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Throw Your Own Inaugural Bash!

While you might not be able to attend a fancy inaugural ball, you CAN host your own party!

On The Early Show Monday, Washington chef Spike Mendelsohn, whom you might remember as a contestant on "Top Chef," season four, served up recipes, and contributor Laura Schwartz suggested ways you could bring a little of the inaugural spirit to your own soiree and make it "presidential."

Mendelsohn turns out delicious comfort food he turns out at his restaurant, "Good Stuff Eatery" and had plenty of party foods on his Early Show menu, with fun spins on many of the fancy finger foods that will be served at parties around the capital.

Says Schwartz: The staple of any inaugural ball is a lot of royal blue. And the inaugural seal -- it's everywhere, on the stage behind the president, on podiums, and the president-elect takes pictures with the guests in front of it. So here's a fun idea: Pull that seal off the Web site, make a big 11x14 poster, and take pictures of your guests in front of it as they come in.

As for themes, you can do anything you want. The dollar stores are a great place for supplies and giveaways. If you're doing a nonpartisan party, make everything gold. If it's environmental, go green. And of course -- the food is often themed, or based upon what the incoming president likes to eat.

To see the Special Report: Inauguration '09," click here.

On Menelsohn's menu:
  • Lemongrass Shrimp Skewers (instead of shrimp cocktail)
  • Mini Jalapeno & Nacho Cheese Quiches (instead of ham & cheese quiches)
  • Chili & Cheese Phyllo Pizzas
  • President Obama Sliders (instead of roast beef canape)
  • Toasted Marshmallow Spiked Milkshakes (OK, OK, it's a bit cold for ice cream, but this item has a cult following at Chef Spike's eatery, and he's added some Kahlua to help warm it up!

    In early October, Chef Spike put both an Obama burger and a McCain burger on his menu. As you might guess, his goal with each was to capture the candidates' personalities. The restaurant also kept a tally of how many of each burger sold. Just as in the election itself, the Obama burger wound up on top.

    Chef Spike explained why each item in the "Obama Slider" burger belongs:

  • Blue cheese represents Obama's sophistication
  • Red Onion Marmalade for his sweetness and kind heart
  • Applewood-smoked Bacon represents the feeling of comfort and safety he's bringing to the country
  • Horseradish Sauce represents his attitude and swagger



    Prez Obama Burger

    2 pounds hamburger meat
    1 package of crumbled bleu cheese
    1 package of applewood smoked bacon
    1 package (6 individual buns) of potato bun
    1 cup of horseradish mayonnaise (see recipe below)
    1 cup red onion marmalade (see recipe below)
    1 tablespoon of butter
    salt & pepper to taste

    In order to make sliders, punch out buns with a two inch ring mold or take a glass and push atop a potato bun to make a smaller ring size.
    Handcraft your meat to 2 1/2 ounces burger rounds.
    In a frying pan, over medium heat, add a thin layer of oil until slightly smoking.
    Season burgers on both sides with salt and pepper and place into pan.
    Place strips of bacon on a cookie sheet and bake in oven at 350 degrees. Cooks for 10-15 minutes, remove and let cool.
    Cook for 3 minutes on each side or until desired temperature.
    While burgers are cooking, toast potato buns in a toaster or a pan with a tablespoon of butter.
    To assemble the burger take the potato bun, place a pattie on top then add, horseradish mayonnaise, red onion marmalade, bacon and blue cheese. Serve immediately.

    Horseradish Mayonnaise

    2 cups of mayonnaise
    1 8 ounce jar of horseradish
    1 tablespoon of cayenne pepper
    1/2 tablespoon of black pepper
    1/2 tablespoon salt

    In a food processor pour mayonnaise, horseradish, cayeene pepper, black pepper and salt.
    Mix for 2-3 minutes until thick and creamy. Don't over mix.

