I apologize ya’ll… I’ve been busier than a one legged man in a be-hind kickin’ contest… I’ll be spendin’ the week catchin ya’ll up on the last few states I’ve cooked from- let’s start with Kentucky!
Our next stop on the 50 states, 50 recipes tour is;
State capital: Frankfurt
Largest City: Louisville
Admission to the Union: June 1st 1792, the 15th state to be admitted to the Union
Kentucky is known as the “Bluegrass State”, a nickname based on the fact that native bluegrass is present in many of the pastures throughout the state, based on the fertile soil. It made possible the breeding of high-quality livestock, especially thoroughbred racing horses. It is a land with diverse environments and abundant resources, including the world’s longest cave system, Mammoth Cave National Park; the greatest length of navigable waterways and streams in the Lower 48 states; and the two largest man-made lakes east of the Mississippi River. It is also home to the highest per capita number of deer and turkey in the United States, the largest free-ranging elk herd east of Montana, and the nation’s most productive coalfield. Kentucky is also known for thoroughbred horses, horse racing, bourbon distilleries, bluegrass music, automobile manufacturing, tobacco and college basketball ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kentucky)
The Kentucky Derby is on my bucket list- but if ya’ll wanna see the rest of this beautiful state, check out these sites for tourism;
Two things come to mind when I think of Kentucky- coal mines and race horses. The two things couldn’t be more different ya’ll if they’d been born in different worlds- yet it speaks to the diversity of this state. I’ve always thought of Kentuckians as a hard workin’, hard headed bunch. Coal minin‘ is hard labor no doubt- but if ya’ll have been around a racetrack you’d know it’s just as hard raisin‘ thoroughbreds. I have driven through Kentucky ya’ll and to describe the beautiful rolling pastures with horses running free across them as beautiful would be like calling honey sweet. I have to say the idea of actually bein’ at the Kentucky Derby for a race is a dream of mine. I love horses ya’ll. I am also an avid lover of all things hat related! I watched the Royal Wedding just for the hats! I grew up with horses as a part of my daily life, and haven’t had a horse of my own since college. I would never think of racin’ a horse in the Kentucky Derby- it’s far too expensive and time consumin’ for me. But some of my “heroes” have been horses, Man ‘O War, Secretariat, Seattle Slew inspired me as a horse lover! There is somethin’ so beautiful and poetic about the tradition of the Kentucky Derby. And there is no tradition that says Kentucky Derby more than the infamous Mint Julep! Here is a non-alcoholic version-
Alcohol Free Mint Julep
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves
2 cups crushed ice
1/2 cup prepared lemonade
Fresh mint sprigs, for garnish
In a small saucepan, combine the water, sugar and 1 tablespoon of chopped mint. Stir and bring to a boil. Cook until sugar has dissolved, then remove from heat and set aside to cool. After about an hour, strain out mint leaves.
Fill 2 cups or frozen goblets with crushed ice. Pour 1/2 of the lemonade into each glass and top with a splash of the sugar syrup. Garnish each with a mint sprig and a straw. Serve on a silver platter.
Because I knew I’d be making this for the kids and the fire fighters on duty at the local fire station, I didn’t want to make the traditional mint julep. I looked around for a good recipe and found several that try to look like a mint julep without accountin’ for how they’d taste. This one was the most tasty- although a nothing beats a real mint julep!
I actually grow mint every season in the herb box. Mint is such a diverse herb, it aids in good digestion, cures bad breath and even has been known to help with stomach aches. Maverick has learned that when his tummy is hurtin’ he should clip a few leaves of mint right out of the herb box and eat them raw. So we had everythin’ to hand and didn’t even need to go shoppin! I love a recipe that uses what you’ve already got ya’ll!
If you can boil water you can make a mint-julep. I really couldn’t have found an easier recipe for a novice cook ya’ll! And that’s how the cow ate the cabbage ya’ll!
Review: scale of 1-5 stars; the more stars the better
Ease of preparation: ***** nothing to it at all!
Cost of ingredients: ***** had everything in the cupboard!
Taste: **** without the extra kick of Bourbon it isn’t as good as a real mint Julep, but it’ll do for a hot summer day!
Nutrition: *** probably less harmful than most soda pops- but a lot of sugar makes this a once in a while treat
This year’s winner of the Kentucky Derby was an underdog named Animal Kingdom, ridden by a replacement jockey no less. Kentucky as the same reputation of being able to surprise so many people with it’s contrast of the beauty in it’s landscapes and the harshness of it’s coal mines. A mint julep speaks to it’s elegance and tradition. But make no mistake Kentuckians are a strong stock! So until next week when we head to Ohio, May all your journeys be safe and your eats be good!