5.03 Derby Party

My dad was born in Louisville, KY, and every year he’d gather us around the TV to watch the horses run for the roses and talk about the day we would finally buy some big hats and head out to Churchill Downs. Sadly I’m still working on that trip, but I did managed to throw a full-on Derby party this year in the mean time.

The Menu
Pimento Cheese spread
4 oz sharp yellow cheddar cheese, shredded
4 oz Velveeta, shredded
1 small jar Pimentos, chopped, including about 1tbsp of the canning liquid
1/4-1/2 cup lite mayo (just enough to make it spreadable)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Combine in a small bowl and serve with cucumber, celery and toast points.

Mint Juleps
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
2 bunches fresh mint
Kentucky Bourbon
Crushed ice

Combine sugar and water in small sauce pan and bring to boil. Remove from heat. Tear up leaves from one bunch of mint, about 1 cup worth, and throw into warm simple syrup. Let stand 2-4 hours. Strain to remove mint leaves.

Crush ice in blender. Add 2 tbsp syrup and 1.5 oz Bourbon to old fashioned glasses or silver cups for the full effect.

Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.

Hot Browns
Sandwich elements
1/2lb Bacon, cooked
1/2 Honey Turkey, sliced thin
Brioche, cut in large triangles and toasted
Fresh tomato, sliced thin

Mornay Sauce
4 tbsp finely minced Spanish onion
1 tbsp butter
6 tbsp flour
3-4 cups milk
2 tbsp dry Sherry (not cooking sherry)
Pinch of Cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
2 oz white cheddar cheese, shredded
2 oz Parmesan cheese, shredded, plus extra to top off sandwiches

Fresh chives to garnish

In a medium sauce pan, melt butter on medium heat and saute minced onion for 1 minute. Add flour stirring constantly until it begins to brown slightly. Slowly add milk and whisk vigorously to avoid lumps. Cook over medium heat 5-10 minutes until sauce has thickened (stirring constantly to avoid burning).

Add sherry, cayenne, salt and pepper and turn off heat. Add cheese a little at a time stirring until melted and combined into the sauce.

Coat bottom of 4 individual gratin dishes with a few tbsp or Mornay sauce. Layer in toasted brioche, 3 -4 strips of cooked bacon, turkey and tomatoes. Cover with additional Mornay sauce and sprinkle with a little Parmesan cheese.

Bake at 450 for 10 minutes until hot and bubbly. If your gratin dish can take it, broil for a minute to develop a browned crust. (Mine sadly are not broiler safe).

Sprinkle with fresh chive and serve hot.

Peach Cobbler
1/4 cup butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
Pinch salt
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup milk
1 cup fresh peaches, pitted and sliced into wedges

Vanilla ice cream or fresh whipped cream to garnish

Pour butter into a 9×9″ square cake pan, or a medium over-proof skillet. Combine all dry ingredients ( in a mixing bowl, add milk to create a thin batter. Pour batter on top of butter. Do not mix to combine butter and batter.

Arrange peaches across the top of the batter and bake at 350 for 30 minutes until top is golden.

Serve warm with ice cream or fresh whipped cream.


This weeks edition is a little non-traditional as Hot Browns do not lend themselves to multiple helpings. JL did manage to talk me into making him a full second hot brown, so while the ranking is lower than normal, I’m still very impressed by his appetite.

Furthermore we were graced by the presence of a guest judge, Eric, who cleaned all his plates, so I’d call this one a success.

JL’s Review

jl votes jl votes

Guest Judge

eric votes


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s