In recognition of Presidents’ Day most of the column this week is devoted to recipes related to the presidency, and certainly not to be overlooked are the First Ladies who have played such a vital role in our nation’s past. I often think of Martha Washington—the first—and how she had no other First Lady to learn from and pattern herself after when the great American Nation and the Presidency itself were in their infancy.

Isn’t it interesting to see what different things have been popular in the Presidential families down through the years, and very often the First Ladies are happy to share family favorites. Here are a few for you to enjoy today.

And finally, with a nod to George Washington, I have included a few easy “cherry” recipes just for fun. I always try to fix something with cherries on Presidents’ Day just for fun! Sometimes people notice and comment and sometimes they don’t. But I know.

Have fun and make it a good week!

Mt. Vernon Waldorf Salad

Executive Chef Todd Baxter, The Martha Washington Inn, Abingdon

Granted, Waldorf Salad is not a difficult salad to prepare, but Chef Baxter has just the perfect proportions and amounts in his creation!

1/4 cup milk

2 Tbs. lemon juice

1 Tbs. sugar

1/4 cup honey

10 oz. mayonnaise

1 lb. celery, diced

4 oz. walnuts, chopped

4 oz. raisins

2 lb. apples, diced

Salad mix

Combine milk, lemon, sugar, honey and mayo in a large bowl and mix well. Prepare all other ingredients and combine with dressing mix. Serve over a bed of lettuce.

Filet Medallions

Executive Chef Todd Baxter, The Martha Washington Inn, Abingdon

2 large onions

1/2 cup sorghum or molasses

1/4 cup bourbon

2 cups beef stock

4 (8 oz.) filets of beef

Peel the onions and cut in half horizontally. Place onions in a baking pan and cover with sorghum, bourbon and stock. Cover the pan with foil and bake at 350° for an hour and a half or until onions are soft. Grill filets, or any cut of beef you prefer, and sauce with onion mixture.

George Washington Apple Cake

3 eggs

2 cups granulated sugar

1 cup oil

2 cups self-rising flour

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup chopped walnuts

4 cups peeled, sliced apples

Beat eggs until thick and light. Combine sugar and oil at medium speed. Mix cinnamon with flour. Add to egg mixture. Add vanilla flavoring and walnuts. Mix all together. Distribute sliced apples evenly in bottom of long 2 or 3-quart baking dish. Spread mixture evenly over apples. Bake at 350° from 45 minutes to one hour. (Watch cake and do not overcook.)


6 oz. softened cream cheese

1/4 cup melted butter

2 cups confectioners sugar

1 Tbs. lemon juice

Icing: Mix cream cheese until fluffy, add butter and mix. Add sugar, then lemon juice. Mix all together well. Spread over cool cake. Slice apples thin with peeling on. Dip in lemon juice. Arrange in rows on top of iced cake.

Mamie Eisenhower’s Fudge

When Mrs. Eisenhower’s Fudge recipe was first made public, it took the nation by storm and was quickly published in most every magazine of the day. This is a recipe you will want to keep and use again and again.

4 & 1/2 cups sugar

2 Tbs. butter

Pinch of salt

1 large can evaporated milk

12 oz. semi sweet chocolate bits

12 oz. German sweet chocolate

1 pt. marshmallow cream

2 cups nutmeats (optional)

Boil the sugar, salt, butter and the evaporated milk together for six minutes. Put chocolate bits, German chocolate, marshmallow cream and nutmeats in a bowl. Pour the boiling syrup over the ingredients. Beat until chocolate is all melted, then pour in a pan. Let stand for a few hours before cutting. Remember it is better the second day.

Vienna Bars From the Reagan White House

1 cup butter

1 & 1/2 cup sugar, divided

2 egg yolks

2 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp. salt

1 (10 oz.) jar strawberry or raspberry jelly

4 egg whites

2 cups finely chopped nuts

In mixing bowl, cream butter and one-half cup of the sugar. Beat in egg yolks. Add flour and salt; knead with fingers. Pat batter out on greased 9x9 pan. Bake at 350° for 15 to 20 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from oven, spread with jelly. Beat egg whites until stiff. Fold in remaining 1 cup sugar and nuts. Spread on top of jelly. Return pan to oven. Bake 25 minutes longer. Cut into squares while still warm.

Baked Potato Soup From the Bush White House

6 cups left over mashed potatoes

2 Tbs. butter or margarine

1 medium onion, diced 1/2 lb. of bacon, diced, cooked and drained well (freeze bacon for easier cutting)

1 large red pepper, diced

2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated 1/2 cup chives, minced

4 Tbs. sour cream (aprox.)

2 to 3 cups of whipping cream, half and half or milk Kosher salt & fresh ground pepper to taste

In a large soup pot, saute onions and red pepper over medium heat in two tablespoons butter until onions are clear. Add bacon, potatoes and whipping cream to desired consistency. Skim milk or chicken stock may be used to reduce calories. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a garnish of a dollop of sour cream, grated cheese and chives.

Cowboy Cookies

3 sticks butter

1 & 1/2 cups sugar

1 & 1/2 cups brown sugar

3 eggs

1 Tbs. vanilla

3 cups flour

1 Tbs. baking powder

1 Tbs. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

1 Tbs. cinnamon

3 cups chocolate chips

3 cups oats

2 cups coconut

2 cups pecans

Cream butter and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla, Beat. Add dry ingredients until blended. Stir in remaining ingredients. Bake at 350° for 10 to 12 minutes.

