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Flavors of India, America at Obamas' first state dinner

Dessert at the White House state dinner will be pumpkin pie tart or pear tatin with whipped cream and caramel sauce.
Dessert at the White House state dinner will be pumpkin pie tart or pear tatin with whipped cream and caramel sauce.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Dinner in honor of Indian premier will take place on White House South Lawn
  • Floral arrangements intended to pay homage to the Indian peacock
  • Dinner reflecting Indian and American flavors uses herbs from White House garden

Washington (CNN) -- Tables set in apple green, ruby and gold with arrangements of roses, hydrangeas and sweet peas awaited guests to Tuesday's White House state dinner.

The place settings in fine china from three previous administrations -- Eisenhower, Clinton and George W. Bush -- are flanked by crystal glasses and five pieces of silverware. Place cards are handwritten, including two that read "The President" and "Mrs. Obama."

The first state dinner of Barack Obama's presidency, in honor of visiting Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, will take place in a tent set up on the White House South Lawn, with a view of the Washington Monument.

Guests will sit at round tables for 10, with the floral arrangements intended to pay homage to the state bird of India, the Indian peacock, and the dinner featuring a seasonal menu reflecting American and Indian flavors, according to the White House.

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The first course will be a potato and eggplant salad made with White House-grown arugula and accompanied by an onion-seed vinaigrette. Red lentil soup with fresh cheese follows, and then a choice of entrees: roasted potato dumplings with tomato chutney, chickpeas and okra for vegetarians, or green curry prawns and caramelized salsify with smoked collard greens.

Dessert will be pumpkin pie tart or pear tatin with whipped cream and caramel sauce. Each course is paired with its own wine, all of American vintage.

Michelle Obama worked with guest chef Marcus Samuelsson and White House Executive Chef Cristeta Comerford to "create a menu that reflects the best of American cuisine, continues this White House's commitment to serving fresh, sustainable and regional food, and honors the culinary excellence and flavors that are present in Indian cuisine," the White House said.

The herbs and lettuces were harvested from the White House Kitchen Garden started by the first lady, and honey from the White House beehive is being used to poach the dessert pears.

 
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