Red Faces & Yellow Legs

A road trip was in store for the Thoroughbroads, so a short day outing to Harrodsburg, Kentucky was planned with a visit to historic Beaumont Inn for lunch. This destination was noted for Kentucky country fare. Yellow legged chicken and the famous Beaumont inn Prune Cake were just two of the reasons for going. (Yellow legged chicken is what we now call free-range chicken where the fowl have open spaces to roam and are corn or grain fed which turns their legs yellow.

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The many Kentucky born and served recipes are worth the trip alone, but their gift shop, a great antique mall and an abandoned church that was turned into a fabulous fabric store makes this a fun destination. Upon arrival at the Inn (originally a school for young ladies – Daughters College), we were greeted by a historian who told us about the place and welcomed us to the restaurant. Our group wanted to know who all had stayed at the Inn in the past. Our guide started giggling and stated, “Well, we have had a number of celebrities but last weekend we had a young couple with overnight reservations but showed up with no luggage only a bottle of wine in a paper bag.”  Everybody started laughing as he looked through our crowd and then suddenly said, ”There she is!” and pointed. All of the Thoroughbroads turned around to see he was pointing at Scarlett, trying her best to hide.

Turning beet red, Scarlett explained that she and her husband both thought the other had loaded the suitcase in the trunk, but left it in the garage instead. The valet had come to get it and Scarlett’s husband just handed him the paper bag with wine to take in. She was so embarrassed while the girls and the historian all laughed. After checking into the Inn and enjoying their dinner the two of them found a drug store and bought undies, T-shirts and some shorts, a toothbrush each and sundries. They came to the Inn because her favorite secret auction house was having a sale early the next day.

At the auction, they had great success, but the sizing in the clothes reacting with the heat of the tobacco barn made them itch throughout the day, so much so, that the auctioneers kept thinking they were bidding on items when they were just scratching their backs or necks. Now her secret antique auction was out…all of the gals wanted to know about it and what she had bought. There would never be any bargains there for Scarlett again.

We talked about the auction over our lunch and were able to get the famous Beaumont Inn Prune Cake recipe out of our server. Many of us decided to substitute raisins for the prunes, so as not to create discomfort if given as a hostess or holiday gift. This dried fruit was gaining popularity in the 80’s due to a big ad campaign for California Raisins. The claymation commercial spilled over to an Emmy award winning Christmas special, a toy line of collectibles which have now found their way into a permanent collection in the Smithsonian. The ’80s were crazy years full of creativity and Rock n’ Roll singing raisins were popular with all generations.

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Having stood the test of time, in 2015 Beaumont Inn received the  American Classic Award from the James Beard Foundation (the Oscars of the food industry). Be sure to visit when you travel to Kentucky…it is a must and you will step back in time to a country Kentucky dinner table.

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Robyn’s Reward

I was browsing the newspaper ( yes, we actually got info this way in the 80’s ) looking at things going on around town. Newcomer’s  Club had a monthly coffee to welcome new residents. I thought a few minutes and decided that I was going to do this for myself.

On the appointed day, I found the address and parked by the curb. Holy cow! The house was huge! I don’t care how confident you are, walking into a room full of strangers and conversing is not easy. So, I steeled myself and made it to the front door. I was greeted with a smile. I found myself in a room full of welcoming women who were all in the same boat as me, new to Louisville. I met Scarlett that very day and the other Thoroughbroads soon after. A few months later, Pat who became our partner in crime, showed up at a coffee. The decision to attend that coffee ended with friends for life.

The refreshments at the coffee were typical. Cookies, breads, pastries, fruit, coffee, tea, juice. Until, a member showed up with this crustless quiche. It was an instant hit. It is so versatile. Serve as breakfast, lunch or dinner. Serve at room temperature or hot. It freezes and travels well. I cut it into individual pieces, wrap & freeze. Slide it into a ziplock bag and it becomes breakfast at the beach condo. Enjoy!

