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Kentucky Derby Recipes

May 1, 2014 | By | 1 Reply More

Kentucky derby recipes

There are only two things that can get me interested in a sports event: nostalgia and animals. If you can’t deliver both of those things, I can’t be bothered. The only event that measures up for me is “The Most Exciting Two Minutes In Sports,” otherwise known as the Kentucky Derby.

I lived in Louisville, Kentucky for more than a decade while I finished two graduate degrees and started my career. I fell in love with the city and the Derby that makes it famous. I only went to the actual Derby one time, and, along with seemingly billions of other simpletons, I sat in the infield – not in the stands.

I sat on the lawn and got drunk on bourbon with shirtless hillbillies and their sunburned girlfriends. I walked near the paddocks and saw the magnificent horses eager for their chance to run for the roses. I watched the southern ladies decked out in their designer shoes that would get too dirty in the paddocks to wear again and their elaborate hats, the smell of old money in the air. Every year, my native Kentucky friends would host Derby parties and we’d bet on the horses. To this day, some of my fondest memories still live in Louisville.

These days, in suburban Philadelphia, far away from the tradition and charm of the Derby, the best way to enjoy it is at home with good food, a TV, mint juleps and Mr. President. I carry on the tradition, even if it’s just the two of us. On the menu this year will be a traditional benedictine, a refreshing cucumber cream cheese spread made famous by Jennie Carter Benedict, a Louisville restaurateur during the turn of the 20th century. There will also be a not-so-traditional pickled shrimp that’s so pretty and fresh for spring. And, of course, mint juleps.

The Kentucky Derby is held on the first Saturday in May. Go buy a nice bottle of Kentucky bourbon and a flamboyant hat. Invite good friends to share these Kentucky Derby recipes with a dose of southern civility. And, don’t bet the farm!

Kentucky Derby recipesPickled Shrimp With Crisp Vegetables 

Ingredients (Serves 3-4)

1 pound fresh shrimp

1 tsp. black peppercorns

1 tsp. fennel seeds

Kosher salt

1 small fennel bulb, trimmed, cored and thinly sliced, reserve some of the fronds

1/2 small white onion, thinly sliced

4-5 radishes, washed and thinly sliced

1 carrot, peeled and cut into thin matchsticks

1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed and thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced

1/4 cup raw, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar, such as Bragg’s

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

Juice of one orange

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Step one: 

1 pound fresh shrimp

1 tsp. black peppercorns

1 tsp. fennel seeds

Kosher salt

Set a large pot of generously salted water to boil over medium-high heat and add peppercorns and fennel seeds. Once the water is at a good rolling boil, add the shrimp. Cook for 2 minutes, just until shrimp are curled and pink. Drain immediately, rinsing with cold water to stop the cooking. When shrimp are cool enough to handle, peel and devein them, leaving the tails on. Set aside.

Step two: 

1 small fennel bulb, trimmed, cored and thinly sliced

1/2 small white onion, thinly sliced

4-5 radishes, washed and thinly sliced

1 carrot, peeled and cut into thin matchsticks

1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed and thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced

1/4 cup raw, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar, such as Bragg’s

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

Juice of one orange

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Combine all vegetables and shrimp in a large bowl. Whisk together the oil, vinegar, and orange juice and pour over the shrimp and vegetables. Add a few tablespoons of chopped, reserved fennel fronds, season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix well and chill at least one hour, stirring occasionally. Can be made a day ahead of time.

2014-05-01 11.11.03Benedictine Spread 

 Ingredients (Serves 6-8)

1 large cucumber

1/2 cup chopped white onion (use the leftover onion from pickled shrimp!)

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

Dash of hot sauce

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Step one: 

1 large cucumber

1/2 cup chopped white onion

Peel the cucumber, and then cut it in half lengthwise. Using your fingers or a spoon, remove the seeds. Cut the cucumber into chunks. Pulse the cucumber and onion together in a food processor until it’s minced. Put the minced vegetables in a fine-mesh sieve and drain for about 5 minutes, reserving juice.

Step two: 

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

Dash of hot sauce

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Combine cream cheese, cucumber, onion, and hot sauce and mix well with a fork. Stir back in a bit of the reserved juice to achieve desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper. It’s traditional to serve benedictine on thin slices of white bread. I like it on thinly sliced French baguette and topped with watercress sprigs or fresh dill.

 

 

 

 

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Category: General, Main Dishes, Recipes, Spring

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