A Four-Course Kentucky Day

Kentucky, the Bluegrass State, the 15th state to be granted statehood, was the first to enter the union west of the Appalachian Mountains. Daniel Boone blazed trails through Kentucky, and several state parks bear his name. Welcome to National Kentucky Day!

Home to the Kentucky Derby, Fort Knox and the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln, rivers define Kentucky’s boundaries except on the south. There it shares a border with Tennessee along a nearly straight line for about 425 miles. To the southeast, the border is irregular and mountainous between Kentucky and Virginia. Once upon a time, Kentucky was a part of Virginia. But Kentuckians found the travel to Virginia’s capital to be far too dangerous to conduct territory business. Virginia did not understand the importance of the Mississippi River for the economy of Kentucky and forbade trade with the Spanish who controlled the mouth of the Mississippi in New Orleans. Kentucky felt there was no choice, break away from Virginia was the only way to survive. Then it was a matter of becoming its own territory or breaking ties with the Union itself. During the Civil War, Kentucky was initially neutral. When the Confederates invaded in August 1862, the state of Kentucky fought back. Initially, the Confederates won the bloody Battle of Perryville, but then retreated because they were too exposed to maintain a hold. Kentucky remained under Union control for the remainder of the war.

This did not stop the Ku Klux Klan from forming numerous chapters in Kentucky. It was a dark time in the state’s history, shooting, lynching and whipping of freed slaves at the hands of whites resulted in over 100 deaths. Its interesting to note that a Union State experienced bloody race riots after the war. The scars of division run deep, even today.

America has its issues. When you look to the future, one can argue that we have a long way to go. When you look at the past, you can appreciate just how far we’ve come and take comfort in the fact that we’ll get there. It might take time, but we will get there. The first step to healing is to put aside our differences and look instead on those human values we share – family and faith need to see us through. Breaking bread is a great way to move forward.

Kentucky in Four Courses
Beverage –

Sweet Orange Spice Tea

1st Course: Appetizer –
Smoky Cream Cheese Deviled Eggs

2nd Course: Soup –
Acorn Squash Green Apple Soup

3rd Course: Main –
Pan-Seared Bourbon Flank Steak
Roasted Garlic Rosemary Potatoes
Southern Roasted Asparagus Spears

4th Course: Dessert –
Kentucky Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce

Sweet Orange Spice Tea
2 quarts Water
6 regular-size Tea Bags
1 regular-size Orange Spice Tea Bag
3/4 cup Sugar

Bring 1 quart of the water just to a boil in a tea kettle.

Place the tea bags in a 4-quart container. Pour the hot water over the tea bags and allow to steep for 5 minutes.

Place the sugar in a 2-quart pitcher. Add the hot tea and stir until the sugar dissolves. Fill the pitcher with 1 quart of cold water and stir.

Chill until ready to serve.

Smoky Cream Cheese Deviled Eggs
4 slices Bacon
14 Hard-boiled Eggs
4 oz Cream Cheese, softened
1/4 cup Mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Dry Mustard
1 tablespoon White Vinegar
Pinch Cayenne Pepper or to taste
Oak Smoked Salt to taste·
White Pepper to taste
Paprika as needed

Fry bacon crisp. Drain on paper towels, let cool completely. Crumble into small pieces and set aside.

Place eggs in a pan with a tight-fitting lid. Cover with cold water. Over medium-high heat, bring to a rolling boil. Remove from heat, cover and let steep for 15 minutes. Plunge eggs in ice water to stop cooking process. Gently crack eggs, let rest in cold water for 20 minutes, then peel eggs under running water.

Slice peeled eggs lengthwise with a knife. Gently remove yolks and place in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade. Arrange 12 of the best egg whites on an egg plate. Garnish plate with curled parsley if desired and set aside.

Pulse eggs a few times to begin the smoothing process. To the yolks, add cream cheese, mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper.Mix until smooth.

Scoop mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip Squeeze mixture into the empty egg whites.

Top each with a sprinkle of paprika. Add bacon pieces. Best if chilled for at least 2 hours before serving.

Acorn Squash Green Apple Soup
1 medium Acorn Squash
2 tablespoons Butter
1 medium Yellow Onion
2 medium Granny Smith Apples
1 teaspoon dried Thyme Leaves
1/4 teaspoon dried Basil Leaves
4 cups Chicken Stock
1/2 cup Half-and-Half
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon White Pepper
1/4 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg

Heat oven to 350-degrees.

