Saluting our Military Chefs & Five New Recipes for You

USO-Metro is proud to work closely with many our our local military chefs. From offering cooking classes and workshops to whipping up healthy meals in our centers, this elite group never fails to bring a touch of home to the table with their culinary expertise. This year, we are excited to honor and celebrate the talent of 11 military chefs.

Our military chefs have shared five of their favorite recipes with us to help inspire your holiday season recipe stash. Whether you are looking for to create a holiday feast or need a fun way to spice up dinner, we hope you find inspiration in their incredible talent. From a jerk spiced tenderloin, to a tasty cheese plate, a sweet yet tart sorbet and a gorgeous purple soup, there is something that everyone at the table will love!

This holiday season, we want to challenge you to create a dish using the recipes below and share with us on social media by tagging @USOMetroDC on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter!

Sesame Seed Crusted Salmon with Grapefruit Vinaigrette; with Pickled Radish Cucumber and Carrot Salad

Yield: 4 Servings

Grapefruit Vinaigrette
¼ cup grapefruit juice
1 tbsp honey
¾ cup vegetable oil
1/8 cup Mirin
Cucumber Carrot Salad
½ carrot (thin spaghetti)
½ cucumber (thin spaghetti)
Sesame Crusted Salmon
½ cup black and white sesame seeds
1/8 cup sesame oil
2oz salmon
Pinch of salt
Lotus Root Chip
4 thinly sliced pieces
Fry to crispy golden brown color
Gingered Pickled Radishes
¾ cup water
¼ cup of white vinegar
1/8 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1 clove of garlic
½ Thai chili pepper
½ in piece of ginger, peeled and cut into thin rounds
3 radishes sliced and julienned

Day before:

  1. In a saucepan, combine the water, vinegar, sugar and salt and bring to a boil, stirring.
  2. Let cool to warm, then add the garlic, chiles and ginger.
  3. Cover the radishes with the brine. Let stand until the brine has cooled, then cover and refrigerate overnight or for up to 3 days.

Day of:

  1. Place the salmon in the sesame oil to marinate. Set aside for at least 1 hour in the fridge.
  2. Combine vinaigrette ingredients and pour inside of a squirt bottle. Set aside in fridge.
  3. Combine carrot and cucumber strings in ice cold water and set in fridge until time to assemble.
  4. Take the salmon and evenly coat it with the sesame seeds and salt.
  5. Place salmon in the middle of a plastic wrap and roll it up to form a 1 ½ in. cylinder. Once formed, wrap again and place in a vacuum seal bag or Ziploc and place in sous vide machine at 115 degrees for 15 to 20 min.
  6. Once finished with sous vide, take a hot pan with a little splash of grape seed oil and sear salmon to toast the outer crust.
  7. Slice salmon and place on plate. Take out the carrot and cucumber salad. Pat dry from water then drizzle vinaigrette over the salad. Add the pickled radishes and place on top of salmon disc. Place lotus root chip to stand in salad.

Charred Purple Cauliflower Soup

Yield: 4 Servings

Olive oil for drizzling in the pan
5 cups medium sized purple cauliflower florets
2 cups peeled and chopped purple potatoes (or regular)
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
5 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped (purple or orange)
Bay Leaf
½ tsp dried thyme
1/8 tsp clove
salt and pepper, to taste
48 oz. ham stock (preferred) or chicken , more may be needed


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place cauliflower florets and potatoes on a large baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Toss to coat.
  2. Place on the bottom rack of the oven for 30 minutes, flipping veggies midway through baking, until veggies have begun to caramelize and are slightly tender.
  3. To make the soup base, drizzle a little oil into a large dutch oven/pot and place on the stove over medium high heat. Add onion and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Stir in garlic and carrots. Continue to cook vegetables until fragrant and slightly wilted.
  4. Add roasted cauliflower, potatoes, thyme and bay leaf to the pot. Pour in enough broth to generously cover all the veggies, about 6-8 cups. Bring soup to a boil, cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Let simmer until large vegetables are tender and can easily be pierced with a fork, about 10-15 minutes. Season broth with salt and pepper, to taste.
  5. Discard bay leaf, use a Vitamix (preferred) or immersion blender, transfer soup to a high-powered blender. May need to do a few batches. Blend until creamy. Add additional broth to thin or seasoning, if needed.
  6. Serve soup warm. Optional: top with homemade croutons (bread cubes pan-fried with a little butter), quality olive oil (regular or flavored), yogurt or heavy cream.

