What’s Cooking for the Kentucky Derby

The 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby is less than 2 weeks away. We’re already planning the menu for our annual Derby party. So, we’ve pulled out the cookbooks, Garden & Gun and Southern Living Magazine, looked online, and called friends who live in Kentucky. Only a few days left to get cooking for those guests!

Lynn has a large selection of cookbooks from Kentucky she always pulls out weeks before the Derby. She likes to add a little something new to the party each year. We have tried and true dishes and recipes everyone loves, but she loves to cook and likes to add something new.

Derby Cookbooks

You can tell by the picture she has about worn the cover off of Bluegrass Winners, a cookbook by the Garden Club of Lexington. She has had it forever, and it has some great pictures and complete menus and recipes for any occasion. Another favorite is The Kentucky Derby Museum Cook Book. It has an introduction with ideas to help plan your party and a ton of recipes and food suggestions. Another fun cook book is Cordon Blue Grass, Blue Ribbon Recipes from Kentucky, published by the Junior League of Louisville. The Southerners Cookbook from the Editors Garden & Gun is chocked full of great southern food, recipes, and delicious pictures.  Lastly, How to Throw a Great Derby Party by Sue Wylie is a fun little book with everything you need to know to throw a Derby Party.

Bourbon Books

Mint Juleps are a MUST for the bar. You can check out my Mint Julep recipe here.

Lynn has made Burgoo for years. Every region of the country has their own native stew or soup. Kentucky has “Burgoo.” No one can agree on the how, what, when, or why of Burgoo. There are many stories about its origin and the derivation of its name. After the Civil War Buffalo Trace hired Gustave Jaubert, the father of burgoo, to cook for its employees. When you tour the distillery you can see his burgoo kettles in the distillery’s Burgoo House.

In addition to Burgoo, ham is another staple at our party served with small rolls to make sandwiches. The last few years we have alternated between ham sandwiches and pulled pork. Either way you are getting the business end of the pig and a real southern treat. That pretty much covers the main dish, now what do you serve with that that burgoo and pork?

We have lots of salads we have served over the years. You can make it as simple as coleslaw or as elaborate a salad as time allows. We have many guests who ask to being something so we suggest a salad. Salads are easy and travel well.

Keeping that Southern theme other good additions are pimento cheese, cheese straws, and spiced nuts sitting around. We also love to have Virginia peanuts around. They are crunchy, and very different for our Southern California guests. Kentucky was part of Virginia at one point in time! All are very good, very southern, and easy to serve.

I know what you are thinking, what’s for dessert? Well, you will have to keep an eye on the blog to find out. Make sure to order your Derby glasses, napkins and supplies from Becky Biesel at Party Kits & Equestrian Gifts in Louisville – the store has been around forever and you can now order online.

What do you have planned for your Derby party menu?

 

 

 

RECIPE: Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie

As our family starts finalize our Thanksgiving menu, I wanted to share a favorite Thanksgiving dessert recipe – Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie. It’s to die for. So rich. You really don’t use much bourbon so for guests that don’t like bourbon it really just imparts a little extra flavor to the pie, but not a true bourbon taste. I also really like this crust recipe and have used it for other pies. This recipe is great for tailgating too! (I’ve never taken a photo of the pie – will have to do that this year.) Enjoy!

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Photo from Food & Wine’s website

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie (from Food & Wine magazine)

Ingredients:

CRUST
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick (4 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup ice water

FILLING
2 cups (about 7 ounces) pecans
3 large eggs
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
2/3 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons bourbon (remember, you’re adding flavor, so don’t use your fanciest, but don’t skimp – we use Woodford Reserve)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips (we use Ghirardelli)

Directions:

1. In a food processor, pulse the flour with the sugar and salt. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the ice water. Knead the dough 2 or 3 times on a lightly floured surface and pat into a disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a 12-inch round. Fit the dough into a 9-inch glass pie plate. Trim the overhang to 1/2 inch, fold the edge under itself and crimp decoratively. Refrigerate until firm.

3. Preheat the oven to 375°. On a rimmed baking sheet, toast the pecans for about 8 minutes, or until fragrant; coarsely chop. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with the brown sugar, corn syrup, vanilla, melted butter, bourbon and salt until blended. Stir in the pecans and chocolate chips until evenly distributed.

