The other happening I neglected is this year’s running of the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby. I apologize if I may have been remiss.
One of the most famous sporting events, the gates open and twenty or so thoroughbreds hit the dirt track in America’s oldest sporting event.
And it’s more than just a horse race. It’s the kick-off to the Triple Crown, it’s a week of festivities in Louisville, Kentucky that culminate in the “Run for the Roses”. It is a tradition, the “King’s Sport” and as some say, “The fastest two-minutes in sports.”
It all began in 1875 when Aristidies won the inaugural race. I think that was the same year that my great-grandfather Jebidiah Pishnery lost his first two-dollar trifecta wager. Since then there have been winners and losers, Cinderella stories and heartbreaking also-rans. Horses like Winning Colors, a girl who beat the boys in 1988, the little horse, Smarty Jones who trampled over his big brothers in 2004 and of course, Secretariat the Triple Crown winner of 1973. The winners get to wear the roses, the losers get shipped to IKEA for a fate of ending up Swedish meatballs.
So put a Benjamin on the #4 horse for me. A long shot? Maybe, but the chalks have let me down before.
And as I said, Derby Week is a party and along with the frilly dresses and cowboy boots, food and drink are required.
Let’s play the trifecta on the menu, check out the list for a Mint Julep, Kentucky Spread and Bourbon.
And they’re off!
1 16 Oz. Package Powdered Sugar
1/3 Cup Jim Beam
1/4 Cup Butter, Softened
53 Pecan Halves (About 1 1/4 Cups)
2 cups Semisweet Chocolate
1 Tbs. Shortening
Stir together first 3 ingredients until blended. Cover and chill 8 hours.
Shape mixture into 1-inch balls. Gently press pecan halves into 2 sides of each ball. Chill 8 hours.
Melt chocolate and shortening in a saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat. Dip bourbon balls in chocolate, and place on wax paper.
Chill 1 hour or until hardened.
2 Cups Sugar
2 Cups Branch Water
5-6 Fresh Mint Leaves
2 Shots Kentucky Bourbon
1 Fresh Mint Leaf, for garnish
Mix sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil for 5 minutes until mixture becomes a syrup. Bruise the mint leaves and pour cooled syrup into a mason jar. Add leaves and refrigerate.
Combine bourbon, 2 Tbs. syrup and ice in a shaker. Shake until mixed and pour into a Julep glass. Garnish with fresh mint and serve with a straw and frou-frou umbrella.
1 Lb. X-tra Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Finely Shredded
1 Lb. Swiss Cheese, Finely Shredded
1 Tbs. Dry Mustard
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 1/2 Tsp. Garlic, Smashed & Minced
1 Tsp. Worcestershire
1 Cup Guinness, Room Temp.
Place all ingredients into a bowl of electric mixer and mix well using paddle attachment if possible. Or place all ingredients into a food processor and mix well. Taste and adjust as needed. Divide cheese into six 8 oz. containers and wrap well in plastic wrap. Age the beer cheese for 4-5 days in refrigerator before serving.
Before serving, allow cheese to come to room temperature. Serve with crackers, bagel chips, or pretzels.