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Mexican Quiche Appetizer

1/2 cup butter

10 eggs

½ cup flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

Dash of salt

8-12 ounces canned, chopped, mild green chiles

2 cups cottage cheese ( 16 ounces )

4 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese ( 1 pound )

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in a 9×13 inch baking dish. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl beat eggs till well blended, add flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix well. Add the melted butter, leaving the dish buttered. Add chiles and cheese. Mix together and pour into the baking dish. Bake uncovered for 45 to 55 minutes. Test for doneness by inserting a knife blade in the center. Quiche should be set and knife blade should come out clean. Cut into bite size squares while hot, but allow to cool slightly before removing from pan.

Note: This May be baked and frozen; reheat covered with foil. Individual portions reheat well in the microwave.

 

 

 

Diamonds…Are A Girl’s Best Friend…Or Is A Girl With Diamonds A Best Friend

Diamonds – A Girl’s Best Friend  

The Thoroughbroads met at J.J.’s home in one of the newer subdivisions in the east end of Louisville for a monthly luncheon. The drive was worth it as we passed rolling Kentucky hills and little commercial construction. We always laughed at the “Louisville mindset”…if it is more than a few stoplights; you’re headed to the country. Most of us had lived in cities where you might sit for 20 minutes trying to make a left turn on to a well traveled street and since J.J.’s house was 20 minutes out of downtown…she was in the country of “the Ville”.

The back of her home was open to a lovely screened in porch with scenery of trees and peaceful privacy not heard of in most subdivisions. Developers usually sell off every square inch of land for housing and don’t leave the natural beauty of the land. This was an exception. Open and airy inside with lots of windows allowed Mother Nature to show off her wares. The décor was simple with a no clutter look giving it a clean orderly feel. Since she had moved many times with her husband’s career, they had not accumulated a great deal of things and it was refreshing. I believe she was ahead of her time in many ways as today we try to simplify our abodes, we eat healthier, and we exercise more and are a great deal more comfy casual in our dress and décor. It seems J. J. was spot on with this lifestyle long before it became a smart way to live for the rest of us.

We gathered in the kitchen to enjoy a Blue Cheese Spread on toast points with a sparkling white apple wine spritzer and to catch up on what we all had been up to since we saw each other last. We proceeded to the screened porch for lunch. The birds were all about outside and it was one of those slightly cool spring days that made you breathe in the beauty of the upcoming season. This was the first day you could wear that light weight top you had bought at the end of spring last year and it still fit after a hibernating winter. You could pull on those comfortable open toed flats and a pair of twill pants…jeans had not become high fashion with our age bracket in Louisville yet. “The Perfect Fit” Gloria Vanderbilt  designer dark denim jean (with the embroidered swan on the back pocket) came out in 1976. It would be a few more years before you saw the swan on the backsides of many Louisville housewives.

Since the holiday season had just passed, the talk was all about other new fashionable items, such as the “Tennis Bracelet”. In fact, a few of the girl’s showed off their new diamond bracelet Santa had brought them. (Chris Evert, women’s tennis champion, lost a diamond bracelet during a match in the 1987 US Open. Evert asked officials to postpone her match until the bracelet had been found. This sparked the desire for a bracelet like her’s with diamonds in it.) Funny how the only one in our group who played tennis was our hostess and she did not have one. Scarlett noticed the new accessory on some of the girls right off and mentioned that she had diamond news to share.

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A gal pal of our’s  from Newcomers Club recently had a couple’s brunch at her home and Scarlett had attended. Scarlett bragged about eating asparagus for the first time in a strawberry and roasted asparagus salad with lime poppy seed dressing. Down South… it was boiled and nasty stuff, so she never ate it, but she had loved it served this way. While the hostess set the dish on the table, Scarlett noticed a new 5 carat square cut diamond ring on Lori’s wedding finger. As she grabbed Lori’s hand, she showed how much she loved it and why had she not seen it before. It was huge and absolutely beautiful.  Lori whispered that she had gotten it for Christmas and was it too ostentatious? Lori was one of the sweetest girls we all knew, she held down the fort while her husband worked out of town a great deal, she was the step mom to a precious little boy, volunteered at many of the Louisville fundraising events and generally one of the best people you could ever meet. Scarlett told her that if anyone deserved that diamond she did and to wear it proudly. Lori hugged her and felt vindicated and confident to wear it in style.