Pan Seared Scallops with a Ginger Carrot Puree, Apple Cider Gastrique and Apple Chip

Yield: 4 Servings


Pan Seared Scallops
4 Large Sea Scallops (Dry)
2 tbsp Olive Oil
1 cup of White Wine
1 Head of Frisee
1 Scallion
TT Salt and pepper
Ginger Carrot Puree
1 ½ tbsp Butter
1 Large Shallot, thinly sliced
¾ lb Carrots, peeled and sliced into
½ inch pieces
1 ½ quart Carrot Juice
2 ½ tsp Honey
¼ cup Fresh Ginger Root
Apple Cider Gastrique
¼ cup Apple Cider
¼ cup White Wine Vinegar
8 tbsp Sugar
½ cup Water
2 tbsp Whole Black Peppercorns
4 Shallots
2 tbsp Olive Oil
2 Sprigs of Thyme
4 Fresh Lemons (Juiced)


Ginger Carrot Puree

  1. In medium saucepan over medium heat, bring carrots to a simmer until fork tender. Remove from heat.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and carrots to Vitamix or high-powered blender. Return back to heat.
  3. Add butter and blend until smooth, scraping down sides of sauce pan as needed. If mixture is a too thick, add reserved carrot juice to thin, 1-2 Tablespoons at a time, and blend until desired consistency is reached. Transfer to serving bowl and serve.

Pan Seared Scallops

  1. Sprinkle the scallops with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat.
  3. Carefully place the scallops in the pan.
  4. After 1 minute, turn the scallops over and cook until the scallops are just opaque in the center, another 1 to 2 minutes.
  5. Deglaze pan with white wine, then transfer the scallops to perforated rack to drain before plating.

Apple Cider Gastrique

  1. In a medium saucepan, bring all ingredients except sugar to a boil.
  2. Stir in sugar and simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Finely strain then let cool and refrigerate.
  4. Plate seared scallop on generous spoonful of puree and add gastrique and apple chip.

Intermezzo & Cheese

Passionfruit Sorbetto

Yield: 4 Servings

85.2g Passion Puree
14.4g Mango Puree
51g Sugar
42.6g Water
8.4g Cream
17g Milk


  1. Bring water and milk to a simmer then add sugar and purees.
  2. Place mixture on an ice bath.
  3. Once the ingredients have cooled add cream.
  4. Move mixture to ice cream machine until it becomes solid and chilled.

Cheese Plate

Yield: 4 Servings


Pecorino Romano
Almond crusted goat cheese
Figs macerated in red wine
Fig jam
Crispy serrano Ham
Walnut raisin bread


Almond Crusted Goat Cheese

  1. Blend panko and almonds in a food processor.
  2. Slice goat cheese to desired size.
  3. Dredge in flour, egg, then panko almond mix.
  4. Deep fry until golden brown.
  5. Toast Walnut Raisin Bread
  6. Plate and serve with Romano Cheese, Figs Macerated in Red Wine with Fig Jam, Crispy Serrano Ham and Walnut Raisin Bread

Jerk Spiced Beef Tenderloin with a Sweet Potato Puree, Haricot Vert Bundle, Cipollini Onion and a Bourbon Jus

Yield: 4 Servings

Olive Oil
Jerk Spiced Beef Tenderloin
4 5 oz. Portions of Beef Tenderloin
2 tbsp of Jerk Seasoning
Sweet Potato Puree
1 Lb. Sweet Potatoes
½ Stick Butter
¼ cup Heavy Cream
1 tsp Cinnamon (More or less as needed)
Haricot Vert Bundle and Cipollini
1 Lb. Green Beans
2 Medium Carrots
4 Chives (For Tying Bundle)
2 Cloves Garlic
1 tsp Lemon Juice
2 Cipollini Onions, Cut in Half Long Ways Demi-Glace
¼ Cup Jim Beam Bourbon
2 tbsp Demi-Glace Concentrate
2 tbsp Beef Base
½ cup Water


Jerk Spiced Beef Tenderloin

  1. Rub tenderloin portions with jerk seasoning, salt, and pepper. Allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium high heat with 1 TBSP of olive oil. Once the oil is shimmering, add tenderloin and sear on all sides until there is a nice brown crust on all sides. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Add the tenderloin portions to a baking sheet, and finish cooking in the oven. Remove tenderloin from the oven when temperature reaches 122 degrees internal temperature; allow to rest for 5-10 minutes.

Sweet Potato Puree

  1. Peel and cut sweet potatoes into 1 inch cubes. Boil the sweet potatoes on a stove top until they are easily pierced with a fork.
  2. Drain sweet potatoes and add to a blender; process until smooth. Add in softened butter and heavy cream gradually and mix until a smooth consistency is reached. Add salt, pepper and cinnamon to taste.

Haricot Vert Bundle and Cipollini Onion

  1. Cut ¼ inch by 4 inch sections of carrot for the bundle. Add carrots to simmering water and cook until fork tender. Remove and add to a bowl of ice water.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add minced garlic and cook until fragrant. Add green beans, lemon juice and carrots and sauté until heated through and tender.
  3. Remove green beans and carrot from pan and tie together using a chive.


  1. Heat a skillet over medium high heat and add bourbon. Allow the alcohol to cook out of the pan. Be careful as it will produce flames.
  2. Add the demi-glace concentrate, beef base, and water to the pan. Cook over medium heat at a simmer, and allow the demi-glace to reduce down until it has a sauce like consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

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