Henry Haller served as Executive White House Chef for 22 years under five presidents. A few years after retiring, he published “The White House Cookbook” which featured dishes for every partisan palate… He’s offered a selection here, his favorites we suspect. For once, you can “try this at home!” Let us know how you fare…

Read our profile on Mr. Haller, Five Presidents and A Bout of Soufflé to warm up…


Henry Haller's first First Lady: Lady Bird Johnson


12 slices of bacon, finely diced
1 cup diced onions
6 eggs
2 egg yolks
1 quart half & half cream
1-teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 pound Gruyère cheese, freshly grated
1/4 pound Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
2 nine-inch pre baked pie crusts*
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

Preheat oven to 375º. In a cast-iron skillet, sauté the bacon until very crisp. Remove from pan & drain well on paper towels.

Add onions to the hot skillet & sauté in the bacon drippings until lightly browned. Drain well on more paper towels.

In a mixing bowl, beat together the eggs, egg yolks and half & half cream. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg.

Divide cheeses evenly between the 2 pre baked pie shells. Top each with equal portions of bacon, onions & chives. Carefully pour the egg mixture into the pie shells being careful not to overfill.

Bake on a lower shelf of the preheated oven for 45 minutes or until golden brown and firm to the touch. Remove & let stand for 30 minutes before slicing into wedges.

Serve as an entrée for a light lunch or dinner or cut into thin slices to serve as an hors d’oeuvre. Quiche can be reheated, wrapped in foil in a 250º oven for 20 minutes.

*To make two 9″ Pie Crust Shells:


3 cups flour
1-teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) butter
1/2 cup cold water

Preheat oven to 350º.

In a medium-size bowl, stir together the flour & salt.
Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter until thoroughly distributed and the mixture resemble coarse breadcrumbs.

Add water a little at a time, mixing by hand until the dough is smooth.

Divide the dough in half. Place one part on a lightly floured surface and flatten by hand into a round. Roll out from the center with a rolling pin until only 1/8″ thick.

Fit pastry loosely into a 9″ pie plate or quiche pan. Trim edges leaving a 1/4″ overhang. Fold the overhang up to form a rim and flute.

Repeat with the other portion of the dough.

Line each pie shell with greased wax or parchment paper and weigh down with uncooked dried beans or pie weights.

Bake each pie shell with greased wax or parchment paper and weigh down with uncooked dried beans or pie weights.

Bake on lower shelf of preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned.

Remove beans/weights and paper. Let crusts cool on wire racks. Save beans to use again to prepare piecrusts.

Fried shrimp with coconut served at Patricia Nixon’s wedding reception (serves 4)

Tricia Nixon and proud papa


2 pounds large raw shrimp (about 16 to the pound)
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white paper
4 eggs
Pinch of Cayenne pepper
1 1/2 cups coarsely shredded, unsweetened coconut
1 cup clarified butter*
6 lemon wedged
Fresh parsley sprigs

Peel shrimp, leaving fantails intact. Slit topside open just wide enough to de-vein.

In a shallow bowl, mix flour, salt & white pepper.

In a separate bowl, beat eggs well with cayenne pepper.

Dredge each shrimp in flour, dip in egg mixture and roll in coconut.

In a large nonstick pan or cast-iron skillet, heat 1/2 cup clarified butter, fry half of the shrimp for 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Remove shrimp to drain on paper towels. Wipe pan clean. Heat remaining 1/2 cup clarified butter in the pan and fry the rest of the shrimp and drain on paper towels.

Arrange hot shrimp on a serving platter. Garnish with lemon wedges and sprigs of parsley. Serve at once with steamed rice & Sauce Mayonnaise Piquant.**

*To make clarified butter:

To make 1 1/2 cups of clarified butter you need one pound of butter.

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, simmer butter over low heat for 20-30 minutes until the butterfat is clear and the milk sediment has settled. Do not overheat or butter will turn dark and bitter. Let stand for 1 hour. Pour clarified butter into a plastic container, discarding the milk solid. Let cool and store, covered in the refrigerator.

**Sauce Mayonnaise Piquant (Makes 1 1/2 cups)


3 tablespoons mango chutney
1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
3 drops Tabasco Sauce
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1-cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon chopped fresh chives

In a small bowl, mix chutney with Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce and lemon juice. Add mayonnaise and blend well. Add chives and stir. Serve at once, or keep refrigerated in a covered container.

President Ronald Reagan’s Paella a La Valenciana (serves 6)

TV dinner, Mr. President?


One 3 1/2 pound chicken
1-tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup diced onions
4 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 cups diced red and green bell peppers
1/2 pound sliced “Chorizo” (spicy red Spanish sausage)
2 cups long-grain rice
1-teaspoon saffron
1 rounded tablespoon tomato paste
2 cups dry white wine
3 cups hot chicken stock
1-cup fresh green peas
1 pound large fresh shrimp, peeled & deveined
1/2 pound small, fresh scallops
12 fresh mussels, thoroughly scrubbed
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Cut the chicken into 10-12 pieces. Cut off the wings. Remove the back. Cut the wing tips (Save the wing tips and backbone for future use in making chicken stock). Separate the legs and thighs. Quarter the breast.

Mix together the salt & pepper and season the chicken pieces lightly, reserving the extra seasoning.

In a large sauté pan or paella pan (large heavy skillet with 2 handles), heat the olive oil. Brown the chicken pieces on all sides. Drain the browned chicken pieces on paper towels. Add the onions, garlic and peppers to the hot oil, sautéing for 3 minutes. Stir in sliced sausage and sauté for 3-4 minutes to brown both sides.

Stir in rice, saffron and tomato paste. Add the browned chicken pieces. Pour in wine and 2 cups of the hot stock. Bring to a boil over medium -high heat, stirring constantly. Cover and simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes.

Remove cover. Sprinkle in the peas. Season shrimp & scallops with the reserved seasoning. Arrange the shrimp, scallops and mussels on top of the rice. Cover and simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes more. Add the remaining cup of hot chicken stock. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes more on top of the stove. Sprinkle with parsley and serve at once, right from the pan.

If desired, fresh lobster and clams can be included in addition to or in place of other seafood.