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All of the Thoroughbroads were genuinely happy for her and wanted to know all about the ring, how to make the asparagus strawberry salad, the details on the day. There was not a jealous bone in the group and that is why the group stayed together for years. Diamonds are great but showing true friendship for one another is the best gift of all.

 

Blue Cheese Spread

8 0z cream cheese at room temp

2 oz blue cheese crumbled and at room temp

1/8 tsp garlic powder

¼ tsp onion powder

2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

2 Tbsp milk

Mix all together in a food processor. Better if made a couple of days ahead so flavors marry.

Serve as a spread on toast points or quality crackers

 

The Spring Strawberry Asparagus Salad Recipe 

1 container of fresh strawberries (large if possible) and sliced ¼ inch thick.

I large bunch of tender fresh green asparagus with stems cut of at base

1 large bunch of fresh spinach

Take asparagus and drizzle with olive oil, salt and cracked pepper and grill or roast until slightly limp and colorful.

Arrange spinach on a flat platter as a base with grilled or roasted asparagus in the center, arrange strawberry slices around the asparagus and pour Lime Poppy Seed Dressing over the top.

 

Lime Poppy Seed Dressing Recipe 

In mixing bowl stir together ½ cup honey, ¼ tsp finely shredded lime peel, 3 Tbsp lime juice, 1 ½ tsp poppy seeds, ¼ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp ground mace

Beat honey mixture with electric beater on medium high while gradually adding ¼ cup salad oil and continue until thickened. Cover and chill slightly. Stir and then poor over salad for serving. Makes ¾ cup.

Derby Divas

 

Before all of the great additions and renovations to Churchill Downs, back in the late 80’s early 90’s, groups could book a “Day at the Downs” the week before Derby in Millionaires Row. Tickets to the actual Derby were usually all sold out to corporate event planners, sponsors and those who had them left to them in a will,  or you paid a scalper a fortune for them. The Thoroughbroads were members of the Louisville Welcome Wagon chapter, so they attended that annual ” Day at the Downs” event. Millionaires Row was where the stars, celebrities, politicos, horse owners and trainers enjoyed the race day during the Oaks and Derby, so this was always a real treat. Attendance was huge and all were dressed in their finery.

The men wore spring suits, some even seersucker ones. They accessorized with bow ties, braces (suspenders), pastel shirts and straw hats. The women were in silk floral dresses or monochromatic fitted suits. Classic jewelry, tasteful shoes that you could stand in all day and of course a hat added to the attire. The hats were the show stopper though, few came without one and some felt go big or go home was the rule of the day.

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Most of the Thoroughbroads had corporate guests to entertain, but Robyn and Scarlett shared a table every year with another couple from Texas. The tickets included a mint julep in a collector Derby glass, a race magazine full of well designed ads that showcased the best Louisville and Kentucky had to offer along with stories on many of the thoroughbred farms and their winning horses and winning prospects for sale. A delicious lunch buffet of traditional Kentucky favorites and access to betting windows in the room with you along with other conveniences made the day effortless.

The horses were beautiful along with those betting on them. Many times, Robyn , Scarlett, their husbands and the Texas couple, Pat & Tony, would pool their bets on a long-shot. Sometimes they would even bet on the first horse coming back over the finish line after the race. They would scream and holler out on the balcony and confuse everyone watching since the race had already been won. It was amazing how many of those on confused lookers would join in randomly picking a horse’s number out of the straw hat and putting in their two dollar bet to join in on the creative fun. Those pots usually paid better and you didn’t have to know anything about the horses. With enough mint juleps you will bet on anything.

