(CBS News) An enthusiasm for experimenting in the kitchen and a simple, self-crafted sushi salad recipe led 8-year-old Nicholas Hornbostel of Edwards, Colo., to the White House Tuesday night to attend the White House Kids' State Dinner, hosted by first lady Michelle Obama.
Hornbostel created a salad with spinach, salmon, brown rice, sesame seeds and soy sauce, among other ingredients, for himself and his mother, Monika Hornbostel, and submitted the recipe to a healthy lunchtime challenge.
"My mom wanted to eat a salad that day. I was thinking ... I wanted to eat sushi ... so I combined it together, and we ended up having it that night ... I made it up," he told CBS News' Barry Petersen about his signature salmon sushi salad.
He tweaked his recipe for the contest for kid chefs when his mother reminded him that most 8-year-olds prefer cooked fish over raw sushi. The letter announcing he was among the contest's winners read, "Your recipe was particularly impressive, as it was creative, tasted great, and most importantly was healthy, which is why it was a winner."
The contest prize granted Nicholas a trip to the White House for a tour of the garden and to an annual state dinner promoting healthy eating. His lunch partner? The first lady.
"My mom said to pretend she was someone normal so I just chatted with her, but I obviously I know she was the first lady," Nicholas said.
At the dinner, the first lady announced him and his aspirations, which include becoming a "cook and an engineer and be president too."
"That's an outstanding list," Mrs. Obama said, laughing.
Find Nicholas' Sushi Salad (PDF)recipe below:
This recipe from Nicholas Hornbostel, 8, was the Colorado winner in the Epicurious Healthy Lunchtime Challenge. He suggests serving it with oranges for dessert. Makes 4 servings.
One-quarter cup plus 1 tablespoon canola oil
1 pound skinless salmon fillets
2 teaspoons seasoned rice vinegar
One-half teaspoon sesame oil
Salt to taste
1 cup warm cooked brown rice
2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
8 cups prewashed mixed greens, including baby spinach
1 small pitted avocado, cut into half-inch cubes (optional)
4 seaweed sheets cut with scissors into half-inch squares (look for the crunchy "seaweed snacks,"rather than nori sheets)
In a saute pan over moderate heat, warm 1 tablespoon of the canola oil. Add the salmon and cook for 4 minutes. Flip the salmon over and cook for an additional 4 minutes. Transfer the salmon to a bowl and gently shred into 1-inch pieces.
In a small jar or bowl, combine the remaining quarter-cup canola oil with the vinegar, sesame oil and salt. Cover and shake the jar to mix the salad dressing, or whisk it together.
In a large bowl, stir together the cooked rice, sesame seeds and soy sauce. Add the mixed greens, avocado and salmon. Drizzle with salad dressing and a squeeze of the orange, and sprinkle with seaweed pieces.