4. Pour the filling into the pie shell. Bake on the bottom shelf of the oven for about 55 minutes, or until the center of the pie is set. Tent the crust with foil halfway through the baking time if the edge is browning too quickly. Transfer the pie to a rack and let cool for at least 1 hour before serving.

Cooking with Bourbon (IE Cheesy Thumbprint Cookies with Bourbon Jam)

With all this bourbon talk around my blog, Lynn keeps looking for recipes that use bourbon. She found a fantastic recipe for “Savory Cheesy Thumbprint Cookies.” We were going to the Hollywood Bowl to see the LA Philharmonic and Chicago on July 3rd (Yes, that rock group we all listened to for years!).

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Lynn made these as a appetizer for our pre-concert picnic. WOW these are amazing. Lynn has made cheese pretzels for our annual Kentucky Derby Party for as long as i can remember. Well these have made the list for next year’s party (is it time to retire cheese pretzels??), and just about any time we need a quick, easy, delicious appetizer.

When you first bite into them you taste the sweetness of the tomato jam kicked up with just enough spice from the bourbon. The cheese cookies are crispy with a subtle corn flavor that adds to the surprise as to how delicious, savory and perfect for any party.

The recipe is from The Flavor Bender. They have a fun website with the tagline, Flavor Bender “Because it’s OK to play with your food.”

These Cookies are perfect for a picnic or a formal party. We tried them with bourbon (of course), wine, and champagne. They work with all of them and hold them in under intense scrutiny. There were 85 at the picnic we attended and everyone was raving about them.

Enjoy!

Cheesy Thumbprint Cookies with Bourbon Tomato Jam

Ingredients:

Cookies
8oz / 225g unsalted butter, softened
3.5oz / 100g white cheddar cheese, grated
3.5oz / 100g monterey jack cheese, grated
1 deseeded jalapeno, finely chopped
1 large rosemary sprig, leaves only, finely chopped
½ tsp kosher salt
0.9oz / 25g white sugar
1 small egg
6.7oz / 190g AP flour
5.3oz / 150g semolina

Bourbon and Tomato Jam
1 lb cherry tomatoes, halved
5.3oz / 150g sugar
5 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Up to 1 tbsp chilli flakes/crushed red pepper (optional – but recommended)
1 large clove of garlic minced (about 1 tsp minced garlic)
2 oz diced white/yellow sweet onion
A pinch of cumin
½ tsp kosher salt
3 tbsp bourbon

Directions:

  1. Chop the grated cheese roughly and mix it with the rosemary and jalapeno. Alternatively, you can grate the cheese using your food processor, and add the deseeded jalapeno and rosemary leaves, and process finely. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, place the softened the butter, sugar and salt and cream it together using a whisk/spatula or wooden spoon. Add the cheese-herb mix and mix it through using a spatula or wooden spoon.
  3. Add the egg and mix it in until well incorporated in the dough.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix the flour and semolina together. Add this in two batches to the butter-cheese mix and mix it to form a dough. You may need to use your hands (well-floured) to bring the dough together. Cover and chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes until the oven has preheated.
  5. Preheat oven to 350°F / 180°C. Line two cookie trays with parchment paper.
  6. Make 1 ½ inch round dough balls and place them on the cookie tray with about 2 inches of space between each (about 14 cookies per tray).
  7. Create a deep well/imprint in each dough ball using a moistened thumb/finger.
    Fill each well generously with bourbon tomato jam (recipe below).
  8. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes. Switch the position of the two trays in your oven half way through baking (please see note). The cookies should be golden on the bottom and light-golden on top.
  9. Remove from the oven and let them cool slightly. Serve.

Bourbon Tomato Jam

  1. Mix all the ingredients except for the bourbon in a saucepan. Bring the mix to a boil on medium-heat, while stirring to dissolve the sugar. Once the mix has come to a boil, increase the heat to keep it at a boil.
  2. Let the mixture boil while stirring and gently crushing the tomatoes with a spoon as they soften. After about 5 minutes of cooking time, add the bourbon and mix through.
  3. The mixture should keep cooking until the liquid has become syrupy and thick. The time depends on the heat of your stove, and how much liquid is present in the tomatoes. The end product will resemble preserves with tomato pieces in it.
    These can be stored in mason jars until needed (makes enough for 1 ½ batches of these cookies).