This day however, Tony from Texas and Scarlett decided to pool their money on a grey long-shot to Win Place Or Show by paying $2 on each spot across the board, which would mean $6 per bettor. It is supposed to always be good luck to bet on a grey and this one was wearing pink silks along with the jockey, so Scarlett was convinced this one was a winner. Sure enough, as the gates opened that horse took off…and off and off…not a great sign, for he would lose his stamina if he gave it all he had that early in the race. Well, he kept going and the lead kept growing and as he rounded the last turn, Tony from Texas kept saying” Scarlett, Scarlett, Scarlett!” but Scarlett could hear nothing over her loud screeching and jumping up and down in those tasteful high heels. They had already figured out that if their horse won they would win $1500.00 each. Not bad for a $6.00 bet. As this lovely grey animal, all dressed in pink, got closer and closer to the finish pole Scarlett screamed louder and Tony from Texas kept saying ‘Scarlett!” but alas, tragedy would strike. The horse just fell over on the track, the jockey was not hurt but the horse did not get up, in fact it didn’t even move. All were confused as other horses passed by and another won that race. Track personnel, trainer and owner along with an ambulance came to the scene and a big white cloth barrier was put up around the horse and people…it was grim. All fell silent in the stands and on the balconies. The jockey could be seen pacing back and forth with crop in hand and very distraught. The ambulance drove off, the barrier was removed and the people walked away head bent.

One minute things can be going your way and another not so much. It was not the loss of the race, it was the loss of the animal, which was a loss of a dream. Scarlett and Tony from Texas turned and hugged each other tightly and for a longer than usual length of time that day. As life would have it, over the years long hugs would be doled out among these 6 friends. They would be given for the loss of a job, the loss of one’s health, loss of a parent, a couple moving to another state and the loss of a husband. Long hugs from good friends get you through difficult times. Strong friendships are something to be cherished.

Only 3 of the “broads” still live in Kentucky, but I bet all of us on Derby day sip on a mint julep or two and remember our “Days at the Downs”…memories that will last our lifetimes.

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Derby Week Fare Recipes You Can Enjoy Serving Guests

Benedictine Dip or Spread

Remove seeds from 1 cucumber, grate and drain well by pressing all of the liquid from the cucumber. Add the liquid only to an 8 oz. pkg. of softened cream cheese. Stir in 1 tsp. of lemon juice and a small finely grated onion to taste. Add just enough quality Mayonnaise (we like Duke’s) to help it spread easily. Then color with one drop of green food coloring and chill before using. This is a Kentucky favorite!

Crab Muffins

1 6 oz. can of quality crab meat

1 jar of Kraft Old English Cheese

2 sticks of softened butter

A dash of garlic salt & a dash of Worcestershire Sauce

1 Tbsp. of Vermouth or Sherry

1 can of chopped water chestnuts

1 pkg. of Thomas English Muffins

Mix all ingredients together and spread on opened English Muffins and place them on a cookie sheet interior side up. Bake 20 minutes at 350 until muffins are crisp. Pull them out and cut them into eights and serve. DO NOT MICROWAVE! They do freeze well for later use too.

 

Seafood Salad

 

 

Commiserating “Te-kill-ya” Punch

The “Thoroughbroads” experienced major life changing events over the years they met for monthly luncheons in Louisville. Divorces, illnesses, career changes, family crises  were shared with each other over a delightful meal, tasty libation and camaraderie. You see… women usually want someone to listen to them…not just hear them. We need to share our story. It helps us to sort things out, make personal decisions and to heal or learn from the experience when it is shared. We are not always looking for someone to solve the situation, We want compassion, which will shore us up to meet the issue head on and find our own solutions.

For the “Broads”, the meals we eat, the adult beverages we enjoy and the setting for the get-togethers are just part of the big picture. The comfort of exposing your inner issues, thoughts, needs or successes to true friends is sometimes comfort enough. Of course, if the issue is large enough, TRUE comrades will stand with you or fight along with you if you ask.

Now don’t for a minute think the gals in this group were perfect listeners. Some of us would share an opinion about your dilemma and not all of us would agree. And some of us would just listen and then call that “special Broad in the group” and maybe say something like, “ WHAAT THE??” But that is just normal when you gather gal pals. We tend to ganer all of the details and into a large opening of a funnel and then drill it down smaller and smaller until we find an answer we can live with and sometimes that drilling down requires a gal to call a bestie and feel free to express a little shock to get it out of your system.

