KENTUCKY – Kentucky is known for a lot of things, including bourbon whiskey, bluegrass music, basketball, beautiful women and fast horses.
This Saturday, May 5th will be the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby. The race covers one and one-quarter miles at Churchill Downs. The Kentucky Derby is the first leg of the elusive Triple Crown which includes the Belmont Stakes and the Preakness Stakes. The last horse to win the Triple Crown was affirmed in 1978.
The derby usually draws a crowd of approximately 150,000 people and the fans look forward to the singing of “My Old Kentucky Home” as the horses enter the track.
If you do not have tickets to the derby or if you did not get an invitation from a friend to sit in the box seats known as “Millionaire's Row”, you can still celebrate the derby. One of my favorite ways to celebrate Derby Day of recent years, is to attend “The Taste Of Muhlenberg”. Always held on Derby Day, local restaurants and dining/catering establishments get together to show off their wonderful dishes and offer guests samples of their menu items.
Vendors are judged and awarded Win-1st, Place-2nd and Show-3rd. There is also a People's Choice Award for the guests to vote. This year's event will be held in the gymnasium at the Muhlenberg County High School West Campus. Although there is no dress requirement to attend the event, I always seem to find a few ladies wearing their lovely derby hats and there is usually a vendor offering their version of Mint Julep.
Here are some other interesting facts about the state of Kentucky:
–Kentucky has the world's longest cave system.
–Kentucky has the two largest man-made lakes east of the Mississippi River.
–Kentucky has the only “Moonbow” in the western hemisphere, seen at Cumberland Falls.
–Kentucky borders seven states, only Missouri and Tennessee border more states, they each touch eight.
–“Happy Birthday to You” was created by two sisters from Louisville in 1893.
–Post-It Notes are manufactured exclusively in Cynthiana, Ky.
–The radio was invented in Murray by Nathan B. Stubblefield.
Here are some of the more famous Kentucky recipes, one perfected by one of my favorite culinary crafters.
SUE CARDWELL'S HOT BROWN RECIPE
Slices of turkey breast
3 slices bacon, cooked crisp
2 slices nice white bread, such as Pepperidge Farms, toasted
Fresh tomato, thinly sliced
2 c of milk
2 T butter
4 T. cornstarch
dash of salt
2-3 slices of Velveeta cheese.
Melt the butter in a heavy pan. Then mix the corn starch, salt, and milk together and pour into the pan. Put over medium heat and stir constantly till it comes to a boil and thickens. Then stir in cheese.
Place the toast on the serving plate. Lay the turkey on the toast. Then spread the sauce over the turkey. Lay the tomatoes on next. Finally, place the bacon strips on top of the tomatoes.
1 unbaked pie shell, deep dish
2 eggs, room temperature
1 c sugar
½ c flour
½ c butter, softened
1 c chocolate chips
1 c chopped pecans
1 t vanilla
Beat eggs at high speed. Gradually beat in sugar. Reduce to low speed, add in flour and butter. Mix well. Stir in chocolate chips, nuts and vanilla. Turn in unbaked pie shell. Bake at 350 degrees about 40-60 minutes or until set.
3 fresh mint leaves
1 T mint simple syrup (recipe below)
1 1/2 to 2 T (1 ounce) bourbon
1 (4-inch) cocktail straw or coffee stirrer
1 fresh mint sprig
Powdered sugar (optional)
Place mint leaves and Mint Simple Syrup in a chilled julep cup. Gently press leaves against cup with back of spoon to release flavors. Pack cup tightly with crushed ice; pour bourbon over ice. Insert straw, place mint sprig directly next to straw, and serve immediately. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.
MINT SIMPLE SYRUP
1 c sugar
1 c water
10 to 12 fresh mint sprigs
Bring sugar and water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Boil, stirring often, 5 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat; add mint, and let cool completely. Pour into a glass jar; cover and chill 24 hours. Remove and discard mint.
NEXT WEEK—Give Me the Chocolate and No One Gets Hurt
Remember......Life is short. Eat Dessert first!
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