President Johnson’s Favorite Cake

German Chocolate Pound Cake

1 pkg. German Sweet Chocolate

2 cups of sugar

1 cup of shortening (1/2 olive; 1/2 Crisco)

4 eggs

2 tsp. vanilla

2 tsp. butter flavoring

1 cup buttermilk

3 cups of sifted flour

1/2 tsp. soda

1 tsp. salt (light on this)

Melt chocolate over hot water. Remove and stir until cool. Cream sugar and shortening. Add eggs and flavoring, Then butter milk. Add chocolate. Next dry ingredients with milk. Cook in angel food cake 350° for about one hour.

Lady Bird Johnson’s Famous Lemon Pound Cake

3/4 cup butter or margarine, softened

1 & 1/4 cups white sugar

8 egg yolks

2 & 1/2 cups cake flour

3 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

3/4 cup milk

1 tsp. vanilla

1 tsp. lemon juice

1 tsp. grated lemon rind (zest)

Preheat oven to 325°. Cream three-fourth cup butter or margarine with one and one-fourth cups sugar until light and fluffy. In a separate bowl, beat eight egg yolks until light and lemon-colored; blend into creamed mixture. Sift together two and one-half cups cake flour, three teaspoons baking powder and one-fourth teaspoon salt; resift three times. Add the sifted ingredients in thirds, alternating with three-fourth cup milk. Beat the batter thoroughly after each addition. Add one teaspoon vanilla, one teaspoon grated lemon rind and one teaspoon lemon juice and beat for two minutes. Bake in a greased, 10-inch Bundt pan (or a large ring mold or an angel-food pan) for one hour, or until a straw inserted in the center comes out clean. You may also bake it in three greased, 9-inch layer pans at 350° for 25 minutes. If you like, frost with lemon icing.

Lemon Icing:

2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened

Grated rind of 1 lemon

Juice of 1 lemon

2 Tbs. cream

Combine powdered sugar with butter or margarine. Beat in the juice and grated ring (zest) of one lemon. Add two tablespoons cream (or a little more) to spreading consistency. Garnish with grated lemon rind, if desired.

Quick and Easy Cherry Cobbler

1 (21 oz.) can cherry pie filling

1 cup Bisquick

1/4 cup milk

1 Tbs. sugar

1 Tbs. butter, room temperature

More sugar or cinnamon sugar, to sprinkle over dumplings

Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream

Spread pie filling in buttered 1 & 1/2-quart baking dish. Place in a cold oven; heat to 400° then continue to bake for 10 minutes. Remove baking dish from oven. While pie filling is baking, combine remaining ingredients in a mixing bowl; stir until well blended. With a tablespoon, drop dough onto hot pie filling (about six dumplings). Sprinkle each dumpling with a little more sugar (cinnamon sugar, if desired). Put casserole back in the oven and continue to bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until topping is nicely browned. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream of a dollop of whipped cream.

Double Cherry Cake

1 box cherry cake mix

1/2 can cherry pie filling

Prepare cake mix, reducing the amount of water and oil called for on the package directions by half and reducing the number of eggs by one. Add the cherry pie filling and mix and bake according to box directions. The remaining half cal of the cherry pie filling may be used over the cake as a garnish once it has been iced or it may be mixed into the icing. Use the icing of your choice, but a can of sour cream of vanilla works just fine.

Sticky Buns

1 can ready-to-spread coconut pecan frosting

1 cup pecan halves

2 (10 ct.) cans refrigerator buttermilk biscuits

Spread the frosting in a lightly greased round 9-inch baking pan. Top with pecan halves. Separate the biscuits and flatten each to one-fourth inch. Fold the biscuits in half, pressing the edges o seal. Arrange the flat side down over the pecans. Bake at 375° for 28 to 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for five minutes. Invert onto a serving plate.

Richard’s Easy Cherry Cake

1 chocolate cake mix

1 can cherry pie filling

3 eggs

Mix all this up really really good and put it into a greased Bundt pan. You can add some chocolate chips if you want to. Bake it at 350° until it tests done — probably about 35 minutes. I can’t tell you how many of these I have made, using different flavors of cake mix and different pie fillings!

Remarkable Cherry Fudge

Submitted by Leanna Nicholson, Portland, OR.

3 cups sugar

1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk

2 sticks of margarine

1 large jar marshmallow creme

1 to 2 tsp. cherry extract (or vanilla)

2 (10-12 oz.) bags cherry flavored chips

1 small bag cran-raisins or dried cherries

About a cup of broken pecans

Combine the first three ingredients in a 3-quart. or larger saucepan over medium heat stir until the sugar is dissolved. Lower heat when it begins to boil. Stir occasionally. It will be foamy but will gradually boil down — as it thickens stir more often. The color will appear a little darker; about the shade of a brown paper grocery bag. Now stir frequently, when it becomes thick and bubbly remove from the heat. It should be at the soft ball stage, (236°). Be sure to cook enough or the fudge will not set up. Now add the rest of the ingredients--in this order: chips, extract, marshmallow creme. Stir until the chips are melted and then stir in the pecans. Put into a buttered 9x13 pan and allow to set up, but NOT in the refrigerator. Makes about five pounds.