I am happy to report that in this group of Broads; it always came down to supporting one another. Whether we were on board with the person’s final decision or not, we were her shoulders…and that proved to be enough. Of course, an adult beverage always helps when you are divulging a confidence.

Here is a recipe we always found helpful.

Commiserating “Te-kill-ya” Punch Recipe

Based on one of Martha Stewart’s Tequila punches. Watch yourself it can be truth serum!

Ingredients:

16 ounces of Jose Cuervo Gold

 ¼ cup Cassis

 ¼ cup fresh lime juice

24 ounces of a ginger beer

12 ounces of Club Soda

Thinly sliced lime slices to use in an ice ring to keep the punch cold

*Margarita salt for rimming the glasses

*Lime peel curl for garnish

Stir all ingredients together in a 4 quart punch bowl then add the ice ring and garnish.

**IMPORTANT TIP – Be sure to temper the punch bowl first with cold water…if you pour super cool or a hot liquid into glass it can crack! Saw this happen at an event with a borrowed antique Waterford glass punch bowl …not good!

…That should explain the picture of the Waterford Punch Bowl above.

 

 

The Cookie Exchange

One of our alternate “Thoroughbroads” started a tradition during the holiday season we all looked forward to each year…a cookie exchange. Yes, you have heard of them, but Diane’s were exceptional every year. Each guest baked 13 dozen cookies, 12 to share with others invited to the exchange and one dozen to munch on at the party and take home if not eaten. We all went home with a covered laundry basket full of freshly baked cookies to enjoy over the holidays or share with friends, so none of us missed coming!

We arrived at Diane’s home in either an ugly sweater or a casual outfit adorned with that holiday jewelry or accessory you can only wear a week or so in December. A few wore handmade items their kids had made in school, others wore stylish necklaces (remember this was the late 80’s, so big and boldly bedazzled was in), and some showed off their holiday socks given to them the year before by some older relative. Each of us was greeted by our hostess with a champagne flute full of an Asti cranberry punch and to make sure we had a lively time that punch bowl was kept full. Nothing better to put you in a festive mood, we all agreed.

Diane’s dining table was set with foods of all kinds. Our hostess, being from the South, made sure you were not going to leave hungry and we were encouraged to eat more than one plate. A beautifully baked spiral cut ham was the centerpiece every year and served with homemade biscuits and Durkee’s dressing. A hashbrown casserole or cheese grits were a staple along with corn pudding and the infamous green bean casserole. Traditional comfort foods seem to always be wanted at that time of year, so now was the time to splurge. You behave yourself all year until Thanksgiving and Christmas come, then those of us from the southern states expect the old traditional favorites. The cookies we all made were served as our dessert, but our favorite goodie was our gift of Diane’s famous chocolate covered cherries…two huge ones to a red box tied up with a beautiful white ribbon. They were divine and she would not share the recipe. She had learned how to make them one year and sold them to her husband’s company for their client gifts one Christmas. She told me privately that she had made enough money to buy her own brand new Volvo that year! She knew she had a hit on her hands and I don’t blame her in the least for not sharing the recipe with us…after all, a gal has got to do what a gal has got to  do in order to drive a brand new Volvo, right?

Years have passed since those fun times and many of us have moved away from each other, but some of us have stayed in touch. And every Christmas I still get a red box tied with white ribbon and two chocolate huge covered cherries from my gal pal of over 28 years. I smile as a slowly savor each bite and value our friendship.

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I plan on making these tea cookies I saw for next Christmas…but for this year I will share my mother’s Frieda’s Dish Pan Cookie Recipe she acquired from her elderly neighbor, Madge, in the North Carolina mountains in the late 80’s…you will need a dish pan to make this much cookie dough, but it makes DOZENS to give and they are delicious and easy!