Cut squash in half; remove seeds and fibers. Place squash, cut sides up, in a 13-inch by 9-inch by 2 inch deep casserole pan. Pour water into pan until 1/4 inch deep. Bake uncovered about 40 minutes or until tender. Cool; remove pulp from rind and set aside.

While the squash cools, peel and slice the onion. Peel, core and slice the apple. Place apple in cold water to prevent discoloration until ready to cook.

Melt butter in heavy 3-quart saucepan over medium heat. Cook onion in butter 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until crisp-tender. Drain and pat dry the sliced apples. Stir apples, thyme and basil into the pot with the onions. Cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in chicken stock. Heat to boiling; reduce heat to low. Simmer uncovered 30 minutes.

Remove 1 cup apples with slotted spoon; set aside. Place one-third of the remaining apple mixture and squash in blender or food processor. Cover and blend on medium speed about 1 minute or until smooth; pour into bowl. Continue to blend in small batches until all the soup is pureed.

Return blended mixture and 1 cup reserved apples to pan. Stir in half-and- half, salt and pepper; heat until bubbling. Ladle into bowls, garnish with a pinch of nutmeg as desired.

Pan-Seared Bourbon Flank Steak
1/4 cup Bourbon
1/4 cup Dijon Mustard
4 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh Black Pepper
1-1/2 lbs Flank Steak, trimmed

Combine bourbon, mustard, Worcestershire, salt, and pepper in a shallow non reactive dish and mix well. Trim steak, place in a shallow dish and rub marinade all over, coating it well. Allow to marinate at room temperature for 45 minutes.

Once steak has marinated, heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Grill steak for 5 to 6 minutes per side for medium rare. Place steak on cutting board, tent or cover to keep warm and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes.

Season with additional salt and pepper, slice thinly against the grain, and serve with juices that may have accumulated on the cutting board.

Roasted Garlic Rosemary Potatoes
6 medium Red Potatoes
3 tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Garlic Cloves
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 teaspoon Black Pepper
2 teaspoons dried Crushed Rosemary
Fresh Rosemary, for garnish

Heat oven to 350-degrees. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Scrub potatoes, cut into quarters and place in a mixing bowl. Drizzle with olive oil.

Peel and finely mince garlic, scatter over potatoes. Season with salt, pepper and crushed rosemary. Toss to coat well.

Transfer seasoned potatoes to baking sheet. Spread out evenly. Place in oven and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until golden brown and tender.

Place potatoes in a serving bowl. Garnish with fresh rosemary as desired and serve.

Southern Roasted Asparagus Spears
16 Asparagus Spears
3 cups Pork Rinds
1 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
1 Egg

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly spray a rimmed baking pan with cooking spray, set aside.

Trim woody ends from asparagus, set aside.

Place pork rinds in a bag and crush. Add pepper and Parmesan cheese, shake to mix.

Pour the pork rind mixture onto a pie pan.Beat egg in another pie pan

Roll each asparagus stalk in the egg, then in the pork rind mixture. Place asparagus spears on the prepared pan.

Bake heated oven for about 10 minutes or until the asparagus is cooked through.

Transfer to a serving platter and serve at once.

Kentucky Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce
Bread Pudding
Butter as needed
1/4 cup Pecans
16 oz firm French Bread
3 large Eggs
3-1/4 cups Milk
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1/2 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 2-1/2 quart baking dish, set aside. Chop pecans, set aside.

Tear bread into medium pieces. Put the bread in a large bowl and add the sugars and cinnamon. Set aside.

In another bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Add milk and vanilla, whisk to blend. Add egg mixture to bread mixture. Spoon half of the mixture into the baking dish.

Sprinkle with the pecans. Top with the rest of the mixture.

Bake in the heated oven for 40 to 45 minutes, or until lightly browned.

While the bread pudding bakes, make sauce.

Warm Bourbon Sauce
1 cup Sugar
6 tablespoons Butter
1/2 cup Buttermilk
1 tablespoon Light Corn Syrup
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1-1/2 tablespoons Bourbon

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar with the butter, let melt over medium low heat. Add buttermilk, corn syrup, and vanilla. Bring the sauce mixture to a boil. Continue boiling for 1 minute. Whisk in bourbon. Remove from heat.

Strain the sauce through a fine-mesh sieve. Keep warm.

Serve bread pudding in rimmed dessert plates. Drizzle plenty of warm sauce over the bread pudding and enjoy.

Author: Rosemarie's Kitchen

I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and avid home cook.I believe in eating healthy whenever possible, while still managing to indulge in life's pleasures.

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