easy kindness and compassion. She talked about how she uses her platform as First Lady to raise awareness of opioid abuse, especially its effects on infants and unborn babies.
Entertainment at the luncheon is always wonderful, starting with the Presentation of Colors by the Marine Corps Band. It was moving to hear Lee Greenwood sing “God Bless the USA.” Caroline especially enjoyed this because she sang that song for our Ice Cream Social last year. And we were also entertained by singer-songwriter Billy Dean. He sang us a song he had written the night before, to honor the First Lady, entitled “Be Best.” I know she will love it.
The food and flowers for the luncheon had a southwest theme, based on the chairman of the luncheon’s home state of Arizona. The menu featured gazpacho with shrimp, carnitas with salsa, black beans and baby roasted vegetables. Of course I don’t have the recipes they used but I thought I would share my version! This gazpacho recipe comes from my brother-in-law Chris and is so good in the summer.
4 large ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped
2 cups tomato juice
2 green peppers
2 large sweet onions
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup black olives
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
6 stalks celery
Salt and pepper to taste
Cilantro for garnish
Chop each vegetable separately. Combine all and refrigerate. The longer it stands the better it tastes. Serve chilled.
This recipe for Brisket Tacos is one of my favorites. It is made in the crockpot and cooks very slowly. Then it is served on warm tacos with a delicious salsa made with fresh peaches and cucumbers. It is perfect mid-summer when the fresh produce is available. My granddaughter Izzy likes it so much, she calls it “food truck quality!” And for her that is the ultimate compliment!
Beef Brisket Tacos
1 medium onion, chopped
2-3 slices bacon, cut in 1 inch pieces
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
Beef brisket (3 to 4 lb.)
1 cup chicken broth
3-4 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon oregano
8 inch flour tortillas
Place onion and bacon in slow cooker. Rub salt and pepper into trimmed brisket and place it on top of onions and bacon. Mix the next 7 ingredients together and pour over brisket. Cook in crockpot on low for about 7 hours, or until meat is fork-tender.
Put brisket into baking dish and cover with foil to keep warm. Put sauce in saucepan and cook to reduce to about 1/2 cup. Stir in the vinegar.
Slice or coarsely chop the brisket.
Put some meat mixture in each warmed tortilla. Drizzle with sauce and top with peach salsa.
2-3 fresh peaches
1/2 cup diced cucumber
1 jalapeño pepper, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons lime juice
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1/4 teaspoon salt
Mix together and serve over tacos.
Fran DeWine is a Cedarville resident, wife of Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and guest columnist. Her next cookbook, Fran DeWine and Tina Husted’s Family Favorites will come out this summer.