Preheat oven to 325

4 cups all purpose flour

2 cups sugar

2 cups brown sugar

1 tsp salt

2 tsp baking soda

2 cups cooking oil

4 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

Mix all of this together now add and mix well 1 1/2 cups quick oats and

2 cups of corn flakes

Drop only 1 tsp of dough on a cookie sheet until you have filled it up with dollops about 1 1/2 inches apart..they spread while baking. Bake at 325 for only 8-10 minutes until lightly brown, then remove with metal spatula and let cool on a piece of wax paper. Continue until you have used all of the dough…you will be surprised how many it makes, and how quickly they get eaten.

 

 

Rainy Fall Doldrums

Days of rain and drizzle in the early Kentucky fall can give a girl the blues. What better way to work your way into a brighter season than to party the last one out with a bang! So, Scarlett invited the “Thoroughbroads” and their significant others to an indoor beach party to put summer behind. It was required to dress the part…in summer garb, and to bring a summer dish you could eat at the beach.

When we arrived, all of the furniture had been removed in the great room (what we called an open plan living space back in the 90’s). The hardwood floor was covered in beach towels and open beach umbrellas were placed in big buckets of sand all around the space. It looked like fun as beach music welcomed us when we entered for our last stab at summer. People arriving in flippers and snorkels made out of aluminum covered paper towel tubes and with masks made out of cottage cheese containers were hilarious. Others in “old lady” bathing suits and some in tie-dyed T-shirts, baggy shorts and inner tubes made the beach theme come to life.

Beer, wine spritzers and adult lemonades were iced down in multiple Igloos around the room. The food was so much fun and the creativity was amazing. You were to bring something you eat at home but would never serve to guests. One couple brought rolls of chocolate chip cookie dough to be eaten raw by pulling off chunks with your fingers. Another couple brought various cheese dips and fruit dips with salty or banana chips and they were gobbled up. ‘Lil Smokies” cooked in BBQ sauce and grape jelly were a hit and peanut butter, jelly on brioche with a variety of berries filled our tummies and sopped up the adult beverages we consumed.

Game time consisted of a type of Russian Roulette. Scarlett’s mother thought of herself as a wine maker and made bottles after bottles of crabapple wine. In truth, about 1 in 5 bottles was actually a nice sweet drinkable bottle. All of her kids could expect a case of what she considered her cherished wine every year for Christmas. Scarlett had saved many cases in her basement in case her visiting mother asked where they were.  Some you could drink, some were able to be used for cooking wine and others…well, they would not even make a good vinegar for salad dressings. As Forest Gump said “like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna’ get.” The hostess figured this would be a good way to dwindle down the stash of this “cherished” wine thru Roulette.

Mom's wine

The fun began along the lines of Spin the Bottle only these bottles were pulled out of one of the cases of wine then placed in the center of the circle of friends and spun. If the bottle stopped and was aimed at you, you had to open the bottle and take a big swig of the libation. If it was a good bottle you could take the bottle home and enjoy, if it was a bad bottle then you got a chance to spit it out and were given a store bought bottle to take home. As you would guess, most tasted awful and the spun bottle would land on the same people quite frequently. Money started coming out of pockets to pay someone else to taste the un-opened bottles…it was a fun event and one I have heard has been repeated by others with cheap drug store wine.

We sent the summer season out in the middle of fall, but with the food, the wine, the fun and the great group of friends, we were at the beach once again if only for a while.pic185937

Upon leaving, we put our sweaters and fall coats on and prayed for a short winter.

 

‘Lil Smokies

To cook in a slow cooker, combine little smokies, a small jar of barbecue sauce and a small jar of grape jelly in a crock pot. Cover and cook on HIGH for 1 to 2 hours, until sausages are hot. Serve with toothpicks.

Peanut Butter & Jelly on Brioche with Berries

Use creamy peanut butter, a newly baked brioche bread warmed (so peanut butter will melt in) then spread a QUALITY fruit spread of jelly,  a preserve or a favorite jam on top then layer with raspberries, blueberries, or strawberries sliced thin. Cut into bite size portions and enjoy. You can add a chocolate drizzle on top of the cut up pieces if you indulge yourself!

As for cookie dough raw…we recommend Pillsbury Chocolate Chip in the large size.