Almanac

News - June 26, 2013

Recipe by Rose Scott, 12, wins invitation to the White House

Menlo Park girl is a winner in Michelle Obama's 'healthy lunch' contest

by Sam Borsos

Rose Scott, a 12-year-old Menlo Park girl, isn't your average kid baking cookies in an Easy Bake oven. She'll be dining at the White House in July, thanks to her award-winning recipe for pork and tofu lettuce cups.

Rose is one of 54 children throughout the United States to win the second nationwide "Healthy Lunchtime Challenge," sponsored by First Lady Michelle Obama to help fight childhood obesity.

Her recipe was selected among three finalists in California. More than 1,300 entries were submitted for the contest, restricted to kids ages 8 to 12. The winners were announced on June 20.

"My mom used to make this pork recipe and she'd serve it over rice," Rose said. "I thought it was really yummy so I decided to make a variation for the competition — I added tofu and vegetables and served it in lettuce."

The winners, each accompanied by one adult, will attend dinner at the White House on July 9 and taste some of the winning dishes. Afterward, they'll visit the White House kitchen garden.

"We're absolutely thrilled and honored," said Jean Lum Hoy, Rose's mother, who will accompany her daughter to the dinner.

"When I go to the White House, I'm looking forward to meeting Michelle Obama," Rose said. "I think she's a great person."

Ms. Lum Hoy said that her family is health-conscious about what they cook because of their 10-year-old son Galen's allergies to wheat and dairy.

"My mom spent a lot of time trying to find nutritious foods that he could eat," Rose said. "That meant no pizza or macaroni and cheese in our house."

A student at Girls' Middle School in Palo Alto, Rose has been cooking for a few years. Among her favorite recipes: black bean chili and pancakes for dinner. Other than cooking, she studies computer science, runs cross country, and participates in synchronized swimming with the Santa Clara Aquamaids.

"My husband and I have encouraged both of our kids to help out in the kitchen," Ms. Lum Hoy said. "We want them to be self-sufficient and make something nutritious. Recently we've asked both of the kids to make dinner once a week. It's an important life skill."

Other recipes entered in the White House competition include "Slam Dunk Veggie Burger," "Yummy Eggplant Lasagna Rolls" and "Zucchini Pancakes & Passion Fruit Banana Smoothie." The recipes were designed using the USDA's MyPlate guide to including the five food groups in each meal.

Go to recipechallenge.epicurious.com to see a complete list of winners and recipes. A free e-cookbook of winning recipes will be available in July.

Rose's Recipe for Pork and Tofu Lettuce Cups:

Ingredients:

1 lb lean ground pork

1 block firm tofu, drained well and diced into 1/2 inch cubes

2 tsp vegetable oil

Sauce:

3 tbsp soy sauce (or wheat free/low salt soy sauce)

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 tbsp cornstarch

2 tsp grated ginger

2 tsp white or rice vinegar

2 tsp sugar

2 minced garlic cloves

2 heads of butter or romaine lettuce, cleaned and separated

Toppings:

1 bag broccoli coleslaw (undressed) or

bean sprouts

cilantro

mint

lime slices

Stir sauce ingredients in a bowl and set aside. Brown ground pork in oil over medium-high heat, breaking meat into small pieces as it cooks. Drain excess oil from pan. Add sauce to pan and cook until thickened, about five minutes. Stir frequently. Add tofu and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Spoon meat mixture into lettuce cups (about a quarter cup). Top with fresh veggies.

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