The Kentucky Derby is right around the corner.
Have you bought your hat yet?
STARTING MAY BY CELEBRATING DERBY DAY
A few people I know are throwing “Make Your Own Hat” parties a few days before the big event. On Derby Day they will get together at one of their homes while wearing their hats. They will watch the race on a big screen television far from the maddening crowds as they sip on their mint julep.
There will probably be a lot of appropriate music in the background such as: “My Old Kentucky Home,” “The Soundtrack from Dreamer;” “Run for the Roses” by Dan Fogelberg, “Stewball Was A Racehorse” by Peter, Paul and Mary, “I’ll Take You There” by The Staple Singers, “Faster Horses” by Tom T. Hall and “Got Your Horse Right Here” from “Guys and Dolls;” among others.
Sounds like a nice lazy way to kick off the Month of May while having some fun!
THE THRILL OF BEING THERE
Actually being at Churchill Downs on this weekend is the thrill of a lifetime! If you have never experienced The Kentucky Derby, you MUST put that on your bucket list right away.
Here is just a brief summary of how this year’s 143rd Kentucky Derby will be coming together:
The Run For the Roses will happen on May 6, 2017 at 6:34 p.m. ET. It will be televised by MNBC live from Louisville at Churchill Downs. The Oaks and The Derby are the oldest continuously contested sporting event in history.
Some of the top contenders for this year’s race seem to be Classic Empire, Always Dreaming, Gunnevera, Irish War Cry, One Liner, Girvin, Irap,Gormley, Thunder Show, and Practical Joke. A lot of people are looking at a long shot called Hence too. Time will tell!
Place your bets and hold your breath!
A GOOD PLACE TO STAY
There are still a few weekend packages left at the Galt House Hotel in Louisville; if you hurry! They are offering what they call the “Born and Bred Derby Experience.” This very pretty waterfront hotel is giving “call to the post” parties and putting red roses in your room. They offer several weekend packages and there are hat shops and lovely restaurants on the grounds. Sounds perfect!
Ready to go?
Wouldn’t it be fun to be in Louisville the whole week before Derby Day and participate in the festivities leading up to the race?
You could never get bored while waiting for race day. Gala Events and fundraisers for charity are being held all over town. There are a million other little things to do as you wait for the BIG race; like taking in a fantastic air show, riding or racing in hot air balloons, watching some amazing fireworks or cheering on a few racing steamboats.
Just do try to save a little energy for the Derby!
If you are like me; you will be sitting at home and watching The Derby on TV. Why not ask a few friends over and have a Kentucky Derby Party? Make it as simple or complex as you like.
SOME RECIPES FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Here are a few Winner’s-Circle-proven recipes that are sure to suit the occasion:
A SOUTHERN GENTLEMAN’S MINT JULEP
4 fresh mint leaves
1 tsp. sugar
1 1/2 jiggers bourbon whiskey
Coat the mint leaves with sugar and place in a 12 ounce glass.
Fill the glass with crushed ice and whiskey. Stir until glass frosts.
Garnish top with mint sprig.
RACE DAY SPLIT-PEAR SALAD
Ingredients: The amounts here depend on how many guest you are having.
Pears (one for each guest.)
Pan Roasted Pecans (chopped).
Blue Cheese Crumbles,
Slices of Prosciutto,
Jar of Fresh Honey,
Jar of Extra Light Olive Oil,
Mix ½ cup olive oil, 3 tablespoons champagne vinegar, 1 teaspoon honey, 1/8th teaspoon Dijon Mustard to form a vinaigrette topping. Set aside for later. Cook the prosciutto until crisp in a skillet. Cool.
Take a ripe pear, turn it on it’s side and cut into rounds. Use an apple core to remove the core, except for the top part, leave the stem attached. Take a bowl and mix the greens, pecans, cheese and grapes. Toss the greens in the dressing you set aside.
Use the arugula for garnishing on the plates. Place the bottom of the pear on a plate (on top of the arugula bed) top this bottom layer with the salad mixture. Add a piece of prosciutto over the salad and add the next pear part to the stack. Continue to build up the pear in this way ending with the stemmed pear portion on top.
Cut one pear into slivers and fan several on a plate. Garnish with grapes and a piece of prosciutto. Drizzle with honey and serve cold. This makes a beautiful presentation, but is not that complicated. You can prepare ahead and refrigerate until time to serve.
BEEF TENDERLOIN WITH HENRY BAIN SAUCE
(Henry Bain was the Head Waiter at Louisville’s Pendennis Club. He created this sauce which became a Derby Day special.)
1 beef tenderloin
1 cup Major Grey’s chutney
2 oz pickled walnuts, optional
1 cup ketchup
2/3 cup A-1 sauce
1/4 cup Worcestershire
3/4 cup Chili sauce
Grill tenderloin to desired temperature. Slice and serve hot or cold. Whisk chutney and walnuts in food processor. Mix in other ingredients. Serve at room temperature in large martini glasses, with the tenderloin slices placed artistically into the glasses and the Henry Bain Sauce drizzled over the top.
CREAMY BOURBON CHICKEN
4 to 6 boneless chicken breast halves, skin removed, or about 3 to 4 pounds bone-in chicken pieces
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
salt and pepper, to taste
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 green onions, chopped
1/3 to 1/2 cup good bourbon
1 cup heavy cream
Sprinkle chicken breasts with salt and pepper; lightly dust with flour. Set aside. In a large, heavy skillet over low heat. Heat butter and olive oil. Add the chicken pieces and chopped scallions and saute, turning pieces frequently, until chicken is golden and tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.
While the chicken cooks, baste with a few spoonfuls of the bourbon every few minutes, adding in very small amounts so liquid cooks off while the chicken cooks and does not accumulate in pan.
When the chicken is cooked through and golden, transfer to a warm platter. Add sliced mushrooms to the skillet and sauté while stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes. Add the heavy cream to the mushrooms and scrape any browned bits that may be stuck to the skillet.
Simmer until the mixture is hot and starting to thicken. Taste the sauce and add salt and pepper to taste. Pour the sauce over the chicken. Serves 4
KENTUCKY DERBY PIE
3/4 cups sugar
3 tablespoons flour
3 eggs, beaten
3/4 cups butter, melted
3 Tablespoons Bourbon Whiskey
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 cups chocolate chips, stir in
3/4 cups walnuts, chopped
Combine ingredients and pour into an unbaked pie shell. Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes. The pies should be served hot with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream on the side.
CELEBRATE WITH A LITTLE POETRY
If you cook the pie; be sure to save me a piece!
However you celebrate; when your horse wins just remember these famous words:
“You are a great champion. When you ran, the ground shook, the sky opened and mere mortals parted; parted the way to victory, where you’ll meet me in The Winner’s Circle, and I’ll place a basket of flowers on your back.” (John Gatins Ritch)