Posts Tagged ‘Kentucky’

Off to the races at Keeneland


I was a little surprised when my friend Patti told me that I should wear a skirt or dress, or at least a nice pantsuit, when we went to the thoroughbred races at Keeneland (www.keeneland.com). But Patti knows that my travel wardrobe consists mainly of black jeans and white blouses – not a bad look if I do say so myself, but definitely not the right thing for Lexington, Kentucky’s National Historic Landmark track. (Hats, by the way, are optional.) Keeneland, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, was founded in 1936 to serve as an elegant showcase for the Bluegrass thoroughbred horse industry. Live races are held only twice a year (this year April 8-29 and October 7-29) and are quite an event. Keeneland is especially stunning in the spring when the dogwood, magnolia and redbud trees are in bloom.

We could have gone more casual if we opted for general admission, but we wanted to make a day of it with a buffet lunch in one of the rooms overlooking the grandstand. Between visits to the buffet line for cheeses and salads, roast beef, roast chicken, and several pasta dishes, we pondered our bets and then rushed out to an open balcony to cheer on our horses as they sped around the 1 1/16-mile oval track. We also wandered out to the paddock area where horses warm up and seasoned handicappers can make a final assessment of horse and jockey before placing their bets. “Bet on the horse that finishes first,” someone told me with a laugh. I didn’t have much luck with my $2 bets, but I did secure the recipe for Keeneland’s signature Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce. And that’s a winner.

KEENELAND BREAD PUDDING WITH MAKER’S MARK BOURBON SAUCE

This recipe is included in Keeneland Entertains: Traditional Bluegrass Hospitality and Favorite Recipes, Fran Taylor’s cookbook tribute to Keeneland’s 75th anniversary. I have kept Fran’s original format and size—big enough to serve a race weekend party.

Serves: 10 to 12

BREAD PUDDING

2 quarts milk
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
8 eggs beaten
2-3 quarts cubed white bread (or Sister Schubert rolls)
1 cup golden raisins
1 tablespoon cinnamon

Whisk sugar into milk until dissolved. Add eggs, vanilla and stir. Soak bread in mixture for several hours or overnight. Pour into Pyrex or stainless pan. Sprinkle with raisins and cinnamon and “push” into mix. Bake at 250 degrees for approximately 1 1/2 hours or until firm.

MAKER’S MARK BOURBON SAUCE

1 lb. butter
2 lb. powdered sugar
1 cup Maker’s Mark Bourbon

Let butter become soft at room temperature and add powdered sugar. Whip bourbon into mix until it makes a frosting consistency. Ladle sauce over hot bread pudding and it will melt on its own.

02

04 2011

Sweet and tart — the Shaker take on lemon pie

The Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, Kentucky, is one of my favorite Shaker sites to visit. Although it hasn’t been a working Shaker community for decades, it’s the largest preserved Shaker village in the country. Moreover, it is the only one that offers both overnight lodging and a good restaurant.

I wrote about it last week in the Boston Globe‘s Food section in a piece called “A menu that reflects Shaker simplicity.” The article deals with the new chef Patrick Kelly’s “Seed to Table” program. His menus in the restaurant feature food from his kitchen garden and from farms in the adjacent bluegrass country near Lexington. Not only is the program in keeping with the locavore trends in contemporary dining, it also echoes the Shaker preoccupation with simplicity.

Kelly is just into his second year at Pleasant Hill, and there are some old-fashioned dishes on the menu that may not reflect his locavore culinary bent, but are so beloved by the restaurant’s patrons that he can’t take them off the menu.

One of those is the Shaker lemon pie. (Even with the summer heat, lemons don’t grow in Kentucky.) It is, however, a remarkably simple pie and makes a surprising dessert. It might seem counterintuitive to cook with the lemon rind, but it produces an interesting texture. And the ingredients are always available at almost any supermarket (including the pie crust).

SHAKER LEMON PIE

Ingredients

2 large lemons
2 cups sugar
4 eggs, well beaten
pastry for 9-inch double pie crust

Directions

1. Slice lemons as thin as paper, rind and all. Combine with sugar; mix well. Let stand two hours, or preferably overnight, blending occasionally.

2. Add eggs to sugared lemons. Mix well.

3. Turn mixture into 9-inch pie shell, arranging lemon slices evenly. Cover with top crust. Cut several slits near center.

4. Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 degrees and bake for about 20 minutes or until knife inserted near edge of pie comes out clean.

Cool before serving.

22

07 2010