    Red Onion Marmalade

    2 red onions
    1 cup red wine vinegar
    1 cup sugar

    Slice both red onions, 1/2 inch thick.
    In a pot, over medium heat pour red wine vinegar and sugar and bring to a simmer. Make sure that the sugar is dissolved into the red wine vinegar and then add the onions and cook until translucent and liquid is reduce. Make sure you're constantly stirring, not to burn. Let cool and reserve for the Prez Obama Burger.

    Toasted Marshmallow Shake

    1 bag jumbo marshmallow
    2 cups milk
    1 tablespoon sour cream
    2 cups creamy vanilla ice cream
    4 oz kahlua

    On a medium sized cookie sheet place 1/2 bag of marshmallows, in a row.
    Place under your burner in the oven for 2-3 minutes, until completely charred.
    Take out of oven and let cool.
    Repeat this step, but only let the marshmallows toast, so they are slightly burnt.
    Take out of oven and let cool.
    In a blender pour milk, kahlua, sour cream, ice cream and charred marshmallows.
    Mix for 5 minutes.
    Pour in a large glass and top with 2-3 toasted marshmallows.

    Nacho Cheese & Jalapeno Mini Quiches

    For pastry shells:
    3 ounces, cream cheese
    1/2 cup, margarine
    1-1/2 cups, flour all purpose

    for Filing:
    4 ounces, cheddar cheese (grated)
    4 ounces, jalapenos, sliced
    1 cup, half and half
    3 large eggs
    1 teaspoon sea salt
    1/4 teaspoon, cracked black pepper

    Pastry shells:
    Combine ingredients and shape into 1 inch balls.
    Place into lightly greased miniature muffin pans, form into shells and prick with a fork.
    Bake at 400 degrees F for 5-10 minutes.

    Divid cheese and jalapenos between pastry shells.
    Combine eggs, half-and-half and seasonings in large mixing bowl.
    Pour egg mixture into pastry shells over the cheese and jalapeno mixture.
    Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until set.

    Let cool a few minutes and serve.


    Chili and Cheese Phyllo Pizzettes

    5 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
    7 sheets Phyllo dough (store bought)
    2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
    1/2 cup parmesan cheese
    2-1/2 cups chili
    3 jalapenos peppers, sliced
    Kosher salt and cracked black pepper to taste.

    In a small bowl, melt butter in microwave.
    Brush a 15-in x 10-in x 1-in baking pan with some of the melted butter.
    Lay a sheet of phyllo in pan, folding edges over to fit pan if necessary (keep remaining dough covered with waxed paper to avoid drying out). Brush dough with remaining butter and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of parmesan; repeat layers five times, folding edges for each layer.
    Bake at 375 for 20-25 or until edges are golden brown.

    When phyllo comes out of the oven, sprinkle with mozzarella cheese, a layer of chili and arrange jalapenos on top. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and remaining parmesan.

    Put in oven for another 10 minutes or till cheese is melted.

    Lemongrass Shrimp Skewers

    1 tablespoon of honey
    2 tablespoon of olive oil
    2 teaspoons of olive oil
    4 garlic cloves, crushed
    1 tablespoon of fresh ginger, finely chopped
    1 lemongrass stalk, outer skin removed, crushed and finely minced
    2 limes, juice and zest of
    1 tablespoon of coriander, finely chopped
    4 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar
    2 tablespoons of sweet chili sauce
    20 black tiger shrimp, jumbo size, peeled and deveined
    7 lemongrass stalks, outer skins removed and cut into three, 2-in skewers
    sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste

    Put shrimp, lime zest and lemon grass skewers aside.
    Combine all remaining ingredients (including minced lemongrass), in a large bowl. Add the shrimp. Stir to combine and refrigerate for 1 hour.
    Preheat a grill to medium-high.
    Using a sharp knife, cut points on the ends of each lemon grass stalk. Skewer each shrimp by running the lemon grass stalk from the tail end to the head so that each shrimp is in a flat position. Season the shrimp with sea salt and cracked black pepper. Grill until the shrimp have turned pink and are cooked through, about 3 minutes per side.
    Garnish with some lime zest and serve immediately



    To see the Special Report: Inauguration '09," click here.